Each week, we’ll share some of our staff’s recommended local, national, and international stories. Check these articles out for news and context related to sustainability, human health, climate, environmental justice, and the economy. Follow the Punchlist to connect the dots between the built environment, the natural environment, and quality of life!
Rachel Carson EcoVillage Progress
The Rachel Carson EcoVillage, located at Chatham Univeristy's Eden Hall Campus, was approved by the township, and will break ground in Fall of 2022. There will be 35 sustainably-designed units within the village, with 20 dwellings already filled! Residents will not be passive homeowners though, they are expected to regularly volunteer to keep the grounds well-kept and be an active part of the sustainably-minded Eden Hall Campus. The EcoVillage is based on many similar communities around the United States, and it's namesake is from Chatham alumni and local environmental activist, Rachel Carson.
Climate Agreement focused on Indigenous Voices
The Escazú Agreement, signed in 2018 by 24 Latin and Caribbean countries, aims to distribute environmental information to communities most affected by climate change and environmental degradation. Recently, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has begun to urge its members to adopt the agreement because it focuses on indigenous ways to preserve nature. Indigenous leaders from around the world gathered to discuss the importance and practices behind environmental restoration. Indigenous people have historical knowledge on their respective ecosystems and deserve to be present when decisions are being made about their home.
Monarchs now Classified as Endangered
The IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, has now added Monarch Butterflies to its Red List and classified them as endangered. The decline of Monarchs is mainly due to habitat fragmentation, which is new development breaking up habitats and ecosystems. Since the IUCN is not a governmental organization, Monarchs are not protected under the Endangered Species Act, but the US Fish and Wildlife Service does consider them "at risk". Due to this classification, multiple efforts have been made to protect butterflies which has caused the decline of Monarchs to stabilize.
Utilities Threatened during Heat Wave
For the past two weeks, the US has been facing unprecedented heat waves and our utilities may not be able to keep up. During heat waves, air conditioning needs soar, and the electric grid cannot provide energy to where it is needed most. In Texas, where the heat waves are becoming dangerous, the state energy provider is encouraging citizens to significantly reduce power use. Climate change has been making it hard for energy providers to predict and prepare for heatwaves due to extreme and sporadic droughts and heatwaves.
Sustainable Building Blocks
ByFusion, a new startup, aims to reduce plastic waste around through a sustainable building block. Their machine, "The Blocker", which uses steam and compression, takes dirty, unusable plastic and creates a sustainable building block. With an 83% reduction in its carbon footprint in comparison to a cement block, the "ByBlock" can be used for many different types of building projects.