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Better Living Through Well Being

Half of the world's population now lives in cities (projected to be two-thirds by 2030). Cities emit 70 percent of energy-related greenhouse gas that traps heat and warms the entire earth. Cities are not only a main cause of climate change, they are also the most affected by it. Most cities are situated near water, putting them at risk from rising sea levels and storms. With a concerted effort towards better planning, innovation and creativity, cities will greatly reduce their huge carbon footprint and provide many answers to reducing climate change in the process.

Defining and acting upon these answers is the aim of the 'Infrastructure, Cities and Local Government' track, one of nine tracks that structure the transformational initiatives of the UN Climate Action Summit convened in New York on September 23, 2019.

Keys to reducing a city's per capita carbon footprint include designing compact, walkable cities with good electric public transport powered by renewable energy; moving to zero carbon buildings that do not use any carbon for heating, lighting, cooling or electricity; creating buildings and infrastructure designed with the local climate in mind using innovative technologies like natural venting instead of air conditioning; using low carbon infrastructure materials for buildings instead of steel and concrete that emit much CO2 in their manufacturing; improving waste management methods that capture the methane emissions from landfills.

Climate change is already happening and affecting cities so they need to prepare for this new reality now. The effects of the recent changes in the planet's climate, as well as expected climate risks have pushed about a thousand cities worldwide to declare a climate emergency. Notably, climate adaptation is now considered a sound investment that can include early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure and housing, and investments in water resources. Many strategies are presented in the 2019 Global Commission on Adaptation Report.

The extent to which the poorest and most vulnerable people are impacted in cities because they often live in inadequate housing in fragile locations without risk-reducing infrastructure is now being addressed by the UN leaders and planners. Globally, there are an estimated 880 million people living in informal settlements highly vulnerable to climate change. The whole world is threatened by climate change but developing countries are often hit the hardest.

Ultimately climate change does not respect borders -- everyone will be affected and we all need to act together to stop it now.


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A very unique custom-made pen was given to world leaders at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit. The Climate Pen uses ink made from carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas. The ink was developed by a Finnish company using a process to transform carbon dioxide into carbon black, the ink's key ingredient. They subjected the carbon molecules to enough heat to decompose them back to carbon and oxygen atoms, releasing the oxygen and using the remaining carbon black to be used as a color pigment in the ink.

Carbon dioxide, CO2, is considered to be the most significant greenhouse gas produced by humans. Over the last four decades the carbon dioxide emissions have grown by 90 percent. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that carbon dioxide alone is responsible for 80 percent of global warming.

The Climate Pen gift was presented to the world leaders by Helsingin Sanomat, the largest subscription newspaper in the Nordics, in the hope that it will remind policy makers of their responsibility. They say as journalists they know first-hand that a pen can be a powerful tool in changing the world.

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The world's first legal research and cultivation facility dedicated to advancing psychedelic studies in applications to mental health is being built within the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. The primary work of the new facility will utilize psilocybin-producing mushrooms. The lead professor at the facility intends to expand on prior studies using psilocybin in conjunction with psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy to treat conditions such as depression, anxiety and potentially a number of other mental health conditions. He and his team hope to produce extracts to help in expanding the existing research and find novel therapies and applications of psilocybin-producing mushrooms where existing pharmacological options are failing. He says that with 1-in-4 people in North America being diagnosed with a mental health disorder, the need for novel, effective, safe therapeutics has never been greater.

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Other articles of interest in this Fall 2019 TMIS eNewsletter:

* 2019 World Population Data Sheet shows worldwide average fertility rate at 2.4 while average fertility in the United States dropped to the lowest level in recorded history at 1.7 births per woman.

* Program addresses food insecurity through food banks and healthcare partnerships to provide medically tailored food boxes and nutrition assistance identified in health care settings.

* New “save-the-planet” book, The Great Healing - Five Compassions That Can Save The World, faces singular solution to a main cause of global warming - - Big Ag.

* National coalition of 10,000 U.S. farmers and ranchers delivers Letter to Congress urging support for the Green New Deal.

* Proposed project to provide more than 2,600 megawatts of wind energy by 2026 off Virginia coast with more than 220 wind turbines powering 650,000 homes at its peak and commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 55 percent by 2030.

* Educational environmental forum to be held in April 2020 seeks abstract submissions to address the elimination of PFAS, man-made substances known to have adverse effects on human health.

* New findings support use of mindfulness meditation to reduce stress in the workplace, increase productivity, and reduce healthcare costs.

* Cities that adapt to demands for improved quality of life, innovation, sustainability, governance and resilience compete best in a global market.

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I am grateful to be in a collaborative business with many talented and skilled professionals. Additional feedback and recommendations for our products and services at TM Information Services are always welcome.

- Mary Michele McLaughlin


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