A bird’s-eye view of a hopeful future

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Folk Life: Stephen Blanquie
Aerial view of Mount Hood in Portland, Oregon. Something about looking out the window of an airplane allows one’s perspective time to cultivate. Watching, as the residential and commercial developments of the city’s framework transform into toy houses and, seconds later, neat sections revealing the divisions of the land and the layout of the city, until finally all that is visible are the clouds suspended.

I begin to reflect on my short five-day journey to Arizona for the GreenBiz 20 conference.

I believe every generation is presented with a challenge, which inevitably ends up unifying the contemporaries. The situation confronting our generation is the climate crisis and all the factors that are inescapably associated. In the 21st century, we are on trial for our actions, and a response to the catastrophes our species has created is being demanded.

We have disrupted and manipulated natural cycles throughout our habitat so much so that the damage is conceivably irreversible — and in worst-case scenarios, we have validated that fear. Plant and animal species are disappearing more rapidly than could have been predicted. Sea level rise is expected to increase, adding to the variables overwhelming coastal impoverished nations, communities who have inadequate resources to respond to the level of these destructions. Greenhouse gas emissions are threatening the stability of our world as we know it, yet countries, corporations and individuals are carrying on business as usual.

Perhaps the most frightening news yet: Not all of our inhabitants, including our world leaders, understand or, worse, are convinced that these factors are direct results of our species’ poor planet stewardship. Yet, as the Boeing 747 rises over the Sonoran Desert, I can’t help but feel an energy of excitement and inspiration strengthening my spirit. Despite the odds, I have never been more convinced of humanity’s potential to overcome the challenge that lies before us.

The justification behind my unprecedented optimism is born out of my reflection from the testimonies and solution-centered workshops I attended at the conference. While the current state of our planet is alarmingly vulnerable, I am encouraged by the creative problem-solving underway. GreenBiz 20 unveiled good news stories happening all over the world, including responsible individuals and businesses that are setting themselves apart as leaders during this time of a new decade.

Intoxicated idealism

One story involved Dennis McClung, who established the international NGO Garden Pools after losing his job. Now, McClung creates innovative solutions to sustainable development in climate-vulnerable communities by constructing closed-loop food systems called “Climate Smart Farms.”

I also witnessed inspiration in practice through listening to panelists Kamillah Knight, diversity and inclusion lead at Unilever; Beric Alleyne, director of diversity and inclusion at Ebay; and Jyoti Chopra, chief diversity and sustainability officer at MGM Resorts International. These individuals demonstrated how they are paving the way for corporate equity and inclusivity in their places of work.

Another leader, 25-year-old Komal Ahmad, founder and CEO of Copia, approaches the issue of hunger and food waste with a seemingly simple solution: a food-bank donation system.

Gratitude and appreciation flood my consciousness upon hearing the stories from these green heroes. I was particularly humbled having had the honor and privilege to listen to the notable Temple Grandin, animal behavior expert and autism advocate, who expressed humanity’s need for all types of thinkers to collaborate in solving our world’s greatest problems.

Simply being in the presence of these courageous innovators, I grew intoxicated in idealism and fueled with the optimism that is desperately needed in this day and age.

Or maybe I am just drunk off Stephen Ritz’s contagious enthusiasm. After hearing how his edible classrooms have grown food for disadvantaged youths in the Bronx and how the “whole school” approach to education has gained traction internationally, I would be wearing a cheese hat and screaming the good news to the world, too. Now, when the realities of the damages our world are attempting to crush my spirits, these uplifting testaments of individuals, no different from me, will remind me that not all is lost.

As night swiftly envelopes day, 38,000 feet above home, I ease my mind with the comfort of our potential. I have faith in human beings and a belief in the power of collectivism. If future generations are to exist in a world that is safe and sustaining, global cooperation is a necessity. I put my trust in the human race, not only because I believe we are capable of reclaiming eco-balance, but because I have to.

Will we respond with the urgency and pace needed to accelerate our commitment to a sustainable global ecosystem and economy? I have to believe we will.

The Ultimate Guide to Green Travel for 2020

You’ve hopped out of the car and you’re ready to start an adventure in a brand new city. The intriguing place warmly welcomes you to explore and discover its offerings — it’s only right to respect it as if it were your own home.

Younger generations want to change the way we travel. In fact, 56% of Gen Z says they would enjoy staying in eco-friendly accommodations. They’re passionate about putting a spin on the golden rule — treat all places the way you want your home to be treated. Green travel is a hot trend you can’t skip out on. It’s rad to consider the wellbeing of Mother Earth and other cultures as part of your travel habits. Follow our extensive guide to start incorporating green travel into your itinerary.

What Is Green Travel?

Also known as “sustainable travel” or “eco-friendly travel,” green travel refers to practicing responsible and sustainable travel habits. Green travel involves staying conscious of your impact on the environment, social livelihood and economic well-being of the destinations you visit. Since traveling takes a toll on the places we explore, strive to minimize your carbon footprint and respect other cultures.

With green travel, you’ll find purpose in each milestone of your journey.

Why Is Green Travel Important?

With global travel becoming more accessible for everyone, carbon and other chemical pollution is increasing.

green travel statistics

In a recent study covering carbon emissions, it was found that 8% of emissions is directly caused by global tourism. This number isn’t predicted to plateau — in fact, it’s predicted to increase annually by 4%. The largest contributors to carbon emissions are transportation, shopping and food — all travel practices you can change to have a positive impact.

You often hear about carbon emissions, but do you know the effects on the environment? Carbon monoxide increases greenhouse gases, which are linked to negative health effects (such as chest pain, heart disease and grogginess) and global warming. Global warming negatively impacts ecosystems, increasing storm activity and harming natural habitats as a result.

Physical Impacts

There are physical impacts of tourism as well. One major tourist activity that destroys natural habitats is cruises. There are 109 countries with coral reefs and in 90 of them, reefs are being destroyed by cruise ship anchors, sewage, tourist activities, and use of reefs in commercial sale. Reefs are important to ecosystems since they serve as breeding and feeding grounds for many marine life species. Without reefs, the livelihoods of people in entire countries would disappear since marine life (that lives off reefs’ offerings) is a staple to their country’s diets and occupations.

If you’re planning to go on a cruise, keep in mind that Caribbean cruises are estimated to produce over 70,000 tons of waste per year. Cruise ships are not required to report the waste they dump in the ocean or even require a permit to do so. Much of this waste is found in natural habitats. Not all waste decomposes, and when it rots, it releases methane gas into the air, which contributes to the greenhouse effect — making the planet hotter.

Consider alternatives to hotels when booking travel. Hotel chains are powerhouses for unnecessarily using up water, producing excessive waste and practicing business inefficiently. In some countries, guests can use 10 times as much water as a local resident daily. Plus, hotels are estimated to use 36,500 to 73,000 gallons of water per room annually.

Observing the consequences of tourism will open your mind to green travel and motivate you to think twice about your tourism habits. We highly encourage you to research the effects of your travel plans.

When Does a Company Offer Eco-Friendly Options?

Create your itinerary with eco-friendly options. If you’re not sure what to look for, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. We’ve listed below some of the major certifications to guarantee you’re traveling green.

