Washington’s wolf population is down to 122 after a pack is shot by state hunters

August 21, 2019 by  
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Washington’s wolf population has dropped to 122 after a pack of four were killed by state hunters on August 16 near a ranch in rural Ferry County. The incident has environmentalists up in arms as they believe the deaths of these wolves benefit this particular ranch. Sam Montgomery, a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, said that the hunters were inside a helicopter when they shot and killed the wolf pack. Related: Trump administration wants to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list “It’s unbelievably tragic that this wolf family has already been annihilated by the state,” Sophia Ressler of the Center for Biological Diversity, which tried to stop the incident, told the AP. “It seems like Washington’s wildlife agency is bent on wiping out the state’s wolves.” The ranch where the wolves were recently killed is no stranger to this particular pack of wolves — originally a group of 7 — as its livestock have been attacked, killed and hurt at least 29 times since 2018 as well as another nine times in the past four weeks, the state agency reported. Before the wolves were killed on Friday, the owner of the ranch tried using horse riders to scare the wolves before the choice was made to shoot them, the agency said. Wolves in Washington nearly disappeared entirely in the 1930s, primarily because of the growing cattle industry. They began returning about 15 years ago. Many of the gray wolves today are said to live in rural and mountainous regions of northeastern Washington. They have also been seen roaming the Cascade Range. In the past, Washington has approved the killing of wolf packs if they have attacked cattle, but activists believe annihilating the animals won’t protect livestock. In the end, conservationists suggest other control methods, such as better management systems, to deter the wolves from preying on cattle. Via The Guardian and Associated Press Image via Krystal Hamlin

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Washington’s wolf population is down to 122 after a pack is shot by state hunters

Are bioplastics better for the environment or a waste of time?

August 21, 2019 by  
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There has been massive pushback against the use of plastics over the past few years, including single-use plastic bans in cities all over the world. Industrial entrepreneurs have responded to these mounting concerns with a new product that seems like the perfect solution– bioplastic. It looks and feels like plastic, but its made from plants, so it’s good for the environment, right? Turns out, the answer is much more complicated and likely just another case of greenwashing . What are bioplastics? Traditional plastic is a petroleum-derived product that is made from fossil fuels. In fact, 8 percent of all oil is used for the production of plastic. Bioplastic, on the other hand, is made at least partly from plant-based materials. There are two subcategories of bioplastics that are important to understand: Bio-based plastics These plastics are entirely or partially made from plant-based materials. Most are made from sugarcane that is processed in industrial ethanol facilities, but some bioplastics use corn and other plant materials. The plant materials are used in a lab to create chemical compounds that are identical to petroleum-based compounds. For example, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) can be made from either plant or petroleum products, but the end material is the same and it is not biodegradable. “There are a lot of bioplastics or materials that are called bioplastics that are not biodegradable,” said Constance Ißbrücker, the lead for environmental affairs at European Bioplastics. There are two main types of bioplastic produced: polyactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). PLA is made from plant sugars, while PHA is made from microbes that produce the substance when they are deprived of nutrients. Related: A guide to the different types of plastic Biodegradable plastics Biodegradable plastics are typically plant-based items that can be broken down by microbes within a reasonable time frame. All biodegradable plastics, however, require very specific conditions within an industrial composting facility. Otherwise, these so-called “biodegradable plastics” also function like petroleum-based plastic and remain in the environment for hundreds of years. What are the benefits of bioplastics? Although they aren’t perfect, many environmental and waste experts still believe bioplastics have the potential to reduce our negative impact on the environment. Here are a few of the main benefits of bioplastics: Bioplastics reduce fossil fuel demand Since bioplastics are made from plant-based materials instead of fossil fuels , their rising popularity means less oil extraction specifically for the purpose of producing plastic. Bioplastics are less toxic Despite their chemical similarity, bioplasitcs do not contain bisphenol A (BPA) which is known to be a toxic hormone disrupter. BPA is commonly found in conventional plastics, although it is increasingly avoided. Bioplastics support rural, agrarian economies Oil is concentrated in just a few countries and controlled by major corporations but plants, on the other hand, are everywhere. For this reason, it is believed that bioplastics support a more equitable and distributed economy. Who would you rather give your money to, a wealthy oil executive or a farmer ? Related: How to easily make your own reusable produce bags What are the drawbacks? Bioplastics require monocultures While you might feel better about supporting agriculture instead of the oil execs, there is still a lot of controversy about industrial agriculture and the use of land for plastic production. Currently, only 0.02 percent of agricultural land is used to supply bioplastic factories, but with the rising interest and demand, the percentage of land use is expected to rise. If the bioplastic industry expands into more agricultural land, some worry it will take over land that is needed to feed the world population. In addition to the threat to food security, the spread of monoculture crops like sugar and corn wreck havoc on natural ecosystems. The conversion of land to agriculture causes deforestation, desertification, loss of biodiversity and habitat, and increased pressure on limited water reserves. So these new straws aren’t saving the seas? Many people have seen the photos of sea turtles suffocating from a plastic straw stuck in their nose. In fact, these images were so powerful it further convinced people to ditch straws and opt for the biodegradable plastic straw, which we all thought would surely save the sea turtles without getting soggy in an iced coffee. Unfortunately, all biodegradable plastics can only biodegrade in industrial composting facilities, where temperatures reach a consistent 136 degrees Fahrenheit. And if your town doesn’t have those facilities, these new “green” straws are no better than regular straws in terms of threatening marine life. In other words, they don’t breakdown in the open environment and they don’t break down in the sea. Frederik Wurm , a plastic chemist, believes drinking straws made from PLA are “the perfect example for greenwashing.” They cost the vendor more money and they don’t break down on the beach or in the ocean. Some PHA materials have been found to break down on the seafloor, but the efficacy depends on the environment. Although it only took two weeks to breakdown in the tropics, it took months in colder climates and might never break down in the Arctic. Innovation and investment are imperative Given the surging popularity of bioplastics and biodegradable plastics, there is a need for increased investigation and investment in the industry. The best tool against the overwhelming challenge of climate change is human innovation. New products that aren’t just greenwashing but are actually sustainable are needed and may be possible with demand for more research. “This is a field right now for entrepreneurial investors. There’s no shortage of incredible opportunity for alternatives that are marine degradable, that don’t overtax the land and our food production system,” said Dune Ives , founder of an environmental nonprofit focused on business solutions. Via Undark Images via Flickr , Wikimedia Commons

