What goes down the drains can be used to make things grow. Sewage sludge – carefully treated to make it safe – is used often in agriculture. Now, researchers are testing these materials, called biosolids, for use in urban settings. In a new study, researchers combined high-quality biosolids with other urban waste – food and yard waste, sawdust, and nut shells for example. They found several such mixtures to be acceptable in terms of smell and looks, and the mixtures also supported plant growth. Using biosolids and urban waste to make topsoil or engineer additions that increase soil fertility has several benefits. “Soil additions must have nutrients, and ideally organic matter, to support plant growth,” says Ryan Batjiaka, a researcher at the University of Washington. “We are currently very dependent on finite resources to supply these nutrients.” Follow this link to learn more.
Racial and ethnic inequalities loom large in American society. People of color face structural barriers when it comes to securing quality housing, healthcare, employment, and education. Racial disparities also permeate the criminal justice system in the United States and undermine its effectiveness. At the Urban Institute, they examine how historical and ongoing public policies, institutional practices, and cultural narratives perpetuate racial inequalities and constrain mobility for communities of color. For decades, their researchers have called attention to the role of race and racism in our public and private institutions and offered evidence-based solutions for how to address these inequities. Scholars will continue to play a crucial role as we work to elevate the public discourse around race and inequality in America. Follow this link to learn more.
With the impact of climate change and urbanization growing rapidly, cities are called to act and redesign their urban policies to ensure a healthy life to their citizens. In this context, FAO recently launched the “FAO Framework for the Urban Food Agenda,” which encourages local and national governments to adopt a Food Systems approach in their public policies, in order to face environmental crises and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals also at a local level. The seminar foresees an interactive discussion after a presentation by Ms. Barbara Emanuel on the case from the city of Toronto, which leveraged on climate change action and a Food Systems approach to improving the life of its communities. Ms. Barbara Emanuel is currently Manager of the Toronto Food Strategy, which proposes an innovative vision for Toronto’s food, integrating health, climate change action, city-building, and systems transformation. This discussion will provide an opportunity to understand how Food Systems are able to fight climate crises, fostering sustainable cities with inclusive urban policies that promote safe nutriment and new food procurement strategies: from food loss and waste reduction to influencing public’s dietary behavior. The proposed actions reflect the commitments outlined in the C40 Good Food Cities Declaration, with scientific evidences enforcing the need to introduce this approach at any level, as FAO’s core mission through the Urban Food Agenda.
The seminar on Tuesday, October 15 will be held in Rome, Italy. You can join via Skype (5-6:30 a.m. EDT) at this Link.
Air Quality is quickly becoming a global health crisis, especially in highly urbanized areas. Urban air pollution depends on many factors, ranging from meteorological conditions to geographic factors. Guest speaker, Dr. Michelle Bell is an expert in urban air quality and will bring new insights to this topic. Dr. Bell’s research investigates how human health is affected by atmospheric systems, including air pollution and weather. Other areas of interest in research include health impacts of climate change and environmental justice. Much of her work is based in epidemiology, biostatistics, and environmental engineering. Her research is designed to be targeted toward policy makers to contribute to well-informed decision-making. The conference will be held Friday, October 4, 2019 from 12-1 p.m. in Thomas Library, room 165. Follow this link to learn more.