132-year-old lobster returned to ocean after living in tank for 20 years

June 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Did you know it’s National Lobster Month? Residents in Hempstead, New York are celebrating the occasion by releasing a captive lobster back into the ocean . Louie the Lobster is 132 years old, but he has spent the last couple of decades living at Peter’s Clam Bar in Long Island . Louie, who could’ve fetched a fair sum at 22 pounds, will get to live out the rest of his life in the wild. Louie lived in a tank at Peter’s Clam Bar for around 20 years. Owner Butch Yamali obtained the lobster when he bought the restaurant four years ago. He says a customer recently tried to purchase Louie for $1,000 for a Father’s Day dinner, but Yamali couldn’t take the money, saying Louie has become like a pet to him. Related: 95-year-old lobster saved from the supermarket gets to live out his days in an aquarium And apparently he’s happy to see Louie find a new home in the sea. Hempstead held a pardoning ceremony for the lobster as he was lowered into his new home in the Atlantic Ocean . In a ceremony for Louie, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino said, “Today I’m announcing an official pardon for Louie the Lobster. Louie may have faced a buttery fate on a seafood lover’s plate, but today we are here to return Louie to a life that is better down where it’s wetter.” While sending animals to the wild from captivity right away isn’t always the best idea, Louie did live in the ocean for over 100 years before he was caught. Lobster Institute executive director Robert Bayer said, “He’ll be just fine. There aren’t many predators who want to eat a big old lobster like that. Hopefully, he finds a mate – and lives happily ever after.” Around a year ago Larry, another incredibly old lobster who’d been living at Peter’s Clam Bar, also found a new home in the ocean. Via TreeHugger and Fox 5 New York Images via Peter’s Clam Bar Facebook

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132-year-old lobster returned to ocean after living in tank for 20 years

UN releases inconceivable new estimate of Earth’s 2050 population

June 22, 2017 by  
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Right now there are 7.5 billion people on Earth and counting. But the world in 2050 will be even more packed, according to new United Nations (UN) projections. The new World Population Prospects: 2017 Revision report estimates that there could be nearly 10 billion people on the planet in a little over 30 years. By 2030, the global population could be 8.6 billion, according to the UN. 9.8 billion people might reside on Earth in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100. As around 83 million people are born every single year, the organization expects the total population to rise even if fertility levels go down. And while China currently has the most people of any country, the UN estimates India will surpass China in around seven years. Related: Earth’s population just hit 7.5 billion people Of the world’s 10 largest countries, Nigeria is growing the fastest. The country is currently the world’s seventh largest but the UN estimates they will surpass the United States to become the world’s third largest country just before 2050. And between now and 2050, around half of all the population growth on Earth will be centered in only nine countries: Nigeria, India, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the United States. The new report doesn’t just cover the amount of people in the world. It addresses fertility, life expectancy, and refugee movement. For example, fertility has fallen in almost all the areas of the world, even in Africa. One exception is Europe. A reduction in fertility has led to an aging population. Meanwhile life expectancy has risen globally from 65 to 69 years for men and 69 to 73 years for women, although the UN noted large disparities between countries in those figures. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division put out the June 21 report. The organization says the statistics could help agencies better work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Via the United Nations Images via Guillaume on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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UN releases inconceivable new estimate of Earth’s 2050 population

INTERVIEW: Meet Eric Lundgren, who broke the world record for EV range with a car made from trash

