McCormack delighted with MVP nod

first_imgSt George’s College avenged their ISSA Southern Conference Under-16 basketball final defeat to St Catherine High in the All-Island final at G.C. Foster on Tuesday, and one of the most critical performances of the day was that of tournament MVP, Jadeja McCormack.Jordon Gilles might have led the North Street school with 17 points followed by Samora Williams with 13 and Nathan Reid with 10 points. However, it was the overall contribution of McCormack that really made the difference.The point guard only bagged eight points, but his rebounds, steals and ability to control the tempo of the game made the young player an invaluable asset for the defending under-16 champions, and he credits the hard work that he puts in as the reason for his success this season.”We wake up five o’ clock to train and finish at 9 a.m. to 10 (a.m.). Then I would play some pick up ball with (Arnett Rockers) D 1 players. I will be the first one in at training most of the time, and I work hard in the gym, run, and do what I have to do. The hard work has paid off,” he told The Gleaner after helping his team defeat St Catherine.HAPPY FOR WIN”I am pleased and happy, too, because to work so hard and not come out with anything would have been disappointing, so I am glad we won and I won (MVP),” he added.He admitted he had his difficulties through this season and credit his team for helping him through the tough times.”Some games, I lost focus, but my teammates and coaches helped me pick up, and I thank them for that,” he said.”I take this (sport) very seriously, and sometimes, my mother would tell me to stop playing, she says that I will damage myself, but I love basketball. I don’t love anything more than it, other than my family. I dream of playing in the NBL, and I am working hard to make that dream come true. Next I would like play college ball or for a (US) Division One league until I can work my way to the top,” he said.St George’s coach Clifford Brown thought McCormack’s all round contribution was indispensable and vital to their success this season.”His performance was stellar. His ball control, his ability to manage the game, he manages a lot of steals and converts on free throws. He plays good defence, he heeds instruction and he followed the mandate given to him. He is the point guard and he is supposed to run the team, and that’s what he did,” Brown commented.- L.S.last_img read more

Cross Country Gears Up For Midwest Regional

first_imgStory Links Live Results Regional Central center_img The Drake University cross country teams are gearing up for the NCAA Cross Country Regional Championships in Stillwater, Okla., Friday, Nov. 15. The event is hosted by Oklahoma State at its home course. The women’s 6-kilometer race is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. and the men’s 10-kilometer race is set to begin at 11:30 a.m.The top two teams at each regional automatically qualify for the national championships, totaling 18 teams across nine regionals. The four top individuals at each regional who do not finish on a qualifying team will also advance.The remaining 13 at-large teams and two additional individuals will be selected by the NCAA Division I Cross Country Subcommittee. A total of 255 runners will qualify for the national championships in Terre Haute, Ind.Drake’s men’s team finished second at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship Nov. 2. Kyle Brandt was named to the All-MVC first team, and Adam Fogg and Maximilian Fridrich were both named second-team All-Conference. Although the Bulldogs have not run a 10k yet this season, Kyle Brandt finished last season with a 10-kilometer time of 30:25.0. Maximilian Fridrich finished with a 30:06.0 10k time.The Drake women’s team finished ninth at the MVC Championship. Olivia Rogers placed 28th in the 5-kilometer race to pace the Bulldogs.Rachel Selva led the Bulldogs with a 6-kilometer time of 22:11.9 on Oct. 18 at the Bradley Pink Classic, which is the best 6-kilometer time for the Bulldogs this season. Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

JUDGE ISSUES WARRANT FOR ARREST OF HUSBAND WHO HASN’T PAID MAINTENANCE

first_imgA JUDGE has ordered the arrest of man who hasn’t made payments towards his ex-partner and their children.The woman in the case told Judge Paul Kelly that arrears of €16,800 was now outstanding.Despite numerous legal letters to the man, he has failed to appear before Carndonagh District Court. Judge Paul Kelly asked if the man was in court, but he wasn’t.The judge then told the woman that all he could do at this stage was to order his arrest; and he issued a bench warrant for the man’s arrest.JUDGE ISSUES WARRANT FOR ARREST OF HUSBAND WHO HASN’T PAID MAINTENANCE was last modified: October 26th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:arrestCarndonaghGavelmaintenancelast_img read more

