50 countries pledge to conserve 30% of land and water

January 12, 2021 by  
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The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People has made a pledge to protect 30% of the land and water on Earth by 2030 to slow destruction of nature and species extinctions. The pledge was made public last Monday during the One Planet Summit in Paris. HAC is a coalition of more than 50 countries that was formed in 2011 to encourage internal action on the climate crisis prior to the Paris Agreement. The coalition is currently co-chaired by three countries: France, the U.K., and Costa Rica. It was formed in Durban in 2011 and has been at the forefront of encouraging international action on the climate crisis. The coalition is promoting actions against biodiversity loss and hopes that the pledge will lead to a successful conservation agreement during the Cop15 2021 summit in China. Related: Polar bears could go extinct in 80 years if global warming persists In their pledge, the countries have agreed to reserve at least 30% of the planet’s land and water as natural habitats. While making the announcement, HAC noted that protecting 30% of the planet by the turn of the decade is necessary to prevent mass extinction of plant and animal species. On Monday, several world leaders met at the One Planet Summit in Paris to discuss the biodiversity crisis and promotion of archeology as well as to examine the relationship between human health and nature . The event was addressed by various world leaders, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Besides the pledge to protect 30% of the planet, several countries in the coalition also made pledges to fund nature conservation projects. The coalition has pledged to invest billions of pounds in the  Great Green Wall of Africa  project and the launch of the new  Terra Carta  by Prince Charles. The coalition’s pledges have been applauded but also met by some criticism from various environmentalists. Many emphasized that the commitment needs to be met with actual efforts and delivery. Greenpeace U.K.’s head of politics Rebecca Newsom explained that there are also concerns about the source of funds being pledged by countries such as the U.K. Newsom argued that the funds should not be cut from budgets already allocated for other environmental projects. “Increasing funds to protect and enhance nature is critical to help secure success at the global biodiversity conference in China this year,” Newsom said. “Siphoning off cash from funds already committed to tackling the climate crisis simply isn’t enough.” Via The Guardian Image via Pauline Bernfeld

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50 countries pledge to conserve 30% of land and water

Bee-killing pesticide approved for emergency use in the UK

January 12, 2021 by  
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The U.K. government is reversing a ban on a dangerous pesticide. The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and British Sugar lobbied hard to get a product containing neonicotinoid thiamethoxam sanctioned for emergency use on sugar beets. Not only is this chemical thought to kill bees, but rainwater will wash it from fields into rivers. Last we heard, fish weren’t requesting neonicotinoid thiamethoxam any more than were insects, many of which already face serious declines. Matt Shardlow, chief executive of the conservation group Buglife, was one of many environmentalists unhappy with the decision. “In addition, no action is proposed to prevent the pollution of rivers with insecticides applied to sugar beet,” Shardlow said . “Nothing has changed scientifically since the decision to ban neonics from use on sugar beet in 2018. They are still going to harm the environment .” Related: Flea treatments are poisoning England’s rivers Beet yellows virus is carried by aphids and has a ruinous effect on sugar beet crops. The U.K. has tracked this disease with national surveys since 1946, charting the effects of chemicals, farm hygiene and other factors on the changes and developments in virus yellows disease. Treating sugar beet seeds with neonicotinoid thiamethoxam is one approach used to control this disease . “Virus yellows disease is having an unprecedented impact on Britain’s sugar beet crop, with some growers experiencing yield losses of up to 80%, and this authorization is desperately needed to fight this disease,” said Michael Sly, chairman of the NFU sugar board. “It will be crucial in ensuring that Britain’s sugar beet growers continue to have viable farm businesses.” He emphasized that pesticides would be used in a limited and controlled way. In 2018, the EU decided to protect bees by banning outdoor uses of thiamethoxam. But now 11 countries, including Spain, Denmark and Belgium, have signed emergency authorizations to use this controversial chemical. Via The Guardian and Pest Management Science Image via Kurt Bouda

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Bee-killing pesticide approved for emergency use in the UK