June 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Eric Lundgren, the founder and CEO of e-waste recycling company ITAP , recently beat the electric vehicle driving range of a Tesla with a car made from trash and powered by repurposed Nintendo batteries. (Well, technically not just Nintendo batteries but Lenovo laptop and Time Warner cable box batteries too.) But how did he accomplish the seemingly impossible? Read on for our exclusive interview. “It’s not magic. We just put a larger battery in a lighter frame. It’s that simple,” Lundgren explained in a recent interview with Inhabitat. “We basically put a 130 kilowatt hours battery pack in a car that weighs a little bit less than a Tesla.” Related: ‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars Lundgren is a pioneer in hybrid recycling — reusing the components in broken electronics or outdated electronics so that they don’t end up in toxic landfills. His trash car — the Phoenix — broke the world record for longest EV range last month, outlasting a Tesla Model S P100D on a round-trip from L.A. to San Diego. His team had already set the EV range record but Guinness didn’t accept the results because of missing film footage of the event so they gave it another go with cameras on for the entire race. They built the Phoenix in 35 days at a cost of $13,000 using 88 percent consumer waste. The $150,000 Tesla died at 318 miles while the trash car set the new world record — 382.3 miles on a single charge. Related: Electric cars could reach cost parity with conventional cars by next year In our interview (edited for clarity), Lundgren talks about how despite his success with electric vehicle range, his passion lies in making hybrid recycling widely accepted in society. Inhabitat: What motivated you to build the Phoenix and beat the EV world range record? Eric Lundgren: I’m all about hybrid recycling. The Phoenix was a way to demonstrate hybrid recycling. That was the purpose. I don’t want to become a car manufacturer. I want to do hybrid recycling and the Phoenix was a great demonstration. Inhabitat: What materials did you use to build the Phoenix? Lundgren: It is the most environmental car ever built with the lowest carbon footprint. The chassis of the car came from a scrap yard. It was about to get crushed and we dragged it out of the scrap yard. It didn’t even have wheels on it. We put wheels on it. We took out everything. Converted it to an EV. And we put used batteries – basically trash batteries – in it. The controller came off of a forklift. The blinker came off of a bicycle. The car itself is two 1997 BMW 528is that we frankensteined together to make one car. Inhabitat: What is the connection to hybrid recycling? Lundgren: We used garbage. We used all garbage, all old technology. All things that our consumer world said were trash and have zero value. And we built something that is the most valuable because it just beat a world record. So we’re demonstrating the value in garbage and trying to educate the public and corporations to start practicing hybrid recycling, which is a way of saving that value rather than destroying it. Inhabitat: It is amazing how badly you beat the Tesla. Lundgren: We took 35 days to build it. Tesla took a year-and-a-half to build their car. Tesla’s research and development cost was $1.4 billion. Our R&D cost: I paid my engineers in Keystone Light beer. Our car has one-tenth the carbon footprint ratio of a Tesla. Inhabitat: The number one issue with EVs is range anxiety. You would think that Tesla would want to increase their range. Lundgren: If Tesla increased their range, are you willing to pay an extra $30,000 for an extra hundred miles? My guess is they did some sort of marketing survey and realized that at 300 miles people are not willing to pay more money for longer range so they stopped there and the world says ‘oh, they must have stopped there because that’s the best that a car can do.’ Well I just proved that that’s not true. I just proved that cars can do more. Inhabitat: What are your objectives regarding the EV industry and hybrid recycling? Lundgren: My goal is to push the EV industry to produce cars that people want to buy so that we can get off of fossil fuel. My other goal is to demonstrate hybrid recycling so that companies like Tesla send dead battery packs to a hybrid recycler that can actually salvage the good parts out of them to build something new – rather than what they currently do, which is send them to a company in Canada, which smelts the battery pack for its commodity value. That’s bringing all the value in a pack down to its lowest common denominator. Inhabitat: What are you working on next? Lundgren: We’re going to build the largest repurposed battery pack for my facilities. All the power from my recycling is going to come from solar panels that go to a giant solar power array that runs my entire factory that produces batteries from trash. So in other words, my processing facility is going to be run from the sun to garbage batteries. That’s what is going to power my entire processing facility within the next six weeks. Inhabitat: You are building an electric semi truck to compete with Elon Musk’s Tesla Semi? Lundgren: In September Elon Musk releases his electric semi . In November, I’m releasing an electric semi that costs a fraction of the price of his, goes 55 miles further and is built from basically consumer waste. I don’t know what his semi is going to cost. My guess is it is going to cost around $300,000 or $400,000. My semi is going to cost $60,000 – and it will go farther than his. Inhabitat: Any thoughts on the era of affordable electric vehicles about to begin with the upcoming release of the Tesla Model 3 ? Lundgren: I truly believe that the world is going to go EV . I truly believe that the world is going to utilize lithium to get away from burning coal and to get away from all of these other primitive ways that we produce and use power, and transport ourselves today. We need to evolve as a society – and electric vehicles are a way to do that – but the recycling of those vehicles is just as important as the manufacturing. It doesn’t get enough attention. People don’t realize what happens to things when they just discard them. We need to start worrying about efficiency on the back end so we can become more efficient on the front end. Inhabitat: And where do you see hybrid recycling going? Lundgren: In the future, electronics of any type – whether it be an electric car or a laptop or tablet or cell phone or server router, you name it – all of that product is going to be reused very similar to how a chop shop in the auto industry works. If your car has a flat tire, you don’t throw away your car. And if you do, then they salvage every other working part. Let’s say you blow an engine — the chop shop salvages the catalytic converter and the exhaust and the windshield and the transmission and all the other parts. But in electronics today we throw it all away. We’re at a point where hybrid recycling is going to kick off. It’s going to become huge. Nobody understands it, so this car [the Phoenix] is a great demonstration for it. + ITAP Images via Jehu Garcia [Editor’s note: Lundgren was sentenced after we completed this interview to serve 15 months in federal prison for distributing free software (computer restore Freeware) in order to divert computers from landfills and empower consumers to fix their property. He is currently appealing the sentence.]

