Out of control wildfires force thousands to flee their homes in Southern California

December 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Relentless wildfires in Southern California have forced thousands of people to evacuate and threaten over 12,000 homes. The largest fire, centered around Ventura, has burned over 70,000 acres, shut down freeways, knocked out power for thousands and is so large it can be seen from space. Experts say that this is “just the beginning” of the problem, as the fires rage out of control in extremely dry conditions, pushed by the Santa Ana winds. Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’isef-DPVSbhi6hrtOzU0gw’,sig:’8MVDCZMWHVWThSLQhpAV515zx5qbn9WZflUo-qOws8o=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’886889264′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); The Santa Ana winds – which usually blow during October – have rapidly pushed the fires over the past few days and there is zero percent containment at this point, which firefighters say will likely remain the case until the dry conditions and winds relent. Red Flag warnings have been issued from Santa Barbara to the Mexico border because the area is expected to have one of the driest two-month periods seen in over a century, prompting concerns about additional fires. Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’-UQIwCqMSmV58VyTYJcNhg’,sig:’_e2bkc0_zyKQ46YhUpwm9nSBLej2HWDO52Ov1yX9fho=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’886767680′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); Related: Donald Trump believes California farmers who say “there is no drought” One fire, called the Skirball fire, threatens Los Angeles neighborhoods and the Getty Center and has jumped across the 405 Freeway – one of the most trafficked freeways in the US. The Creek fire rages out of control 20 miles north of Los Angeles and has devoured 11,000 acres in a short time. The largest fire, called the Thomas fire in Ventura, has forced 38,000 people to evacuate and has consumed 150 structures, including homes and apartment buildings. A fourth fire in San Bernadino has been 50 percent contained and has burned 100 acres. Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’IaqOVadkQgFPtwp6RPF7cQ’,sig:’p0PsoBawHX52fAr2TOVQZusImKU4D6XwKbysWG6a07A=’,w:’594px’,h:’397px’,items:’886861778′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, and residents are advised to heed all evacuations warnings for their own safety. Experts also warn people in the area to be extremely cautious, because another blaze could easily erupt due to the massive winds and dry conditions. Via ABC Lead image via Deposit Photo

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Out of control wildfires force thousands to flee their homes in Southern California

Reversible weatherHYDE tent saves lives in extreme weather

December 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Riots in India left nearly 9,000 families homeless in 2013. Winter hit, and around 30 children perished because of the cold. Prasoon Kumar had recently quit his job as an architect to start billionBricks , a design studio dedicated to solving homelessness, and decided to create the reversible weatherHYDE shelter to protect people from harsh weather . Inhabitat spoke with Kumar about how the tent empowers people – read on to hear what he had to say. As an architect, Kumar noticed homes for the poor were often designed and constructed so poorly no one wanted to live in them. He co-founded billionBricks to pursue quality design that would actually help people climb out of poverty , and came up with weatherHYDE, an all-weather shelter one person can set up in around 15 minutes without tools. Five people can sleep inside. The tent is reversible: one side reflects sun to cool inhabitants in summer; the other traps body heat to keep them warm in winter. There’s even a locking mechanism to afford some safety. Related: 3D-printed pod homes for the homeless could hang from NYC buildings Four principles guided the design of weatherHYDE, targeted for people in southeast Asia . First, Kumar said they viewed the homeless not as beneficiaries, but as consumers. “We were not designing something to give to them but something they would want. Then this whole idea of us being superior and them being inferior who need to be helped is not there,” he told Inhabitat. Second, billionBricks had to provide a product not simply for individuals but entire families. Women with young children often have to shower, change clothes, and sleep on the streets, and blankets just don’t cut it. Third, the tent had to offer heat inexpensively. And finally, the team wanted the recipients to pay for the product somehow, granting a sense of ownership. 15 families received the weatherHYDE in a successful New Delhi pilot project. Kumar told Inhabitat, “I went back after a month to the first family we gave to and they had set it up as their home, including a small bed inside and a few paintings. I had never imagined that a weatherHYDE would be a home. And this lady came to me and said, ‘This is my first home ever. I was born on the streets, I got married on the streets, my one-year-old kid was born on the streets too, and we’ve never had a home.’” In India, billionBricks offers donor matching because many people there generally can’t afford the full price of the tent, allowing the organization to sell them for $35 to $40. They don’t do donor matching in the United States and Canada, but if a homeless person can’t afford the full price of the tent, $199, billionBricks helps with fundraising, although a person must raise the money themselves. People interested in helping can purchase a tent right on the weatherHYDE website without waiting for a NGO or government to take action. “We have decentralized the whole system of helping the homeless and empower everybody in the world to take action.” Not just the homeless, but campers have been interested too, and can purchase a tent for recreational use for $299 here . Kumar said, “It kind of proves the point that if you don’t design something poorly for the poor, everybody would want it.” billionBricks isn’t stopping with the weatherHYDE. They’re working on a larger version to meet United Nations regulations for refugee housing , along with a showerHYDE to provide refugees with privacy while showering or changing clothes. They’re also working on versions better suited to other climates — like in Africa. They’re also developing the powerHYDE, solar homes that generate more than enough energy to power the dwelling, enabling residents to sell the excess. weatherHYDE is holding a design competition right now until January 7,2018 to personalize a tent. An artist will paint the winning design on one tent for the designer and one for the homeless. It costs $25 to enter; you can do so here . + weatherHYDE + weatherHYDE Design Competition + billionBricks Images copyright billionBricks

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Reversible weatherHYDE tent saves lives in extreme weather

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