Trends in Sustainability
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Trends in Sustainability
An observation of sustainable trends, thinking, solutions and opinions.
Curated by Olive Ventures
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‘Global’ Carbon Market Goes Truly Global

‘Global’ Carbon Market Goes Truly Global | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

Until 2012, Europe was central to the global carbon market; heck, it was the only “real” market. Carbon offset project developers invested billions to earn Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and sold them to European companies and traders participating in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

 

Projects had sprung up in almost all parts of the developing world. Countries otherwise isolated in the weird geopolitical arena, like North Korea and Iran, were also hosting CDM projects. With too much supply, the quality had to be affected.

 

This fairy tale, however, came to end when the EU started implementing restrictions on the offsets it considered lacking environmental integrity. Billions of dollars were at stake, and still are, as developers stopped investing in new low-carbon infrastructure and started contemplating pulling investment from old projects.

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Chinese Fisheries Catch 12X More Overseas Than Reported, Study

Chinese Fisheries Catch 12X More Overseas Than Reported, Study | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

Chinese fishing boats catch about US$11.5 billion worth of fish from beyond their country’s own waters each year – and most of it goes unreported, according to a new study led by fisheries scientists at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.


The paper, published in the journal Fish and Fisheries, estimates that China’s foreign catch is 12 times larger than the catch it reports to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, an international agency that keeps track of global fisheries catches.

 

To calculate a more realistic value of the Chinese foreign catches, the team of 20 researchers used a new method consisting of analyzing scholarly articles, news reports, and expert knowledge to estimate the number and types of Chinese vessels fishing in other countries’ waters. This information is then combined with published data on the amount of catch per vessel type to estimate total catch.

 

The Canadian-led research team estimates Chinese foreign fishing at 4.6 million tons per year, taken from the waters of at least 90 countries – including 3.1 million tons from African waters, mainly West Africa.

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, April 6, 2013 2:14 PM

For more than a decade the Uinted Nation's FAO (the primary international fishereis data clearninghouse) has reported global aggregate fisheries data and then global aggregate fisheries data excluding China.  The Chinese are very, very well known for data that is far from trustworthy.  There are many reasons for this (primarily tied to widespread corruption and incentivized over/under-reporting of landings data.

 

The UBC's Fisheries Center once again is pushing the envelope and helping assure we may at one point have a more sustainable and equitable global food supply.

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Power Under the Feet of Paris Marathon Runners

This weekend the Paris marathon will attract a lot of attention, sweat and effort but the most miraculous part of the race may be a business lying right underneath the runners' feet. Under key parts of the course, PaveGen tiles will capture the kinetic energy of the runners and convert them into electricity. They are the brainchild of Lawrence Kemball-Cook who saw that footfall could, in the right circumstances, equal energy.

 

An industrial design engineer, Kemball-Cook had the idea for PaveGen when he was working for a British energy supplier on solar energy. The problem with that was, of course, the lack of sun in many climates. And in cities, he found, wind power is hard to generate because there isn't much wind. What kind of natural energy, he wondered, is pervasive, not climate dependent and not seasonal? You only have to watch commuters scurrying across a train station to see that, all around us is a vast among of pent up energy that no one captures.

 

PaveGen paving slabs have been used, to date, in shopping malls, at music festivals and at the London Olympics train station. Mostly these have been demonstration sites but as the company ramps up its manufacturing, they are able to prove that the technology works, that it scales and that it can both generate and store energy that's efficient, green and fun. (The paving slabs feature a smart feedback device: when they're walked on, an LED inside them lights up; this can make them somewhat addictive.)

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Asia's fierce competition for commodities

Asia's fierce competition for commodities | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it
Asia is at a dangerous crossroads of resource dependence, geopolitical tension and environmental degradation.

