1. The Climate-KIC team
  2. Ideating Climate Business
  3. Tuesday, 19 April 2016
The Climate-KIC community is currently working on the four topics Sustainable Land Use, Sustainable Production Systems, Urban Transitions and Climate Metrics and Finance.

Would you add another problem, or 'hot topic' to any of these four themes?
Which one of the aforementioned topics resonates most with you - and why?

(Please find the overview of Themes and 'hot topics' attached)

This discussion is part of the learning nugget Intention settings in Ideating Climate Business.
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Would you add another problem, or 'hot topic' to any of these four themes?
For the UT theme, I would add e-mobility as a hot topic. I find interesting that the shared energy storage systems topic is already included and e-mobility not, specially considering that the latter will enable and foster the the energy storage technology to be implemented and diffused through different end-users. There are already several business models that combine both technologies (e-bikes, micro Smart Grids, fuel cell) and even though e-mobility has been on the radar for incumbents (Deutsche Bahn, BMW) and start-ups, the boom of e-mobility has not been established. Hence, there is still room for new business proposals and strategies for value capture.

Which one of the aforementioned topics resonates most with you - and why?
Biomass valorisation, a hot topic from SLU. Biomass is a sustainable resource that practically everyone on the planet has access (as well as wind and sun, variably depending on the region but still we do). However, Biomass technology is not as popular as solar and wind energy and it's also cost-efficient in terms of electricity prices and it's not as highly dependent on locations as sun and wind energy are. Of course, it depends on several factors but I think that business models should consider this technology as a competitive advantage in the nearby future.
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  1. Thomas Leahy
  2. 3 years ago
  3. #91
One very large problem that we face is waste management. We need an effective, clean way of managing our waste and waste production. In particular, food waste is very high for developed countries. A way to tackle this may be consumer behaviour but also regulation on packaging using non-recyclable material.
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Would you add another problem, or 'hot topic' to any of these four themes?

Consumer behavior
Within the theme Sustainable Product system I would like to address attention to the fact that it is not only about designing good recycling systems but also about sustainable consumer behavior before the product is in the end of its life cycle. For example, in the first place the product should only be bought when really necessary. When the product is in use the consumer should be encouraged enlarge its life time by proper maintenance and to repair the product instead of buying a new one which is often cheaper these days. Finally, when the product cannot be saved it should be easier for the consumer to recycle and reuse parts than throw it in the bin and buy a new one.
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I agree with you, I also think that consumer behavior is an very interesting and important topic. I agree with Femke that consuming less is part of the solutions. Food waste as already mentioned before is a huge problem, especially in developed countries, and we need innovative solutions for reducing it.
Consumer behaviour is definitely an integral part to this system.
  1. Peter Green
  2. 5 months ago
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I agree with you
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Would you add another problem, or 'hot topic' to any of these four themes?

I agree with Maxe up there, given the sheer number of consumers, we need to really focus on initiatives and projects - on a policy and business level that targets consumption patterns. We are very wasteful and it seems the more globalized a community gets, the more it wastes. We need to look at ways (such as labeling products per their emissions), that we can encourage consumers to waste less. Less consumption = less unnecessary production.


Which one of the aforementioned topics resonates most with you - and why?

Smart land use is definitely a key element here because it hits directly at two fundamental security issues, food and water. If ecologies fail and our agricultural output falls, then we will not be able to feed ourselves and this will cause economic and political havoc.
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  1. Jana Mintenig
  2. 2 years ago
  3. #125
I strongly agree with you, Basil, Maxe, Nine, Geraldine (and probably several more) ! Forcing supply to change is best done by altering the demand. Hence, customers are required to become active.

For that to work I consider a better communication structure to be of importance. Labeling products with associated emission amounts is a good idea. This goes hand in hand with companies' transperancy captured by the DMF section. Nevertheless, I consider consumer behavior an important topic.
I live in Ljubljana, which is green capital of Europe this year, so according to that we have put a lot of effort into awareness and especially recycling. I think everything starts with mentality of Society.
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The Climate-KIC team wrote:

Would you add another problem, or 'hot topic' to any of these four themes?

This discussion is part of the learning nugget Intention settings in Ideating Climate Business.


The topic which is missing is how to get to new values, belief systems and aspirations (see also WBCSD 2050 targets). To arrive there the topic of personal transformation needs to be brought into the picture.
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Would you add another problem, or 'hot topic', to any of the four themes?

