Major Hollywood Union Votes To Ratify Contracts For Better Streaming Payments

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), a major Hollywood union, have ratified their new film and TV contracts this week after six months of contentious negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). LA locals rejected the deal in a popular vote. 

“From start to finish, from preparation to ratification, this has been a democratic process to win the very best contracts,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb in a statement today. 

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“The vigorous debate, high turnout, and close election, indicates we have an unprecedented movement-building opportunity to educate members on our collective bargaining process and drive more participation in our union long-term.”

AMPTP released a statement as well, stating: “We congratulate IATSE President, Matt Loeb, the IATSE Bargaining Committee and Board for their leadership in achieving ratification of the new contracts. Throughout the negotiations, IATSE leadership advocated changes to improve quality of life for those they represent. These agreements meaningfully reflect the industry’s endorsement of those priorities and keep everyone working.”

The union uses an electoral college system for ratification votes such as this one. During this particular vote, 359 (56%) voted in favor compared to 282 (44%) who voted against it out of 641 total delegate votes; the votes were taken from 36 local unions nationwide that were eligible.

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The Basic Agreement was rejected in the popular vote with 49.6% voting yes to 50.4% voting no. Overall 50.3% voted yes to 49.7% voting no for both contracts. In the end, “72% of the 63,209 eligible members cast digital ballots this weekend,” according to IATSE.

According to media reports, “there were actually two separate contracts that were ratified: the Basic Agreement, which covers 13 Hollywood locals, and the Area Standards Agreement, which covers 23 locals outside of Los Angeles.”

“For the LA centric Basic Agreement, the vote was 256 voting for the deal that IATSE made with the AMPTP last month, yes to 188 no. In regards to the non-LA based Area Standards Agreement the yes vote was 103 to 94 no votes for the more recent deal,” according to Deadline. 

“Our goal was to achieve fair contracts that work for IATSE members in television and film—that address quality-of-life issues and conditions on the job like rest and meal breaks. We met our objectives for this round of bargaining and built a strong foundation for future agreements,” Loeb stated. 

Cabbage Plantations

Lessons That Could Be Learned From The Netherlands Take On Agriculture

As one of the world’s biggest exporters of agricultural products, the Netherlands has a major role to play on a global scale.

The Netherlands has a land area that is 237 times smaller than the leading exporter – the United States – and yet was able to export nearly $100 billion in agricultural goods in 2017, not including the $10 billion they exported in agriculture-related products.

So what is the secret to their success? A quick look at the way they use architectural innovation to reshape the way the agricultural landscape could appear may hold the answer.

To be able to fully appreciate the way the Netherlands feed the world using architecture you should take to the skies. Looking down on the country you notice the large amount of greenhouses that dominate the landscape of South Holland. Covering around 36 square miles there are enough greenhouses to cover the island of Manhattan – and half again!

Nicknamed the “greenhouse capital of the Netherlands” by National Geographic, the West land region has greenhouses seemingly filling any gaps that have been discovered in areas including industrial plants, cities and suburbs.

Over 50% of the country is dedicated to horticulture and agriculture with “banks of what appear to be gargantuan mirrors stretch[ed] across the countryside, glinting when the sun shines and glowing with eerie interior light when night falls.”

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Farmers are now using geothermal energy and hydroponic systems to generate increasing yields of crop and are achieving amazing results with very little resources. Across the country greenhouses are using around 1.1 gallons of water per pound of tomatoes produced, which is in stark contrast to the global average of 25.6 gallons; with some farmers able to produce more than 100 million tomatoes annually over 14 hectares of land.

This is all possible thanks to a strictly controlled indoor environment. Temperature and humidity levels are kept reliable and precise and are combined with a low risk of contamination. Another aspect of the greenhouses’ abilities to produce bumper crops is the architectural forethought.

Roofs are double glazed to allow heat to be retained; the frames are made from light modular steel, allowing for adaption and fast expansion – all while keeping the natural light. When the sun sets and all the natural light disappears, LED lights provide the resources for plants to continue to grow throughout the night.

The Dutch have a legislative measure, however, that 98% of any electric lighting from a greenhouse must be contained, so many greenhouses use blackout blinds and curtains, ensuring minimum light pollution.

So how did the Dutch countryside become full of greenhouses? Back in the early 2000’s a national commitment was made for a new type of sustainable agriculture, eliminating the use of chemical pesticides in greenhouses. The use of antibiotics has also been reduced with a drop of 60% in the last ten years.

