Trump administration opens 3.4M acres of owl habitat to loggers

January 15, 2021 by  
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The Trump administration has once again rolled back an important policy regarding the protection of birds . Only about a week ago, the administration stripped protections of migratory birds from accidental deaths by oil companies. This week, it has removed over 3 million acres of Pacific Northwest land from northern spotted owl protected habitat. This means that the land will now be opened to loggers, a situation that exposes the owl to more threats. The decision is the latest in a series of environmental rollbacks by the Trump administration. The  decision , which has been made public by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was born out of a 2013 case challenging the protection of 9.5 million acres for the owls. The case was filled by a lumber association, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to loosen its grip on part of the protected land . Initially, the agency had proposed to release about 200,000 acres from protection; however, in a recent turn of events, it has opted to release a whopping 3.4 million acres from protection. Related: US and Canada in drastic crisis with 3 billion birds lost since 1970 “These common-sense revisions ensure we are continuing to recover the northern spotted owl while being a good neighbor to rural communities within the critical habitat ,” Aurelia Skipwith, the director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, said in a statement. The decision by the agency to release such a huge amount of the habitat from protection has raised an uproar from wildlife conservation groups. According to Susan Jane Brown, an environmental lawyer at Western Environmental Law Center, conservationists are protesting the move and have vowed to sue the agency. “I’ve gotten several calls from wildlife biologists who are in tears who said, ‘Did you know this is happening? The bird won’t survive this,’” Brown said. Data provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service itself is contradictory to the move. Its own research shows that the northern spotted owls are on the decline, despite having a designated habitat. Although they have been protected since 1990, the owls have been declining at a rate of 4% per year. Via The New York Times Photography by Shane Jeffries / USFWS

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Trump administration opens 3.4M acres of owl habitat to loggers

A micro-house offers a formerly homeless resident both privacy and connection

January 15, 2021 by  
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Austin-based Mckinney York Architects has completed its second micro-house for the Community First! Village , a program by Mobile Loaves & Fishes to uplift people experiencing chronic homelessness in Austin with affordable, sustainable tiny homes. As with the firm’s first project for the community, Mckinney York Architects teamed up with Bailey Eliot Construction to design, underwrite and build a permanent new home for a Community First! resident. Located 20 minutes east of downtown Austin , the two-phased Community First! Village is a transformative residential program with 51 acres of affordable, permanent housing and community for residents who were formerly homeless. The first phase of the program kicked off with Tiny Victories 1.0, a 2014 design competition hosted by AIA Austin and Mobile Loaves & Fishes that invited firms to design minimalist and sustainable one-person shelters no larger than 200 square feet. In fall 2018, the program moved forward with Phase II by adding 24 more acres of development for a total of over 500 tiny homes along with new amenities such as community gardens, outdoor kitchens and a welcome center. Related: Community First! provides affordable, permanent micro-housing Building on its experience with Phase 1 Tiny Victories, Mckinney York Architects began the Tiny Victories 2.0 project by speaking with current and future Community First! Village residents to determine design needs. The firm was assigned to design a custom tiny home for a “Seed Neighbor,” a woman who lived in Phase 1 of the development and would be “transplanted” to Phase II. In working closely with the client, the architects crafted a home that respected her desires for privacy without compromising a sense of community. For example, instead of large windows, the architects installed a screened porch in the front corner of the home that can be opened up to the neighborhood or closed off when more solitude is desired. The tiny house is topped with a butterfly roof that harvests rainwater for irrigating the garden, and the cozy interior is lined with knotty pine paneling. + Mckinney York Architects Photography by Leonid Fermansky via Mckinney York Architects

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A micro-house offers a formerly homeless resident both privacy and connection

