Is online shopping sustainable?

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I personally considered Online shopping to be very sustainable. Saving a trip to the store and getting some serious discount was the highlight for online shoppers. I stopped buying online lately due bad experience with the quality of the product but I always thought that at least it saves you time via e-commerce.

But what about the emissions from fleets of delivery vehicles bringing orders to houses? Delivery trucks also contribute substantially to the burden of fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, in the air, which is associated with many effects on human health. Especially when the product is returned (which happens in great number) there is likely to be more trips from the firm’s driver and not to mention, sometimes you are not at home and they have to return to your house again.

An increase in the number of home shopping purchases increases travel time, traffic delays, and vehicle emissions of the transportation network as a whole, the researchers say. While some previous studies suggest that e-commerce is associated with lower carbon emissions than traditional retail, other researchers have warned of a “rebound effect,” which occurs when gains in efficiency merely stimulate new consumption. Something similar may be going on in Newark, the results suggest.

But a recent study in Newark, Delaware suggests that the knock-on effects of online shopping may worsen traffic congestion and transport-related carbon emissions.Researchers at the University of Delaware conducted a survey of downtown Newark residents’ shopping habits and preferences and used the responses to calculate the quantity of goods purchased through home shopping.They also got information from delivery companies about the number of trucks on the road and the number of packages per truck, and used this to determine how many delivery trucks are required to distribute home shopping purchases.Finally, the researchers used transportation simulation software and data from local transportation authorities to determine the effect of delivery trucks on the transportation network, focusing on an area of downtown Newark that includes a portion of the university’s campus.They conducted similar analyses in 2001, at the dawn of the online shopping era, and again in 2008. They reported their results in a recent paper in the International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology.

Read this journal to know more about the ill effects of Online shopping.

 

Source: Laghaei J. et al. “Impacts of home shopping on vehicle operations and greenhouse gas emissions: multi-year regional study.” International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology

Reduction in consumption of meat might be a good idea!

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I know that the post image might tempt people to eat some meat right now. But as I have written few posts before about how the meat industry is kind of more responsible for the pollution around the world. Documentaries like ‘Cowspiracy’ and ‘Food Inc’ are worth watching for some reason. Deforestation is done also because of meat industry. According to some assumption, the demand for meat is going to be higher in the future. If this happens, the 2 degree target is well of the table.

If you read this article on Carbon Brief, there is strong evidence that reduce in meat might really reduce the pollution. I really have reduced my consumption of meat since Jan 2015. I intended to completely quit it but I will be honest, I can’t quit it 100%. Ever since I have started eating more veggies, my cooking skills have improved as I can try to cook different types of vegetables ( going off the topic now).

 

These two images taken from the article shows how the current consumption is happening around the globe. If you do not wish to quite it, no need as long as you reduce a little.

Read the article for more details.

 

Source: Carbon Brief.

Ever heard of: Carbon Conversations!

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This is my second post of ‘Ever heard of’. The first one was based on Sustainable goals by UN. Today I would like to talk about Carbon Conversations.

We were suppose to have a small ‘talk’ on it by one professor from Hamburg today but it got cancelled for some reason. I hope the ‘seminar’ happens again. Anyway while I was in the class, I got curious and looked about them online.

This is the link. So it is kind of a group which The groups offer:

1) space for people to explore what climate change means for themselves, their families and their aspirations
2) permission to share their hopes, doubts and anxieties
3) time to work through the conflicts between intention, social pressure and identity
4) reliable, well-researched information and practical guidance on what will make a difference
5) support in creating a personal plan for change

They charge you for 6 to 8 sessions and they charge you for the handbook manuals. They say that they can cut your carbon footprint by half. Interesting.

Check out the site and find out more if the center exists near your area!

Ecomondo – The Green Technologies EXPO

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Couple of days I went to check out this expo which is quite famous in Italy to showcase all the companies which are doing business in Sustainability. This was the fourth edition. I went there last year too but with less enthusiasm and knowledge, I could not enjoy to the best. This year was better. I could understand what the company was showing like Wind Turbine or Solar panel (thanks to our recent course topic – Renewable Energy Production) or companies working in waste/water management. I decided to attend this conference ‘Green Economy’. I liked the sound of it but now there goes my rant.

The main people who had to speak about it were late by 1 hour and they finished one hour later. Honestly I lost my interest in listening to them. Such unprofessional people here.

Anyway the discussion was good. One of the Italian journalist spoke about various harsh truth about the status of Italy in terms of Sustainability. Like Italians still use incarceration to burn waste or Italians still need to progress in terms of Waste management. Some of the states are really bad in collecting the waste. Around 40% is completely discarded. There was another representative from IMF so spoke about Co2 taxes and better taxes reform in Italy. You should check ‘Green New Deal for Italy’. Apparently there are focusing a lot recently on waste management. I liked the conference but honestly because of late arrival and late finish, I could not see the entire expo like I wanted. The expo was huge and was very nicely organized. I would like to go there again but conferences? No, Thanks!

IRENA – The International Renewable Energy Agency

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In today’s lecture about renewable energy production, our professor Chalvatzis Konstantinos showed us some very useful sources for data and information on renewable energy stuff that everybody that is into research about RE should know about. One of those is IRENA – the international Renewable Energy Agency.

You do may not know about this agency because it is still a very “young” organisation. Founded only in 2009 and headquartered in Abu Dhabi its main task is to sustain renewable energy policies; until today 138 countries take part of the agency (see pic above). Beside the IEA, the International Energy Agency, it is one of the biggest suppliers of data and gatherer of information on renewable energies. In fact, the main reasons for its foundation is that an increasing world population in the next decades and the industrialization process that goes within this estimation have to be based more and more on renewable energy sources, also because of the increasing risk of a shortage on fossil energy sources and rising prices.  But it doesn’t end here, also a decrease of greenhouse gases and a more sustainable use of classical energy sources is what the people behind IRENA try to achieve on an international, national and regional level.

