Shipping container retreat in Brazil is inspired by tiny homes

February 7, 2020 by  
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Airbnb now has another incredible tiny home retreat to add to its unique lodgings on offer. Located on a stunning prairie landscape in Brazil’s Cambará do Sul area, the Cambará Container House is comprised of two 20-foot shipping container units that have been carefully crafted by local firm Mégui Dal Bó Arquiteta into cozy accommodations. The design was inspired by the minimalism and reduced waste ethos behind the tiny home movement. Working with owner Carina Boff, architects Saymon Tech Dali Alba and Mégui Pezzi Dal Bó wanted to create a serene retreat for people to get the most enjoyment out of their visit to the Cambará do Sul area, which is a popular spot for people to use as a base while exploring two national parks that are nearby. Along with the parks, the region is known for its expansive prairies and deep valleys. Related: This tiny home with a rooftop deck is made from two shipping containers Inspired by the area’s beautiful scenery, the architects decided to create two volumes out of repurposed shipping containers . Measuring just 365 square feet each, the shipping container guest houses were designed to be as sustainable as possible. Crafting the shipping containers into rental units allowed the architects to reduce the project’s overall construction time and waste. The shipping containers were also elevated off of the landscape in order to minimize impact on the environment. The shipping containers serve as tiny homes that offer guests all of the conveniences of a conventional luxury getaway but within a minimalist, cozy setting. Using as many environmentally friendly materials as possible, the lodgings feature contemporary living areas, kitchenettes and dining spaces. Each unit can accommodate up to four guests with a double bed and a sofa bed. The retreats are heated thanks to a wood-burning fireplace that lends a bit of a cabin aesthetic to the otherwise contemporary interior design . To foster a strong connection between the interior and the exterior , the shipping containers each feature two outdoor spaces. First, a pair of sliding glass doors open up from the living area to a front balcony. Secondly, guests can enjoy the containers’ rooftops, which were outfitted with spacious open-air terraces. + Mégui Dal Bó Arquiteta + Cambará Container House Via ArchDaily Photography by Guilherme Jordani via Mégui Dal Bó Arquiteta

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Shipping container retreat in Brazil is inspired by tiny homes

Light pollution, habitat loss and pesticides push fireflies toward extinction

February 7, 2020 by  
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There are more than 2,000 species of fireflies, and scientists are sounding the alarm that some of these species are on the brink of extinction . Research published in BioScience indicates that habitat loss, light pollution and pesticides are threatening these delightful insects. According to Tufts University biology professor Sara Lewis, the study’s lead author, “If people want fireflies around in the future, we need to look at this seriously. Fireflies are incredibly attractive insects, perhaps the most beloved of all insects, because they are so conspicuous, so magical.” Related: New Animal Endangerment Map shows global distribution of threatened animal species Habitat loss is the main culprit disrupting the environmental conditions and cues conducive to firefly development and lifecycle completion. One example cited was the Malaysian firefly species Pteroptyx tener , which needs particular mangroves and plants to breed appropriately, but their mangrove swamp habitats have been displaced by aquaculture farms and palm oil plantations. The second issue leaving fireflies vulnerable is light pollution . As CNN reported, light pollution can arise from “streetlights and commercial signs and skyglow, a more diffuse illumination that spreads beyond urban centers and can be brighter than a full moon.” Artificial lights can interfere with firefly courtship. Male fireflies flash particular bioluminescent patterns to attract females, who must flash responses in return. Unfortunately, artificial lights can mimic and thus confuse the signals. Or, worse yet, light pollution can be too bright for the fireflies to emit and properly recognize their ritual signals for mating to be initiated or completed. Thirdly, pesticides have been a significant driving factor in the decline of firefly populations. The Center for Biological Diversity has documented that “Systemic pesticides like neonicotinoids that get into the soil and water harm firefly larvae and their prey. Also, because fireflies are generally found in wetland habitats, they are threatened by insecticide spraying targeting mosquitoes.” As a result, the larvae either starve or have developmental anomalies that prevent population growth. Public outcries by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Firefly Specialist Group as well as the Fireflyers International Network have raised some awareness about the dwindling firefly populations. Yet, as stated by the Center for Biological Diversity, “There are at least 125 species of fireflies in the United States, but despite the many threats they face, none are protected by the Endangered Species Act.” To protect these luminous insects that have long captivated the imagination with their fairytale-like lights, much work still needs to be done, especially given the U.K. Wildlife Trusts ’ similar report on the ‘quiet apocalypse’ taking place now, wherein 41% of global insect species face extinction. + BioScience Via CNN , the Center for Biological Diversity and The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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Light pollution, habitat loss and pesticides push fireflies toward extinction

