Come Let Us Rebuild Christ Church

first_imgThe Priest-in-Charge of Christ Episcopal Church, the Rev. Fr. Harris W. Woart, has challenged Episcopalians from Crozierville to return and rebuild the church in the same way the Prophet Nehemiah, in exile following the Babylonian captivity, returned home to rebuild Jerusalem.Preaching on the occasion of homecoming of Christ Church members yesterday, Fr. Woart told the parishioners that they are to rebuild their church socially, spiritually and physically. “We must rebuild this very edifice we currently occupy by repairing the roof and ceiling and finding locks for the windows and doors.” The church has fallen into serious disrepair over the years with major leaks and a generally crumbling, decaying structure. On the challenge of rebuilding Christ Church, there is a far bigger challenge. The current edifice will soon be torn down by a new road construction project passing through Crozierville. Episcopal Bishop Jonathan B.B. Hart, a born member of Christ Church, and other parishioners have identified a 25-acre plot of land immediately behind the current edifice where the new church is to be built. An architect has already been recruited to design the new church, and its members at home and in the Diaspora must now begin raising the funds to build the new edifice before it is demolished by the approaching road construction project through the settlement.Christ Episcopal Church was first built in 1865 immediately after immigrants from Barbados in the West Indies came and were given a parcel of uninhabited land just next to White Plains in Montserrado County. The first church, named after that which the immigrants attended in Bridgetown, Barbados, before they migrated to Liberia, was spearheaded by John Porte, patriarch of the Porte family and grandfather of Albert Porte, Mrs. Lilian Best, Christian Porte and Mrs. Sarah Stewart. John Porte’s son, the Rev. Conrad C. Porte, father of Albert and his siblings, became rector of Christ Church in the early 1900s and served until his death in January 1926.But before expounding further on rebuilding Christ Church, Fr. Woart explained the meaning of the Gospel lesson of the day. It was about a Roman officer, a centurion, who had a sick servant and appealed to Jesus to heal him. As Jesus approached the centurion’s home, he sent word to the Master saying, “Don’t bother to come under my roof, for I am not worthy to receive you. Just say the word and my servant will be healed.” Christ was impressed by the centurion’s faith and the servant was immediately healed.“There are a few things we must learn from this passage,” said Father Woart. “First, know yourself. The centurion was a soldier who was not perfect. His home might have been the place where many corrupt activities occurred.Second, admit your wrongs, your weaknesses. The centurion admitted that he was unworthy to receive Jesus into his home.And third, have faith. The centurion had faith that Jesus had the power to heal the servant and he expressed his faith. Jesus appreciated the man’s faith as well as his humility by saying he was ‘unworthy’ to receive Christ in his home. ‘I have not seen so much faith in Israel,’ the Master said, as he pronounced the sick servant’s instant healing.” “Spiritually,” Fr. Woart said in yesterday’s sermon, “we must encourage and make conditions in Christ Church suitable to conduct regular Bible study, prayer meetings and Confirmation classes.”“Socially,” he continued, “we must build our walls by making ourselves responsible for church work, church activities. We must participate in all church activities and not make flimsy excuses for our absence.”“We must rebuild according to the standards laid by Albert Porte, Napoleon and Mary Thorpe and others who took the initiative to make positive things happen at Christ Church.”Taking his text from Nehemiah 2:17, Fr. Woart said Nehemiah called on the children of Israel to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He had a vision that he shared with his kinsmen and with the King of Persia. Nehemiah was a cupbearer in the king’s palace, therefore had enough food to eat and wine to drink, but he was unhappy because he heard that the walls of Jerusalem, the land of his ancestors, and its gates had been destroyed.Fr. Woart urged members of Christ Church wherever they are to inquire, as did Nehemiah of Jerusalem, about what is happening to Christ Church, to commit themselves to rebuild it and restore its pristine glory. In the distant past, the preacher recalled Christ Church, though small and part of a tiny settlement, was a respected parish that Episcopalians and many others talked about all over the country. “Come let us rebuild Christ Church in its totality—physically, spiritually, socially, educationally and agriculturally,” he pleaded, and concluded: “I know that when we come together with one focus, one mindset and one common goal, Christ Church will be rebuilt. We can do it!”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