Consumption and Behaviour.
Right now the themes mainly focus on the production side. Human behaviour, however plays a big role as well. Producers most often say that they do what consumers want. What consumers use and buy is related to their behaviour. Within this topic the focus is on current consumer behaviour, how this could be influenced by nudging, and rethinking consumption by e.g. sharing economy. Also the interaction between consumption and production should be viewed at, what influence do they have on each other?

Within the production theme, re-thinking production should be added. Products intended to last long, making use of organic and fair-trade materials. Producing companies facilitating sharing economy, so that you can rent products.

Which one of the aforementioned topics resonates most with you - and why?
That would be production - circular economy. All producing companies need to rethinking how they are producing, it is a challenge to make the business efficient and sustainable with usage of circular materials.
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I agree with you, Maxe, Anais and Basil that key to addressing climate change systemically is ensuring that sustainable consumption is a key part of "sustainable production systems" and that not only do we look at socio-technological transitions but also the transformation required in our values and belief systems!

In the academic literature sustainable consumption and sustainable production are coupled so I hadn't actually noticed that the theme wasn't called "sustainable consumption and production systems" until I read your threads. I had been referring to it as SCP systems...

See the International Society for Industrial Ecology's is a interesting society for those interested in this topic and the role of the circular economy in SCP systemshttp://www.is4ie.org/sections#OSCP
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• Would you add another problem, or ‘hot topic’ to any of the four themes?
I would add poverty alleviation as another problem as it decreasing it increases consumption and subsequently, the market for a given product/ service as people previously in poverty now have more disposable income. The ‘hot topics’ sitting within this problem would be:

Living wage
The ability for people to work on a living wage means that they will have enough money to get by and also some disposable income left over in order to spend on other discretionary items.

Alleviation of fuel poverty
The reduction of fuel poverty leads to increased health and well-being. These two factors are essential to a productive and sustainable workforce.

• Which of these problems resonates most with you – and why?
The problem that resonates most with me is the ‘Sustainable Production Systems’ theme. This is because I find it really interesting thinking of new/ better ways to create products or run businesses that are better for the planet.
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Would you add another problem, or ‘hot topic’ to any of the four themes?
I think consumer involvement is important in a transition to more sustainable practices. Moreover, I think the impact of concrete in the building sector on GHG emissions deserves some attention. But most importantly, the connection between sustainable land use, food production, energy demand and the distribution of economic wellfare and other resources over different societies shouldn't be overlooked


I’m interested in the energy sector. It’s now all centrally organized. My frustrations are that: the process is slow, there is a lot of objection and there are many disadvantages to sustainable energy production. Even people who favour sustainable energy and support nature, may sometimes object. It is the people that are using the energy, so I think they should be engaged, and be proud of there impact improvements. This also links to peoples private space and life organization. I’m therefore also interested in the goods people are using, the buildings they use.
Moreover I’m interested in effective food production (agriculture) and the effects of the international market on the distribution of food and economic welfare around the world
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  1. Thomas Prey
  2. 2 years ago
  3. #172
Holy cow, this post sounds totally like something I could have said! Wow, great to know that there are like-minded people out there. I personally think a decentralised energy system holds a lot of advantages, too. If you're interested, I could recommend books of Hermann Scheer to this topic. They are a little older, but the thematics often still up to date.
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The 4 Thematic Teams at Climate-KIC have been reading with interest your comments! Keep them coming!
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In my oppinion linking 'sustainable land use' and 'urban transition' would create another 'hot topic': Since more and more People are moving in cities and changing their Lifestyle (kind of 'from farmer to worker'), the awareness of how Food is produced and which ecosystem Services are necessary will decrease. Also the amount of People involved in agriculture will decrease while the demand for Food especially in cities will increase. An interesting question to work on would be: How can we make People Aware of the 'Food production system' and that natural resources are needed? How can we strenghten the ties between urban and rural living spaces? Could this lead to a Climate Change adaption or even mitigation strategy (by changing agriculture and consumers behaviour at the same time)?

Also there are great ideas about Urban Farming not as real opportunity to produce enough Food for the urban Population but more as a way of education. Could this maybe Change not only the consumers behaviour but also the urban landscape?

I am really interested in the 'urban transition' Topic because Urban Spaces will be the place where most of the world Population will live in the future - so creating a sustainable City is a first step towards climate Change Adaption. At the same time I am also really intersted in sustainable land use because unsustainable agriculture is causing Problems like deforestation, loss of biodiversity or Degradation of soil and thus is a main Driver for Climate Change. So ways to protect the ecosystem Services that help to create a resilient System and hence mitigate Climate Change are really important.
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Maybe you could add a topic that has to do with preventing the outcomes of climate change (for examples rising sealevels and elevated risks of nature catastrofies) to affect society. It could include how to build and where to build and so on. Another topic could perhaps be Sustainable Wateruse.

