Posts tagged with "global warming"

Why Tech Workers Are Leaving To Fight Climate Change

With the climate crisis rapidly worsening, many tech workers are recognizing they aren’t making any significant impact to better the world in their current roles, prompting them to leave the traditional tech sector to work for companies fighting the climate crisis. The tech industry is notorious for having one of the most lucrative job pools for its workers, though the majority of those jobs aren’t particularly glamorous, purpose-driven, fulfilling, or legacy-creating roles. In fact, some of the most common tech jobs consist of designing, engineering, and developing software such as mobile apps or operating systems, or assessing, analyzing, and evaluating data to help companies make better-informed decisions. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us several times over that people expect the businesses they work for (and buy from) to take a stance for things that matter to them. And while tech experts may not know much about public policy, legislation, or environmental science, they do know a lot about data. 

“It’s a data problem that we’re solving,” said Persefoni co-founder Kentaro Kawamori when approaching his business partner, James Newsome, about starting a SaaS to fight climate change, as reported by CNBC. A lot of tech workers in similar positions are feeling uncertainty regarding how to best make this career shift due to a lack of knowledge or experience around climate change. But their contribution to this work is not to be concerned with the science of climate change; it’s about managing and leveraging the data needed to navigate climate change.

Making The Shift

Dr. Soudip Roy Chowdhury, the CEO of Eugenie.ai, has witnessed this shift, as well, as more tech workers have looked to join companies with a mission that makes a positive impact on climate change. Dr. Chowdhury hired Narayanan Subramaniam as his CTO because of Narayanan’s dedication to living sustainably over the past 30 years, and because of how he could use his cloud-based technology expertise to impact climate change. 

Dr. Chowdhury cautions tech workers on their career move to the climate change industry. “While the industry needs more workers, you do need to be passionate about climate change and technology in order for it to be satisfying work,” he says. In fact, some tech workers have taken serious pay cuts from huge six-figure salaries to average $60,000 salaries. He also advises to look at what type of technology one wishes to be part of developing.

Climate tech, as a niche industry, has skyrocketed due to several recent changes. From 2020 to 2021, climate tech has seen an 80% increase in investment. The industry’s worth is now estimated at $56 billion, with energy and power companies having seen the most significant growth. When other industries climate tech touches are brought in — for example, transportation, agriculture, food, or logistics — the investment in climate technology increases to over $114 billion, with two-thirds of investments going into mobility and transportation.

Finding The Big Impact

Overall, there is no shortage of job opportunities in climate technology, and while a lot of workers seemed to have taken significant pay cuts, investments into the industry have boomed. The most important thing to know when considering a shift to climate tech, however, is whether or not one is truly passionate about the work involved in mitigating the global impact of climate change. Without that passion, as Dr. Chowdhury mentions, the work may not be enjoyable.

When it comes to companies making the most impact, the biggest thing Dr. Chowdhury says that needs to be considered is scalability. A wide variety of climate tech companies are working to analyze climate change and understand how it needs to be addressed, but the tech industry isn’t the only industry that’s been affected by climate change. “As a technologist, we need to start thinking about scale and how our technology can not only address specific problems for a few industries, but across all industries,” says Dr. Chowdhury. 

This is where using the notion of digitization will come into play. Dr. Chowdhury sees digitization and the innovative products it creates — such as the metaverse — as a prime opportunity for climate change and tech experts to collaborate and test out new, emerging technologies. With the metaverse, new technology being developed can be evaluated and tested to see the level of impact it will have in fighting climate change. And according to Dr. Chowdhury, Eugenie.ai is already accomplishing this.

“We are working on providing digital twin technology, where we help companies create a digital version of their processes and machines. This, of course, will help them to see how they can improve their output, but also how to follow certain process prescriptions,” says Dr. Chowdhury. These prescriptions are determined using simulations of data with a company’s past knowledge, combined with Eugenie.ai’s own research, as a blueprint. By following the prescription, companies can improve their sustainability KPIs, while maintaining operational throughput.

Dr. Chowdhury shares that his company is already partnering with some companies to test out this digital twin approach in the metaverse. “We have tested our digital twin today by applying it to some oil and gas mining companies. We’re helping them to reduce their production wastage by 2025 by focusing on fugitive emissions. The goal is to reduce their emissions close to 7-8% on a annual basis.”

A Glimpse Into Sustainable Business

Companies will now be able to more accurately estimate how their technologies will impact climate change upon launch. In turn, companies like Eugenie.ai can develop prescriptions that will rapidly accelerate the developmental stages industries will have to undergo when adopting new climate and sustainability technologies. With opportunities to develop life-changing climate technology becoming more available and in dire need, it’s no wonder that an increasing number of tech workers are looking to change careers and find more meaningful ways to utilize their expertise.

