Living materials are the future of sustainable building

Living materials are the future of sustainable building

A Pennsylvania State University RESEARCH on living materials that are the future of sustainable building has elaborated on this aspect of the building materials and / or their combination as illustrated by the above image of Jose Duarte, professor of architecture, and doctoral student Elena Vazquez adjust panels on a prototype of a dynamic window shading system that Vazquez designed and built.  Credit to: Patrick Mansell. All rights reserved.  If this goes through, we could safely say that building sites will look a bit different in the future.
Climate change could devastate Mideast, East Mediterranean

Climate change could devastate Mideast, East Mediterranean

An international team of scientists warned that Climate change could devastate the Mideast and the East Mediterranean. Let us see what it’s all about.

The above picture is of EUROACTIV

Climate change could devastate Mideast, East Mediterranean

A man carries a fishing rod during sunset along the shoreline in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, 230 km (140 miles) north of Cairo, July 12, 2011. Alexandria, with 4 million people, is Egypt’s second-largest city and also one of the Middle East’s cities most at risk from rising sea levels due to global warming. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Climate change could devastate Mideast, East Mediterranean – scientists

NICOSIA, Sept 6 (Reuters) – Climate change could have a devastating effect on the lives of millions in the East Mediterranean and Middle East, where temperatures are rising nearly twice as fast as the global average, an international team of scientists warned.

The region could see an overall warming of up to 5 degrees Celsius or more by the end of the century on a business-as-usual scenario, a report prepared by the Cyprus Institute said.

That temperature spike was almost twice that anticipated in other areas of the planet, and faster than any other inhabited parts of the world, it said.

The report, prepared under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Climate and Atmosphere Research Center of The Cyprus Institute, will be submitted at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) taking place in Egypt in November.

A combination of reduced rainfall and weather warming will contribute to severe droughts, compromising water and food security, with many countries unprepared for rising sea levels, one expert said.

“This (scenario) would imply severe challenges for coastal infrastructure and agriculture, and can lead to the salinization of costal aquifers, including the densely populated and cultivated Nile Delta,” said Dr. George Zittis of the Cyprus Institute, an author of the report.

Meeting the main targets of the Paris Agreement, a global pact of countries to cut emissions, could stabilize the annual temperature increase to about 2 degrees Celsius.

Scientists recommend rapid implementation of decarbonization actions with a particular emphasis on the energy and transportation sectors.

“Since many of the regional outcomes of climate change are transboundary, stronger collaboration among the countries is indispensable to cope with the expected adverse impacts,” said Jos Lelieveld, director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, institute professor at the Cyprus Institute, and coordinator of the assessment.

Writing By Michele Kambas; Editing by Bernadette Baum
Read original Reuters
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Mediterranean has experienced record sea temperatures this summer

Mediterranean has experienced record sea temperatures this summer

As Egypt looks to the cooling power of the sea for help, the Mediterranean has experienced record sea temperatures this summer.

The above image is of MIT News

The Mediterranean has experienced record sea temperatures this summer: this could devastate marine life

Mediterranean has experienced record sea temperatures this summer
Mediterranean coral reefs support diverse ecosystems, their loss would be catastrophic.
Damsea/Shutterstock

John Spicer, University of Plymouth

The ocean sustains all life on our planet. It provides food to eat and oxygen to breathe, while playing a key role in moderating our climate. But marine life is increasingly threatened by climate change. The ocean is becoming considerably warmer, affecting its ability to sustain life.

The searing temperatures seen around the Mediterranean this year are indicative of rising global temperatures. This is set to continue over the next century, contingent on how much CO₂ we continue to emit.

The International Energy Agency reported that global energy-related CO₂ emissions rose by 6% in 2021 to their highest ever level.

The Mediterranean has been subject to intense thermal conditions in recent years. This has taken a further severe step this year, with sea temperatures reaching a record 30.7°C off Corsica.

A marine heatwave is defined as an extended period of abnormally high sea temperatures, relative to the seasonal average. They have doubled in frequency since the 1980s.

