The National Park Service offers ideas to reimagine the Tidal Basin while it sinks under sea level rise. Yemen women prove their men wrong, building a successful solar-power enterprise. Washington, DC announces its 2020 DC Sustainability Award winners. And Australia to build a Noah’s Ark for coral!
National Park Service Offers Ideas for Tidal Basin, Yemen Women Build Solar Power Project, DC Announces 2020 Sustainability Award Winners, Australia Builds “Noah’s Ark” to Safeguard Coral
TIDAL BASIN SINKING, SO NPS SAYS, “LET’S SPRUCE IT UP!”
The National Mall’s Tidal Basin is home to the city’s iconic cherry blossom trees, and the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival. It’s also the site of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The Tidal Basin is well, tidal — which means it’s prone to flood, a situation exacerbated by climate change and sea level rise.
The 107 acres that make up the Tidal Basin area are already in need of repair. The National Park Service already acknowledges the area’s “crumbling sea wall and daily flooding.” The National Trust for Historic Preservation estimates as much as $500 million in deferred maintenance.
“Increasing numbers of visitors and outdated infrastructure have combined to both threaten the irreplaceable resources and negatively impact the experience of visitors along the Tidal Basin,” Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks, said in a statement.
So the National Park Service, the Trust for the National Mall and the National Trust for Historic Preservation came up with the National Mall Tidal Basin Ideas Lab to do something about it. They asked five prominent landscape architecture firms to lay out how the Tidal Basin might evolve over the next 150 years.
What the firms came up with runs the gamut, and I won’t tease you here with the examples. But i will tell you this: The agencies, alongside project consultant Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, had planned to present the firms’ work in a large, in-person exhibition in the summer of 2020. But COVID-19 restrictions had them morph in-person to a “museum-quality” online exhibition, available to all of us at tidalbasinideaslab.org.
SOLAR PROJECT EMPOWERING WOMEN IN YEMEN
In rural Yemen, a group of 10 women built an independent solar microgrid, which is believed to be the first privately run energy source in the country. Reported by Positive News, in January of 2019, the group of women built a 26.8kW-capacity microgrid located in Northern Yemen near the Saudia Arabian border. Today, the solar microgird is delivering sustainable energy to the rural community and providing the women a income and professional employment.
In an interview with Positive News, one of the microgrid owners Iman GAL-Lebb said, “at first, they made fun of us, that we want to do men’s work. But now, the community is respecting us as we are business owners. This project has built the trust and broken the red line in dealing with men. We are now contributing to the family monthly budget to cover food and other life requirements.”
The project is run by the United Nations Development Programme, a program focused on providing affordable energy accessibility and income for women and young people. The program’s next step is securing private-sector funding to continue building microgrids.
DEEPER DIVE: Positive News
WASHINGTON, D.C. ANNOUNCES 2020 SUSTAINABILITY AWARD WINNERS
Washington, DC recently announced the winners of its 2020 “District of Columbia Sustainability Awards.” The District Sustainability Awards is an annual event that highlights businesses, individuals, and organizations working towards a more sustainable DC. Awardees’ projects and programs support the Mayor’s Sustainable DC Plan, which aims to make the District the nation’s greenest, healthiest, most sustainable city; it encompasses equity, governance, education, built environment, climate, economy, energy, food, nature, transportation, waste, and water.
As, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser says, “Sustainability is about balancing the environmental, economic, and social needs of the District of Columbia today as well as the needs of the next generation, and the one after that.”
What are some Examples of Environmentally Sustainable Operations or Activities?
- Installing new equipment or developing new incentives to encourage behavior that improves energy and water efficiency in buildings.
- Starting a comprehensive waste management program which includes recycling, composting, and waste reduction,
- Installing solar panels, a green roof, rain gardens, or porous pavement at your building or as a part of your offered services.
Examples of Socially and Economically Sustainable Operations or Activities from applicants include:
- Hiring people of color who represent marginalized communities and/or increasing the economic and social empowerment of your employees.
- Provide funding to community organizations based in marginalized communities.
The seven, 2020 winners are:
- Eco Caters
- Bradley Site Design
- The Green Scheme
- Anica Landreneau, HOK
- the Ward 8 Woods Conservancy
- SC Herman & Associates, Inc., and the People’s Choice Award went to:
- IStudio Architects
This year’s award ceremony can be viewed on Youtube–just search bar 2020 District Sustainability Awards. This year’s keynote speaker was Hip Hop Caucus Founder, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. Oh and just one more thing–Washington, DC is the world’s first LEED Platinum City. Go DC!
AUSTRALIA BUILDS A “NOAH’S ARK” FOR CORAL
A plan to revive some of the world’s most endangered corals is underway at a facility near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The proposed Biobank facility would house over 800 at-risk corals in PORT Douglas, Australia for conservationists to study and breed the endangered corals.
Reported by Positive News, the ‘Noah’s ark’ plan took inspiration from Norway’s global seed vault and would operate as both a research lab and tourist attraction.
In an interview with the Guardian Australia, Biobank director Dr Dean Miller said the facility would be “a life support system for corals,” and that “there’s a time pressure on this with every bleaching event that happens”. Miller added, “every year we wait, we’re losing corals. We don’t have any time to lose.”
According to research from the Townsville-based Arc Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, the number of small, medium, and large corals on the Great Barrier Reef have more than halved over the past 25 years. This project is one sign of hope for reviving one of the world’s most vibrant marine ecosystems.