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globalbriefs


News and resources to inspire concerned citizens to work together in building a healthier, stronger society that benefits all.


Eco-Power Tower Meet the World’s Greenest Office Building


Even on cloudy days, the photovoltaic-paneled roof of the Bullitt Center, in Seattle, Washington, gener- ates all the electricity the six-story structure requires. Inside, commercial office space is equipped with composting toilets, rainwater showers and a glass- enclosed stairway to encourage climbing exercise over riding the elevator.


The Bullitt Foundation, founded in 1952, has focused since the 1990s on helping cities function


more like ecosystems. Seattle’s new building not only provides space for eco-con- scious tenants, but also functions as a learning center, demonstrating how people and businesses can coexist more in harmony with nature. The Bullitt Center was constructed according to a demanding green building certification program called the Living Building Challenge, which lists zero net use of energy and water among its many requirements. The standards far surpass those of the better-known Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Founder Jason McLennan says the challenge is to encourage others to build more enjoyable, sustainable and affordable structures around the world.


Source: Yes! magazine


Baa-Bye Barnyard Species are Declining, Too


Zakri Abdul Hamid, Ph.D., chair of the independent Intergovern- mental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, states that the disap- pearance of wild and domesti- cated plant and animal species constitutes a fundamental threat


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to the well-being and perhaps survival of humankind. His urgent message was most recently delivered in Norway to 450 international government authorities respon- sible for biodiversity and economic planning. “We are hurtling towards irreversible environmental tipping points that, once passed, would reduce the ability of ecosys- tems to provide essential goods and services to humankind,” Zakri stated. Findings by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization show that genetic diversity, among even domestic livestock, is declining. Typically, breeds become rare because their characteristics either don’t suit contemporary demands or because differences in their qualities have not been recognized. When a breed population falls to about 1,000 animals, it is considered rare and endangered. While we know of 30,000 edible plant species, only 30 crops account for


95 percent of human food energy; 60 percent of these crops comprise varieties of rice, wheat, maize, millet and sorghum.


Source: Science Daily


photo by Nic Lehoux


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