Sustainable agriculture cleans up rivers in Cuba

February 7, 2020 by  
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New scientific findings reveal that Cuba’s rivers are in better health than the Mississippi River. The research was a joint effort between Cuba and the United States, marking the two countries’ first collaboration in more than 60 years. The work was part of a study on Cuba’s hydrology, focusing on the water quality of the island’s rivers. Despite centuries of cattle and sugarcane farming, research results reveal there hasn’t been much damage to Cuba’s rivers thanks to the country’s other sustainable agriculture methods. Compared to the Mississippi River, Cuba’s 25 rivers surveyed showed lower nutrient concentration of phosphorus and nitrogen pollution. This is likely attributed to Cuba’s shift toward sustainable agriculture , particularly the country’s shunning of imported synthetic chemicals. Related: Dutch company collects plastic pollution from rivers to make parks and products “A lot of stories about the value of Cuba’s shift to conservation agriculture have been based on fuzzy, feel-good evidence,” explained geologist and researcher Paul Bierman. “This study provides hard data that a crucial part of this story is true.” By contrast, the U.S. has more widespread dependence on chemical fertilizers . Hence, dead zones occur where the Mississippi River mouth opens into the Gulf of Mexico, adversely affecting the region’s marine ecosystems with dangerous bacterial and algal blooms caused by elevated nitrogen levels. Another interesting finding is that even though more than 80% of the Cuban river samples had E. coli bacteria, the source was found to be from fecal material by cattle and horses grazing along the riverbanks. The research team believes that this is partly attributed to “Cuba’s intensive use of horses and other draft animals for transportation and farm work.” The researchers concluded that the island country has been committed to promoting more sustainable agriculture to improve both its soil and water. The efforts have led to promising results. The American team was comprised of University of Vermont geologist Paul Bierman and Oberlin College geoscientist Amanda Schmidt. The Cuban team was led by Rita Hernández, representing the Cienfuegos Center for Environmental Studies, an ecological research group. Their joint research, supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, was recently published in the GSA Today journal of the Geological Society of America. “This research can help the people of Cuba,” Hernández said, “and may give a good example to other people in the Caribbean and all over the world.” + The Geological Society of America Via Phys.org Image via Wikimedia Commons

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Sustainable agriculture cleans up rivers in Cuba

Treehouses made from shipping containers offer the ultimate glamping getaway in Portugal

May 31, 2019 by  
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Looking for respite from the noise and stress of the big city? Check out these gorgeous shipping container treehouses located in Portugal. Tucked into a dense forest in the northern coastal region of Viana do Castelo, the unique glamping accommodations are comprised of two repurposed shipping containers that have been renovated to provide a truly serene retreat. Located in the northern coastal region of Portugal , Viana do Castelo is known for its amazing beaches as well as its mountainous landscape farther inland. Related: Harbor town in Germany unveils urban-chic hostel made out of repurposed shipping containers The shipping container treehouses have been tucked into a pristine hillside facing a large river that cuts through the forestscape. To minimize their impact on the environment, the architects placed the structures on large metal supports. Guests at the shipping container lodgings can choose from two accommodations. Bungalow T1 is the smallest container, with one bedroom with a double bed, along with a kitchenette, bathroom and a small living area. The largest treehouse also has one bedroom, but offers more sleeping options thanks to a pull-out sofa in the living room. Both accommodations have spacious, suspended balconies with all-glass facades offering stunning views of the natural landscape. The complex also has an on-site restaurant and bar as well as a designated barbecue area and playground for children. For active adventures, guests can enjoy long walks or rent bicycles to explore the nearby village. + Glamping Hub Images via Glamping Hub