I would suggest you to check out their Homepage, there you can find loads of useful information on what is going on in the field, but also how they are organised. And of course you can also apply for an Internship there, right now a position is open =)

Give it a try, and thank me later!

My two cents on Milan’s Expo 2015!

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I know I should have written this post long time ago. Even though I went to Expo 10 days ago, I should have went there before (less people would have been there) and this review might have helped some people weather to go there or not. But it might help you right now. What do I think about Milan Expo? – ‘A Glorified Disaster’.

I must say I had high expectations from it. More on sustainability terms and less on food. The Capital expenditure has soaked up €1.3 billion (£930 million). Some 145 nations are taking part – 54 with their own pavilions, which is 12 more than Shanghai managed at the last Universal Expo in 2010. Between them, the nations have tipped in €1.1 billion (£785 million). Running costs will be more than €800 million (£570 million). More than 10 million have already visited this expo. In terms of organization, it wasn’t so bad. But where was sustainability?

Italy did manage to organize it well. I have to give it that. But India did not participate in this event, which was a huge disappointment for me. I was really looking forward to go to this pavilion but to my surprise it was not on the list. After further research, I got to know that because of diplomatic tensions, India pulled out of the at the last event.

Some 140 countries showcased their local food. Some used sustainability as a showcase in agriculture but that was it. It was all food. Some were selling their garments to people. It was kind of flea market expo. If you have patience to stand in queue for 3 hours to know that cuisine of Korea, be my guest. I took the brochure and read what kind of food they are planning to show inside. My suggestion would be (if you still want to attend this event) go there early. As early as 9am and stay there till 23hrs to catch up on as many things as you can. It is indeed to much to see. Over priced, less quantity food.

Top 10 Sustainable Cities!

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Last time I wrote about documentaries on Sustainability. Today I am writing about which cities are considered to be more sustainable.

The three sub-indices each city was measured on can be further broken down into the following indicators:
1) Profit – business performance, transport infrastructure, ease of doing business, the city’s importance in global economic networks, property and living costs, GDP per capita and energy efficiency.

2) People – transport infrastructure, health, education, income inequality, work-life balance, the dependency ratio and green spaces.

3) Planet – energy consumption and renewable energy share, recycling rates, greenhouse gas emissions, natural catastrophe risk, drinking water, sanitation and air pollution.

Here it goes:

1) Frankfurt, Germany: Through continuous effort over the years, Frankfurt has truly deserved to be called a ‘Green City’. It has been cutting its carbon emissions by 10% for every five years and it is expected that it will show a 50% cut in its carbon emissions by 2030. Using green waste and waster timber, the Frankfurt-Fechenheim biomass power station delivers electricity for around 20,000 households along with heat for industry and commerce (source: frankfurt-greencity.de).

2) London, United Kingdom: London has been actively seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase green spaces for many years. Under the Climate Change Action Plan by Mayor Livingstone, the city will switch 25% of its power to locally-generated and better-efficient sources by 2025.

3) Copenhagen, Denmark: Copenhagen is known for its environmental policies and planning. They intend to be carbon neutral by 2015. It also has the largest wind turbine industries in the world and generates a substantial amount of wind energy, out of which around 20% is used by the country itself.

4) Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amsterdam has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 40% till 2025, as compared to the 1990 figure. Amsterdam is working towards a sustainable future by focusing on energy savings, increasing sustainability and efficient use of fossil energy, and maximizing the use of sustainable energy.

5) Rotterdam, Netherlands: At present, there exists a total of 200 MW installed wind turbine capacity in the port of Rotterdam. This represents around 10% of the overall wind energy produced in the country (source: portofrotterdam.com). Moreover, the city is showing strong efforts in the sector of bio and solar energy.

6) Berlin, Germany: Berlin’s Environmental Zone in the city’s core only allows vehicles that meet specific emission standards. Furthermore, the city and its surroundings boast the highest density of environmental technology companies, clean technology workers, and research institutions in the country (source: Berlin Business Location Center).

7) Seoul, South Korea: The private and public energy sectors in Seoul are actively participating in several projects to boost their energy production from renewable sources. To support the One Less Nuclear Power Initiative, the government in Seoul is encouraging private investment in solar PV generation by renting unused public facilities. In addition to this, the city government has also signed agreements with companies and civic firms to build additional solar PV power stations that will feature an output of 250 MW.

8) Hong Kong, China: Wind and solar energy, in particular show much growth potential in Hong Kong. In 2000, a study commissioned by the department of Electrical and Mechanical Services states that solar power, wind energy, and energy from waste have the potential for wider use in the city. Currently, there are projects that are moving towards the development of renewable energy use and enhancing its effectiveness.

9) Madrid, Spain: Even though with economic difficulties and decline of renewable energy, Madrid in still among top 10 sustainable cities.

10) Singapore, Singapore: In the first half of 2014, the total grid-installed capacity of PV systems in Singapore crossed the 14.6 MWac mark and spread over 468 installations across the island (source: ema.gov.sg). In March 2015, REC from Singapore, a leading global provider of solar power solutions along with PLE announced a strategic partnership to deliver a new hybrid solution that will encourage consumers to adopt solar power

I invite you to check this video:

The cities at the bottom are:

Rio de Janeiro
Doha
Moscow
Jeddah
Riyadh
Jakarta
Manila
Mumbai
Wuhan
New Delhi

Source: Nation Geographic, Altenergy Mag.