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INTERVIEW: Meet Eric Lundgren, who broke the world record for EV range with a car made from trash

Renewables will reign supreme by 2040, latest BNEF report shows

June 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Renewable energy is on track to take over the world, if Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)’s predictions are correct. This month they released their annual New Energy Outlook (NEO) report, which reveals 51 percent of the world’s power generation could come from renewables by 2040. During the next 23 years, 72 percent of the $10.2 trillion spent on new power generation will go into solar power and wind power . The future sure looks bright for renewable energy. NEO 2017 lead author Seb Henbest said their report indicates “the greening of the world’s electricity system is unstoppable” as costs for wind and solar continue to plummet. Batteries will also play a role in the shift of the world from polluting fuels to clean ones. Related: Dropping costs in renewable tech spurs rapid shift to clean energy Coal is on its way out, if the NEO 2017 predictions are correct. The BNEF team wrote in Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, and the United States, solar is at least as cheap as coal, and in just a few years – by 2021 – it will be less expensive than coal in Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom, China, and India. And while the report suggests 51 percent of the world’s power could come from renewables in 2040, Greentech Media pointed out that’s an average. Some countries could get more than 51 percent energy from renewables – countries like Mexico, Italy, Brazil, and Chile could get as much as 80 percent of their energy from clean sources. Wind and solar on their own will account for more than 50 percent of power in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Mexico. Green technology adoption – like rooftop solar – will be on the rise. Electric vehicles will “bolster electricity use and help balance the grid .” Henbest told Greentech Media, “The cost declines that we are seeing with these technologies are so steep that it becomes a matter of time as to when they start crossing over and becoming competitive in different ways. These things are getting cheaper faster than we thought even a year ago.” Via Bloomberg New Energy Finance ( 1 , 2 ) and Greentech Media Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Renewables will reign supreme by 2040, latest BNEF report shows

Seattle’s beloved Space Needle slated for much-needed makeover

June 21, 2017 by  
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Seattle ‘s famed Space Needle – a 55 year-old icon – is finally getting a much-needed makeover. Helmed by local architect Olson Kundig , the ambitious project will update the structure’s physical systems while renovating the restaurant with a rotating glass floor. In addition, a slanted, all-glass enclosure will be installed around the observation deck to enhance the already stellar views. Space Needle Chairman Jeff Wright, whose family owns the building, hailed the project as a necessity to keep the famed landmark up-to-date: “I believe we’ll look back at this as a pivotal moment in the history of the Space Needle. This project both connects us back to our roots, to the vision that my father and his partners had when they built the Space Needle in 1962, and guides us forward into the future for generations to enjoy.” Related: Olson Kundig Designs Office Made From Wind Turbine Parts In addition to renovated structural elements and more elevators, the proposal calls for adding lots more glass to the beloved structure. The walls surrounding the observation deck, which currently has a cage-like enclosure, will be replaced with massive floor-to-ceiling glass panels to provide uninhibited views of the Puget Sound . A rotating, all-glass floor in the restaurant will give visitors a view of Seattle from above. Although there is no specific time frame for the project, the privately-funded renovation will most likely take years. However, the revamped restaurant and observation deck are slated to be opened by summer of 2018. + Olson Kundig Via Fast Company Images via Olson Kundig and video via Brooklyn Digital Foundry

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Seattle’s beloved Space Needle slated for much-needed makeover

