Paleo-futuristic luxury tower stands out from a Quebec forest

December 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Montreal-based architectural practice MU Architecture has proposed a “self-sustainable” escape in the deep forests of Quebec. Designed to mimic a giant totem or a stone cairn, the sculptural building would comprise 50 luxury housing units along with a suite of high-end amenities that include an indoor shooting range, a vast wine cellar and even a sky bar. Solely designed as a playground for the elite, the tower would rise to a height of more than 200 meters, and it would vastly stand out compared to its lush, natural surroundings. In a bid to justify the placement of a 48-story tower in the midst of pristine Quebec forest, MU Architecture explained that the luxury resort project, dubbed PEKULIARI, is “diametrically opposed with the concept of urban sprawl .” The tower would be wrapped in toned glass panels and a metal “exoskeleton” framing that gives the building the appearance of large rocks stacked atop one another. Related: A sleek artist studio with Passive House elements projects over a cliff “Unique in the world, this visionary and ambitious architecture project introduces harmonious osmosis between the human habitat and the natural habitat ,” the architecture firm said in a project statement. “Addressing a clientele eager to reconnect with nature and rejuvenate in peace, this world-class project offers an unparalleled exotic experience. PEKULIARI will make a significant contribution to the prestige of the region, generate a strong impact on the local economy and shine at an international level.” In addition to 50 luxury suites that range between 4,000 to 8,000 square feet each, the proposed building is designed to include an abundance of luxe amenities: a grocery store, a business center, a gym, a spa, a swimming pool, a sky bar, a greenhouse , a wine cellar, entertainment rooms, an indoor shooting range, a cigar lounge and more. Although the building would be powered by renewable energy, it seems easiest to access via private helicopter due to its location in an otherwise untouched forest — begging the question of how green this conceptual project really is. + MU Architecture Images via MU Architecture

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Paleo-futuristic luxury tower stands out from a Quebec forest

Climate change-induced melting of mountain ice threatens global supply of freshwater

December 11, 2019 by  
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A study recently published in Nature found that glacier-based freshwater systems are highly threatened by climate change. Called “mountain water towers,” they supply water to communities in the downstream basin by generating and storing vast quantities of water from their high-elevation rain and snow. Unfortunately, ice melt is becoming more pronounced and precipitation patterns are disrupted, in turn placing these water towers’ storage capacity at critical risk. The study warns that the depletion of freshwater supplies and severe water shortages will become more evident, especially as “water stress, governance, hydropolitical tension and future climatic and socio-economic changes” put these natural water towers at risk. Narratives on climate change must shift to include discussions on mountain ice melt and loss and not just revolve around sea level rise. Related: IPCC landmark report warns about the state of the oceans, polar ice content and the climate crisis The research, authored by 32 scientists across the globe, recognized 78 mountainous regions as crucial water towers primarily found in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Based on the study, Asian water towers were the most vulnerable, particularly the Indus water system. “The study quantified for the first time both the natural water supply from the mountains as well as the water demand by society and also provided projections for the future based on climatic and socioeconomic scenarios,” said Tobias Bolch of the University of St. Andrews’ School of Geography and Sustainable Development. “The projected loss of ice and snow and increasing water needs makes specific densely populated basins located in arid regions, like the Indus basin in South Asia or the Amu Darya basin in Central Asia, highly vulnerable in the future.” Reliance on these water towers means these mountain ecosystems must be safeguarded. Jonathan Baillie, executive vice president and chief scientist at National Geographic Society, explained, “This research will help decision-makers, on global and local levels, prioritize where action should be taken to protect mountain systems, the resources they provide and the people who depend on them.” + Nature Image via Ashish Verma

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Climate change-induced melting of mountain ice threatens global supply of freshwater