  • LEED certification: One of the best certifications for estimating how environmentally friendly your hotel is.
  • International Air Transport Association: Offers carbon offset flight options which help passengers neutralize their portion of a plane’s carbon emissions.
  • Green Globe certification: Awarded to any eco-friendly business across all industries. The standard criteria must match their expectations in categories such as sustainability, as well as social, economic and environmental practices.
  • Rainforest Alliance: Awarded to tourism businesses that conduct services in compliance with sustainable practices.
  • EarthCheck (AUS): A similar certification to the one above, EarthCheck ensures a business is “delivering clean, safe, prosperous and healthy destinations for travelers to visit.”
  • Tourism Cares: Their mission is to assist the travel industry’s social impact to help the cultures of heavily traveled destinations thrive.
  • Green Seal: Provides a certification denoting that the product or service is created or conducted via safe, green practices.

Green Transportation Tips

Transportation is the number one contributor to carbon pollution while traveling. Minimize emissions by thinking twice about your transportation plans.

people talking about eco-friendly transportation

  1. Travel in groups. If you plan on meeting others, see if there is a way to travel together. You’ll use less gas while also creating memories with others. The more the merrier, for you and the planet!
  2. Book non-stop flights. Revving up and slowing down the engines creates the most carbon emissions.
  3. Rent hybrid or electric vehicles. Feel less guilty and decrease your emissions by renting an electric vehicle instead! A typical passenger vehicle emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
  4. Use electronic tickets. This is a win-win all around because you’ll have less to carry and you’ll produce less waste. Paper represents 16% of solid landfill waste in the US.
  5. Research before you travel. Educate yourself on the culture you’ll be visiting because green travel requires traveling responsibly. Treat another person’s home like your own. Research what you can do to bring a positive change to the new environment.
  6. Avoid traffic-filled cities. Traffic increases fuel consumption and carbon emissions. There is also increased exposure to harmful gasses for those stuck in traffic.

Tips for Practicing Green Habits at Hotels

It’s easy to pick up a vacation mentality and let go of all responsibilities. We encourage you to relax but also be mindful of how your actions affect the places you visit.

hotel recycling

  1. Stay at local bed and breakfast establishments. Local hospitality produces much less waste than a hotel chain. Plus, you’ll support the local economy versus a global corporation.
  2. Ask the front desk about the hotel’s recycling program. Make sure you recycle properly by knowing the hotel’s recycling process. If the hotel hasn’t established a program yet, encourage them to do so.
  3. Bring your own toiletries. Some hotel chains throw away single-use toiletries after one guest. In case you forget to bring your own, take home the shampoo and conditioner bottles to use on your next trip.
  4. Leave guide books you collect for future guests. As we mentioned before, paper is a huge contributor to solid waste. If you find an interesting guide, leave it for the next guest to use.
  5. Stay conscious of A/C or heater use. Residential air-conditioners alone release 100 million tons of carbon dioxide per year from using up energy and releasing hot air.
  6. Unplug appliances when not in use. All plugged in electric appliances bleed some energy called “standby” electricity loss. This includes chargers, wireless phones, cable boxes, kitchen appliances, etc.
  7. Opt-out of cleaning services. Leave the “do not disturb” sign on your door. Skipping cleaning services avoids using unnecessary energy by passing on rewashing your sheets and vacuuming. Plus it cuts chemical cleansing agents that negatively impact air quality.

Water-Saving Travel Tips

Water seems to magically appear from faucets, but when you look behind the scenes, you realize the amount of energy water uses to arrive at your faucet. If your personal water usage is excessive, it affects the 663 million people who don’t have access to clean, reliable water.

people getting clean water

  1. Avoid using the hotel’s laundry facilities. Hotels wash every guest’s laundry separately and a typical washer uses anywhere from 15 to 45 gallons per load.
  2. Stick to showers. Showers take ~17 gallons of water per use, whereas baths use a whopping 70 gallons of water.
  3. Hang up your towels to signal you’re reusing them. As we mentioned, hotels wash guest’s laundry separately. Signal you’re still using your towels by hanging them up. You don’t wash your towel after every shower at home, so why would it be different in a hotel?
  4. Carry a reusable water bottle. You won’t waste water and you’ll avoid unnecessary plastic use. 1,500 plastic bottles are discarded every second in the US.
  5. Only flush the toilet for business. Some of us have a bad habit of flushing tissues and other small trash items down the toilet. Flushing uses two to seven gallons of water at a time.
  6. When using the sink, don’t use high pressure. Avoid turning the sink knob all the way up and don’t leave it running while grooming.
  7. Go for seconds instead of piling up your plate. Food waste is the number one contributor to water waste in hotels. Rather than fill up your plate only to realize you’re too full, take smaller amounts and go for seconds as needed. Agriculture accounts for 70% of the water used globally.

Tips for Shopping + Eating More Sustainably

Waste affects people and the environment. Hazardous waste takes a toll on human health and exhibits ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity towards the environment. By shopping and eating with an eco-conscious mentality, you can combat the negative effects of waste.

scuba diver in polluted ocean

  1. Shop at local farmer’s markets. Supporting the local economy encourages gratitude for the new culture you’re visiting. This provides jobs for and feeds local residents.
  2. Eat at locally-sourced restaurants. You’ll be eating healthier at locally sourced restaurants and restaurants that source their ingredients responsibly use less waste in the process.
  3. Avoid all plastic wrappers, bags and bottles. Pack a reusable shopping bag and avoid other plastic wrappers by bringing reusable packaging. Plastic pollution affects the land, waterways and oceans. Plus, 91% of plastic isn’t recycled.
  4. Cook your own road trip meals. You’ll be eating cleaner for your gut and the environment by cooking for yourself. An average restaurant produces 100,000 pounds of garbage per year.
  5. Avoid purchasing items that are made from or tested on animals. This is immoral and takes a toll on wildlife. Look for the phrase “This product has not been tested on animals” along the product to check or research the product to double check.
  6. Learn what labels to look for. When shopping, spot the certifications that indicate a product was responsibly made. Research before your travels what common responsible green certifications look like in the city you’re about to visit.

Eco-Friendly Activity Tips

We recommend eco-friendly activities in nature. Being in nature has benefits such as reduced anger, fear and stress. Getting outdoors is good for Mother Nature and your mental health.

woman selling sustainable products

  1. Skip commercialized tour companies. Mass tours are usually conducted irresponsibly and without a green travel mentality. It’s estimated that only 5% of a commercialized tour company’s profit goes back to the local city. There are tours that act eco-consciously. Community-based tourism is the most sustainable.
  2. Be mindful when booking hands-on encounters with wild animals. Some of this industry takes part in illegal captures and doesn’t properly care for wild animals.
  3. Scuba dive with operators that don’t chum the water. Chumming the water involves dumping bait in the waters to attract fish — this changes the behavior of marine animals, leading them to feel sick.
  4. #OptOutside. Discovering the great outdoors in a new place is the best way to show your appreciation and avoid unnecessary energy and waste. Check for nearby hot springs or waterfalls to refresh your mind.
  5. Stay on the path. Trampling causes loss of ground cover, decrease in air and water permeability, loss of biodiversity and other negative impacts.
  6. Volunteer locally. Leave where you travel in a better state than when you arrived. Whether this involves assisting those in need or cleaning up the environment, you’ll leave a positive and lasting impact.
  7. Use eco-friendly sunscreens. Regular sunscreens contain toxic and potent chemicals that rub off when swimming, affecting ocean wildlife and natural habitats.