Wilder hits back at critics after Sheffield United victory

first_imgEmbed from Getty ImagesSheffield United boss Chris Wilder felt his side’s 2-1 victory at QPR was the perfect response to their doubters.They came from behind at Loftus Road, where David McGoldrick’s 65th-minute penalty gave them the points.Billy Sharp had equalised shortly before half-time to cancel out Ebere Eze’s opener.United lost the opening two matches of their Sky Bet Championship season, with their performances in defeats against Middlesbrough and Swansea attracting some criticism.“We’re really struggling with that character stuff, aren’t we?” Wilder said sarcastically after the Blades’ win.“Over the last two years we’ve not shown any bottle or character or spirit, no desire and we’re all over the place. People are having a fight in the changing room every day.”He added: “People will make assumptions, but I don’t sign players who don’t want to run about for this football club.“I said to the players the only way you’re going to show people if they’re questioning you is when you step out onto the pitch.“Noise and nonsense or whatever it is, we have to keep our cool and go through these periods – it happens to us all. The expectation levels have gone through the roof over the past two years.“We’ve done some things over the two years we like to think have been quite good.“When you fall a little bit, which we have done in certain periods of the two games, you have to take it on the chin what people say.“It wasn’t the most free-flowing performance. But it was a Sheffield United type of performance, with guts, determination, desire and a little bit of football played in there.” Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebookby Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksRecommended for youAspireAbove.comRemember Pauley Perrette? Try Not To Smile When You See Her NowAspireAbove.comUndoLifestly.com25 Celebs You Didn’t Realize Are Gay – No. 8 Will Surprise WomenLifestly.comUndoUsed Cars | Search AdsUsed Cars in Tuen Mun Might Be Cheaper Than You ThinkUsed Cars | Search AdsUndoTopCars15 Ugliest Cars Ever MadeTopCarsUndoezzin.com20 Breathtaking Places to See Before You Dieezzin.comUndoFood World Magazine15 Fruits that Burn Fat Like CrazyFood World MagazineUndoDrhealth35 Foods That Should Never Be Placed in the RefrigeratorDrhealthUndoHappyTricks.comHer House Always Smells Amazing – Try her Unique Trick!HappyTricks.comUndolast_img read more

SA pride in World Cup at 90%

first_imgSouth African football fans. (Image: Chris Kirchoff, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For more free photos, visit the image library.) Public opinion on staging the 2010 Fifa World Cup remains overwhelmingly positive in the host nation South Africa, according to recent research conducted on Fifa’s behalf.The findings from the fourth instalment of a six-wave survey suggest a strong emotional commitment to the tournament, in particular a pronounced sense of pride (90%) in being the first African nation to host football’s premier event.The survey was conducted by international research company Sport+Markt immediately after the final draw in December. The successful organisation of this event and its blanket coverage in the media appear to have reinforced respondents’ belief in South Africa’s readiness to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup (84%) and their keen anticipation of it (86%).Similar to the previous three waves, the vast majority of respondents have high expectations in terms of the potential long-term benefits of hosting the World Cup, both tangible and intangible. Those believing it will unite the people of South Africa stand at 79%, while 88% expect it to boost South Africa’s image abroad, 91% expect it to create more jobs and 95% think it will strengthen tourism.“What these findings tell us right from the first round of surveying in December 2008 all the way through to today is that there is a strong feeling of positivity towards the Fifa World Cup among South Africans,” said Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke.“The scores have been consistently high with negligible deviation over the months.”Of the perceived potential disadvantages of hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup, inflation remains the biggest concern for South African respondents, with 70% believing consumer goods will become more expensive as a result of the competition.However, the 7% point drop in this score since the previous wave in September 2009 represents the biggest fluctuation recorded in this survey.The urban representative survey was conducted among 1 000 South African respondents in all major cities, including 2010 Fifa World Cup host cities, with quotas for ethnic origin, age and gender. Interviews was conducted face-to-face in calendar weeks 50-51, 2009. To request the charts or for further information, please contact marketingcomm@fifa.org.last_img read more