These solar-powered, mobile chicken coops help farmers prepare for harvest

December 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Created specifically for the farmers working at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano, this automated, solar-powered chicken coop , by Designers on Holiday , combines two important agricultural tasks: giving a chicken brood access to fresh grass and letting the animals fertilize new crops. The Chicken Caravan is a lightweight structure with wheels so that it can easily be transported by hand or tractor. Clad in a shimmering aluminum to reflect heat, the modern chicken coop was built with two large “wings” on either side to shade the interior, protect the hens from direct sunlight and provide natural air circulation. Related: The Moop — a modern, modular, prefab coop for design-savvy chickens The Chicken Caravan is also automated. Solar sensors on the doors automatically trigger the doors to open at the first light day and close after sunset. A singular solar panel keeps the batteries charged for easy maintenance of the system. The interior of the tiny structure is designed to keep the chickens as comfortable as possible. It can also be outfitted with various nest boxes and perches. A narrow ramp folds out for the chickens to come in or out, and there is also a portable fence to keep the hens inside and predators at bay. While some people might not see the need for such an innovative take on a basic, functional design, the Chicken Caravan’s mobility is a true game-changer for farmers . The mobile structure enables them to easily move their chickens to different areas so they can graze evenly over the pastures while preventing overgrazing. As the chickens harvest one section, they can also be used to fertilize other areas during the planting season. + Designers on Holiday Images via Designers on Holiday

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These solar-powered, mobile chicken coops help farmers prepare for harvest

Koala-sniffing detection dog, Bear, helps save koalas from Australian bushfires

December 11, 2019 by  
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Record-breaking bushfires are raging along the eastern and southeastern coast of Australia, burning through prime marsupial habitat and claiming the lives of hundreds of koalas, an already vulnerable species . Search-and-rescue teams are underway to locate surviving koalas, and they do so thanks to the efforts of koala detection dogs, like Bear, who has been trained by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Human-caused climate change is to blame for the severe temperatures, vegetation dry-out, worsening drought impacts and low-to-almost-no precipitation, all of which have exacerbated bushfire conditions in Australia. Raging bushfires have devastated the eucalyptus stands populated by koalas. Related: Koalas declared “functionally extinct” Koalas can survive weeks following a fire, but they are likely suffering from severe burns and smoke inhalation. Finding these surviving koalas, many of whom are injured and distressed, to provide them proper care and rehabilitation then relocate them to safer areas has been a challenge. That’s where the deployment of koala detection dogs, like Bear, can be of value. The University of the Sunshine Coast has been training canines at the Detection Dogs for Conservation Centre. These trained detection dogs locate koalas by recognizing the scent of koala fur as well as fresh koala scat. What makes a good koala detection dog? A canine must be disinterested in people and not have a strong prey drive. More importantly, they must be hyper-focused on koalas. Bear, now 6 years old, meets those qualifications. IFAW shared about Bear’s training and upkeep, “He was brought in for assessment at about 1 year old. Within minutes, the team knew he was ‘The One’ they had been looking for to train on live koalas. He is high-energy, obsessive, doesn’t like to be touched and is completely uninterested in people, which sadly means he doesn’t make the ideal family pet. But these qualities do make him a perfect candidate for a detection dog, which is exactly why he was chosen. He also has zero prey drive, which is essential for a wildlife detection dog, as they need to focus purely on the scent and not the animal, ultimately ignoring the animal .” Unlike other detection dogs that are trained to sniff out koala scat, Bear is trained to detect live koalas by their fur. Scat remains aren’t always effective, for they don’t always lead to the koalas who left them. But, with Bear’s abilities to detect koala fur, living koalas can be found even at the top of burned trees, giving them more chances of survival success. + IFAW Via People Photography by Fiona Clark Photography via IFAW

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Koala-sniffing detection dog, Bear, helps save koalas from Australian bushfires

Expedition Bigfoot casts new light on famous forest dweller with science and conservation in mind