Because of the delay between undertaking and publishing ecological work, the most comprehensive study we have on Mediterranean marine heatwaves covers the period 2015-2019.

The study found that the sea temperatures recorded in the Mediterranean over the period were the highest since recording began in 1982. Of almost a thousand field surveys conducted, researchers found that 58% of them contained evidence of the widespread mortality of marine life, tightly linked to periods of extreme heat.

The research provides an insight into the future ecological impacts of marine heatwaves elsewhere. This is significant as substantial temperature increases are forecast for tropical and polar regions in particular.

While the ocean acts as a large carbon sink, we still face increases in the surface temperature of the sea ranging from 1–3°C before the end of the century. Linked to this overall warming are marine heatwaves of increasing frequency and intensity.

Climate change is causing heatwaves within the ocean.

Much of the research on marine heatwaves finds that they affect certain habitats particularly strongly, including coral reefs, seagrasses and seaweeds. Marine heatwaves were found to be responsible for the loss of up to 80% of the population of some Mediterranean species between 2015 and 2019.

A mass mortality event is a single, catastrophic incident that rapidly wipes out vast numbers of a species. Around 88% of these events in the Mediterranean were associated with hard sea floor inhabitants, such as corals. However, seagrasses and the more diverse community of the soft sea floor were also severely effected, accounting for 10% and 2% of these events respectively.

Deaths in shallow water

More than two-thirds of the deaths of marine organisms occurring on the hard sea floor were in the shallowest waters. Marine environments with a depth of 0–25 metres are subject to particularly intense warming and are home to some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the Mediterranean, formed by coral-like organisms. Other research estimates that marine heatwaves have been responsible for the loss of 80–90% of Mediterranean coral density since 2003.

Foundation species tend to be habitat-forming organisms and are therefore critical in structuring an ecosystem. They act as nursery grounds, provide protection against predators, and serve as a food source. Foundation species are key to sustaining biodiversity, and their loss will have repercussions for other species. As foundation species, the loss of coral, seagrass and seaweed is particularly concerning.

It is not just intense heat stress that is causing mortality events. High water temperatures are associated with the proliferation of disease-causing organisms, such as bacteria, fungi and viruses. This may further reduce the ability of the ecosystem to adapt to extreme heat, contributing to additional ecological damage.

Migration of marine life

As well as prompting the widespread death of marine life, marine heatwaves often trigger migration. Warm-water invasive species will move towards the warmer areas, replacing species escaping the rising temperatures. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the exceptional temperatures seen across the Mediterranean this summer may be driving extensive mass migration.

In Greece, scientists have observed an increased abundance of invasive species from warmer waters. This includes the lionfish and silver-cheeked toadfish, both of which are toxic, and carry the potential to inflict considerable ecological damage.

Some research even suggests that invasive species in the eastern Mediterranean, where native populations have collapsed, will soon become the only ones capable of sustaining ecosystems.

Mediterranean has experienced record sea temperatures this summer

A lionfish with its many fins swimming against a soft coral background within a deep blue ocean.

Warmer waters have attracted invasive species such as the lionfish towards the Mediterranean, carrying the potential for considerable ecological damage.
Richard Whitcombe/Shutterstock

There have also been sightings of non-native barracuda off France’s south coast. The invasion of predatory species, who find new prey while facing fewer predators, could considerably alter the functioning of the Mediterranean’s ecosystems, most likely to a less-rich form with lower species diversity.

However, while anecdotal evidence is plentiful, research into the ecological effects of marine heatwaves remains in its infancy. There needs to be further robust scientific studies on which to develop modelling of realistic future scenarios.

Within some branches of the scientific community, the recent intensity and frequency of marine heatwaves suggests we have arrived at a “climate endgame”. This involves preparation for the full consequences of widespread marine species mortality, should emissions not be curbed. The likely devastating Mediterranean marine heatwave of this year will only add fuel to such discussions.The Conversation

John Spicer, Professor of Marine Zoology, University of Plymouth

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation

Water and the requirement for prostration

Water and the requirement for prostration

Water and the requirement for prostration or is it a Disruption to Earth’s freshwater cycle that exceeded the safe limit?

by Abdou BENABBOU

Rarely brought to the forefront, water has always been, for all countries, at the centre of their main concerns. 