Certified Eco-Friendly Travel Resources

If you’re looking to book a trip soon, we encourage you to use the resources below to create your travel itinerary. You’ll do the world and yourself a favor.

Additional Green Travel Resources

Remember the golden rule of green travel — treat all destinations the way you want your home to be treated. Green travel means staying conscious of your decisions on the go and acting in an environmentally, economically and socially responsible manner in the communities you visit. With tweaks to your regular travel routine, you’ll be traveling green in no time.

We hope this guide motivates you to complete your civic duty as a guest in a new city — and gives you peace of mind when renting a car in your destination.

Cities need to change for people to thrive amid a changing climate

Source: Green Biz

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In the 21st century, a seemingly global prosperity masks an unequal distribution of benefits. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world’s cities, where extreme wealth can exist next door to concentrated poverty. In some cities, such as those in South Africa, well-meaning policies and investments in transit and housing actually have deepened the inequality and segregation experienced by low-income communities.

How does climate change fit into this picture? Leading urban experts think that the current path of cities far exceeds planetary boundaries of what is sustainable. In turn, climate change, one result of carbon-fueled growth over the last two centuries, is also a driver of urban inequality.

By 2050, an additional 2.5 billion people could be living in cities. As more people move to cities, they face rising housing prices, unequal access to employment opportunities and public amenities, and they also contend with the weather extremes of a changing climate. The result is deeply unfair: those who have contributed and benefited least from carbon-fueled growth are its frontline victims. Low-income groups are disproportionately affected, as they are more likely to live in less robust homes and be in the path of natural hazards such as floods and heat waves — not to mention, they have fewer resources available to respond when disaster does strike.

Projections by the world’s leading scientists say future cities need to have a near-zero-carbon footprint, eliminate their reliance on fossil fuels and be able to manage weather extremes such as heavy rains and heat waves. They also need to find ways to lift up already vulnerable and marginalized groups. What does this future city look like? Sadly, our collective imagination is failing us.

Brave new worlds

As we begin the most important decade for climate action yet, cities need to tackle climate change and the continued growth and stubborn persistence of urban inequality (PDF) together. This is a major, immediate and unprecedented transformation, changing almost everything about the way we live in, build and power our cities. We must do it in ways that don’t exacerbate existing inequalities and find ways to leave no one behind. And we need to do it fast.

There are plenty of pop culture tropes of a dystopian future, ravaged by climate change. As Hollywood’s new supervillain, climate change is a common apocalyptic backdrop in science fiction. And there is good reason, as destructive bushfires, floods and heat waves are no longer just the stuff of fiction.

There are far fewer sunny versions of what cities of the future might be like. We do find stories about optimistic, technology-driven lives enhanced by automation in the renderings of architecture studios and engineering firms, cities where the sky is always blue. And we are nudged to imagine ourselves living in glass-and-steel high-rises covered with plant life or solar panels, delivered by self-driving cars, and directed by artificial intelligence.

While these may seem appealing solutions, the sanitized version of the city they portray is difficult to reconcile with the much messier reality of most cities across the globe. More than 1.2 billion people (PDF) — one in three people in cities — live in informal settlements today. Have we solved their plight in this gleaming future?

Often left underexamined in fiction and life is the close relationship between climate change and inclusiveness. But they are interrelated challenges that must be tackled together. If not, fundamental problems around access, informality and affordability remain unaddressed. The sustainability of one “smart city,” for example, can entail environmental degradation and social exploitation in another part of the world, as is the case with the mining of raw materials that go into making smart sensors, or the labor practices employed in the construction of some new eco-cities.

Sparking inspiration

Ideas can be powerful drivers of transformation, but few mainstream storylines about living with climate change offer inspiration for what the future might look like and how we will get there. A lack of vision hinders our capacity for urban change. We need more approaches that lie somewhere between the noir dystopias and blue-sky renderings and help broaden the outlook on what it means to live and thrive in a climate-changed future city.

Insiders in the urban field have recognized this problem for a while. Negative trends, such as increasing air pollution, rising living costs, traffic congestion and inequality, indicate a widening implementation gap between what’s happening on the ground and ambitious commitments made at international levels, such as the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. While there is widespread agreement that radical transformations are needed, numerous studies find little evidence of radical changes actually happening in cities. Experts think this is because cities are complex systems and urbanization cannot be easily steered.

That’s why the WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities is focusing this year on inviting submissions from initiatives that show how to live and thrive in a changing world by tackling both the climate crisis and urban inequality together. Through this global award, which celebrates transformative urban change, we will identify the leaders in urban transformation and amplify lessons learned so other cities can follow their lead.

The 2020-2021 Prize for Cities theme recognizes the year and decade ahead as pivotal for global climate action and seeks to help bridge the gap between fiction and reality and grow a much-needed repertoire of credible urban interventions and projects. As in its inaugural cycle, which received almost 200 submissions from across the globe, we hope the prize will broaden our understanding of what positive urban transformation looks like, how it comes about and how we can identify and nurture the seeds of change.

Happy Birthday (and Valentines) Oregon…18 Facts on our Lovely State

Happy birthday, Oregon! Here are 18 facts you may not know about the Beaver State.


Oregon was founded on Feb. 14, 1859. It was the 33rd state admitted into the union, and in 1860 was home to over 54,000 residents. Today, around 4 million people call Oregon home. Only 10 Oregonians call the town of Greenhorn home.


Hey! Thanks for talking about Oregon. Just remember, it’s pronounced OR-uh-gun. Not OR-ee-gone. Extra credit, that river dividing Oregon’s largest cities is pronounced will-AM-it and the street next to Burnside Street in Portland is pronounced COOCH (rhymes with mooch).


Oregon is home to Sagebrush sandals that are 10,000 years old. That’s older than the pyramids, the first-known wheel and written language. The archaeologist who uncovered them, Luther Cressman, was the former husband of famed sociologist Margret Mead.

Learn more about Oregon’s Father of Archaeology.

Luther Cressman, Quest for First People


Astoria, Oregon, is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies. It celebrated its bicentennial in 2011. It was also the location for the filming of The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop.


Thomas Jefferson hoped Astoria could one day be the seed of a separate West Coast democracy. He and industrialist Jacob Astor set forth an ambitious plan to make it a global trading hub.

Adventure writer Peter Stark wrote a book about the history of Astoria. OPB’s Think Out Loud invited him on the show to talk about it.


When enacted in 1859, Oregon was the only state in the union to have an exclusion clause prohibiting African Americans from living or owning property here. The law was removed from the state constitution in 1926. The ripples of the state’s racist history are still felt today, particularly in Oregon’s largest city.

Oregon Experience’s Lift Ev’ry Voice explores Portland’s African American history with a focus on the turbulent 1960s, ’70s and early ’80s.

Portland Civil Rights: Lift Ev’ry Voice


Oregon women had the right to vote eight years before it was the national law. Oregon Experience’s The Suffragists looks at the the state’s suffrage movement at the turn of the century.

They came from different backgrounds, and often had different agendas. But the diversity of the movement allowed more women to become engaged in their own communities. Their experiences empowered them as they gained valuable experience in leadership, politics and civic involvement.

The Suffragists


Darcelle hosts the longest running drag-show on the West Coast. Darcelle XV Showplace in downtown Portland has been entertaining crowds since 1967.


