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For more than a century, countries have raced to build the world’s tallest buildings with concrete and steel. Now, a quiet contest in constructing tall wooden buildings, from Amsterdam to Tokyo, underlines growing environmental concerns over concrete.
With rapid advances in engineered wood, and authorities relaxing building codes, wooden structures are sprouting across Europe, Canada, the United States, and in the Asia Pacific region.
At 73 meters (240 ft), Amsterdam’s Haut building is said to be the world’s tallest wooden residential tower.
Vancouver plans a 40-storey building it says will be the world’s tallest, a title also claimed by Sumitomo Forestry’s 350-meter (11,150 ft) skyscraper in Tokyo.
“The interest is definitely being driven by environmental concerns — the amount of damage we’re doing with concrete is unbelievable,” said John Hardy, a sustainability expert in Bali, Indonesia.
“Bamboo and wood are carbon sequestering materials. So the other advantage of building with them is that you will look better to your children and grandchildren,” he said.
Construction of office towers, bridges, airports and highways is booming in developing nations across the world.
The manufacture of steel, concrete and brick accounts for about 16% of global fossil-fuel consumption — and up to 30% when transport and assembly of the materials is considered, according to the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Also Read- Top Sustainable Cities around The World
Concrete is also blamed for rampant sand mining, which has damaged the environment and hurt livelihoods in Southeast Asia.
In addition, an abundance of concrete has worsened urban flooding, and made cities hotter, environmentalists say.
In contrast, wood requires fewer fossil fuels to transport and assemble, and also effectively stores large amounts of carbon — trapped as the trees grew — for years, helping curb emissions, said Andy Buchanan, professor of timber design at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.
Each cubic meter of timber used in construction stores a carbon equivalent of over 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds) of CO2 emissions, meaning a reduction of 135 kg-360 kg of CO2 emissions per square meter of floor area, said Buchanan.
Innovations such as glue-laminated timber, laminated veneer lumber, and cross laminated timber — strips of wood glued together to make beams — are creating more uses for structural timber in residential and commercial projects, he said.
Structural timber is much lighter than concrete, cuts risks in earthquakes and can “create far more attractive interiors,” he said.
“As tall timber buildings become more popular, the perceived disadvantages — fire safety, durability and the supply chain — are being overcome with good design, excellent case study buildings, and technology for engineered-wood products.”
Examples are easy to find, from London’s nine-story residential Stadthaus to Melbourne’s 10-storey Forte apartment building.
A 54-meter (177 ft) wooden building in Vancouver that was thought to be the world’s tallest was quickly overtaken by an 85-meter (280 ft) tower in Norway.
Amsterdam’s 73-meter Haut will begin handing over its 55 apartments from 2021. Vancouver’s planned 40-story building will include 200 flats, while the 70-story Tokyo tower is slated to be completed by 2041.
“New technology, combined with accurate computer fabrication, now enables a wooden building to be assembled incredibly fast, like a giant piece of flat-packed furniture,” said Andrew Lawrence, a timber specialist at Arup, which designed Haut.
“Wood is ideally suited for lower rise buildings, but it is really exciting that engineers and architects worldwide are experimenting with the use of wood for taller structures,” he said.
Such buildings are particularly suited to cities, where buildings are constantly being adapted and refurbished for new uses, said Eleena Jamil, a Malaysian architect who has designed residential and commercial structures with bamboo and wood.
“Cities go through fast-paced changes. The advantage of using bamboo and timber is that they are easy to dismantle, reuse and adapt, compared to concrete,” she said.
But with excessive logging and deforestation already a problem in many Southeast Asian countries, it is important to balance demand for wood with “tighter regulations and more efficient management of forests,” she cautioned.
Under pressure to act on a material that produces 7% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, cement manufacturers also have been experimenting with lower-carbon concrete.
Authorities in several U.S. states are exploring the use of carbon-injected concrete that will use less cement while trapping carbon emissions.
Meanwhile, policy initiatives are hastening the move to wood from steel and concrete.