I think that the Sustainable Production Systems and the Urban Transitions themes resonated mostly with me. I see a great potential in the technical solutions that can solve problems both for sustainable production systems and for urban transitions. I like the ideas of circular eonomy and recycling in the production systems, and want to find ways to implement these ideas. Also, since so many people will be living in cities and most emissions come from cities optimizing urban transitions needs to made.
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Hey Linnea!
Great that you mention circular economy, too. Last year I had a chance to talk to a representative from Helsingborg Municipality, who told me that they are currently trying to introduce circular economy principles in public procurement, particularly in building sector. Same is happening in Denmark, to my limited knowledge. I thought it was great that cities increasingly recognize it's potential, in addition to private sector, where it's relatively easy to advocate circular economy principles in the first place as it represents reduced reliance on natural resources and, hence, financial savings.
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One hot topic that might be missing from the list is consumer behaviour and consumption. I believe that if we do not manage to change people’s consumption behaviour in the future we will not be able to achieve our climate goals.

In our daily life’s it is not always easy to see the connection between our consumption decisions that we make (food, cloth or other goods and services) and our resulting environmental and carbon footprint. In my opinion a change in people’s behaviour can only be achieved if people understand the relationship between their consumption behaviour and the concluding environmental and climate challenges. Better education resulting in understanding and awareness of the topics will hopefully bring the change we need on the individual level and the demand for change on a societal scale.

I am very interested in the topics Urban Transitions and Sustainable Land Use. Both topics are very much interconnected as it is all about our commons and natural resources which we have to share in a just way also in consideration of future generations.
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Hi Larissa

You described the relationship between action and knowledge very well I think! Even as a highly-educated individual myself I don't always put my money where my mouth is, but rational thinking can make me change my habits. Describing how change on the individual level can lead to change on a societal scale is definitely a second step to consider. My concerns there are how people may think and act differently as a consumer (feeling more responsible, concerned with a beautiful planet for their children, etcetera) than in their role as employee (more concerned with their private shorter-term interests).

Would you (or someone else) have any first ideas or even an example of how this second step can be reached? It is something I am wondering about much myself.
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Although the fourth thematic area was called "Decision metrics and finance", I couldn't help but notice the stronger emphasis on the "decision metrics" part and the somewhat less represented "finance" part. Having studied Finance for Bachelor, and having worked with SME investment projects in bioenergy, I would say that Ensuring access to finance or Alternative financing is another hot topic to keep in mind.
Many of renewable energy projects, with inherently long payback period, are not attractive enough for conventional investors. Small scale projects are oftentimes excluded from the traditional finance mechanisms. At the same time, many alternative finance mechanisms emerge, such as crowdfunding renewables, in particular energy cooperatives and solar crowdfunding platforms, with room for many more ideas. In my opinion, there's a pressing need to further investigate the potential these bring.
As for topics that resonate with me, I would name cross-industry collaboration. I feel like circular economy represents many opportunities and its principles are not implemented sufficiently particularly in manufacturing. Our industries tend to view themselves as isolated islands rather than an enriching network where waste stream from one industry is a valuable resource for another, and vice versa.
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Hi Elena,
I think you're definitely right this theme seems to fall a bit short of the finance area, even though such things as measuring and reporting emissions can be connected to measuring the climate impact of funds or other investment products.Yet, making financing of RE and EE more accessible by setting more incentives to invest in such long term and capital intensive projects is a major issue that has to addressed, not only in the Global North, but also the South. In regard of the latter, I think it is very important to find mechanisms that help micro-finance and local finance institutions, which very often can not afford to give out loan tenors that last longer than a year, to find a way to make their products more affordable for 'smaller' consumers. Also, I think that for bigger investors, there is a need to develop more sustainable investment products, e.g. green bonds or development bonds. For these investment products, in turn, I think there is additionally the need, to measure their actual additionally, i.e. to measure what actually wouldn't have happened without these products and to develop more standardized ratings for the 'sustainability level' of such products.
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The issues raised in the sustainable production systems and decision metrics and finance topics attracted my interest the most. A huge amount of waste is produced by the growing population and a lot of it either ends up in landfill or does not get disposed of properly. Both are damaging to the environment. A circular economy would benefit us enormously as it provides a solution to our waste problem whilst fuelling the economy as value is added to waste. However, circular economies can only be created when all associated actors within that particular economy agree to adapt and change to the needs of the environment. It is therefore integral that influential decision-makers are committed to climate action and can gain economic benefit for climate action, as this will motivate them. I therefore believe that key players needs to work together well to find a solution together.