With a maximum depth of 1,949 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. It’s also the state’s only national park.

Oregon Field Guide tagged along with recreational divers who jumped into the collapsed volcano to see mysterious moss growing around Wizard Island.

Diving Crater Lake

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Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America.

11 & 12

Portland has both the largest independent new and used bookstore (Powell’s City of Books) and smallest city park (Mill Ends Park) in the world.

In 2013, someone stole the only tree from the park. It was replaced a few days later with a Douglas Fir sapling, at the steep price tag of $3.25.


Courtney Love met Kurt Cobain Jan. 12, 1990 at the legendary Portland underground club The Satyricon. The two wrestled on the floor and Cobain gave Love a sticker of Chim Chim from Speed Racer.

Here’s a muddy recording of Nirvana’s set that night:


Oregon had the only state-sponsored rock festival in United States history, Vortex I. It was an elaborate ploy to lure young people away from Portland during a planned visit by President Richard Nixon.

Vortex I


Springfield, Oregon, is the inspiration for the fictitious Springfield in animated series The Simpsons. This is not up for debate, Massachusetts, Illinois, etc.


McMinnville, Oregon, is the resting place of the Spruce Goose, the largest airplane ever constructed. It is made entirely of wood, designed by Howard Hughes and only flew once.


Lebanon, Oregon, is home of the world’s largest strawberry shortcake. The Oregon town first baked the cake at the Lebanon Strawberry Festival in 1931. They baked one for the 1986 World’s Fair in Vancouver, B.C., and crushed Garden Grove, California, in a “Battle of the Shortcakes” in 1975.


If all that cake made you thirsty, you’ll be happy to know Oregon’s state beverage is milk.

Carbon markets get real on removal

 Pine forest from above, fall season, forest road

Trey Hill’s family has been working the land around Rock Hall, Maryland, since the early 1900s. Their company, Harborview Farms, now harvests corn, wheat and soy from thousands of acres. But something is different this year. The Hill family has a new crop: sequestered carbon, which they sell to individuals and companies across the United States.

Hill is doing his carbon farming in partnership with Nori, a Seattle-based startup that sells what it calls “carbon removals.” Hill deploys regenerative agriculture techniques, such as the use of cover crops, to draw carbon dioxide from the air and lock it into the soils he works. Nori then helps Hill verify the amount of carbon that he has removed from the atmosphere and sell the associated credit as a carbon offset. For $15, anyone can now fund Hill — and soon, many other farmers — to remove one ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. (For comparison, a round-trip economy-class flight between San Francisco and London generates around a ton of CO2, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization).

The idea that companies can shrink their carbon footprints by paying other organizations to reduce greenhouse emissions is around two decades old. But Nori represents several game-changing trends, including the use of new technologies and an emphasis on removing CO2 from the atmosphere rather than reducing emissions. Together with the arrival of new buyers, most notably from the aviation industry, these trends will bring major changes to the market for carbon offsets in 2020 and beyond.

Until now, the bulk of the spending on offsets has gone to projects that avoid emissions. Some companies work with conservation organizations to prevent deforestation, for example. Others fund the development of renewable projects that displace fossil-fuel plants. This work remains essential, but recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have made it clear that emissions reductions alone are not enough — we also need to remove billions of tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere if we’re to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

In anticipation of future demand for removal offsets, Nori has built a digital marketplace that connects buyers with projects that draw down and store CO2, starting with a focus on farmers using regenerative agriculture to increase levels of soil carbon. Another new marketplace, developed by the Finnish company Puro, is offering removal credits linked to the production of biochar (a charcoal-like substance used to safely store carbon) and construction materials made in part from greenhouse gases.

The arrival of these marketplaces looks to be well-timed, because a few first-mover companies have already announced plans to invest significant amounts in carbon removal. Last August, payment services company Stripe committed to investing at least $1 million a year in carbon sequestration projects. A month later, Shopify, which develops e-commerce software, matched that target and declared that it would focus on industrial-scale solutions that involve capturing CO2 from the  air and storing it deep underground. “Our goal is to kickstart the demand and predictability of this market so industrial engineering can scale and the price can come down,” says Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke.

When Stripe and Shopify make their investments in carbon removal, they will have the option of working with Nori, Puro and other more established offsets sellers, such as Natural Capital Partners. Many of these firms are likely to see a surge in business as the demand for offsets of all kinds increases.

In 2018, the market for voluntary offsets more than doubled in size to 98 million tons, according to Ecosystem Marketplace, which collects data on market-based approaches to conserving ecosystem services. “In the past decade, a good year was always old companies doing new buying,” says Steve Zwick, the publication’s managing editor. Now major new buyers are entering the market. Companies are learning they can’t reduce emissions as deeply as they want to, and so are investing in offsets as well as reduction, explains Zwick.

One significant new buyer is Shell, which in 2019 committed to spending $300 million on forestry projects and other nature-based solutions over the next three years, in part to offset some of the emissions produced by the aviation fuel it sells in Britain and the Netherlands. Airlines will also likely be buying large quantities of offsets in coming years. British Airways and Air France have committed to offsetting 100 percent of emissions from their domestic flights starting this year.

And the industry as a whole has committed to capping emissions from international flights at current levels, which is forecast to require purchases of around 150 million tons a year by 2025.

Any company purchasing an offset should be asking hard questions about the ability of the project to reduce emissions. Offsets are sometimes criticized as unreliable, a complaint that surfaced again recently after an investigation by ProPublica into one class of offsets — forest-protection projects — concluded that polluters often “got a guilt-free pass to keep emitting CO2, but the forest preservation that was supposed to balance the ledger either never came or didn’t last.” Proponents of forestry projects noted that while ProPublica highlighted real problems, it also ignored known solutions to those problems. Nevertheless, the reputation of offsets probably took a knock.

It will always be challenging to plant and protect forests in remote areas of the world, particularly in regions of political instability. But another trend may help matters. Over the past few years, the resolution and coverage of satellite imagery have improved while prices have fallen. These changes make it possible to monitor forests at a new level of accuracy.

“You can identify someone who’s cutting down a tree with one day of notice,” Diego Saez-Gil, an entrepreneur working in this space, told Fast Company. Saez-Gil’s startup, Pachama, combines data from satellites, drones and a laser-scanning technology known as lidar with machine learning to create a dashboard that estimates the amount of carbon stored in a forest.

The emergence of these technologies suggests that the market for offsets is going to grow both in size and impact. At a time when the governments of the world’s two largest emitters, the United States and China, are failing to recognize the magnitude of the climate crisis, that’s a welcome piece of good news — and a great example of how the private sector can help fill the gulf left by government inaction.

All New Rooftops Must Be Covered in Plants or Solar Panels in France

Source: Returntonow

In an effort to make concrete jungles more eco-friendly, France recently passed a law requiring the rooftops of all new buildings in commercial zones to be fully or partially covered in plants or solar panels.

The concept, known as “green roofs,” is becoming so popular in some cities, like Paris, that even the owners of old buildings are voluntarily complying with the law, building giant rooftop farms, meadows and apiaries for bees and other pollinators.

Green roofs provide a long list of fantastic benefits to society, while insulating it from some of the inherent drawbacks of urban life:

1. Cools outside air

The reason city streets can be so sweltering hot in the summer is because their aren’t many or any trees to cool down the air.

