Girl Scouts build bee hotels to help save wild bees

October 22, 2019 by  
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Wild bee populations in the United States face catastrophic collapse from climate change , habitat loss, shrinking food supply, disease and pesticide exposure. Of the 4,000 native U.S. wild bee species, 40 percent face extinction. To help save these vital pollinators, a Denver-based Girls Scouts day camp built miniature hotels to house and protect solitary wild bees. The sustainable endeavor was part of the Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey initiative, encouraging young girls to create positive environmental change. Making a wild bee B&B proved to be an exciting learning experience for many Girl Scouts. “There were times it was hard because there were so many girls and lots of ideas, but we worked together, and it was fun,” explained 11-year-old Imani, one of the girls who participated in the project. “We found a way to compromise and work together to make a fun bee hotel.” Related: Girl Scouts introduces 30 new badges with emphasis on the environment and STEM As solitary insects, wild bees house themselves in fallen timber, branches and bushes. But forest fires, urban sprawl and agricultural intensification have diminished their natural habitat. Consequently, the Girl Scouts were inspired to protect these important insects by building tiny homes or mini hotels for individual wild bees, much like birdhouses are fashioned for individual birds. Materials used for the bee hotels included repurposed cardboard boxes, paper straws and toilet paper rolls. According to the Entomological Society of America, campaigns to save the bees have included installation of bee hotels in efforts to save wild bee populations and aid in their conservation . If well maintained, these bee hotels can provide a safe sanctuary for wild bees. Dennis vanEngelsdorp, a University of Maryland, College Park associate professor of entomology, added that every effort counts, and the Girl Scouts’ endeavors are meaningful. “What you’re seeing is that you need bees to survive, and so who better to be concerned than the people who are going to inherit the next generation?” he shared. “These efforts are really good because hopefully they set up a lifelong commitment to preserving biodiversity.” Those interested in getting involved with the Girl Scouts’ environmental initiatives can join or volunteer here . + Girl Scouts Via Grist Images via Girl Scouts and Maja Dumat

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Girl Scouts build bee hotels to help save wild bees

Two beautiful, self-sustaining tiny cabins rest on a remote island off the coast of Finland

October 22, 2019 by  
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Finnish designers Aleksi Hautamäki and Milla Selkimaki have done what many only dream of — they have bought an entire island to construct a gorgeous off-grid retreat. Located on 5 acres of rugged landscape, at the edge of the Archipelago National Park in Southwest Finland, Project Ö includes two self-sustaining, solar-powered cabins that include chic living spaces as well as a sauna and a workshop. The ambitious designers purchased the remote island two years ago with plans to built a set of off-grid cabins . According to Hautamäki, their vision was “to build all things necessary in as little space as possible.” The result is two compact structures that offer optimal functionality and comfort without harming the existing landscape. Related: These tiny steel cabins in Joshua Tree epitomize off-grid design Since the designers bought the island, they have constructed two narrow gabled cabins , which house the living spaces, a sauna and a workshop. The cabins sit elevated off of the rocky landscape by an expansive wooden deck. The cabins are long and narrow, with ultra-large windows that, in addition to flooding the interior with natural light , provide stunning views of the island’s coast. Additionally, there are a number of outdoor lounge areas that let the designers and visitors enjoy spending time in the outdoors. The main cabin is comprised of an open-plan living room with a kitchen and dining area. A sleeping loft on the second floor is accessible by a ladder. The bedrooms and bathrooms are located in the second cabin, which is accessible through a central, covered outdoor area. All in all, the cabins can sleep up to 10 people. Due to the remote location, the cabins were also built to be completely self-sufficient. Rooftop solar panels generate energy, and there is an integrated water system that filters seawater. Two wood-burning stoves provide hot water for the cabins and create the ultimate cozy atmosphere. + Project Archipelago + Project Ö Via Dezeen Photography by Archmosphere via Project Ö