African blocs to attend BRICS summit

first_img16 January 2013In a first for BRICS, high-level representatives of Africa’s regional economic blocs and the African Union (AU) have been invited to attend the fifth BRICS summit taking place in Durban in March, delegates were told at a preparatory media workshop in Pretoria on Tuesday.The decision to invite the AU along with the various regional groupings, including the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Central Africa (Comesa) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), is in line with South Africa’s goal of promoting regional integration.It also fits in with the theme for the Durban summit: “Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation”.The EAC, SADC and Comesa are working towards the creation of a 26-nation free trade area covering southern, central and east Africa. The free trade area will comprise nearly 60% of the economy of Africa, have a combined GDP of US$1-trillion, and encompass 600-million people.Preparations in full swingThe Department of International Relations’ deputy director-general for Asia, Middle East and BRICS, Anil Sooklal, told delegates at Tuesday’s workshop that it was all systems go for the logistics of the summit.South Africa was admitted to the grouping of powerful emerging economies, which includes Brazil, Russia, India and China, at the third annual summit of the bloc’s leaders in China in 2011.At last year’s summit in New Delhi, India, South Africa was awarded the hosting of the 2013 summit, which will take place at Durban’s International Convention Centre from 25 to 27 March.About 3 000 delegates and officials, including the presidents and prime ministers of the five countries, will attend.Various activities have been planned for the summit, including an academic forum, a finance ministers’ business workshop, and various cultural events.As per tradition, the leaders will reflect on various international issues, such as security and economy, both to find consensus and to gauge how best to participate, as a grouping, on the global stage.South Africa will the take over the chairmanship of the group for the 12 months following the Durban summit, before handing the baton over to Brazil in 2014.SANews.gov.za, with additional reporting by SAinfolast_img read more

Oscar and the photo of the witness

first_img“We would never consciously undermine our own efforts over the past ten years.” From the eNCA apology (Image: eNCA) • Pistorius trial: open justice or trial by media? • A media guide to the Oscar Pistorius trial •The media and open justice • South Africa’s justice system • Laureus honour for Blade RunnerSulaiman PhilipWinning the right to broadcast the Oscar Pistorius trial came with clearly defined restrictions, one of which prevented the media from showing the faces or publishing photographs of witnesses who had not consented to being filmed.Judge Dunstan Mlambo’s ruling was hailed as a balancing act between press freedom and individuals’ rights by some, and as censorship by others.On the second day of the trial that ruling was put to the test. Patrick Conroy, head of news at eNCA, had checked with the court clerk for permission to use a photo of witness Michelle Burger that had appeared in two Afrikaans newspapers. The argument Conroy and eNCA put forward was that showing a picture of Burger with the caption – “On the stand: Michelle Burger, Pistorius’s neighbour” – to accompany the audio feed as she testified was not a violation of the judge’s order.But a fuming Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor, reminded Conroy that the state interpreted the ruling to mean that any image of a witness, no matter the source, would breach the spirit and intent of the earlier ruling. Nel told the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper that eNCA originally wanted to use a photograph of Burger taken outside the court. “The court said no. They still went ahead and did it using a photo they found somewhere else.”Attorney Pamela Stein does not read the ruling as narrowly. A media specialist and partner at the firm Webber Wentzel, as well as a co-author of the newly released Practical Guide to Media Law Handbook, says: “If I were advising eNCA I would have told them to go ahead and publish the photo. The picture was not taken while the witness was on the stand. The court’s control extends only as far as the door of the court.”Confusion around the interpretation of Judge Mlambo’s ruling comes from the wording used – no images of witnesses if they did not provide permission. The newspapers, Beeld and Die Burger, and eNCA argued that his ruling forbade images taken inside the court while testimony was being given. This is a longstanding concession between the media and the justice system.Conroy argued that the legal advice the news group got was in line with this understanding, before conceding in an apology on the channel’s website: “But, on reflection, this was a bad judgement call on our part and we accept that it did not accord with the spirit of the court order.”Trial judge Thokozile Masipa strengthened the ruling by saying any image of a witness who did not want their face shown, was now off limits. She went on to warn the media: “If you do not behave, you will not be treated with soft gloves.”In an editorial, South Africa’s The Times newspaper said: “At the heart of yesterday’s controversy was the weakness of the Mlambo judgment. The judge shied away from either opening the courtroom to broadcasters or keeping them out altogether. By choosing a middle route, he has opened the way for confusion and, as occurred yesterday, unwise rulings that threaten media freedoms and extend the procedural authority of judges beyond courtrooms and on to the streets.”This is not the first time that photographs have caused an uproar in the matter. A year ago, crime scene photos from Pistorius’s Silver Lakes home were leaked. At the time, the original investigating officer told the English newspaper Sunday People that he knew of police officers who were being offered large sums of money for photographs taking in the house.Even Blade Nzimande, the general secretary of the South African Communist Party, waded into the controversy. He wrote in Umsebenzi, the SACP magazine: “Even worse, the sentiment coming across is that it is Pistorius’s rights that have been violated and not those of the Steenkamp family and of Reeva, whose blood is literally splashed in that footage! Sanef [South African National Editors’ Forum] is dead silent on these matters. And it is also the rights of a man that are elevated above those of a woman. In fact, this patriarchal and elitist message has come to characterise the voluminous media coverage of this matter, especially by eNCA on 4 June 2013 and before that!”The intent of eNCA at the beginning of the trial, in the words of journalist Karen Maughan, was to give clear-headed insights into the workings of the South African judiciary. The channel’s top legal reporter wrote: “coverage so far has been tainted by inaccuracy and sensation. The good and the bad of our justice system in South Africa will be on display. We will cover this trial honestly, calmly and fairly.”With 80 accredited journalist filling the courtroom and the overflow area, and another 200 filling a room outside the court, all looking for exclusive content, it was inevitable that the line of what was permissible was going to be tested.As blogger Akanyang Africa wrote in his blog: “Of course I know that this [Judge Mlambo’s restrictions] would have been seen by many as being the worst censorship in as far as press freedom is concerned. But rights have limitations too and by putting this condition in place, Judge Mlambo would have exercised and limited that right correctly.”The law is fluid, a living thing, especially in a democracy as young as South Africa. There will be a continuous give and take as the citizenry and the government and its institutions find a comfortable space to co-exist. The scrutiny given to this trial is proving to be the perfect vehicle for the media and the justice system to redefine the margins of what is, and what is not permissible.last_img read more