While many data scientists and software engineers are working at great companies at Google, Amazon, and other tech giants, not many of them can say they’re working on technology that will help to drastically shift the way other industries function. This isn’t to say that their jobs aren’t important; tech giants like Google and Amazon need to understand that tech is not entirely about understanding and optimizing consumerism. 

In fact, consumers are more likely to support sustainability efforts as long as they understand the methods and meaning behind them. However, it’s going to take more workers to leave their big salaries at Google to help the rest of us understand the data necessary to recognize the severity of our climate crisis.

A$AP TYY New Single "Presidential" Cover Art via The Oriel Company for use by 360 MAGAZINE

A$AP TYY – PRESIDENTIAL

Today, next-up Harlem rapper from the A$AP Mob collective, A$AP TyY releases latest single Presidential via AWAL.

Click HERE to listen to Presidential.

Watch the Presidential visualizer HERE.

Of the track, A$AP TyY shared, Presidential is a story about Harlem. I’m painting a picture of Harlem culture on the daily to the world.

Presidential combines a soulful horn-laden beat with TyY silky vocals and effortless flow. TyY never shies away from vulnerability as he illustrates the struggles he faces in day-to-day life through his lyrics.

The latest single follows on the heels of TyY’s successful run at Paris Men’s Fashion Week, from sitting front row at shows such as at Givenchy and KidSuper, to launching limited-edition collection with streetwear brand Global Warning. The visualizer for Presidential doubles as a recap of TyY’s fashion week endeavors.

His Global Warning collaboration features six unique pieces personally designed by TyY that are heavily influenced by TyY’s street and bike fashion, and the embodiment of the A$AP Lifestyle. A percentage of each item sold will benefit the A$AP Foundation, whose mission is to provide young people with accessible and realistic education about substance use and abuse.

TyY continues to establish himself as a style icon, delivering everything from a goggle collaboration with KidSuper and recent partnership as the face of KSUBI GOLD, to walking runways at fashion weeks in Shanghai, Paris and New York. He is also an avid BMX bike and quad rider, where he rides the streets of Harlem daily.

Presidential follows his recently released single Street Gospel, and teases a project on the horizon this fall. Stay tuned for much more to come from A$AP TyY.

About A$AP TyY:

A$AP TyY tells a different kind of Harlem story. His story has all of the hustling, heart, and triumph over adversity you might have come to expect from the borough, but there’s much more to it. He quietly grew into a diverse and dynamic presence just as proficient on an ATV as he is on the mic. In 2015, he fueled a pair of bangers O Well and Chamber Lock with the late A$AP Yams. Locking into a groove, he unleashed the 2016 Best Kept Secret mixtape followed by the 2018 Troubles of the World mixtape. He also appeared on chart-busting projects such as A$AP Mob’s Cozy Tapes Vol. 2: Too Cozy, which bowed at #6 on the Billboard Top 200. In between, he headlined packed shows on three continents, touring the U.S., China, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and Europe. Simultaneously, he hosted an art exhibit and established himself as a style icon, delivering everything from a goggle collaboration with KidSuper to opening Shanghai Fashion Week 2019 in his first runway appearance for INXX and walking in NYFW 2019 for Woo Lee Studios. He joined forces with Milan-based designer Guntas for a line featured in the Spring 2018 Guntas collection. Along the way, he picked up acclaim from Hypebeast, Complex, HotNewHipHop, and more.

Follow A$AP TyY on Socials:

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Tech created by Ho Szemui at 360 Magazine use by 360 Magazine

IP PARIS PRESENTS A WORKSHOP

Institut Polytechnique de Paris (IP Paris), a major player in French innovation, will present 21 high technological value start-ups at the 6th edition of VivaTech, taking place from June 15 to 18, 2022. On Friday, June 17th from 10:30 to 11:45 am (French time), IP Paris will present a workshop “Tech the challenge for society,” highlighting the latest game-changing research projects conducted within its existing interdisciplinary centres (E4C on Energy and Climate, and Hi! PARIS on AI and Data Analysis) and upcoming ones (in Arts, Science and Society and Bioengineering). The programme of this workshop can be found HERE.

With 3 incubators, 82 start-ups incubated in 2021, including 44 new ones, 1,400 million raised by start-ups founded by IP Paris alumni in 2021, 35% of Next40 start-ups and nearly 25% of French Tech 120 start-ups founded/managed by alumni or from its incubators, 30 laboratories and a community of nearly 1,000 researchers, 50 patents and software applications filed this year, Institut Polytechnique de Paris is asserting its position as a key player in technological innovation in France and internationally.

For this sixth edition of VivaTech, 21 start-ups from IP Paris’ ecosystem will take turns to present their innovations to professionals and the general public within the framework of the six major themes established by VivaTech: innovations related to the fight against global warming and the energy transition, tomorrow’s mobility, future of work, diversity, decoding Web3 and the promotion of the European tech ecosystem.

