This prefab tiny house is designed to be indestructible

February 15, 2021 by  
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Designed by Argentina-based Grandio, a company run by a group of architecture and engineering teachers, HÜGA House is a safe, strong tiny home with the added benefits of affordability and flexibility. The prefab tiny house is made out of precast concrete to make it nearly indestructible, and it can be installed in just one day without a foundation. After noticing their students’ intense aspirations to explore the world unhindered by debt or roots, the designers at Grandio used their 77 years of combined experience to create a transportable tiny home that can withstand even the harshest of environments. Inspired by the bitter landscapes of Patagonia, HÜGA House’s concrete shell gives it enough strength to combat anything from snow and fire to humidity and mountain terrains. According to the architects, the house can even stay intact after being buried. Related: The top 7 amazing tiny homes we’ve seen this year Looking inside, you’d never know that HÜGA House was built to almost bunker-style standards. The 45-square-meter plan is complemented by a set of large, panoramic windows, giving it plenty of natural light. There’s enough space for a small bedroom, a living room complete with a couch, bar-style seating and several other creature comforts. The sliding windows can be shuttered with folding metal screens that act as an awning when folded upward. The prefab tiny house comes in one- or two-bedroom models, though both options include the supplementary mezzanine , bathroom, built-in storage, a kitchen and a dual living or dining space. HÜGA House borrows its name from hygge, the Danish word for comfort in one’s own space, in nature and in the company of others — a concept that is all too apparent in the cozy atmosphere Grandio has created in such a small footprint. Currently available for preorder in North America, HÜGA House is manufactured offsite and installed virtually wherever the client desires within just 24 hours. Additionally, the prefab tiny house doesn’t require any type of foundation, so it can be easily picked up and moved to multiple locations. + Grandio Photography by Gonzalo Viramonte via Grandio

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This prefab tiny house is designed to be indestructible

Hoefling House achieves near net-zero status

February 4, 2021 by  
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Located on a main street in Boulder, Colorado , Hoefling House flaunts craftsmanship while disguising a nearly net-zero existence. While appearing massive to the street-side visitor, the home includes meticulous attention to detail that compresses a lot into 3,100 square feet. Built in collaboration between Rodwin Architecture and Skycastle Construction, the project’s goal was to compose a “clean, bold, and original modern design.” Furthermore, the client requested the highest levels of sustainability. The house earned a LEED Platinum certification and a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) of 14 (scale of 0 to 150), ranking exceedingly high for  energy efficiency  and green construction. Hoefling House delivers this without sacrificing aesthetics or function.  Related: A lakeside, prefab home in Quebec aims for LEED Gold Rodwin and Skycastle obtained these accolades (along with the clients’ praise) by using a combination of  passive solar design , a 10kWh solar PV array tucked onto the roof, a ground source heat pump and boiler, radiant flooring with high thermal mass, foam insulation, Energy Star “tuned” windows, all LED lights, Energy Star appliances, EPA Watersense plumbing fixtures, and a heat recovery ventilator. To ensure the team met marks along the way, a LEED Manager and engineers consulted on the project.  The welcoming and functional exterior uses board-form concrete, stucco and clear Douglas fir, creating a “distinctly Colorado” style. Meanwhile, warm modernism defines the home’s  interior design . To achieve this vibe, co-project managers and designers Jocelyn Parlapiano and Cecelia Daniels served up a thoughtful color and material palette and all finishes. Design elements range from radiant heated Travertine tiles to the antique bureau in the entrance. Other features include a live roof garden located on a second-floor balcony and an acoustically tuned concert room inside. Nature was a central element for both the interior and exterior design plans. At Parlapiano’s suggestion, the team decided to take advantage of passive  solar energy  by rotating the structure. This allowed the windows to face south, not only providing sunlight in the winter but roofline protection in the summer. This orientation also allows the clients to take in “southwestern views of the Flatirons, sky, and several towering specimen Ponderosa Pines on the property, along with plenty of natural light.” Features throughout blur the line between indoor and outdoor spaces, making use of massive windows and sliding doors that open up to create a massive open-air lounge area. The surrounding area is equally equipped for outdoor living with a built-in BBQ grill, integrated planters, gas fire pit, dining table, raised-bed veggie garden  and fruit tree orchard.  Embracing the elements of sustainability, innovation and function, Hoefling House is, as the architects state, “as smart and efficient as it is modern and chic.” + Rodwin Architecture a nd Skycastle Construction Via Modern Architecture + Design Society Images via Modern Architecture + Design Society 