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Two beautiful, self-sustaining tiny cabins rest on a remote island off the coast of Finland

Biomaterials Archive debuts at Dutch Design Week 2019

October 22, 2019 by  
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Dutch Design Week , the largest design event in Northern Europe, is back once again this October to show how pioneering designers around the globe are changing the world for the better. Spread out across nine days with over a hundred locations in Eindhoven, the annual event will host a wide array of exhibitions, lectures, festivities and more — including the first-ever public presentation of a Biomaterials Archive , where attendees can see, touch, smell and even taste innovative materials made by students from organic and recycled materials. Held this year from October 19 to 27, Dutch Design Week is an annual showcase of futuristic design that covers a wide breadth of topics from sustainable farming to artificial intelligence and robotics. Every year, more than 2,600 designers are invited to present their pioneering work — with a focus given to young and upcoming talent — and more than 350,000 visitors from the area and abroad flock to Eindhoven to see how design has the potential to improve the world. Creative proposals for reducing waste and addressing other timely environmental topics, such as climate and biodiversity crises, have also been increasingly highlighted in recent years.  One such example of forward-thinking design by young designers can be found at the Biomaterials Archive, a multi-sensory exhibit open to the public all week at Molenveld 42 | Downtown. Hosted by Ana Lisa, the tutor for Design Academy Eindhoven’s Make Material Sense class, the exhibition will feature #ZeroWaste and #ZeroBudget material samples created by second-year BA students. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with proposed alternatives to materials such as leather, plastic, marble, cotton and MDF. Related: Colorful People’s Pavilion in Eindhoven is made from 100% borrowed materials “It unveils how these young designers are taking matter into their own hands by farming organisms on the Academy’s shelves or recycling what’s being trashed at home, school’s canteen, city or farms,” reads a statement on the DDW website, which references biomaterials made from old bread, lichen, acorn-MDF, coffee grounds, kombucha , cow manure and even vacuum dust. “While they close some loops and make new, shorter life-span materials that forge new paths into design and architecture.” + Biomaterials Archive Images via DDW

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Biomaterials Archive debuts at Dutch Design Week 2019

How the Business Roundtable’s big green shift creates opportunity

September 9, 2019 by  
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What does it mean that America’s largest and most powerful corporations are now endorsing fair labor practices, ethical treatment of suppliers, sustainability and transparency?

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How the Business Roundtable’s big green shift creates opportunity

Trumps July 4th celebration cost our National Parks millions

July 5, 2019 by  
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The Independence Day festivities hosted by the White House yesterday cost the National Park Service an estimated $2.5 million dollars, money that is typically earmarked for park maintenance and rehabilitation. The rainy celebration, which included military jet fly overs, tank displays and the largest firework display in D.C. history, is the most expensive July 4th celebration any president has hosted. What Trump promoted via Twitter as the “show of a lifetime” was loosely inspired by his trip to France during Bastille Day. After the proposed budget for a similar celebration last year reached $92 million, Trump had to scale back his plan. Related: How National Parks benefit the environment The president also made a speech yesterday, a first in 32 years. For the past three decades, presidents have elected to not speak at the Independence Day celebrations out of respect for unity and patriotism and an attempt to not politicize the holiday. “Today, we come together as one nation with this very special salute to America. We celebrate our history, our people and the heroes who proudly defend our flag — the brave men and women of the United States military,” Trump said during his speech. Despite his message of unity, tickets for the highly anticipated events were given out as gifts to high-rolling donors to the Republican National Committee. “This is a breach of trust with the public,” said Theresa Pierno, president of the National Parks Conservation Association. “The public pays parks fees to fix national parks and for educational programs, not the president’s parades.” The national parks are reportedly $12 billion dollars behind in their maintenance needs, and this event is another major setback. While the event cost the country’s parks $2.5 million, the Trump administration refused to reveal exactly how much the antics cost taxpayers in total. Before the celebration, Trump tweeted , “The cost of our great Salute to America tomorrow will be very little compared to what it is worth. We own the planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need is the fuel. We own the tanks and all. Fireworks are donated by two of the greats.” Via EcoWatch Image via Joyce N. Boghosian / The White House

