New C40 and Arup Research Shows How City Governments are Changing the World

A collaborative approach to governance accelerate transformative climate action in cities, report show

On July 1, 2015, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and Arup released Powering Climate Action: Cities as Global Changemakers, a report that demonstrates cities are taking substantial steps on climate action by collaborating and leveraging partnerships not only with each other, but also with the private sector and civil society.

The research quantifies and catalogues the breadth and depth of power that 66 city governments hold over assets and functions across key sectors influencing climate change. In the report, cities are classified into six different urban governance typologies to demonstrate the varying powers they hold and their ability to influence or take climate action.

The ‘Powering Climate Action’ report offers empirical confirmation of what we at C40 have witnessed over the past decade,” said C40 Director of Research, Measurement and Planning Seth Schultz. Mayors face similar challenges and seek to implement similar solutions, and this provides a basis for the collaboration we see working through the global network of C40 every day.”

According to the report, cities have complex governance structures and utilize various pathways to deliver climate action. The report establishes that cities share remarkably similar power profiles across regions and sectors, which makes them well-positioned to benefit from other cities through mutual learning and cooperation. The evidence shows that cities are taking action even where they have limited power, by collaborating with other cities and non-state actors and catalysing wider climate action in the private sector and civil society. Indeed, the research shows that 40 per cent of all transformative climate action in cities is taken through a collaborative approach to governance.

When it comes to delivering action, the way cities use their power is more important than the dimensions of power they have. Limited power need not mean limited action for cities; there is enormous potential for partnerships with other cities, private businesses, investors and civil society to further climate action,” said Paula Kirk, Arup Energy and Climate Change Leader. We hope that the insight in the report helps to improve the measurement, management and strategic planning of climate action in cities, and helping to accelerate meaningful action on climate change.”

Powering Climate Action is the first report delivered under a strengthened C40-Arup partnership announced last week. The two organizations have worked together since 2009 to conduct ground-breaking research on the actions cities are taking to address climate change, and what impact these actions are achieving.

Upcoming research will include analysis of the barriers faced by city leaders in taking climate action, as well as innovative data visualisation tools to enable further engagement with C40’s data.

The full Powering Climate Action: Cities as Global Changemakers report is available to download at: http://c40-production-images.s3.amazonaws.com/other_uploads/images/295_Powering_Climate_Action_Full_Report.original.pdf?1435760139.

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, now in its 10th year, connects more than 75 of the world’s greatest cities, representing 500+ million people and one quarter of the global economy. Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens. The current chair of the C40 is Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes; three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. To learn more about the work of C40 and our cities, please visit www.c40.org, follow us on Twitter @c40cities and like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/C40Cities.

Arup is the creative force at the heart of many of the most prominent projects in cities across the world. With 11,000 designers, planners, engineers and consultants working from 90 offices and 38 countries, Arup’s global reach and unique insight is helping cities to understand what really works. www.arup.com

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Pizza Hut Hong Kong turns boxes into smartphone projectors

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Pizza Hut's Hong Kong operation has launched a new promotion featuring a pizza box film projector for smartphones.

pizza-box-turns-your-smartphone-into-a-movie-projector-7Designed by Ogilvy Hong Kong, the Blockbuster Box includes a special version of the pizza 'table' – the little piece of plastic that keeps the box lid from being pushed down onto the pizza topping – featuring a lens.

Customers punch out a perforated circle on one side of the box in the side, insert the lens and then slot their smartphone behind it, allowing whatever is on the screen to be projected onto a wall.

The boxes also have QR codes on which can scan to get a free movie download.

There are four different themed boxes -- Fully Loaded box for action movies, Slice Night for scary movies, Hot & Ready for romance, and Anchovy Armageddon for sci-fi.

The Blockbuster Box has so far only been released in Hong Kong.

This shows that there is a way, and there have been other examples, to design packaging in many different ways to have a second use, and if done right one that extends for some time to come. It is all a matter of designers getting their thinking caps on and thinking outside the box, pardon the pun.