Because there is little or no vegetation to absorb the sunlight, it is converted into heat energy, creating an phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island Effect.

The daily dew and evaporation cycles of green roofs and walls are able to mitigate this effect, according to GreenRoofs.org.

2. Slash heating and air conditioning bills

Rooftops are the greatest source of heat-loss in the winter and heat-gain in the summer.

Green roofs provide extra efficient insulation, keeping heated air from escaping upward and absorbing sunlight that would otherwise beat down on the dark rooftops.

An extensive green roof in Canada reduced the demand for air conditioning in the summer by over 75%.

3. Cleans polluted air

Rooftop gardens can capture airborne pollutants and filter noxious gases.

That’s because plants, especially bigger plants act as air purifiers.

Also because they reduce the need for heating and AC, power plants release less CO2 and other polluting byproducts into the air.

4. Reduces water pollution

In summer, green roofs can absorb between 70 and 90% of the rain that falls on them.

This reduces the amount of storm-water that runs off buildings into overburdened sewage systems.

Urban runoff is a huge problem in which all the rainwater that hits polluted city surfaces (rooftops, sidewalks, streets) rushes into city sewers and then drains straight into rivers and lakes.

Because so much of the surface area of cities is impermeable, urban flooding is also a problem.

Rooftop gardens, especially those with deep roots and soil, can reduce both of these problems by absorbing the water and filtering any runoff.

5. Local, organic food

Because the people who install rooftop gardens tend to be ec0-minded folks, they tend to use organic agriculture, or better yet permaculture, providing fresh, local, organic food for local restaurants and citizens.

6. Habitat for wildlife

Rooftop plants provide safe havens for birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators to make homes, find food or stop and rest while passing through urban deserts.

Planned I-5 Freeway Widening Project In Portland Keeps Taking Hits

Source: OPB

Three years ago, the proposed freeway widening project near Portland’s Rose Quarter was a jewel in the crown of a landmark transportation bill passed by Oregon Legislators.

Gov. Kate Brown touted the Oregon Department of Transportation’s claim that the $450 million project would address “one of the worst bottlenecks for freight and passenger vehicles in the entire nation.”

Interstate 5 runs through the Rose Quarter in Portland, Oregon, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

Interstate 5 runs through the Rose Quarter in Portland, Oregon, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

Bradley W. Parks/OPB

Political leaders hoped the I-5 Rose Quarter project – along with similar projects on Interstate 205 in Oregon City and West Linn and Highway 217 in Washington County — would show voters that they were doing something concrete about the rapidly increasing congestion in the Portland area.

Fast forward to 2020, and the Rose Quarter jewel is looking increasingly tarnished. The project’s price tag is threatening to top $1 billion. Climate activists are fighting it. And local officials say ODOT is failing to address the impact of the project on the fabric of the dense urban community around it, including a middle school that backs up to I-5.

Metro Council President Lynn Peterson said ODOT has tried to speed the Rose Quarter project through environmental reviews to avoid getting bogged down.

“But what they don’t consider is the risk of not having community ownership,” she said. “And if you don’t have community ownership, you do end up with the Columbia River Crossing example … and so you have just spent years and time and resources on something that everybody agrees to, and you’d never get to construction.”

The Columbia River Crossing, the multi-billion-dollar project by Oregon and Washington to build a new bridge across the Columbia, was deep-sixed by political opposition in 2013.

Now the Rose Quarter project is at a key turning point. The concerns mounted to the point that the governor ordered the Oregon Transportation Commission to hit the pause button while studying the environmental, social and cost issues that threaten the project.

The commission will meet Thursday, and Chairman Robert Van Brocklin is laying out a long to-do list for the next several months.

“I believe these actions demonstrate our intention to be a constructive partner on the Project,” wrote Van Brocklin, a Portland lawyer.

In short, the heat is on.  Here is a look at the major issues facing the project:

The Cost

Back in 2017, ODOT estimated the project would cost $450 million. Now, a new report from ODOT pegs the cost at between $715 million and $795 million – and that doesn’t include some key changes to the project sought by local leaders. Add all of that up and it could easily top $1 billion.

When ODOT gave legislators the $450 million cost estimate back in 2017, the agency didn’t bother to forecast the impact of inflation. That accounts for about half of the increase. Metro’s Peterson, who has a graduate degree in engineering, shakes her head at this. Figuring in inflation is something you’d find in a fundamentals of engineering exam, she said.

Lindsay Baker, ODOT’s government relations and external relations director, said it wasn’t clear back in 2017 when construction would begin. She said that made it hard to come up with a solid cost projection.

Still, she acknowledged, “if we were asked do that again today, I think we would probably build in the inflationary cost.”

Construction is now scheduled to begin in 2023. Officials say that they’ve now done enough design and engineering work to give them a lot more information about how much it will cost. That’s also led to major cost increases on everything from land acquisition to lowering sections of the I-5 roadway to accommodate highway covers.

The big issue now is how to pay for all of this. ODOT’s Baker says there are a lot of possibilities, ranging from federal grants to vehicle tolls.

House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, said she is looking at tolling to avoid cannibalizing other road projects around the state to pay the tab for the Rose Quarter work.

“We now have a challenge before the Legislature of how we do that,” Kotek told reporters Friday during an event previewing the 2020 legislative session. “And one of the things I think we’re going to have bring back to the table is more immediate implementation of region-wide congestion pricing.”

In particular, she is looking at tolling I-5 and I-205 from the Columbia River through Wilsonville. Oregon has already applied for federal permission to toll smaller sections of I-5 and I-205 around the proposed widening projects on those freeways. But broader tolling could raise a lot more revenue. ODOT has estimated it could generate $300 million a year – and that’s before taking inflation into account.

Of course, tolling faces a lot of opposition. Canby Rep. Christine Drazan, the House Republican leader, said she’d rather that the state shift work to the I-205 widening project next to her district. Right now, that project is waiting in line behind the Rose Quarter.

The Project’s Purpose

The guts of the Rose Quarter project is a 1.7-mile section stretching roughly from the junction with Interstate 405 to the Marquam Bridge over the Willamette River.

This cramped bit of freeway includes a series of tricky merges and has more than 200 crashes per year. The vast majority of those are fender benders, but they help produce about 12 hours of daily congestion. The trucking industry’s research arm calls it the 28th worst highway bottleneck in the country.

ODOT plans to install a series of “auxiliary lanes” that it says will reduce the number of crashes and make merging smoother.

“We fully admit that this isn’t going to eliminate congestion at the Rose Quarter,” said one top ODOT official, Travis Brouwer, after the transportation bill won legislative approval. “But we do expect that it will make traffic a lot better.”

The project includes several other elements besides the auxiliary lanes. They include two covers over the freeway near the Rose Center, a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge and a major reorientation of the entrance and exit ramps at the Rose Quarter.

Those add-ons bought the Rose Quarter project some early buy-in from Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

“If somebody came to me and said, ‘Ted, do you want to spend half a billion on a freeway expansion?’, I say, ‘No and hell no,’” Wheeler said at a 2017 City Council hearing. “But that’s not what this is.”

