Water joins the commodities market

December 11, 2020 by  
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Water has now joined oil and gold on the commodities market. This week, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange launched the United States’ first water market tied to California water prices. “ Climate change , droughts, population growth, and pollution are likely to make water scarcity issues and pricing a hot topic for years to come,” said Deane Dray, RBC Capital Markets managing director and analyst, as reported by Bloomberg . “We are definitely going to watch how this new water futures contract develops.” Related: UN warns that humans will lose their war against nature For readers not familiar with how futures trading works, Nerd Wallet explains: “A futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell an asset at a future date at an agreed-upon price. All those funny goods you’ve seen people trade in the movies — orange juice, oil , pork bellies! — are futures contracts.” The new water market was announced in September as a reaction to the year’s unprecedented wildfires . Advocates say the new market will quell farmers’ and municipalities’ uncertainty about budgeting for water. People made two trades the first day the market went live. “Without this tool people have no way of managing water supply risk,” said Clay Landry, managing director at consulting firm WestWater Research. “This may not solve that problem entirely, but it will help soften the financial blow that people will take if their water supply is cut off.” But opponents of the new water market scheme say considering water a tradable commodity jeopardizes basic human rights. “What this represents is a cynical attempt at setting up what’s almost like a betting casino so some people can make money from others suffering,” said Basav Sen, climate justice project director at the Institute for Policy Studies, according to Earther . “My first reaction when I saw this was horror, but we’ve also seen this coming for quite some time.” Via Yale Environment 360 Image via Martin Str

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Water joins the commodities market

An old farmhouse becomes a hotel focused on indoor-outdoor living

December 11, 2020 by  
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Spanish architecture firm GANA Arquitectura has rehabilitated a historic cortijo — a type of traditional rural dwelling common in southern Spain — into a beautiful new hotel in the town of Villanueva del Rosario of Andalusia. The intervention pays homage to the local vernacular with its emphasis on indoor-outdoor living and preservation of the cortijo’s traditional materials while adding new life to the property with contemporary interiors. The boutique hotel, which was completed this year, had been created to take part in a growing tourist interest in Andalusia.  Located in the heart of a site filled with olive trees, the original cortijo was a large, whitewashed building topped with red, ceramic roof tiles. The architects kept the building’s structure and materials palette intact and added a simpler, gabled addition to the side — formerly a storage facility — to house 10 individual hotel suites that connect to a timber-lined outdoor patio with a pool. A new courtyard links the two buildings and was thoughtfully designed to protect the root systems of existing trees. Related: Niraamaya Retreat honors traditional design with local materials The old farmhouse spans two floors with common areas located on the ground floor and most of the hotel rooms placed on the second floor. The hotel rooms and shared spaces are designed to highlight the historic architecture. In contrast, the remaining hotel rooms in the new addition feature a deliberately contemporary style. A restrained palette of white walls, timber surfaces and concrete floors is used throughout to tie both buildings together and to keep the focus on the olive tree-studded landscape. Large windows, glazed doors and natural materials help achieve an indoor-outdoor connection. According to the architects, “The result of the intervention is nothing but the perfect harmony between traditional and contemporary architecture , over the amazing influence of nature in its purest form.” + GANA Arquitectura Images via Francisco Torreblanca Herrero and GANA Arquitectura

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An old farmhouse becomes a hotel focused on indoor-outdoor living

Zimbabwe permaculture education center promotes self-sufficiency

December 11, 2020 by  
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German architecture firm  Studio Anna Heringer  has completed the first kindergarten in  Zimbabwe’s  Chimanimani District, a rural and desolate region home to about 200 families that have long lacked access to education. The kindergarten, which builds on the firm’s award-winning portfolio of humanitarian architecture, serves as a pilot project for PORET, Zimbabwe’s permaculture community, to promote permaculture and encourage self-sufficiency in the local community. Using community labor to support the local economy, the buildings are constructed from locally sourced timber, thatch and stone. Constructed over approximately 11 months in 2014, the kindergarten consists of a pair of domed buildings set on stone foundations. The structural frames use timber from Zimbabwe tree plantations. Inspired by the country’s beautiful thatched roofs and the routine tradition of cutting grass to lower an area’s risk of fire, the architects covered the structural ribs with thatching. Local craftsmen were employed for the labor-intensive work of thatching and building the stone foundations, thus providing the community with a good share of the construction budget. “With these local techniques the project aims to build with a process that reinforces solidarity and team spirit, skills and knowledge, self-confidence and dignity,” the architects explained. “Due to the contexts climate and local conditions buildings, unless built in glass and steel, will not last forever, but it is essential that the know-how to maintain and rebuild them is kept alive and traded on to the following generations. This is why we see this project primarily as a training in advanced building techniques with existing materials that can become the compost of the kindergarten fields one day.” Related: Donkey-drawn mobile libraries bring books to people in Zimbabwe While in operation, the kindergarten will teach children permaculture principles from the basics of soil and plant care to water harvesting techniques. The two buildings can also function as training and meeting spaces for the community.  + Studio Anna Heringer Images by Margarethe Holzer

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Zimbabwe permaculture education center promotes self-sufficiency

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