United Nations rejects youth activist climate petition

October 19, 2021 by  
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The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child declined to rule on a complaint filed by youth activists from twelve countries. The young adults claimed that Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey have violated children’s rights by failing to control carbon emissions, despite knowing about the perils of climate change. The panel told the activists that they should have brought their cases to national courts. The self-dubbed “Children vs. the Climate Crisis” insist there’s not time for lengthy court cases; they need to take their case to the top. The youth come from twelve countries: Argentina , Brazil, France, Germany, India, Palau, Marshall Islands, Nigeria, South Africa, Sweden, Tunisia and the United States. Some countries, such as the Marshall Islands , are especially pressed for time — their chain of ancient submerged volcanoes may be under the rising seas by 2035. Related: “Climate shocks” threaten over half of Earth’s children “The truth is that I’m doing this because I feel like I haven’t been left a choice and this is the only way for me to not feel guilty,” said 18-year-old French climate activist Iris Duquesne as reported by EcoWatch. “The shame of having the possibility to do something and not doing it is too big. This is the main motivation for all youth climate activists, this and anger. Anger to feel left behind, not listened to and simply left alone.” The petition in question was filed in 2019 by 16 activists who ranged in age from eight to 17 at the time. The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child monitors 196 signatories of a 1989 convention declaring the civil, cultural, economic and political rights of children unassailable. Of these, 48 countries agreed to allow children to take action to fix violations. The five countries named in the petition are part of this subset. Environmental and human rights attorneys from Hausfeld and Earthjustice are representing the youth activists. The lawyers said in a statement that the committee’s decision, announced October 11, “delivered a rebuke to young people around the world who are demanding immediate action on the climate crisis. In dismissing the case, the Committee told children that climate change is a dire global emergency , but the UN’s doors are closed to them.” However, the kids had some wins. The committee acknowledged that states are legally responsible for emis s ions that cause harm beyond their borders, and that the youth are indeed victims of climate-related threats to their health, life and culture. These findings could significantly influence future litigation. Via Washington Post and EcoWatch Lead image via Pexels

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United Nations rejects youth activist climate petition

Natural Pod furniture takes a different approach to learning

September 9, 2021 by  
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Education is a universal issue. Bridgitte Alomes, the founder and CEO of Natural Pod, has her own approach to learning . She created an idea book designed for Indigenous learners. Her idea blends creative learning, play-based curriculums and Indigenous teaching philosophies. The “Indigenous Learners Ideabook” has solutions for creative learning environments using natural, sustainably harvested wood furniture. In Alomes’s words, “sustainability is built into everything we do.” Related: Heirloom Design provides furniture that may never see a landfill When Alomes’s son had a bad reaction to the environment where he was learning, she started to think about the materials inside classrooms . What are the potential risks to children learning in environments filled with manufactured, heavily processed items and potentially outdated building practices? What’s in the paint on the walls? What are the desks where your child sits made of? What chemicals are used to clean these buildings? There are a lot of factors that go into creating a learning environment. Once you start asking questions about that environment, the answers can get a little scary. This is how Natural Pod began. Alomes started Natural Pod to create natural furniture specifically made for learning environments. The furniture is designed with children in mind. Based in British Columbia, Canada , Natural Pod furniture is made with natural wood. All the wood comes from trees harvested using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified source material. Natural Pod’s products are also all ethically manufactured and made with soy -based adhesives and non-toxic varnishes. The entire process is geared toward sustainable construction and eco-responsibility. Products are made to order, not as a mass production. They’re also packed in custom-built crates so orders can be flat-packed. This helps Natural Pod minimize waste . The brand focuses on grades K-12, as well as school principals, teachers and district leaders. During the pandemic , Natural Pod also consulted with schools to help reconfigure learning environments. + Natural Pod Images via Natural Pod

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Natural Pod furniture takes a different approach to learning