Eco-friendly holiday gifts your partner will love

December 14, 2020 by  
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If you’re a fan of Inhabitat, chances are your partner supports sustainable living as well! If not, what better time than the holidays to introduce your special someone to one or two of this year’s best eco-friendly products? Use our 2020 guide to the best holiday  gifts  for partners. Kimaï Jewelry Celebrating a special anniversary or ready to pop the question this holiday season?  Kimaï Jewelry  offers the perfect solution to unethically sourced minerals with its lab-grown diamonds and 18K recycled gold. Kimai diamonds are completely physically and chemically identical to the ones that come from the mining industry, making them a win for affordability and better treatment of the planet. Related: Where to find eco-friendly engagement and wedding rings Comfy, sustainable underwear Perhaps the best part of buying sustainable underwear? Those eco-friendly fabrics, like organic cotton , are always extra comfortable. Support companies like  TomboyX , which sources its material from OEKO-TEX 100 certified cotton (free from harsh or environmentally harmful chemicals) and provides inclusive sizes from XS-4X by fit-testing on all body types. Another one of our favorites is  Boodywear , made from organic, toxin-free bamboo plants. Bedding Snuggle up to your sweetie in bedding made of soft, sustainable material . Many of us are familiar with the popular  Avocado  organic bedding and eucalyptus sheets from  Buffy , but there are also plenty of lesser-known companies.  SOL Organics , for example, takes an ethical approach to its bedding, which is organic, fair trade-certified and tested for harmful substances. Eco-friendly eyewear An important accessory many of us use every day, eyewear doesn’t have to be made from unsustainable materials.  Bôhten Eyewear  makes lightweight handmade frames that are sourced from sustainable materials in Africa like Zebrawood, Walnut, Ebony and Maple wood carbon fiber veneer. The company even makes blue light filtering lenses that protect your eyes from harmful blue light exposure. You can also check out 100% biodegradable sunglasses from  Pela Vision . Proud Pour Wines In September, Inhabitat  reviewed  a wine company that uses a portion of its proceeds to benefit 22 different environmental nonprofits that do everything from protecting bees and wild oysters to sea turtle and coral reef  conservation . As the holidays approach,  Proud Pour Wines  should definitely stay on your radar. Bring a bottle or two to family dinner or gift your partner a starter pack, which includes three different bottles of wine supporting reefs (Rosé), oysters (Sauvignon Blanc) and bees (Pinot Noir). After you make a purchase, the company buys carbon offsets for your shipment. Loungewear A lesson in  sustainable fashion , Canadian-based  Kotn  uses direct trade to source raw ingredients straight from farmers (without the use of middlemen) to provide customers with fair prices that reflect quality and provide farmers with better prices and ethical business practices. The loungewear is made from authentic Egyptian Giza cotton, and proceeds help fund quality children’s education in the farming communities where the company sources its material. Sneakers For footwear lovers, there’s been no shortage of fun sneakers made from sustainable materials in 2020.  Allbirds , shoes made from eucalyptus wood pulp and Merino Wool are always a popular option, but you can also find amazing vegan footwear options at  Cariuma  or even fashion shoes made from  upcycled algae . Hobby classes Give the gift of knowledge with a subscription to unlimited online hobby classes by  Brit+Co  for just $10, or opt for more traditional educational courses from  Coursera  (where some classes can even be exchanged for college course credit). Masterclass ($15 a month billed annually) is also a fun idea, with online classes taught by some of the greatest minds in everything from arts and entertainment to cooking and sports. Book a staycation Choose a gift that benefits both of you by booking a staycation through Airbnb or Glampinghub. With coronavirus likely restricting travel well into 2021, opting for a vacation close to home is the way to go this year. Even better, an outdoor  camping  trip offers a great way to disconnect from the rest of the world while enjoying nature and staying safely socially distanced. Ethical cashmere sweater Cashmere is a natural fabric , made from a type of goat that produces fine, soft wool that is usually shorn off about twice a year. Unfortunately, cashmere goats are often mistreated due to the high value of the fiber, and an uptick in production has created grazing pressure leading to the degradation of native grasslands, so seeking out a company that produces sustainable and ethical cashmere is important. Naadam sources directly from Mongolian herders while investing in veterinary care for the goats, and Kering has partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Society to help educate herders on more sustainable approaches. Healthy cookbook Whether your partner is vegan , vegetarian or just likes to eat healthy, there’s a cookbook for it in 2020! Plus, cooking together is one of the best parts of the holidays and an even better idea for date nights. Vegan chef Marina Delio wrote a book called Vegan In An Instant  full of over 100 plant based recipes for your slow cooker (for those busy post-holiday evenings), and Dan Buettner has gathered recipes from Blue Zones to bring us The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100 . Images via Amazon, Avocado, Bôhten Eyewear, Katherine Gallagher / Inhabitat, Kimaï, Kotn, Naadam, Pixabay, Proud Pour and TomboyX

