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Asia Eco-City 

Lebanon’s Highest Point Turning Into Ski Resort

  Beginning summer 2017, Lebanon highest point will be ripped of its natural habitat and converted into a ski resort. This is a $500 million Realis Development project, a family owned company with shares in the Abu Dhabi finance company. The project will be built on a 420,000 m2 plot, and will include a hotel, club house, wellness-center, and entertainment facilities, 650 chalets, 70 villas, and a ski trail. The country’s water supply depends on wells and melted snow from the mountains. Water scarcity is believed to be one of…

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Eco-City Europe 

Chasing a Climate Deal in Paris

  A topic of discussion at Paris Climate Talk 2015 is Hillary Clinton’s 2009 pledge in Copenhagen that rich countries would provide $100 billion by 2020 to help poor countries with climate change. The funding will support projects such as transitioning to cleaner energy sources. An example is implementing a utility scale solar plant in India. Those two questions that come into play are related to money: how to come up with $100 billion and to yield profits from the investment.   But in the years since, as the effects…

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Eco-City North America 

Splashiest Exhibit at Art Basel Miami is about Climate Change

  At this year’s Art Basel Miami, Lars Jan created the Holoscenes exhibit regarding climate change. It consists of a 3,500-gallon Plexiglas tank that slowly fills with water with a women inside. Twelve tons of water are pumped into the tank over the course of a minute. The woman is holding a basket of persimmons, until it floats out of her hands, spilling the fruits to bob and twirl in the water. She tries to gather them back up, her skirts floating around her. Behind her, palm trees are silhouetted against the sky,…

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Eco-City North America 

Tragically Beautiful Exhibit Shows How Our Oceans Suffer

  In Hawaii, “Never turn your back on the ocean” is a common adage — a warning for anyone who visits the beach. But when Sophie Thomas, a London-based designer, visited the remote Kamilo Beach on Hawaii’s Big Island in 2014, the phrase took on new meaning. Thomas couldn’t keep her eyes off the devastatingly littered shores. Thomas’s exhibit was featured as a part of RSA’s Great Recovery Project, which aims to “turn waste into value and reduce environmental impacts through system thinking.” Kamilo Beach is known locally in Hawaii…

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Eco-City North America 

ToxicSites.us to Locate Superfund

  Superfund sites are hazardous waste sites, and you probably don’t want to raise your kids or park your bounce house near them unless you’re pro-cancer. The first — and most famous — Superfund site was Love Canal, a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, N.Y., where 22,000 tons of toxic waste were buried by Hooker Chemical Company and caused illnesses, miscarriages, birth defects, and death among residents. There are currently more than 1,300 Superfund sites in the U.S., and now, thanks to media artist Brooke Singer, you can more easily find…

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Asia Eco-City 

World’s Longest Glass Bridge

  The world’s longest glass bottom bridge just opened in Shiniuzhai Geological Park in China’s Hunan Province. The bridge will two side steel beams, a structural glass deck, handrails and side suspension cables, with the capacity to hold up to 800 people at a time. Each panel is 24 millimeters thick and 25 times stronger than regular glass. It’s called Brave Men’s Bridge or Haohan Qiao and is the world’s longest glass bottom bridge, as well as China’s first all-glass suspension bridge. Before a team of a 11 engineers went…

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Eco-City Europe 

Central Banker Climate Change Speech

     MFrom the New York Times: Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, declared that the warming climate presented major risks for the global economy and global financial stability, and that businesses and regulators needed to move more quickly to try to contain the potential economic damage even though it may seem uncertain and far off. “We don’t need an army of actuaries to tell us that the catastrophic impacts of climate change will be felt beyond the traditional horizons of most actors — imposing a cost…

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Eco-City Europe 

Oslo’s First Bee Highway

  30 – 40% of food requires pollination. There is a mutual dependence for agriculture on pollination as insects on agriculture for survival. According to the Guardian Oslo’s “bee highway” aims to give the insects a safe passage through the city, lined with relays providing food and shelter – the first such system in the world, according to the organizers. “We are constantly reshaping our environment to meet our needs, forgetting that other species also live in it,” Agnes Lyche Melvaer, head of the Bybi, an environmental group supporting urban bees,…

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Eco-City North America 

Hidden West Village Rooftop

  It’s been a winning week for the Village’s rooftops. First, a glorious, coveted cabin poised high above East 13th Street came to market, and now, Gothamist relays word of a bucolic rooftop cottage replete with porch and lawn at 719 Greenwhich Street. Color us jealous. The cottage belongs to David Puchkoff and Eileen Stukane, who live on the top floor of the building. A 2006 New York Times article profiling the cottage (yes, you’ve been walking by it unknowingly for at least that long) says that Puckhoff developed the building…

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Eco-City Europe 

London Green Bridge Approved

  Last year, the fabulous actor and green activist Joanna Lumley teamed up with the Pretty Terrific architect Thomas Heatherwick to imagine a gorgeous pedestrian bridge across the Thames in London. This November, the pedestrian Garden bridge spanning London’s River Thames won local-government approval. In the Guardian the bridge is described as “It will be like a tiara on the head of our fabulous city,” coos Lumley. “It will set hearts racing and calm troubled minds. It will enchant everyone who uses it.” The Westminster borough endorsed the project in…