Climate Change for Builders: The Biggest Opportunity

first_imgNew buildings need to be carbon neutral to meet the necessary targets, but the existing building stock contributes much more to operating energy use; we need mass weatherizing and equipment upgrades. When people say, “Earth’s climate has always changed,” I think back to a college geology class I took in 1992. The professor’s PhD research specialty was drilling deep in glaciers, peering back hundreds of thousands of years, and comparing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels with surface temperatures. My professor would agree that both temperature and carbon-dioxide levels have always varied. But he would add that they have always correlated very closely with each other. The relationship is complicated, with higher temperatures often preceding higher CO2 levels, but they always end up following a similar path, largely because of what we now know as the greenhouse effect—the CO2 and other gasses trap some of the sun’s energy from leaving the atmosphere. The problem is that CO2 levels are now much higher than ever before, and the temperature is just beginning to catch up. (CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas, but it’s by far the most common, so it is used as currency: other greenhouse gasses are typically converted to the damage they would do if they were CO2.)Even with supercomputers, scientists can’t predict exactly what the results of climate change will be, any more accurately than they can accurately predict the weather for next week—there are just too many variables to consider.But just as we know within a certain range what the weather next week will likely be, scientists have an increasingly accurate picture of what the future holds for us, and it’s not good.In October 2018, the United Nations released a report from their International Panel on Climate Change, summarized with, “Large, immediate and unprecedented global efforts to mitigate greenhouse gasses are required.” Previously, the Paris Agreement had bound 200 nations to keep temperature rise to 2°C, but the IPCC report cites 1.5°C (2.7°F) as the maximum we can reach without catastrophic results. While a couple of degrees may not sound like much, it will have enormous impacts on the world as we know it: stronger storms, acidifying oceans (and the associated loss of shellfish and coral reefs), a weakening gulf stream in the Atlantic that would cause much colder and more extreme weather in Europe, and the decline of species and ecosystems. Increasing drought and higher temperatures will cause migrations that will spark hostility. Some sources seek to inject uncertainty into the UN’s predictions, but the vast majority of the world’s scientists agree and are already measuring the changes as they occur, though they are often all but impossible to observe directly. A 1°F temperature rise isn’t exactly obvious.Believe it or not, buildings do matterThis is the biggest challenge humans have ever faced, and it requires the world to act together for this common cause. Every action, large and small, has consequences, and this is an unprecedented opportunity to work together. We need to drastically reduce carbon emissions, and we need to prepare for the possibility that we won’t be able to prevent climate change from accelerating.Buildings have a big impact on greenhouse gas emissions, in two ways: (1) their operating energy, the total impact of the energy needed to heat, cool, and ventilate a home or other building, and to power its lights, outlets, and appliances; and (2) their embodied energy, which includes everything needed to create and install a material or product and, some argue, to recycle it as well. In the United States, both operating energy and embodied energy are heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Globally, almost 40% of energy used is related to building construction and operation. The only country that contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than the United States is China, which has twice our emissions but four times our population. According to the Department of Energy, U.S. buildings account for 39% of primary energy consumption and 72% of all electricity consumed domestically, and together they contribute more to total greenhouse gas emissions than either the transportation or the industrial sectors. Including embodied energy, the United Nations calculates the impact of U.S. buildings to global warming emissions at 48% of our total emissions.What we can we do about it: Small stepsThe ways to reduce energy consumption are well known: improve airtightness and insulation levels; install efficient windows, doors, fixtures, and equipment; design to take advantage of the sun’s rays (while guarding against overheating); be smart about how you operate your home. Many cast concrete footings are oversize, built to standard sizes instead of optimized for their particular sites and structures. Foundation walls are often thicker than they would need to be if they had proper steel reinforcing and were allowed to cure slowly. We are at the most critical juncture in human