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The top 7 amazing tiny homes weve seen this year

December 24, 2020 by  
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2020 was certainly one for the history books. But among all of the negativity in the news throughout this past year, there were also plenty of innovative and creative design solutions to the world’s problems shining through. While a large portion of Americans adjusted to life working remotely and others faced economic struggles due to the pandemic, tiny homes and inventive office spaces have never been so relevant. True to form, tiny luxury also flourished, with some of the best designs of the year combining space-saving minimalism with luxurious creature comforts despite small square footage. Read on to learn more about the top seven tiny homes we’ve seen this year here at Inhabitat. Canada Goose Brought to us by Mint Tiny Homes, the Canada Goose is a gorgeous, rustic tiny home on wheels that will make you feel like you’ve walked into a minimalist’s sustainable farmhouse . With a spacious kitchen and bathroom, an entire area dedicated to a living room, and a full-sized bedroom on the gooseneck hitch, it is clear that the designers at Mint put a lot of thought into space utilization. Plus, we can’t get enough of the reclaimed barn doors and the dark wood accents to complement the bright white interior. Available in 38 and 41 feet, the Canada Goose fits three beds and can house six to eight people comfortably. Related: Tiny House Sustainable Living blog documents life in an off-grid tiny home LaLa’s Seaesta This quirky tiny house located only blocks from the beach has a design that’s just as clever as its name. Texas-based Plum Construction uses every inch of the property’s small square footage with a cute dining nook that converts into a sleeping area and a secret, hidden patio underneath. Just 410 square feet of space with an additional 80-square-foot loft inside, the home’s gable decoration is constructed from reclaimed cypress wood from a local house dating back 120 years. We think the best part of this property is the hidden patio, which takes advantage of the space left clear from the home’s stilts and features a hammock, a bar and an outdoor shower. The patio’s ventilated, slatted walls allows the ocean breeze to flow in. The Natura It might be enough for some sustainable design companies that the Natura tiny house is powered by 1000W-2000W rooftop solar panels, but not for U.K.-based The Tiny Housing Company. The firm goes several steps further by using natural materials such as cork and wood for the construction, as well as adding a wood-burning stove connected to underfloor heating, clean water filtration from an under-sink system, energy-efficient appliances and rockwool insulation (a rock-based mineral fiber composed of volcanic basalt rock and recycled steel or copper byproduct). The Kirimoko Looking at the interior of the Kirimoko in New Zealand, one would never guess that Condon Scott Architects would be able to fit all those amenities into a 322-square-foot footprint. This passive house boasts high-efficiency structural insulated panels paired with larch weatherboards to help keep out moisture as well as asphalt shingles and natural ventilation. This means the tiny home requires virtually no additional energy to keep temperatures comfortable in an unforgiving Central Otago climate. Characterized by a gable form, a black rain screen and massive windows, there is an abundance of natural light that makes this home look exceptionally bright and airy. Denali XL Denali XL, which is a larger version of Alabama-based Timbercraft Tiny Homes’ popular Denali model, features 399 square feet of floor space and a 65-square-foot loft. This tiny home may look like a rustic cabin from the outside, but once you cross the threshold, you’ll find a king-sized loft bedroom with powered skylights that open automatically on a timer or rain sensor, a large walk in closet, a luxurious steam shower and quartz countertops. Additional sustainable elements such as a trash compactor, high efficiency insulation and an incinerating toilet help earn this tiny home a spot on the list. Oasis Tiny House It’s easy to see how the Oasis Tiny House got its name. This 260-square-foot tiny home is located on the Big Island of Hawaii and features several luxurious touches that highlight the tropical ambiance of the space. An outdoor bar, for example, can be found directly below the curly mango wood kitchen window, designed to allow food and drinks to be passed through with ease. There is also a skylight in the bathroom to give the feel of an outdoor shower thanks to the home’s verdant jungle surroundings. The Oasis Tiny House is the creation of the sister-brother duo at Paradise Tiny Homes. The Culp A spa-like, walk-in hot tub is not something you’d expect to see inside of a 500-square-foot tiny home, but that didn’t stop Florida-based Movable Roots tiny home design company. When the client requested room for a soaking tub, the designers rose to the occasion and even added an incinerating toilet for good measure. The tiny home also has a galley kitchen and a primary bedroom with storage stairs leading up to dual loft spaces, which are naturally lit and spacious enough to be used as guest rooms, offices or storage. Another feature we love inside The Culp is its low-maintenance, two-tone metal exterior and the cork plank flooring.