In New Zealand’s Christchurch, where authorities have encouraged a more environment-friendly approach after a 2011 earthquake that flattened much of the central business district, timber is a favored material.
The city, which creates about 600,000 square meters of new buildings each year, has the opportunity to store the equivalent of 30,000-200,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year if all new buildings were made of wood, said Buchanan.
Regions including British Columbia and Tasmania have adopted a “wood first” or “wood encouragement” policy that requires building designers to show that they have considered wood as an option.
Japan has a law to promote use of wood in public materials.
Such policies are “probably the most effective to encourage greater use of wood as a construction material, especially if supported through a carbon encouragement grant,” Buchanan said.
But the decision to use wood must be a considered one, said Amy Chow, a designer in Hong Kong who curated a show on wood, paper and bamboo.
“You can’t start off saying: let’s build this out of wood,” she said.
“It has to be the culmination of a process to determine what works best in that context, what is most sustainable, cost effective and efficient,” she said. (VOA)
By M.K. Ashoka
The issue of wearing a hijab (head covering worn in public by Muslim women) to the colleges along with the uniform has sparked a debate in Karnataka over religious practices impacting the education system in the state. The matter has also snowballed into a controversy on whether the hijab could be considered as part of the uniform. The ruling BJP is deliberating on whether to take a call on allowing hijab as part of the uniform of college students. State Education Minister B.C. Nagesh, while opposing the wearing of hijab to classrooms, has said that a decision would be taken on the issue soon by the government.
The experts as well as students are divided over the issue. Those who are in favour state that the dress code in classrooms should not indicate faith or religion as it creates barriers between students as well as teachers. Those who support the wearing of hijab say that hijab should be treated as a scarf. Hijab is black in colour and it can't be a religious symbol as Islam is identified with the green colour. The hijab should be treated as a symbol of chastity, they maintain.
The denial of permission to six girls in the Government Girls' Pre University College in the communally sensitive district of Udupi in the state has created a controversy. Nagesh dubbed it as a political move and questioned whether centres of learning should become religious centres. Meanwhile, the girl students have decided to continue their protest until they are allowed to attend classes wearing hijab.
"I have been facing the issue of hijab. We have not been allowed into the classroom just because we are wearing hijab. Though it's our fundamental and constitutional right they are not allowing us. It's a government college though. There is a lot of discrimination in the college, we can't speak to each other in Urdu, we can't say salaam to each other in the college. This matter has become communal and we are so sad about it. We did not want this to become communal," Aliya Assadi, a protesting student explained.
"Many political parties are taking advantage of this. We are just asking for basic fundamental rights. I don't know why it is so tough to take us inside with a headscarf. We are not asking permission with burqas. Last Friday, the college principal and four professors made protesting students give an apology letter by blackmailing them that their statements on hijab are false. For basic rights do we have to do so much?" she asked. "They tease that we will never win in this protest. They called our parents many times and tried to manipulate them. I request government officials to respond on the issue and allow us to wear hijab. We don't want options. We want to study, come up in life as well as wear hijab," explained Almas.
The girl students have decided to continue their protest until they are allowed to attend classes wearing hijab. | Unsplash
Eight students of the college are still protesting in the college campus for being denied entry into the classrooms for wearing hijab along with the uniform. Five of them are studying in II PUC and three students are studying I PUC. The students are turning down the demands of shunning hijab and are firm on their stand that until the government gives them permission to wear hijab and attend classes, they will sit outside the classrooms and continue to protest. They maintain that it is their religious freedom and constitutional right to wear hijab.
Sathish M Bejjihally, Bengaluru City University Academic Council Member and Principal Vidya Sanskaar Institute of Science, Commerce and Management, told IANS that educational institutions should be devoid of caste, colour, religion. Students come to school for learning. There may be differences of opinion however, there should not be differences among individuals.
"The dress should not indicate faith, religion. It will create barriers between students. The development may lead to clashes in the educational institutes. Swami Vivekananda has stated that education is the manifestation of perfection which is already there in the child. The child was born as ‘vishwa manava' (global citizen), but society restricts him to become one" he said. The students wearing hijabs will miss out on peer group learning. Uniform is a comfortable cloth designed to facilitate participation of students in sports, cultural activities, he explained.