LPRC, NPA, Maritime Fall Short US$24.4m

first_imgMrs. Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) By Leroy M. Sonpon IIIThe Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has said she is disappointed over the failure of three institutions of state’s revenue collection for falling short of their forecast revenue to support the 2016/2017Budget in the amount of US$24.4m.She named those government entities as the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), National Port Authority (NPA) and the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA).CG Elfrieda Tamba said the forecast revenue for LPRC Storage Fee is US$43m, but the LPRC has paid only US$24m up to May 30, which constitutes 56%. US$19m is yet to be paid with 25 days to the end of the 2016/2017 Budget, she noted.CG Tamba told the lawmakers that the management of LPRC collects the proceeds (revenue) from the country’s storage facilities and remits them into government’s account.She also said the forecast revenue of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) is US$11.5m but up to May 30 only US$7.1m was paid, which constitutes 62%. Out of US$2.5m forecast revenue for the National Port Authority (NPA), US$1.5m was paid, and US$1m is outstanding, Tamba reported.The LRA boss made the disclosures yesterday during the formal opening of the Revenue Component of the 2017/2018 Draft Budget in the House’s first-floor conference room. The Draft Budget is in the amount of US$526m.She, however, vowed to work with the technical team of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and other revenue teams from other ministries.Earlier, the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Budget, Rep. Prince Moye, said his committee will work harder despite the brevity of time for the 2017/2018 Draft Budget to be approved before July 1, 2017.Rep. Moye, who is also the House Chairman on Ways, Means, Finance & Budget, warned ministries and agencies to be punctual at every hearing.He said the Joint Committee had planned the Revenue Component for a week, which runs from Monday-Friday, June 5-9; and then the Expenditure Component will be another week, beginning Monday, June 12.The chairman further stated that the Joint Committee will take the third week to do an in-house working, and subsequently the passage of the 2017/2018 Draft Budget.“Even though the time is short, we will work harder and carefully to pass the budget,” Rep. Moye said.The Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Budget is comprised of members from the Ways, Means, Finance & Budget and Public Account & Expenditure Committees from both Houses.There are 15 members each from both Houses of the Ways, Means, Finance & Budget Committee; and seven and five members respectively from the House of Representatives and Liberian Senate.According to the Budget Law, the Liberian annual budget runs from July 1 to June 30.The acting co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Budget, Senator Henry Yallah, said the Committee will not tolerate rescheduling of ministries and agencies.For his part the Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Adolphus Forkpa, said the total draft resource envelope is US$526.5m; the core revenue is US$523.5m and the contingent revenue is US$2.9m.Mr. Forkpa said the total revenue in Liberian dollars amounts to L$57.3m, at the projected annual average exchange rate of US$1=L$109.Yesterday, according to the schedule of the Revenue Component, the following ministries and agencies appeared: Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA); Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP); the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the Liberia Petroleum Refining Corporation (LPRC); the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA); and the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA).In today’s schedule, the entities to appear are the National Port Authority (NPA), Forestry Development Authority(FDA), Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy (MLM&E), Roberts International Airport (RIA) and Ministry of Transport (MOT).Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