Via SustainOurEarth
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Slow Food Quickens the Pace

Slow Food Quickens the Pace | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

“People in rich countries need to regenerate our way of thinking to give value to food, which has been lost in the last 50 years. As a result, we have a systems crisis: by using more energy than we produce to grow food — and we’re using 76 percent of our water for agriculture — we’re reaching the end of the planet’s resources. And young people understand we can’t survive with this and are beginning to act. Not just Slow Food and this Youth Food Movement. Look at Occupy.

 

“The main difficulty is that politicians don’t understand that we need a new paradigm. They continue with the old ones: finance, production, consumption and waste.

 

“So we’re producing enough food for 12 billion people, yet 1 billion out of our 7 billion aren’t eating enough. And we hear that because there will be 9 billion people in 2050, we must produce more. But more production creates more environmental problems and more waste.”

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The faces of modern-day slavery – in pictures

The faces of modern-day slavery – in pictures | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

According to official estimates there are 21 million people trapped in some form of slavery. From people enslaved by debt to migrants trapped by labour and child brides, we explore the reality of slavery for many people in the modern world.

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China Announces Plans to Export Greenhouse Gases to Terraform Mars

China Announces Plans to Export Greenhouse Gases to Terraform Mars | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

As an extension of China’s $16 billion plan to combat air pollution in its cities, today the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced an ambitious plan to export the nation’s emissions to Mars. China is currently the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases – its annual emissions total 8.9 billion tons. The unprecedented plan would greatly reduce emissions on Earth while warming the climate on Mars, causing the planet’s polar ice caps to melt and eventually creating an atmosphere capable of sustaining life
.


Olive Ventures's insight:

Can't wait to see this happen.

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Bill McKibben's lessons for business in the age of climate change

Bill McKibben's lessons for business in the age of climate change | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

Perhaps one of the most well-known climate activists of our times, environmental writer Bill McKibben is on a mission to slow down the effect of greenhouse gases on the earth. Alongside his colleagues at the nongovernmental organization 350.org, McKibben has spearheaded a campaign calling upon communities, governments and universities all around the world to take action by divesting from fossil fuel companies.


Last summer, McKibben laid out his case for divestment in Global Warming's Terrifying New Math, an article he wrote for Rolling Stone. The piece stated that while the United Nations' Copenhagen Accord climate agreement recognizes that the earth's temperature should not rise by no more than an amount just under two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), global temperature has already risen about 0.8 degrees Celsius -- and that many scientists such as NASA's James Hansen believe that a rise of two degrees is too much. McKibben closes his case by highlighting research by the Carbon Tracker Initiative which reports that burning the total amount of coal, oil and gas reserves currently held by fossil fuel companies would release five times the amount of carbon needed to stay under the two-degree threshold.

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Amazing Vertical Gardens Around The World

Amazing Vertical Gardens Around The World | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

There’s more than one type of garden and more than one way in which you can design them. Vertical gardens, for example, are very special. They can be considered living art and some have managed to create some really impressive structures. Here are some amazing vertical gardens around the world that you should definitely see.

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Oil Companies Want a Bailout: Say Renewable Energy Has it Easy

Oil Companies Want a Bailout: Say Renewable Energy Has it Easy | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

Head honchos at the Big 3 American Oil Companies gathered in the Capital this weekend to meet with their key lobbyists with one demand- a government bailout.


The CEOs seemed agitated with the recent growth in renewable energy throughout the United States, while speaking to the press. Visibly distraught, they chirped together,

 

“Since everyone is talking about equality and fairness now, we are here to protest the unfair regulations on the oil industry. Simply put, we want a bailout.”

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Consumers encouraged to recycle their cosmetic containers

Consumers encouraged to recycle their cosmetic containers | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

Consumers are being encouraged to recycle their used plastic and glass cosmetic containers under a new project that offers them cosmetic samples as a reward for recycling.

 

Singapore has seen a surge in cosmetic and skincare consumerism by 6 per cent from 2011 to 2012, but the recycling of cosmetic packaging and toiletries has been overlooked, noted a release by the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Monday.