history. Your future self, your children, and your grandchildren will know that you had the opportunity to do something now and either chose to or chose not to. Every decision matters. An efficient home may use $300 per month less in energy costs than a poorly built home, money that could go toward a mortgage. Concrete is the most commonly used construction material in the world and the Portland cement in it is responsible for more than 8% of total CO2 emissions. It’s not going away, but it is possible to reduce its impact. The easiest is to simply use less of it. Many cast concrete footings are oversize, built to standard sizes instead of optimized for the site and structure; foundation walls are often thicker than would need to be if they had proper steel reinforcing and were allowed to cure slowly. Where basements are common they are rarely necessary, and they require more concrete and insulation (almost always climate-damaging foam) than a slab foundation. It’s even possible to minimize the amount of foam used in a slab-on-grade foundation; I recently designed a small house with a concrete-free slab; we simply ran an insulated grade beam around the house, and inside that we floated a wood floor over high-density EPS foam. I’ve also been specifying concrete with pozzolan admix, which uses industrial wastes (typically fly ash) to replace part of the Portland cement while maintaining or improving the strength. Another, new technology injects CO2 captured from factory emissions into concrete, resulting in a stronger concrete and capturing the greenhouse gas. CarbonCure, one producer in this category, is already available at limited plants around North America. Some simple ways to reduce operating carbon are to use LED bulbs (with the variety now available there is no excuse for people still clinging to incandescents or halogens). Air-seal your home; as much as 50% of energy lost is through air leaks. Add insulation. Install more efficient equipment. Be ok with being a little warm in summer and a little cool in winter; previous generations were not the wimps that we have become. More-efficient envelopes can be more susceptible to mistakes, so learn the building science needed to make them safe or hire people who already understand how to do it. It’s not hard, but it is different than building in 1950. Net zero energy homes—those that generate as much energy as they use on an annual basis—need to be mainstream, not niche.To go a little further, like many designers of efficient homes, I use an energy modeling program to weigh building options: everything from overall shape and orientation to window and equipment selection to wall and foundation systems. I use BeOpt, an energy modeling program that is simple to use and a free download from the Department of Energy, and show clients the return on investment to go above code-minimum construction. BeOpt’s most unique feature is that it can automatically show the most financially-prudent path to specific energy use targets, all the way to net zero or net positive annual energy use, using nationwide average costs. The user can modify costs or add new assemblies to the substantial list programmed in. I tell clients that considering the stock market is due for a slowdown, energy improvements with a return on investment of 5% or higher are a safe place to put any extra money, and even lower returns can represent an affordable donation toward environmental stewardship, with better returns than a bank savings accounts or similar low-risk vehicles.Finding the balance point between expenditures and gains is also the intent behind the Pretty Good House approach to home design and construction, which you can read more about at Prettygoodhouse.org.Traditionally, operating energy has been considered much more important than embodied energy, as the overall emissions from operation for a typical building are around 80% over 50 years compared to 20% for embodied energy. But with the climate clock ticking, it is critical to reduce embodied energy as well. (Read The New Carbon Architecture by Bruce King for a thorough analysis.)The simplest way to reduce the impact of the materials used is to use less of them: design and build smaller homes, renovate instead of building new, recycle or upcycle whenever possible (and use materials that can be reused in the future), shift to multi-family buildings instead of single-family homes. Another is to avoid materials that contribute more heavily than others; two common construction materials strongly tied to global warming are certain types of foam and concrete.The most readily available and affordable rigid foam, extruded polystyrene (XPS) uses blowing agents that are 1400 times more damaging than CO2. There are two viable alternatives: polyisocyanurate and expanded polystyrene (EPS). I have been designing high-performance homes on tight budgets for over five years, without specifying XPS, so it is possible—it just requires a little more legwork to get the right materials. (Note that I said I had not specified XPS; it still shows up occasionally because it’s so versatile and easy to get that builders sometimes