French court persecutes noisy frogs in Grignols

December 16, 2020 by  
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A French judge has sentenced a pond full of frogs to capital punishment. Their crime? Being too noisy. The judge decreed the pond must be drained within 90 days. The legal battle over the frogs of Grignols, a village (population: 587) in the Dordogne area of southern France , has a long history. The frogs live in the backyard pond of Michel and Annie Pécheras. Twelve years ago, Michel re-excavated the 300-square-meter pond and moved it farther from the property line of his neighbor, Jean-Louis Malfione. Things seemed fine for a few years. But in 2012, Malfione brought legal action due to the amphibians’ cries of “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” during the mating season. At times, their amorous ribbits reached 63 decibels from Malfione’s open window. Related: First fluorescent frog in the world found in South America The case was thrown out by a judge in 2014 but later upheld by a judge in Bordeaux. Since then, several legal jurisdictions have heard the case. French environmentalists have become increasingly agitated. Some campaigned for the frogs to be relocated to another pond, but that appeal failed. The environmental group Société pour l’Étude et l’Aménagement de la nature dans le Sud-Ouest is appealing to France’s highest court. The Association Cistude Nature has stated that six protected frog species make their home in the pond. This isn’t the first noise complaint heard in rural French courts. Other cases have been heard about roosters crowing, ducks quacking, church bells pealing, crickets chirping and cowbells clanging. One farmer even had to pay 8,000 euros because a neighbor thought his cows smelled bad. Threatened with fines and even prison, Michel and Annie have started emptying the pond. Not only will the frogs be left homeless and probably die, the fish and ducks that live in the pond will be out of luck, and passing wildlife like wild boar, herons and deer might have to start carrying reusable water bottles. Many people around the world are lending their support to the frogs and other wildlife that the pond supports. More than 95,000 people had already signed this petition within days of its appearance online. Via The Guardian Image via Jill Wellington

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French court persecutes noisy frogs in Grignols

A vacant lot in New Orleans is converted into resilient and affordable housing for war veterans

July 2, 2019 by  
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New Orleans-based firm Office of Jonathan Tate has unveiled a modern residential complex for combat veterans and their families. Located in the Gentilly district of the city, the Bastion Community is comprised of 29 two-unit apartment buildings laid out specifically in a way to foster social interaction. Additionally, considering the area’s history for severe flooding, the development was constructed with several resilient features . Located on a formerly vacant lot that spans 6.4 acres, the Bastion Community is now a vibrant residential complex comprising 29 apartment buildings, each containing two units. Within the development, there are various one-, two- or three-bedroom options, ranging from 720 square feet to 1,200 square feet. Related: BIG completes low-income “Homes for All” project in Copenhagen Already known locally for creating modern but affordable housing complexes, the architects specifically designed the Bastion Community to be a “protected but inclusive and thriving live-work environment” for post-9/11 combat veterans and their families. The layout of the homes as well as the on-site community and wellness center were part of a strategy to create a strong sense of community for those who often feel isolated. The homes are uniform in their design, which includes pitched roofs, pale exterior tones and wooden fencing. All units were built to be adapted to be ADA accessible . Considering the location has a long history of flooding , resiliency was at the forefront of the design. All of the structures are elevated off the landscape via concrete piers to allow flood waters to flow freely under the buildings without causing harm. Additionally, landscaping and building strategies for filtering, storing and returning water to the soil were also incorporated into the design. In addition to their resiliency, the apartments were designed to be sustainable and durable for years to come. Tight insulation and high-performance HVAC equipment were used to cut energy costs, and there are tentative plans to install solar panels in the future. Each unit has high vaulted ceilings and operable windows to allow for natural air ventilation. + Office of Jonathan Tate Via Dezeen Photography by William Crocker and aerial photography by Jackson Hill

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A vacant lot in New Orleans is converted into resilient and affordable housing for war veterans

