Avocados for Beauty

August 17, 2018 by  
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Avocados are creamy, rich fruits whose oils hold countless benefits … The post Avocados for Beauty appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Avocados for Beauty

Body Shop delivers mixed performance against green goals

June 29, 2018 by  
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‘Not everything has gone to plan’: Beauty retailer makes progress on biodiversity protections and community trade, but slower gains in sustainable packaging, energy efficiency and green power.

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Body Shop delivers mixed performance against green goals

Green-roofed vacation home embraces old-growth trees in the San Juan Islands

June 20, 2018 by  
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When Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects was asked to design a vacation home on the San Juan Islands of Washington state, the Seattle-based design firm didn’t take the easy way out. The site, which overlooks stunning views of Griffin Bay, includes three beautiful old-growth trees that the architects wanted to preserve — a different approach to that of the client’s previous architect, who suggested chopping down the trees. With the existing trees kept intact, the North Bay house celebrates the beauty of the landscape while complementing the surroundings with a natural materials palette. The North Bay house serves as a family’s holiday retreat with plenty of space for entertaining yet feels like an intimate home when the couple vacations there alone. The 2,505-square-foot contemporary home embraces the outdoors with its abundance of glazing, an expansive green roof  and the predominate use of timber and stone. To meet the brief for a low-maintenance home that could withstand periods of non-use when the clients were off the island, Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects used hardy materials like concrete panels for the chimneys and steel-framed windows sheathed in powder-coated steel. Siting the home proved to be one of the project’s most difficult challenges. In addition to preserving the old-growth trees, the architects faced property setbacks and needed to establish privacy from a relatively busy nearby road. The solution came in the form of a stone wall that serves as an organizing element of the vacation home and a shield that blocks unwanted views and noise pollution. The stone wall is offset by the glazed pavilion that overlooks views of the water. Related: Pine Forest Cabin achieves beautiful modern design on a budget “The delineated concept is a stone wall that sweeps from the parking to the entry, through the house and out the other side, terminating in a hook that nestles the master shower,” the architects said. “This is the symbolic and functional shield between the public road and the private living spaces of the home owners. All the primary living spaces and the master suite are on the water side; the remaining rooms are tucked into the hill on the road side of the wall.” + Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects Images by Jay Goodrich

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Green-roofed vacation home embraces old-growth trees in the San Juan Islands