MLB notes: Zito makes Giant strides in delivery

first_img Foulke retires: Keith Foulke, attempting to become the Cleveland Indians’ closer, instead decided to retire. By retiring, Foulke passed up $5 million. Foulke, 34, missed twomonths of last season because of tendonitis in his right elbow and soreness in his back. In 2005, injuries to both knees interrupted his season. Acevedo injured: Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jose Acevedo broke four ribs and his collarbone in a motorcycle accident and is expected to miss the entire 2007 season, his Dominican winter league team said. Acevedo was conscious and in intensive care, according to officials. A non-roster invite to Orioles spring training, Acevedo crashed his motorcycle into a car in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Offers on the table: Miguel Cabrera and the Florida Marlins went to an arbitration hearing, with the All-Star third baseman asking for $7.4 million and the team offering $6.7 million. Meanwhile, outfielder Wily Mo Pena and the Boston Red Sox agreed to a one-year contract worth $1,875,000 shortly before the scheduled start of their arbitration hearing. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Barry Zito, who the San Francisco Giants made the richest pitcher in major league history this offseason, is undergoing a major overhaul in his delivery. “If Tiger can pull it off, and also have the (guts) to do that, I think anyone can,” the former Pierce College and USC star told the San Jose Mercury News, comparing his adjustments to changes the PGA Tour star made twice to his swing. Zito pitched off a bullpen mound Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz., amazing the Giants’ coaches as he set up a video camera, pulled out a tape measure to calculate his landing spot and then unveiled a new, old-school windup. The Giants watched with understandable wariness, given their $126 million investment in the former Oakland A’s left-hander. center_img Zito, who put on 10 pounds of lower-body muscle this winter, wants to use his legs more in his delivery. He stood in a slight crouch on the rubber with his feet at shoulder-width, bounced twice, then stepped so far backward that he was almost squatting by the time he began to transfer his weight and stride toward the plate. “I’m just taking a step back to create momentum from the beginning of the delivery,” Zito said. Pitching coach Dave Righetti fears Zito’s adjustment will lead to a groin injury, or worse, loss of the effectiveness of his famous curveball. “Most guys won’t really (make major changes) unless they’ve had an injury or they’re getting killed,” Righetti said. “It’s very rare you see this, but he feels pretty strong about it.” The 28-year-old Zito is 41-34 with a 4.05 ERA over the pastthree seasons. He said the changes are similar to the motion he used while pitchig in college. last_img read more

Port of Prince Rupert, TransCanada to speak at future Chamber luncheons

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Fort St. John Chamber of Commerce has announced that representatives with the Prince Rupert Port Authority and TransCanada will be speaking at upcoming luncheons.“There are a number of existing and future trade connections between the Peace and the Port,” the newsletter reads, citing grain, coal, forest products, LNG as industries in common.A representative of the Port will be speaking at the Jan. 19 luncheon, which registration is currently open for. Registration for the luncheon with the TransCanada speaker, on Feb. 16, will open at the end of the month.- Advertisement -Members of Fort St. John’s Chamber of can register online through the newsletter.last_img


first_imgA man has pleaded guilty to having sex with an underage girl at two locations in Co Donegal.The man, who cannot be named, appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court earlier today.The man pleaded guilty to three different offences. The first two offences took place on September 14th, 2008 at Atlantic Guesthouse, Main Street, Donegal Town.The other offence took place on October 11th, 2008 at Drumbeg, Inver, Co Donegal.The man answered ‘guilty’ to all three charges put to him.The trial was put back to the next sitting of the circuit court.The victim was also invited to give evidence in the case.MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO HAVING SEX WITH UNDERAGE GIRL was last modified: July 18th, 2012 by StephenShare 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)last_img read more