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Twin cabins in Washington make use of reclaimed and natural materials

December 1, 2020 by  
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If there’s anything better than a cabin in the woods, it’s two cabins in the woods. For Kathleen Glossa of Swivel Interiors, in a collaboration with fellow Seattle-based integrated design firm Board & Vellum, a project for a family in Eastern Washington offered double the reward. The high-energy, outdoorsy clients wanted to create personal space on their property for family and other guests. They requested simple dwellings that didn’t overwhelm the surrounding landscape of rolling hills.  The design for the two matching cabins is inspired by an old barn on the property that was heavily leaning and in danger of collapsing. Dating back to the 1890s, the barn may have outlived its usefulness as a shelter, but the team was able to reclaim the lumber as a central component to the cabins’ construction. Craftsmen used the barn wood to meticulously create a dividing wall down the middle of each cabin. Dowbuilt , the builder for the project, skillfully mitered each corner, continuing with the same board around each bend. Related: These elevated wooden cabins can only be accessed via hiking trail In addition to the salvaged wood, natural materials for each 900-square-foot cabin were locally sourced with nature in mind. Exposed plywood walls connect the interior to the nearby trees while concrete flooring, metal siding and tin roofs offer durability and a classically rustic vibe. The interior color palette of browns, greens and oranges further celebrates nature, and the wood-burning stove in each cabin connects the living area to the surrounding landscape. The interiors were designed with equal consideration for sourcing products locally. Many businesses of all sizes provided products for the cozy and authentic cabin atmosphere. New items were combined with pieces pulled from the client’s storage unit. Other décor was salvaged from vintage stores within the state. Handcrafted selections from Old Hickory, a company in business for over 120 years, were intermingled with bright powder-coated metal furniture from Room & Board. Black Dog Forge out of Seattle customized the cabinet hardware, bathroom accessories and drapery hardware. The project supported other artisans with the purchase of shower curtains from Etsy vendors and pendant lighting crafted by Barn Light Electric. Each cabin features Dekton countertops, Pratt and Larson tile, under-counter refrigerators and a coffee pot, but kitchen function is limited to keep the focus on outdoor grilling and enjoying meals at the main house. + Swivel Interiors   + Board and Vellum Photography John Granen & Tina Witherspoon via Cameron Macallister Group

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Twin cabins in Washington make use of reclaimed and natural materials