Meet Maya Kaan: Mexico’s Newest Ecotourism Destination

June 3, 2019 by  
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Mexico’s newest ecotourism area highlights natural scenic beauty and Mayan cultural experiences for travelers looking to immerse themselves in eco-friendly, sustainable activities. Maya Ka’an is a large swathe of central Quintana Roo, a state on Mexico’s Caribbean. It includes the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and Zona Maya, the traditional Mayan heartland. Local tour operators run the area’s touristic activities, aiming to keep the money in the community. “Travelers know and love Cancun, Tulum, Cozumel and Riviera Maya. Now they can learn about another side of the Mexican Caribbean in Maya Ka’an,” said Dario Flota Ocampo, director of Quintana Roo Tourism Board. “Maya Ka’an’s sustainable , off-the-grid status creates unparalleled experiences for travelers seeking true cultural immersion.”  Related: Bee + Hive to help explorers book green hotels and sustainable tourism experiences Tourists familiar with the area have probably already visited Mayan ruins or dived into a cenote. The string of indigenous communities that make up Maya Ka’an offer activities for those who have been there, done that. For example, tourists can visit the Cave of the Hanging Serpents, where red and yellow rat snakes hang from the cave ceiling, waiting to snag bats in midair as they fly by. Travelers are also able to kayak the same lagoon Mayans once used as a commercial route. Bird watching, mountain biking and snorkeling are other active tour options. Visitors interested in wellness can participate in a healing ceremony in the city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto (population 25,744). Health -related experiences here include an interpretive trail lined with medicinal plants, massage, Mayan dance and music, and a trip to the very hot local sweat lodge called a Temazcal. Mayans have a long history of making chewing gum in chiclero camps. Travelers can learn about extracting chicle– the resin that makes gum chewable– from zapote and chicozapote trees . Other cultural and natural highlights include handmade rope demonstrations, stingless bees and the Caste War Museum– which documents 400 years of Mayan struggle against foreign attacks. +Quintana Roo Tourism Board Images via CIIC

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Meet Maya Kaan: Mexico’s Newest Ecotourism Destination

Bringing to environmental justice: Bayou restoration in Louisiana

June 2, 2018 by  
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The hurricane-ravaged coastline has a long history of racism — but community-building is trying to change that.

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Bringing to environmental justice: Bayou restoration in Louisiana

Chile creates five new national parks from 10 million acres of land in historic act

January 30, 2018 by  
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In a landmark act of conservation, Chile has created five new national parks out of over 10 million acres of land in Patagonia . One million of these acres was donated to the Chilean government by American philanthropists Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, the former CEO of Patagonia Inc., and the late Doug Tompkins, who founded North Face and Esprit. Chilean president Michelle Bachelet signed the law creating these parks, forging a vast 17-park route through the beautiful, sparsely populated region. The one million acre donation from the Tompkins represents the culmination of decades of land conservation work in Chile, and what is being called be the largest donation of privately held land in history. A beloved place in life, Patagonia is where Doug Tompkins passed away in 2015 in a kayaking accident. The Tompkins are one of several foreign landowners of Patagonia, a role not without controversy or dissent from locals. Still, their land donation marks a major milestone in Chilean conservation . Related: Scientists discover 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossil in Patagonia “This is not just an unprecedented act of preservation,” Bachelet said in a speech in Patagonia, according to The Guardian . “It is an invitation to imagine other forms to use our land. To use natural resources in a way that does not destroy them. To have sustainable development – the only profitable economic development in the long term.” Bachelet’s environmental legacy is not limited to Patagonia. Now at the end of her term, Bachelet has also recently created one of the largest Marine Protected Areas near Easter Island, preserving 720,000 square kilometers in the Pacific Ocean . “President Bachelet is leaving behind a bold legacy of environmental protection,” Maximiliano Bello, an advisor to the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy program, told The Guardian . “This is more impressive because Chile is still a developing country, with a long history of development and exploitation of resources – in most cases over-exploitation. If Chile can take these huge environmental steps, there are few reasons why developed nations can’t act as well.” Via The Guardian Images via Deposit Photos ,  Carolina Del Campo/Flickr and payayita/Flickr

