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Luxembourg makes all public transport free
15 January 2019 - With a population of 602,000, Luxembourg is one of Europe's smallest countries -- yet it suffers from major traffic jams. But that could be about to change. Last month, it announced plans to make all public transport -- trains, trams and buses -- free from March 2020. The government hopes the move will alleviate heavy congestion and bring environmental benefits ... (more)

US: Western Colorado cities expect big savings from solar power
15 January 2019 - Don't let the chilly air and shorter days fool you: Hundreds of solar panels located off Interstate 70 near Palisade (Colorado, elevation: 4,728 feet) are working just fine. ome January, the 12-acre (5-hectare) solar garden will go online and fully offset electricity costs for Palisade, saving the town an estimated $1.2 million over the next 20 years. (more)

City bees: allotments and gardens can help arrest decline - UK study
14 January 2019 - Allotments, weedy corners, and fancy gardens are all urban havens for bees and other pollinators, a study has found. The first research to examine all types of land use in cities has identified pollinators' favourite places and flowers, many of which are often considered weeds. (more)

US: Minnesota-Vermont project offers low-income families solar
14 January 2019 - When a Minnesota nonprofit partnered with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to build a community solar array in 2017, they believed their model could scale nationally. That theory is being tested as the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance travels east to Vermont's Windsor and Windham counties where they are working with Southeastern Vermont Community Action to provide solar power to 50 low-income households. (more)

US: New Jersey port to be 1st to use electric container carrier
14 January 2019 - The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will conduct the first test at a U.S. port of an electric vehicle to move cargo containers, with an eye toward eventually replacing the current gas-powered fleet. The pilot program is part of a broader effort by the Port Authority to reduce greenhouse gases at the ports, which handle billions of dollars in cargo annually. (more)

900 MW solar farm approved for Australia's Riverina region
13 January 2019 - In the final days of 2018, Australia's New South Wales government gave its tick of approval for the construction of the state's largest solar farm to date, rounding off a year that saw a flurry of utility-scale solar construction activity and an unprecedented number of big solar additions in the state. The Yarrabee Solar Farm costing almost $1 billion will be located in southwest of Narrandera in the Riverina region of western NSW. The project is said to have the potential to power a city of almost one million people. (more)

India will add a record level of solar power capacity in 2019
13 January 2019 - India's solar capacity addition is set for a record in 2019. New installations this calendar year will reach nearly 14 gigawatts (GW), which is about 50 percent more than the capacity added last year ... The new capacity addition will take India's installed solar capacity to about 38 GW by the end of the year. Overall, the country is estimated to add nearly 16 GW of clean energy capacity in 2019, driven by large-scale solar projects. (more)

Milan, Italy: The grey city is going green
10 January 2019 - Milan, the city of Italian fashion and the economic capital of the country, is going green. Local authorities have announced plans to plant 3 million trees by 2030, believing that the increase in greenery will have a positive effect on the quality of air, and consequently on the health of the people. According to Italian media, the city's authorities are planning to create 20 new urban parks, to extend the already existing ones, and to make the most out of discarded areas like an abandoned freight railway network which will be turned into seven parks. Trees will also be planted in more than 2,000 schoolyards and in private gardens, parking lots will be reconverted into parks, and greenery will be also planted on flat rooftops, with 10 million square meters already fit for the project. (more)

US: In first, Native American tribe displaced by sea gets land to relocate
10 January 2019 - A small Native American tribe in Louisiana whose land has nearly vanished into the sea has moved a step closer to relocating its community further inland after authorities acquired new land for the move, part of a first-of-its-kind project. Pat Forbes, an official with the state of Louisiana, which handled the purchase, said he hoped this first attempt in U.S. history to move an entire community losing its home to water would serve as a blueprint for generations to come. (more)

Ethiopia-Eritrea border: Smiles as ex-enemies cross frontline to shop
9 January 2019 - The reopening of the border between former enemies Ethiopia and Eritrea has dramatically changed the towns near the frontier ... The reopening of some of the border crossings, including one earlier this week, is part of the peace deal signed last July by Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The agreement has also seen diplomatic ties renewed and phone links between the two countries restored after being cut off for nearly two decades. (more)

'Right to repair' gathers force
9 January 2019 - It is frustrating: you buy a new appliance then just after the warranty runs out, it gives up the ghost. But help is at hand, because citizens in the EU and parts of the USA will soon get a 'right to repair' -- of sorts. This consists of a series of proposals from European environment ministers to force manufacturers to make goods that last longer and are easier to mend. (more)

Mysterious radio signals from deep space detected
9 January 2019 - Astronomers have revealed details of mysterious signals emanating from a distant galaxy, picked up by a telescope in Canada. The precise nature and origin of the blasts of radio waves is unknown. Among the 13 fast radio bursts, known as FRBs, was a very unusual repeating signal, coming from the same source about 1.5 billion light years away. ... The research has now been published in the journal Nature. (more)