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Why corporate partners are essential for Third Derivative, a new climate-tech support network

November 30, 2020 by  
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Why corporate partners are essential for Third Derivative, a new climate-tech support network Heather Clancy Mon, 11/30/2020 – 03:00 Climate tech is more important than ever, but the systemic challenges entrepreneurs face in shepherding these solutions to commercial success is formidable. Most have incredibly long R&D lead times, while the systems that typically support startups cater to ones promising shorter-term payoffs. That’s why earlier this year, clean economy nonprofits Rocky Mountain Institute — known for its thought leadership on climate change issues — and New Energy Nexus — with deep bottom-up resources for founders — combined forces to create a joint venture centered on finding and scaling climate-tech startups focused addressing climate change across the electric grid, transportation, buildings, manufacturing and agriculture. Their mission: create a network of financial, technical and market development resources — including credible and powerful corporate connections — that gets these critically important solutions to commercial scale more quickly. The thesis: The most successful climate-tech startups will be those with early access to economic analysis, policy resources, financing and technical support. This week, the venture, Third Derivative (D3), is launching with a portfolio of close to 50 startups (both early stage and those closer to commercial readiness) and the support of nine corporate partners and nine venture capital firms. D3 is particularly interested in accelerating solutions for “hard to abate sectors” where there aren’t currently good options for decarbonization, according to its website. It is incredibly hard for investors to source, vet and execute investments across the many varied climate solution sectors. Of the 50-ish startup companies announced this week — dubbed ” Cohort 417 ” (for the peak of 417.1 parts per million in atmospheric CO2 concentration recorded in May 2020 — more than two-thirds are led by founders who are women, veterans or people of color, said Third Derivative co-founder and CEO Bryan Hassin. “We went out to meet them where they are,” he said. Both RMI and New Energy Nexus have committed “hundreds” of their market experts to supporting the venture with research, technical expertise and commercialization advice. The organization seeks to bridge knowledge and funding gaps at multiple phases of a startup’s life cycle — moving from basic research into a spinout; product development; demonstrations and market validation efforts; and commercial deployment. RMI and New Energy Nexus are a powerful combo, but the corporate connections and venture resources make the initiative unique by providing that active perspective far earlier in the innovation process, Hassin said, pointing to his own past career as a climate-tech entrepreneur with a background in nanomaterials, off-grid solar energy and artificial intelligence. “We have a systems-level problem that we’re working on here,” he said. “I think we can all agree that more is necessary.” Corporate support equals path to commercialization D3 certainly packs a punch from day one, with nine corporations lined up as backers that have pledged to provide technical resources and financial support over the next three years. That initial group includes AT&T, BP Ventures, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Engie, Envision Energy, FedEx, Microsoft, Shell and Wells Fargo. Together, these big companies represent almost $3 trillion in market capitalization, although the energy company valuations are particularly subject to fluctuation at this time. These companies are “incredibly motivated and visionary,” Hassin said. They will play a hands-on role in startup mentorship and pilot projects, along with any other businesses that choose to join. But this isn’t just about money. “It doesn’t do any good for them to come in and just write a check,” Hassin said. Nine venture firms — representing more than $2 billion in funding and four continents — also have stepped up to support Third Derivative: Imperative Ventures, Skyview Ventures and Volo Earth Ventures from the U.S.; Chrysalix and Emerald Technology Partners from Europe; Factor[e] and Social Alpha from Africa/India; and Tsing Capital and CRCM from China. “It is incredibly hard for investors to source, vet and execute investments across the many varied climate solution sectors,” said Jan Van Dokkum, the former Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers partner who became chairman of Imperative in 2019, in a statement. “We see enormous value in Third Derivative applying RMI’s market knowledge and networks to cultivate a pipeline of game-changing climate-tech ventures validated by corporate partners. We are excited to make seed investments in those startups, and our ability to work with them over the duration of the program should dramatically increase their investability by the time they are ready for follow-on funding.” These are big ambitious goals for us, and we feel the sense of urgency to find scalable solutions that can help us meet both of them. AT&T, which has committed to carbon neutrality by 2035 for its own operations and is also interested in supporting technologies that help its customers work toward similar goals, was intrigued by the “rigor” that Third Derivative is using to evaluate potential portfolio companies and in allowing corporate partners to be part of that process. That was one reason it decided to shell out $900,000 for its first three years in the program, said John Schulz, director of sustainability integration for AT&T. The other motivator: the diversity of perspective the venture offers. “These are big ambitious goals for us, and we feel the sense of urgency to find scalable solutions that can help us meet both of them,” Schulz said. Aside from financial backing, AT&T is providing technical resources, especially those focused on how the various technologies being pioneered by D3 companies might be integrated with the internet of things — a major business development focus for the telecommunications company. “What are the connectivity solutions that could be the key to unlock success? That’s of particular interest,” Schulz said. A wide range of solutions D3 actually launched the application process for its first cohort in the spring and received more than 600 applications — many for what Schulz described as “mind-blowing” innovations. The corporate partners were actively involved with evaluating and recommending selections among the 200 finalists, which represent advances in hardware and business models and, to a lesser extent, software. They also represent countries including India, Indonesia, China and Italy, although the initial selections are weighted to companies from North America. “We were a little overwhelmed by the enthusiasm,” Schulz said. Some companies from the first cohort include: Antora Energy : A Stanford-born effort (also backed by Cyclotron Road) working on ultra-low-cost energy storage that could have applications as wind and solar farms. Blue Frontier : A startup supported by NREL, NYSERDA and others that is using saltwater energy-storage technology to create “hyper-efficient” air conditioners. Frost Methane :   An offsets market being created around methane flaring activities Kanin Energy : A venture focused on turning industrial waste heat into an emissions-free energy source. Membrion : A materials company developing environmentally friendly filtration membranes. Silvia Terra : A forest-mapping startup. TexPower : A small team working on cobalt-free batteries. Each D3 startup receives a $100,000 convertible note as well as the potential for $250 million in follow-on funding from the venture capital network that’s part of the program. Hassin said the mentorship process initially will last 16 months, but startups will be encouraged to remain connected. What’s more, companies will be added on an ongoing basis: applications will open up again in December. “We think there is value to working with a cohort for a while,” he said.  Pull Quote It is incredibly hard for investors to source, vet and execute investments across the many varied climate solution sectors. These are big ambitious goals for us, and we feel the sense of urgency to find scalable solutions that can help us meet both of them. Topics Innovation Climate Tech Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Antora Energy, one of the Third Derivative startups, in the lab (L. to R: Tarun Narayan, David Bierman, Andrew Ponec, Justin Briggs) Courtesy of Cyclotron Road Close Authorship