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Eco-City North America 

New York’s “Big U” Climate Change Risk

  New York City, with a population fast approaching 9 million and vast cultural, historical, and financial resources, is fast approaching the danger zone for climate change. The city sits on a “Big U” shaped waterfront property. The OECD ranked New York City among the 10 cities most vulnerable to rising sea levels with 2.9 million people and $2.1 trillion in assets exposed to storm surges by 2070 if sea levels keep rising. Hurricane Sandy is an example of how unprepared that area is for disaster. Tempestuous winds downed trees…

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Eco-City North America 

A Rescue Package for the Ocean

  The Global Ocean Commission, co-chaired by Jose Maria Figueres, has issued a groundbreaking new report that charts a course forward in our effort to protect this beautiful ecosystem. In September this year, the United Nations will begin discussing the future of the high seas and how they should be governed. We are polluting and depleting the ocean at a mind-boggling pace. “From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Ocean” will address on some of the threats affecting our ocean. The report identifies five major drivers of ocean…

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Eco-City 

TIME’s top 10 Green Changes of 2013

  Below is a list from TIME: 10. The anti-genetically modified food movement gains momentum The food movement is powerful—just look at the number of farmer’s markets and Whole Foods shops in your area—but politically, it’s remained diffuse, unable to challenge the powerful mainsteam farming lobby. Instead, the food movement is flexing its muscles on another area: genetically modified foods (or GMOs, with the O standing for organism). First in California in 2012, then this year in Washington, anti-GMO activists managed to get initiatives on the ballot that would have…

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Eco-City North America 

Canada Post Plans to End Home Deliveries Within 5 Years

  Canada Post Corp. is one of the many postal agencies facing future financial losses as people abandon traditional mail to electronic communication. However, there still is a need to post offices especially as online shopping sales are increasing. Governments realize to avoid the post office turning into a burden for customers and taxpayers, they must make some changes. To solve this problem, Canada Post said it would convert all households to the community mailbox system over a five-year period. It will eliminate the mail delivery system in the next…

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Eco-City North America 

Largest NYC Solar Farm: Staten Island’s Freshkills Park

  New York’s landfill-turned-green space is getting the city’s largest solar array, a 10 megawatt system that will sit on 47 acres of Freshkills Park. Renewable energy was always part of the plan for the 2,200-acre site, and the city released an RFP for operators in March 2012. The new array in Staten Island, to be built and run by SunEdison, will double the city’s renewable energy capacity and power approximately 2,000 homes. “Freshkills was once the site of the largest landfill in the world,” Bloomberg said. “Soon it will…

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Eco-City South America 

Floating Iceberg the Size of Singapore in Southern Ocean

  A 700 sq km iceberg that split from Pine Island Glacier (PIG) in Antarctica last July is now moving through the Southern Ocean. UK researchers following its movement said if this current iceberg follows the trajectory of previous ones, it will bring the Singapore-size floating island of ice into international shipping lanes. The iceberg comes from PIG, the longest and fastest flowing glacier in the Antarctic. The glacier sheds icebergs every 6-10 years. The world’s largest recorded iceberg is the B-15, which measured 11,000 sq km at its peak….

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Asia Eco-City 

Pakistan Earthquake Creates New Island

  A 7.7-magnitude quake struck on Tuesday afternoon at a depth of 20km (13 miles) north-east of Awaran, in Pakistan’d remote SW province. It damage includes a death toll of 328 people and many homes destroyed. The affected areas impacts about 300,000 residents. The mountainous terrain and loss of communications is hampering the rescue operation. However, a new surprise is an island created by this earthquake off the coast near the port of Gwadar. It is reported to be about 200m (656ft) long, 100m wide and 20m high, and scientists…

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Eco-City North America 

Las Vegas Venetian Hotel goes LED

  Las Vegas has installed 42,000 new LED streetlights and is saving $2 million a year on reduced electricity bills and maintenance costs. The $2 million in annual savings goes to a special revenue fund to finance other green projects, including a 300 kW solar installation and renovation of a million square feet of public buildings to higher energy efficiency standards. In addition, the city received $5 each for recycling the old streetlights. In addition, hotels such as the Venetian in Las Vegas are also installing LED. New LED lighting…

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Eco-City North America 

Exhibit at Empire State Building

  The Empire State Building had a $20 million award-winning energy retrofit project that was announced in April 2009, it’s quickly becoming a sustainability icon as well. Tomark this important process, which will reduce energy costs by $4.4 million, a sustainability exhibit was opened in the building’s second floor Visitor’s Center in 2010. Recently, the exhibit unveiled numerous audio-visual enhancements to the interactive, multi-media installation, making it even more exciting for visitors to learn how the building is going green. “Each display is also augmented with audio enhancements tailored to…

