The Coolest Part About the World Cup… (because we all know what the hottest part is)

There are certain sports that I only watch during certain tournaments, unless my favorite teams are playing.  Soccer is one of them, and the tournament being the World Cup…and it only comes once every 4 years.  The first tournament I watched was 2006, of course I was a hard core Italy fan and obnoxiously dressed like a Christmas tree in June.  Although I have always been proud of my Italian heritage, and always will be, after that tournament, there became the exception of that pride being throughout the World Cup.  Sorry, but when I played sports, I played hard until the whistle, I didn’t throw myself into the ground asking for one.  Anyway, I’ve never seen so much passion in any sporting event than I do with world soccer.  It’s absolutely amazing, people watch to become part of that passion, to come together as a nation to root for people we’ve never heard of, and suddenly they become the most important celebrities that exist; we even talk about how we are going to start a soccer team (which never happens), and all our future children will be soccer players.  We hear about teams, players, eliminations, and even details about weather and the city where the tournament is taking place, but we’ve heard very little about the actual buildings.

The venues for the 2014 World Cup, like the 2012 Olympic stadiums in London, were designed to be sustainable buildings!  They recycle and reuse waste, they use solar power, they are carbon neutral for gosh sakes… they even have monorail transportation to limit pollution from cars traveling to the games!  As you will see below in the stadium descriptions below by FIFA, these stadiums are smaller than American Football stadiums, you can imagine the impact of retrofitting those stadiums to meet the standards of the Brazilian soccer complex!  Let’s step it up NFL!!!

Now let’s watch the US take on Portugal…because the whole world will be rooting for that hot guy, so we need all of the positive energy we can get!!  USA USA!!!



Given that the stadium in Cuiaba set to host matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ neighbours the flora- and fauna-rich region that is the Pantanal, it is no surprise that sustainability has been a central theme of the construction and maintenance of the new arena from the project’s very beginning.

This sustainable approach has been applied to every detail along the way, with the wood used in the construction coming from certified sources and the waste and rubbish produced being recycled – thus enabling them to be reused within the building project and its access routes. The site’s air and soil quality is also constantly monitored, all of which means the stadium’s nickname of ‘O Verdão’ (The Big Green) is particularly appropriate.

Specially built for Brazil 2014 – when it will host four matches – the Arena Pantanal will boast a capacity of 41,112 and will occupy the site where the Estadio Jose Fragelli used to be. This multi-purpose stadium will have an adaptable structure, which can be reduced in size once Brazil 2014 is over. The covered arena is thus an ideal setting to host a variety of events such as shows, exhibitions and trade fairs, while local clubs such as Mixto and Operario may also take advantage of the new venue.


Few Brazilian cities can match the capital Brasilia when it comes to architecture, and the imposing Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha is a reflection of that, an arena with seating for 69,349 spectators, making it the second largest of the stadiums hosting matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

The city’s Estadio Nacional has been all but demolished to make way for the stadium, which boasts a new facade, metal roof and stands, as well as a lowered pitch enabling unobstructed views from every seat.

Founded on carbon neutrality, recycling and complete access via public transport, this environmentally friendly construction project consolidates Brasilia’s status as a world leader in sustainable urban planning, creating a valuable legacy for other sectors of the local economy.

The Estadio Nacional will host the Opening Match at the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 and seven games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, one of them a quarter-final tie.

The stadium will be Brasilia’s third, along with the Serejao, the home of Brasiliense, and the Bezerrao, which was recently refurbished and reopened in 2008. Following the world finals the arena will be used to host concerts and major cultural events.


Though not a traditional hotbed of Brazilian football, Manaus is sure to be popular with fans attending the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ thanks to the unique character of the Arena Amazonia, formerly the Estadio Vivaldao.

The city is situated at the heart of the Amazon rainforest, the largest tropical rainforest in the world and the inspiration for the refurbished stadium, which will be enclosed by a metal structure designed to resemble a straw basket, a product the region is famous for.

This sustainable stadium project will provide an important legacy for the region and play its part in helping to preserve the diversity of the Amazonian rainforest. For example, rainwater will be collected for its subsequent use in toilets or to water the pitch, while the region’s abundant supply of sunshine will be harnessed to generate clean and renewable energy. Plant screens will also be created to keep energy costs down and, above all, to control temperatures inside the stadiums.

As well as seating for 40,549 spectators, the Arena Amazonia will feature restaurants and underground parking and will be served by dedicated bus and monorail services. The venue for four group-phase matches at Brazil 2014, the stadium will continue to attract tourists after the tournament by hosting concerts and cultural events.”