use it instead of what I spec.) Conventional closed cell spray foam has blowing agents that are almost as bad as those in XPS. Buildings that use less energy and have less embodied energy require a deeper understanding of construction than we needed in 1950 or 1970, so we should expect that more education is necessary to design and build good homes than in the past. There are many educational sources, but one I recommend is to find or start a discussion group. For the last ten years a building science discussion group has met monthly in Portland, Maine, led by builder Dan Kolbert and hosted by Performance Building Supply, and was the source of the Pretty Good House concept. Last spring I started a similar one near me (search “Building Science + Beer” for more info.) Similar groups are popping up elsewhere; if you don’t know of one, start one. Just getting professionals and interested parties together in one room for an informal, open discussion leads to a surprising amount of learning and relationship-building. There are also more formal groups: NESEA, Architecture 2030, Passivhaus/Passive House, USGBC to name a few that I have found valuable.What we really need to do: Giant leapsIdeas such as those above are a start and should be the minimum level of thought put into any new home. Unfortunately, the situation is dire, and much stronger action is needed, including:We need policy changes to force the free market to respond. There are some things that industry and individuals are just not inclined to do without pressure, even when the result will be strongly positive for everyone. The free market can be a wonderful thing, but it’s not good at everything, and has not proved effective against climate change; we are at the point where we need government intervention to encourage behavior in the right direction—and not just our government, as the US does not exist in a vacuum. Very little in the market is not controlled in some way, and fossil fuel production is heavily subsidized in various ways; instead it needs to be taxed, with the earnings going toward policies and technology to help us through this next age of climate change. A carbon tax is the simplest and often-recommended policy change, in use and effective elsewhere. Banks need to consider operating costs when providing loans. An efficient home that uses $300 per month less in energy costs than a poorly-built home could pay for a $60,000 larger mortgage to fund the energy improvements and solar power generation. A few banks are already doing this but it’s rare.For power generation, arguments against subsidized photovoltaics are valid, as they favor those wealthy enough to afford a PV system. But those are typically the same socio-economic class of people who also profit from owning stocks in subsidized fossil fuel companies, so the argument does not hold up to scrutiny. The more PV that gets installed, the more affordable they become, and the more they contribute to a stable, distributed energy generation system. But those smaller systems are not being built quickly enough; what we really need is much more industrial-scale renewable power generation. As an aesthetically-oriented environmentalist I hate to see the changes these power generators bring to the viewscape but compared to the alternatives I don’t think we have a choice. At least creative farmers can graze animals among PV fields and wind turbines. (The UN report also had a harsh critique of industrial animal-raising practices, but some encouragement for small, diversified farms including multi-species rotational grazing, which dovetails with using fields for PV generation.)We need more housing to accommodate a population that, for better or worse, will continue to grow. But we can’t all live in 3,000 sq. ft. custom homes in the countryside. At bare minimum, we need to build smaller, more efficient homes, but we really need to be building multi-families buildings, which are a much more efficient use of resources. New buildings need to be carbon-neutral to meet the necessary targets, but existing building stock contributes much more to operating energy use; we need mass weatherizing and equipment upgrades.As for materials, one technology that is nascent in the US but has proved itself elsewhere and is gaining traction in the US is Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). It will probably never pencil out for single-family homes, but it has long been used in Europe for larger buildings, where it can replace a significant amount of the carbon-intensive concrete and steel normally used in such buildings. If it comes from a sustainable source it can be a strongly carbon-negative material, meaning the more we use, the more we save, for buildings where steel, concrete, and foam or mineral wool insulation would normally be used.Some approaches are on the fringes, but as consumers become educated about alternative ways to build, they are becoming more popular: straw bale construction, high-performance offsite construction, tiny homes (on or off wheels). All have tradeoffs compared to conventionally sized and built homes, but each has advantages.Use