2020’s class of Top 30 under 30 sustainability leaders shape #nextnormal

Even in the midst of the pandemic, young people are leading the push to better the world

As COVID-19 swept the globe, #climatestrike marches were cancelled, bans on single-use plastic were put on hold, along with, well, everything. The pandemic also brought into sharp focus widening societal divides, with youth, women, and racialized and marginalized communities feeling the brunt of the economic fallout. During the first wave of the pandemic, nearly one in four Canadians under the age of 30 were NEET – not in employment, education or training – according to Statistics Canada. Polling from TD Bank shows that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) youth were hardest hit.

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International Chamber of Commerce demands “bold climate action”

Paris-based ICC offers 10 sustainable finance proposals for heading off climate catastrophe

A recent Morgan Stanley study calculated that meeting the Paris Agreement’s goal of curbing global warming by 2050 will require an investment of US$50 trillion in five areas of technology: renewable energy, electric vehicles, carbon capture, biofuels and hydrogen power.

It’s a daunting number. But decision makers in business and government are slowly realizing that the cost of inaction is even greater.

The latest converts: the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), a Paris-based institution that has spent more than a century lobbying for free trade and regulatory transparency. In a Dec. 5 letter to the world’s finance ministers, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton pushed for concerted policy actions “in support of sustainable development and bold climate action.”

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Youth rising: Meet 2019’s top 30 under 30 sustainability leaders

From climate advocates to zero-waste social entrepreneurs, this year’s winners are fighting for a greener future for all

As world leaders descended upon New York City for the UN Climate Action Summit in September, millions of young people gathered in more than 200 countries on seven continents to make their voices heard. They walked out of their classrooms, their workplaces and their homes to join a 16-year-old Swedish girl in demanding that the climate crisis be treated like the emergency it is.

It’s been just over a year since Greta Thunberg felt compelled to take time off school every Friday to demand more from those in the halls of power. Twelve months later, she may be the highest-profile sustainability leader under 30 (having graced the covers of Time, GQ and Teen Vogue), but she is far from alone in her leadership. Young people are rising.

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2017 Greenest Campuses in Canada index

By Adria Vasil & Erin Gardhouse and CK Staff
A look at which universities across the country are leading the way on campus sustainability

The University of Calgary was ranked as the nation’s top campus when it comes to sustainability, according to a new index released by Corporate Knights in October. It received high scores on a number of key performance indicators, including water management, sustainable investing and green certified building space.

Following closely behind in second place was McGill University, bolstered by green purchasing policies, effective waste management and sustainable commuting practices. Wilfrid Laurier University, MacEwan University and Dalhousie University rounded out the top five.

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Hitting the streets

By Adria Vasil & Erin Gardhouse and Angie Schmitt
Cycling booms in London, and the city’s not looking back

This article was originally published on StreetsBlogUSA.

Boris Johnson says that one of his goals as mayor of London was to make cycling “more popular and more normal.” As Johnson’s eight-year tenure winds down, it looks like the progress he made in his second term has accomplished that mission.

If current trends continue, bike commuters will outnumber car commuters in central London by 2018, according to a recent report from Johnson’s office [PDF]. Citywide, Transport for London estimates people already make 645,000 bike trips on an average day.

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Dead end

By Adria Vasil & Erin Gardhouse and John Rennie Short
Why is the U.S. unwilling to pay for good public transportation?

Officials in Washington, D.C. said last week they may have to shut down portions of the Metro subway system for months because its piecemeal approach to maintenance is no longer sufficient.

The disclosure follows a shutdown of the entire Metro system on March 16 for 24 hours. Three-quarters of a million people use the system each weekday, so the inconvenience and cost were considerable.

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What will it take to get plastics out of the ocean?

By Adria Vasil & Erin Gardhouse and Anja Krieger
From drones to filters to artificial islands, innovators are working to reduce the threat trash poses to marine ecosystems.

Originally published on Ensia

A few palm trees stand strong in the salty breeze. Located on the southern tip of the Pacific island chain of Hawaii, Kamilo Beach is an isolated stretch of black volcanic shoreline in the middle of nowhere. Just a few hundred yards from shore, humpback whales rise up from the depths, colorful fish fill the reefs and rare sea turtles swim in to nest on the beach.

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Bloomberg turns his attention to modernizing America’s power grid

A new $48 million initiative from Bloomberg aims to transition the U.S. power fleet towards cleaner electricity generation.

Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Heising-Simons family announced a new program last Wednesday called the Clean Energy Initiative to accelerate reform of the U.S. electricity grid. Spaced out over the next three years, $48 million in grants will be doled out to state-based stakeholders with the goal of easing the transition towards a more sustainable energy future.

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No evidence of wind sickness: Health Canada

OPINION: Comprehensive and independent study finds no link between wind turbine noise and health, despite annoyance for some.

It’s unlikely to silence the critics – nothing seemingly will – but there is no evidence to support the claim that wind turbine noise is making people sick, according to preliminary results from a comprehensive Health Canada study launched two years ago.

Yes, concluded Health Canada, some people interviewed and assessed as part of its 1,238 household epidemiological study were shown to get highly annoyed by wind turbine noise and other factors, such as shadow flicker and flashing lights.

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Your health and climate change

By Adria Vasil & Erin Gardhouse and Tavia Grant
Are hospitals and health care professionals ready for the diseases and more extreme weather that climate change will bring?

Sometimes the tiniest of things can embody the largest of problems – in this case, a blacklegged arachnid that's smaller than an apple seed. It's the deer tick, and its bite can carry Lyme disease. The bugs are creeping into Canada as warmer temperatures boost their survival rates at more northern latitudes. And that means doctors like Cathy Vakil are seeing more cases.

Last summer, for the first time since Vakil began practising in 1985, she saw a patient with the full-blown bull's-eye rash and flu-like symptoms that the disease is known to cause. “There's no question there are more ticks," says Vakil, family physician in Kingston, Ontario, and assistant professor in the department of family medicine at Queen's University. "This didn't exist 20 years ago."

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