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Treehouses made from shipping containers offer the ultimate glamping getaway in Portugal

Korvaa is the worlds first headphones grown from bio-based materials

May 31, 2019 by  
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Move over plastic and aluminum — the headphones of the future may be built from fungus and biosynthetic spider silk. Helsinki-based multidisciplinary design studio Aivan recently unveiled Korvaa, the world’s first headphones made exclusively from microbially grown materials. Created using synbio (short for “synthetic biology,” an interdisciplinary branch of biology and engineering), Korvaa is the first physical implementation of the technology and marks a potential shift away from a fossil fuel-based economy and toward a more sustainable, circular “bioeconomy.” Aivan designers created the Korvaa in collaboration with synbio scientists, industrial designers, artists and filmmakers. The team chose headphones as their first physical implementation of synbio technology because of its compact form and incorporation of different material properties, from hard surfaces to mesh fabric. The name Korvaa originates from Finnish, in which the noun “Korva” means ear and the verb “Korvaa” means to substitute, compensate or replace. ”We’re looking at these different materials and their properties, trying to figure out how to use them, and what to make out of them — as opposed to designing an item and then figuring out what materials we want to use,” said Aivan product designers Saku Sysiö and Thomas Tallqvist. “Process-wise, it’s almost like something out of the stone age. It sets this particular project apart from any other contemporary, wearable-tech project.” Related: These sustainable headphones debuted just in time for Earth Day Two versions of the Korvaa headsets have been created. Each headset consists of six microbe-grown components with different properties: enzymatically produced, lignin-free cellulose; 3D-printed biodegradable microbial bioplastic PLA for the rigid headset frame; a leather-like fungal mycelium for the soft foam material inside the headset; biosynthetic spider silk for the mesh-like material inside the earphone; a composite of fungal mycelium and bacteria cellulose; and protein foam with plant cellulose. The documentation of the processes for creating both headphones will be displayed at the Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale 2019 from now until September 19 as well as at Helsinki Design Week 2019 from September 5 to September 15. + Aivan Via Dezeen Images via Aivan

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Korvaa is the worlds first headphones grown from bio-based materials

This itsy-bitsy treehouse in Norway offers the ultimate off-grid escape

September 28, 2018 by  
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For those looking to get away from it all, Glamping Hub offers a tiny treehouse perched high above the treetops in a remote area of Norway. The wooden cube with an all-glass front facade allows guests to disconnect completely while taking in some seriously breathtaking panoramic views of the majestic fjords. Located near Sandane, Norway, this minimalist treehouse offers the perfect retreat for those looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The cube-like structure is perched among the treetops and surrounded by lush greenery. The environment, as well as the tiny cabin, allows guests to immerse themselves in the natural surroundings. Related: Stay in a dreamy treehouse inside an ancient English forest Guests visiting the treehouse will enjoy the chic, glamping style of the lodging. There is a double bed as well as a cozy floor mattress for lounging around. For quiet reading or napping time, a comfy hammock is the ideal spot for relaxation. The bathroom is compact but functional with a toilet and sink. Linens, towels and toiletries are provided. There is also a small kitchenette where guests can prepare their own meals. At the heart of the tiny cabin is a seating area with two comfy armchairs and a small table. Looking out through the floor-to-ceiling glazed facade, guests can spend hours soaking up the stunning views of the fjords. For those wanting to explore a bit, there are plenty of outdoor activities available year-round in the area: hiking, biking, canoeing, bird watching and much more. + Glamping Hub Via Apartment Therapy Images via Glamping Hub

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This itsy-bitsy treehouse in Norway offers the ultimate off-grid escape

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