However, local officials have increasingly come to see the non-freeway parts of the project as inadequate. By mid-2019 Wheeler and Peterson were writing a joint letter calling on ODOT to take a much more careful look at several key details involving the project. That includes rectifying the damage that the original construction of I-5 wreaked on North Portland – particularly the largely African-American Lower Albina neighborhood.

“We will only get one shot to help heal the wound Interstate 5 cut in Albina 60 years ago,” Wheeler and Peterson wrote. “We have to get it right.”

Similarly, concerns have grown about the impact of the freeway on Harriet Tubman Middle School. The Portland Public School board has already voted to oppose the highway project if the state fails to do a much more detailed environmental study.

Traffic rumbles by on Interstate 5 near the back of Portland’s Harriet Tubman Middle School.

Traffic rumbles by on Interstate 5 near the back of Portland’s Harriet Tubman Middle School.

Jeff Mapes/OPB

Scott Bailey, a Portland Public Schools board member, said he worries that widening the freeway could cause further noise and air pollution impacts on the already overburdened school.

Bailey said the school district has already spent millions of dollars on an expensive air filtration system for the school. And he said ODOT officials “just haven’t done anything close to a thorough assessment” of the added risk of moving traffic even closer to the school.

ODOT officials say they are offering to build a sound wall that would help reduce the impact on the school. But Bailey said the science isn’t there to say that will work.

“If they want to build us a new school – a safe site – go for it,” he added.  Ballpark estimate for that: $100 million.

Capping The Freeway

Rukaiyah Adams is one of the most powerful civic figures in Portland. She’s chief investment officer at the Meyer Memorial Trust, one of the state’s largest charities. She is also chair of the Oregon Investment Council, which oversees one of the nation’s largest pension funds. And she heads the Albina Vision Trust, a nonprofit that has developed sweeping plans to recreate a vibrant neighborhood next to the Rose Quarter.

Adams and the Albina Vision board has pushed for a full environmental impact statement on the project, saying that the less-extensive environmental assessment conducted by ODOT is inadequate. In particular, the group wants to beef up the caps so that they could support multi-story buildings and help knit a new Albina neighborhood into the area east of the freeway.

Their call has won wide support in the local power structure, with Kotek, Wheeler and Peterson among those insisting that they want a project that heals the wounds of I-5’s original construction, not exacerbate it.

Adams, an OPB board member, declined an interview. But in advance of Thursday’s Oregon Transportation Commission hearing, she let ODOT have it in a series of tweets in which she said the agency “ran that hustle” of offering up wholly inadequate covers over the freeway.

“Those expensive, & wimpy caps, were ill conceived as ‘parks,’” she said.  “Who wants to picnic on a piece of patch above a freeway[?]”

ODOT has so far offered only the roughest estimate — $200 million to $500 million — of the cost of more robust caps. Adams said the agency has dragged its feet on seriously looking at how to build better freeway covers.

This ODOT image shows its plan for highway covers over a section of Interstate 5 near Portland's Rose Quarter.

This ODOT image shows its plan for highway covers over a section of Interstate 5 near Portland’s Rose Quarter.

Courtesy of the Oregon Department of Transportation

Van Brocklin, the transportation commission chair, said he will propose Thursday that ODOT produce a final report by October explaining how to develop caps and other elements that “promotes the redevelopment of the Albina neighborhood.”

If this substantially increases the project’s cost, that could meet some pushback from legislators outside Portland who are primarily concerned with widening the freeway.

“If Portland wants to put lids and all that kind of stuff on freeways, the state’s job is to make sure whatever we do allows that to happen, but we’re not paying for it,” said Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, chairman of the Joint Transportation Committee. “That’s a local decision, local desire … It’s not part of the state highway system.”


The growing movement to fight climate change has fueled the fight against putting any money into widening the freeway.

“If we aren’t preparing for the radical changes that are coming ahead and we don’t have the leadership that has the guts, they need to step aside,” said Aaron Brown, the leader of No More Freeway Expansions. “Climate leaders don’t widen freeways.”

Brown and Joe Cortright, a Portland economist who has also been an influential opponent, argue that any reduction in congestion will only be temporary. They say widening I-5 will spur more demand, quickly filling up the freeway again. That means more idling vehicles producing more pollution affecting the surrounding community.

ODOT officials and other supporters of the expansion argue that improving traffic flow among all the interchanges in the Rose Quarter area won’t necessarily increase demand. And they point out that ODOT is also studying tolling to see how that helps manage demand.

Cortright has long argued that ODOT should toll at least that section of I-5 before going ahead with the project.

“You’re much better to put the congestion pricing in first and see what capacity if any you need,” he said last year. “Then you can spend that money much more wisely.”

Van Brocklin said the commission will consider “further steps” to integrate tolling with the freeway project. But even many of the local officials who have been slamming ODOT don’t oppose the project.

Peterson, for example, called it an “important congestion-relief project” that could increase safety. She said her focus is on making sure the agency studies all the issues involved in getting the project right.

“We need to have a conversation about the complete package,” she said, “and you put that into perspective when you do an environmental impact statement.”

The Rose Quarter project overview shows an ODOT rendering of what its freeway widening project would look like near the Moda Center and the Oregon Convention Center.

The Rose Quarter project overview shows an ODOT rendering of what its freeway widening project would look like near the Moda Center and the Oregon Convention Center.

Courtesy of the Oregon Department of Transportation

ODOT has so far resisted calls for a full environmental impact statement that would call for the agency to consider a wide range of alternatives. Instead, Peterson said the environmental assessment isn’t as rigorous.

Van Brocklin said he wants to decide by March 20 whether to conduct a full environmental impact statement. In addition, he’s interested in further study of air and noise quality issues – and of the project’s impact on Tubman Middle School.

Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, headed a committee that put together the list of Portland highway projects included in the 2017 transportation bill. He said the Rose Quarter project was always going to be difficult given I-5’s location in the middle of a dense urban area.

“You still have to transport these products and we have this chokepoint,” he said. “It’s just the bottom line. And we’re really out here, unfortunately, trying to pick the best of maybe what people would consider the worst solutions.”

Fashion’s latest trend? Why H&M, other big brands are investing in garment recycling

Recycled fabric
The fashion industry has a pollution problem. If the industry continues on its current pathway, it could use more than a quarter of the carbon budget associated with a 2 degrees Celsius pathway by 2050, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

These skyrocketing emissions are compounded by the fact that the fashion industry has dramatically low rates of recycling, which creates a dependence on virgin materials. Worldwide, 87 percent of material used for clothing production is landfilled or incinerated after its final use, and less than 1 percent of material used to produce clothing is recycled to produce new clothing.

“The way we recycle clothes hasn’t changed in a century or more,” said Elizabeth Cline, author of “The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good” and a well-known fashion journalist. “It’s really limited to shredding clothes and weaving them back new threads.”

The mechanical recycling processes of which Cline speaks degrade fiber quality, resulting in lower-value end uses or the need to mix recycled fibers with virgin ones.And for many post-consumer garments, reuse is not an option. For textile waste generated in Europe, for example, an average of only 5-10 percent was suitable for reuse within the continent, according to Swedish research institute Mistra Future Fashion. In order to stem the global flow of textile waste, an alternative to reuse must exist.

Welcome to the lab

Enter a new technology: chemical garment-to-garment recycling. This process, which has seen a flurry of research efforts in the past five years, uses chemical solvents to break down old garments into virgin-quality fibers. Chemical recycling processes can separate blends of types of fabric while retaining fiber integrity, a feat which mechanical recycling processes are incapable of. In addition, solvents used in the process often can be collected after usage and re-used continuously.