It was interesting to learn that 90% of ship-breaking takes place in Asia. Ship-breaking is often highly unsafe and inhumane. If the practise of breaking ships was safer, regulated, inspected and was carried out with appropriate equipment, then perhaps the job would be more attractive to people in Europe. It would provide Europeans with materials such as steel. I believe the only way to bring this economy to Europe would be through regulation in Asia. If regulation was much stricter and workers rights were respected then large ship-breaking companies would not be able to exploit cheap labour and perhaps the industry would spread to Europe. I think this would be down to decision-makers in Asia and would require international collaboration.
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Which one of the aforementioned topics resonates most with you - and why?
My interest has been especially attracted by the two areas of sustainable land use as well as decision making and finance metrics. I think that under the land use theme creating sustainable value chains is one of the challenges, which might have one of the biggest impacts, both in terms of adaptation and mitigation, but also in terms of improving social justice and development, which can also be seen as a means to increase the resilience of those most affected by climate change (for example small farmers and women). Furthermore, improvement in this area can be seen to be driven by two major drivers, that is by economic efficiency and rationality as well as consumer demand. Against this background, I think that developments in this area are not only needed, but also wanted, meaning there actually exist market opportunities to effectively ‘make’ the climate challenge.

Would you add another problem, or 'hot topic' to any of these four themes?
The second area, which attracted my attention (maybe even more so) is the theme of decision making and finance metrics, even though here, I would definitely add the consumer (in aggregate) to the group of decision makers. While it is of crucial importance to incorporate the macro-level decision makers, I think a lot more can be done when also trying to actually reach the individuals, which - by their daily decisions - help to make or break the climate change challenge. This means creating more awareness amongst consumers as well as to help them using the “right” solutions by giving them tools for low carbon and climate-resilient decision-making as well as a guide to the negative effects, their more carbon-intensive alternatives might have. Such tool might, in turn, have two effects, which directly and indirectly help ‘making’ the climate challenge – in a first step consumers can directly decrease emissions by themselves and in a second step increased awareness among consumers might pressure the macro level, i.e. governments, business and finance to pursue the implementation of solutions more urgently (for example, setting a price on carbon). Also, in terms of finance I think more has to be done to make the individual consumer as well as the commercial investors more sensible to the impact of their money and to make sustainable investment that increases GHG mitigation, resilience and social justice more comfortable and easily accessible. I think in this area, FINTECs might have a huge potential of directly connecting individual consumers and sustainable investment products.
So, in general, I would add "comprehensive decision-making tool for consumers" as well as "FINTECs and Sustainable Finance" as two further hot topics to this area.
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Would you add another problem, or 'hot topic' to any of these four themes?
I would maybe rather add an overarching 'problem', namely how we've structured the world politically, economically and socially and what the role of the individual is in this.

How to deal with the differences in how societies are often structured on a national level but economies on a international level? What is the role of the individual in this - who is not only a consumer but may also work as CEO or R&D engineer in a large firm? Do we go for top-down approaches (China), support bottom-up initiatives (EU: Climate KIC!), mix it all up, share new insights with other countries, etcetera. How do we tax the "bad" firms/companies and support the "good" or "helpless"? How do we prevent countries from becoming unsustainable no-climate-tax-havens or prevent businesses from going there?

(This probably sounds very vague, sorry! I'm still in my "jotting down"-flow)

Which one of the aforementioned topics resonates most with you - and why?
For me personally, particularly waste treatment and mobility capture my interest. These are both high-impact and much related with the behaviour of people. As the number of world inhabitants, as well as their consumption (typically producing waste) and travelled kilometres (typically producing externalities, in the form of CO2 emissions of course, but also noise, congested cities and abandoned park-yards or streets without a human scale) is likely to increase, these are very important. Also, I see much possibilities on both demand and supply side. E.g. attract people to change travel mode instead of building new roads and re-use instead of buying new (both individual consumer as well as e.g. in the building sector).
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A topic that I would add would be social policy, as it is policy and laws that drive the funding and resources available to climate change related businesses. Related to consumer behaviour (already mentioned on this forum), it is the general public that can drive government policy that can make a positive impact. It is essential to provoke social change in sustainable areas.

An example would reducing energy consumption, whilst also looking at more efficient ways to produce energy.
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Would you add another problem, or 'hot topic' to any of these four themes?