But it is not just cardboard boxes of many different kinds that could be given a design makeover that would give people an immediate idea as to a reuse or second use of the packaging. A multitude of other packaging could also be designed in such as way as to have an obvious second use. It has been done before and in some cases is being done still, such as certain mustard brands and types, and certain chocolate spreads whose glass containers are, in fact, created with a second use automatically in mind in that they become drinking glasses. Still there are many people who just toss them out after use rather than washing them out and adding them to their cupboard stock.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that some people may be too lazy to clean such glasses to retain them for use, or to remake some other packing into useful things that they have been designed to become after, they should still be created. There will be enough people who will happily use such products and thus much of what otherwise would be waste could and would be kept out of the landfill sites.

© 2015

Evangelical Church says that men who cook can become gay

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Evangelical Pentecostal Revival Church, based in Chile, made a rather radical, and may I add stupid, announcement claiming that men who cook are "sick" and are in danger of developing homosexuality.

This position and stance of the church was posted on Facebook, where it was clearly stated that “homosexuality is a disease that men can develop by engaging in practices that were once considered the sole responsibility of women.”

The statement on social media said further that “a man cooking, caring for children or performing any other own work of women puts himself at serious risk of becoming ill with homosexuality.”

These controversial claims, part of an invitation from a member of the “church” to followers to participate in an educational Christian seminary entitled "Learning about homosexuality" in which he detailed how engaging in activities that once were considered the sole domain of women can make men ill until they become gay.

After receiving a barrage of criticism, the message was unpublished by the account managers, who also issued an apology. However, the removal of the post and the “apology” does not alter the fact that that is what they, and not only they, believe and actually teach.

According to those reckonings every cook (chef) through the ages – for cooking on a grand scale was once solely the domain of men, every tailor, and others, must have been gay then. Just saying, for even if they were what does it matter.

Sometimes I have to say I do not know from what planet those so-called Christians have dropped and what they are smoking.

To be perfectly honest I don't really care what planet it is they have come from just could they please take the next flight back to there and stay there and take the stuff that they are smoking with them, please, for it seems a rather harmful substance.

Those people have the gall to call other people from other religions fundamentalists while believing that they themselves have gobbled up the truth and knowledge with shovels.

The Evangelical Pentecostal Revival Church in Chile, and its members, are not, however, the only ones who are in this same boat. It is a rather large cruise liner, to stay with the shipping analogy, and not just a small boat for there appear to be thousands upon thousands who have similar views in the USA and elsewhere. Those people are capable to read things between the lines of the Bible and thus seem to come up with things entirely different to the rest of us when reading the same texts that they read. Amazing, isn't it?

In addition to that many of the “elders” of such “churches” will also claim that in order to understand the Bible one has to study it in Bible Groups of the “church” where one gets the texts explained. Sheeple control at its best. Apparently only those that have the right spirit can interpret the scriptures and thus indoctrinate the sheep.

© 2015

Low-income Woodland farming families go solar

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Like many Americans, Alex Hernandez lost his home and his job in the aftermath of the recession. The former contractor, now truck driver, has four kids, and his paycheck goes to them.

Hernandez lives in a four-bedroom apartment with his family in a Woodland complex, but it's not like the other apartment buildings -- this one is 100 percent solar powered.

That means big savings for Hernandez and everyone else who lives here.

"I went from 257 bucks a month to $7," Hernandez said. "And, I have my A/C on all day!"

Sounds too good to be true, but it's not. It's called Mutual Housing at Spring Lake. It's a community built specifically for low-income farm workers and their families. Their rent is reduced, and so is the utility bill thanks to solar panels built on the rooftops.

Read more here.

Study shows that experiences, not things, will make you happier

little boys on a beach in Brazil

Many people know that experiences will make them happier, and yet they continue to spend money on material objects because of their perceived greater value.

There is an ongoing debate between my husband and me about how we’d like to spend any extra money that comes in. He likes to acquire, slowly but surely, high quality items that will last for many years, such as cookware, chef’s knives, and winter coats.

While I can’t argue with his ongoing quest for quality, I would prefer to spend money on travel, to skip buying that gorgeous pot by Le Creuset and put that money toward a destination, an experience, and a lasting memory. We do a good job of striking a balance between our two preferences, but now I’ve come across some interesting research that I’ll have to show him as a way of boosting my side of the argument!