Contractor appointed to work on Donegal Town bridge replacement

first_imgWorks are commencing on the replacement of Tirchonaill Street Bridge in Donegal Town in the coming days following the appointment of contractors L & M Keating Ltd. The works will begin on 20th August 2018 and are expected to be completed early 2019. The current contract value for the works is €924,448.60.The Tirchonaill Street Bridge was originally constructed in 1895, and then in 1920 the current structure was constructed. The bridge is a four span steel bridge spanning the River Eske. Over the years, maintenance works were carried out to the bridge but due to the age of the bridge the nature of the steel structure the bridge has deteriorated to the extent that it currently has a 3.5 tonne weight restriction and is in much need of a replacement. Back Row: L-R Cllr Niamh Kennedy, Mark Sweeney, Area Manager Roads & Transportation Donegal County Council, Barry Doherty, L & M Keating (Contractor), Francis Cleary – L & M Keating (Contractor), Peter Kennedy , Resident Engineer, Roughan & O’Donovan (Consulting Engineers) & Cllr John Campbell.Front Row – L-R: Patrick Grennan, Roughan & O’Donovan (Consulting Engineers), Cllr Tom Connaghan, Lorcan Hoyne L & M Keating (Contractor), Cahal Moss, Road Design Office (Donegal County Council), Cllr Michael Naughton, Cathaoirleach Donegal MD.In February 2017, a delegation from the Donegal Municipal District met with Shane Ross, Minister of Transport, Tourism and Sport, to seek specific funding for the much needed bridge replacement works at Tirchonaill Bridge. The Minister recognised the need for the works and specific funding was secured and this allowed Donegal Council to proceed with the works. The Council then arranged for Roughan & O’Donovan Consulting Engineers to prepare the necessary tender documents and in early 2018 tenders were received from a number of contractors who were interested in carrying out the works.Tender assessments were carried out and L & M Keating Ltd is the Contractor now appointed to carry out the works.Tirchonaill Street BridgeThe works will involve the following:– Implementing road closures and traffic management measures to facilitate the works and the flow of traffic around the works.– The demolition of the existing bridge steel superstructure.– The cleaning/repair and re-pointing of the existing substructure.– Works to the existing substructure to allow the construction of the replacement steel and concrete composite bridge superstructure.– Construction of replica bridge parapets to match the existing steel riveted panels.– Roadworks on the bridge and approaches.– The temporary and permanent diversion of services and associated new ducting and chambers.– Bridge deck waterproofing.– Road, footpath, and substructure drainage and ducting works.The Contractor has indicated their intention to commence works on site on 20th August 2018 and is expecting to have works completed early next year.Road closures and traffic management measures will take effect on Monday 27th August 2018. Donegal County Council wish to apologise in advance for any inconvenience the closures may cause and ask for members of the public to abide by the traffic management measures when implemented so as to help facilitate traffic flows around the works site.Every effort will be made to expedite the works and re-open the roads as soon as possible.Contractor appointed to work on Donegal Town bridge replacement was last modified: August 15th, 2018 by Rachel McLaughlinShare 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)last_img read more

Report: 49ers re-signing suspended long snapper Nelson

first_imgSANTA CLARA — Long snapper Kyle Nelson’s 10-game suspension last year for performance-enhancing substances figured to end his 49ers tenure. It apparently won’t.Nelson, with six games remaining on that suspension, is re-signing with the 49ers on a four-year deal, ESPN reported.There will be a new punter on the receiving end of those snaps, as Bradley Pinion agreed to a four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to multiple reports. Pinion served as the 49ers since 2015 upon …last_img

