Laurie Balbo

About Laurie Balbo

At university, she was annoyed that her architecture degree was called a Bachelor of Environmental Design. As a working architect, she was annoyed that projects weren’t designed with more environmental consideration. She’s a usually-annoyed architect and sustainability specialist who hopes that venting her frustrations will make a positive environmental difference. Her husband just hopes it makes her less annoyed. Born in the United States, Laurie has managed design and managed construction of ports and airports in New York, Dublin and now Amman. She blogs on knitting and other arcane topics at www.fibermeister.com Laurie can be reached at [email protected]

Egypt to shine with a new $3.5 BIL solar plant!

Egypt to shine with a new $3.5 BIL solar plant!

A global consortium of engineering and renewables industry giants kicked off a project to build a suite of solar power generating plants in Egypt to produce 2 gigawatts (GW) of electricity and valued at USD $3.5 billion. Terra Solar announced their plan on Friday, adding that they will also build a 200 MW PV module and inverter manufacturing[.....]

World Bank pledges $16B to climate change projects

World Bank pledges $16B to climate change projects

The World Bank, the biggest provider of public finance to developing countries, has earmarked 28% of its 2016 budget for projects that  mitigate climate change, according to a statement released on Thursday. All of its future spending will take global warming into account, and all projects considered for WBG funding, including health and education, will now[.....]

Scientists discover bacteria’s natural sunscreen

Scientists discover bacteria’s natural sunscreen

‘Everything in moderation’ is good advice, especially when it comes to sunshine. Humans know this, especially in the Middle East, mastering all means of shading devices, and protective clothing. But what if you are an organism without access to sunscreen? Two scientists at Israel’s oldest university have discovered how bacteria protect themselves from overexposure.

Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid dead at 65

Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid dead at 65

Zaha Hadid, the first female architect (and first Muslim) to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize, died yesterday in a Miami hospital after suffering a heart attack while being treated for bronchitis. The Iraqi-born mathematician and architect whose designs were both celebrated and divisive, was 65 years old.

Shining a light on #EarthHour2016

Shining a light on #EarthHour2016

Earth Hour is upon us. It comes every year on Saturday 19 March, as the clock strikes 8:30 PM around the globe. It’s a worldwide movement  that aims to unite the global community on a broad range of environmental issues, working on a grassroots level to enact mass behavioral change. Join the fun by turning off[.....]

Heads up! A look at Iran’s fantastical ceilings (PHOTOS)

Heads up! A look at Iran’s fantastical ceilings (PHOTOS)

Instagram photographer “m1rasoulifard” has been creating a visual catalog of Iranian architecture, shooting the interiors of mosques, such as Hazrat-Masoumeh in Qom (above), and cultural centers, like the Chaharbagh School in Isfahan.  His images capture intricately detailed interiors rich in texture and kaleidoscopic colors. Tuck into this visual feast of Iran’s splendiferous ceilings; scenes lost to[.....]

Syngenta Merger Must Be Blocked

Syngenta Merger Must Be Blocked

China’s state-owned ChemChina tendered a $43 billion bid for Swiss seeds and pesticides group Syngenta today as part of a strategy to improve domestic food production. Remember the classic board game Monopoly? It’s being played by multi-national agri-businesses in attempt to control the world food supply chain. China is the largest agricultural market on the planet. Syngenta’s[.....]

Google gets hot for Wilbur Scoville!

Google gets hot for Wilbur Scoville!

Google did a doodle marking the 151st birthday of the pharmacist who helped us navigate the chili peppers, the tiny veggie with the power to drop diners to their knees. Wilbur Scoville was the first person to measure the heat of peppers. His heat scale is still in use today, scoring the piquancy of peppers. (What[.....]

Soup for Syria: feed your belly and your soul

Soup for Syria: feed your belly and your soul

Soup for Syria is a beautiful new cookbook of delicious and easy-to-make recipes guaranteed to fill your belly and feed your mind with heightened humanitarian awareness. But at its heart it is a cookbook, a perfect primer for any cook seeking healthy and flavorful food made with no-fuss ingredients (mostly vegetarian) found in supermarkets everywhere.

So what did COP21 in France conclude?

So what did COP21 in France conclude?

The Paris Conference of Parties has officially ended with 195 nations signing up to a partially legally binding program of measures for curbing climate change.  Green Prophet’s read the 31-page agreement and we urge you to do the same.  Find the full report here, saving you an unnecessary online search (which Google estimates as producing 0.02 grams of[.....]

Water, Wars and an Uncertain Future

Water, Wars and an Uncertain Future

As the world awaits the release of the final draft agreement emerging from the COP21 climate talks – expected this morning –  longtime expert in water policy, Dr. Sundeep Waslekar explores one specific aspect of climate change in the following article, providing clear insight into the future of water, not only as a critical resource for all[.....]

Paris climate talks extended another day

Paris climate talks extended another day

Global climate talks expected to close today in Paris have extended into Saturday, according French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.  Appearing last night on French BFMTV he said that he would present a new compromise text for a deal to combat global warming on Saturday morning.  The extra day of negotiations aims to reach accord between the[.....]

Climate change has its soundtrack! Concrete organ makes music from rising seas

Climate change has its soundtrack! Concrete organ makes music from rising seas

Croatian architect Nicola Bašić added a sensual dimension to a waterfront promenade in Zadar, Croatia by using wave energy to create sound. His concrete “sea organ” harnesses kinetic energy from the Adriatic sea to create random – but soothing – harmonized notes. It’s a bit of a riff off Nero fiddling while Rome burns; as the “music” increases[.....]