How can we meet the needs of maritime players, reduce production errors in industry with microchips, contribute to the rehabilitation of children with specific learning disabilities, benefit from an evolving work environment, help merchants to grasp the entry into the world of Blockchain and Web3, or reduce the vulnerability of companies via cybersecurity?

For four days, they will be taking turns on booth C48 to present their products and/or services. As a must-attend event, VivaTech will represent a significant opportunity for them, accelerating their contact and business prospects and it will allow IP Paris to present both its start-ups acceleration and incubation programmes.

Representatives of the Drahi-X Novation Center and the Télécom Paris Novation Center will also be present on the booth to introduce their incubators, accelerators, prototyping spaces, investors’ clubs and VCs, as well as their international support.

On Friday, June 17 from 10:30 to 11:45 am (French time), IP Paris will present a unique workshop in English, “Tech the challenge for society”, also live on Linkedin, highlighting the innovative research projects carried out by Institut Polytechnique de Paris, within its interdisciplinary centres, on Satellites for Solar Energy ConsumptionNext Generation of Machine Learning for BioMedical ImagingPreserving the World Heritage in the Metaverse and Creative AI: Combining Knowledge, Learning and Control.

Maurice Lacroix Swiss watch via 360 magazine

MAURICE LACROIX

Maurice Lacroix unveils the brightest, funkiest range of watches, offered in an array of eye-popping colours.

The AIKON #tide is made to be noticed. And, best of all, the AIKON #tide is helping to make the oceans a little bit cleaner, thanks to revolutionary technology that converts discarded plastic waste into Swiss quality watches.

The AIKON #tide is cool with a conscience and it will be chillin’ near you very soon. Maurice Lacroix first released the AIKON in 2016, a model that has since enjoyed incredible success. The virtues of AIKON ownership extend to the model’s precise timekeeping, impressive readability, and extraordinary levels of wearer comfort. And, in common with all Maurice Lacroix products, the AIKON delivers high perceived value.

The AIKON #tide is formed of #tide ocean-bound upcycled plastic combined with glass fiber. The resultant composite material is twice as hard as standard plastic, five times more resistant, and has a carbon footprint significantly less than the production of virgin PET. It takes 17 bottles to make one fabulous watch and its tailor-made packaging, 100% made of #tide ocean material®. It’s a win-win deal.

The case measures 40mm in diameter and features a flat sapphire crystal, augmenting readability. Beyond its vibrant hues and case, the dial is adorned with a ‘Vague du Jura’ motif, a stylish reference to the ocean. For an additional quotient of glamour, several references are also available with diamond-set indexes.

The AIKON #tide is endowed with a screwed crown together with a screwed case-back, details that contribute to the model’s impressive water-resistance of 100m. The model is also granted with the Easy Strap Exchange system, allowing the wearer to swap the strap for an alternative without tools.

Later, in 2022, Maurice Lacroix intends to unveil a second version of the AIKON #tide equipped with a bracelet made of, you guessed it, composite material! A quartz movement is at the heart of the AIKON #tide, delivering convenience and precision. As you would expect of a Swiss watch, the AIKON #tide is a quality product backed by a 5-year warranty.

THAT’S WHAT A DROP MAKES

Sometimes when an individual or company tries to make a positive change, critics declare, ‘It’s merely a drop in the ocean’. However, apathy will never address the challenges the planet is now facing. Maurice Lacroix believes its initiative with #tide will contribute to cleaner oceans and make the planet a little better. Indeed, as they say in the Swiss Jura, ‘That’s what a drop makes.’

REVOLUTIONARY TECHNOLOGY

Modern and daring, the AIKON is made for a generation of Millennials who are connected, cosmopolitan and talented. This ambitious generation is setting out to conquer the world’s cities, embracing their unique spirit. Maurice Lacroix is an active and urban brand that thrives in the electric energy of these cities. Having won over fifteen awards, the brand has demonstrated an innovative, avant-garde and perfectionist spirit over more than 40 years.

Maurice Lacroix has entered into a ground-breaking, long-term partnership with #tide to collect plastic bottles from the seas surrounding various islands in Thailand, Indonesia, and, the Philippines.

Maurice Lacroix has committed to saving 10 million plastic bottles from polluting the oceans, which involves providing significant financial support. Indeed, the Maison will sponsor plastic collection activities, pay for longtail boats and warehouses, fund educational programs and finance various types of equipment. These bottles are sorted, shredded into flakes, washed and compacted close to the point of collection, and then transported to #tide’s upcycling facilities where the fragments are compounded into smaller granules. These are then combined with an undisclosed formula, culminating in the creation of upcycled plastic which is eventually used to make lots of lovely, brightly colored AIKON #tide watches.

Maurice Lacroix has conceived the AIKON #tide for a new generation who value sustainability, affordability, and notable style.

YOUR TIME IS NOW WITH MAURICE LACROIX

H&M awards for sustainability inside 360 MAGAZINE

H&M Foundation Award

H&M Foundation awards 5 innovations a total €1 million grant for their efforts to make the fashion industry planet positive.