“We make it possible to make clothes out of clothes again. Most of the recycled materials you encounter in fashion today are recycled not from textiles but from things like plastic bottles or nylon fishing nets,” said Harald Cavalli-Björkman, head of communications for Re:newcell. “Those materials are great, but they solve waste problems in other industries, not in fashion.”

Re:newcell, a Sweden-based company, has developed a process that uses chemical solvents to dissolve fabrics such as cotton and viscose to create “circulose pulp,” which then can be extruded into new fibers and spun to create yarn.

Re:newcell is one of a handful of companies, including U.S.-based Evrnu, Italy-based Aquafil and U.K-based Worn Again Technologies, that are pushing innovations in chemical garment-to-garment recycling processes forward. These companies are at the forefront of a technological revolution that could significantly increase recycling rates within the fashion industry.

This type of technology can be a boon for the environment as well as the economy, said Tasha Lewis, an associate professor in the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design at Cornell University.

“This should reduce demand for pesticides, petroleum and water — to name a few potential environmental benefits,” she told GreenBiz. “There may also be new job creation [and] businesses around the collection, sorting and processing of post-consumer textile waste for large-scale recycling.”

But the companies pioneering the technology, by and large, are still in the research and development (R&D) and pilot phases. Several barriers remain that block large-scale use, such as finding steady sources of materials, adequately preparing materials for recycling and finding the capital needed for large new plants.

“I think the collection and sorting processes for the post-consumer textile waste needed to drive these technologies at scale are still lagging behind,” Lewis said. “In my research, we also had to do a bit of detective work to find out a particular fiber content for a garment since many used garments are missing content labels. This could also slow down processing.”Preparing garments for recycling (which requires removing trims and taking garments apart at the seams) introduces another variable that costs time, Lewis said.

Cavalli-Björkman also pointed to recyclers’ ability to source raw materials as a barrier. Although, he added, that’s not for lack of textile waste.

“We know that more than 20 million tons of cotton is wasted every year,” he said. “The trouble is making all of it available for recycling at a reasonable cost.”

In the meantime, Re:newcell is searching for investors to put money behind scaling up its technology, which requires much higher capital expenditures than a run-of-the-mill software startup. Put simply: “We need buildings and machines,” Cavalli-Björkman said.

H&M encourages scale

But some investors are already forging ahead. According to Re:newcell, Swedish brands H&M and KappAhl have invested significantly in the company. Cavalli-Björkman said these companies have opened doors for Re:newcell in the industry and helped accelerate its scaling process.

In addition to H&M’s venture arm, officially known as H&M CO:LAB, the nonprofit H&M Foundation also has played a significant role in accelerating garment recycling technologies. To date, the H&M Foundation has invested 6 million euros in the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA), a research facility developing separation and recycling solutions that target textile blends.

Since collaborating with the H&M Foundation in 2016, HKRITA has succeeded in developing a novel method for recycling textiles that uses water, heat and a small amount of chemical solvents. In September 2018, HKRITA opened a pre-industrial scale facility in Hong Kong that makes use of the technology.

“All work of the H&M Foundation strives to impact the entire fashion industry, not just H&M,” said Erik Bang, innovation lead for the H&M Foundation. “Hence we don’t take any ownership in the technologies we develop, instead we will through HKRITA give the separation & recycling technology away for anyone to use.”

HKRITA will be allowed to license the technology to other companies that can use it. This approach, Bang said, is how the H&M Foundation believes it can maximize impact.

The nonprofit’s support of advancing this technology comes from a need to ameliorate fast fashion’s devastating environmental effects. “The industry will not be able to meet the growing demand of fashion from a growing world population and global middle class relying on natural resources,” Bang said. “There is simply not enough land or water available in a long-term perspective of 10-20 years.”

Understanding the tradeoffs

Not everyone in fashion is convinced that garment recycling will fully circularize the industry, though

“Garment recycling may make the current overproduction seem acceptable, just as plastic recycling makes single-use plastics seem acceptable. Neither is acceptable,” said Timo Rissanen, associate professor of fashion design and sustainability at Parsons. “We need a drastic reduction in the production of clothing overall: a strategic degrowth of the fashion industry that is commensurate with the planetary emergency we are now in.”

In order to minimize its environmental impacts, the fashion industry must combine investments in garment recycling, which can reduce use of virgin resources, with a strategy to reverse growth, Rissanen said. “If all of the industry output is eventually recycled but the industry output grows overall at the same time, I’m not too hopeful about our future,” he said.

Another potential complication of widespread usage of garment-to-garment recycling is greenwashing. “If we end up with a variety of processes and companies that are not standardized or connected to one another, we may end up with confusion in the marketplace and some ‘greenwashing’ around the types of recycled materials that are being used for new garment manufacture,” Lewis said.

“Companies will only invest in sustainability when sustainability is driving efficiency,” Cline added. Combined with a focus on end-of-life solutions for textiles needs to be a focus on the beginning of life stage, through better regulations on how textiles are used and sourced, she added.

In addition, Cline points out that more research and life-cycle assessments are needed to fully understand the energy required to recycle textiles.

But in an industry where the average number of times a garment is worn decreased by 36 percent from 2002 to 2017, garment recycling is a light of hope for many large fashion retailers.

Aquafil, for example, the Italy-based company that makes Econyl nylon, told GreenBiz that their nylon, made primarily from recycled nylon carpets and fishing nets, reduces the global warming impact of nylon by up to 80 percent compared with nylon made from oil. The company recently has partnered with brands such as Napapijri to create a take-back and recycling program.After a minimum of two years of purchase (in order to promote mindful consumption, says Aquafil), customers send the jackets back to Napapijri, and the jackets are recycled into Ecoynyl nylon. Furthermore, customers receive a voucher to purchase any new Napapijri jacket made from recycled material. Aquafil says Ecoynyl Nylon can be recycled again and again without sacrificing fiber quality.

“We want to help brands leave linear production models and become closed loops unto themselves — keeping their material footprint to a minimum by circulating a certain amount of physical material in an endless cycle of design, use, recovery, design, use and so on,” Cavalli-Björkman said.

He pointed to the paper recycling industry, which has burgeoned over the past three decades to a global recycling rate of 58 percent, according to the Global Forest and Paper Industry, after initial doubts that the technology could be effectively scaled.

“There’s no reason we couldn’t or shouldn’t get to at least the same level in fashion,” he said.

Molokini Snorkeling Reviews and Tips To Make Your Snorkeling Trip an Eco Friendly One

Screen Shot 2020 01 10 at 4.03.53 PM

Make the most out of life by exploring the sea. Wear them goggles right, plunge into the water, and snorkel away! Soak in the physical benefits of snorkeling, such as muscle strengthening, cardiovascular fitness, joint mobility, and better mental health while rejuvenating your soul with the beauty that the ocean holds.


The real question that needs to be asked is where’s the perfect spot? In all honesty, there are a lot of places to go snorkeling, but one of them holds a legendary place in the hearts of divers, thanks to its crystal clear waters and flourishing marine life. Go all out and dive into one of the world’s best diving spots — the Molokini crater in Maui, Hawaii!