 

This latest green initiative will be launched on April 7 and is a joint effort by NEA and cosmetic company Origins Singapore.

For one year, the public can drop their cosmetic containers from any brands for recycling at all Origins' counters, located at Isetan Scotts, Robinsons Raffles City and Centrepoint, Metro Paragon or Tangs VivoCity. The project aims to collect a target of 8,000 cosmetic containers.

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Video: Mercedes-Benz's First Electric Car For The U.S.

Video: Mercedes-Benz's First Electric Car For The U.S. | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

We got to see the brand-new Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive at the 2013 New York International Auto Show. Check it out!

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Why Architects Must Lead on Sustainable Design

Why Architects Must Lead on Sustainable Design | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

Sustainability leader Hunter Lovins once called the building industry “dynamically conservative — it works hard to stay in the same place.”

 

But old habits cannot fully address new challenges. According to 350.org, fossil fuel corporations currently have in their reserves five times the amount of carbon that, if burned too quickly, may raise atmospheric temperatures to a catastrophic level where Hurricane Sandy-scale storms could become the norm. Quicker, deeper progress is imperative.

 

Architecture is an essential arena for sustainable innovation. Buildings represent about half the annual energy and emissions in the U.S. and three-quarters of its electricity. With the built environment growing — the U.S. building stock increases by about 3 billion square feet every year — architects have a historic opportunity to transform its impact for the better.

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Synthetic Carbon Anode Boosts Battery Capacity 30 Percent | MIT Technology Review

Synthetic Carbon Anode Boosts Battery Capacity 30 Percent | MIT Technology Review | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

A Seattle-based startup, EnerG2, has developed a carbon anode that significantly improves the storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries without requiring a new battery design or a different manufacturing process.

 

Batteries with more energy density could allow electric vehicles to travel longer on a charge. They could also enable lighter, thinner electronic gadgets. Because of this, many advanced battery makers are pursuing a jump in storage capacity with novel chemistries and materials.

 

EnerG2 said last week that its synthetic carbon anode increases the storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries by up to 30 percent. An anode is the negatively charged electrode in a battery, which attracts electrons as it discharges. The company has started production of its anode, which it hopes will appeal to lithium-ion battery makers.

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eric roberts's curator insight, April 6, 2013 1:07 PM

Another step forward for the Lithium-Ion battery

Is this yet another step towards the perfect Lithium-Ion battery, universities are striving onwards to find the perfect battery, is this it ? or have we got a long way to go, i bet the experts on LInkedin will have some answers.

Eric Roberts...www.batteriesontheweb.co.uk

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Is Nature-Deficit Disorder a Real Thing?

Is Nature-Deficit Disorder a Real Thing? | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

Somewhere during the American experience, between Teddy Roosevelt and color TV, being outdoors and maybe even working up a sweat started to lose its universal appeal. There remain those who fetishize the outdoors, from Ted Nugent to REI shoppers, and the urge to connect with nature never vanished. But as Americans became more urban and more cocooned in their cars and air conditioning, the values of nature were honored more by their absence than in their activities.


The price of this disconnect is usually tallied via our bodies, with a simple equation that a lack of outdoor activity must surely be connected with the nation’s growing waistline and obesity-related maladies like diabetes. There’s an always-growing corpus of academic work that does make that correlation, and even causation, explicit. Last month, for example, a policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research noted that in California as a whole, about a third as many kids who live near parks get in an hour of physical activity a day (the recommended daily threshold) at least five times a week compared to kids who can’t get to a park easily.

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Mark Zuckerberg Lays Out His Vision For The Future And How The Next 5 Billion People Will Use Computers

Mark Zuckerberg Lays Out His Vision For The Future And How The Next 5 Billion People Will Use Computers | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

When I think about the world today, what amazes me most is the number of people who are getting on the Internet every day and how it's improving their lives as they join this modern knowledge economy. I grew up with the Internet, and I can't really imagine a world without sharing, and messaging, and searching, but actually only about a third of the world is on the Internet today–a little more than two billion people. So we're really very close to the beginning of this. If you look out, maybe five or ten years, when all five billion people who have feature phones are going to have smart phones, we're soon going to be living in a world where the majority of people who have a smart phone–a modern computing device–will have never seen in their lives what you and I call a “computer.”