Mint Tiny Homes Loft Edition model is full of natural light

January 13, 2021 by  
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For those who love the idea of a tiny home but hate the thought of feeling cramped inside a small space, the Loft Edition model from Mint Tiny Homes should definitely be on the radar. With three layout options and two sizes to choose from, this tiny home is super customizable. Best of all, there is a huge amount of natural light built into the design. The Loft Edition comes on either a 30-foot-long or 34-foot-long trailer with turnkey prices starting at $83,270 and $88,051, respectively. The 30-foot model spans 350 square feet, while the 34-foot model has an additional 36 square feet. Both options sleep four to six people comfortably. Related: Tiny House Sustainable Living blog documents life in an off-grid tiny home The Loft Edition tiny home kitchen comes with an oven and cooktop under a stainless steel hood fan as well as a full-sized, 24-inch-wide refrigerator and freezer. The kitchen also features a lovely ceramic apron front sink, cabinets, a butcher-block countertop, chrome faucets and laminate flooring. There is a full laundry hookup and a large shower with glass doors in the bathroom along with a 12,000 BTU mini split air conditioner and electric heating. The tiny house has plenty of storage in the cupboard staircase, and the full-sized loft allows for ample space in the downstairs lounge. Our favorite parts of this home are the windows, which line the upper part of the walls as well as the bottom to bring light into every corner. Customers can choose to install a skylight in the loft, giving the space even more natural light. A massive window opens from the living room, which helps to extend the sightline out toward the natural environment while also bringing in fresh air. French doors in the front give the Loft Edition tiny home a rustic yet elegant feel. The company also offers off-grid and sustainable features such as composting toilets and LED lighting. + Mint Tiny Homes Images via Mint Tiny Homes

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Mint Tiny Homes Loft Edition model is full of natural light

Record-breaking honeybee deaths recorded for last winter

June 21, 2019 by  
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Depending on who you ask, either the mites or the pesticides are to blame for the record-breaking bee decline among honeybees last winter. The truth is likely a combination of both, and the deadly synergy between the two causes has grave impacts on the entire agriculture industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat, and the majority of pollinators in the U.S. are domesticated honeybees. Because industrial agriculture is largely made up of expansive plots of monoculture crops, farmers have to call in commercial beekeepers, who travel the country with hundreds of hives to place on farms. This little-known agricultural niche is absolutely essential to the food system, but with the “product” rapidly dying, many commercial beekeepers fear their profession will no longer be possible nor economically viable. Related: California bans pesticide linked to brain damage in children According to a survey of 4,700 beekeepers, respondents lost nearly 40 percent of their colonies this past winter. That survey represents 320,000 hives, which is thought to be about 12 percent of all commercial hives in the country. This rate of bee decline is the highest ever recorded since the annual survey started 13 years ago. The causes of death are varied but mainly include loss of habitat , improper beekeeper techniques, pesticide use and the bee’s arch-nemesis: the Varroa mite. Scientists at the University of Maryland counted three mites per hundred bees in the colonies they tested, enough to all but ensure death for the colony. “Beekeepers are trying their best to keep [mites] in check, but it’s really an arms race,” said Nathalie Steinhauer from the University of Maryland. “That’s concerning, because we know arms races don’t usually end well.” Unfortunately, there isn’t much beekeepers can do to prevent the mites; however, it is clear that pesticide application weakens honeybees ’ immune systems and makes them susceptible to parasites, like the mites. Although the pesticide companies are quick to point a finger at the mites as the culprit for widespread colony deaths, their hands are far from clean. “There’s a huge amount of data [and] research showing pesticides are a significant player in the decline of honeybees and other insect species,” said Steinhauer. “And yet there’s been so little done to make a change on that front. The EPA has been incredibly ineffective.” Via NPR Image via Pexels

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Record-breaking honeybee deaths recorded for last winter

Beautiful, solar-powered EV charging stations promise to charge a vehicle in 15 minutes

June 21, 2019 by  
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Copenhagen-based architectural firm COBE has just unveiled what are possibly the most beautiful and sustainable electric vehicle charging stations in the world. Built entirely from recyclable materials and powered by solar energy, these ultra-fast charging stations not only recharge a vehicle in just 15 minutes but also offer drivers a welcoming place to rest and relax. The first COBE-designed EV charging station was installed on the E20 motorway in the Danish city of Fredericia, with 47 more planned along Scandinavian highways: seven more in Denmark, 20 in Sweden and 20 in Norway. Created in partnership with Powered by E.ON Drive & Clever, the COBE-designed EV charging station consists of a series of “trees” made primarily from certified wood. The tree-inspired structures feature a canopy that provides shade and protection from the elements, while also providing space for a green roof and solar panels. The modular structures are scalable so that multiple “tree” structures can be combined into a “grove.” The Fredericia charging station features a “grove” of 12 “trees” with a 400-square-meter canopy. The Danish Society for Nature Conservation helped select the plantings that surround the charging station to enhance biodiversity and create a calming, “zen-like” atmosphere radically different from a traditional gas station setting. Related: World’s first electric road that charges moving vehicles debuts in Sweden “ Electric vehicles are the way of the future,” said Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of COBE. “With our design, we offer EV drivers a time-out and an opportunity to mentally recharge in a green oasis. The energy and the technology are green, so we wanted the architecture, the materials and the concept to reflect that. So, we designed a charging station in sustainable materials placed in a clean, calm setting with trees and plantings that offer people a dose of mindfulness on the highway.” The firm’s design of the ultra-fast EV charging station won the infrastructure award of the 2018 Danish Building Awards and is being implemented across Scandinavia with support from EU Commission projects Connecting Europe Facility and High Speed Electric Mobility Across Europe. + COBE Images via COBE and Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST

