Concordia University Launches Sustainable Bonds

computer screen

Fundings research can get expensive, particularly when looking into cutting edge technology and techniques. In order to fund research at a new lab at Concordia University the school has launched a sustainable bond. Other schools have done this around the world in order to raise funding, Concordia is the first in Canada to do so. What’s different about Concordia’s bond issuance is related to research and not the facility itself.

Concordia’s $25-million senior unsecured bond offers investors a 3.626 per cent yield and has a duration of 20 years — the longest for any sustainable bond in Canada, according to Denis Cossette, the university’s chief financial officer. The bond will be used to reimburse the university of the capital it spent on financing its Science Hub, which will be home to aquatic biology, microscopy, cellular imaging and chemical and materials engineering labs for researchers.

It’s the work that will take place inside the building that allowed Concordia to issue sustainable bonds instead of green bonds, Cossette said. The former required certification assuring that the Science Hub and the work that the university plans to conduct inside will contribute to three of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals — affordable and clean energy; industry, innovation and infrastructure; and climate action.

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We’ve Destroyed the Planet, Let’s Leave Something Beautiful Behind

We’re presently living in the anthropocene and it’s all our fault. The effects of industrialization will be felt for thousands of years to come and be evident millions of years from now (found in everything from fossil records to chemicals). There is a good chance that humanity will go extinct thanks to its own actions. You’re probably wondering where the good news is. It’s in art.

Paola Antonelli, a curator from MOMA, launched a project titled Broken Nature to address this future in the hopes it won’t happen; but if it does we will leave something beautiful behind for future life. She was recently interviewed by Fast Company about the project:

 There are two in completely different areas of the world: One is Futurefarmers by Amy Franceschini. She has a project called Seed Journey, in which a sailboat goes from Oslo to Istanbul, and it carries artists and bread bakers and activists and philosophers and carries wheat seeds that are indigenous to those different places. It’s about trying to bring back these original breeds of seeds and to also bring with them that tradition. It’s a beautiful journey by sea of biodiversity.

Another project is Totomoxtle in Mexico by Fernando Laposse. He uses the husks of corn to create new materials, and he does so by harnessing the craftsmanship of the people who grow corn breeds in different parts of Mexico. He’s also trying to help local populations revert to the indigenous breeds of corn that are maybe yielding less each year, because so much indigenous corn has been substituted by genetically modified breeds that yield more each year. Ultimately, it’s about empathy, and a love of the land and the communities.

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Economists: Let’s all Work Less

happy workers in a factory

We all work too much. Indeed, millennials are the hardest working generation due to structural effects of poor policy from preceding generations (like the 2008 crash and encouraging rent seeking behaviour). Both the boomers and Gen X earned more for their work than millennials, so what’s the point of current working culture of itself isn’t working? It’s high time that we rethink productivity in relation to wages and time. Economists are on board, plus there are a litany of other reasons to work fewer hours.

Working fewer hours was once seen as an essential indicator of economic and social progress. I explore this history in my book Whatever Happened to the Leisure Society?

It’s time to put reduced working hours back on the political and industrial agenda.

There are strong arguments for working fewer hours. Some are economic. Others are about environmental sustainability. Yet others have to do with equity and equality.

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Canada’s Supreme Court Rules Companies Have to Pay for Environmental Damage

industryIt might seem obvious that companies should pay for damaging property, but that wasn’t the case for years. Up to now companies in Canada were able to extract resources from land (poisoning entire ecosystems) and leave the cleanup costs to be covered by the government. Privatize the profits and socialize the costs. The Supreme Court ruled that if a company goes bankrupt then environmental expenses have to be covered before creditors get their money back.

Hopefully this discourages banks from loaning to companies that pillage and flee.

The top court ruled 5-2 to overturn the earlier ruling. In doing that, it said bankruptcy is not a licence to ignore environmental regulations, and there is no inherent conflict between federal bankruptcy laws and provincial environmental regulations.

“This is good news for landowners, taxpayers and the environment,” said Keith Wilson, a lawyer who represents landowners with oil and natural gas wells on their properties. Among his clients are those with wells sitting idle on their land for decades.

“The concept of polluter pays is alive and well in Canada.”

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Active People Naturally Crave Healthier Foods

Want to eat healthier but lacking motivation? Start being more active and you’ll find that picking healthier foods will get easier. A least that’s what participants found in a recent study, and there’s no reason to expect different results for you. Researchers took people who had a sedentary lifestyle and just asked them to workout a little. Without instructions the participants started to eat healthier just because they were more active.

“The process of becoming physically active can influence dietary behavior,” said Molly Bray, corresponding author of the paper and chair of the Nutritional Sciences department at UT Austin and a pediatrics faculty member at Dell Medical School. “One of the reasons that we need to promote exercise is for the healthy habits it can create in other areas. That combination is very powerful.”

“Many people in the study didn’t know they had this active, healthy person inside them,” Bray said. “Some of them thought their size was inevitable. For many of these young people, they are choosing what to eat and when to exercise for the first time in their lives.”

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