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Driving, flying expected to spike after COVID-19 pandemic

November 12, 2020 by  
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Amidst the everlasting pandemic, fewer people yearn to squeeze into closely spaced airline seats or pack into crowded buses. As such, a new survey reveals a seemingly contradictory conclusion that post-pandemic , people expect to drive private cars more, even though the majority of respondents believe humans are responsible for the climate crisis. In some countries, people also planned to fly more after the pandemic. The YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project polled about 26,000 people in 25 countries during July and August. It found that respondents held humans as the culprits of global warming by a ratio of more than three to one. This belief was most strongly held in Brazil, Spain, China, the U.K. and Japan. The countries with the largest number of doubters regarding human responsibility rely heavily on oil production, notably Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and the U.S. Related: Could a private car ban make NYC more livable? Air travel has long been an issue to climate campaigners, because it’s a huge source of emissions . People in the U.K., Italy, Germany and India all said they plan to fly less post-pandemic, although this could well be more for fear of contagion than love of the planet. But some respondents plan to fly more, especially those in Brazil and Nigeria. People in Brazil, Nigeria, Egypt and Sweden were more likely to be looking forward to holidays abroad. Meanwhile, those in Italy, the U.K., Germany, Thailand and China will be planning more domestic vacations in the future. Researchers were most alarmed by the fact that respondents in all 25 countries plan to drive more post-pandemic. Brazilians showed the most marked planned increase, with 62% saying yes to more driving and only 12% planning to drive less. South Africa was right behind, with 60% yay and 12% nay. More than 40% of Australians and Americans planned to spend more time behind the wheel, with only 10% anticipating leaving their cars in park more often. What do all these statistics mean? Human behavior is complicated and often contradictory, as our best intentions battle with fear and convenience. But if people begin to drive as much as predicted, they could undermine global efforts to meet the Paris Agreement targets. Via The Guardian Image via S. Hermann & F. Richter