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Viewed as one of the world’s leading agricultural researchers, Wageningen University and Research (WUR) is one of the drivers behind this innovation.

As we learn more about how we need to feed the world’s growing urban populations, new techniques such as those in the Netherlands continue to adjust to the situations. More and more farmers are tending to move away from the “natural” and traditional ways of farming, opting towards a more controlled, industrial and artificial approach.

As the urban population grows there are more demands placed on the countryside, meaning the architectural transformation will continue to grow.

There are currently 7.8 billion people in the world and it is estimated that by 2050 there will be an increase of an extra 2.2 billion. With so many people relying on the agriculture market to survive there will be a requirement for higher agricultural yields. And while this is achievable, it needs to be done using less energy, less water and most importantly, less land.

It is clear that there will be a change in the relationship between the countryside and cities, between urbanism and food, and the Netherlands are offering a way in which architectural technology can help these relationships to progress.

While technology continues to change the way processes work, including the construction, transformation and implementation of many procedures, it is believed many architects may be required to create newer, smarter ways to create integrated structures enabling agriculture to move forward.

Rem Koolhaas, founder of OMA has been considering this for sometime, noting “husbandry of the land is now a digital practice. For example, the tractor, which revolutionized the farm in the 19th century, has become a computerized work station. It is a series of devices and sensors that create a seamless, yet detached digital interface between the driver and the earth. The countryside in terms of how we work is becoming similar to the city. The farmer is like us – a flex worker, operating on a laptop from any possible location. […] This is not to say that it is all bad. It is only ironic that such drastic transformations are barely on the radar in our education and thinking.”

Baobab Trees

One Third Of All Tropical Plant Life In Africa Is Now Under The Threat Of Extinction

According to a new study, a third of tropical plant species in Africa are currently under the threat of extinction due to climate change occurrences. With so much focus on the many animal species that are under the same threat, plant endangerment is often overlooked. However, these plants especially are essential for up-keeping a multitude of the planet’s ecosystems, as they are a constant source of oxygen and food. Plants are also the base for a lot of medicines and materials used in our everyday lives that we often take for granted. 

The Guardian reports that studies show 86% of mammals are on the Red List of critical endangerment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Comparatively, only 8% of all of Earth’s plant species are on the same list, however, when it comes to ecosystem maintenance, that percentage is already to high. Logging, mining, and extensively unnecessary agricultural industrialization is leading the cause. 

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The IUCN states that since the Industrial Revolution took over the planet, almost 600 species of plants have been wiped out completely, and that number is growing more rapidly everyday. Plants are often overlooked and not discussed when it comes to the climate action debate, generally, deforestation is the main issue at hand. While deforestation is one of the leading causes of the deterioration of our planet, plant endangerment poses and equal threat, it just doesn’t seem like it would. 

In order for any sort of species to end up on the IUCN’s Red List, two main things need to be analyzed. They focus on population reduction, and habitat reduction for where the species is located/indigenous to. The IUCN has used those two factors to create an online computer algorithm to calculate and classify conservation status’ of certain species. This algorithm is what lead teams of conservationists to their conclusions about the massive amount of species endangered in Africa currently.  Using this algorithm, researchers inputted over 20,000 plant species indigenous to Africa, and found that almost 7,000 of those species are under the threat of complete extinction.

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“These species are falling into categories ranging from vulnerable to critically endangered. That means almost a third of the plant species examined might be threatened by extinction, a proportion expected to hold even if all tropical African species are considered. There is an extra 38% of species which we assess are geographically restricted, so they are rare, but for which no obvious threats for the moment are identified. If the human pressure increases, which is very likely in most parts of tropical Africa, they will be likely threatened in the very near future,” The Guardian reports. 

Basically, there’s still a whole slew of plant species that aren’t accounted for when using this algorithm due to the fact that they’re so rare that they’re inaccessible to include in the data. However, it can easily be assumed that these species are under the same threatening level, especially since they’re already considered to be “rare” which is just a fancier word for endangered. 

The data is suggesting that these species are in critical endangerment and the IUCN is collecting new data everyday in an attempt to determine which species are under the biggest threat and what regions need the highest level of conservation efforts. However, even when that data becomes conclusive, it’s important to note that real systematic climate action is the one true solution to reverse the extensive damage that has already been done.