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Luminous Bear Run Cabin offers dramatic views of the Cascade Mountains in Washington

December 8, 2017 by  
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The Bear Run Cabin in Marblemount, Washington, captures the dual nature of the surrounding landscape – the dramatic peaks of the Cascade Mountains and the gently sloping adjacent woodlot. The building, designed by David Coleman Architecture , is carved into the site, with two volumes standing in a yin-yang relationship. The cabin occupies a rain-drenched site in the rugged, northwestern foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Its western terrace is carved into the site, and it leads towards a soaking tub set behind a glass wall . The south-eastern porch and monumental stair, both covered by a soaring roof, rise above the site and offer shelter from the rain and summer sun. Related: Son builds modern dream cabin from recycled materials for his aging father The house is extremely flexible – in the summer the living space expands onto porches and terraces while retaining its efficiency and compactness in the winter. The 890-square-foot cabin accommodates a living room, a bath, and a sleeping loft clad in frameless glass, while the 1000-square-foot studio houses a music room, a workshop and a guest loft. Related: Affordable Polycarbonate Cabin is a light-filled vacation home in Chile The west wall is clad in a polycarbonate skin that illuminates the interior with a soft glow during the day. This same wall lights up in a dramatic display at night. The project won the GRAY Awards — the first regional awards program to celebrate design exclusively from Washington , Oregon and British Columbia. + David Coleman Architecture Photos by Ben Benschneider

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Luminous Bear Run Cabin offers dramatic views of the Cascade Mountains in Washington

Bercy Chen Studio’s Cylindrical Boat House in Austin Has its Own Waterfall

May 10, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Bercy Chen Studio’s Cylindrical Boat House in Austin Has its Own Waterfall Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architecture , cascade , Daylighting , elliptical , glazed , lake , Oshatz Architects , Shore Vista Boat Dock , texas , water issues        

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Bercy Chen Studio’s Cylindrical Boat House in Austin Has its Own Waterfall

Schwartz Besnosoff & SO Architecture Unveil Plans For Jerusalem’s New Museum of Nature and Science

March 7, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Schwartz Besnosoff & SO Architecture Unveil Plans For Jerusalem’s New Museum of Nature and Science Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Air quality , Architecture , cascade , crossed ventilation , Daylighting , green roof , Israel , Jerusalem , Museum of Nature and Science , natural light , Schwartz Besnosoff , SO Architecture

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Schwartz Besnosoff & SO Architecture Unveil Plans For Jerusalem’s New Museum of Nature and Science

Design Your Own Paper Lamps with Mostlikely’s Animal-Shaped Lampshades

March 7, 2013 by  
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Vienna-based agency  Mostlikely  made an impact in 2012 with its massive ‘ Of Donkeys and Basilisks ’ paper sculpture that was made using nearly 4,000 paper forms. Now, the team is using their paper magic to create DIY paper lampshades. The lampshades come in a variety of animal shapes, or you can request a custom design to suit your unique style. Read the rest of Design Your Own Paper Lamps with Mostlikely’s Animal-Shaped Lampshades Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: animal lamps , Animals decor , DIY Art , DIY decor , diy lighting , DIY Origami Lampshades , green design ideas , Green lampshades , mostlikely basilisk , mostlikely DIY Lampshades , mostlikely lampshades , origami lamps , paper lampshades

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Design Your Own Paper Lamps with Mostlikely’s Animal-Shaped Lampshades

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