So, just think about that for a moment.

 

The very definition of what a computer is and what our relationship with it should be hasn't been set for the majority of the world. And when it is, I think a lot of that definition is going to be around people first. We're about to see the most empowered generation of people in history, and it's really an honor to be able to work on these problems.
This is a deeply technical problem and it's also a deeply social problem. This is the kind of problem that Facebook, our culture and our community, are uniquely built to work on. And we look forward to continuing to do it and to sharing what we come up with with all of you. Thank you.

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Fungi and roots store a surprisingly large share of the world's carbon

Fungi and roots store a surprisingly large share of the world's carbon | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

The largest fraction of carbon held in the soils of northern forests may derive from the living and the decomposing roots of trees and shrubs and the fungi that live on them.

 

By some estimates, the planet's soils contain more than twice the carbon in the atmosphere. Boreal forests cover about 11% of Earth’s land surface and contain around 16% of total soil carbon.

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Most Delicious Workplace Ever? This Tokyo Office Has Fruit Trees, Tomato Vines, And A Rice Paddy!

Most Delicious Workplace Ever? This Tokyo Office Has Fruit Trees, Tomato Vines, And A Rice Paddy! | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

Rows of cubicles, the din of fluorescent lights, packets of instant powdered coffee—you won’t find any of these things at the Pasona Group’s new headquarters in downtown Tokyo. Instead, you’ll see open workspaces, natural sunlight, and plants, everywhere: tomato vines suspended over conference rooms, lemon and passion fruit trees scattered between meeting spaces, and tiny sprouts growing under benches. Best of all, these delectable flora are later harvested, prepared, and served at the building’s cafeterias. Lucky Pasona employees!

 

NYC-based firm Kono Designs has transformed Pasona’s nine-story, 215,000-square-foot corporate office into an omnivore’s delight, with a double-skin green facade, offices, an auditorium, cafeterias, a rooftop garden, and urban farming facilities integrated within the building. The green space comprises 43,000 square feet with 200 species, including fruits, vegetables, and rice. (Seriously, the main lobby has a rice paddy—and a broccoli field!) “It is the largest and most direct farm-to-table of its kind ever realized inside an office building in Japan,” says Kono in a statement.

 

Pasona HQ also offers public seminars, lectures, and internships, hoping to boost Japan’s dwindling farming industry and equip a new generation of growers with the business acumen and hands-on experience to start their own traditional or urban farms. It’s a truly unique workplace environment that creates a better working environment and engages the wider Tokyo community by showcasing the benefits and technology of urban agriculture. And it’s beautiful. Click through to see more photos from this amazing A+-winning project!

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World Bank chief says global warming threatens the planet and the poorest

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Tuesday said climate change was a “fundamental threat” to global economic development as he called for a major new push to reduce extreme poverty over the next 17 years.

 

The bank is in the middle of an internal debate over how to reshape its role in a world where the major developing nations — the core “customers” for its loans and programs — have become increasingly middle class and where states caught in civil war pose an intractable development problem. At the same time, the impact of climate change disproportionately threatens the African and Asian nations that would find it hardest to cope.

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Green Walls: An alternative solution to improve air quality in cities

Green Walls: An alternative solution to improve air quality in cities | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

These vegetated surfaces don’t just look pretty. They have other benefits as well, including cooling city blocks, reducing loud noises, and improving a building’s energy efficiency.What’s more, a recent modeling study shows that green walls can potentially reduce large amounts of air pollution in what’s called a “street canyon,” or the corridor between tall buildings.