Architects transform 150-year-old Slovenian hay barn into a stunning contemporary home

June 21, 2017 by  
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Slovenian firm Styria Arhitektura worked pure architectural magic by transforming a 150-year-old hay barn into a gorgeous contemporary home. After carefully gutting the old barn, the architects salvaged as many materials as they could to create an amazing residence that preserves the building’s traditional vernacular. Although the existing structure was almost completely dilapidated on the inside, the architects decided to retain as much as the barn’s original materials as possible to “preserve the cultural heritage of the Slovene countryside”. They began the ambitious process by organizing the structural details, such as wooden beams and oak nails, to be repurposed in the finished design, now reborn as the Vrhe House. Related: Architects transform an old hay barn into a stunning minimalist home To rebuild the structure as a home, the architects decided to shift the location to a more appropriate “landscape coordinated base” that would give the home more stability. The new home, which retains the original barn shape , is situated on the same expansive meadow, but with an improved orientation. A large, bright living space now sits over a half basement, nestled into the landscape. Although the exterior pays homage to the rural vernacular of the area, the interior of the home is thoroughly modern. A minimalist interior design theme runs throughout the home, which is enhanced by the exposed ceiling beams and other wooden features. The architects clad the interior of the home’s wooden frame with glass panels and installed a large skylight in the ceiling to let in as much natural light as possible throughout the home. + Styria Arhitektura Via Ambienti TV Photography by Miran Kambi?

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Architects transform 150-year-old Slovenian hay barn into a stunning contemporary home

Volkswagen confirms it’s bringing back the Microbus

June 21, 2017 by  
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Volkswagen has been teasing Microbus fans for years about the idea of introducing a new Microbus. Back in 2001 the first Microbus concept brought back nostalgic memories of the 1960s and then more recently VW teased us again with the Bulli concept and this year with the I.D. Buzz concept . Even though the earlier concepts never lead to production models, the I.D. Buzz concept is now definitely headed to the production line – reportedly. Auto Express spoke with VW CEO Herbert Diess, who confirmed that the new Microbus is in VW’s future production plans. While the new Microbus will recall memories of the iconic Microbus from the 1960’s, it will differ from the original by having an electric powertrain — like the concept. Related: Volkswagen previews I.D. Crozz, its 2020 electric SUV “Emotional cars are very important for the brand,” Herbert Diess revealed. “We are selling loads of Beetles still, particularly in US markets. But we will also have the Microbus that we showed, which we have recently decided we will build.” It’s expected that the Microbus will be based on the new MEB platform that will be the basis for all of VW’s new electric models. The final design will be tweaked a bit, but it will draw cues from the I.D. Buzz concept that debuted earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show . VW’s Design Boss Oliver Stefani also hinted at the idea of the new Microbus, “With the MEB platform this is the chance now to get the proportions back. But you can also get much more interior space, almost one class higher.” Even though we have confirmation that the Microbus is coming back, we still don’t know when. The first model from the new MEB platform isn’t expected to arrive until 2020, so we can expect the Microbus to arrive sometime after the new electric hatchback . When it does arrive, expect the new electric Microbus to have a driving range around 300 miles. Via Auto Express + VW Images @VW

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Volkswagen confirms it’s bringing back the Microbus

Peek inside Bloombergs sustainable new headquarters in London

June 21, 2017 by  
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Former Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg’s eponymous company is moving into the heart of London with the help of Foster + Partners . The renowned British architecture firm designed the new 3.2-acre Bloomberg site with approximately 500,000 square feet of sustainable office space illuminated with natural light and naturally ventilated with a large living green wall. Set to open this autumn, Bloomberg’s new European headquarters focuses on the creation of healthy, collaborative workspaces. “Our people are our most important asset,” said Bloomberg in a statement. “I wanted to create a unique, sustainable building where our 4,000 London employees would come to work every morning inspired to connect, collaborate and innovate. I believe in openness. This building takes that to a new level – there’s nothing like it in the world.” In addition to office space, the new Bloomberg headquarters will include two public plazas featuring custom art, a restaurant arcade built upon an ancient Roman travel route, and a cultural hub that links the ancient Roman Temple of Mithras to its original site. Related: First Apple Store in Southeast Asia is 100% powered by renewable energy The interior features open-plan layouts connected with a spiral ramp spanning seven floors in the nine-story building. An atrium ceiling funnels light deep into the building. Workspaces feature bespoke desk designs arranged in circular pods around a central table to promote collaborative working. Each desk also has an adjustable standing feature and upholstered pedestal to allow people to sit and work side by side. The building’s central hub on the sixth floor features a double-height column-free “pantry” with views of St Paul’s Cathedral and functions as a space for impromptu meetings over food and drink. + Foster + Partners Images by dbox, ChopsMoxie, and Foster + Partners