It has been shown by a recent study from San Francisco State University that greater happiness comes from seeking experiences, rather than material objects. Although this may seem like common sense to many readers, reality paints another picture – one in which people most often spend their money on material items because they mistakenly believe that they have greater value.

Read more here.

90 percent of US could live on food grown entirely within 100 miles

Eating locally

New farmland-mapping research shows the country’s surprising potential when it comes to eating more locally.

In all the years that I’ve been writing about choosing food grown nearby, the irony that persists is this: I can easily find and purchase food that was grown within 100 miles of my New York City address, but people who live in the middle of farming country cannot. If you ask me, that speaks of a screwy food system in need of help. We grow so much food in this country, yet the average food item travels, by one oft-quoted statistic, some 1,500 miles to reach our plates. Food miles aren't the only important thing when it comes to eating sustainably, but if we could make some shifts toward opting for things that were produced more closely, it would clearly be helpful.

But would it be possible for everyone to eat locally? According to a new study by Elliott Campbell, a professor at the University of California, Merced, it is. In his research, he found that in fact, 90 percent of Americans could be fed entirely by food grown or raised within 100 miles of their homes. It's hypothetical of course, but the potential is intriguing. And hopeful.

Read more here.

Missouri Food Pantries Help Clients Grow Their Own Produce

Bill McKelvey created Grow Well Missouri with a five-year grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health to help create more access to produce — and the health benefits that come with growing it yourself.

In the U.S., 1 in 6 people struggles with hunger. Food pantries across the country pass out food to help these people put meals on the table. But what if they could help teach the pantry visitors how to grow their own food, too?

Grow Well Missouri, a program that travels to food pantries around central Missouri, is one of several food-aid groups trying to do just that, passing out seeds and starter plants to low-income locals.

On a recent wet spring morning, the group set up in Columbia, Mo. Four volunteers for Grow Well Missouri worked under a blue popup tent outside of Central Pantry, repotting about 50 starter tomato plants into larger containers. They had a steady stream of visitors stopping by, curious about what's going on.

Volunteer Marie Paisley packaged a tomato plant, a trowel and literature on how to successfully grow the plant all into a tote bag. Then she passed it to food pantry customers with some helpful tips on how to care for the plant.

"When you get it home, you need to water it through thoroughly, 'til the water runs out the bottom of the container," she says.

Read more here.

Making local woods work for Community Enterprises

Fifty communities across the UK will receive support to transform unmanaged woodland into opportunities for jobs, leisure, education and services and to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.

Woodland-20150625085741451The Big Lottery Fund is awarding £1,151,111 to the Plunkett Foundation for its Making Local Woods Work project. The pilot project, due to launch later this year, will help people to create social enterprises in local unmanaged woodlands so they can grow into sustainable businesses, creating new areas of employment and training to benefit their communities. The opening up of much-needed access to the natural environment will not only provide opportunities for economic growth, but better engagement with the outdoors will result in better health and wellbeing for those involved.

According to the Forestry Commission, 47 per cent of woodland are unmanaged or under-managed* which can threaten the variety of plant and animal life. Many bird and plant species have been in decline in recent years**. Active woodland management could preserve and increase the biodiversity of these habitats and increase wood fuel production.

Woodland social enterprises are beginning to emerge as a way of tackling a wide range of issues and there is growing evidence of local people successfully using their skills and ideas to set up businesses which have been effective in improving communities.

One example is Hill Holt Wood in Lincolnshire which provides training for young people who have been referred by agencies because they are excluded from school or are unemployed. The woodland also attracts more lone visitors, particularly women, due to the presence of volunteers performing activities including coppicing, woodcraft and charcoal manufacturing. Revenue is also achieved through its cafe and green burials. A further example is Blarbuie Woodland Enterprise in Argyll which has provided residents of the Bute long stay hospital, access to the adjacent woodland, activities such as arts and crafts, wildlife walks, training and employment opportunities.

Making Local Woods Work will provide training, volunteering and employment opportunities to 500 people tackling unemployment, social isolation and poverty. It will support, advise and train 50 groups across the UK to become woodland social enterprises involving study visits, training in asset transfers, financing, asset acquisition, land brokerage, woodland management and business planning. It will also deliver training and knowledge sharing events to 200 groups looking at setting up their own woodland social enterprises.