Experience the (new, artificial, and made-in-America) Middle East!  Coming to Dubai in 2018

Experience the (new, artificial, and made-in-America) Middle East! Coming to Dubai in 2018

American media giant 20th Century Fox has teamed up with United Arab Emirates Al Ahli Holding Group to build a theme park in Dubai, set to open in 2018, that will feature attractions based on blockbuster movies such as “Aliens,” “Titanic,” “Ice Age” and “Planet of the Apes.” So the UAE builds another resource-guzzling folly for audiences[.....]

London calling: Gulf elite caught in conspicuous consumption

London calling: Gulf elite caught in conspicuous consumption

Critically acclaimed Scottish photographer Dougie Wallace has stepped on some well-heeled toes with his latest documentary project where he turns his lens to the rising economic power of the “one per cent”.  His current exhibition, entitled Harrodsburg, captures the ultra-affluent visitors that inhabit – albeit only seasonally – the super-rich residential and retail district of[.....]

Lexus built a cardboard car that actually drives!

Lexus built a cardboard car that actually drives!

In the early 1970s, architect Frank Gehry earned his first design awards for clever furniture made from corrugated cardboard, triggering an explosion of creative experimentation with this then-century-old material that had been mostly used for protective packaging. Now a five-person design team has created a full-size and fully functional car from recyclable cardboard. It’s electric[.....]

UNHCR and Kickstarter could be the “A-Team” for refugee aid

UNHCR and Kickstarter could be the “A-Team” for refugee aid

A special Kickstarter campaign invites you to aid the ballooning Middle Eastern refugee crisis, with all proceeds going directly to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The one-week fundraiser was launched on Tuesday in response to a question posed by President Barack Obama: could crowdfunding incite Americans to get more involved in refugee relief?  White House[.....]

WorldBeing wristband tracks personal carbon consumption

WorldBeing wristband tracks personal carbon consumption

Wearable tech is hot, with new gizmos unveiled at every design expo and technology fair. Runway models are accessorized with functional fashion, even Victoria’s Secret has developed digital duds with their athletic bra that monitors heartbeat. Now London designer Benjamin Hubert and his studio Layer Design have teamed up with British environmental consultancy Carbon Trust to[.....]

Flying Spark food-tech asks, “Do you want flies with that?”

Flying Spark food-tech asks, “Do you want flies with that?”

A start-up business focused on finding new ways of using insect protein in food products is a finalist in this year’s MassChallenge, the Boston-based start-up competition and world’s largest accelerator program. Get over your squeamishness, because bug-based foods will soon infest our markets. The “elevator pitch” for Israel-based The Flying Spark states their intent to manufacture[.....]

Amman Jordan’s approach to pollution is upside-down

Amman Jordan’s approach to pollution is upside-down

The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) this week announced expansion of its “tidy-roofs” campaign, which kicked off last June to tackle residential buildings deemed unsightly by city officials. Back then, Raed Haddadin, director of GAM’s building control department, told the Jordan Times that the goal was to make the buildings “look more beautiful than before”.  Good news for people[.....]

Costa Rican tourists thwart sea turtle nesting, a surreal mirroring of the crisis in the Med

Costa Rican tourists thwart sea turtle nesting, a surreal mirroring of the crisis in the Med

This story is not about the Middle East, although the images are a surreal reminder of what is happening on our Mediterranean shores – albeit with a different species. A world apart, both events are variations on an alarming theme that undermines our effectiveness in protecting this planet. Humans are losing connection with the natural[.....]

Free training for Levantine green entrepreneurs

Free training for Levantine green entrepreneurs

Are you a green entrepreneur? Need to grow a business model that creates environmental and social value? Want to launch your new green service or product but don’t  know where to begin? A new entrepreneurship program is seeking participants from Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan for their November training event. It’s free – but you need[.....]

Hydroponics in the house in Qatar!

Hydroponics in the house in Qatar!

Qatar – the tiny desert nation known for sinking millions into futuristic follies like artificial clouds and underwater TV studios – has come down to earth with a plan to grow up to 70 percent of its own vegetables by 2023. Currently under 16 percent of their veggies are locally grown. “Cutting edge technology” will[.....]

Meet the teen eco-rapper headed to COP21!

Meet the teen eco-rapper headed to COP21!

Colorado-raised eco-activist and rapper Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a powerful voice in the youth-led climate movement. He’s got a 2014 Ted Talk under his belt, and he received the 2013 United States Community Service Award from President Obama. He performs at international music festivals, organizes demonstrations, and has spoken at over 100 rallies and conferences around the world.[.....]

NASA lettuce grown in space heading to Dubai salad bars?

NASA lettuce grown in space heading to Dubai salad bars?

Ever have a salad that was out of this world? Astronauts aboard International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 44 have. They just dined on the only lettuce ever cultivated without an atmosphere. The produce grew inside “Veggie”, a tiny greenhouse about the size of a computer monitor.  Specifically designed for microgravity environments, the technology can potentially benefit food production[.....]

Submerge yourself in nature in a Getaway tiny home

Submerge yourself in nature in a Getaway tiny home

Collaboration between business, law and design students from one of the world’s top universities is producing tiny houses that could revolutionize how we approach holidays, and green up tourism too. This summer, the Millennial Housing Lab launched Getaway, a rental concept for micro-homes for the millennial marketplace. Harvard Business School student Jon Staff has racked[.....]

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