Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Cambridge Environment and Energy Section are bringing the new WHOLE EARTH? photographic exhibition to Cambridge next month.
The exhibition is the sequel to the critically-acclaimed Hard Rain project, which was viewed by over 15 million people in galleries and public spaces worldwide, and even went on show at the UN headquarters in New York.
WHOLE EARTH? is based on the premise that students and universities can help to lead society towards a more sustainable future.
The 60m long exhibition will be displayed on Parker’s Piece from 5-16 October. Students in the city are being encouraged to use social media to voice their response to the striking images, and these will be presented to world leaders later this year.
Grace Philip, Engagement Assistant at Anglia Ruskin’s Global Sustainability Institute, said: “Anyone who saw Hard Rain will know how thought-provoking and powerful these images can be.
“We are therefore delighted to be able to work with the University of Cambridge Energy and Environment Section to bring to the city the follow-up to that exhibition.
“This compelling exhibition has a stronger focus on the solutions to sustainability challenges, and encourages students to think seriously about their own future and that of the planet.”
Leila McElvenney, Environmental Coordinator at the University of Cambridge, said: “We wanted to reach out to the tens of thousands of students at both universities and ask them what they are going to do about the challenges facing society today.
“University is such a formative period in one’s life and we hope this exhibition and launch event will inspire action.”
The Cambridge exhibition coincides with the international launch of WHOLE EARTH?, in partnership with the National Union of Students, in universities around the country as well as in Scandinavia and Australia.
The Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin is working with the exhibition’s creators to ensure that the reactions of students from across the world are captured using #StudentEarth.
Tweets will be analysed by a PhD student and formulated into a letter which will be presented to world leaders ahead of COP21 – the United Nations Conference on Climate Change taking place in Paris later this year.
WHOLE EARTH? is being launched with a special edition of the GSI Seminar Series on Monday, 5 October on Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus.
The Question Time style event will ask “How can you change the world?” The panel will include Mark Edwards, the renowned photographer behind the exhibition, Joan Wally, the former MP and Chair of the Environmental Audit Select Committee, and Dr Aled Jones, Director of the Global Sustainability Institute.
The free event, which runs from 5.30-7pm, will be hosted by two students: Sammi Whitaker, Anglia Ruskin’s Students’ Union President, and Lily Tomson, President of Cambridge Hub, a Cambridge University Community Organisation.
Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations
Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?
The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.
New Construction Options
One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.
In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.
The Simple Retrofit
From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?
Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.
Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.
Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.
In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.
Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.
It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.
How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions
Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Public Health Crisis
It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.
It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.
Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.
With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.
The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.
With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.