December 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

In an era where people take “unplugged” vacations, there’s something idyllic about a hairy biped that looks just a little bit like us but has no use for our high-tech ways. Ironically, Expedition Bigfoot, a new Travel Channel show, is using the advanced technology that Sasquatch eschews to track this elusive creature all while celebrating the mysteries of nature and the importance of science and conservation . Expedition Bigfoot assembles an elite team of Bigfoot researchers for its eight-part series, which debuted December 8. A Bigfoot sighting algorithm helped them select the most promising three weeks of the year to search a 90,000-acre swath of central Oregon . The show promises “possible nesting sites, footprints and vocalizations,” “inexplicable events” and “one of the greatest pieces of video evidence in Bigfoot history,” according to the Travel Channel website. The Expedition Bigfoot cast includes Bryce Johnson overseeing expedition operations, Bigfoot researchers Ryan Golembeske, Russell Acord and Ronny LeBlanc, and primatologist Dr. Mireya Mayor. Inhabitat caught up with Acord, who spoke while en route to the annual Sasquatch Summit in Washington. Acord’s answers here have been edited for space. Inhabitat: What drives you to find Bigfoot? Acord: It’s that chase. I got interested in the same thing that got everybody else interested, that ’67 footage. That, to date, has been the best footage that anyone has ever seen. I want to find something equally impressive and capture that same kind of Class-A sighting on film and just be part of that. But I can’t think of a better hobby other than being out in the wilderness, breathing all that beautiful air, climbing the mountains , looking for something like this. So it’s a win/win. Inhabitat: How did you get involved with Expedition Bigfoot? Acord: I think the producers were looking for boots-on-the-ground researchers. Collectively as a team, I can’t imagine working with somebody else on something this important. They’re definitely the A Team, and I feel very, very honored to be part of this as a researcher. Inhabitat: Are you a 100 percent believer? Acord: I am a 100 percent researcher . I believe in the possibility. I believe that there’s so much out there that we have yet to discover. I don’t think for a second that it’s not possible. There’s too much historical evidence, there’s too much evidence that we’ve run into that points directly to that. I believe in the possibility. Absolutely. Inhabitat: What is your best guess on what Bigfoot is, based on research? Acord: I grew up hunting in Montana , so I know that if it leaves tracks, it’s got body weight. If it makes sounds, it’s got lungs in order to make a sound. If it pushes things around, it’s got muscle mass. I believe it to be a forest animal. I use the word “animal” loosely. I believe it to be of the forest, flesh and blood, that doesn’t need our electricity, our roads or our technology to survive. I think that it’s done a darned good job staying out of our path and avoiding us. Wherever it inhabits, wherever it lies, it is certainly not hurting our ecosystem whatsoever. I think that we’re encroaching on its space. Inhabitat: What is its range? Acord: I would think anywhere where there’s resources. I don’t think that we’re going to find him in the middle of the desert , but where there’s resources, trees, water. We’re all the same way. Humans are the same. I can physically walk from coast to coast if I take the time to do it. So I think there’s no limit to their range as far as where they can and will go for survival. Inhabitat: Do you ever worry about what’s going to happen if you find Bigfoot? Acord: That’s a double-edged sword. There could be two ways to look at that. Let’s suppose I’m in the Cascades and I find Bigfoot there. There will be a drive to protect that wildlife , to protect the landscape, to protect the environment. But then on the other side of it, there are ridiculous people on the planet that think that they have to be the ones that bag the big game. I don’t think you have to kill something to prove its existence. So a lot of researchers I know refuse to come forward with their findings simply because of that. Inhabitat: If you finally came face-to-face with Bigfoot, how do you think you’d react? Acord: I’m going to run up and grab a handful of chest hair. [Laughs.] I need a couple of samples. Let me get a selfie with you, let me get some pictures, but I want some hair. I always go with the camera ready, too. I will get as much documentation as possible. Especially face-to-face, within 5 to 10 feet, I’m going to be rolling every piece of film I’ve got and collect as much as I possibly can, as far as evidence goes. But if I can get close enough to grab a handful of fur, I’m grabbing it. Inhabitat: What are the most important pieces of equipment you have now that earlier Bigfoot seekers didn’t have? Acord: I have military-grade thermal imaging. It will not only record on the device itself, but I can also sync it to my Bluetooth and run it off my iPhone. I have night vision goggles. Anything that records is definitely key. One thing that you should always take with you is DNA collection. Take nitrile gloves, tweezers and a way to put it into a sealed environment . Don’t touch it with your skin, don’t breathe on it and just don’t contaminate it. Grab what you can, and research it once you get out to where you have the equipment. I have a microscope on my truck. Inhabitat: What do you want viewers to know about Expedition Bigfoot, without spoiling any surprises? Acord: The show is based on real, authentic research . It’s based on how we conduct ourselves in the field, what kind of technology is available to us and actually getting out there and doing it. The show is about consuming a piece of land, methodically working through it and really looking and doing in-depth research. The results certainly paid off. + Expedition Bigfoot + Russell Acord Images via Expedition Bigfoot and Adam Neil

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Expedition Bigfoot casts new light on famous forest dweller with science and conservation in mind

