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.
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.
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.
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.
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
From the Front Page of TMIS News
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Cities: a 'cause of and solution to' climate change
New York, New York
World leaders convened at United Nations headquarters in New York for the Climate Action Summit on September 23rd. UN-Habitat is supporting one of the nine action tracks designated by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, “Infrastructure, Cities and Local Action” under the leadership of the Governments of Kenya and Turkey. UN News asked the UN-Habitat Executive Director, Ms. Sharif, what role cities should play in slowing down climate change, and why are cities an important part of tackling climate change?
Over half of the world's population lives in cities, and this is likely to increase to over two thirds by 2030. Cities use a large proportion of the world's energy supply and are responsible for around 70 per cent of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions which trap heat and result in the warming of Earth.
Levels of carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas, are at the highest levels ever, mostly due to the burning of fossil fuels for energy.
The huge carbon footprint created by our cities results from poor planning and layout. Low-density suburban sprawl with little public transport and homes far from work and shops means more cars on the roads emitting carbon dioxide. In addition, most of the ever-increasing number of buildings still use fossil fuels for their energy needs.
Cities, while being the main cause of climate change, are also the most affected. Most cities are situated near water putting them at risk from rising sea levels and storms. However, given their role as hubs of innovation and creativity, we also look to cities to provide us with answers. Energy, building, mobility and planning solutions and innovations in cities have the potential to deliver major emission cuts.
World Leaders Receive Pens With Carbon Dioxide Ink as a Call to Climate Action
With the hottest July of recorded history behind us, Finnish news media Helsingin Sanomat has created a bespoke gift pen with carbon dioxide ink and given it to G20 leaders as a call for climate action. The news media wishes to highlight the importance of political decisions in tackling climate change and encourage policymakers to take action. Climate change was expected to be high up on the world leaders' agenda as they gathered to discuss concrete plans to move forward with the Paris Agreement in the UN Climate Action Summit.
"While our main responsibility is to primarily report on pressing matters like climate change, it seems that climate coverage has so far moved individuals more than decision-makers. We hope this gift will remind policy makers of their responsibility. As journalists we know first-hand that a pen can be a powerful tool in changing the world," says Kaius Niemi, Senior Editor-in-Chief of Helsingin Sanomat.
The carbon dioxide ink was produced in collaboration with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd – a research, development, and innovation company operating under the mandate of Finland's Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The company was responsible for transforming carbon dioxide into carbon black, the ink's key ingredient.
"By subjecting the carbon dioxide molecules to sufficient heat, we are able to decompose them back to carbon and oxygen atoms. That leaves us with carbon black which can then be used as color pigment in the ink," says VTT Principal Scientist Pekka Simell.
Field Trip Ventures Inc. Partners with the University of the West Indies to Create the World's First Legal Research and Cultivation Facility for Psilocybin
Field Trip Ventures Inc. ("Field Trip" or the "Company"), the world's first integrated company in legal psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, has announced entry into a strategic partnership with the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica ("UWI") to create the world's first legal research and cultivation facility dedicated to psilocybin-producing mushrooms (the "Facility").
Under the terms of the strategic partnership, Field Trip Natural Products Limited (Field Trip's Jamaican subsidiary) will construct, fund and operate a state-of-the-art research and cultivation facility on UWI's Mona campus. In consideration, UWI will lease to Field Trip the land to build the Facility as well as make available leading biology, mycology and chemistry researchers to assist Field Trip's research and cultivation efforts.
The focus of the Facility will be broad-ranging, from genetics, breeding and cultivation work on the 180+ plus species of psilocybin-producing mushrooms, to developing methods and analysis for extractions and formulations, to identification of novel molecules for drug development purposes.
"Field Trip's mission is to advance the science and understanding of psychedelic compounds, and to develop their therapeutic and wellness applications, through an integrated business model," said Mujeeb Jafferi, Field Trip's President. "Although psilocybin, as a molecule, has been well-studied, there is great opportunity to create impact by developing a better understanding of the fungi that produce psilocybin and other tryptamines. This is why we are so pleased to be partnering with UWI, a leading global academic institution, in building this facility in Jamaica."
Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, Professor Michael Taylor, welcomed the opportunity for expansion of capacity and skills that this partnership will provide for both faculty and students, "We look forward to working with the team at Field Trip. Their experience and accomplishments in building plant-based therapeutics industries, such as medical cannabis, along with their thoughtful vision for advancing mental health treatments, make Field Trip a great partner for UWI. Moreover, we are confident that this partnership will further advance our mission to create knowledge and foster innovation for the positive transformation of the Caribbean and the wider world."
U.S. Fertility Drops to Historic Low in 2019
Fertility in the United States dropped to the lowest level in recorded history, with women having an average of 1.7 births in their lifetime. This is according to the 2019 World Population Data Sheet, released by Population Reference Bureau (PRB), the nonprofit that uses data to inform policy decisionmakers around the world.
Produced by PRB annually since 1962, the Data Sheet provides a unique snapshot of the demographic trends reshaping our world today and in the future by charting the most critical population, life, and health indicators for more than 200 countries and territories. With more than 50 countries, including the United States, scheduled to conduct a census in the coming year, this year's Data Sheet also provides a look at the history of census-taking going back thousands of years.
"Today, more than ever, objective data and analysis are vital to helping decisionmakers and global leaders develop policies and programs to meet the needs of people around the world," said PRB President and CEO Jeff Jordan. "For more than 50 years, PRB's World Population Data Sheet has been doing just that by identifying trends with important implications for economic growth, resource allocation, and health policies globally."
Centene Corporation And Feeding America Partner To Launch 'Food For Today And Food For Tomorrow' Initiative
St Louis, Missouri
Centene Corporation and Feeding America have announced the launch of the 'Food for Today and Food for Tomorrow' resource development initiative, a program that will equip network food banks and Centene health plans with best practice guidelines for meeting the needs of individuals experiencing food insecurity.
The initiative leverages the screen and intervene model that screens individuals for food insecurity and connects them with access to healthy food to improve nutrition and health outcomes. In the first phase, Centene and Feeding America will create guidelines for medically tailored food boxes and for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) application assistance in health care settings. The cross-sector partnership will enable impactful collaboration on food security initiatives within communities across the country.
"Centene is proud to partner with Feeding America to establish best practice guidelines for meeting the needs of residents identified as food insecure," said Marcela Manjarrez-Hawn, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Centene. "Food insecurity is one of the most critical social determinants of health, and has a direct impact on health outcomes. These efforts support our commitment to ensuring our communities and our members have access to nutritious, healthy food."
There Is an Arch Villain Behind The Climate Crisis And There Is Just One Solution
Culver City, California
Today one million species of plants and animals are facing extinction. Over the next two decades, global warming will threaten the survival of virtually every multicellular life form -- including us. In this "save-the-planet" book, The Great Healing - Five Compassions That Can Save The World, award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Stephen Erickson, a member of The Great Healing LLC, introduces exquisite creatures, human and non-human, and the challenges they face, while revealing the Arch Villain and humanity's singular solution.
The main cause of global warming is Big Ag. Its behemoth dark twins, industrial agriculture and factory farming, are responsible for creating a far greater share of greenhouse gas emissions than any other industry. Industrial agriculture also kills the life of the soil, its microbiome, destroying healthy soil's ability to sequester carbon -- making the Arch Villain a preeminently lethal adversary.
There exists only one solution to the climate crisis: Regenerative agriculture and healthy soil's natural ability to drawdown and hold carbon. The key to achieving this rapidly and at necessary scale are Five Compassions: Compassion for Animals, for Self, for the Land, for Community, and for Democracy.
Compassionate activism and widespread awareness can create The Great Healing. More than a "call-to-action" book, this is a book with a plan. Told empathetically through the stories of exquisite creatures, they are an emotional invitation, a way in, to easily grasp the situation and its urgency.
National coalition, anchored by Regeneration International and Sunrise Movement, calls for massive overhaul of food & farming policy to address climate and farm crises
A national coalition representing almost 10,000 U.S. farmers and ranchers has delivered a letter to Congress urging support for the Green New Deal and calling on lawmakers to make agriculture policy reform a priority for addressing the climate crisis and the economic crisis facing independent family farms.
Ronnie Cummins, RI international director, said: "It's time to empower farmers and ranchers to transform the country's agricultural landscape by transitioning to production practices aligned with the Green New Deal's goals for clean water and air for everyone, access to local and healthy food for all, a level playing field for small businesses and net-zero emissions by 2030."