It’s Giving Tuesday! Here are some eco-friendly ways to get involved

December 1, 2020 by  
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After the extreme materialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes an opportunity to support your favorite causes — without acquiring more stuff. Instead, Giving Tuesday encourages people to do good. Since its creation in 2012, the day has turned into a global movement inspiring generosity. Here’s how to celebrate, plus some environmental charities to consider supporting. Ways to give The most obvious way to give on Giving Tuesday is through a monetary donation — and we’ll get to that in a minute — but don’t let a shortage of cash keep you from participating. If you have more time than money, donating volunteer hours can make a huge difference. You could also give voice as an activist, advocating for your nearest and dearest causes by signing petitions or amplifying their messages through your social media accounts. Maybe you have a special talent that a nonprofit organization needs, such as being able to consult on HR or IT. Taproot matches talented volunteers with the organizations that need their skills. You can also donate goods. Do you still have gifts from past holidays that you never or barely used? Consider giving those unused gifts to somebody who needs them more. Related: Survey shows most adults prefer volunteering at local parks and recreation areas Environmental causes to support The number of nonprofits that need support is truly staggering. Whether your heart lies with trees, the climate, whales or just about anything else, you’ll find an organization thrilled to accept your donation. Here are just a few of the many worthy environmental charities you might choose to support on Giving Tuesday. Cool Effect This crowdfunding platform began in 1998 by supporting clean-burning woodstoves in Honduras. Now, Cool Effect helps people support carbon-reducing projects around the world. As the nonprofit puts it, “We have made reducing carbon pollution as simple as tapping a button. Together, small actions can ignite planet-sized change.” All those small actions add up. Cool Effect has already reduced carbon emissions by more than 2 million metric tons. Heal the Bay This environmental nonprofit works to make water around Greater Los Angeles safe for marine life and human recreation. Heal the Bay started 35 years ago to protect the Santa Monica Bay. Now, the nonprofit provides water quality information every week for 450 California beaches. That’s a big job. They also monitor the quality of popular freshwater recreation areas such as the Malibu Creek, LA River and San Gabriel River watersheds. Rainforest Alliance This famous, internationally known nonprofit conserves biodiversity and helps ensure sustainable livelihoods for people who toil in rainforests. If you’ve ever bought a product with a certification seal featuring a frog, that’s the Rainforest Alliance letting you know that the product is environmentally sound and contributes to socioeconomic sustainability. Giving Tuesday is a good time to remember and help the lungs of our planet. Sea Turtle Conservancy Just about everybody likes turtles , so a donation to the Sea Turtle Conservancy in your friend or family member’s name could make for a great holiday gift. There are many turtle-focused organizations these days, but the Florida-based Sea Turtle Conservancy is the oldest. Founded in 1959, it was instrumental in raising turtle awareness and saving the Caribbean green turtle from the brink of extinction. Louisiana Environmental Action Network Louisiana is a beautiful state, but it is also one that has been unfairly exploited by petrochemical companies and other similarly toxic industries. Since the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN)’s founding in 1986, it has served as a voice for Louisianans who want to live in their state without seeing its beauty destroyed and their family members felled by cancer. The organization can use your spare dollars to continue the fight against huge polluting industries. Human Access Project Portland’s Willamette River has historically served as a dumping ground for industry. But a massive cleanup effort has made the Willamette safe for recreation. Still, locals are leery. Since 2010, the Human Access Project (HAP) has worked to improve the river’s reputation and increase people’s access to it. HAP is responsible for hosting an annual inner tube party on the river called The Big Float, organizing the River Huggers Swim Team and helping to build river beaches for people to swim, launch their kayaks or just hang out. Bat Conservation International People often fear bats , but these mysterious little creatures are crucial to ecosystems. Many have already died from human encroachment and white-nose syndrome. Bat Conservation International focuses its attention on the world’s most vulnerable bats and their habitats. The organization always remembers that it may be operating as a guest in other countries. “We are respectful visitors to the countries where we work — seeking to learn, understand, and honor the historical, cultural, political, and economic context of our projects,” BCI states on its website. Appalachian Trail Conservancy If you’re a hiker, you’ve probably thought about those usually unseen people who spend countless hours building and maintaining trails. Where would we be without them? Lost in the bushes. Remember your favorite trails on Giving Tuesday. Perhaps a donation to preserve the pathways, forests and clean water of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy would be in order. Community Solidarity If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you could donate to Community Solidarity , the largest all-vegetarian hunger relief food program in the U.S. Community Solidarity serves people in the New York City and Long Island areas with free groceries and warm, vegan meals. Defenders of Wildlife Can’t decide between supporting manatees, wolves or prairie chickens? Help them all with a donation to Defenders of Wildlife . The organization’s mission is to protect and restore endangered wildlife across North America and beyond. You can also help out by purchasing branded merchandise or supporting its adopt-an-animal program. Natural Resources Defense Council Founded in 1970, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a big organization that helps the environment in many ways. The New York Times has called NRDC one of the nation’s most powerful environmental groups. The organization works on overarching issues like food waste, wildlife conservation, climate change and renewable energy. + Giving Tuesday Images via Kat Yukawa , Joel Muniz and Josh Hild

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Iconic Farnsworth House gets a conceptual, sustainable redesign

