Winter is approaching Europe at a fast pace. The Aspirant Dunand swimming pool, located at a stone’s throw from the Catacombs of Paris, has been innovated in a totally ecological way. As such, sewer water that runs underneath the pool is now used to heat the pool as well as the showers.
Heating a municipal swimming pool does not only has high cost implications but also entails great energy consumption. Until now, the Aspirant Dunand pool in the 14th arrondissement of Paris was being heated exclusively with electricity, soaring consumption to 1,310 megawatt hours (MWh) per year. The department in charge of this public infrastructure decided that it would be wise and innovative to invest in a cheaper and ecological heating system for the 25-meter-long pool and showers.
After several months of testing, the project was finalized and executed in October 2016. This new system reduced the pool’s electricity consumption by 50%. It is a first in Paris.
The idea of using sewage water is ingenious because the temperature of this water varies between 13 and 20 degrees throughout the year, regardless of seasons. A system of heat exchangers allows the waste water to heat the water of the pool and showers without any direct contact.
The heat is captured by metal plates installed in the sewers meandering under the pool. The desired temperature is then distributed in the pool and showers via heat pumps. The system – known as “Blue Degrees” – was created and installed by Suez Eau France. The company already has a dozen similar projects on its account.
Paris has set itself the objective of encouraging swimming pools to reduce their energy consumption by 20% within the next four years
This project is part of the sustainable development plan of Paris to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This project also aims at promoting renewable energies so that the Parisian administration can rely on up to 30% of green energy by 2020.
The sewage network extending over 2,400 kilometers should be regarded as having a good potential for other uses. It presents itself as an attractive heating alternative for the 39 other swimming pools spread across Paris. Apart from the pools, 25 diverse sites have already engaged themselves into projects based on renewable energy. For example, the city hall of Paris is itself already being heated thanks to the sewage network since 2015.
After the obligation for a vegan diet for the players, British football club Forest Green Rovers is getting greener. The club, based in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, commissioned a 5,000-seat stadium which would become the greenest stadium in the world. It would be entirely built from wood and powered by sustainable energy sources. Read more
There is neither aroma nor artificial additives in this Texan coffee. The cups are recycled or composted as well as the coffee beans and food waste are distributed to local farmers … More than just serving coffee, Blacksmith pays an undivided attention to the triple bottom-line; profit, people and planet. Read more
Her hands are those of a fairy. Her heart- full of compassion for her people. And what makes the stunning strength of Nargis Latif is sheer benevolence. The Karachi-born lady leads an army of rag pickers in the country who help her gather inorganic waste and convert it into houses for the poor in Pakistan.
Every single day, Karachi the largest city of Pakistan, throws up 12,000 tons of garbage. Nargis Latif does not aim at stopping this. Full of wisdom, the grey-haired lady knows better. Conscious that the garbage mostly produced by big industries in the country is part of an inevitable chain of a well-anchored structure, she instead aims at converting the trash into profitable business to help the needy.
Having founded the social organization Gul Bahao which means “flow the flowers” in her language, she and her team of garbage pickers hunt for garbage in every crook. She equally collects unused and rejected material from industries. Deeply motivated to lift the needy people of Pakistan from poverty, she has been striving hard relentlessly over years:
I have always wanted to innovate and create something useful for humanity itself
Nargis Latif constantly has to overcome many obstacles. There are times when she has to borrow money. And there are times the fighter-spirited woman also has to beg for money that she uses to transform garbage into recycled houses, water tanks, furniture, fodder for livestock or even compost. There were other times when she admits even having stolen in view of enhancing the lives of her people.
The most famous of her inventions is the recycled house known as Chandi Ghar that was created in the wake of a horrendous earthquake destroying the lives of thousands of people in Pakistan. The Chandi Ghars were used as shelters. Today, Nargis Latif has built over 150 of these recycled houses across Pakistan. Most are the homes of poor nomads in the Tharparkar district.
Apart from her extreme sense of generosity and benevolence, Nargis Latif also has an ecological soul. The woman has witnessed how the industrialization of Pakistan has been creating a negative impact on the environment due to pollution. Burning garbage is a common practice in the country and with her idea to recycle it, the lady furthermore wishes to diminish pollution.