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Beautiful, solar-powered EV charging stations promise to charge a vehicle in 15 minutes

Man quits his job, travels 31,000 miles in a renovated van with his cat [video]

November 21, 2017 by  
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It turns out dogs aren’t the best travel companions, cats are! In 2015, a man named Rich East quit his corporate job, renovated a camper van and took off with his rescue cat, Willow. Since then, he and the friendly feline have traveled more than 50,000 kilometers (over 31,000 miles) across Australia’s six states and two territories, venturing down many of the country’s lesser-trekked paths. Rich explains on his blog Van Cat Meow , “In early 2014 I started making plans for a massive life change. Unhappy with my 10 years in the corporate world I started designing a new life for myself. I started designing a campervan that could provide me with shelter, a home, and comfort for this next stage of my life. Slowly I began to sell all my possessions such that what was left would fit in this van.” In 2015, he was ready to go. “I sold my house, all of my possessions, and quit my job so I could take the trip of a lifetime,” he  explained . “But one thing I couldn’t say goodbye [to] was this little cat so the obvious decision was to take her with me.” Their deep bond is evident in the travel photography East uploads to Instagram . Related: Amazing camper van maximizes space with clever boat design tricks According to East, there are some distinct advantages to traveling with a cat, rather than a dog. He said, “I may be biased but I believe travelling with a cat is easier than travelling with dogs. Cats are very independent and don’t require a huge amount of attention. Willow is quite nocturnal, sleeping throughout the day if we are driving and coming out in the afternoon for some food and a cuddle.” He added, “The only disadvantage to having a travelling cat is not being able to go into the occasional area where pets aren’t permitted. We avoid the National Parks to find our own hidden places that maybe we wouldn’t have found otherwise.” While most cats aren’t suited for nomadic living, Willow is the exception. “Some people think it’s odd that I’m traveling with a cat, but Willow is so chilled out and absolutely loves our new lifestyle,” East said. For her protection, the feline wears a special collar that tracks her location. “With the tracking collar, I have the peace of mind that if she decides to go for a hike I will be straight onto her,” he said. Though the pair’s trip concluded in early 2017, neither East or Willow have plans to stop traveling. East continues chronicling their adventures on Instagram and even compiled some of the best travel shots into a 2018 calendar that is now available for sale in the Van Cat meow online shop . + Van Cat Meow Via MyModernMet , TreeHugger Images via Van Cat Meow

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Man quits his job, travels 31,000 miles in a renovated van with his cat

Earth911TV: Dreaming Big About A Tiny Home?

October 15, 2015 by  
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Could you live in 500 square feet? Eat, live, sleep… everything. Or even 80 square feet? Lots of people are doing it! There’s a huge amount of interest in tiny homes these days. But there’s also a lot of skepticism. Could I REALLY live in such a…

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Earth911TV: Dreaming Big About A Tiny Home?

Reclaimed Chinese Banners Turned into Reusable Totes

June 13, 2012 by  
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As China emerges as a global industry giant and its population expands, so comes a huge amount of advertising. When Michele Santoro and Gyda Bjorg moved to China just under a year ago, they noticed that the country’s businesses come and go quickly,…

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Reclaimed Chinese Banners Turned into Reusable Totes

Weekday Vegetarian: Beet Greens and Mushrooms on Toast

November 5, 2010 by  
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Photo: Kelly Rossiter I harvested the last of my beets this week and just roasted them simply in some olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper and they were wonderful. But I also got a huge amount of pleasure out of cooking the greens , which too many people just toss out without realizing how delicious they are.

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Weekday Vegetarian: Beet Greens and Mushrooms on Toast

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