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Trumps July 4th celebration cost our National Parks millions

Labour Party launches solar panel program for 1.75M homes

May 17, 2019 by  
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Britain’s Labour Party has announced a major new green program, pledging to install solar panels on up to 1.75 million government-subsidized and low-income houses. In what has been called the start of a U.K. version of America’s Green New Deal , the goal of the project is to radically address climate change while creating green jobs. The Labour Party will provide free solar panels to one million government-subsidized homes and offer grants and interest-free loans for panels on up to 750,000 additional low-income homes. The panels will be enough to power the homes, providing residents with free electricity and savings of approximately $150 USD per year. Any additional electricity produced from the panels will return to the national grid, which the party says will become publicly owned by local authorities. The program will also provide nearly 17,000 jobs in the renewable energy  industry. Related: Britain celebrates first week without coal power since 1882 When completed, the 1.75 million solar-powered homes will reduce electricity-related carbon emissions by 7.1 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is equivalent to taking four million cars off the road. Like the Green New Deal, the Labour Party’s green revolution promises to benefit low-income people and spur economic growth. This so-called “just transition” provides democratic access to energy sources at affordable prices as well as support for current employees of carbon-emitting industries to gain skills in green industries like renewable energy and technology . The program is led by Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, who said , “By focusing on low-income households, we will reduce fuel poverty and increase support for renewable energy. Social justice and climate justice as one. Environmental destruction and inequality not only can, but must be tackled at the same time.” Critics of the program, however, argue that solar panels on private residences are a distraction from addressing and regulating large-scale carbon polluters . Via The Guardian Image via Pixabay

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Labour Party launches solar panel program for 1.75M homes

Almost All U.S. National Parks Have Polluted Air

May 9, 2019 by  
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Sure, we know that cities can be congested and polluted, but at least we have the national parks to escape to when we want to breathe in some fresh air, right? Wrong. According to a new report released by the National Park Conservation Association, 96 percent of all parks experience significant air pollution problems. The bipartisan nonprofit organization published a report, “Polluted Parks: How America is Failing to Protect our National Parks, People and Planet from Air Pollution” that analyzed air quality in 417 parks. Their findings assess the impact on nature, hazy skies, unhealthy air and climate change . Related: Plastic rain: new study reveals microplastics are in the air “The poor air quality in our national parks is both disturbing and unacceptable. Nearly every single one of our more than 400 national parks is plagued by air pollution. If we don’t take immediate action to combat this, the results will be devastating and irreversible,” said President of the National Park Conservation Association Theresa Pierno. Although most national parks are located in areas of so-called pristine wilderness, air travels widely and freely. The Grand Canyon, for example, is down-wind from a coal-fired power plant, a mine and multiple industrial pollution sources that reach the park from both Mexico and California. The report is also filled with many alarming findings, including: 85 percent of national parks have air that is unhealthy to breathe at times 89 percent of national parks have haze pollution 88 percent of national parks have soil and water affected by air pollution 80 percent of all national parks will be directly impacted by climate change, with 100 percent indirectly impacted “America’s national parks are some of the most beloved places on earth and provide once in a lifetime experiences, but the iconic wildlife and irreplaceable natural and cultural resources that make these places so special are being seriously threatened by climate change and other effects of air pollution ,” said Stephanie Kodish, the Clean Air Program director for the National Parks Conservation Association. 330 million people visit America’s national parks every year, and most are in search of fresh air. The solution to ensuring our national park air remains fresh and clean is the same strategy for protecting clean air everywhere: reduce fossil fuel emissions and switch to clean energy sources. Air quality experts had reported positive results of the Clean Air Act, however, the current administration has rolled back on environmental regulations and invested in the fossil fuel industry. Via  Tree Hugger Image via PELSOP

