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University of Arizona’s Biosphere – International Young Leaders Environmental Event

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One Young World, a UK-based not-for-profit organization, will hold the One Young World Environment Summit May 19-21, 2016, at the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2. Tickets are now available for delegates to participate in this three-day event, which will focus on important environmental topics, with prices as follows:

Shared university accommodation

  • Early bird price (until Feb. 21) £680/ $1020
  • Full ticket price £750 / $1125

Single hotel accommodation

  • Early bird price (until Feb. 21) £880 / $1320
  • Full ticket price £950 / $1425

The location of the summit is one of the world’s most well-known environmental venues, Biosphere 2, which has gained renown throughout the scientific community and even in the pop culture zeitgeist (the ’90s cult comedy Bio-Dome was believed to be loosely inspired by the structure and its colorful history).

The One Young World Environment Summit, the first in a new series of themed events, will offer individuals the opportunity to generate solutions-led ideas that will result in tangible action, changing the way companies and countries tackle and react to many of the environmental challenges facing the world.

The high-level, action-based summit will gather 500 young leaders in UA Biosphere 2—the largest earth science laboratory—and will feature keynote speeches, breakout sessions and interactive workshops, including special sessions on water scarcity, the arctic and Antarctic and the national security implications of climate change, among other topics.
“One Young World International will continue to amplify the voices of young leaders. 2016 is an optimal time for us to extend our reach and deliver new, more in-depth events for young leaders,” said Ella Robertson, Managing Director of One Young World International. “These new events will address specific issues—and following One Young World’s ‘Call on COP’ campaign and the COP21 discussions in Paris, we’re first focusing on the environment. Biosphere 2 is an entirely unique experience where young leaders will be inspired by their surroundings to find solutions to the environmental challenges we face.”

Recently called a must-see wonder of the world, the glass-enclosed UA Biosphere 2 is set at 4,000 feet in the midst of the Sonoran Desert at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Its mission is to serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching and lifelong learning about the planet’s living systems and place in the universe.

Joaquin Ruiz, director of University of Arizona Biosphere 2, dean of the UA College of Science, and Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Professor commented: “Biosphere 2, located in one of the most beautiful settings of the Southwestern USA, has been a symbol of forward thinking on worldwide environmental issues. From its origins, which aimed at understanding the fundamental feedback mechanisms between biomes, to present-day experiments that address how water availability will change worldwide as the global climate changes, Biosphere 2 has been preoccupied with key questions of the environment. There is no better setting for a focused meeting of One Young World concentrating on environmental solutions.”

The Environment Summit marks the launch of One Young World’s division to expand global reach. The organization has been attracting valuable young talent and global figures since 2010at its annual conferences, dubbed by CNN as “the junior Davos,” and will be growing its footprint with One Young World International.
Last year’s global One Young World Summit in Bangkok, the first to take place in Asia, welcomed 1,300 young leaders as well as global figures including Kofi Annan; Sir Bob Geldof; Professor Muhammad Yunus; Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; former NASA astronaut Ron Garan; author and activist Fatima Bhutto; and Gary White, co-founder and CEO of Water.org.

The summit also saw the launch of a major international campaign, “Call on COP,” where One Young World delegates from 196 countries delivered passionate calls to action, urging their heads of government to take real and decisive action on climate change and to reach a binding agreement in Paris at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), which took place in December 2015.

For more information, visit oneyoungworld.com.

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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