The project will be delivered in partnership with the Forestry Commission, The Woodland Trust, Grown in Britain and other partners.

Improving the availability and quality of knowledge to such a large body of people will help to bring about wide-scale improvements in the ability of groups to set-up local woodland social enterprises. Evidence of the project’s impact and sharing of the learning will be used to influence future practice of woodland social enterprises and also woodland management in general.

Peter Couchman, Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that, thanks to the Big Lottery Fund, we will be able to support 50 woodland social enterprise pilot projects across the UK over the next three years. This important work will help to support a range of social enterprises to bring woodlands into active management, increase their use and ultimately help more people to enjoy and benefit from woodlands. We’re excited to be working with both new and familiar partners on this project.”

Peter Ainsworth, Big Lottery Fund UK Chair, said: “There aren’t many woodland social enterprises around yet, but where they do exist they have a great record of promoting skills and employability. It’s exciting to be able to support this initiative which aims to improve the quality of life of those directly involved and also make woodlands more accessible and better looked after for the benefit of all.”

Making Local Woods Work is a project led by the Plunkett Foundation involving partners the Woodland Trust, the Forestry Commission, Hill Holt Wood, the Community Woodland Association, Llan y Goedwig, the National Association of AONBs, Locality and Shared Assets. The partnership has a range of skills and experience including social enterprise development, community ownership and management of assets and woodland management.

This press release is presented without editing for your information only.

Full Disclosure Statement: The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.

Climate change should be top foreign policy priority, G7 study says

Global warming ‘ultimate threat multiplier’ posing serious risk to world security, says report urging governments not to see it simply as a climate issue

Tackling climate change risks must become a top foreign policy priority if the world is to combat the global security threat it poses in the 21st century, according to a new study commissioned by the G7 countries.

Multiple conflicts have taken the government systems for dealing with them “to their limits”, according to one of the authors of the report, which was launched at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Tuesday.

Written by an international consortium including peacebuilding NGO International Alert and the European Union Institute for Security Studies, it calls climate change “the ultimate threat multiplier” in fragile situations.

Read more here.

Citing conflicts in Syria and Mali and land grabs in Ethiopia, it warns that problems exacerbated by climate change – such as food insecurity, competition for water and land, migration and displacement – could leave fragile states unable to provide for their citizens.

Speaking at the launch, Baroness Anelay, the UK’s minister of state for the FCO, agreed that climate change should become a top foreign policy priority.

“Climate change is not only a threat to the environment but to global security and economic prosperity. That therefore makes it a top priority not only for environment ministers but foreign ministers too. It’s a cross government issue – and if it’s not, it should be,” she said.

Exploring Italy, the 'Bioculture' Way

The often forgotten Italian region of Le Marche offers rolling green hills of organic wine, olives and vegetables as well as passionate artists, agrotourisms and historic tales.

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The Le Marche region in central Italy is deeply connected to its land and locality, with small-scale organic and biodynamic vineyards, agrotourisms, passionate communities and a focus on local and sustainable food. The region sits between the Adriatic Sea and the Appenine mountains that extend along the length of peninsular Italy.

I was recently given the opportunity to visit this stunning region, with the main aim of testing out a new App: Bioculture, aimed at people visiting in Le Marche. I have to admit, I was a bit dubious at first. My idea of a holiday is somewhere I can turn my phone off and immerse myself in the culture and countryside of my localities. But the Bioculture App surprised me.

Read more here.

Bioculture is the baby of Federico Bomba, a theatre director and advocate of local business. Federico was fed up with artists in Italy not being able to find paid work. Since the economic crash, more and more Italians are either moving abroad to find work or are leaving their city careers for the ‘slower pace’ of life in the countryside – growing grapes, olives and food – which although may be ‘slower’ is actually a lot of hard work.

Federico wanted to bring artists back into the economic sector and saw the best way for this was to connect them up with tourism. This is how Art Walks with Bioculture was born. This project and app joins up agrotourism, local food, businesses and artists who are passionate about the health and tourism of their region.