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Driving, flying expected to spike after COVID-19 pandemic

Elephant population in Kenya has doubled since 1989

August 17, 2020 by  
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Amidst the hardships being experienced with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is some good news coming from Kenya. According to the  Kenya Wildlife Service  (KWS), the population of elephants in the country has more than doubled from 1989 to 2019. KWS made this announcement at Amboseli National Park on World Elephant Day 2020. While the news of the growing elephant population in Kenya is worth celebrating, a lot still has to be done toward the conservation of wildlife in Africa at large. Today, the population of elephants in Africa is about 500,000, down from 1.3 million in the 1970s. Kenya is among several countries in Africa that have been making efforts to protect elephants from poachers . According to KWS, the population of elephants in the country grew from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,800 by the end of 2019. While speaking at the World Elephant Day event, tourism minister Najib Balala said that the increase is in part thanks to the strict measures put in place to tame poaching. Related: 154 elephants have mysteriously died in Botswana KWS announced that only seven elephants have been poached in 2020 as compared to 34 in 2019 and 80 in 2018. The killing of elephants for ivory and meat has been a major problem. KWS director John Waweru said that World Elephant Day presents the perfect platform to create awareness about the threat to African elephants. “It is fortunate that Kenya has a conservation and management strategy for elephants in place to guide elephant recovery strategies, which has seen a more than 100% growth in Kenya’s population from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,800 by end of 2019,” Waweru said. In a bid to raise more awareness about the plight of elephants, Kenya is now launching an elephant-naming annual festival. The festival, dubbed Magical Kenya, will collect money to support rangers’ efforts in thwarting poachers. While the news of growing elephant populations is welcomed, it is also a reality check. This reminds us that more has to be done to conserve wildlife populations around the world. + Kenya Wildlife Service Via Lonely Planet Image via Herbert Aust

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Elephant population in Kenya has doubled since 1989

Super trawlers ravage UK’s protected waters amid pandemic

August 17, 2020 by  
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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.K., super trawlers have increased their activities in protected waters. According to a report released by Greenpeace, the massive fishing vessels have spent far more time in protected marine areas in the first half of 2020 compared to all of 2019. In March, when countries in Europe started imposing lockdown measures, many small vessel fishers were put out of business. But while the small vessels docked, super trawlers took advantage of open waters, including in protected marine areas. According to the Greenpeace report , the amount of time super trawlers spent in the U.K.’s protected waters in the first six months of 2020 is nearly double the time super trawlers spent fishing in the same areas last year. The vessels in question are more than 100 meters in length, and each is capable of catching and ferrying thousands of metric tons of fish . Related: Lapsed fishing moratorium endangers Amazon river dolphins The report revealed that during the first half of this year, super trawlers spent more than 5,590 hours in 19 of the country’s protected marine areas . In 2019, the super trawlers spent 2,963 hours in 39 protected marine areas in the U.K. Further, the data also shows a significant increase in the amount of time super trawlers have spent in protected waters since 2017. In 2017, super trawlers spent 475 hours of the entire year in protected marine areas. Greenpeace and other conservation groups are now calling for a total ban on large-scale fishing in such protected areas. Of more concern to the organization is the fact that most of the vessels fishing in these protected areas do not belong to the U.K. “Our government cannot continue to allow super trawlers to fish with ever-increasing intensity in parts of our waters that are supposed to be protected,” Chris Thorne of Greenpeace U.K. said. “At least 30% of the U.K. waters should be off-limits to all industrial fishing activity, in a network of fully or highly protected marine areas.” In its investigation, Greenpeace used data from automatic identification system satellites. The investigators used the data to track all ships with a length of over 100 meters. The data also monitored the speed of movement of the ships to determine when they were fishing. The data was cross-referenced by the data provided by the vessels. + Greenpeace Via The Guardian Image via Moritz320