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Chile creates five new national parks from 10 million acres of land in historic act

Sail away from it all in this gorgeous floating tiny home

January 30, 2018 by  
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The tiny home trend is now taking to the open ocean with this beautiful tiny houseboat. The Nautilus Hausboote is a sophisticated floating home with a stunning interior. The compact houseboat is outfitted with numerous space-saving features and enough room for a family of six. The Berlin-based company that makes the boats, Hausboot Kaufen, is leading the way into a new generation of floating tiny homes that offer just as much comfort as their land-based counterparts. Although the Nautilus design comes in a few versions, the standard houseboat offers just under 500 square feet of living space. The boat has two stories, with the living space on the first floor and an open-air deck on the roof. A LED lighting system is installed throughout. Related: Solar-powered floating home in Portugal generates a year’s worth of energy in just six months The entrance is through a serene outdoor deck that leads to the interior living room – a light-filled space with a comfy seating area and kitchen. A contemporary suspended fireplace and underfloor heating warms up the space on chilly nights at sea. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls add to the feeling of openness on the interior as well as an abundance of natural light. The adjacent kitchen has plenty of counter space and storage cupboards. There are two bedrooms and an office space that can double as a guest room at the back of the boat. All in all the houseboat can accommodate a family of six. + Nautilus Houseboats

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Sail away from it all in this gorgeous floating tiny home

Italy wants to roll out Smart Highways with first aid drones

January 30, 2018 by  
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Self-driving cars and drones are transforming the world we live in – and designers are harnessing these new technologies to make transportation safer, faster and more efficient. Carlo Ratti Associati teamed up with highway agency ANAS to design a new Smart Highway where drones deliver first aid and warn of hazardous road conditions up ahead. The Smart Highway program could be be implemented on more than 2,500 kilometers of roads and highways in Italy. The pioneering infrastructure system comprises a series of “flying poles” equipped with multiple sensors and Wi-Fi connections. On the top of each pole there is a recharging station from which drones can take off and start monitoring the road. Drones can serve several purposes–from maintenance to delivering first aid equipment, and detecting accidents, fires and floods . Related: Self-driving cars are hitting Atlanta this September Data collected by the poles can inform drivers, in real time, of road conditions ahead. Direct, customized messages can be sent to each driver’s mobile phone or to each vehicle’s on-board navigation system , which in turn can give feedback back to the system. Related: Dubai plans to launch autonomous flying drone taxis by mid-2017 “With this project, we aim to superimpose a digital layer over the existing physical infrastructure of our road network, to gather better data about our highways,” said Carlo Ratti, founding partner at CRA and professor of the practice of urban technologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “The next step will be to pool this data with information already collected by individual cars, in an “Internet-of- Roads” scenario that will make us ready for the other revolutionary breakthrough that is likely to happen in the next decade: the arrival of self-driving vehicles,” he added. + Carlo Ratti Associati

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Italy wants to roll out Smart Highways with first aid drones

2nd annual Ethical Corporation Awards Accepting Applications

November 30, 2010 by  
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In my inbox today: Are you proud of your company’s corporate responsibility record? Would it be useful to benchmark yourself against CR leaders from across the world?

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2nd annual Ethical Corporation Awards Accepting Applications

from laundry to lakes.

August 24, 2010 by  
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Detergents are soaps made from synthetic materials, and have a long history of being loaded with Phosphates. Phosphates help boost the cleaning efficiency of detergent, but have harmful effects on rivers, lakes, streams, and other fresh waters

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from laundry to lakes.

UPDATED: BP Executive Told Congress That Offshore Drilling Has Been "Safe And Protective Of Environment"

May 1, 2010 by  
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This BP representative probably was correct was way off base in his Congressional testimony, made back in November of 2009, that offshore oil drilling in the Gulf has a long history of being “safe.” What he did not mention is that his company,

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UPDATED: BP Executive Told Congress That Offshore Drilling Has Been "Safe And Protective Of Environment"

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