A young couple creates a dreamy Scandinavian-inspired yurt home in Oregon

November 11, 2019 by  
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When filmmaker Zach Both decided to hit pause on his itinerant lifestyle after three years on the road in a self-converted camper van, he and his girlfriend, Nicole Lopez, tapped into their DIY roots to assemble their new home — a contemporary yurt 20 minutes outside of downtown Portland, Oregon. Prefabricated by Rainier Outdoor, the couple’s modified yurt offers 930 square feet of light-filled living space furnished to ooze hygge vibes. To share the knowledge they learned during the build, Both created a website, DoItYurtself.com , a free step-by-step guide to show others how to build a modern yurt. Built over the course of six months, the prefabricated Eagle Yurt that Both and Lopez purchased from Rainier Outdoor measures just over 30 feet in diameter with 730 square feet of living space; the couple added a bedroom loft to squeeze in an additional 200 square feet of space. While the exterior of the yurt only took a single weekend to erect with the help of friends and family, finishing the interiors was a much more involved process. As stalwart DIYers, the duo took on all parts of the project from running electrical lines and plumbing to framing the walls and furnishing the greenery-filled contemporary interior. Related: This yurt-inspired modern cabin is a holiday getaway in Slovakia The modern yurt serves as a functional home for the couple and as a home office where Both can work on his filmmaking and writing. At the heart of the circular residence is a service core housing the bathroom with a composting toilet , service equipment and kitchen. This core is wrapped by the living room with a wood-burning stove, dining space and office. The home is hooked up to electricity and draws water from a well. A round bedroom loft is elevated atop the service core and features a circular planter with more than 45 plants. “It’s been incredible to adapt a structure with a history that stretches back thousands of years,” Both said. “It was our attempt at building a modern yurt for the 21st century.” To help others, Both’s online yurt guide offers photos and videos of his entire build process as well as a comprehensive collection of information about American yurt companies on the internet. + Do It Yurtself Photography by Bryan Aulick via Do It Yurtself

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A young couple creates a dreamy Scandinavian-inspired yurt home in Oregon

New e-snowmobiles bring eco tourism to the northern lights

November 11, 2019 by  
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Between Norway and the North Pole is Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago and one of the most rugged and northern inhabited areas. With an average January high of 9 degrees and 24 hours of darkness, you might not expect this to be a tourist hot-spot. But the northern lights are drawing bigger and bigger crowds through Svalbard’s dark winter. The trick is making sure that the roughly 75,000 annual visitors don’t overwhelm the environment and culture of the archipelago’s 2,583 year-round residents. One strategy has been to spread tourism out over the entire year, and a new tactic is using electric snowmobiles to explore the area in a more sustainable way. Off the Map Travel, based in England, specializes in Northern Lights travel. Its “Truly Green Aurora Holiday” package has developed the lowest impact Arctic northern lights adventure yet. The team has harnessed Arctic winds to power e-snowmobiles. Off the Map Travel offers the new activity out of Longyearbyen, the Svalbard town where the majority of the population lives. The company recommends this activity from November to January, when the skies over the islands are almost permanently black. Related: Sleep beneath the northern lights in this unique Iceland bubble “Although the northern lights are a natural phenomenon and are never guaranteed, you need clear, dark skies to optimize your chances to see them,” noted Jonny Cooper, Arctic travel expert and founder of Off the Map Travel. “Svalbard’s dark skies and extended aurora viewing are due to the sun’s being at least six degrees below the horizon. This means it can be dark all day, so the northern lights can appear at any time. In effect, the sun never rises.” In addition to the more eco-friendly nature of the e-snowmobiles, they are also much quieter. Unlike the roar of an average snowmobile , the electric variety allows visitors a peaceful and silent experience. “The quiet engine allows for gentle searching of the northern lights, reindeer , ptarmigans and polar foxes,” Cooper said. “Exploring some of the most uncharted areas of our planet has never been more eco-friendly.” + Off the Map Travel Image via Off the Map Travel