However, Professor Muzaffar Assadi, Dean Faculty of Arts in ManasaGangothri in Mysuru University, explained that dress code is about decency. We should be allowed to wear hijab just as sarees, Punjabi dresses are allowed. Hijab could be treated as a headscarf and it will not hide the uniform. "If hijab could be treated as a religious symbol then students can't come to classes with kumkum (bindi, vermillion), bangles. No public school is completely secular. Saraswathi pooja is conducted, Hindu gods' photos will be on walls, festivals are celebrated in schools, aren't they religious?" Assadi asks.
Hijab is a symbol of chastity, not a religious one. "Why don't you treat it as just a scarf? If you see everything in that perspective then wearing of ‘Janivaar' (sacred thread) is also religious. Hijab is not religious as it is of black colour. Islam is identified with green colour. Black also represents dissent and sadness, he says.
The dress which does not attract sexual appetite, indecent, against the rules and which does not cover uniform should be allowed. "Let us celebrate cultural diversity. I oppose uniform culture itself. One of my colleagues who is retiring always comes for lectures in jeans and a t-shirt. It should not matter," he said.
Premashree, Central Working Committee Member of Akhila Bharatha Vidyarthi Parishad and student of LLM, explained that students have to come with a feeling of unity. "Anything which affects unity and gives scope to groupism we will oppose. There should not be saffron shawls either in the campus," she said. "Since 75 years the uniform system in the country has been maintained like this and it has to be maintained like that," she opines.
All eyes are on the move of the ruling BJP in the state over the issue of wearing of hijab by students. | Unsplash
Masood Manna, State Committee Member of Campus Front of India (CFI), said, "If there is no solution found by the government they will stage a protest. "It is a violation of the right to education and the right to practice religion," he said. Nagesh told IANS that a decision had been made by the School Development and Management Committee in 1985. The committee has taken a decision with regard to uniforms in the campus. "So far all children are following the rule. Whichever institution it is, if they make a rule, the students who want to study must be obliging. All these days the uniform rule was followed and why did they suddenly change?" he asked.
"It is political. What if others start wearing dresses according to their wishes? Do we have to allow them, the students will come in half dresses, and do we have to allow them?" Nagesh questioned. A similar incident was reported from Chikkamaglur district. One group of students started wearing saffron shawls protesting the wearing of hijabs by some girl students in the college. The authorities have resolved the issue after holding a parents-teachers meeting. Now, all eyes are on the move of the ruling BJP in the state over the issue of wearing of hijab by students. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: hijab, karnataka, bjp, ruling, row, political, muslims, islam, rights, students, educational institutions)
An Indian-American police officer, who has been on the job for just over six months, is being hailed a hero for rushing to neutralize a gunman who shot a police officer and wounded another. Sumit Sulan, 27, shot the assailant who surprised the officers opening fire on them in his mother's flat on January 21 where police were called because of a domestic dispute. Jason Rivera, 22, was killed and Wilbert Mora, 27, was wounded, but Sulan who was in the police party advanced and shot the alleged gunman, Lashawn McNeil, 47, according to police.
Also Read : Police in Spain distribute masks to commuters
McNeil is in hospital with serious injuries. Before taking on the gunman, Sulan had moved the mother and her other son to safety, police said. Sulan and his two colleagues had gone to the flat in the Harlem neighborhood in response to a call by McNeil's mother that her son was threatening her. He had a close escape when he rushed to take on McNeil as the man allegedly was firing with a super-charged weapon - a modified Glock pistol fitted with a high-capacity drum with 50 rounds, turning it into a virtual machine gun. His mother Dalvir Sulan told the New York Post: "I'm proud. Everyone (says) he did good."