Deaf conflicts between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia through which the Nile passes have been revealed without reaching significant exceedances. Just as the waters of the Euphrates have always suggested, arm wrestling and tensions between Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Israeli warmongering have hovered indefinitely on the subject because the Zionist state has made it a weapon of survival.

Water, the first source of life, has always been an element of discord between men, whether for the irrigation of small plots of land or to quench the thirst of entire territories. 

The current exceptional global drought that, in the long term, puts on the agenda a fabulous problem already announcing the downgrading of the priority given to the different and fundamental sources of today’s energies. 

As all emanate from this blue gold, the choice between gas, oil, wheat, and other resources that are objects of planetary tug-of-war and nerves will no longer be questioned. Water had never required idolatry, and its pressing solicitude is about to surpass that of oil.

It is no longer just a question of conforming to the usual vicissitudes of the agricultural world. But it is now a vital resource for humans.

The spread of land aridity and the relentless exceptional drought disintegrating the order of the hemispheres will create a massive breach for new world conflicts. That green Britain refrains from pampering the grass of its residences, about to lose their green lush or that farmers throughout Europe are forced to bow down to providence in the same way as the peasants of Niger is a warning shot to announce a new inevitable global disruption. It is doubtful that the powers will stand idly by in the face of thirst and the temptation to republish; by all means, the stranglehold on the water will become flush with the skin.

 

Sustainability helps reduce the environmental impact of industry

Sustainability helps reduce the environmental impact of industry

Would Sustainability in the manufacturing sector help reduce the environmental impact of the industry, or as put by Nabil Nasr of Rochester Institute of Technology, who below talks about how Sustainability helps reduce the environmental impact of the industry. 

In their respective effort to develop and diversify their economies, the MENA countries would do well, unlike the developed countries hundreds of years ago, consider Sustainability and factor it in.  The sooner these countries can meet the current requirements would certainly lighten their future generation of entrepreneurs when tackling the world’s most significant challenge of Sustainability.

The image above is on how Sustainable manufacturing offers ways to reduce environmental impact.
Fertnig/E+ via Getty Images

 

How sustainable manufacturing could help reduce the environmental impact of industry

 

Nabil Nasr is the associate provost and director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology. He is also the CEO of the Remade Institute, which was established by the U.S. government to conduct early-stage R&D to accelerate the transition to circular economy, which is a sustainable industrial model for improved resource efficiency and decreased systemic energy, emissions and waste generation. Below are highlights from an interview with The Conversation. Here, Nasr explains some of the ideas behind sustainable manufacturing and why they matter. Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Nabil Nasr, associate provost and director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology, discusses sustainable manufacturing and other topics.

How would you explain sustainable manufacturing? What does the average person not know or understand about sustainable manufacturing?

When we talk about sustainable manufacturing, we mean cleaner and more efficient systems with less resource consumption, less waste and emissions. It is to simply minimize any negative impact on the environment while we are still meeting demand, but in much more efficient and sustainable ways. One example of sustainable manufacturing is an automotive factory carrying out its production capacity with 10% of its typical emission due to advanced and efficient processing technology, reducing its production waste to near zero by figuring out how to switch its shipping containers of supplied parts from single use to reusable ones, accept more recycled materials in production, and through innovation make their products more efficient and last longer.

Sustainability is about the proper balance in a system. In our industrial system, it means we are taking into account the impact of what we do and also making sure we understand the impact on the supply side of natural resources that we use. It is understanding environmental impacts and making sure we’re not causing negative impacts unnecessarily. It’s being able to ensure that we are able to satisfy our demands now and in the future without facing any environmental challenges.