A laundry solution that prolongs garments’ life, AI helping smallholder cotton farmers to increase yield and income, an invention realising the circular recycling of elastane and polyester blends, carbon-negative viscose made from CO2 emissions and regenerative agriculture making planet positive alternative to goose down – these are the five Global Change Award winners 2022, sharing a €1 million grant from the non-profit H&M Foundation.

The H&M Foundation launched the Global Change Award in 2015 to transform fashion and make it planet positive, in order for the industry to fulfil the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. That means finding and supporting disruptive innovations that address one or several of the earth’s global commons – land, water, oceans, climate and biodiversity. As the aim is to find innovations that allow major change for the entire industry the winners are free to collaborate with any actor they want.

“The winners of the Global Change Award hold the key to the complex challenges we are facing and prove that it’s possible to reinvent fashion. Their game-changing innovations are really inspiring and can help transform the fashion industry into a planet positive one” says Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation and Chairman of H&M Group.

The response from applicants was overwhelming and made it clear that there is no shortage of disruptive innovations out there. The momentum to transform the fashion industry into a planet positive one, to protect our planet and improve people’s living conditions has never been stronger. This year’s winners are:

BioPuff® by saltyco (UK) – A planet positive alternative to goose down, crafted from plants that heal damaged land.

BIORESTORE (Sweden) – A laundry solution that restores old and worn garments to mint condition.

CottonAce by Wadhwani AI (India) – An AI solution that reduces pesticide use, increases yield and raises incomes for smallholder cotton farmers.

Re:lastane (China) – The first mild process making elastane and polyester blend fabrics recyclable.

Rubi (US) – Planet positive viscose and lyocell made from carbon emissions.

In addition to the financial grant, all five winners also get access to the one-year GCA Impact Accelerator programme provided by H&M Foundation in partnership with Accenture, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and The Mills, offering the winners invaluable coaching and support, along with a strong network and memories for life. The GCA Impact Accelerator aims to help the winning ideas scale at speed through business, technology, investor and innovation readiness, and industry access. It also offers winners a mix of inspiring digital sessions and meetups at key locations.

The Global Change Award was initiated in 2015 by non-profit H&M Foundation to transform fashion and make it planet positive. By catalysing early-stage innovations that can accelerate this shift, the aim is safeguard humanity and our planet. Planet positive fashion means that every garment made needs to have a positive impact on earth’s shared resources – it’s global commons: land, water, oceans, biodiversity and climate.

Each year, five winners share a 1 million euro grant and get access to the yearlong GCA Impact Accelerator provided by the H&M Foundation in collaboration with Accenture, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and The Mills Fabrica. Neither H&M Foundation nor H&M Group take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations, as the aim is to find innovations that allow major change for the entire industry.

The H&M Foundation is privately funded by the Stefan Persson family, founders and main owners of H&M Group. Its overall aim is to accelerate the progress needed to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. 

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As seen in Yahoo Finance.

Six Tips for Businesses to Reduce Plastic Waste

You’re already in the habit of bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, upcycling glass jars, and maybe even tossing food scraps in a compost pile. Perhaps you’ve ditched single-use plastics, too.

If you’ve taken sustainable strides in an effort to save the planet, you’re not alone. Millions of others just like you have joined in the fight to conserve Earth’s resources and mitigate climate change. Together, we make a difference, but only if corporations commit to doing the same.

Individual-centered solutions, like the ones listed above, are inaccessible to many and, most notably, this approach ignores corporate influence. The truth is, when it comes to reducing plastic waste, there’s only so much you as an individual can do. Businesses have a far greater influence on climate change than the general public. That’s because major entities use, create, and waste more resources than consumers ever could.

Ultimately, it’s up to brands to reduce, reuse, and recycle plastic waste. Here are eight tips companies might use to achieve their sustainability goals and join you, the consumer, in defending the Earth.

1. Ditch Single-Use Plastics

Americans have developed disposable lifestyles that practically depend on single-use plastics. Whether it’s straws, utensils, or shopping bags, it seems you can’t go a single day without using or at least seeing one-and-done products.

Researchers estimate that about 50% of all plastics fit into this category. Sadly, much of it ends up in wildlife ecosystems and landfills, where it’ll take thousands of years to break down. Even then, toxic chemicals will leach into the soil and pollute the Earth.

That’s why it’s so important that businesses ditch single-use plastics. Grocery stores can swap plastic bags for paper ones. Restaurants can stop offering straws and including plastic cutlery in carry-out bags. Meanwhile, clothing brands and other companies can remove plastic items from their shelves and sell more sustainable materials in their place.

2. Charge Extra for Disposables

Some businesses like coffee shops simply can’t avoid single-use plastics. Those paper cups you sip from? They’re lined with polyethylene, a type of plastic that creates a waterproof seal to keep your beverage from seeping through. These businesses lack a better alternative, so they’ve begun charging extra for anyone who wants the disposable cup. Those who’d rather save a few cents can bring their own reusable one.