"Farmers and ranchers are essential to stop climate change but current policies put them in shackles," said Garrett Blad, Sunrise Movement, whose family has farmed in Indiana for three generations. "A Green New Deal must break the stranglehold corporations have on farmers and empower them with the tools and financial support to be the good stewards they are."
"Farmers and ranchers have a critical role to play in mitigating the devastating effects of greenhouse gas emissions," said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine). "As this Congress prioritizes bold solutions to the climate crisis change, we must remember to bring farmers to the table."
Dominion Energy Announces Largest Offshore Wind Project in US
Dominion Energy is proposing the largest offshore wind development in the country to provide more renewable energy to its customers in the Commonwealth and provide a boost to the offshore wind industry on the East Coast.
The company filed an application with PJM, the regional transmission organization that coordinates the electrical grid in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia, to interconnect the proposed turbines to the transmission grid.
Dominion Energy's filing is a vital first step to move forward in developing Virginia's full offshore wind potential. The company looks forward to working with the Northam Administration and other partners on next steps in public policy needed to realize both the clean energy and economic potential of offshore wind.
"Offshore wind is an excellent renewable energy source and this filing with PJM shows how serious we are about bringing commercial-scale offshore wind to Virginia, giving our customers what they have asked for -- more renewable energy," said Mark D. Mitchell, vice president of generation construction. "Governor Ralph Northam has made it clear Virginia is committed to leading the way in offshore wind. We are rising to this challenge with this 2,600-megawatt commercial offshore wind development."
Dominion Energy is aggressively pursuing a clean energy future anchored by a 55 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. To accomplish this goal, the company is investing in solar and wind energy partnered with zero-carbon nuclear and low-carbon natural gas. The company also has planned investments in battery storage, pumped hydroelectric storage and other resources that can support the intermittent nature of solar and wind.
Educational Environmental Forum To Be Held To Address Per- And Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals. Both chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don't break down and they can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects (Source: U.S. EPA).
On April 22-24, 2020 an educational environmental forum (PFAS Forum) is being conducted at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel in Tampa, Florida. The PFAS Forum is being organized to provide an understanding of the environmental issues related to PFAS, educate the environmental/remediation industry and regulatory community on the potential risks from PFAS, as well as, discuss regulatory and legal issues, monitoring, treatment, cleanup and disposal technologies.
For information on submitting an abstract, becoming a sponsor, exhibiting or registering please visit the PFAS Forum web site at: https://pfasforum.org. Abstract deadline is January 17, 2020.
Five Studies Show Mindfulness Improves Presenteeism, Reduces Stress, and Associated Health Costs
When you reduce stress through mindfulness, you improve productivity and decrease healthcare costs, according to data presented at The Integrated Benefits Institute and Conference Board Health and Productivity Forum in Chicago.
"Stress, lack of productivity, and rising healthcare costs continue to plague our nation's workforce," said Ruth Q. Wolever, PhD, speaker, Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Chief Science Officer for eMindful. "These findings confirm that mindfulness is a powerful tool to address some of the toughest challenges facing employers."
The five studies were conducted using gold standard methods to determine the impact of mindfulness on health and productivity. Participants in each study used eMindful's evidence-based, expert-led applied mindfulness programs via a mobile app or the web. The studies analyzed thousands of participants using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), a widely used and validated instrument for measuring perception of stress, and the Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ), which assesses the degree to which physical health, emotional problems, and other factors interfere with one's ability to perform a job.
Cities that adapt to new economic models compete best in real estate sector
Research directed by The Business of Cities and professional services firm JLL reveals that no longer are a city's economic fundamentals the main draw for corporate occupiers and investors. Instead, quality of life, innovation, sustainability, governance and resilience increasingly factor into location and investment decisions. Cities that adapt to new economic models -- such as the innovation economy, experience economy, sharing economy and circular economy -- will enjoy new sources of real estate demand and attract higher cross-border investment. "
What businesses need from cities is changing, as a result of technological disruption, growing concerns over climate change and geopolitical tensions," says Jeremy Kelly, Director, Global Research at JLL. "By sifting through more than 500 city indices, we pinpointed key trends that will matter most for our clients."
Several new economic models are shifting attention to how cities build a customer service culture, foster urban experiences, expand innovation industries and achieve sustainability:
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