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Peek inside Bloombergs sustainable new headquarters in London

Cleverly layered compact dirt walls mimic ice cream cakes in this Tokyo patisserie

June 21, 2017 by  
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Dirt may seem an odd material choice for an upscale patisserie in Tokyo , but design studio nendo playfully pulls it off with style. The Japanese designers layered compacted soils of varying colors to mimic the layers of an ice cream cake. The earth walls lend the “à tes souhaits!” shop a sense of warmth and contrast beautifully with the glass-and-steel facade. Located in the trendy Kichijoji neighborhood in Tokyo, à tes souhaits! is a small and elegant shop specializing in ice cream and chocolates . The earth walls comprise stacked soils of varying shades arranged in a staggered pattern to look like cut slices of ice cream cake with different flavors. “The wall guides people into the shop by the soft curvature from the outer wall, and then creates a gentle all-enveloping effect, like melted ice cream, all the way into the back of the shop,” writes nendo. “This created a relaxing ambience, taking advantage of the compactness of the space.” Related: Ancient Japanese tombs inspire nendo’s first public space design Since the new patisserie is the second location of à tes souhaits!, Nendo wanted to differentiate the two shops. The flagship uses bright lighting with mostly white surfaces and hard materials like marble and metal. In contrast, the new location uses a subdued color palette and softer lighting to complement the dominant use of wood and soil . + Nendo Images by Takumi Ota

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Cleverly layered compact dirt walls mimic ice cream cakes in this Tokyo patisserie

South America’s first luxury sleeper train is a traveler’s dream come true

June 20, 2017 by  
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Travelers looking to explore Peru in style can now jump aboard South America’s first luxury sleeper train – the Belmond Andean Explorer . The train’s interior was designed by London-based Muza Lab to pay homage to the golden age of train travel, enhanced with vibrant colors and textures inspired by the local Peruvian culture and landscape. According to the founder of Muza Lab, Inge Moore, the train’s interior is designed to take travelers back to another age of train travel: “We design journeys, and with Belmond Andean Explorer, we have distilled the romance, nostalgia and freedom of the train voyage. The train is a place of transition where time seems to slow down between the departure and the arrival. Our vision was to design somewhere to ponder and dream, a space where the beauty of the land can infuse the soul.” Related: You won’t believe the interior of Japan’s jaw-dropping new train Although the name and the design of the Belmond Andean Explorer are new, the 16-carriage train was originally the Great South Pacific Express. During the renovation process, the design team worked hard to renovate the space while retaining some elements out of respect for train’s long history. The train’s original timber walls were painted soft, neutral tones to help create an open, airy feel that runs throughout the interior. However, it’s not quite a minimalist color palette; touches of vibrant colors and varying textures are found throughout the train thanks to the various Peruvian crafts and artistry that were found locally. In fact, most of the design touches were locally sourced – from the timber floors and roman blinds to the hand-crafted woven textiles. The sleeper cabins were designed to provide a luxurious travel experience. Once again using local culture for inspiration, each cabin is named after Peruvian flora and fauna. In addition to the comfortable beds and soft Saffiano leather seats, vibrant tapestries can be found in each car as well as baby alpaca blankets for extra chilly nights. Even the smallest detail speaks to the country’s rich culture, such as the brass room keys in the shape of the Chakana Cross – a symbol of the Incan civilization as well as the train’s crest. Outside of the private sleeper cars , guests can also enjoy watching the beautiful landscape pass by from the rounded outdoor deck of the Observation Car, called Ichu after the tall grasses that grow on the Peruvian plains. There are also two dining cars, a serene spa, and an old-world piano bar named after the herb Maca. + Muza Lab + Belmond Andean Explorer

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South America’s first luxury sleeper train is a traveler’s dream come true

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