Ohio’s specialty crops had a great 2016

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio is home to a myriad of specialty crops, each having their own peculiarities with regard to the optimum weather and growing conditions.Brad Bergefurd is an Extension educator specializing in agriculture and horticulture. He works with a wide array of Ohio’s specialty crops. As a result, he always has an interesting take on the growing season. Here are some of his thoughts about 2016 as the growing season comes to its conclusion.“We’ve had some of the best yields in strawberries and asparagus. We did have a few late-season frost events in certain pockets in Ohio last spring, but even folks who got some of that damage still had pretty good strawberry yields overall both with matted and plasticulture. There was one picking of asparagus where there was damage and it had to be mowed. Then, rolling into the planting season, things were a little delayed because we were so wet early on. It was a little tough getting planted but once we did, it for the most part was good,” Bergefurd said. “There were quite a few places with dry weather, but it is better to grow this produce in a dry season than in a wet season, especially where it is irrigated. Some of the processing acres are on non-irrigated ground, but most of our fresh market acreage throughout the state is irrigated. It is easier to make it rain than to stop the rain. We had many pockets that were really dry but for the most part with irrigation yields were great, and quality was great.”The warm September and early October kept the good growing conditions going strong. Before the recent frosts growers were picking the whole gamut of crops — peppers, tomatoes, squash, tomatoes, pickles, sweet corn and green beans in October.“Things are still growing really well. We are still getting a lot of good development on our matted row strawberries. The fall planted plasticulture strawberries are really looking good,” he said in mid-October. “If this keeps up we’re looking at a Carolina fall and it is setting up for a good harvest next spring for strawberries. It can turn quick in Ohio, but if this continues it will be great. On plasticulture we use floating row covers for winter protection for the strawberries. We could get major damage in the bramble crops if it drops from 80 degrees to 20 degrees really fast but it doesn’t look like that will happen.“Strawberries especially produce the majority of the flower buds that get initiated in the fall. As long as we keep these temperatures, that plant is continuously making flower buds. I think we’re setting up for a really good strawberry crop if this continues. When it is warm, plasticulture strawberries could initiate some runner formations in the fall. If that happens we need to pinch those back but we are really not seeing that yet. Right now, all of their energy is going to root development and setting buds which is what we want.”Other types of berries also had a solid growing season in 2016.“For the bramble crops and berries those crops were all good yields and quality. We are currently fighting the spotted wing drosophila, which is a fruit fly that always causes havoc on the late season fruit crops. That is about the only issue we had on the fall bearing brambles and blackberries. We didn’t see really any winter damage and we needed a good blackberry crop since we lost the previous two due to polar vortex events. We didn’t get any reports of economic losses from that late frost last spring,” Bergefurd said. “There were not really any more disease issues than we normally have. Downy mildew is always an issue in Ohio and we had a few pockets of that on hops and cucurbits. The high heat in August caused some blooms to abort and we are seeing a little reduction in the harvest now because of that.”Ohio has a fair number of pumpkin acres that also saw good yields in 2016.“Some areas were too wet until mid-June and they got pumpkins planted pretty late, but the heat kicked in and those heat units really ramped up the maturity so we were right on schedule. I heard a few farmers reporting phytophthora issues on pumpkins. That moisture does spike those issues,” he said. “Yields were higher than usual but fruit size may be down a little because of the heat. We saw maybe a 10% reduction in fruit size. What would have been an 18- to 20-pound pumpkin most years might have come in at 15 or 16 pounds this year, but the yields have been phenomenal.”There has been a growing interest in Ohio hops production and yields have been climbing, particularly in 2016.“Hops had downy mildew, which happens in a wet or dry year but we really didn’t have too many issues. The areas that were in drought stress did have some spider mite issues. We are getting used to watching for spider mites when it gets dry,” he said. “The quality was great this year and most of the hops farmers have irrigation. Farmers harvesting mature four- and five-year-old fields are reporting the best yields ever this year.”The heat really pushed the hops crop along this year.“With more heat units this year the harvest for hops was two to three weeks early depending on where you were in the state. We usually harvest around Labor Day and we were harvesting the third week of August and even in early August down south,” Bergefurd said. “The early harvest threw the brewers off a little but the growers were communicating that all along with their brewers so they were on board for the harvest.”The microbrewery boom in Ohio that is driving demand for local hops also has some farms looking into growing barley for malting.“The malting barley crop is a new specialty crop we are working on. Yields were very good with that, quality was good and demand is high from the malt houses we have in Ohio. There is a lot of interest,” Bergefurd said. “This was the first big acreage we had in Ohio this year. We are planting this fall and we plant spring varieties as well in March and April.”Along with the productive growing season, 2016 was a year of strong prices and demand.“Demand was up there and both prices for retail and wholesale were up there and holding their own. Market demand was great in Ohio. We have great retail marketing opportunities for smaller acre farms and we have strong wholesale opportunities with produce auctions in the state for farms who want to do wholesale but aren’t big enough to sell to a grocery chain. Those auctions have had great demand and prices all around the state this year. Then you have the larger wholesale demand with grocery distribution centers around Ohio. There is great demand for that too. We formed a southern Ohio pumpkin growers cooperative and this was the first year that they marketed as a group with really good results,” Bergefurd said. “There are all sorts of marketing opportunities here in Ohio and something for everyone that is willing to do their homework and produce the quality, products and volume that those markets want. There are not many issues for marketing right now for quality products. ‘Buy local’ is the big thing right now. Consumers are driving that and making these opportunities for Ohio’s produce growers.”last_img read more