Phytoplankton off the coast of Iceland…some blooms are just part of the changing of seasons


Usually we want to limit algae blooms formed as a response to urbanization as much as possible to protect aquatic life. But in some locations, blooms are a brief mainstay of an annual natural cycle.

“Phytoplankton Bloom Off the Coast of Iceland
A spring bloom of phytoplankton lingered in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Iceland in early June, 2014. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on June 5. At that time, swirling jewel tones of a vast bloom were visible between banks of white clouds.

According to the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, phytoplankton blooms around Iceland usually occur in early spring and fall. The spring bloom is driven by longer daylight and the warming of surface layers. This leads to stratification of the waters, and allows the phytoplankton to stay in the surface layer and reproduce. By summer the huge numbers of phytoplankton in the blooms decreases nutrients, and the numbers of the organisms begins to plummet.”

Image Credit: NASA/Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC


wetland biom by bio expedition
wetland biom by bio expedition

Today I received an EPA email that made the analogy linking wetlands and human kidneys. Of course my mind just started racing, and I began writing this post. I remember when I was working in land development during the housing boom, we had too much work to handle, the developers couldn’t buy, clear, and build fast enough. It is Florida, so most of the land purchased and intended for build, contained wetlands, protected trees, and/or protected species. For an area to be considered a wetland, it needs to meet some requirements… they must be inundated by surface or ground water in normal hydrologic conditions, there must be specific “wetland vegetation”, and the soil must be classified as hydric (soils mostly saturated operating under anaerobic conditions). I remember hearing awful rumors about tactics some developers would use to ensure that every portion of their land was develope-able… purposely planting invasive vegetation that would take over the ecosystem by competing with native wetland plants for resources and winning, or plants/trees that require enough water to turn a once wet area, dry. Oh, Father, for they do not know what they do… or they just do not care; regardless, removing wetlands, and then developing lands resulting in more runoff of much lower quality, is a recipe for disaster. There is a reason why they are protected, and contrary to what some may think, there are no tree hugging picket lines chaining themselves to lily pads.

Whether you are a creationist or a big bang theorist, we can pretty much all agree that the human body is a system made by and from nature. It just makes sense that the intricate matrix resembles that of nature. I won’t make all of the connections here, I’ll just stick to the portions run parallel to wetlands. The EPA made a great analogy…wetlands are the kidneys of the environment, they filter out excess nutrients, and provide settling time for particulate bound pollutants (bad stuff attached to dirt) to remove these toxins from water stream. This prevents algae blooms from multiplying to the point that aquatic life is threatened, resulting in hypoxia and summer fish kills. But that’s not all folks, they do even more! Similar to how your bladder holds fluids, wetlands hold water, storing water along the path, to reduce peak flows, and slow down flow, preventing from erosion and sudden temperature changes (for aquatic life).

Wetlands are an important part of responsible planning and sustainable development. They can be constructed to alleviate impacts of development and urbanization on the hydrograph (how the stormwater runoff flows during and after a storm), and to filter pollutants prior to outfall to a natural water body connected to our drinking water sources. Wetlands also promote infiltration, recharging the groundwater table, making them an important part of the hydrologic cycle.

Next time you take a walk, I encourage you to make connections between the system within yourself and the system in which we live. The parallels can give us a better understanding of the importance of taking care of our environment.

Hazardous Waste in Buffalo Buildings- Update, my lil bro is in charge!

Hazardous Waste in Buffalo Buildings- Update, my lil bro is in charge!

So Buffalo making EPA news again! Last time EPA decided to give the city millions of dollars to help implement LID, creating jobs, and boosting the economy while making the city prettier, how does Buffalo pay them back?? Violating a whole bunch of hazardous waste codes…Ugh. Buffalonians, be careful, Love Canal may have just been the one time someone was caught!
The day the news broke, my brother, a City of Buffalo engineer, was held captive…he had to stay late…real late, like past 5:02.  He was then informed that he was promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Buildings for the city and has to come up with a plan to quickly meet EPA regulations.  Looks like superhero runs in the family.  Congrats lil bro, let’s make this world better!


Don’t Fertilize During Wet Season!!!

lwreng lwrspanI use Lakewood Ranch, Florida as an example of low impact development for the aesthetic use of vegetative swales in place of curb and gutter. Now I can also use this area as an example of responsible planning as they banned the use of fertilizers during the wet season!!! This will help prevent algae blooms (eutrophication) by eliminating excess nutrient load to natural and man made water bodies!