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Asia Eco-City 

Japan is Riskiest Place for Business

  The study, by reinsurer Swiss Re, ranked 616 cities around the world based on the exposure of their population and economy to floods, storms, storm surges, earthquakes or tsunamis. Japan was the riskiest place to do business. Manila in the Philippines and the Pearl River Delta in China came second and third in the list of riskiest urban areas after . Tokyo, in terms of the number of people exposed to natural catastrophes, while Los Angeles was the highest ranking metropolis outside of Asia, in ninth place. Japan ranked…

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Eco-City Europe 

Norwegian Town Using Mirrors to Lighten Up Winters

  In the midst of five months of darkness this coming winter, the Norwegian town of Rjukan will have one bright spot: a town square illuminated by sunlight bounced off giant mirrors placed atop the town’s neighboring mountains. Call it a mood enhancer. Or a tourist attraction. But the three mirrors, which will be carried in via helicopter, will provide an oasis of light in an otherwise bleak location at the center of the 3500-population town.Three mirrors with a total surface area of about 538 square feet will sit at…

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Eco-City South America 

Cuba’s 1st Solar Farm

  It’s like a vision of the space age, carved out of the jungle: Thousands of glassy panels surrounded by a lush canopy of green stretch as far as the eye can see, reflecting the few clouds that dot the sky on a scorching Caribbean morning. Cuba’s first solar farm opened this spring with little fanfare and no prior announcement. It boasts 14,000 photovoltaic panels which in a stroke more than doubled the country’s capacity to harvest energy from the sun. This farm project is one of seven farms for the…

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Africa Eco-City 

Africa’s Forbes 30 Under 30: Patrick Ngowi, Helvtic Solar Founder

  For a 28 year-old Tanzanian who has built an $8 million (revenues) solar energy company, Ngowi has a remarkable story.  He is the CEO ofHelvetic Solar Contractors – a Tanzanian company that supplies, installs and maintains solar systems throughout the northern circuit of Tanzania. The company sells everything solar from photovoltaic (a.k.a. “solar”) panels and water heaters to battery banks, generators and back-up units. “The electrification issue was a major one and I just figured out that Tanzanians might be receptive to an alternative energy source,” Ngowi said. Most companies, government…

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Eco-City North America 

Dolphin Carries Dead Calf on Her Back

  Whale watchers in Dana Point, Calif., witnessed an unexpected display on Tuesday when they saw a female dolphin carrying her dead calf on her back, according to KTLA-TV.Passengers aboard Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari saw the dolphin with something on her back supported by her dorsal fin, and before long identified it as a dolphin calf. “The dolphin – unfortunately, for one reason or another – is no longer alive,” remarked Capt. Dave Anderson as he shot footage. “I believe this calf has been dead for many…

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Africa Eco-City 

Endangered Smiling Baby Elephant

  The photo above has received thousands of up votes on Reddit, generating comments like, “I haz grass,” and, “The world needs more elephants.” The African elephant is the 3rd largest animal walking the Earth. Their herds wander through 37 countries in Africa. They are easily recognized by their trunks, used for communication and handling objects, as well as their large ears, allowing them to radiate excess heat. It is estimated that probably 1/4-1/3 of the total African elephant population is made up of Forest Elephants. Weighing approximately 6 tons…

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Asia Eco-City 

World’s Largest Concentrated Solar Power Plant in Abu Dhabi

  It might seem ironic that the oil-rich Middle East also holds nearly half of the world’s renewable energy potential – but yesterday the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, officially inaugurated Shams 1, the largest concentrated solar power plant (CSP) in the world. The plant was designed and developed by Shams Power Company, and it cost $600 million and took three years to build. It’s owned by Masdar, Abengoa Solar and Total. This gargantuan power plant covers almost one square mile – the…

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Eco-City North America 

Earth Hour 2013, 6 Year Anniversary

  Tonight, at 8:30 pm local time, houses and commercial buildings all over the world suddenly went dark. No, it’s not a global power outage, it’s Earth Hour! Started in 2007, this annual event has become a worldwide phenomenon, educating people about the threat of climate change, and encouraging a commitment to more sustainable behavior. In a message to the world on the eve of the seventh Earth Hour, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has set the agenda for this year’s hour of inspiration. “We participate with an undimmed determination…

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Eco-City South America 

Brazil to Count Trees in Amazon

  Brazil is reportedly going to create a census of its rainforest trees by counting each in an attempt to better learn how to conserve its trees. The planned tree census, set to take four years. “Teams sent across Brazil’s 3,288,000 square miles, encompassing about half of the world’s remaining tropical forest, will sample about 20,000 points at 20-kilometer intervals,” reports Fast Company. “Researchers will log the number, height, diameter, and species of trees, along with soil types, biomass carbon stocks, and even local people’s interactions with the forest at each…

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Asia Eco-City 

Masdar Developing Desalination Plants in UAE

  Places throughout the world are facing a looming water crisis, including the hot, dry Middle East. Masdar, a UAE company, held a packed press conference late last week to announce its launch of three renewably-powered desalination pilot projects. The company will  explore ways to “harness natural resources, like solar, wind, geothermal.” Seawater desalination is considered one of the best ways to meet the water needs of the area’s growing population, but the process can be energy intensive. Currently, desalination accounts for a huge proportion of the emirate’s carbon footprint, one…

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