Expanding the Definition of Sustainable Buildings

Sustainability in building construction amounts to a lot more than reducing carbon output and energy use. In a recent Planetizen post, transportation policy expert Todd Litman says those looking to create sustainable buildings need to consider long-term affordability, walkability, how conveniently situated the building is to available public transportation, and community integration.

With that broader definition in mind, Litman highlights the efforts of GreenTRIP (traffic reduction and innovative parking), a program that certifies "new residential and mixed use developments that incorporate traffic and parking reduction strategies."

The program, which is based in the Bay Area, but has hopes to expand elsewhere, also offers community outreach on the benefits of traffic and emission reduction.

One GreenTRIP certified project that embodies the program's ethos is the South Hayward BART Affordable Family and Senior Housing Project:
The Project is a 206-unit, 3-5 story, mixed use apartment project next to the South Hayward BART Station. Eden Housing will offer two AC Transit passes at a deep discount to each household for the life of the project. The South Hayward BART Affordable Family and Senior Housing Project is a 206-unit, 3-5 story, mixed use apartment project next to the South Hayward BART Station. Eden Housing will offer two AC Transit passes at a deep discount to each household for the life of the project.
To read more about other certified projects and GreenTRIP's push toward sustainable development, check out Planetizen.

Image via GreenTRIP
via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

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Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

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The Planet
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

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