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Wild in Africa jewelry supports wildlife conservation charities

August 14, 2020 by  
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When National Geographic filmmaker Shannon Wild moved to Africa in 2013 to make wildlife documentaries, she found herself in the hospital after a near-death experience in Masai Mara. After pushing her body to the point of complete exhaustion for her career, she was medevaced to Nairobi and became bedridden for three months. Unable to even hold a camera initially, and with the knowledge that going back into the field would take months of stamina-building physical therapy, she started a grueling 6-month recovery period. Shannon had built up a collection of beaded bracelets throughout her travels, and one day, yearning for a creative outlet, she began dismantling and redesigning them. Using her past experience in graphic design and marketing, she was able to establish a business, Wild In Africa – Bracelets for Wildlife , to commemorate her healing journey and the love for animals and wildlife that brought her to Africa in the first place. Related: Make a statement with Serendipitous Project’s eco-friendly jewelry Today, Wild responsibly sources beads from all over the world and donates 50% of the purchase price of the Wild in Africa jewelry to 10 separate wildlife charities . The gender-neutral bracelets include a combination of stone beads, tribal charms and pendants that pay homage to the colors and textures found in the natural world. On the company’s website, the charity that each bracelet supports is outlined on the product’s page. It includes a general description of the organization’s values and goals, from bringing an end to the global rhino horn trade to conservation plans for Zambian carnivores. There is also a link to the charity so customers can learn more about where their contributions are going. The packaging is eco-friendly and recyclable , and materials are sustainably sourced. The company also offers a membership for first access to special, limited-edition bracelets and behind-the-scenes looks at featured charities. + Wild in Africa Images via Wild in Africa

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Prefab Floating Music Hub to set sail in Cape Verde

July 31, 2020 by  
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International design practice NLÉ has unveiled its designs for the MFS IV, a prefabricated Floating Music Hub for the port city of Mindelo in Cape Verde. Developed as the fourth prototype of the firm’s Makoko Floating System, the project is the first in the series to be built in the Atlantic Ocean. The prefabricated floating hub , which is currently under construction, will consist of a cluster of three buildings of varying sizes that will house a large multipurpose performance hall, a professional recording studio and a small service bar.  Created for ADS (Africa Development Solutions) Cabo Verde, the Floating Music Hub builds on NLÉ’s objective to shape architecture in developing cities and communities. NLÉ first debuted its Makoko Floating System in 2012 with the Makoko Floating School in Lagos; the project collapsed after being adversely affected by heavy rains in 2016. The design firm crafted a second iteration of the school, called MFS II , at the Venice Architectural Biennale 2016. Then, in 2018, NLÉ installed a third iteration, the MFS III, with an improved design in Bruges, Belgium. Related: Floating prefab architecture addresses climate change on Chengdu’s Jincheng Lake NLÉ’s design revisions have led it to bring the Makoko Floating System back to Africa, this time in the beautiful Mindelo Bay in Cape Verde’s São Vicente. “It is designed and engineered to even higher performance specifications and quality for marine environments,” noted the architects, who have teamed up with an array of local and international partners, including the likes of JMP, CFA, SINA and AECOM, among others.  Like its predecessors, the MFS IV Floating Music Hub will be prefabricated out of timber for rapid assembly, mobility and flexibility. The floating community landmark will comprise a trio of triangular buildings — a multipurpose performance hall, a professional recording studio and a service bar — clustered around a triangular floating public plaza designed to promote music, dance, art and other creative industries. + NLÉ Images via NLÉ

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What to do with banana peels