 

For the study, Thomas Pugh, a biogeochemist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, and his colleagues created a computer model of a green wall with generic vegetation in a Western European city. Then they recorded chemical reactions based on a variety of factors, such as wind speed and building placement.

 

The simulation revealed a clear pattern: A green wall in a street canyon trapped or absorbed large amounts of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter—both pollutants harmful to people, said Pugh. Compared with reducing emissions from cars, little attention has been focused on how to trap or take up more of the pollutants, added Pugh, whose study was published last year in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

 

That’s why the green-wall study is “putting forward an alternative solution that might allow [governments] to improve air quality in these problem hot spots,” he said.Compared with reducing emissions from cars, little attention has been focused on how to trap or take up more of the pollutants, added Pugh, whose study was published last year in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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How The UN's New Data Lab In Indonesia Uses Twitter To Preempt Disaster

How The UN's New Data Lab In Indonesia Uses Twitter To Preempt Disaster | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

“About three weeks ago in Indonesia our lab was monitoring Twitter and we caught a discussion on whether vaccines were halal," says Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of the UN's Global Pulse initiative. The program tracks global well-being via digital data. "People were saying that vaccines contain pork products. You end up with kids paralyzed from the neck down because they haven't been given a vaccine," he says. The goal of the new UN lab is to try to preempt misfortune and misinformation by finding it first in conversations--before a chain reaction occurs. "If you can identify the province where these signals are coming from, you can send a team in to get the word out.”

 

This is the most recent evolution in the work of UN Global Pulse, a UN program introduced in 2010 to monitor global well-being via digital data: the first "Pulse Labs" in Asia. It's a local innovation center which pilots new ways for governments and UN agencies to use real-time data monitoring.

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Earth-cooling schemes need global sign-off, researchers say

Earth-cooling schemes need global sign-off, researchers say | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

Controversial geoengineering projects that may be used to cool the planet must be approved by world governments to reduce the danger of catastrophic accidents, British scientists said.

 

Met Office researchers have called for global oversight of the radical schemes after studies showed they could have huge and unintended impacts on some of the world's most vulnerable people.

 

The dangers arose in projects that cooled the planet unevenly. In some cases these caused devastating droughts across Africa; in others they increased rainfall in the region but left huge areas of Brazil parched.

 

"The massive complexities associated with geoengineering, and the potential for winners and losers, means that some form of global governance is essential," said Jim Haywood at the Met Office's Hadley Centre in Exeter.

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Exxon pipeline breaks spilling 84,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil near Arkansas lake [VIDEOS]

Exxon pipeline breaks spilling 84,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil near Arkansas lake [VIDEOS] | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it
The ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline, which carries Canadian crude oil from Illinois to Texas, ruptured Friday, leaking at least 80,000 gallons of oil into Central Arkansas.
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Singapore seeks sustainability through analytics technology

Singapore seeks sustainability through analytics technology | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) will study the establishment of the country’s first Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Computational Social Science and Engineering to enhance urban sustainability and create key innovations for industry development.

 

An MoU was signed last week between Dr Raj Thampuran, Managing Director of A*STAR and Mr Kenji Ikegai, Corporate Senior Executive Vice President and Representative Director from Fujitsu to leverage on high performance computing (HPC)-enabled R&D technologies based on real-world data.

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Tesla Turns First Profit

Tesla Turns First Profit | Trends in Sustainability | Scoop.it

Tesla announced late Sunday that it achieved profitability in the first quarter of 2013 for the first time in its history after posting better than expected sales of the Model S sedan. The company sold more than 4,750 of the cars, compared to a previous estimate that it would sell 4,500.

 

"There have been many car startups over the past several decades, but profitability is what makes a company real," Elon Musk, Tesla's co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. "Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution."

 

The car company has been bleeding money in recent years, reporting a net loss of $50 million in the first quarter of 2011 and a net loss of $90 million in the first quarter of last year. Tesla had long said that the Model S would lead to profitability once it started shipping, but then the company cut its revenue guidance in September due to slower car production.

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