Early on at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, emissions, waste and natural resource consumption were low. A lot of the manufacturing impacts on the environment were not taken into account because the volumes that we were generating were much, much lower than we have today. The methods and approaches in manufacturing we use today are really built on a lot of those approaches that we developed back then.

The reality is that the situation today has drastically changed, but our approaches have not. There is plenty of industrialization going on around the globe. And, there is plenty of pollution and waste generated. In addition, a lot of materials we use in manufacturing are nonrenewable resources.

So it sounds like countries that are industrialized now picked up a lot of bad habits. And we know that growth is coming from these developing nations and we don’t want them to repeat those bad habits. But we want to raise their standard of living just without the consequences that we brought to the environment.

Yeah, absolutely. So there was an article I read a long time ago that said China and India either will destroy the world or save it. And I think the rationale was that if China and India copy the model and technologies used in the West to building its industrial system, the world will see drastic negative impact on the environment. The key factor here is the significantly high scale of activities needed to support their very large populations. However, if they are much more innovative and come up with much more efficient and cleaner methods better than used in the West to build up industrial enterprises, they would save the world because the scale of what they do is significant.

In talking about how these two countries could either ruin or save the world, do you remain an optimist?

Absolutely. I serve on the the United Nations Environment Program’s International Resource Panel. One of the IRP’s roles is to inform policy through validated independent scientific studies. One of the panel’s reports is called the Global Resources Outlook. The last report was published in 2019.

The experts are saying that if business as usual continues, we’re probably going to increase greenhouse gas emission by 43% by 2060. However, if we employ effective sustainability measures across the globe, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a significant percentage, even by as much as 90%. A 2018 study I led for the IRP found that applying remanufacturing alongside other resource recovery methods like comprehensive refurbishment, repair and reuse could cut greenhouse gas emissions of those products by 79%–99% across manufacturing supply chains.

So there is optimism if we employ many sustainability measures. However, I’ve been around long enough to know that it’s always disappointing to see that the indicators are there; the approaches to address some of those issues are identified, but the will to actually employ them isn’t. Despite this, I’m still optimistic because we know enough about the right path forward and it is still not too late to move in the right direction.

Were there any lessons we’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic that we can apply to challenges we’re facing?

We learned a lot from the COVID crisis. When the risk became known, even though not all agreed, people around the globe took significant measures and actions to address the challenge. We accepted changes to the way we live and interact, we marshaled all of our resources to develop vaccines and address the medical supply shortages. The bottom line is that we rose to the occasion and we, in most part, took actions to deal with the risk in a significant way.

The environmental challenges we face today, like climate change, are serious global challenges as well. However, they have been occurring over a long time and, unfortunately, mostly have not been taken as seriously as they should have been. We certainly have learned that when we have the will to address serious challenges, we can meet them.

Final question. Give me the elevator pitch on remanufacturing.

Remanufacturing is a process by which we bring a product that has been used back to a like-new-or-better condition. Through a rigorous industrial process, we disassemble the product to the component level. We clean, inspect and restore it, qualifying every part. We then reassemble the product similar to what happened when it was built the first time. The reality is that by doing so, you’re using anywhere from 70% to 90% of the materials recovered from the use phase. This has significantly far lower impacts on the environment when compared to making new products from raw materials.

You don’t mine virgin material for that. You’re saving the energy that made those parts; you’re saving the capital equipment that made those parts; you’re saving the labor cost. So the savings are significant. The overall savings are about 50%. For example, a remanufactured vehicle part in the United States requires less than 10% of the energy needed to make a new one, and less than 5% of new materials. That means lower costs for the producer while providing the consumer with a very high-quality product. Examples of commonly remanufactured products are construction equipment, automotive engines and transmissions, medical equipment and aircraft parts. Those products are similar to brand-new products, and companies like Xerox, Caterpillar and GE all have made remanufacturing an important part of their overall operations.The Conversation

Nabil Nasr, Associate Provost Academic Affairs and Director of GIS, Rochester Institute of Technology

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation

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