Some grocery stores, like Walmart, have taken a similar approach by charging customers a few extra cents for each new reusable bag they use. Others like Aldi don’t even offer plastic bags. Instead, customers can bring their own or purchase paper ones at the register.

3. Invest in Reusables

Of course, the best alternative to single-use plastics is no plastics. However, this option isn’t feasible for many businesses. Instead, they must invest in reusable items. For instance, a small business might replace the Keurig in the break room with a classic coffee maker that doesn’t require plastic pods. Meanwhile, a major corporation could start delivering products for manufacturers in reusable containers instead of plastic wrap or disposable cartons.

Even businesses that provide personal care and health services can invest in reusable equipment. For example, dentists can switch to reusable air, water, and suction tips and stainless steel prophy cups for tooth polishing. Simply disinfect them in the autoclave between patients and voilà! Zero waste.

4. Implement a Deposit-Return Scheme

If you’ve ever used a bottle return, you’re likely familiar with the deposit-return scheme. This strategy requires that customers pay a small deposit when they purchase plastic products. Then, if they return the empty containers, they’ll get their deposit back and the business can repurpose or recycle them properly.

Deposit-return schemes support a circular economy where all plastic is reused instead of becoming waste. In an ideal world, all companies would adopt this approach. However, it often works best for grocery stores, convenience stores, and other businesses that provide consumers with products in plastic containers.

5. Use Biodegradable Packaging

Packaging is responsible for 46% of global plastic waste generation. The second-largest contributor was textiles at 15%. Needless to say, it’s about time businesses ditched plastic packaging and switched to something more sustainable. While useful, cling wrap, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and other kinds of plastic packaging pose a number of environmental threats.

Essentially, plastic waste will be around forever. So it’s best not to use it at all. Instead of replacing it with something that’s recyclable — like glass or cloth —  businesses should choose biodegradable or compostable materials. By using paper, cardboard or, better yet, no packaging at all, nixing plastic packaging is one of the best things companies can do for the planet.

6. Make a Pledge

Faced with increasing consumer consciousness and dismal predictions for the future, many companies have made a pledge to reduce, offset, or completely eliminate plastic waste. For example, in 2018, Coca-Cola launched a World Without Waste plan with goals that included having 50% recycled material in packaging by 2030 and recycling a bottle or can for each bottle they sell by that same year. Microsoft made a similar goal to use 100% recyclable packaging.

Of course, once a business makes a pledge, they must honor it by actually doing what they set out to do. Otherwise, their words are meaningless. For a company to truly commit to and actually create lasting change, it must support its goal with a plan and a reasonable timeline. Analysts must consistently collect and provide data so management can problem-solve and do the work to reduce plastic waste. If they follow through, they’ll achieve their goals and encourage others to do the same.

Working Together to Save the Planet

Businesses both big and small must make an effort to reduce plastic waste if they’re to survive in an eco-conscious world. Consumer voices have made a huge difference in the kinds of products and services companies offer. Now, the most successful companies are the ones that prioritize the planet over making a profit. Together, the brand and the consumer can work together to reduce plastic waste and create lasting change.

Kaelen Felix illustrates wildfire article for 360 MAGAZINE.

Innovating Wildfire Insurance

The Innovative Finance for National Forests grant program, supports partner organizations developing out of the box financial solutions to some of forest management’s most vexing challenges. One partner, The Nature Conservancy, focused on using insurance premium reductions to incentivize forest conservation.

Property insurance premiums for communities, businesses, and homeowners are based on numerous factors and inputs of actuarial science. Some of those inputs include the quantity and history of claims in an area, the location itself, property value. Global warming? While not directly, studies have linked climate change to another risk factor considered in calculating property insurance premiums: wildfire.

Trends in wildfire activity show that fires are growing bigger and more intense across the western United States, destroying more structures with increasing associated costs. In 2020 there were 58,950 wildfires, affecting 10.1 million acres, in contrast to 18,229 wildfires and 1.3 million acres affected in 1983. The ever-growing risk to companies, communities and private landowners has drastically increased insurance premiums for properties at risk of wildfire, and it is expected that those premiums will only continue to rise, making insurance policies unaffordable for many.

But that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. Recently,  The Nature Conservancy, supported by an Innovative Finance for National Forests grant from the USDA Forest Service, the National Forest Foundation, and U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, focused its efforts on proving that ecological forest management could lower insurance premiums.  

“Forested lands in the west and adjacent communities are at risk of increasingly severe wildfires,” said Dave Jones, senior director of environmental risk at The Nature Conservancy and prior Insurance Commissioner for the state of California. “Wildfires are taking more lives, causing more injuries, destroying more homes and other structures, and at the same time, insurers are declining to write insurance policies for those facing substantial wildfire risk.”