MIT innovation may make fusion energy a reality soon

September 9, 2021 by  
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Commercially viable fusion energy may soon be a reality, following the successful trial of a new superconducting magnetic field. On September 5, scientists at MIT tested a large high-temperature electromagnet for the first time to gauge its strength. The first-of-its-kind magnetic field successfully demonstrated that it was possible to generate commercially viable fusion energy. For decades, scientists have been trying to find a way of capturing fusion energy. The problem has always been the inability to capture more energy than is used. Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), an MIT startup company, is the first firm in the world to achieve this. Related: DC Microgrids, building infrastructure for energy’s future “Fusion in a lot of ways is the ultimate clean energy source,” said Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research and E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics. “The amount of power that is available is really game-changing.” Water helps fuels the creation of fusion energy, and “the Earth is full of water — it’s a nearly unlimited resource. We just have to figure out how to utilize it.” In light of the successful demonstration, MIT and CFS are collaborating to build the world’s first fusion device. The demonstration device known as SPARC is scheduled to be completed by 2025. Fusion is what powers the sun. The process involves merging two small atoms into one, which generates an enormous amount of energy. The problem with this process has always been that replicating it on Earth requires higher temperatures than most materials can hold. To solve the problem, scientists use intense magnetic fields to form an “invisible bottle” that contains “the hot swirling soup of protons and electrons.” The MIT innovation introduces changes to the type of magnetic fields used in containing fusion atoms. The project used high- temperature superconductors, which helped create higher magnetic fields in a smaller space. Traditional technology requires a much larger apparatus to create this same kind of magnetic field. The design was made possible due to a new kind of superconducting material becoming commercially available a few years ago. If the process is successful, fusion energy will be able to replace traditional energy sources and get rid of the stubborn carbon emissions problem. Via MIT Lead image via Gretchen Ertl, CFS/MIT-PSFC, 2021

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Anti-logging protests make history in Canada

September 9, 2021 by  
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More than 866 protesters against old-growth logging have been arrested in western Canada since April. These protests are now the biggest act of civil disobedience in the country’s history. The main issue of contention is Vancouver Island’s disappearing ancient forests. The situation on the island has been worsened by police brutality towards protestors. The police have responded to protesters by pepper-spraying, beating and dragging them. The number of arrests has already surpassed those made in the 90s during the anti- logging “War in the Woods” protests. Related: Monarch butterfly population declines due to climate change and logging Protestors have locked themselves to the logging road, chained themselves on tripod stands made from logs, suspended themselves in trees and locked their arms in devices known as sleeping dragons, which are cemented to the ground. In June, British Columbia announced a two-year logging moratorium. Protestors want a permanent ban, but the government has been reluctant to acquiesce. Jean-François Savard, one of the protestors who has been at the campsite since April, said, “We have experts in rigging, we have climbers, we have carpenters – we have all these people getting together to build amazing, beautiful things.” Savard added, “The [police] are getting very frustrated by our tenacity because we’re constantly rebuilding and coming up with new ideas. People aren’t giving up.” Police have recently been criticized for their handling of the situation. They are accused of hiding their faces and not wearing name badges. They have also barred the media from reporting on the protests despite a court ruling this unlawful. Those at the camps say that their resolve is only growing. They are determined to protect the remaining forests . One of the protestors, Warren Kimmit, said they are willing to put their bodies on the line. “The civil disobedience movement is very simple. We put our bodies on the line, we almost expect to be injured, we expect to be in a very uncomfortable situation,” said Kimmit. “Our willingness to do that is what causes the public to see our commitment to a cause, to rally them and to put pressure on the government to act.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Anti-logging protests make history in Canada