The 6 most pressing environmental issuesand what you can do to help solve them

April 12, 2018 by  
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More than four decades after the first Earth Day , there are still many environmental concerns for communities around the world to address; perhaps none so pressing as man-made climate change . But progress is being made, and it could be argued that awareness about environmental issues is at an all-time high. For this coming  Earth Day we’re shining a light on the most pressing environmental concerns that affect us al, and showing what you can do to help restore ecological balance to this amazing place we call home. Image via Shutterstock CLIMATE CHANGE While 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change  is occurring and greenhouse gas emissions are the main cause, political will has not been strong enough so far to initiate a massive policy shift away from fossil fuels and toward sustainable forms of energy. Perhaps more extreme weather events such as droughts , wildfires, heat waves and flooding will convince the public to put more pressure on policymakers to act urgently to curb carbon emissions and address this issue before it’s too late. Related: 14 Awe-Inspiring Aerial Photographs Capture the Beauty of the Earth What You Can Do: Your home and transportation could be major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. A certified home energy audit can help make your home more energy efficient. If you commute via biking, walking or public transportation you are doing your part to fight global warming, but if you must own a motor vehicle, consider trading in your gas guzzler for a fuel efficient hybrid or better yet—go electric . When you fly, make sure to reduce your carbon footprint from air miles traveled with carbon offsets from a respected company such as Carbonfund.org . Image via Shutterstock POLLUTION Air pollution and climate change are closely linked, as the same greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet are also creating smoggy conditions in major cities that endanger public health. If you’ve seen horrifying images of pollution-choked Chinese cities and think the smog is isolated to Beijing or Shanghai, think again. U.S. scientists are finding that Chinese pollution is intensifying storms over the Pacific Ocean and contributing to more erratic weather in the U.S. Water and soil pollution might not get the media attention that air pollution does, but they are still important public health concerns. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council , dirty water is the world’s biggest health risk. While the Clean Water Act did much to make American water safe from harmful pollutants, today there is a new threat to clean water coming from the shale gas fracking boom taking place across the country and from the EPA itself . Soil contamination is a major issue across the world. In China, nearly 20 percent of arable land has been contaminated by toxic heavy metals. Soil pollution threatens food security and poses health risks to the local population. The use of pesticides and fertilizers are also major factors in soil pollution Related: Nine Chinese Cities More Polluted Than Beijing What You Can Do: Many of the solutions to air pollution are similar to those for climate change, though it’s important to either make a concerted effort to drive less, or switch to a lower-emissions vehicle. Switching over to green energy is also important, as that will cut back on fossil fuel emissions. If you aren’t able to install solar or wind power on your property or if your utility gets its electricity from dirty energy sources, consider signing up for a renewable energy producer like Ethical Electric that connects consumers to 100 percent renewable energy sources to power their homes. Image via Shutterstock DEFORESTATION Forests are important to mitigating climate change because they serve as “carbon sinks,” meaning that they absorb CO2 that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere and worsen global warming. It is estimated that 15 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation . Cutting down trees also threatens animals and humans who rely on healthy forests to sustain themselves, and the loss of tropical rainforests is particularly concerning because around 80 percent of the world’s species reside in these areas. About 17 percent of the Amazon rainforest has been cut down in the past 50 years to make way for cattle ranching. That’s a double whammy for the climate because cattle flatulence is a major source of methane gas, which contributes more to short term climate change than carbon emissions. Related: New Web App Uses Google Maps to Track Deforestation as it Happens What You Can Do:  You can support Rainforest Alliance and similar organizations, stop using paper towels and use washable cloths instead, use cloth shopping bags (instead of paper), and look at labels to make sure you only use FSC-certified wood and paper products. You can also boycott products made by palm oil companies that contribute to deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. Image via Shutterstock WATER SCARCITY As the population increases and climate change causes more droughts, water scarcity is becoming more of an issue. Only three percent of the world’s water is fresh water and 1.1 billion people lack access to clean, safe drinking water. As the current drought in California dramatically shows, access to water is not just an issue for developing countries but the United States as well. In fact, by the middle of this century more than a third of all counties in the lower 48 states will be at higher risk of water shortages with more than 400 of the 1,100 counties facing an extremely high risk. Related: Could Solar-powered Desalination Solve California’s Water Supply Problem? What You Can Do: Just as energy efficiency is considered an important solution to the issues of climate change and pollution, water efficiency can help us deal with water scarcity. Some ideas to be more water efficient include installing an ENERGY STAR -certified washer, using low-flow faucets, plugging up leaks, irrigating the lawn in the morning or evening when the cooler air causes less evaporation, taking shorter showers and not running sink water when brushing your teeth. Also, consider using non-toxic cleaning products and eco-friendly pesticides and herbicides that won’t contaminate groundwater. Seventh Generation uses plant-derived ingredients for their household cleaning products. Image via Shutterstock LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY Increasing human encroachment on wildlife habitats is causing a rapid loss of biodiversity that threatens food security, population health and world stability. Climate change is also a major contributor to biodiversity loss, as some species aren’t able to adapt to changing temperatures. According to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Index , biodiversity has declined 27 percent in the last 35 years. Related: Costa Rica is Closing its Zoos and Freeing All Captive Animals What You Can Do: As consumers we can all help protect biodiversity by purchasing products that don’t harm the environment. Next time you are at the grocery store, check to see if food packaging contains any of the following eco-labels : USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Marine Stewardship Council or Green Seal. Other product certifications include Forest Stewardship Council Certification, Rainforest Alliance Certification and Certified Wildlife Friendly. Also, reusing , recycling and composting are easy ways to protect biodiversity. Image via Shutterstock SOIL EROSION AND DEGRADATION Unsustainable industrial agriculture practices have resulted in soil erosion and degradation that leads to less arable land, clogged and polluted waterways, increased flooding and desertification. According to the World Wildlife Fund , half of the earth’s topsoil has been lost in the last 150 years. Related: Soil Erosion Could Cause Food Crisis, Expert Warns What You Can Do: Support sustainable agriculture that puts people and the planet above profit. Support sustainable agriculture by visiting the Sustainable Table for tips on fighting for a sustainable food system. On a smaller scale, you can make a difference in your backyard by switching to non-toxic green pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. The website Eartheasy.com sells natural lawn care products such as corn gluten organic fertilizer. + Earth Day Lead image via Deposit Photos

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The 6 most pressing environmental issuesand what you can do to help solve them

