Warming Trends: Sports and Climate Change in Texas, a community housing project named after Rachel Carson, and an e-bike conversion kit for your bike


A potentially fatal mix in Texas: sports and climate change

In Texas, football is life, the days are getting warmer and climate denial live big.

That’s what inspired undergraduate students at Rice University in Houston to come up with a research project to survey coaches and other athletic trainers in schools and universities across the state about whether they consider hot temperatures, humidity and climate change as a health risk to their student-athletes. Sylvia Dee, a climatologist and assistant professor at Rice, helped turn the project into a research study, which was published this week in the journal GeoSanté.

Results of a survey of 224 Texas coaches showed nearly half were only ‘slightly’ or ‘not at all’ concerned about how climate change would affect their practices and the health of student-athletes , while only 10% showed the same lack of concern about the effect of temperature on health. Average summer temperatures in Texas are expected to rise several degrees by the end of the century, with cities like Houston, Austin and Dallas expected to see average summer temperatures as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is also expected to rise, pushing heat indices into deadly zones.

When asked how hot it would have to be to cancel workouts, more than a third of coaches set their limit above the 103-degree threshold that the National Weather Service considers dangerous for physical activity .

“It may reflect some regional attitudes,” Dee said, “like maybe Texans are just used to the heat.”

Even though athletes are used to exercising in hot and humid weather, they are still vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, which can range from rashes and cramps to heat stroke, one of the leading causes of death among high school athletes.

Dee said these results show that education and awareness must be done to inform coaches of the dangers of heat and how they can protect their student-athletes from heat-related illnesses, especially as the change climate increases the number of hot and humid days in Texas.

However, the dynamic between coach and student-athlete can be complicated. It is the coach’s job to push student-athletes to work harder and perform better, and student-athletes are motivated to push their limits. Dee said it’s important to educate students to recognize the signs of heat illness and to clarify that it’s okay to quit if they experience symptoms.

“There is no victory worth someone getting sick and dying, she said. “I think all the coaches hopefully understand that. I think education and awareness can’t be understated, like if they don’t know it’s a problem, how are they going to l ‘stop?’


More Plant-Based Meat Means Fewer Meat-Based Jobs

A cultural shift toward plant-based meat substitutes could dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of American food production. But the ripple effects of that shift could mean a significant loss of jobs in meat processing, and uncertainty remains over how resources from the industry would move through the economy, according to a new report. study.

Researchers from Cornell University and other institutions have modeled three economic scenarios in which 10%, 30% or 60% of the nation’s beef demand is replaced by plant-based beef alternatives, with the aim of uncover the ethical and economic ramifications. their findings, published this month in The Lancetshow that these scenarios would lead to a 2.5-13.5% reduction in carbon emissions from food production, but could result in a 7-45% decline in the livestock and beef processing economy , which employs 1.5 million people.

Those jobs likely wouldn’t be easily replaced by jobs in the plant-based meat substitute industry, said the study’s lead author, Daniel Mason-D’Croz, senior research associate at Cornell, of so society will have to prepare to educate and retrain workers in the beef industry. to pursue new careers.

“People making a living in these areas would be negatively affected,” Mason-D’Croz said. “It is important to then think about ways to reduce the negative consequences on the livelihoods of these people by trying to have a fair and just transition.”

Mason-D’Croz said more needs to be done to understand the health effects of plant-based meat substitutes. Of course, consuming processed meats is associated with poor health outcomes, he said, but what will be the impacts of consuming processed plant-based alternatives?

The uncertainties and concerns raised by this study should not be interpreted as reasons not to adopt more plant-based foods, he said, but rather to get people thinking about the impacts of this. adoption and prepare for it.

“No technology or intervention will solve the kinds of problems we currently face in terms of climate change, unsustainable resource use, inequality and injustice in the food system,” Mason-D’Croz said. . We should “stop looking for quick fixes. Instead, I think we need a quiver of solutions that can help us solve this really difficult problem we’re facing right now.


“Continuing His Legacy”

Rachel Carson’s eco-villageslated to begin construction this fall on approximately five acres of the University of Chatham campus in Pittsburgh, will include 35 private homes and a shared common home that over the next few decades will be surrounded by restored forests and grasslands.

Community housing, or “co-housing”, is a method of designing a neighborhood of individual houses that promotes bonds between its inhabitants through shared spaces, such as a common house with a large kitchen for shared meals. There is more than 160 of these communities that currently exist in the United States and about 140 more in development.

Homes in the Rachel Carson Eco-Village, which claims to be the first community housing project on a college campus, will cost between $200,000 and $500,000. The community aims to be multigenerational, with families, retirees and singles of all ages welcome. The on-campus location gives residents access to the university for classes, and at least one house will be owned by the university and rented to graduate students to strengthen that connection, said the architect and founder from the village Stefani Danes.

The Rachel Carson eco-village is named after the ecologist and author of silent spring, a book that details the environmental devastation caused by pesticides and other chemicals. Carson is one of Chatham’s most famous alumni, and the village is located minutes from her suburban Pittsburgh farm.

“There’s a real feeling that it continues his legacy,” Danes said. “And the idea of ​​living in harmony with each other and with the land is a core value of the community, the way we connect to each other and to our place.”

Cohousing communities often prioritize sustainability. This village plans to recycle and compost, share a community garden and have limited parking spaces to reduce driving and encourage cycling. The houses will be equipped with passive heating and cooling designed to reduce energy consumption.

The Danes said the village is working with environmentalists to understand the landscape and surrounding ecosystem to best learn how to live in harmony with the surrounding nature. They created a 30-year land management plan to plant trees, grasses and flowers that will create a healthy environment.

“We really get to know the place and try to build on the place rather than the place,” she said.


Turn your manual bike into an electric bike, and vice versa

If you want the option of an e-bike but love the bike you have, consider an e-bike conversion kit.

This month, Switch is launching a new e-bike conversion kit with a portable battery not much larger than a smartphone, weighing around a pound and a half. Riders can lock their bike and take the battery with them to prevent theft and recharge before setting off on their next ride.

The UK-based company sells kits that can turn a conventional bike into an e-bike. The kit can be installed in less than an hour by anyone and includes the battery with a bracket, a monitor for the pedals and a new front wheel that can be disabled.

Other conversion kits made by Swytch and other companies often have larger batteries or are not easy to install. Swytch’s kits cost around $1,200, while new e-bikes Beach of $1,000 to over $5,000.

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The kit provides an option for people “who maybe don’t want to have a full e-bike, maybe they want to be able to take it off and go off-road or commute without having an e-bike kit on it, that which is super easy to do, just release the components and put the stock wheel back on,” said Swytch rep Isabelle Ross.

The company says an e-bike conversion for an existing bike can be a more sustainable option than buying an entirely new e-bike.

“I don’t think a lot of people know that’s even possible. I think they either think there are two options, you can have a manual bike or you can have an electric bike,” Ross said. “Our biggest effort right now is just to let people know that it’s possible and you can keep your current bike, you don’t have to worry about finding a new one.”

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