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Almost All U.S. National Parks Have Polluted Air

Cooling breezes blow straight through a low-energy brick house in Indonesia

May 9, 2019 by  
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In the city of Depok in West Java, Jakarta-based architectural firm DELUTION architect has completed the Flick House, a two-story home with a brick facade and a contemporary design that stands out from its more conventional neighbors. Created to follow sustainable and low-energy principles, the house features cooling microclimates and is optimized for natural ventilation . Daylight is also maximized in the house to reduce reliance on artificial lighting while a second “skin” facade helps buffer unwanted solar gain. When the clients approached DELUTION architect with the commission, they asked for a large home that would feel “humble and warm.” In response, the architects suggested a brick facade, which they said can create a welcoming atmosphere no matter the size. The warm and inviting character is carried through to the light-filled interior, which features an open layout conducive to large family gatherings. Energy efficiency was also a major design objective for the architects. To keep the spacious, 3,326-square-foot house naturally cool, the architects added four gardens — Main Garden, Private Garden, Floating Garden and Innercourt — and a fish pond to create cooling microclimates . The cooled air from the gardens is swept into the rooms through the sliding doors and windows that promote airflow throughout. Perforations in the brick facade also allow for natural ventilation while blocking unwanted solar gain. Related: Rammed earth addition brings light and energy savings to a Melbourne home “Besides applying the green architecture concept, Flick House also has quite unique architectural and interior details,” the architects added. “Some parts of the walls even seem to be floating. On the first floor, bathrooms are hidden behind the mirrored closet, and on the second floor, the bathroom has a semi-outdoor concept so that if the curtain is opened it can be seen from the outside.” + DELUTION architect Photography by Fernando Gomulya via DELUTION architect

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Cooling breezes blow straight through a low-energy brick house in Indonesia

Outdoor giant Merrell presents its most sustainable shoe to date

December 3, 2018 by  
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Outdoor apparel leader Merrell has unveiled its most sustainable shoe yet — and not just a single style, but a lineup of both men’s and women’s options. The Gridway collection emphasizes fashion as well as sustainability and targets the less-than-vogue goal in the fast fashion industry to create shoes that last. The Gridway collection offers three styles for both men and women: the Gridway Moc is a slide-on option, the Gridway is a sneaker style and the Gridway Mid brings a bit of height to the upper portion. Each style is available in three color options, and prices range from $120-$140 at regular price. Related: nat-2 creates a completely vegan sneaker made from coffee Starting at the bottom, the outsole is made from a minimum of 30 percent scrap rubber rather than relying on virgin materials. The removable footbeds and midsoles encompass a minimum of 40 percent of recycled materials from scraps off the manufacturing floor. Moving to the knit uppers, materials come from 100 percent recycled yarns. Although the laces look traditional, they are also made from 100 percent recycled materials rather than sourcing new ones. As an outdoor company, Merrell strives to create quality products that meet the needs of both the consumer and the environment . “At Merrell, we’re actively exploring ways to build great products more responsibly,” said Strick Walker, CMO at Merrell. “The Gridway Collection is a significant step forward.” Related: Reebok develops plant-based sneakers made of cotton and corn In conjunction with the release of the Gridway collection in November, Merrell shone a light toward Keep America Beautiful, an organization that promotes America Recycles Day and continues to educate and motivate consumers about aggressive and proper recycling practices. In support of these ideals, Merrell donated $10,000 to the non-profit. + Merrell Images via Merrell

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Outdoor giant Merrell presents its most sustainable shoe to date

Earth911 Quiz #36: America Youth’s Role in Climate Recovery

November 8, 2018 by  
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What drives youth organizers to work to change climate policy? … The post Earth911 Quiz #36: America Youth’s Role in Climate Recovery appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Quiz #36: America Youth’s Role in Climate Recovery

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