July 31, 2020 by  
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Banana peels. They’re so associated with comedy, you probably crack a smile just thinking about these famous casings. Bananas are a delicious snack and a little taste of the tropics that just about everyone enjoys, but they’re also an environmental problem. So what can you do with banana peels once you’ve eaten the delicious treats they keep wrapped inside? What’s the big deal? Other than being an obvious slip-and-fall hazard, what’s the big deal with banana peels? For starters, they produce methane gas. This gas is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which is already pretty bad stuff for the planet. Related: 10 ways to use up mushy, overripe bananas Americans eat around 3.2 billion — yes, billion — pounds of bananas every year. That is a lot of methane-producing peels. But don’t give up on eating bananas just yet. There are plenty of environmentally friendly uses for banana peels. Banana peels as fertilizer and compost If you’re a home gardener, banana peels are a valuable resource. Wrap your peels around the base of your tomato plants. This works as a great slow-release fertilizer that provides your plants with nutrients, namely phosphorus, throughout the season. You can also soak your peels in water overnight. Take the banana-rich water and mix it with standard water to use for all your indoor plants. You want to get a ratio of about one part banana-peel water to five parts normal water. Banana peels are a great addition to the compost pile or bin because they are so rich in nutrients. The peels break down very quickly in compost. These peels are also great for animal feed as well. If you keep chickens, rabbits or any type of livestock, grind up dried banana peels and add them to your feed. Do you have aphids in your garden ? Cut two or three banana peels into pieces and dig one-inch holes near the base of your plants that are damaged from insects. Drop the pieces of peel inside. Ants and aphids will be drawn to the peels instead of to your plants. Home remedies If you have itchy bug bites or a rash, such as poison ivy, these fruit skins provide soothing relief. Rub the peel directly on the area to reduce the itchiness and help your skin heal. You can even use banana peels as a cheap polish. Rub the outer layer of peels on leather items of all kinds, including shoes and furniture, to polish the leather. Blend a peel with water to make silver polish. Need to remove a splinter? Leave the needles in the sewing kit and grab yourself a banana peel. Tape a piece of the peel to the skin directly where the splinter has embedded itself and leave it there for about 30 minutes. The enzymes in the peel will naturally draw the splinter toward the surface of the skin so it can easily be pulled out. You can integrate banana peels into your daily skincare routine, as they may help fade scars and soothe acne. Rub the fleshy part of the peel directly on your face. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before you rinse your face thoroughly. Do this every day, and you could notice an improvement in scars and acne within a week or two. Banish bugs Grab a container with a lid and poke some small holes in the lid. Place the peel inside and cover the container with the perforated lid. This is a great way to attract and trap fruit flies and other little insects. They’re drawn to the sweet smell of the banana, and then they’re trapped by your DIY trick. You can throw the peel away after a day or two and freshen the trap as needed. Cook with banana peels Get creative and start experimenting with cooking banana peels. They can be made into vinegar, pickled in brine, broiled with cinnamon and sugar to become a unique dessert or even turned into a spicy curry. There are dozens of ways to cook with the peels that you once threw away. Once you start using them in your recipes, you’re going to find all kinds of ways to give new life to those peels. Add a peel to any roasting pan when you’re cooking meat or fish. This helps to tenderize and moisten the meat while it’s cooking. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can actually just eat your banana peels. They’re full of antioxidants and nutrients, so they’re actually really good for you. Boil peels for about 10 minutes in water and run it through the juicer or blend it up with other fruits and enjoy! Banana peels make a great chutney ingredient, too. Soak them in cold water, then boil the peels and chop them up to mix in with other chutney ingredients to add a tasty, nutritious burst to your dish. There are several different recipes for banana tea online, or you can play around with your own recipe . If you boil the peels for about 10 minutes, enough flavor will be released into the water to create a great flavor. You can also candy your peels to use as a topping for cupcakes, cakes, yogurt, ice cream and a variety of other treats. Chop up the peel into small pieces and cook it on medium heat with a half-cup of sugar and a half-cup of water. Once it caramelizes, spread the mixture on a cookie sheet or parchment paper to allow it to cool. Then, you can chop or break it into pieces and have a sweet banana topping any time. Getting serious about banana peels It’s no laughing matter — banana peels have too many uses to simply be thrown away. The peels are a great source of both potassium, magnesium and fiber, and they’re packed with Vitamins C and B6. So if you’re throwing out your peels, you’re losing out on an all-purpose personal care product, household remedy, garden aid and cooking ingredient that can be added to just about anything. Images via Louis Hansel , t_watanabe , Vicran and bluebudgie

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