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the suburbs

The standard North American home (pictured above) is horrible inefficient and quite bad for the environment. As the climate crisis conies to worsen we need to change the way we provide shelter for people: and that’s exactly what Phoenix, Arizona did. Arizona is experience such extreme heat that everyday objects are melting and car tires explode, sometimes the airport can’t function either. This led the City of Phoenix to launch a competition for making the most affordable and environmentally friendly home.

The winning home building plan is available for free online from the city, meaning you can download a home.

The winner of the contest, Marlene Imirzian & Associates Architects, went even lower. The studio’s affordable, three-bedroom home, dubbed HOME nz, has an impressive HERS rating of zero. A $100,000 prize went to Imirzian’s firm, and the design is now available for widespread use; the City of Phoenix has made the construction plans for HOME nz available for free to encourage the public to build more eco-friendly homes. “The city of Phoenix has a very visionary sustainability director and department who are looking for leadership for built work in the Phoenix area,” says Imirzian. “[The] goal was to show how simple moves could result in significant [environmental] changes.”

Since Phoenix’s dry, sun-bleached environment involves extreme heat, the design incorporates high-performance glass, which reduces heat transmission from outside, and retractable fabric screens for greater shade and passive cooling without the help of an AC unit. But HOME nz is a useful and applicable model no matter the climate. “If the volume performs well in terms of the separation of the interior and exterior then no matter where you build your house, it will be managed optimally by what you’re surrounding the house with,” notes Imirzian. “It would do just as well in a very cold climate or [a place] where you need conditioning or heating.”

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Global Climate Strike – TODAY

The Global Climate Strike is today! People who care about the world are out on the streets today to send a message to politicians and those who don’t care that we need to ACT NOW to stop catastrophic climate change.

You can participate!

Get out on the streets
Make some posters
Speak your mind on Twitter

Participate in the Climate Strike to Meet Others who Care

protest

Earlier this year Kate Black (not the person in the picture) wrote an article in Masionneuve about what’s it like to feel alone against the world. For years people have been showing up to rallies, writing letters, signing campaigns, and more, but nothing seems to change. That’s how climate activists have been feeling for decades and it wears people out. After all, going against the richest corporations on the planet is no small task. Black wrote about the efforts of Nestar Russell as a way to capture the feelings of inadequacies and frustration that many climate champions feel. It’s worth acknowledging the emotional toll on activist so we can better learn how not to burn out.

The climate strike is tomorrow and you should join in to, at the very least, provide a confidence boost to those of us that need it. The worst thing that can happen is that the world gets a little better.

Several news outlets and well-intentioned bloggers responded to the depressing onslaught by publishing steps normal people can take to reduce their carbon footprint, like taking public transit or eating less meat. People on the internet didn’t like this either, and with reason. The individual steps, no matter how drastic, seem impossibly small when compared to the toll taken by massive corporations. Two leading climate research institutes report that 70 percent of industrial greenhouse gas emissions created since 1988 can be traced back to no more than one hundred fossil fuel companies.

Most people do seem to want to do something about the environment. A 2015 report found that 73 percent of millennials are willing to spend more on a brand if it’s “sustainable,” whatever that means. It’s no surprise that every company seems to be greenwashing itself—trying to look carbon-conscious without actually doing anything meaningful, like how Starbucks is phasing out newly unpopular plastic straws with sippy-cup lids that use even more plastic than the straws they replace.
Of course, the planet doesn’t have time for ineffective, small changes anymore, let alone corporate greenwashing. “It’s becoming clear that we don’t have the luxury of slowly wading into the shallow end,” Wynes says. He is also wary of what he calls “techno-optimism,” the idea that new inventions like electric cars and planes are going to “bail us out.” It could be years before an electric plane is efficient enough to make long flights.

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Seeding Utopias & Resisting Dystopias with The Multiversity Collective

The Multiversity Collective wants you to think of a better world by exploring alternatives.The collective was created to explore the full potential of Toronto by imaging future worlds (or alternatives to today) that are fully aware of -and engage in – multiple ways of knowing. It’s a call to envision a better city and a better world through diverse multicultural thinking. Their first project on empowering creative communities launched this week and runs to the end of 2019 at Oakwood Public Library in Toronto.

On the cusp of 2020, more than a dozen science fiction creators will be germinating wild ideas at the Oakwood Village Library. Novelists, hardware hackers, game creators, and more will be doing workshops for apocalypse preppers, teaching lo-fi sci-fi podcasting, convening socials for sex workers, and generally inspiring those who believe in social change and a diverse future.

Every Thursday this Fall, 6pm at Oakwood Village Library – come rewrite the timeline with us! Free and all are welcome! Made possible by support from the Toronto Arts Council’s Artists in Libraries Program. For more details – please visit the individual event listings.

Check it out!

Cats do Care

cat

Cats have got a reputation of being uncaring pets that are dumber than dogs. In some cases this reputation is well-earned; however, for most cats they do care and they want you around. It’s taken animal researchers some time to figure a simple approach to testing if cats care, but they did it. They simply took a test used to see if infants and pet dogs care about their human companions and just ran the same test with cats. The conclusion is that yes, cats do are about you.

The key finding was that the cats fell into these subsets of attachment at roughly the same rates as dogs and infants. Around two-thirds clearly displayed a secure attachment to their owners, while most insecure cats were clingy and remained stressed. Subsequent experiments showed that these results stayed largely the same for the same group of cats six weeks later, as well as for a new group of older cats past the age of one.

Because of the similarities between cats, dogs, and human babies in their attachment styles, the authors said, it’s likely that the same intrinsic attributes and traits that make dogs and babies go puppy-eyed for their caregivers aren’t wholly unique to them. Cats bond to us, too, just in their own, not always apparent way.

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