State and federal land agencies and conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy already employ proven methods of ecological forestry management practices – such as prescribed burning and forest thinning – to reduce the risk of severe wildfires. These treatments increase forest health and productivity while also reducing the amount of organic material or “fuel” available to burn.

Private property and asset owners, including businesses, public agencies, and communities, also stand to benefit from those same practices. This led The Nature Conservancy to develop an innovative financial solution that would both serve to mitigate severe wildfire risk, thereby lowering insurance premiums.

The project, at its foundation, explored how creating more wildfire-resistant landscapes through ecological management could translate into lower insurance premiums for policyholders.

The Wildfire Resilience Insurance project demonstrated that this reduction in risk and loss can be modeled by insurers,” said Jones, “With the reduction in expected losses due to severe wildfires, the amount of premium which is needed to be collected by insurers to cover those losses declines as well.”

The Nature Conservancy used its French Meadows Forest Restoration Project, a 28,000-acre ecological forestry project in the Tahoe National Forest in Placer County, California, as a test case for the insurance study.

Partnering with global insurance and risk advisory firm Willis Towers Watson, current insurance models were modified to account for ecological forest management.

The study found that there were reductions in premiums for various types of commercial and residential insurance.  For example, The Nature Conservancy and Willis found that 81,000 homes would see a total annual premium savings of 41% or $21 million a year.

The Nature Conservancy also explored how those same insurance savings can be captured and used to fund forest treatment. In most cases, insurance premium savings were sufficient to fund additional ecological forest management projects, leading to further savings and an even more resilient landscape.

What’s more, Jones said the approach is scalable and can be implemented in other states where forests are subject to similar fire behavior as the forests of the Sierra Nevada.

“The approach is applicable wherever there are landscapes at risk of wildfire and where ecological forest treatments can reduce those risks,” said Jones. “Now that we have demonstrated, for the first time, that insurance modeling can take into account the risk reduction benefit of ecological forest treatment, we expect insurers to begin to take up the results of the Wildfire Resilience Insurance project in their own modeling and pricing of wildfire risk.”

Click here for more information on the Wildfire Resiliency Insurance project. To learn more about the Innovation Finance for National Forest grant program and how to apply, visit the National Forest Foundation.

Image by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 MAGAZINE

HEAT WAVES × THE FUTURE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

By: Andrew Shibuya

It seems as though only months or weeks pass nowadays between environmental global crises. While heat waves, floods, and the like are by no means novel, the twenty-first century has undoubtedly seen an unrelenting torrent of environmental disasters. In the past week alone, a record-breaking heat wave in the Pacific Northwest left nearly one-hundred dead, two separate oil fires burning on the surface of the ocean in both the Gulf of Mexico and the Caspian Sea, and innumerable small fires blazing across the West Coast following Fourth of July celebrations.

The heat wave in the Pacific Northwest impacted Oregon the most, with a total of 95 heat-related deaths on Sunday alone. Temperatures throughout the state reached a record-high of 117 degrees, leaving those without air conditioning or access to a cooler environment the most vulnerable. The Oregon government attempted to mitigate the effects of the heat wave by offering numerous cooling centers and even air conditioners to those at risk of harm.

Of course, the June heat wave that struck the Pacific Northwest was not unusual, nor will it be an outlier in the future by any means. In talking about the heat wave, Oregon Governor Kate Brown most succinctly stated, “This is a harbinger of things to come.” Other Oregon officials echoed this sentiment, with Public Health Director Jessica Guernsey writing the following in a press release for the heat wave: “This tragic event is almost certainly a glimpse into the future for Multnomah County, Oregon, the nation and the world. The impacts of climate change with heat waves, severe winter weather, wildfires, floods, and other rippling effects are happening now and will happen with more frequency for the foreseeable future.”

And while these sentiments are hardly prescient, on the other coast of the United States, a similar heat wave scorched the Northeast. While likewise record-breaking in its own right, the intensity of the East Coast’s heat wave does not come close to matching the Northwest’s. And still, a heat advisory was issued in New York City, and Boston and Philadelphia both issued heat health emergencies.

Of course, this past week was only one of the first weeks of summer, and more heat waves and heat related disasters are likely ensuing. Another heat wave warning has been issued for this coming weekend in California, from the desert to the Bay Area. California also has yet to enter its own “fire season,” which annually typically sees a handful of newsworthy fires that continue for several weeks, ravaging local communities and habitats.

This does not, however, mean that there is a lack of fires. This past Fourth of July weekend saw a marked increase in human caused wildfires. Already under a fire warning, California alone has seen hundreds of fires in the past several days as a result of holiday celebrations gone awry.

And all this is without mentioning the current drought plaguing the West Coast. From 2012 to 2016, California experienced its worse drought in over a millennium. The current drought finds many questioning the future of many essential Californian industries, such as farming, which will undoubtedly affect the largest economy in the United States.