It’s Alive! – Visiting a Certified Living Building

first_imgLocation, location, locationBill mentioned that many visitors to the lab talk about replicating the building in other regions, not realizing that the details of this building (like those of most buildings) are climate-specific. While I love the passive ventilation, the louvers don’t provide much in the way of insulation or air sealing, so they wouldn’t be very useful in most climate zones. The solar thermal cooling is a great idea, but it will only work in certain climates where there is enough of a daily temperature swing.This building is a great experiment, and the kids who use it are learning amazing lessons that will stay with them throughout their lives. It is not a building type that will work in most climates, but as a research facility, home to many building science experiments, and an example of seriously forward thinking, it is a great model for schools and professionals to aspire to. Geeking out in a living buildingLuckily, the day I was able to visit, Bill Wiecking, the lab director, was available. Bill spent quite a bit of time showing me around. I was a bit challenged to keep up with his rapid-fire explanations, but learned about many of the interesting features included in the building, as well as some of the challenges that they ran across.Probably the most interesting feature (to me, at least) was the solar thermal cooling system. Because the site has a dependable cycle of the diurnal temperature change, liquid that is pumped into the solar panels is cooled at night, stored in tanks, then run through fan-coil units to provide air conditioning during the day.Their passive ventilation system is elegant in its simplicity: manual louvers at waist level combine with electrically operated ones at the top of the building. Air flows up along the roof slope, limiting the amount air movement in the room while still providing necessary ventilation. The bottom louvers have a habit of closing on their own, so the students created simple blocks of wood to hold them open.The building is equipped with indoor and outdoor CO2 sensors to determine when ventilation is required. Instead of basing their ventilation on absolute CO2 concentrations indoors, they compare inside to outside to identify when indoor concentrations are high enough for ventilation. They originally ran their ventilation automatically, but reverted to manual controls to avoid over- or under-ventilating. Everyone has problemsBill and I did a bit of commiserating about our experiences fighting with mechanical engineers about HVAC system sizes, and trying hard to get contractors to do what you really want from them.He pointed out a set of ¾-inch copper lines that were installed instead of the 1-inch lines specified for the thermal cooling system. The smaller lines didn’t work and were ultimately abandoned in place when the properly sized ones were installed.Design and construction of the building were challenging, and building operation has been challenging, too. Doors to the offices and workrooms with individual minisplit air conditioning systems (used primarily for dehumidification) are often blocked open with the AC running. Behavior problems never stop being an issue, even in the best buildings.The CO2 sensors are costly and require frequent replacement. And one thing I noticed was the significant quantity of cobwebs throughout the building. Spiders must love how the passive ventilation brings loads of insects right into their webs. While they don’t cause any problems, the webs detract from the look of the building. Cleaning them is likely an ongoing project, sort of like painting the Golden Gate bridge.center_img On vacation in Hawaii recently (yes, life is really tough for us consultants), I had the opportunity to visit the Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Energy Lab, the first classroom and the third building certified under the Living Building Challenge Program.I realize that when you live in paradise, it’s easier to build a net-zero energy and net-zero water use building, but the Energy Lab serves a greater purpose and, for those institutions that have the opportunity (and the money) to create facilities such as these, they can really help to advance sustainable building.The most interesting thing I gleaned from my visit was how engaged the students are in efficiency and building technology. These kids are learning about how buildings operate, and are in the process of auditing the rest of the campus to recommend improvements to be made.They are becoming what someone recently described to me as “sustainability natives.” Those who become architects, builders, or engineers will, unlike most current practitioners, have sustainable principles ingrained in their thinking. Today, green building practices are often an afterthought to most professionals. But as more people grow up understanding the value of high-performance construction, sustainability will be fully integrated into their thinking and their work when they become practitioners. RELATED ARTICLES Yes, the Living Building Challenge is OverreachingEarly Lessons from the Living Building ChallengeAmerica’s Greenest Office BuildingLiving Building Challenge 2.0 ReleasedFirst Living Building Challenge Projects certifiedlast_img read more

