Zero carbon buildings and construction are essential to meet the Paris Agreement goals, improve climate resilience and create jobs as part of COVID-19 recovery. However, the buildings and construction sector is not living up to its potential. What can be done? By Martina Otto
Energy & Waste
The world’s cities have a critical role to play in supporting global sustainability efforts and tackling climate change. Effective waste management lies at the very core of these ambitions, says Donovan Storey from the Global Green Growth Institute.
The waste produced by cities does not need to be dumped – but instead can become the starting point of a new production cycle, argues Nick Jeffries from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
If urbanisation drives climate change, then mitigating the dangerous effects of global warming must address how we plan, build, and live in cities. Implementing bold national plans requires active cross-sector coordination and collaboration between the local, regional, and national governments.
The traditional relief-rehabilitation-development paradigm does not hold true in urban conflict zones. A combined approach of long-term support for systems reinforcing short-term support for individuals would meet people’s needs, secure development gains, and represent value for money. The cost of failing to adapt is simply too high, argues Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
With thousands of tons of food going to waste every year, Serbia is coming up with solutions to prevent the production of surplus food – and support vulnerable groups with the surplus that is generated anyway.
How can Vietnamese cities avoid the environmental pitfalls of rapid urbanisation? Adam Ward proposes solution-driven policies for key areas.
Access to energy is considered a key factor in development and progress. Especially in informal settlements, provision of energy can be challenging. Alessandro Galimberti outlines how Public Private Partnerships that include local CSOs have been key to solving this problem in many of Brazil's favelas.
To achieve sustainable integrated waste management, municipalities need to move away from end-of-pipe approaches. What is rather needed are softer approaches that set incentives for sustainable waste management at an early stage of waste handling.
The large amount of electronic waste is a serious challenge in Lomé, Togo. At WoeLab, tech-savvy young people come up with solutions that clean the environment, ensure recycling of electronic waste, and educate residents on how to manage and valorise their electronic waste.
While Nigeria has made a leap in access to information communication technology (ICT) and the Internet in the past two decades, many of its residents still depend on imported used electrical and electronic equipment (UEEE). Since many of them turn out to be waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), they worsen the challenge of electronic waste management. Prof. Oladele Osibanjo and Dr. Innocent Nnorom discuss this trade along with its environmental and human health implications.
In Bamenda, Cameroon, municipal waste management remains blind to how gender roles shape waste generation. Hedwig K. Ngwa Akum analyses how bridging the gender gap between waste generation and waste management would improve sanitation in the city.
In Brazil, Latin America’s largest country in terms of population, the City of Sao Paulo is committed to recycle organics. In 2015, the City embarked on a journey towards separate collection of organics, thus enabling the production of high-quality compost.
Plastic pollution is an enormous environmental problem around the globe. It is only through the creation of functioning local and global circular economies that the problem can be solved. Doug Woodring, founder of Plasticity Forum and Trish Hyde, founder of The Plastics Circle, suggest a 5-point-plan to optimise plastic's Second Life potential.
In order to save energy and resources, and to prevent waste from harming the environment, recycling is not enough. Cities should try to avoid waste production altogether, argue URBANET authors Carina Koop, Jennifer Schinkel, and Henning Wilts.