Though one may be curious about the origin of these disasters–namely the drought and heat waves–one needs to look no further for evidence than the two oil fires on the high seas this past week. The fires, one in the Caspian Sea and one in the Gulf of Mexico, were both caused by oil explosions. The former is said to have been caused by the eruption of a “mud volcano,” or possibly a mud volcano interacting with a nearby gas field. They are still investigating the cause of this fire.

The fire in the Gulf of Mexico, however, was solely and indubitably man caused. A gas leak from an underwater pipeline by Mexico-owned gas company Pemex saw the inferno come about just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. A Mexican official has stated that there was no spillage, but there is still no explanation for the blaze.

Given all this, and the increased quantity of these sorts of events yearly, one can only wonder what a solution might be, and if such a solution is even plausible. And as each new catastrophe arises, it seems as though they are becoming normalized, with no action taken besides Twitter outcry. Beside merely pointing fingers at each other and pushing the onus of the responsibility around, the multibillionaires, their corporations, and the government ought to be able to do something.

Of course, it’s not as simple as expecting those groups to fix these global issues, as it is wholly a worldwide effort. As trite as it might seem, solutions to global issues require the actions of whole global populations. But besides recycling, eating with the environment in mind, and similar small (yet important) actions, what is the average person to do? Still, corporations such as Amazon are allowed to pollute and produce millions of pounds of plastic waste annually without consequence. Furthermore, former president Donald Trump once pulled out of the Paris Agreement in the name of America’s economic interests.

And so, just as Robert Frost once pondered if the world would end in ice or fire, the answer to his question seems to be becoming most clear now. As economies and profits seem to be more important than humanity’s future, the world will continue to burn, oceans will continue to rise, and people will continue to die. And as is true with many great problems, the issue is easy to see and difficult to solve–whether humanity will rise to its challenge is another issue entirely.

Illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 MAGAZINE

THE PROBLEM WITH PRIME DAY

By: Andrew Shibuya

It’s Prime Day–an almost dystopian new holiday of sorts, rivaling Black Friday itself and joining the ranks of those days that celebrate the contemporary culture of excessive consumerism. And perhaps almost as equally as dystopian as the day itself is the subsequent full throttle media push from news publications and influencers alike, listing the best deals and items to keep an eye out for.

And it’s not just Amazon that’s having a sale today. Retail giants Target and Walmart began their sales yesterday and today, too, attempting to both rival and outdo Amazon’s own sales. With this comes a massive ripple effect, with almost every large retailer and store offering their own imitative sales. Though indicative of Amazon’s obvious influence over the market, this ripple effect is similarly indicative of some greater ills of the post-modern capitalist world.

The event itself has been objectively well-crafted and carefully engineered. Beginning in 2015 to celebrate Amazon’s twentieth anniversary, Prime Day was introduced as a member’s only sale. And though the event was never truly a celebration for all as the company makes it out to be, now, the sales are hardly even sales. The bargains that are so celebrated are often merely engineered illusions, with prices being hiked initially, only for the appearance of a greater discount, and many items are often lackluster and unwanted models.

So, what is it about Prime Day and the subsequent market spike that keeps customers coming back? There are almost innumerable reasons behind why days like Prime Day and Black Friday are so successful, and there can be little doubt that there is a host of behavioral psychologists called upon to make Prime Day so successful. In general, Amazon employs numerous tried and true marketing and sales tricks that appeal to customers at a psychological level. From the rush of trying to snatch up a “Lightning Deal” to the fear of missing out on “a once in a lifetime” deal, Amazon certainly pulls out all the stops to generate perceived value around Prime Day’s deals.

This Prime Day, the first as the world begins its exit into a post-pandemic society, is worth considering sitting out. Out of everyone in the world, Amazon is one of the only entities for which the pandemic came with remarkable benefits.  The net worth of Amazon and subsequently Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos skyrocketed over the pandemic. In 2020 alone, Amazon saw a reported 70% increase in earnings in the first nine months of the year. And from March to June, Bezos’ net worth grew $48 billion.

It would be one thing – not a good thing by any means – but it would be something else entirely if Amazon did not have numerous documented issues with their working conditions. And these issues are said to only have grown worse with the pandemic. So as more people turned to Amazon as the pandemic forced everyone to remain at home, and as Bezos’ net worth grew, so too did claims of timed bathroom breaks, unreachable productivity requirements, and general unsafe working conditions.

In addition to these concerns regarding Amazon employees is the fact that Amazon in general has a vast environmental footprint. In 2019 alone, the company was reported to have generated 465 million pounds of plastic packaging waste. In air pillows alone, Amazon’s packaging waste would circle the planet more than 500 times. The fact that events like Prime Day are so successful is remarkable to see as the greater world comes to terms with or, in fact, does not come to terms with global warming and the vast detrimental effects of consumerism culture.