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New e-snowmobiles bring eco tourism to the northern lights

The Nugget Plus camper van has all the amenities you need for life on the road, including a toilet

August 20, 2018 by  
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Compact camper vans have come a long, long way since the ’50s and ’60s, when the only amenity was a mattress tossed on a cold steel floor. RVs have upped the ante with stoves, sinks, and makeshift showers and toilets, but traditional vans lagged behind with no toilets, a major inconvenience for many who love living on the road . The Nugget Plus, a new camper van from Ford and Westfalia, is here to change that. Westfalia and Ford have joined forces and designed the Nugget Plus, a camper van that has the normal trappings of a kitchen, as well as a double bed in the pop-up roof and one that rests atop the dining table at nightfall. It goes above and beyond other camper vans, though, by including the coveted feature of a toilet. Related: The Droplet is a light-filled teardrop trailer inspired by Scandinavian design Due to space restrictions, the toilet is located in the kitchen area. It includes a retractable screen for visual privacy, and a small drop-down sink sits opposite the bathroom. In addition to its unusual toilet feature, the Nugget includes dining space for five people, a fridge and a two-burner stove. The Nugget also has two 11-gallon (42-liter) fresh and waste water tanks and an EcoBlue Euro 5 diesel engine. And if you happen to have $72,500 to spare, it could be yours. + Westfalia/Ford Images via Westfalia/Ford

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The Nugget Plus camper van has all the amenities you need for life on the road, including a toilet

Man quits his job, travels 31,000 miles in a renovated van with his cat [video]

November 21, 2017 by  
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It turns out dogs aren’t the best travel companions, cats are! In 2015, a man named Rich East quit his corporate job, renovated a camper van and took off with his rescue cat, Willow. Since then, he and the friendly feline have traveled more than 50,000 kilometers (over 31,000 miles) across Australia’s six states and two territories, venturing down many of the country’s lesser-trekked paths. Rich explains on his blog Van Cat Meow , “In early 2014 I started making plans for a massive life change. Unhappy with my 10 years in the corporate world I started designing a new life for myself. I started designing a campervan that could provide me with shelter, a home, and comfort for this next stage of my life. Slowly I began to sell all my possessions such that what was left would fit in this van.” In 2015, he was ready to go. “I sold my house, all of my possessions, and quit my job so I could take the trip of a lifetime,” he  explained . “But one thing I couldn’t say goodbye [to] was this little cat so the obvious decision was to take her with me.” Their deep bond is evident in the travel photography East uploads to Instagram . Related: Amazing camper van maximizes space with clever boat design tricks According to East, there are some distinct advantages to traveling with a cat, rather than a dog. He said, “I may be biased but I believe travelling with a cat is easier than travelling with dogs. Cats are very independent and don’t require a huge amount of attention. Willow is quite nocturnal, sleeping throughout the day if we are driving and coming out in the afternoon for some food and a cuddle.” He added, “The only disadvantage to having a travelling cat is not being able to go into the occasional area where pets aren’t permitted. We avoid the National Parks to find our own hidden places that maybe we wouldn’t have found otherwise.” While most cats aren’t suited for nomadic living, Willow is the exception. “Some people think it’s odd that I’m traveling with a cat, but Willow is so chilled out and absolutely loves our new lifestyle,” East said. For her protection, the feline wears a special collar that tracks her location. “With the tracking collar, I have the peace of mind that if she decides to go for a hike I will be straight onto her,” he said. Though the pair’s trip concluded in early 2017, neither East or Willow have plans to stop traveling. East continues chronicling their adventures on Instagram and even compiled some of the best travel shots into a 2018 calendar that is now available for sale in the Van Cat meow online shop . + Van Cat Meow Via MyModernMet , TreeHugger Images via Van Cat Meow

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Man quits his job, travels 31,000 miles in a renovated van with his cat