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Women

December 11, 2019 by  
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If you’re working on your holiday shopping list, we’re delighted … The post Eco-Friendly Gifts for Women appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Eco-Friendly Gifts for Women

Maven Moment: Great-Aunt Lucy’s Christmas Tree

December 11, 2019 by  
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Decorating for the holidays reminds me of my great-aunt Lucy. … The post Maven Moment: Great-Aunt Lucy’s Christmas Tree appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Maven Moment: Great-Aunt Lucy’s Christmas Tree

Millions of burnt trees and rusted cars: Post-disaster cleanup is expensive, time-consuming and wasteful

December 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Climate change, population growth, urbanization, deforestation and aging infrastructures all pose challenges to recovery.

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Millions of burnt trees and rusted cars: Post-disaster cleanup is expensive, time-consuming and wasteful

The largest green wall in Europe will absorb 8 tons of air pollution per year

December 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Located in London, U.K., the Citicape House by Sheppard Robson will feature a 40,000-square-foot green wall , the largest in Europe, that sets the standard for urban green development in the city. Not only is Citicape House designed to become a five-star hotel, but its living wall will also absorb a projected 8 tons of air pollution annually. The hotel, projected to be finished in 2024, will house 382 rooms, 40,000 square feet of workspace, a sky bar, meeting and event spaces, a spa and a restaurant on the ground floor. On the 11th floor, a public green space will be available as well, with an unobstructed rooftop view of St. Paul’s Cathedral. From there, the green wall, consisting of 400,000 plants, will wrap around the exterior of the building and contain designated spaces for threatened species of plants to grow undisturbed. Related: Retrofitted “green” living lamp posts in London reclaim water and run on solar power In addition to the 8 tons of air pollution that will be captured by the Citicape House each year, the building is also projected to produce 6 tons of oxygen and lower the surrounding temperature by between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, the wall will trap about 500 kilograms of hazardous airborne particulate matter each year. Apart from the obvious air quality advantages, the building will take measures to function sustainably with features like air-source heat pumps and rainwater collection systems to provide irrigation to the living wall. This project sets an example for the Urban Greening Policy developed by the New London Plan, aimed toward encouraging businesses to prioritize urban greening with a mandated “Urban Greening Factor” (UGF). The Citicape House will exceed the required UGF by more than 45 times. With the massive, striking green wall located within London’s bustling Culture Mile, it is sure to inspire those who see it while addressing environmental issues and positively affecting the region. + Sheppard Robson Via Dezeen Images via Sheppard Robson

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The largest green wall in Europe will absorb 8 tons of air pollution per year

Low-impact Thai home uses modular design to harmonize with nature

December 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Thai architectural firm TA-CHA Design has recently completed the Binary Wood House, a second home for a Bangkokian family of five that emphasizes environmentally friendly design. Located on a hill in Pak Chong in northeastern Thailand, the home was carefully sited to preserve existing Siamese Rosewood trees and is elevated to reduce site impact. To create a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience, the architects employed a modular design, designating each 3.4-meter module as either a “0 (unoccupied/open space)” or a “1 (occupied/close space)” in a binary system that also gave rise to the project’s name.  Spread out across 600 square meters, the Binary Wood House was initially meant to serve as an Airbnb or private resort but later morphed into a second home for the clients with room for their soon-to-retire parents. To lessen site impact, the architects opted to design the home with a metal structure clad in wood paneling instead of concrete. Approximately 80 percent of the wood used in construction was reclaimed . Local craftsmen were hired for the woodworking, which takes inspiration from the region’s traditional “Korat” houses. Related: Reclaimed materials star in this surf villa with ocean views in Bali “Throughout the entire design project of the house, there has been one and only core value on which the owner and the designers agree — to always hold the predecessors in high regard,” the architects said. “In other words, the house exists to respect those who came before, whether they be neighbors, local people, local animals and local trees.” In addition to elevating the home off the ground, the property reduces its environmental footprint by relying on natural cooling instead of air conditioning. Surrounded by covered terraces, the indoor-outdoor living areas feature operable shutters that let in cooling winds, while the preserved trees help mitigate unwanted solar gain. A reflecting pond was also added to increase moisture in the house. + TA-CHA Studio Photography by Beersingnoi via TA-CHA Studio

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Low-impact Thai home uses modular design to harmonize with nature

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