The Molokini Crater, Hawaii


Look for the best Molokini snorkeling tours in Hawaii and make sure that your tour makes the most out of your time. Some tours have two stops — the Molokini Crater and the Makena Coast. Also, look for tours that serve local dishes as you should definitely have the full Hawaiian experience.


Molokini Crater is worth every breath held and every paddle. If you fear sharks and deep waters, this spot is perfect for you. The crater is shallow — perfect for snorkeling and a complete turn off for sharks. There’s a lot of fish swimming around the area and a few turtles that would pop in to say hi.


Additionally, if you’ve been to Maui, you’re very well aware of the flora and fauna in Molokini Crater — over 200 species of fish! One activity that can be loads of fun for all ages is scouring the waters and crossing off species on your list as you see them. Kai Kanani tour guides are knowledgeable of some of the fish species, too, so don’t hesitate to ask them questions and make small talk.


Eco-friendly Snorkeling Trip


Different types of tours that stop at the crater are offered, but have you ever tried going for something that benefits you, the ocean, and the animals that are living in it?


Also, if traveling with your family, teaching your kids to go green, like spending time outdoors, can help them learn about nature and the planet so that they grow up as well-rounded individuals. It also helps if the entire family knows how to be eco-friendly.


If it sounds like something you would want to do, here are a few things you can practice to be a step closer to having an eco-friendly snorkeling trip:



  1. Ditch The Plastic


Single-use plastic is a thing of the past and it should be left there! Going plastic-free is also an upcoming trend in 2020. Give yourself an upgrade and use recyclable containers or upcycled bags instead.


When floating, single-use plastic reminds sea critters of food that can be very inviting if they’re hungry. However, these plastic products are indigestible and can bring about harm to almost all who encounter it.


  1. Coral Reef-sake Skincare Products


Sustainable living is becoming more and more popular. Innovations are being made of traditional products to accommodate this holistic approach to life and the market is more open to eliminating single-use plastics. The availability of products that are sustainable and eco-friendly is at its best, which brings us to coral reef-safe skincare products.


Snorkeling involves being under the sun while swimming in salt-water that could cause uncomfortable burns to your skin if not taken care of properly. Because of the variety of chemicals, some sunscreen or beauty products can be harmful to our friends living in the sea. However, there are different brands that sell sunscreen that’s not harmful to coral reefs. Thus, before diving into the ocean, make sure that the beauty products you’re wearing won’t cause any damage to the sea critters.


  1. Practice CLAYGO


Whether the trash is yours or not, picking it up helps not only the planet but also everything that lives on it.


Clean as you go (CLAYGO) was coined to help encourage people to clean up after eating. Along with practicing CLAYGO, sorting your rubbish is also a big step.


This rule applies when snorkeling. Since there’s a tendency that the original owner of the trash can no longer be traced, don’t just leave it there floating and waiting for fishes to get poisoned by it. If you ever see trash when snorkeling, give mother nature a hand by picking it up and throwing it properly.


  1. Have Healthy Snacks


Snorkeling can use up a lot of energy and surface intervals are usually spent eating or resting. Snacks usually come along with wrappers and, most of the time, are not disposed of properly.


Lessen the hassle and maximize your surface interval time by snacking on some fruits. Some fruits have peels that edible and biodegradable, which can be beneficial for you, the sea animals, and mother nature.




Planning an eco-friendly snorkeling trip is not that hard, even if a lot of people are telling you otherwise. It only takes a bit of research, the best tour package, and the conscious effort to save the planet to make your future trip a success.

The climate case for construction

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It’s not easy to make the transparent visible, particularly when it comes to infrastructure. It’s easy to take the mundane for granted except for when things go wrong: our cell phone networks; the modern electrical grid that has been around for more than 100 years; our water and sewage systems; and especially the buildings we spend most of our lives inside of.

The building you call home, or the one you call your office — the building you are sitting in at this very moment —has a huge impact on the environment. From heating and cooling, to lighting, insulation and more, every small home, medium warehouse and large high-rise office building is responsible for emitting carbon into the atmosphere. Referred to as operational carbon — or the carbon emissions associated with building operations — this well-known output has seen years of innovation across the built environment to mitigate some of its dire environmental impacts.

However, one other significant piece of the sustainable building puzzle, embodied carbon, is sorely overlooked. Embodied carbon is operational carbon’s often-overlooked counterpart; it is the footprint that results from the building and construction of a project, including the extraction, fabrication, transportation and erection of construction materials. While many tools exist to better manage energy associated with building operations, to date, there has not been an efficient method to measure and therefore manage the carbon emissions associated with building construction.

In fact, even in the environmental community, few know that the emissions from manufacturing building materials actually contribute more than 11 percent of global emissions (good luck wrapping your head around a record 37.1 gigatons of global CO2 emissions in 2018). Unfortunately, all embodied carbon processes are invisible to the future tenant and their true cost is not part of the development equation.”Out of sight, out of mind” no longer can justify a willfully ignorant approach to a significant source of CO2 and a knowable footprint of new construction.

As natural disasters become more destructive and “climate strikes” take hold around the globe, we no longer collectively can turn a blind eye to the climate crisis we’re racing towards. It’s time for governments, businesses and citizens (and especially the real estate and construction industry) to answer the calls of climate action that are being shouted from all corners of the world.

That’s why today, it’s increasingly important for corporations, investors and innovators to work together to create new solutions that can address embodied carbon and its inherent hidden challenges at scale.

Leadership is coming from global construction multinationals such as Skanska, which through a partnership with Microsoft, the Carbon Leadership ForumMagnusson KlemencicCharles Pankow Foundation and many other parties, is taking the lead on sustainable building through its Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator tool, or the EC3 tool. The EC3 tool accesses an open-source database of environmental product declarations (EPDs) for thousands of building materials from suppliers across the industry and relies on sophisticated, research-based methodologies to support the analysis and representation of the carbon footprint of common building materials. As a result, for the first time, the EC3 tool enables anyone in the construction value-chain to more quickly and accurately measure the embodied carbon impacts of a project’s materials and empowers more “carbon smart” choices.

At the same time, we’re seeing a significant amount of investment and growing interest in proptech startups, including those building solutions to make construction more efficient, resilient and safer. Think Katerra, a technology-driven offsite construction company, or Versatile Natures, which is leveraging machine learning and AI to improve construction processes, or Toggle, a startup using robotics and automation to assemble rebar for prefabricated concrete — the world’s most ubiquitous building material. Using innovative technologies such as IoT, AI and robotics, these startups are taking age-old construction practices and turning them on their heads to better align with the needs and technology of the 21st century.Despite the continued growth of the construction industry — which creates $1.3 trillion worth of structures each year, according to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) — today’s construction industry predominantly relies on 20th-century tools, regulations and manual processes. This costs developers millions of dollars due to construction inefficiencies and design errors. It also ensures that construction remains one of the most dangerous jobs and environmental impacts are relegated to an afterthought. By integrating technology to revamp construction practices, Katerra, Versatile Natures and Toggle are, in their own way, working to change this reality and empower the construction industry to build more efficiently, safely and sustainably than ever before.

As more leaders across the built environment accept, adopt and scale innovations from the likes of emerging startups, we will be able to more forcefully and adequately address pollution due to the built environment, tackle the threat of embodied carbon and meet the climate crisis head on.