I teach a seminar in regional and community sustainability and, in each of the last two weeks, a student has wondered why I was including in our curriculum subjects such as home affordability and cultural preservation.
The future of the private sector will increasingly hinge on the ability of businesses to adapt to the world's rapidly changing environment and to develop goods and services that can reduce the impacts of climate change, water scarcity, emissions of harmful chemicals, and other environmental concerns.
From extreme weather events, to rising pressures on finite natural resources, changes in the global environment will increasingly impact operating costs, markets for products, the availability of raw materials, and the reputation of businesses, from finance and tourism, to healthcare and transport.
While the risks are significant, such environmental changes also represent major opportunities for businesses that successfully manage them, and seize the demand for sustainable technologies, investments and services.
These are among the main findings of a new report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), SustainAbility and Green Light Group today, entitled GEO-5 for Business: Impacts of a Changing Environment on the Corporate Sector.
"GEO-5 for Business is in many ways a prospectus for the 21st century company-one that internalizes how rapid and accelerating environmental change will shape risks, but also the need and demand for new sustainable products and market opportunities," said UN Under Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
"The report speaks to the reality of climate change and natural resource scarcities and outlines how more creative decisions by the private sector with longer term horizons may assist in meeting these challenges. It makes the case that whether it be in water saving, or climate-proofing infrastructure, the world is going to look for solutions that in turn will drive corporate competitiveness, reputational risk and a transition to an inclusive green economy,' added Mr. Steiner.
The new report is based on UNEP's Global Environment Outlook (GEO-5); the UN's most comprehensive assessment of the state of the global environment. According to that report, human pressures on the global environment mean that several critical environmental thresholds are approaching, or have already been surpassed, beyond which abrupt changes to the life-support functions of the planet could occur.
Through a detailed analysis of the construction, chemicals, mining, food, and other industries, GEO-5 for Business outlines the specific risks of such changes to each sector, and how businesses can adjust to create long-term competitive advantages.
Completed in late 2012, the new 24,350-square-foot structure is the first building project to pursue all three of the highest green architecture and landscape standards: the Living Building Challenge SM, LEED® Platinum and Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) certification. A model of sustainability for architects, scientists, planners and anyone interested in living greener, this new building was designed to mimic nature and function as elegantly and efficiently as a flower...
Centerbrook Architects and Planners developed Hotchkiss Biomass Power Plant, a 16,500-square-foot structure that impresses due to its ingenious architecture and environmentally-friendly features.
The plant burns sustainably harvested wood-chips to heat 85 buildings that total 1.2 million square feet: “Designated a carbon neutral fuel by the International Panel on Climate Change, the locally sourced wood chips are the byproduct of sustainably managed forests; they replace some 150,000 gallons of imported fuel oil per year, cutting emissions overall, most dramatically sulfur dioxide by more than 90 percent“. Waste ash is collected for use as fertilizer for the neighboring vegetable gardens...
The New Orleans Bioinnovation Center is a prototype for nimble sustainability, located at a brownfield site in the burgeoning biotechnology district across from Tulane University Medical School on historic Canal Street.
The glass and steel structure New Orleans Bioinnovation Center strikes a lucid and gracious balance between hard-core sustainability, tenant harmony, and economic viability. Smith believes EDR's success is a result of creating "people ecosystems" by designing for "a long life and a loose fit."
When New Orleans began to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, NOBIC was back on track, helped by the state, which—like other states—had discovered the economic potential of attracting biotechnology incubators. The goal was to create a collaborative environment in which fledgling start-ups could grow into successful enterprises and spread the wealth.
The Ethiopian wolf is seriously endangered, with only 450 individuals left on Earth. However, hope remains among conservationists who are doing heroic work to preserve this fascinating species for future generations.
Disaster Preparedness Activity Hits Record Highs In 2012 | Nix The Grid #Prepper #survival (Photo: Disaster Preparedness Activity Hits Record Highs In 2012 | Nix The Grid #Prepper #survival http://t.co/5oDN58blMB)...
Male Grauer's gorilla released from a snare in an intervention by Gorilla Doctors in August 2013. ...
Eric K. Noji, M.D.'s insight:
Gorilla Doctors completed the second successful snare intervention in 2013 for a Grauer’s gorilla in Kahuzi Biega National Park’s Chimanuka group over the weekend. Gorilla Doctors Head Field Veterinarian Dr. Eddy Kambale was notified by park rangers that a juvenile gorilla had become ensnared on Friday afternoon.
"… High school student, Eric Noji, age 17 to join expedition to Central Africa to conduct behavioral studies of chimpanzees in Tanzania (two months) and mountain gorillas on the border between Zaire and Rwanda for one month…"...
A new study finds the first conclusive evidence that dogs become attached to their owners in much the same way as infants with their caregivers.
Eric K. Noji, M.D.'s insight:
Just like humans, it's important for animals to develop relationships with their own kind. However, when it comes to domesticated animals, relationships can go in a different direction. Researchers have found that pet owners oftentimes develop strong bonds with their pets similar to that of a parent and their infant child.
At Chernobyl, danger lurks in the trees The Daily Climate For 27 years, forests around Chernobyl have been absorbing radioactive elements. A fire would send them skyward again – a growing concern as summers grow longer, hotter and drier.
Middle East: 3 hours, 25 minutes ago AME Info (press release) While there has been increased talk about the importance of creating more sustainable buildings and communities within the Mena region, progress on converting this talk into concrete...
LOT-EK's proposal for the Taichung City Cultural Center in Taiwan calls for building the new museum and library out of 1,620 recycled shipping containers.
New York-based architecture firm LOT-EK has made a name for itself by constructing buildings from recycled shipping containers. So it did't come as much of a surprise to learn that the firm's proposal for the Taichung City Cultural Center in western Taiwan called for building the new public library and fine arts museum out of cargo containers.
What is surprising is the scale of the project -- the proposal calls for 1,620 shipping containers to create an eco-friendly cultural landmark in the bustling Taiwanese city.
Communities located in harsh climates – such as Palm Springs, one of the driest spots in North America – are often criticized for the enormous resources that are expended to make the climate fit for humans.
A plan for a new college campus in the arid region, however, may change that perception. The firm of GA Architects and Engineers has recently unveiled Phase One of its plans for the new West Valley Campus at the College of the Desert in Palm Springs. According to HGA, despite the harsh climate, the new 119-acre site will become one of the most energy-efficient campuses in the United States and will actually produce more energy than it will consume.
“This project has forward-thinking goals that go beyond net-zero energy to embrace a ‘zero-plus plan’ that creates renewable clean energy rather than simply uses less energy,” said Patrick Thibaudeau, vice president of sustainable design at HGA.
Doubling the dose of oseltamivir (Tamiflu, Genentech USA, Inc) for patients hospitalized with severe influenza provides no virological or clinical advantages over standard dosing, according to an article published online May 30 in the British Medical Journal. This finding could help preserve drug stocks in a future pandemic