China: Anti-pollution effort pays off along Yangtze
7 January 2019 - Zhang Liangcai used to be a fisherman on Taihu Lake in the 1990s, but now he works as a lake cleaner since the city government of Wuxi, Jiangsu province, started to restore the lake's ecology in 2002. The environmental campaign accelerated in response to a water crisis in Wuxi caused by pollution in 2007, and a 'river chiefs' system was established in which government officials are assigned to protect waterways in their area. 'Now the water is much cleaner, and more birds rest here during the winter migration in recent years,' said Zhang. (more)

Germany: Renewables overtake coal as main power source
3 January 2019 - Renewable energy became Germany's dominant source of electricity in 2018, beating coal for the first time in history, experts from the Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute said on Thursday. Germany has set ambitious energy targets for the upcoming decade, aiming to have renewable sources provide 65 per cent of energy by 2030. (more)

Masked dance tradition rises from near extinction in Cambodia
3 January 2019 - Cambodia's centuries-old tradition of masked dance (Lakhon Khol) was nearly wiped out by the Khmer Rouge ... but a handful of artists managed to keep it alive and are now working to pass it along to a new generation. Lakhon Khol was recently listed by UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural agency, as an intangible cultural heritage, along with neighboring Thailand's version of the dance, known as Khon. There are different variations in Southeast Asia, all featuring dancers wearing elaborate painted masks depicting the Ramayana. (more)

US: How nonprofit and public-sector clients are driving sustainable design
3 January 2019 - As these three examples of nonprofit and public-sector clients suggest, those at the top can empower architects to make impactful choices, provided they embrace sustainable goals of substance. Revisiting boundary-pushing designs from the past two decades reveals the significant role clients have in clearing obstacles and driving change in the building industry. (more)

Agroforestry helps Tajikistan farmers overcome resource pressures
2 January 2019 - Tajikistan is a dry and mountainous country where agroforestry is helping to stabilize soils degraded by decades of monoculture farming during the Soviet era, while growing food and providing cover for wildlife. Farm sizes are generally small and the population is increasing, but farmers visited by Mongabay report multiple harvests annually with alley cropping and other environmentally friendly techniques. (more)

Norway's electric cars zip to new record: almost a third of all sales
2 January 2019 - Almost a third of new cars sold in Norway last year were pure electric, a new world record as the country strives to end sales of fossil-fueled vehicles by 2025. In a bid to cut carbon emissions and air pollution, Norway exempts battery-driven cars from most taxes and offers benefits such as free parking and charging points to hasten a shift from diesel and petrol engines. (more)

Norway: Oslo starts 2019 as Europe's eco capital
2 January 2019 - Oslo's waterfront was once a mass of shipping containers and a vast intersection jammed with cars pumping out fumes. Today, traffic is diverted through an underwater tunnel, and much of it is made up of electric or hybrid cars. Now, the scene is becoming dominated by a new Edvard Munch art museum and central library -- both due to open in 2020. The new development has impressive environmental as well as cultural credentials, with all new buildings meeting energy efficiency standards for low energy use, explains Anita Lindahl Trosdahl, project manager for Oslo's Green Capital year. As European Green Capital 2019, Oslo hopes to set an example for others. (more)

Plastic bottle deposit scheme in UK proving hit with shoppers
2 January 2019 - Iceland was the first UK supermarket to install reverse vending machines installed to reduce littering in support of the government's proposed deposit return scheme in England, which expects retailers to be responsible for properly recycling the containers, and in line with its own efforts to reduce the impact of single-use plastics on the environment. (more)

Portugal: The world's first plastic-free flight is here
2 January 2019 - The world's first plastic-free flight took to the skies just after Christmas, operated by a Portuguese airline that says it can 'no longer ignore' the impact the single-use material has on the environment. Hi Fly, that leases aircraft from Portugal and Malta, replaced plastic cutlery and containers with bamboo and compostable alternatives crafted from recycled material. The flight took passengers from the carrier's headquarters in Lisbon to Brazil on an Airbus A340 on Boxing Day and is the first of three more test flights to follow, all carrying a total of 700 travellers. The aim, according to Hi Fly president Paulo Mirpuri, is to adopt a plastic-free policy on all its flights by the end of 2019. (more)

The most exciting corporate sustainability moves
1 January 2019 - 2018 was quite the year for companies -- from Apple to UPS to Ikea -- trying to lighten their environmental footprints. This is by no means a complete picture of all the sustainability work happening in the private sector-and that is something that should be a cause for optimism. (more)

Scotland's first low-emission zone launched in Glasgow
31 December 2018 - Scotland's first low-emission zone (LEZ) is being introduced in Glasgow. The first phase of the LEZ will set emission standards which must be met by 20 per cent of buses which pass through the city centre. It means local bus services must comply with European emissions standards. Phase two, applying to all vehicles entering the zone, is to be implemented in December 2022. Transport Secretary Michael Matheson described the development as as a 'milestone moment' and said the government was committed to introducing low emission zones into Scotland's four biggest cities by 2020. (more)

US: Chicago crime rate drops for second year in a row
31 December 2018 - Chicago saw a significant drop in murders and gun violence for the second year in a row, according to police. Overall crime is down 10 percent since 2016 . . . overall shootings fell 14 percent compared to 2017, and have dropped 32 percent since 2016, according to police statistics. (more)

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