Cable railing expand the view in your favorite spaces

January 31, 2018 by  
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When you picture your dream home, what comes to mind? Lots of open, connected spaces, tons of natural light, a gorgeous view from your deck? If so, then you should think about incorporating cable railing into your exterior and interior spaces. Not only is cable railing an excellent sustainable product option – it’s made with eco-friendly stainless steel – but it also has a minimalist vibe that makes any space feel welcoming and more expansive. Seeing Between the Lines Traditional railings can make a room feel closed and separate from adjacent spaces, creating a visual barrier. That’s not the case with cable railings. For outdoor applications, cable railing is perfect for framing an eye-catching panoramic view or stunning landscape. It’s a popular choice for decks, terraces and backyard settings because it optimizes the view – especially important for homeowners, since their families and guests are frequently seated on the patio or deck. Cable railings use slender horizontal (or vertical) stainless steel cables in place of bulky spindles and pickets for infill to create nearly unimpeded views and a very open, clean-lined aesthetic that preserves the intrinsic beauty of a space. In fact, the cables “trick the eye” and virtually disappear as your field of vision focuses beyond the cable rail toward the view. Natural Connections Because of its sleek, streamlined appearance, cable railing enables spaces to seamlessly flow into one another for a sense of continuity that is difficult to achieve with other types of railing infill. For outdoor applications , cable railing is perfect for framing an eye-catching panoramic view or stunning landscape. It’s a popular choice for decks, terraces and backyard settings because it optimizes the view – especially important for homeowners, since their families and guests are frequently seated on the patio or deck. When used indoors , rather than visually breaking up spaces, cable railing helps to subtly connect them and make them appear larger. And, in the case of stair railings, it beautifully showcases the different levels within a home without calling too much attention to itself. The ultimate effect is a look that is at once understated and modern with just the right touch of elegance. Durable, Low-Maintenance Beauty In addition to being an aesthetically-appealing design option, cable railing has lots of other things going for it. In the case of exterior applications, it’s rugged enough to stand up to corrosive coastal environments and other harsh conditions. Its minimal footprint allows full airflow across a deck or balcony area, minimizing wind exposure and the stress it can inflict on an outdoor railing system, and maintenance requirements are minimal. Only a periodic treatment with a stainless steel cleaner and protectant is recommended along with occasional cable tightening. Unmatched Versatility Compatible with most architectural styles – from rustic to transitional to contemporary, to name just a few – cable railing is easy to install and can be used with existing wood, metal or composite railings to achieve the desired look. In addition to these options, Oakland, California-based cable railing provider Feeney, Inc., offers its CableRail stainless cable rail infill in both standard and low profile options for maximum design flexibility. The brand also offers convenient kits that make it easy to install its CableRail products – even for newly minted weekend warriors and DIYers. Sustainable Style Thanks to its durable steel construction, cable railing can last a lifetime – making it a sustainable option, too. It’s reusable and can be recycled at the end of its useful life, reducing the use of non-renewable resources and helping to limit the waste stream. Companies like Feeney take sustainability one step further, producing their cable railing products out of post- and pre-consumer waste. Feeney also powers its California production facility using a 5,000-square-foot solar array. When it’s time to build or remodel, check out cable railing for its longevity, versatility, sustainability, and ability to open up the view – both indoors and out. No matter what size or style your home is, cable railing has the power to transform your spaces from bland to breathtaking. + Feeney, Inc.

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Cable railing expand the view in your favorite spaces

Beautiful bamboo archways add dramatic flair to a Xiamen restaurant

December 6, 2017 by  
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Our favorite Vietnamese architecture firm is nearing completion on a gorgeous bamboo restaurant in Xiamen, China. As reported in ArchDaily , Vo Trong Nghia Architects is close to finishing the Ting Xi Bamboo Restaurant, a striking building with capacity for 200 people. The sculptural restaurant champions the beauty and strength of bamboo, used in its 14 fan-shaped support columns. Bamboo is a favorite material of Vo Trong Nghia Architects. The firm’s eco-friendly work is helping to increase popularity of a renewable material that many Asian architects and developers dismiss as flimsy. At Ting Xi Bamboo Restaurant, the bamboo used is treated with traditional Vietnamese techniques to naturally improve the material’s strength and durability. The reinforced rods are grouped into 14 “quadrilateral” columns that fan out near the top to create dramatic archways down the center of the restaurant . The sculptural columns, spaced eight meters apart, support a pitched roof with a maximum height of 6.4 meters. Long overhanging eaves provide extra protection from the elements. The restaurant will also be slightly curved in plan so that a person standing at one entrance wouldn’t be able to immediately see the entrance on the opposite end. A smaller green-roof ed building that sits behind the restaurant will be built of local brick and house the bathrooms, kitchen, staff room, and storage. A pond is located to the south of the main building. Related: Luxurious bamboo beach bar and restaurant bolsters spa in Vietnam Despite its open-air appearance and the architects’ proclivity for breezy buildings, the restaurant will rely on air conditioning, not natural ventilation , for cooling, per the client’s request. Custom-cut glass will be fitted into the archways and skylights installed to let in extra light. + Vo Trong Nghia Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Vo Trong Nghia Architects