Nargis Latif and her team have equally been collecting other types of waste to create compost. Out of this compost she created “Gardens in the Air” which are two scaffoldings carrying a wide array of plants. She has moreover been putting other organic waste such as vegetable and fruit peels, to profit by converting them into animal feed in a hygienic and clean manner.
The far-sighted lady similarly nurtures the desire to enhance the life of housewives in Pakistan. She sees that the latter can easily use the compost and animal feed which are economically viable products to plant their own food crops, sell the excess, and breed cattle for meat and milk in an era where prices of food products are shooting up.
Nargis Latif is similarly trying to engage citizens to become ecoresponsible. She has set up stalls at markets where individuals may sell their dry trash. She is also urging city residents to sell their wet garbage to producers of agricultural products. Nargis Latif is correspondingly closely participating with environmental projects aiming at imparting responsibility in children in regards to the ecological welfare of the country. Today, the milestones being achieved by Nargis Latif are gaining worldwide recognizance.
Two weeks ago in the Galápagos, the presidents of Ecuador, Costa Rica and Colombia announced an agreement to enhance the protection of marine life by expanding their marine reserves around Galapagos, Malpelo, and Cocos.
Along with Panama’s Coiba National Park, the three protected areas make up the world’s densest cluster of UNESCO Marine World Heritage Sites. Currently, only 2,8% of the world ocean is protected, and less than 1% of it, is a marine reserve, which implies that activities such as fishing are prohibited.
The project, which aspires to meet United Nations target of protecting 10% of the world’s oceans by 2020, is a pivotal moment in the history of sustainable development and ocean management.
We are talking about some of the most biodiverse ocean waters, where “sharks, turtles, rays, whales, seabirds, tuna and billfish surge back and forth in response to seasonal changes in water temperature and food availability”, as Scott Henderson, vice president of Conservation International (CI)’s Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape program points out in an interview for Human Nature.
In the same interview, he further explains that these areas “have registered the highest density of sharks recorded anywhere on Earth and some of the highest fish biomass (total weight per unit area) ever recorded”.
But the triumphant agreement in Galápagos isn’t vital only for the corals, the turtles, the penguins, the sea lions, the dolphins and the whales of the area. It’s a strategic movement also for the region’s economic growth and the improvement of the livelihood of industrial fishermen, who can benefit from the abundant spillover on the reserve boundaries.
In practice, the agreement raises the marine reserves of the three nations to 83,600 square miles. As stated in National Geographic’s article by Jane Braxton Little, “Ecuador and Costa Rica also agreed to delineate the boundaries of their national waters, exchanging nautical charts in a step toward protecting the underwater ‘highways’ used by sharks, sea turtles, and other migrating marine life”.
Following National Geographic’s report, Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos pledged to double the size of one of the largest no-fishing zones in the region — the Malpelo Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, established 300 miles off the mainland.
In an effort to protect white-tip sharks, whale and hammerhead sharks, Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís committed to expanding Cocos Island National Park by nearly 4,000 square miles — an action that will increase by four times the area where fishing is restricted. Last but not least, under the new boundary maps, Ecuador’s revised marine territory is now five times larger than its continental territory.
Beyond doubt the agreement among these three nations is an historic moment, as “it’s the first time that three presidents got together to expand protections in their neighboring waters” according to Enric Sala, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. Now that the path is set, we can only wish that other countries will follow the steps of these three leaders.
Do you want to develop your children in a family environment, without giving up the advantages of the city? Are you a single parent who appreciates good infrastructure? Or do you need help or attach importance to maximum independence and flexibility? Well, the Heidelberg Village in south-west Germany will be your next home. Read more
In Malmö, an architectural firm designed a building without garages or parking spaces, but to accommodate those who use their bike every day, whether to go to work or for shopping. (Article by Pauline Jallon in We Demain, September 6, 2016)
Uruguay waste is piling up and materials are lacking. However, an association called Tagma decided to build a 100% sustainable school. The building is mainly based on waste and is energy self-sufficient, it will teach kids to better consume and recycle. Read more