Origami-inspired clothing line that grows with kids wins Dyson award

September 7, 2017 by  
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The cost of keeping a growing child clothed is oftentimes staggering, which is why this expanding origami-inspired range of children’s clothing was awarded this year’s UK  James Dyson award . Ryan Yasin, frustrated by the waste in the children’s clothing industry, used scientific principles he studied for his degree in aeronautical engineering to produce incredible clothing that grows with the child who wears it. The origami-inspired line is called Petit Pli, and the London-based postgraduate describes it as “the most advanced kids’ clothing in the world.” The clothing is made from distinctive pleated lightweight fabric which is machine washable, waterproof and recyclable . One article of clothing will fit a three-month-old until he or she is three years old. According to a recent survey by Aviva , parents spend an average £2,000 on clothing before their child reaches the age of three. This is because most children grow seven sizes in their first two years of life. Not only does mass production of garments put huge pressure on the environment through waste, water consumption, and carbon emissions , it takes a toll on parents’ wallets. The Guardian reports that the trousers and tops Yasin designed mimic version of sought-after clothing by legendary Japans designer Issey Miyake . However, Yasin’s version can be worn for years and are incredibly durable. The Petit Pli clothing line employs the negative Poisson’s ratio, which Yasin studied at London’s Imperial College. Materials that have this ratio (known as auxetics) become thicker and can expand in two directions at the same time.So far, the designer has created more than 500 prototypes for Petit Pli and intends to use his £2,000 ($2,615.63 USD) prize money from the Dyson award to partner with investors and expand the business. Reportedly, he is in talks with major retailers in the UK and hopes to sell the clothing in stores within a few months. Related: James Dyson Wants to Use His Famous Vacuum Technology to Clean Rivers Said Yasin, “It’s just great to have that backing and recognition of my solution. The prize money is an added bonus, but I know how I will use it. In addition to supporting my R&D, it will help me form an interdisciplinary team of experts to take Petit Pli to the next level: putting it in the hands of parents worldwide and making a tangible difference to the way we consume resources in the fashion industry .” The designer will keep the garments at an affordable price while ensuring everyone along the supply chain is paid ethically . The Petit Pli line will now be entered into the international competition of the James Dyson Award. Winners will be announced in October, and the top invention will receive £30,000 ($39,225.00 USD) in prize money. + Petit Pli Via The Guardian Images via Petit Pli 

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Origami-inspired clothing line that grows with kids wins Dyson award

Colorful hut made of 2,500 LEGO-like bricks invites visitors to return to their childhood

September 7, 2017 by  
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Montpellier’s summer  Festival des Architectures Vives is a fun annual event that sees various architectural installations from emerging designers tucked into various courtyards around the city. This year’s exhibitions are all unique, but one funky hut made of 2,500 plastic bricks brings some vibrant color to the event. Created by Atelier Micromega , La Madeleine is a large cube structure that invites adults and kids alike to explore its LEGO-inspired fun. The yearly event is aimed at fostering the relationship between historic urban environments and contemporary architecture . Every year, various teams of young architects and designers install their unique installations in the city’s many courtyards. The 2017 edition is showcasing ten emerging design firms whose work was designed to reflect this year’s theme of “emotion.” Related: These LEGO-like recycled plastic bricks create sturdy homes for just $5,200 Atelier Micromega, whose team includes five young architects, installed La Madeleine in hopes of bringing visitors back to their childhood. Thousands of colorful plastic bricks were used to create the hut, complete with an open-air skylight in the ceiling. Some of the bricks on the interior are interchangeable so visitors can modify the bricks to change the hut’s interior during their visit. According to the team, their design was inspired by nostalgia, “The installation rests on architecture, space and matter to play with our nostalgia. It invites the visitor to be moved by traveling through it, interacting with it, echoing his childhood memories. The smooth, perfect cube refers to adulthood. The world that it contains: evolutionary, creative and malleable appeals to the child, making the space of the cave his cabin.” After the event, all of the plastic bricks will be donated to several child-care facilities around Montpellier as well as the national charity organization, Les Restos du Coeur . + Atelier Microméga Via v2com Photography via Paul Kozlowski  

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Colorful hut made of 2,500 LEGO-like bricks invites visitors to return to their childhood

Wild chimpanzee mothers teaching offspring to use tools captured on video for first time