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Beautiful bamboo archways add dramatic flair to a Xiamen restaurant

Paper artist Amy Genser’s new nature-inspired art mimics reefs, beehives, and barnacles

August 15, 2016 by  
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Although the majority of her works are similar in nature, each piece has its own personality—just like the real coral reefs living beneath the waves. The Connecticut-based artist spends hours and hours on each time-consuming paper artwork , as each individual component is cut and rolled by hand from mulberry paper. Her pieces range in size, but most have at least one measurement spanning several feet. Each intricate paper mural is inspired by the shapes of nature, and not just coral reefs . Genser also draws inspiration from beehives, and the organic forms of plants, rock formations, barnacles, and seaweed. Related: Amy Genser recreates the beauty of underwater reefs in paper Since we last featured her work, Genser was commissioned to create a custom 150-foot mural for the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware , which adds an oceanic touch to the cafeteria. Her paper murals were also on display earlier this summer in London at the Affordable Art Fair . Some of her other works are currently on display at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City through Aug. 17. Via Colossal Images via Amy Genser

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Paper artist Amy Genser’s new nature-inspired art mimics reefs, beehives, and barnacles

Jam Furniture transforms reclaimed timber into sleek minimalist designs

June 27, 2016 by  
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Stylish furniture that is kind to the environment is always the way to go and it’s even better if the designs reference the beauty of nature. Like its name indicates, Jam Furniture is sweet yet practical. Inspired by reclaimed material and minimalist design, Jam Furniture’s creations showcase timber that tells a story, timber that had a previous life. Details like the nail holes in this stunning seventy-year-old reclaimed Australian cypress pine table are what make each design unique. Since many of these quirks can’t be recreated without the passage of time, Jam takes care to retain as many of them as possible. An all-natural (even edible) Beeswax polish gives the timber a sheen that extenuates the character of the grain, while locally sourced folded and powder coated steel frames and celebrates the warmth of the wood. Jam was established by Ben Cramp in 2013 on the rugged West Coast of Wales in the UK. + Jam Furniture The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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New NASA tech could provide the entire solar system with internet

June 27, 2016 by  
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NASA is celebrating the first deployment of new technology at the International Space Station (ISS) that makes it much easier, faster, and more efficient to transmit data to Earth. Essentially, it’s the first step toward internet connectivity in space that is just as reliable as your home Wi-Fi signal. The new system, called Delay/Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN), provides a smart solution to interrupted connections, and lays the groundwork for Solar System-wide internet connectivity in the not-so-distant future. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gCMIiJdYPQ On Earth, we’re accustomed to what happens when something blocks a wireless internet signal . The connection slows, or even becomes disrupted entirely. For transmissions from ISS , this was a big problem because the objects in the way were large and numerous – planets, other spacecraft, radiation waves, and the like. Those obstacles made the signal slow, and sometimes meant some data was lost in transmission. DTN addresses those pitfalls in the way it transmits data. Rather than streaming bit by bit, the DTN process stores data when and if a connection becomes interrupted, and then forwards it using relay stations to its intended destination. This means the network can function even when a recipient server is offline. Related: Why Wi-Fi is faster on the moon than at your local coffee shop NASA has been testing DTN technology for years, and installed it earlier this month in the Telescience Resource Kit (TReK), a software suite for researchers to transmit and receive data between operations centers and their payloads aboard station. NASA reports that adding this service on the station will also enhance mission support applications, including operational file transfers. In order to make this giant leap for the future of space internet, NASA partnered with one of the “fathers of the internet,” Dr. Vinton G. Cerf, vice president and chief internet evangelist for Google and a distinguished visiting scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Cerf worked with NASA’s team to develop the technology, and he predicts many benefits in space as well as on Earth, especially in disaster relief conditions. “Our experience with DTN on the space station leads to additional terrestrial applications especially for mobile communications in which connections may be erratic and discontinuous,” said Cerf. “In some cases, battery power will be an issue and devices may have to postpone communication until battery charge is adequate. These notions are relevant to the emerging ‘Internet of Things’. ” There you have it, folks. The future is here, and it will be well connected. Via Futurism Images via NASA

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New NASA tech could provide the entire solar system with internet

Stunning Europe Building facade shows off the beauty of 3D printing in Amsterdam

January 11, 2016 by  
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