I'd like to add another hot topic on how to minimise the food waste. Food sold by supermarkets is 'pretty' food and 'ugly' food never even reaches supermarket, even though they might taste the same. However, fertilisers and other resources are used in growing that food. Need to find a way to minimise food waste.


Which of these problems resonates most with you - and why?

Shared energy storage system & greener transportation because with increase in population, we need to become more efficient in terms of energy usage and use more renewables (unlimited unavailability). In alot of developing countries e.g Pakistan & India, there is plenty of sun light through out the year but they still rely on fossil fuels and also have power shortage through out the year.
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Would you add another problem, or 'hot topic' to any of these four themes?

I'd like to echo what many of you have said, which is that influencing & changing consumer behaviour is an important part of the equation of reducing global emissions, and is missing from the hot topics of the sustainable production systems theme.

There are so many daily activities & purchasing habits that consumers can change to reduce carbon emissions from energy, food & plastic waste.

I'm in the middle of completing a 100 day challenge for climate action on Instagram with #the100DayProject, to identify just such actions (If you're interested, you can check out my #100daysofclimateaction at https://www.instagram.com/_lalittleone/)

Having said that, not all climate actions are created equally. In my research for my #100daysofclimateaction thus far, I've learned that the two consumer actions that would reduce emissions the most, are eating less meat (mainly beef) & taking cars off the road more often. Stats show that 80% of Amazon deforestation is driven by cattle ranching. Also, livestock production accounts for 18% of total global GHG emissions, and cows alone account for 8%. By switching out beef for other meats that have a lower per pound carbon footprint (not even going vegetarian), consumers could significantly reduce their carbon footprint. (Lamb: 2x less, Pork: 6x less, Chicken: 7x less)

Which one of the aforementioned topics resonates most with you - and why?

If it includes consumer actions, then the sustainable production systems topic resonates more with me. Along with changing consumer habits, I am very interested in making mainstream more sustainable versions of daily products (i.e. bamboo based toilet paper, tooth brushes & disposable cutlery).

Just like me, consumers don't know the extent of the impact of their daily actions - and if they did and were provided with more easily accessible, 'non-extreme, hippy' type sustainable alternatives, then emissions would be much lower.

I think growing demand & optimizing supply for sustainable consumer alternatives is a huge area of opportunity and is low hanging fruit for any green company, start up or otherwise.
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Dear Rabia,

thank you for sharing the 100days project! Really interesting and important. Cutting out meat is indeed a big thing, if everyone would do this, it is likely that we turn climate change around. It is interesting to read that you don't necessarily have to cut out all the meat but it mainly considers beef. This knowledge could potentially help people eat at least fewer meatproducts, without having to be fully vegetarian. Anyway, I am very happy that KIC decided to do a fully vegetarian/vegan summer journey!!
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Would you add another problem, or 'hot topic' to any of these four themes?

I would additionally like to add knowledge exchange / sharing of ideas to the already identified themes. On the one hand it might accelerate climate beneficial projects and on the other hand it might positively influence consumer behavior. A topic which has already been claimed by several participants to be a another hot topic.

Which one of the aforementioned topics resonates most with you - and why?

The topic of UT is interesting because it affects me personally. During the rush hour streets are most often congested despite having a well-functioning transportation system. After having studied in the Netherlands, I recognize that the perception regarding bikes (for example) still needs a lot of improvement in other countries (e.g. Germany).

The gap between malnutrition in developing countries and large amount of waste in developed countries is rather sad, especially in light of climate change which will predominantly affect the former. Therefore, I consider the topics food value chains and biomass valorisation of importance. In particular, the risks associated with biomass usage when not being used sustainably should be acknowledged and addressed.
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For SPS, I would maybe add the sharing economy, in which people use fewer products because they share them instead of owning one each. Such an economy requires less production and thus less resource use. For UT, I would also add a topic focussed on sustainable housing. Since people increasingly live in cities, improving the sustainability of the houses could potentially have a substantial impact in lowering the GHG emissions. We should strive for making our houses energy neutral.
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Hi Maxime! I agree with you that the sharing economy could potentially be a solution to urban sustainability challenges! However, in its current popular form, I think there is a lot of research and development that need to be done to ensure that it does contribute to sustainability. I did my thesis on the sharing economy and I can say that its running opposite to its promise of using less resources and generating less wastes. There are evidences showing that it is actually contributing to consumption and production. But I do think that since the sharing economy is still in its infancy stage, we can help direct it to a more sustainable pathway. :)
The part that I agree the most to is the strife to make houses energy neutral. The biggest challenge should be to think that the houses should give circa the same ecological services as the land that it has been occupied to build it.
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