October 17, 2016 by  
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Scientists have long known that animals use tools, but now for the very first time they’ve captured wild chimpanzee mothers on video teaching their children to utilize them as well. Researchers led by Stephanie Musgrave of Washington University in St. Louis filmed chimpanzees in the Republic of Congo at Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park. Before the video it was rare to see primates teaching their young, according to the researchers , and the new findings have exciting ramifications. Chimpanzee mothers employed a few different techniques to teach their offspring how to use probes made from herbs for termite fishing. In one video, the mother split her tool and gave half to her child, and they began to fish for termites together. In another video, after a chimpanzee child couldn’t get any termites using a tool, a chimpanzee mother gave it the tool she had been using and then changed the child’s probe so she could use it herself. A third video showed a mother giving a child her own probe before she left to find materials to make another one. In addition, chimpanzee children were captured asking their mothers for the tools. Related: Help move hundreds of chimpanzees from labs to a safe haven in Georgia According to Musgrave, sharing tools as some of the chimpanzee mothers did allows their offspring to learn about the form and material for successful probes. The mothers aren’t able to forage as much themselves when they share tools, but the offspring get the opportunity to practice termite fishing. As the mothers experienced reduced ability to work for the benefit of their young, the researchers can say the chimpanzees were indeed teaching. Another satisfied criteria is the chimpanzee children’s termite fishing improved as a result of the teaching. Musgrave told The Independent, “Studying how young chimpanzees learn the tool skills particular to their group helps us to understand the evolutionary origins of culture and technology and to clarify how human cultural abilities are similar to or different from those of our closest relatives.” In early October, Scientific Reports published the research prepared by Musgrove and four other scientists from institutes, conservation societies, and universities from the United States, the Republic of Congo, and Germany. Via The Independent Images via Wikimedia Commons and screenshot

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Wild chimpanzee mothers teaching offspring to use tools captured on video for first time

11 brilliant ideas for family costumes that will blow you away

October 17, 2016 by  
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Halloween is just a couple of weeks away , so ghouls and goblins everywhere are getting ready to put on fabulous costumes and party it up ’til way past the witching hour. If you haven’t finalized ideas for your own family-themed costumes, don’t fret! There’s still plenty of time to put some great outfits together. In fact, here’s a look at some of the best family get-ups we’ve come across in recent years, from the Simpsons to the cast of Beetlejuice. It’s pretty amazing what you can assemble with a few household items and a bit of creativity, so hopefully these images will inspire some Halloweeny ideas for your own crew. Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skellington, Sally, Lock, Shock, and Barrel are all ready to celebrate the spookiest night of the year. If grandpa wants to get in on the fun as well, you can toss a burlap sack over him and have him growl all night as  Oogie Boogie .  Photo via Events to Celebrate Van Gogh and Starry Night This adorable duo channels Van Gogh and his most famous painting into a spectacular costume pairing. If parents and other siblings want to get in on the fun too, there can be additional paintings, or even a giant disembodied ear trundling around. Labyrinth This one’s a bit more involved, but if you’re handy with papier mache and have an old 80s prom dress on hand, you can totally channel   Ludo, Sara, Jareth, and goblin ball attendees   for a crew that’s fit to run through any Goblin Kingdom. The Simpsons What better way to get five kids into the Halloween spirit than dress them up as some of the world’s favorite, yellow-hued characters? Some bright yellow shirts and tights, some foam headpieces and styrofoam glasses, and voila! Star Wars Could this Star Wars-themed family  be any more awesome? They converted a stroller into R2-D2 so their little padawan could climb in and rest whenever needed. Gnomes! Some plaid shirts, red paper cone hats, and felt flowers are all you need to transform into a ridiculously adorable garden gnome family like this one that the Kammans put together. The Incredibles This costume set is as unbelievably cool as it is easy to make! Red tights and shirts are worn beneath black shorts, and then gloves + basic masks complete the look.  Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! This wasn’t one of our previous year’s entries (unfortunately!) but it’s absolutely brilliant. The Maitlands, Lydia Deetz, and Beetlejuice are all out in fine form, with costumes that are likely a combination of thrift shop finds and some papier mache sculpting. Via College Humor Walking Dead Family Photographer Carmen Farrell captured her family’s zombie-licious costumes on film. These will be great to show the kids once they’re in high school! Nesting Dolls Amber Sharipov came up with a brilliant ode to her Ukrainian heritage, dressing the whole family like an arrangement of traditional nesting dolls. To replicate this timeless ensemble, outline a dress shape from an already existing dress and a triangle for kerchiefs onto an old red flannel sheet and cut it out. Sew the sides, cut shoulder straps, and glue on embellishments. Paint on some rosy cheeks and you’ll have the most adorable ‘Matryoshkas’ on the block. Tetris This coordinating Tetris set is just brilliant. Not only are these costumes super-simple to make (just paint a few boxes and duct-tape them together), but every member of the family can be a piece that suits their size and shape… right down to the littlest cube. Creating family-themed costumes is a great way to celebrate this marvellously creepy  holiday together, and for most outfits, all that’s needed is a bit of ingenuity and craftiness. If you can slap together some papier mache , knot some yarn into a wig, and go nuts with a little stage makeup, you can come up with some pretty spectacular results. Be sure to take some fabulous photos if you’re planning to submit your group’s costumes to this year’s costume contest (high-res, landscape pictures that are at least 728px wide are best!) so get crafty and get your Halloween faces on! + Enter Inhabitat’s 2016 Halloween Costume Contest   