McNeil is in hospital with serious injuries. | Unsplash
She said that he was still struggling to deal with the events and "his brain is stuck on the situation". According to her, the family had immigrated to the US about 15 years ago from India. Sumit Sulan, who entered the police force only in April 2021, has been nicknamed "Super Rookie", according to the Post. He had worked for the city as a taxi and limousine inspector before joining the police. Sumit Sulan had responded earlier this month to a domestic violence incident during which a gun was seized, his police station tweeted with a picture of him holding the weapon. In a city caught in a wave of escalating violence, Friday's incident was the third gun attack on police officers this month.
They are a direct challenge to Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain, who took office on New Year's Day with a promise to crack down on crime. He called the shooting of the police officers an "attack on the city". Police have come under sustained attack around the country from the Democratic Party's left and its supporters with a sustained movement to either abolish or cut the police force in a campaign that started in May 2020 after the killing of an African-American by police in Minnesota. While Adams, who is a Democrat, has pledged to take a hard line against crime, others in his party have taken the opposite tack.
A gunman shot a police officer and wounded another. | Unsplash
His party colleague Avin Bragg, who was elected the public prosecutor for Manhattan, where the January 21 attack took place, has announced that he would not prosecute several categories of offences like most assaults; theft without guns that would affect Indian news-stand operators and Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants running grocery stores; not paying fares on the metro rail system, and resisting police, which in effect would decriminalizing them. So far the Black Lives Movement and the Democratic party's left have been silent on Sumit Sulan and have not attacked him for shooting McNeil, who is African-American, as they often do when a Black person is shot by police. The slain officer and his wounded colleague are both Latinos, members of a minority community. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : cop, kill, gunman, hero, officer, India, America, violence, hospital, injury, weapon, assault, city, inspector, safety, dispute.)
By Dr Nidhi Gupta
Motherhood comes with its own mixed bag of emotions; we want to save our child from every little peril that comes their way, including allergies. The most common allergen in India are milk, egg and peanuts. According to the IAP survey, 11.4 per cent children under the age of 14 years suffer from some form of allergies and they usually peak around the month of May.
The symptoms of allergy range from runny nose, sneezing, coughing, rashes, watery and red eyes to swollen tongue and breathing difficulties. A child experiences serious discomfort and it leaves the parents hopeless at times. Allergies develop slowly over time; parents need to have patience and commitment towards managing them. However, there are certain ways in which we, as parents, can contribute in prevention and possible alleviation of the problems.
* Do Not Stress
Staying stress-free and calm is very important during this time. Creating panic will only add to the misery. Once we know about the symptoms, our mandate must be to keep a first-aid antiallergic kit at home. We can make this kit with the help of our paediatrician.
Staying stress-free and calm is very important during this time. | Unsplash
* Let Them Get Dirty
We are all kids of mother nature. Nature has its own way of strengthening our immunity. Being over-protective about children, not letting them get their hands dirty increases their sensitivity response. Let them play in the park and get dirty once in a while.
Being over-protective about children, not letting them get their hands dirty increases their sensitivity response. | Unsplash
* Gut Microbiota Correction
As claimed by ayurveda, all allergies develop from a leaky gut syndrome. Excessive use of antibiotics and MSG-laden packed foods has made microscopic holes in our intestine. These holes get bigger with time allowing more allergens to pass into the bloodstream, eventually a runny nose becomes asthma overtime
* Full Research of the Allergen
Once we know our child is experiencing allergy symptoms, parents need to work like Sherlock Holmes. They need to take down a detailed history about their food, clothes and skin care products. Anything can trigger the allergy response.
Take down a detailed history about their food, clothes and skin care products. | Unsplash
* Natural Aloe Vera-based Products
As far as skin allergies are concerned, Aloe Vera aka the Plant of Immortality is a healer. We recommend using natural, organic and purified Aloe Vera-based products for children so that their skin remains smooth, calm and fresh.
Using Aloe Vera-based products for children makes the skin smooth, calm and fresh. | Unsplash
DON'T WORRY MOMMIES!!!! (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Aloe vera, manage childhood allergies, gut microbiota, stress, panic, dirty, symptoms of allergy)