This brilliant project turns plastic waste into 3D-printed benches for Amsterdam

November 21, 2017 by  
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Rotterdam-based studio The New Raw is rallying citizens to turn their household plastic waste into stylish public furniture. Their “Print Your City!” initiative combines 3D printing with recycling to re-design urban space. The first prototype to come out of this call to action is the XXX bench, designed for the Municipality of Amsterdam. According to recent reports, Amsterdam residents generate 23 kg of plastic waste per person annually. Rotterdam-based studio The New Raw has worked out that this amounts to enough plastic to build one bench for every two Amsterdammers every year. The team collaborated with Aectual to 3D-print their first piece of 100% recycled furniture, the XXX bench. Related: World’s First Wrench 3D-Printed with Recycled Ocean Plastic Wins Innovation Award The XXX bench seats two to four people and takes the form of a double-sided rocking chair. The balance required for it to function makes a statement on working together to close the cycle for plastic. Print Your City! was kick-started in 2016 as part of the AMS Institute’s Circular City Program and it’s supported by TU Delft and AEB Amsterdam. + The New Raw + Aectual

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This brilliant project turns plastic waste into 3D-printed benches for Amsterdam

The rapid disappearance of 5 billion passenger pigeons shows no population is safe from extinction

November 21, 2017 by  
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Five billion passenger pigeons once spread across North America in flocks so big that they could block out the sun and spread for hundreds of miles. Then, in just a few decades, they were gone. Now, scientists have found the cause for their devastating decline, and it reveals how fragile even large populations of animals can be. A new study shows that passenger pigeons have existed since the Ice Age in massive populations. But as large as their numbers were, they lacked genetic diversity. This allowed them to adapt quickly within the population, but it also meant that when a new threat came along – in this case humans – they couldn’t adjust quickly enough. While hungry humans are the main cause of their decline, the genetic shift caused by the shift from massive groups to small groups sped up the decimation of pigeon populations. Related: The sixth mass extinction is killing off wildlife 100 times faster than “normal” “We often think of large populations as a safeguard against extinction ,” said the study’s co-author, University of California, Santa Cruz biologist Professor Beth Shapiro. “What this study shows, however, is that we must also consider the longer-term natural history of a species when making decisions about their extinction risk.” Via The Independent images via Wikimedia  and DepositPhoto

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The rapid disappearance of 5 billion passenger pigeons shows no population is safe from extinction

Young filmmaker transforms boring Chevy van into a slick solar-powered mobile home

June 10, 2016 by  
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Zach bought his used 2003 Chevy Express van for $4,000 in August 2014 and spent a total of $15,000 to convert the van into his mobile dream home . While he concedes that the cost was high (and more than he initially anticipated), it allowed him to achieve a stunning custom build that maximizes every square inch of space and is tailored to his exact specifications. The exterior was kept white to stay as inconspicuous as possible, however, the interior sports a stylish timber-lined living space inspired by minimalist Scandinavian design principles. The converted van comprises a futon bed on one end and a L-shaped desk space with an integrated kitchen on the other. His kitchen features an ARB 50-quart Fridge/Freezer combo as well as an Origo two-burner alcohol stove stored beneath a desktop. The van roof is topped by two Boulder 90 solar panels paired with a Goal Zero Yeti Solar Generator that powers all his electronics. Rather than install a full sink and water pump , Zach opted for the low-tech solution of a five-gallon water jug. With no water hookup and limited space, there’s also no shower or toilet. The young filmmaker makes use of gym showers and public restrooms. Related: 6 fab mobile offices let you ditch the cubicle for the open road “Filmmaking by nature is a nomadic pursuit. It’s a constant migration to and from different locations based on what the storytelling requires,” said Zach Both. “With this van, I now have complete freedom to write a script surrounded by mountains, direct a shoot in a remote desert town and then collaborate with an editor or composer in Los Angeles—all within the same month. That would be impossible any other way.” For more information on how Zach was able to realize his mobile lifestyle, head over to The Vanual for his step-by-step conversion guide and digital nomad tips and tricks. + The Vanual Images via The Vanual

