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Good morning curious.earthlings,

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American readers. But, you know what that means...tomorrow is Black Friday.

Amongst all of the deals, just remember, you don't need to buy more stuff. But, if you do, just ask yourself, do I REALLY need this.

Tonight is the very first TV election debate on Climate Change before the UK general election in December, it is set to be 

Reading time is 3:37 minutes.
Enjoyyy
Eco-Building

Less Concrete, More Bamboo: The Green Housing Revolution

by Alexandra Genova

What's Going On Here?

Eco-friendly bamboo buildings are being recognised as the key to humans living harmoniously with the planet. Bring on the Green Housing Revolution!

What Does This Mean?

Buildings with innovative design that use sustainably sourced materials AND run efficiently is not just a utopian fantasy. Architects around the world are working to design homes and public spaces that work with the environment not against it—but there is still a long way to go (see the UN report on CO2 released yesterday). 

Examples are everywhere: Ilford community market in East London will open next year...with no concrete foundations! Instead, it will have a timber structure, stabilised by rocks in metal cages that can be demounted and reassembled with minimal waste or impact.

Check out the super cool Cork House — which won the Architect Journal awards last week which is made almost entirely from cork. To top off all this positive news,  the current UK housing secretary pledged to bring a “climate revolution” to home-building last month, highlighting the political will to make change across the sector.

Why Should We Care?

More sustainable architecture is vital considering nearly 40% of UK greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the “built environment”. This is not surprising since concrete—used in the foundations of most buildings— is the most destructive material on the planet; every tonne of concrete made releases one tonne of CO2. Did you know, if the cement industry were a country, it would be the third-largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world?! 
 
So what is being done to solve this? More and more, architects and urban planners are putting the environment at the centre of their designs, using locally sourced natural materials such as cork and bamboo as well as learning from indigenous building techniques.
 
Meanwhile, entire cities like Singapore are pioneering heaps of eco-friendly building initiatives. The city aims to be the world’s first ‘green’ city, building structures like the CapitaGreen Building - a double-skin facade that keeps the building’s temperature nice and cool. They have also designed and implemented a sky forest that draws in cool air to help power air conditioning units throughout the building - pretty neat!

Be Curious!

Unless you’re in the process of building your very own Grand Designs eco-house then it may seem your impact in this field can be minimal. But there are plenty of ways you can get involved in the eco-movement without moving to the woods...  In your home:
  • Be smart about water: fix any leaking taps, don’t keep the water running when you wash or shave, install a low-flow shower head and try to keep your shower time down to the length of your favourite song (feel free to sing along).
  • Install a smart meter to keep track of the energy you’re using—this will reduce your carbon footprint and your monthly bills. 
  • If you own your home and have the means to do so, install solar panels to run your home on clean electricity — it’s a long term investment but worthwhile for the planet and your purse!
  • Insulate your home properly by double glazing your windows, insulating your loft or making smaller changes like laying rugs on hardwood floors or having thick and toasty curtains. 
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Nature

It's Getting Too Bright For Insects, As They Are Being Lured To Their Deaths!

by Maya Comely

What's Going On Here?


A new study has revealed that outdoor light pollution could be a key driver of an ‘Insect Apocalypse’. Uh oh! 

What Does This Mean?

It’s not often we think about the impacts of streetlights or vehicle headlights on the organisms we live among. We’ve all seen a fried fly or two by a lightbulb or moths swarming around floodlights (okay maybe more like all those mozzies on holibobs…).

The fact that they can mistake artificial light for the moon and die from exhaustion or get eaten (predators such as rats and geckos have been found to feed around artificial lights) is pretty dark stuff. Well not dark at all really… 

After assessing more than 150 studies, the bugged researchers at Washington University concluded that artificial light at night can affect every aspect of insects’ lives from hunting and mating to their predation. For example, the corn earworm moth (dread to think where that one hangs out...) stops mating if it’s brighter than a quarter moon at night.

From the bioluminescent signals used in courtship to food foraging, reproduction, predation and development - the natural rhythm of day and night is critical for the daily grind of an insect.

Why Should We Care?

With 1.4 billion insects per person on our planet and millions still unknown to science, insects play a fundamental role in the functioning of our ecosystems. They pollinate our crops and wild plants, help recycle nutrients back to the Earth and are the base of the food chain for fish, birds and mammals. They’re also a food source for humans in 130 countries worldwide and are becoming an increasingly popular sustainable protein alternative. So basically, we really need them.
 
But insect populations are rapidly declining all around the world, threatening our food security and ecological communities. This study highlights that light pollution is yet another threat among climate change, pesticide use, invasive species, habitat loss and chemical pollution. 
 
It turns out, light pollution has all sorts of negative effects on organisms, not just insects. Artificial light confuses migratory animals (beach lights disorientate female turtles when nesting) and they can even disrupt our circadian rhythms causing sleeping disorders and health implications. 
 
I’m not saying we should live in darkness and of course but with an increasingly urbanised world, light pollution is something we better start thinking about - especially as a huge proportion of it actually is preventable. 

Be Curious!

🐝 If you’re into bugs and would like to find out more check out the full meta-analysis here.
💡The good news is we can easily solve this one - so switch off those unnecessary lights and save energy while you’re at it!
🦟 You can also install shaders on outdoor lights so they light up a smaller area, and motion-activated lights are another solution to save the poor bugs.
🦋 Check out the ‘No Insectinction’ campaign run by the charity dedicated to protecting insects, bugs and invertebrates ➡️ Buglife. Support their work by becoming a member or donate to them!
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Other news we found curious...

Climate change: Greenhouse gas levels hit record high ‘with no sign of slowdown’, UN warns - Independent
Coldplay to pause touring until concerts are 'environmentally beneficial' - BBC
Climate change protesters disrupt Yale-Harvard American Football game - NYTimes
Recycling isn’t working: here are 15 ways to shrink your plastic footprint - Guardian
Russian cows get VR headsets 'to reduce anxiety' - BBC
Jeremy Clarkson becomes climate change believer - Independent
Green palm oil push: Kit Kat, Dove makers could face fines - Phys.org
Maya Comely
NEWS WRITER
Alexandra Genova
NEWS WRITER
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