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11 brilliant ideas for family costumes that will blow you away

Talented dad builds amazing wheelchair costumes for kids in his non-profit Magic Wheelchair

October 9, 2016 by  
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Finding the perfect Halloween costume for your child can be a challenge, but more so for those who need to incorporate a wheelchair into the design. Crafty dad Ryan Weimer, however, was undaunted and transformed his son Keaton’s wheelchair into an amazing pirate ship. The costume was such a hit that Ryan was inspired to found Magic Wheelchair , a non-profit that makes incredible Halloween costumes for children in wheelchairs.

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Talented dad builds amazing wheelchair costumes for kids in his non-profit Magic Wheelchair

Criminal charges possible in Cincinnati Zoo gorilla Harambe’s death

June 1, 2016 by  
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Criminal charges may be possible after the death of Harambe, a 17-year-old Western lowland silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo . This past weekend, a four-year-old boy climbed a barrier and fell into the gorilla’s enclosure. The gorilla appeared to behave in a threatening manner, precipitating the decision of a zoo response team to shoot Harambe in order to rescue the child. In a statement released on their Facebook page, the zoo said they were ” devastated ” by Harambe’s death. Director Thane Maynard said, “We are heartbroken about losing Harambe, but a child’s life was in danger and a quick decision had to be made by our Dangerous Animal Response Team. Our first response was to call the gorillas out of the exhibit. The two females complied, but Harambe did not. It is important to note that with the child still in the exhibit, tranquilizing the 450-pound gorilla was not an option. Tranquilizers do not take effect for several minutes and the child was in imminent danger. On top of that, the impact from the dart could agitate the animal and cause the situation to get worse.” Related: Polar bears are getting dosed with Prozac to keep them calm in captivity Angered, some members of the public are calling for justice for Harambe. A Change.org petition casting blame on the child’s parents has garnered around 349,400 supporters. The petition says the “negligence may be reflective of the child’s home situation” and calls for an investigation. In addition, activist organization Stop Animal Exploitation Now filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which monitors zoos as part of the Animal Welfare Act . The group cast blame on the zoo and said the enclosure was not properly constructed. If the USDA finds the zoo has violated the Animal Welfare Act, the zoo could owe the government $10,000. According to USDA reports, a polar bear escape incident and deteriorating enclosures for horses and monkeys resulted in prior citations. The zoo said in their statement that Gorilla World, where Harambe resided, has been “inspected regularly” by the USDA. According to Maynard, the barrier around Harambe’s enclosure had worked “for 38 years.” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters confirmed the Cincinnati Police Department is investigating the death of Harambe. He said , “Once their investigation is concluded, they will confer with our office on possible criminal charges.” Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia Commons and Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Facebook

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