Building More Resilient Communities in the Face of Climate Change

first_imgOn a 2015 flight to New Mexico, Lane Johnson looked out the airplane window on the sprawling suburbs of Albuquerque and was struck by the sight of the Rio Grande, the thin ribbon of freshwater on which the region relies to survive. Johnson, a researcher from Minnesota who studies tree rings to model and reconstruct fires, had recently taken a job in Santa Fe with the U.S. Geological Survey because the arid Southwest presented a trove of professional opportunity. It also raised some questions. What makes the American Southwest a good place for fire research makes it a pretty bad place for much else. It’s prone to drought, limited in freshwater sources and precipitation, and home to some of the highest average annual temperatures in the country. It also has a population growth rate that’s been at least twice as high as the rest of the country since the 1950s. In the face of a changing climate, these challenges will only become greater. “It’s a delicate position that many hundreds of thousands of people have put themselves in,” Johnson says. Growing up in the Great Lakes region, Johnson says the lack of water in New Mexico concerned him. “There’s always that unsettling feeling of—by being there, am I contributing to the problem that I’m concerned about?” he says. “That maybe we’re at our carrying capacity in the Southwest, or beyond it if something related to water supply were to go poorly.”RELATED ARTICLESIs It Time to Move Our Cities?Resilience: Designing Homes for More Intense StormsBuilding Resilience for a ‘Close Encounter’ with DisasterClimate Change Resilience Could Save TrillionsRebuilding America and the ‘New Normal’ of Resilience As he settled into his job and his new life in Santa Fe, Johnson began wondering whether and how Albuquerque could bounce back in the face of an environmental crisis—and whether any place can really be resilient to the challenges posed by climate change. So, earlier this year, when Ensia put out a call to its readers for questions they wanted the magazine to report on, Johnson wrote in with what he’d come to realize was a very personal set of questions: “What does community resilience look like, and how can it be created and enhanced? Where are the most resilient communities in North America?” How communities respond to change The first part of answering these questions was to define resilience. In an explainer published in May, Ensia contributor Kate Knuth shows that scientists, researchers, and practitioners in various fields have interpreted the question differently, but all tend to associate resilience with how people and systems respond to change. Johnson’s questions are more narrowly focused on how communities respond to change. Just as some scientists look at the resilience of ecosystems or individual species, a growing number of researchers are studying the resilience of communities. They’re looking at environmental conditions that affect places—how sea level rise is likely to affect coastal Florida, for example, or how rising temperatures will spark more wildfires in California—but they’re also learning about elements that are not specific to the environment that make a place more likely to bounce back from extreme change. Katrina Brown, a geography professor at the University of Exeter in England, says community resilience should be thought of not as a trait or a characteristic but as a process that develops among community members. “It’s something that emerges from a set of activities and interactions,” says Brown, whose research focuses on the environment, global development, and the resilience of communities to change. “Rather than thinking that community X has this amount of resilience compared to community Y, actually it’s much more about looking at the social dynamics and the interactions that happen amongst people and how that might be building capacities to deal with different types of change and different types of shocks.” Brown has studied communities facing climate-related challenges around the world, and she’s found that many prioritize building physical infrastructures like seawalls to prevent or recover from change. But in areas where threats recur, she argues, communities should also focus on building support networks and response plans so they can meet residents’ needs when disaster strikes. “If you don’t have the capacity to organize, the capacity to plan ahead, and the capacity to bring people together and communicate and learn, then actually the physical infrastructure is only going to take you so far,” she says. This mirrors what architect Doug Pierce—who helped develop RELi, a rating system and set of standards for building resilience in infrastructure and communities—told Knuth. “Even if you have a building, neighborhood or infrastructure that can weather some kind of extreme event, if you don’t have cohesiveness within the population that is part of that, it’s hard for them to respond to the event while it’s happening,” he said. “And they can’t rebuild afterward if they are not cohesive.” Brown has seen that a community’s strengths in dealing with one kind of problem also tend to make it better at dealing with others. For example, flood-prone communities she’s studied in coastal England often develop elevated levels of social cohesion after floods that then enable them to collaborate in the face of other challenges, such as the economic blow of a local factory closing. That kind of resilience isn’t just about preparing for or recovering from disaster, though. In poor and flood-prone villages in Kenya, Brown says, she heard from many people that the resilience of their communities hinged on much more fundamental concerns. “What people said was, ‘We can’t actually build resilience in these communities if we aren’t educating our girls, because that means we’re only building the capacity of half of our community.’ So in a way they were taking a much more general view of what they needed to build capacity within their communities—not just for extreme weather events, but for a whole range of risks they were exposed to.” Social justice and shared responsibility “There’s a huge social justice consideration and dimension to this work,” says Steve Adams, director of urban resilience at the Vermont-based Institute for Sustainable Communities. Adams’ organization works with communities primarily in North America and Asia to develop policies and programs that address a wide range of climate-related risks. Increasingly, Adams says, the work has shifted from getting city governments to think about resilience to working with community-based organizations and nonprofits to improve their ability to address climate concerns, particularly in disadvantaged communities. Recent work with Maricopa County in Arizona has centered around organizations that offer low-income families financial assistance to help pay power bills during increasingly common extreme heat events. Adams says his organization helped create maps of utility service calls and power shut-offs during extreme heat to see how different communities were affected. Knowing where people were more likely to need assistance helped nonprofits better allocate resources, which Adams says has helped cut down on heat-related emergencies. The process helped “to surface how climate impacts rebound into a growing demand for social services, which is a cost that most local governments seek to contain, rather than seeing it as a pathway through which they can build community resilience,” he says. Building community resilience also requires shared responsibility, says Elizabeth Cook, a postdoctoral fellow at the Urban Systems Lab, a research group at The New School in New York that is focused on the social, ecological, and technical systems within cities. Cook is conducting a five-year study of nine cities in the U.S. and Mexico that are developing long-term sustainability and resilience plans. The challenges vary in these cities—ranging from Syracuse, New York, to Hermosillo, Mexico—but Cook says a common element in these cities’ planning efforts has been to put more power in the hands of neighborhood organizations that can respond to local crises. “There’s a lot of discussion around developing a more participatory governance system…essentially creating more opportunities for local communities to really actively engage in how decisions are made in cities,” Cook says. By decentralizing climate change planning, cities can let neighborhoods prepare for the threats that are most relevant to them. “I think that’s part of helping to build this connected network and this connected trust within the community,” she says. In Portland, Oregon, neighborhoods themselves are seen as instrumental to creating a resilient community. In its environmental and sustainability planning, Portland has prioritized policies that ensure resilience at a neighborhood level, particularly by focusing on the city’s urban form. The ideal is the creation of so-called complete neighborhoods that “improve community resilience to natural hazards by providing access to local services, offering multiple ways to get around, and fostering community connections.” In its latest comprehensive plan, the city has set a goal of making it possible for 80% of Portlanders to live in complete neighborhoods by 2035. Such tools for developing resilience in communities, though, can only go so far. Sometimes, Brown says, tough decisions have to be made when a place simply can’t become resilient to the extreme changes it faces. She says communities need to prepare for those types of decisions as they consider the implications of climate change. “It’s about thinking, ‘When do we need fundamental system change?’ And that fundamental system change might mean relocation of communities or structures, it might mean a change in your source of livelihood, and I think that that is part of the whole resilience issue,” she says. A more resilient place? After working and living in New Mexico for two years, Johnson moved back to Minnesota. He ended up in Duluth, a city that Jesse Keenan, a lecturer in architecture at Harvard whose research focuses on urban development and climate adaptation, recently declared an exceptional site for “climigration,” or climate migration. For Johnson, the pull back to Minnesota was more personal than environmental, but the resilience of the Southwest had been a concern during his time there. In Minnesota, he sees resilience in a variety of ways—from strong community interactions, to knowing that his food is coming from within a short radius, to having confidence that the farms providing that food are less likely to be struck down by catastrophic drought. All these issues were far more of a concern in Santa Fe. “My partner and I occasionally like to talk about other places where we could imagine ourselves living,” Johnson says. “Santa Fe is still one of those places, but thinking about 30 years out and the changes that might occur…Santa Fe’s lower on the list.” Johnson recognizes that the Great Lakes states have their own climate challenges, such as heavy precipitation and flooding, but compared with other places, they seem more likely to be resilient in the event of extreme changes on a variety of fronts. For example, all that freshwater can’t hurt. “When I wake up and get to commute to work and look out over the largest body of freshwater by surface area in the world, which is Lake Superior, that’s kind of a comforting thing to see and to know is there,” he says. Nate Berg is a former staff writer at The Atlantic Cities who now covers cities, science and design. He is based in Los Angeles. This post originally appeared at Ensia.last_img read more