local materials. While moving large quantities of products from one side of the globe to the other can take a surprisingly low amount of energy on a per-unit basis, the heavier the product the better it is to buy local, especially if buying local supports your local economy. In Maine, the most heavily forested state in the country (on a percentage basis), the most affordable wood siding comes from the west coast. We are just now getting our first CLT plant, and research is under way on wood-fiber insulation, long common in Europe.What if we don’t do enough? We need to greatly reduce operating energy in all our buildings, through efficiency measures and through cleaner forms of generation. The Passivhaus program was designed in the 1990s to limit each person’s building-related emissions from contributing to climate change. It’s very hard to meet the standard with single-family homes or in more extreme climates, and relatively simple with multi-family dwellings—a hint at which is better for the planet. Going further, the Living Building Challenge charges participants with creating buildings that use fewer resources of all types than they take to build and operate. It’s a challenge indeed, but also quietly setting a new direction in the high-performance world.The LEED standard has been effective for institutional buildings but the initiative has run out in the residential sector. Building to Energy Star standards is popular where it is subsidized, but the standards are not particularly stringent, and many states don’t provide incentives. Architecture 2030 aims for all new buildings to be carbon-neutral by 2030, 20 years ahead of the timeline set in the Paris Agreement, but in alignment with the recent UN report. Energy improvements with a return on investment of 5% or higher are a safe place to put any extra money, and even lower returns can represent an affordable donation toward environmental stewardship, with better returns than bank savings accounts. Building-science discussion groups are popping up; if you don’t know of one, start one. Globally, almost 40% of energy used is related to building construction and operation. The United Nations’ recent report has set a dire prediction. We will find ways to do better, but we all must prepare for a more severe climate (including stronger and colder winters) and what that will do to various societies. The damage we are inflicting today won’t be fully felt for decades, so it’s hard to focus attention on something that feels intangible. But we don’t have a choice. I recently described the situation to someone who was trying to convince me to focus on serving the needs of those who suffer from Lyme disease, currently at least 200,000 Americans. A noble cause, and their needs are real, but compare 200,000 individuals with every single person and other animal on the planet. Just in the next hundred years that’s at least 20,000,000,000 people who will be affected, many severely. That’s 100,000 times more people than currently afflicted with Lyme disease in the US, and more than 50 times our current population. Our failure to act will mean all of them will suffer, and many species will be eradicated, because we couldn’t act in time. And that’s just in the next 100 years. Consider the common question, “if you could go back in time and change one thing, what would you change?” We are at the most critical juncture in human history. Future-you, your children and grandchildren will know that you had the opportunity to do something now and either chose to or chose not to. Every decision matters.With the significant changes that will likely happen, despite our efforts, we need buildings that are more resilient in the face of stronger storms, longer droughts, and potentially questionable power supply. We need to show developing countries how to build resilient communities that are interdependent and secure. (And we could learn a lot from the low-impact lifestyle often practiced, out of necessity, in developing countries.)What if we don’t need to do anything?There is the slimmest of chances that climate change deniers are right; after all, this is science that is impossible to prove with 100% accuracy, and the climate and its interaction with all of the earths’ systems is a big, dynamic thing. What if all of the societies on the planet work together toward a common goal, instead of warring over resources? What if people had cleaner air, lived in healthier homes, lived healthier lifestyles and had more close relationships, in more comfortable homes? What if we support local economies instead of sending our money overseas and complaining that locals don’t have work? What if we are better prepared for droughts, storms and power outages? What if we better understood the connection between ourselves and our planet’s ecosystems? Wouldn’t those all be good outcomes?20 billion people and incalculable species are depending on you to do the right thing.-Michael Maines is a builder and designer in Palermo, Maine. He is a contributing editor to Fine Homebuilding magazine. Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash.last_img read more

