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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Prefab Floating Music Hub to set sail in Cape Verde

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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What to do with banana peels

154 elephants have mysteriously died in Botswana

June 18, 2020 by  
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Botswana wildlife conservation officials are investigating the mysterious death of 154 elephants in just 3 months. Wildlife officers in the country have said that there has been a sudden surge in deaths of elephants in the northwestern part of the country. The deaths are not associated with poaching or poisoning, according to the Regional Wildlife Coordinator, Dimakatso Ntshebe. The carcasses of these animals were found intact, suggesting that they were not killed by poachers. Normally, poachers will kill elephants for their meat or tusks. According to the regional coordinator, preliminary investigations have also ruled out poisoning via humans and anthrax as the possible causes of death. Anthrax was the first suspect on the list of possible causes, as it naturally occurs in the soil and harms wildlife in Botswana. But initial investigations by scientists have ruled out the possibility of anthrax and poisoning. Related: Mass poaching in Botswana leaves behind 90 tuskless elephants These recent deaths are raising alarm considering that elephant populations all over Africa have been under threat from poaching , poisoning and anthrax. Today, Botswana is home to almost one-third of all the elephants on the continent. Due to efforts to protect wildlife in the country, the population of elephants in Botswana has risen to 130,000 in 2020 from just 80,000 in the 1990s. The same can’t be said about other countries with less stringent wildlife laws. The deaths of these elephants in Botswana comes at a time when wildlife conservation efforts have been dealt a big blow in the country. Last year, President Mokgweetsi Masisi lifted a 5-year ban on big game hunting, prompting uproar from conservation groups. Although the growing number of elephants in Botswana might seem like a positive move to the rest of the world, it is not much welcomed by the locals. Farmers have raised complaints about the elephants destroying crops; it is such complaints that prompted the president to allow big game poaching again. Besides the mysterious elephant deaths, Botswana still grapples with the problem of poachers. According to the Wildlife Conservation Officers in Botswana, the Okavango Delta alone has lost over 25 elephants to poachers between December 2019 and May 2020. The situation has been compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, as poachers take advantage due to the lack of safari tourists. The Regional Wildlife Coordinator now says that they are intensifying surveillance in high-risk areas to curb poaching. Samples from the dead elephants are also under scrutiny to determine the exact cause of death so that intervention measures can be taken. Via Reuters and Yale Environment 360 Image via Anja

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154 elephants have mysteriously died in Botswana

We are in the sixth mass extinction, and it’s accelerating

June 4, 2020 by  
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The Earth is in the midst of a sixth mass extinction , and it’s picking up speed. New research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences updates the threats first detailed in a 2015 study. Species are disappearing faster than previously thought, the new study says. The cascading effect of collapsing ecosystems is making the planet steadily less habitable for people as well. “When humanity exterminates populations and species of other creatures, it is sawing off the limb on which it is sitting, destroying working parts of our own life-support system,” said Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich, co-author of the paper, in a press release from Stanford University. “The conservation of endangered species should be elevated to a national and global emergency for governments and institutions, equal to climate disruption to which it is linked.” Related: Trump administration moves to weaken Endangered Species Act amid global extinction risks The researchers analyzed numbers and distribution of critically endangered species. They determined that 515 species of terrestrial vertebrates have fewer than 1,000 individuals left, meaning they’re very close to extinction . Nearly half of those species have fewer than 250 surviving members, mostly due to human encroachment. The first five mass extinctions in the last 450 million years each destroyed 70% to 95% of animal, plant and microorganism species . Huge changes to the environment, such as asteroids, volcanic eruptions or depletion of oceanic oxygen caused the first five. The sixth, the study finds, is our doing. Almost all loss of species has happened since humans developed agriculture , about 11,000 years ago. Back then, there were only about a million of us. Now we number 7.7 billion, and that number is growing fast . “As our numbers have grown, humanity has come to pose an unprecedented threat to the vast majority of its living companions,” the study says. According to the study, it is a “moral imperative” for scientists to do whatever they can to stop extinction via the following suggestions: the International Union for Conservation of Nature should immediately classify any species with fewer than 5,000 remaining members as critically endangered; governments and institutions should elevate conservation of endangered species to a global emergency; illegal wildlife trade must stop now and the ban must be strictly enforced; and alternative food must be provided to low-income communities, especially in Africa, who depend on bush meat for survival. There’s no time to lose. “There is no doubt, for example, that there will be more pandemics if we continue destroying habitats and trading wildlife for human consumption as food and traditional medicines,” the study warns. “It is something that humanity cannot permit, as it may be a tipping point for the collapse of civilization.” + Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Via Stanford News Service Image via Alex Strachan

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We are in the sixth mass extinction, and it’s accelerating

The environmental trail of the global charcoal supply chain

April 2, 2020 by  
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Use of the fuel is alive and well, with devastating implications for forests in sub-Saharan Africa.