October 19, 2020 by  
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As a design exercise, California-based architecture firm Jeff Barrett Studio has reimagined Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Farnsworth House for the modern times with a sustainable redesign that includes onsite renewable energy and modular construction. Conceived as a case study for sustainability that would still pay homage to the original architectural style, the proposed design follows the same building footprint while introducing a new materials palette and energy-saving features. Located in Plano, Illinois, about an hour west of Chicago, the Farnsworth House is recognized worldwide as a masterpiece of International Style of architecture. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed and constructed the 1,500-square-foot structure between 1945 and 1951 as a country retreat for his client, Dr. Edith Farnsworth. Built with two slabs, a series of steel columns and expansive floor-to-ceiling glass throughout, the minimalist home was created to usher the natural landscape indoors. The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006 and currently operates as a historic house museum that welcomes over 10,000 guests from around the world annually. Related: Gorgeous Miesian-inspired glass pavilion floats above a natural dam Jeff Barrett Studios has revisited the structure with a conceptual redesign that features both low-tech and high-tech sustainable strategies. “How might this dwelling be reinvisioned [ sic ] today given current technologies, would the structure remain significant aesthetically, and how might it function as a case study for sustainability?” the architects said in a project statement. “The project has been developed with consideration to sustainable concepts and innovative technologies reaching high energy performance and constructability.” Instead of the original steel-and-glass palette, the architects propose building the structure with cross-laminated timber , more specifically acetylated wood (Accoya) for its durability and resistance to decay. The use of CLT would also allow for modular construction, which would reduce material waste. The iconic full-height windows would have low-E glazing, while operable skylights on the roof introduce an element of passive ventilation. The roof would be covered in photovoltaic panels and vegetation, and a natural swimming pool would round out the property.  + Jeff Barrett Studio Images via Jeff Barrett Studio

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A net-zero compact home in Seattle is inspired by Shibui minimalism

October 2, 2020 by  
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Refined, elemental and minimal: these words were the inspiration behind a recently completed net-zero home in West Seattle. Built to endure the test of time and incorporate elegance with an unobtrusive aesthetic and restrained size, the home takes inspiration from the Japanese concept of Shibui. Uncomplicated and honest, the concept of Shibui in design favors simple, subtle beauty. The architectural team followed the client’s suggestion to utilize the technique by creating a minimal -yet-elegant home with few superfluous touches. Though the design is uncomplicated, leading to a sense of peace while inside, it is not lacking in convenience. Despite being on the smaller side when compared to similar luxury homes, the 1,153-square-foot house still has an open-plan kitchen, a living and dining area, a den to be used as an office or guest room, two bathrooms and a garage with electric vehicle charging capability, bike storage and a trash room. Related: Twin timber buildings draw inspiration from traditional Japanese shrines The home also maintains a small carbon footprint with energy-efficient features like Passive House-certified windows for high thermal performance, LED fixtures and WaterSense-certified fixtures. To put more value on privacy, the home is set farther back from the street to create a sense of distance from the public. Setting the house back also gained the additional bonus of preserving an existing cherry tree onsite. There is a non-infiltrating bio-retention tank to collect rain and stormwater, filtering the collected water before applying it to landscaping inside the raised yard. The location of interior spaces, also guided by privacy and control, features diagonal views and sliding doors that block neighbor views. A large roof accommodates a substantial solar panel system and guards the home against the elements. On the upper level, the home opens fully to the west deck through patio sliders while roof overhangs provide protection for occupants. + SHED Architecture and Design Photography by Rafael Soldi via SHED Architecture and Design

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Passively cooled Californian beach house channels Australian vibes

July 21, 2020 by  
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American architect Alec Petros has completed the Seaside Reef House, a timber-clad home that celebrates indoor/outdoor living at Solana Beach, California. Designed for Australian clients, the beach house takes cues from the Australian vernacular with its breezy, coastal appearance. Sustainability was also emphasized in the design, which features FSC-certified cedar and passive cooling strategies . Petros gained the commission after a serendipitous meeting with the client at a local bookstore, where the two coincidentally picked up the same architecture book and struck up a conversation that revealed a shared design aesthetic. The challenge with the project was not only the site’s odd shape but also the client’s desires for maximized ocean views and an open floor plan while preserving a sense of privacy in the densely populated coastal area. Related: A Brisbane cottage is sustainably updated to gracefully age in place As a result, Petros strategically placed a floor-to-ceiling door system and large windows to capture ocean views and cooling cross-breezes along the western and southern facades instead of wrapping the entire building in glass. To further emphasize the indoor/outdoor connection, Petros included deep roof eaves that measure 7 feet in length and a natural materials palette. The open-plan layout and interior pocket door systems help maintain sight lines and ensure flexibility for long-term use. “Another strong detail in the thought process behind the design related to sustainability,” Petros explained in a design statement. “The siding is composed of vertical FSC-certified cedar boards attached to a horizontal sleeper system, which created an air gap between the siding and the water-proofing. This allows sunlight to heat the boards without transferring a majority of that heat into the building itself. The beauty of this design is that it reduces the energy usage on the house where cooling is considered.” The wood siding was also selected for its ability to age gracefully in the humid, coastal region. + Alec Petros Studio Images via Alec Petros Studio