Doping: India needs to get its act together

first_imgWalking along the pathway from the Pudding Mill station on the DLR line to the main Olympic Stadium in east London was a fascinating experience last week.After my experiences with the infamous Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, I was sceptical if I could get to an area from where I could see the main Olympic Stadium. Even before completion, it looked fantastic from a distance with trucks plying.No dust, no noise, and yet work was on in full swing.This is the venue which will host the London Olympics opening ceremony on July 25, 2012. And when I was told by a guide this is the venue where all the track and field events will also be held, I did feel a bit sick.Even away from home, news of eight Indian track and field stars flunking dope tests for anabolic steroids was big, with every Google alert making it ugly and scary. With just over a year to go for the Games, this is the worst news one could hear, though nobody expects a medal from Indians on the track, throws or jumps.The London Olympic Stadium, which will host the athletics events.Reams have already been written on the superstars who brought India glory at the CWG and the Asian Games. All that is forgotten and the focus is now on drug cheats, the Athletics Federation of India, sacked coach Yuri Ogorodnik, the Sports Authority of India and the National Institute of Sports, Patiala.With sports minister Ajay Maken also tweeting on Saturday that more ‘ raids’ will take place, it is as if people who abuse drugs are waiting to be caught! The point is, doping in India has been on for a long time and in disciplines like weightlifting, wrestling and athletics, using illegal means to improve performances is a well known fact.advertisementAs was expected, inquiries have been ordered and an impression is being given as if people behind this mess will be caught. That is never going to happen because this whole business of doping in sport is not so simple.If Indian athletes have been caught for steroid abuse, then everyone involved in the sport ought to be aware of this. Be it coaches, trainers, the federation or government agencies, everyone knew doping has been taking place for a long time.In a drug abuse case, the person who finally has to face the music is the athlete while all those who were around him or her vanish. In the present case, the sports ministry wasted little time in sacking relay coach Yuri and has blamed him for it.But the myopic sports ministry seems to have ignored a vital fact that two of the athletes – Hari Krishan Muralidharan ( long jump) and Sonia ( shot put) were not training under Yuri. So, obviously, Yuri didn’t get them the ‘ fix’. Last year, just before the CWG, when almost half a dozen Indian sportspersons tested positive for MHA ( methylhexaneamine), there was surprise at the outbreak.It was finally traced to food supplements which the sportspersons had consumed.IN THE current case, it has almost been presumed that stanazolol and methandienone, substances for which athletes tested positive, have been taken in a direct form – injections or tablets – by the eight athletes . Coach Yuri has been going from one TV channel to the other and shouting he never gave drugs and only administered food supplements. It is unfair that Yuri has not been given a proper hearing and is being asked to leave the country.Just to jog the readers’ memory, the first case of two athletes – Mandeep Kaur and Jauna Murmu – testing positive for steroids was towards the end of May when representatives of the International Association of Athletics Federations ( IAAF) came to India.It set the cat among the pigeons and the Athletics Federation of India asked NADA ( National Anti- Doping Agency) to test its athletes at the WADAaccredited lab in New Delhi. Six athletes flunked.But where the NADA has flouted rules is that a WADAaccredited lab cannot be used for pre- departure testing. This is not a case as simple as someone suffering from diabetes having to go to a pathological lab for blood sugar tests. If the WADA gets tough, the Delhi lab could also be in trouble.Having spoken to several sports medicine experts, I believe the athletes who have failed the tests now are victims of contaminated food supplements.It is for athletes to decide what they want to take as they are the ones who are finally responsible for what they consume. In India, it is the SAI which is responsible for distributing food supplements at national camps.advertisementSo if at all the government probe has to be a thorough one, what needs to be checked is the food supplements which these athletes consumed. This can provide clues to the mystery as athletes are not stupid enough to blatantly take steroids.The global food supplement business is a thriving one. It generates $ 200 billion annually and all kinds of new products enter the market every year.With all the ingredients in a supplement not mentioned on the label of a product, there is every possibility steroids may also be in the mix.Then again, out of this huge amount of supplements available for sale, just 10 per cent is consumed by professional athletes around the world.The rest is bought by people who hit the gym trail for sixpack abs or bulging muscles, unmindful of the harmful effects.Back to the sports ministry, it cannot throw its hands up and just punish a few and order raids. The ministry sanctions national camps and also the athletes’ trips to countries like Ukraine and Belarus.What say Mr Maken?last_img read more