‘As Brazil readies itself for the upcoming 2014 World Cup, the honor and burden of hosting an even larger global sporting event still sits on the country’s shoulders. In conjunction with the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, several new structures will be erected in Rio’s cityscape. One of the many projects creating huge buzz is the Solar City Tower, an artificial waterfall designed to generate clean, renewable energy.
The vertical structure’s design is conducive to multiple functions: its primary purpose is to capture and distribute solar power to the Olympic Village and to the city, but it doubles as an observation tower. The 345-foot structure will have solar panels around its base, used to store energy during the day, releasing it through turbines for use at night. For special occasions, the turbine will pump seawater into the tower and then shoot it back out to sea, creating a waterfall effect in the middle of the ocean.
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Twenty years ago I was 13 when the first Earth Summit took place in Rio. As a child who is a part of the generation that has grown up entirely under dire environmental threat, I can tell you that I was paying attention and hopeful at the summit’s outcomes.
On Wednesday 20 June, 2012 17-year-old Brittany Trilford of Wellington, New Zealand addressed 130 heads of state at the opening plenary of the Rio+20 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is her speech.
There is no bigger problem in Rio de Janeiro than the risk of losing lives from climate catastrophes, so we have been preparing ourselves. For the first time we’re adopting a culture of disaster prevention with a new emblematic project that is the “Center of Operations.” This is basically a high-end technology situation room, and it has really promoted a culture change in public administration in the city.
We’re also making strong-and-robust changes to the city’s infrastructure. We’re revitalizing the port area to prepare for sea-level rises, and we’re adapting all-new major engineering plans to be prepared for the new climate scenarios we’re expecting in the next decades.