But what is most astonishing about the success of Prime Day is that these great drawbacks to the event, and to Amazon in general, are no secret. People are generally not shy about their criticisms of Amazon and Bezos himself. Tens of thousands of people have recently signed a petition to stop Bezos’ return to Earth following his trip to space next month. Innumerable thought pieces are written weekly indicting Amazon’s practices. And still, it’s one of the biggest companies in the world. Is Amazon now inevitable?

Between multibillion dollar business acquisitions and new real estate expansions, Amazon continues to expand its reach physically and to a wider audience. For a company that began as a bookstore alternative, Amazon now owns wholly unrelated companies to its online offerings such as Ring, Twitch, and Whole Foods.

And while perhaps not unexpected, the sheer variety and scale of Amazon’s holdings raise concerns of a further and more dominant monopoly across the entire marketplace. This is especially concerning in a year when more than 200,000 small businesses across the United States closed due to the coronavirus and ensuing lockdowns.

These concerns, of course, lead to the primary issues with Prime Day. Even if the discounts were truly exceptional, are the glaring issues with Amazon – from irreversible environmental damages to its troubling work conditions – worth its vast selection and free two-day shipping? It is this dilemma that will be a primary issue of the coming years as the cost and convenience of these trademark Amazon offerings are overshadowed by the inevitable environmental impact and implications of Amazon’s burgeoning monopoly.

Moreover, with respect to Prime Day itself, how often do people buy things that they actually need? Oftentimes, as with many sales, people buy items that they would not otherwise, save for the fact that they are on sale. Putting aside Amazon’s own issues with packaging and other waste, this sort of rampant consumerism in itself has led to an increase in pollutant emissions, increased deforestation, as well as an acceleration of global warming.

And while these issues are rather glaring and easy to point out, the solution is not so easily within reach. Ultimately, it will come down to if the convenience of Amazon is outweighed by their ever becoming ethically or morally untenable, whether because of their environmental or social impact. Until then, it seems that Prime Day will continue to succeed, Amazon will simply continue to grow, and so too will the number of complaints and worries. And thus, Amazon has become the company that everybody loves to criticize but few can resist.

 

SmartWorldOS screenshot provided by Steve Philp and City Zenith for use by 360 MAGAZINE.

Cityzenith x Digital Twin Consortium

Cityzenith is bringing its city de-carbonization expertise to the Digital Twin Consortium (DTC).

The DTC is a collaborative organization driving the Digital Twin industry forward through a membership drawn from innovators and companies across many sectors.

Its latest invitee Cityzenith has created a software platform, SmartWorldOS™, able to create virtual replicas of buildings, cities and infrastructure to track, manage and optimize carbon emissions to minimize environmental damage.

DTC executive director Dr. Richard Soley welcomed Cityzenith’s membership: “Its specialized knowledge and experience in clean cities will benefit our members greatly as we deploy Digital Twin enabling technologies in buildings, cities, and urban areas.”

Cityzenith CEO Michael Jansen believes DTC membership can take his company to new heights:

“The opportunity to network with fellow Digital Twin market leaders, ground-breaking industry innovators, and the biggest names within the data, technology and construction sectors is game-changing for Cityzenith. This membership will open many doors for us.”

The DTC’s global network not only advances Digital Twin innovation across many industries, but also coalesces sector, government, and academia to drive consistency in vocabulary, architecture, security, and interoperability of the technology.

Members benefit from collaboration with industry peers, participation in industry working groups, influencing requirements and future standards for Digital Twins, and recognition as a Digital Twin industry leader.

Founding members include Bentley, Microsoft, and Dell Technologies, as well as up-and-coming Digital Twin innovators. Cityzenith will chair a working group for DTC, working with other market leaders specifically to the industry’s best interests.

Jansen’s mission at Cityzenith is to use its SmartWorldOS™ software platform to decarbonize cities as part of its international ‘Clean Cities – Clean Future’ campaign in support of the UN-backed Race to Zero initiative.

“Despite only covering 3% of the Earth’s surface, cities contribute to 70% of global carbon emissions while consuming 78% of the world’s primary energy, of which we waste 67.5%,” said Jansen.

“Smart tech innovations such as SmartWorldOS™ can provide the essential interconnectivity required to reduce these percentages, it’s like Sim City but in real life, providing real data to solve real problems.”

“The platform’s ability to handle massive data streams harnessed to cutting-edge AI, has delivered custom climate resilience applications to greenfield cities, real estate developments, and infrastructure projects. We know the issues and have the capabilities to help solve them for those who design, build, and manage cities.”

To hear more from Cityzenith CEO Michael Jansen, please join an upcoming FREE investment webinar, ‘Join The Race to Zero – Investing in Technology For Sustainable Cities’ taking place virtually on Tuesday8th June at 08:00 CT and 13:00 CT. To learn more about using emerging tech to combat Climate Change, please sign up here.