By UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Ambassador Melanne VerveerClimate change is a security threat and a vulnerability multiplier. It affects human security, food security, water security, energy security—and women’s security.The security threat starts in places like the Sahel. South of the Sahara desert, the Sahel is hot and arid. Many locals are subsistence farmers who rely on the land for their livelihood. Climate change makes it harder for them to grow reliable crops, to find enough water, to find work and to raise a family.A heat wave, or drought, or the rainy season coming too late pulls more families into poverty traps. The poverty trap is a downward spiral, often starting with crop failure and food and income shortfalls. Children are pulled out of school to help provide for their families. If food becomes scarce, women are often the first to sacrifice their meals so that others in the family get enough nourishment.Sometimes, men and boys migrate away in search of food and jobs so they can find ways to support their families […]
U.S. cities are packed with about 5 million medium-sized buildings — schools, churches, community centers, apartment buildings. Most use way more energy than they should. Many also have poor airflow and dirty, out-of-date heating and electrical systems. Those conditions contribute to high inner-city asthma rates and other health concerns.
“These buildings are actually making children sick,” says Donnel Baird, who grew up in such a place. His parents, immigrants from Guyana, raised their kids in a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment, relying on a cooking stove for heat. Baird eventually moved to the South and then attended Duke University, before returning to New York as a community organizer in 2008.
In 2013, Baird launched BlocPower, which provides engineering and financial know-how to retrofit city buildings. The technical part is cool: Engineers survey structures with sensors and smartphone apps, figuring out the best ways to reduce energy use, like replacing oil boilers with solar hot water. But the financing is critical; BlocPower builds the case for each project and connects owners with lenders. It has already retrofitted more than 500 buildings in New York and is expanding into Chicago, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.
“The biggest way for us to reduce carbon emissions right now,” Baird says, “is efficiency.”
Meet all the fixers on this year’s Grist 50.
From dancing tree fairies to the reality of spring fever, there’s more to the March equinox than almost-equal night and day. […]
It’s cheap to build, well insulated and looks really comfy too. This may finally be happening. […]
David Milarch is on a quest to save California’s coast redwoods, some of the world’s oldest and largest living things; he may be saving the planet along the way. […]
Call me a Gentle Density Creep if you like, but we need more housing and it doesn’t have to be in towers. […]
Prashant Kapoor calls it the “Resident Evil”. […]