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Young filmmaker transforms boring Chevy van into a slick solar-powered mobile home

Apple is launching a new company to sell surplus solar energy

June 10, 2016 by  
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For years, Apple has been generating solar power at a number of enormous solar farms around the world, helping offset the energy used by its many manufacturing and distribution facilities. Although the company isn’t completely powering its global operations by solar energy , there is enough excess solar power being generated by Apple’s California headquarters and Nevada solar farm to warrant a new venture: Apple Energy LLC . The energy spin off company could begin selling surplus solar power as early as August. Apple has a long track record of green investments, with solar farms in multiple countries, including China . The company generates enough solar power to meet 93 percent of its global energy needs, according to Apple’s latest environmental responsibility report . Last year, Greenpeace even named the California-based company the ‘ world’s greenest tech company ’ for its efforts in sustainable business practices, so it’s not surprising that Apple is taking its commitment one step further. Related: Apple unveils nature-filled, solar-powered future for its retail stores worldwide News of Apple’s foray into the field of energy sales was scooped by 9to5Mac , which reported that the company’s June 6 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) filing claims it can legally sell energy at market rates, since the new venture isn’t big enough to influence prices. The target audience for Apple Energy is a little unclear at this stage in the game, though. Most companies sell excess solar energy to corporate clients, but some suspect Apple could sell the surplus energy generated by the rooftop solar array at its Cupertino, California headquarters to local residents. Apple asked the FERC to grant permission to begin operations 60 days after its application, so we expect to report back with answers in early August. Via Engadget Images via Foster + Partners and Apple

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Apple is launching a new company to sell surplus solar energy

Is this art? Photos capture moments when humans and light interact

June 10, 2016 by  
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All of the exhibition’s 20 installations are nature-themed and the most striking of them are those which respond to the presence of visitors, underscoring the delicate balance that exists between humans and nature . One installation, titled “Flowers and People Cannot be Controlled but Live Together – A Whole Year Per Hour,” features infinite flower permutations which are neither pre-recorded animations nor on loop, but the real-time renderings of a computer program responding to human stimuli. Inspired by the abundance of cherry blossoms and rapeseed blossoms at the Kunisaki Peninsula, the work explores the effects of human activity on the natural landscape, but asserts that ultimately, nature cannot be controlled. In “Crystal Universe,” another site responsive work, the viewer is immersed in a dazzling display of 50,000 LEDs , which respond to human movement and cues accessible via smartphone. Visitors can choose from a variety of star systems to transform both the sculpture’s color schemes and lighting patters. The experience of being integral to the universe of 50,000 “stars” is not only unexpectedly authentic and moving, but provides unusual and eye-catching photography material. Related: VIVID light art dazzles the streets of Sydney Though critics may argue that Living Digital Space and Future Parks is not art in the traditional sense, its installations combine light, video, sound, virtual reality, and incredibly detailed digital sequences to deliver an authentic, emotional experience. Toshiyuki Inoko from teamLab says, “We are honored to share some of our most recently created artworks and hope the universality of their themes—creativity, play, exploration, immersion, life, and fluidity—will seep into the broader conscience. We are particularly excited to debut several of these works in Silicon Valley , one of the indisputable heartlands for innovation, bold thinking and risk-taking.” Due to their ability to leave lasting impressions, these are artworks that may even rightfully, garner the ultimate Silicon valley stamp of approval and come to be referred to as “disruptive.” Tickets to teamLab: Living Digital Space and Future Parks are are available until July 1, 2016. + Purchase tickets for teamLab: Living Digital Space and Future Parks + teamLab + Pace Gallery Photos via Charlie Radka for Inhabitat

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Is this art? Photos capture moments when humans and light interact

Tiny Living Hits the Road in a Retro Tonke Fieldsleeper

May 1, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Tiny Living Hits the Road in a Retro Tonke Fieldsleeper Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: camper van , eco design , Fieldsleeper , green design , on the road , storage , sustainable design , the netherlands , tiny homes , tiny living , Tonke        

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