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The environmental trail of the global charcoal supply chain

Why protecting soil carbon is a win-win for farmers and the planet

April 2, 2020 by  
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The benefits of protecting and restoring soil carbon go well beyond any one farm or any one year. But not enough people are taking these steps.

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Why protecting soil carbon is a win-win for farmers and the planet

The growing movement to help farmers reduce pollution and make a profit

April 2, 2020 by  
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In Pennsylvania, an innovative program is showing farmers how to plant cash crops in buffer zones to help stabilize stream banks and clean up waterways.

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The growing movement to help farmers reduce pollution and make a profit

Marc Thorpe designs live/work buildings built from earth bricks

February 20, 2020 by  
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New York-based architecture studio Marc Thorpe Design has unveiled renderings for the Dakar Houses, a series of live/work spaces for the artisans of furniture brand Moroso, located on the outskirts of the Senegalese capital of Dakar. Designed with compressed earth bricks, a common building material in western Senegal, the multipurpose units take inspiration from the local architectural vernacular. The economical earth bricks also have the advantage of thermal mass to provide comfortable indoor temperatures without artificial heating or cooling.  Created to house Moroso’s Dakar-based artisans, the Dakar Houses will consist of two apartments that flank a central workshop for manufacturing the furniture brand’s decade-old line of handcrafted and brightly colored outdoor furnishings. In echoing the furniture line’s celebration of local craftsmanship, the Dakar Houses also pay homage to building materials and techniques common to the West African region.  Related: Ancient green building technique helps ease West Africa housing crisis “The intention was to create a work-based community allowing a village to develop around a central economic constituent,” Marc Thorpe Design explained. “The units are designed to house the workers as well as various parts of the manufacturing process of M’Afrique’s furniture , such as the handicraft work of welding and weaving. The apartments would be designed based on the required space for each individual family.” Each unit comprises three volumes — two apartments and a central workspace — that are staggered to create favorable solar shading conditions. Steeply pitched roofs top the minimalist units, which are left unadorned to emphasize the earth bricks. Made from local soil, the bricks are cured over several weeks. Next, they are soaked in water each morning, then baked in the sun beneath a tarp until they are ready for construction. During the day, the earthen walls absorb heat to provide a cool indoor environment; at night, that heat is slowly dissipated and warms the air.  + Marc Thorpe Design Images via Marc Thorpe Design

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Marc Thorpe designs live/work buildings built from earth bricks

Collection of plant-based shirts raise awareness of endangered species

November 12, 2019 by  
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Sustainable design label PANGAIA  has collaborated with eco-activist Nadya Hutagalung and artist Raku Inoue on a new, limited-edition capsule collection to raise awareness for five of the world’s most endangered species , including the Sumatran Elephant and Tapanuli Orangutan. The collection includes vibrant, hand-drawn images by Inoue that are printed on PANGAIA’s seaweed fiber T-shirts using natural dyes. PANGAIA has built a world-wide reputation for its commitment to designing functional, sustainable products . The entirety of the sustainable fashion company’s designs are made from natural, eco-friendly materials such as seaweed fiber, flower down, natural dyes, recycled materials and more. Related: The sustainable wardrobe — it’s more accessible than you think Now, the eco-fashion leader is teaming up with world-renowned activist Nadya Hutagalung to raise awareness of five of the world’s most incredible animals that are unfortunately also at the top of the world’s most endangered species list. This includes Sumatran elephants, Tapanuli orangutans, Amur tigers, giant pandas and Sumatran Rhinoceros. Hutagalung is a UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador well-known for her work in the preservation of endangered species across Africa and Asia. The PANGAIA x  Nadya Hutagalung capsule collection features designs printed on PANGAIA’s popular seaweed fiber T-shirts. The artwork by legendary artist Raku Inoue features hand-drawn compositions of the five endangered animals, all surrounded by a natural background of the animals’ native habitats. The T-shirts  include a range of colors, and some of the options for sale feature additional animals that are in peril, such as the bumble bee , the Ceylon Rose butterfly and Kemp’s Ridley turtles. The PANGAIA x  Nadya Hutagalung T-shirts can be ordered at PANGAIA for $85 each. The teams behind the designs have announced that 100 percent of the proceeds from the capsule collection will be donated to the Barumun Nagari Wildlife Sanctuary for mistreated elephants  and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. + PANGAIA  + Nadya Hutagalung + Raku Inoue Images via PANGAIA

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Collection of plant-based shirts raise awareness of endangered species

4 simple and collaborative business models to unlock Nigeria’s $1 billion undergrid minigrid market

October 9, 2019 by  
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The opportunity to invest is massive, and new ownership models from subcontracting to cooperatives can help communities get in on the action.

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4 simple and collaborative business models to unlock Nigeria’s $1 billion undergrid minigrid market

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