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Passively cooled Californian beach house channels Australian vibes

Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment

June 3, 2020 by  
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Developed by Nomadic Resorts, these prefab suites provide the perfect opportunity for a luxury eco-vacation  pretty much anywhere. The Looper tented suites incorporate recyclable materials and renewable energy to bring customizable accommodation to isolated and environmentally sensitive wilderness areas — such as rugged yet beautiful Yala National Park in southeast Sri Lanka. The tents can be popped up in all types of environments from deserts to mountains and everything in between, and are  prefabricated  off-site to allow for quick and easy assembly, disassembly and relocation. Related: These colorful glamping pods are tucked into a South Korean mountain range The Looper suites were created to use as little material as possible while leaving a minimal physical footprint, a feat accomplished by steel arches and a recyclable, weather-resistant tensile fabric exterior meant to last decades. The modular pods accommodate 28 square meters worth of living area with a 14-square-meter bathroom. A wrap-around deck is elevated on stilts so that the surrounding natural elements, such as  wildlife  and small bodies of water, can remain uninterrupted. The openings are made with low-E double glazing and the indoor/outdoor living areas come equipped with sustainable PV panels and a  rainwater  treatment system. The solar elements can be customized to reflect the unique outside conditions or the client’s specific needs. Style was certainly not compromised in the design of these versatile eco-pods, with the addition of materials such as copper, brass, leather and teak wood to elevate the interior. There is a spacious four-poster bed inside the main air-conditioned sleeping area and a freestanding copper bathtub inside the open-style bathroom, so guests can enjoy private views of the  outside terrain . The Wild Coast Tented Lodge in Sri Lanka, where the pods first debuted, arranged 28 Loopers in the shape of a leopard paw print on a beachfront property. Four of the luxury tented villas feature private pools and smaller “urchin” pods are also available to be used by families with children. + Nomadic Resorts Images via Nomadic Resorts

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Earth School offers kids interesting science lessons online

June 3, 2020 by  
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Kids stuck at home due to coronavirus have another opportunity for quality online learning. Earth School, a collaboration between TED-Ed (TED’s youth and education initiative) and the United Nations’ Environment Programme, is releasing 30 short videos to teach children about connections between nature and many aspects of society. The videos started dropping on Earth Day , April 22. Since then, the collaborators have released one video daily. The last video will be posted on June 5, World Environment Day. The videos will remain online and can be viewed consecutively or randomly. Related: Take a virtual dive with NOAA More than 30 organizations helped create the videos. The World Wildlife Fund, National Geographic and BBC contributed high-quality video footage, articles and digital interactive resources. The 30 video lessons fall into six categories: The Nature of Our Stuff, The Nature of Society, The Nature of Nature, The Nature of Change, The Nature of Individual Action and The Nature of Collective Action. The producers designed them to appeal to science-curious kids with topics like the lifecycle of a T-shirt, whether we should eat bugs, where does water come from and tracking grizzly bears from space. A press release stated the program’s three goals: to help kids and parents sort through a myriad of options to find a solid, reliable science source; to keep kids interested in nature even while they’re stuck inside; and to ease the load of harried parents who suddenly find themselves in charge of their kids’ education 24/7. Watching these videos will help children understand their roles as future stewards of our troubled planet. The last two weeks of instruction offer concrete ways kids can improve the world individually and collectively. As the press release explains, “We aim to inspire the awe and wonder of nature in Earth School students and help them finish the program with a firm grasp of how deeply intertwined we are with the planet.” + Earth School Image via Lukas

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