Connecticut could mandate climate change education in schools

January 22, 2019 by  
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Connecticut state Representative Christine Palm, a Democrat from the town of Chester, has proposed a bill in the state legislature that would mandate instruction on climate change in public schools across Connecticut . If Palm’s proposed bill became law, the study of  climate change  in Connecticut would begin in elementary school. It would also be the first bill in the U.S. to make climate change instruction mandatory via statute. Some people don’t believe the legislation is necessary, because the state already adopted Next Generation Science Standards back in 2015. Those standards include teaching about climate change, Phys.org reported. “A lot of schools make the study of climate change an elective, and I don’t believe it should be an elective,” Palm said. “I think it should be mandatory, and I think it should be early, so there’s no excuse for kids to grow up ignorant of what’s at stake.” Related: Climate change is causing spring to come earlier in national parks The Next Generation Science Standards already make climate change studies a core of science education , but it doesn’t start until middle school. Fran Rabinowitz, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, said that because the curriculum is already addressing climate change and educators are already teaching the standards set forth by the 2015 legislation, this new proposal isn’t needed. So far, 19 states and  Washington D.C.  have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards. However, it does leave the specific curriculum up to individual school districts and only gives indications about what the state wants students to learn. During the last legislative session, a similar bill to Palm’s was introduced, but it did not pass. Some states have also proposed legislation to either allow or require teachers to present students with alternative viewpoints about climate change and other topics. Palm believes that climate change is such an urgent and threatening matter that it should be a top priority in a child’s education. “I’d love to see poetry be mandated,” Palm said. “That’s never going to happen. That’s not life or death.” Via Phys.org Image via Wokandapix

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Connecticut could mandate climate change education in schools

Eco-friendly Brae restaurant and retreat targets net-zero energy in Australia

January 22, 2019 by  
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Sustainability is woven throughout Brae , a renowned restaurant and retreat nestled on a hillside of a 30-acre organic farm in rural Australia. Designed by Fitzroy-based studio Six Degrees Architects , Brae is best known for its seasonally inspired menu and talented chefs — the restaurant was named among the world’s 50 best restaurants in 2017 — and the idyllic establishment also boasts six eco-friendly guest suites designed to target net-zero energy consumption. Durable and recycled materials are used throughout the handcrafted buildings, which are powered with solar energy and use recycled rainwater. After Six Degree Architects completed Brae in 2013, the firm revisited the site to add a new accommodation building that would emphasize the restaurant’s commitment to sustainability and seasonality. Completed in 2016, the six guest suites are housed in a structure referencing the archetypal utilitarian rural shed and built with simple and robust materials including recycled timber and brickwork, raw steel and brass. Local builders and tradesmen built the project, and the guest suites are carefully fitted out with bespoke, engaging objects to make each room feel homey and welcoming. “The restaurant is renowned for seasonally sourcing raw produce from either the property or local region,” the architects explained. “There was a desire to bring this careful, considered approach into the crafting of the rooms and restaurant. Simple robust materials, contrasting hard and soft, and a level of intricate detailing remind you that hands have made and shaped the buildings. The project purposefully plays off the materiality and self-build nature of old rural buildings, reinterpreting them into contemporary and luxurious interiors, framing views of the working landscape beyond.” Related: Peek inside the BIG-designed garden village for one of the world’s best restaurants The guest suites are oriented for south-facing views of the landscape, while a landscaped berm to the north protects the building from view of the carpark. To achieve net-zero energy use during operation, the project is equipped with 48 solar panels that generate a daily average of nearly 44 kWh. Rainwater is harvested in two 40,000-liter tanks and reused for drinking and washing. Waste is broken down in a large worm farm. Thanks to these systems and passive thermal design, the 500-square-meter Brae guest suites have achieved a NatHERS energy rating of 7 stars. + Six Degrees Architects Photography by Trevor Mein via Six Degrees Architects

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Eco-friendly Brae restaurant and retreat targets net-zero energy in Australia

These are the world’s top vegan cities

January 22, 2019 by  
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If traveling is a top priority for you in 2019 and you follow a vegan diet , there are some cities that are more vegan-friendly than others. Vegan website Happy Cow has compiled a list of the 10 most vegan-friendly cities in the world based on the number of fully-vegan restaurants, the number of vegan-option restaurants and their impression of overall vegan-friendliness. London At the top of the list is London, because the number of vegan restaurants in the city has exploded over the past year. It was the first city on the list to hit 100 completely vegan restaurants. A recent survey showed that more than a half million people are following the vegan diet in Great Britain. Related: Veganism on the rise, record number of sign-ups for Veganuary Berlin Because its vegan scene continues to grow, Berlin comes in at No. 2. There are now 65 vegan restaurants in the German city and 320 additional vegan options at restaurants within a 5-mile radius. New York City Many people consider the Big Apple to be the international food capital of the world, and its vegan scene is flourishing. There are now 64 vegan restaurants in NYC that range from fast food to upscale dining. Portland Veganism is a way of life in Portland , and that means the city has a wide variety of plant-based food options. You can easily find a vegan burger and a variety of vegan artisanal cheeses. There are also a number of vegan food carts and even a vegan bed and breakfast. Tel Aviv With an estimated 5 to 8 percent of the Israeli population being vegan, the country has the highest percentage of vegans in the world. The 31 vegan restaurants in Tel Aviv serve a variety of cuisines from Israel, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Some also have a Western influence. Rounding out the top 10 are Los Angeles, Warsaw, Toronto, Prague and Paris . + Happy Cow Image via 12019

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These are the world’s top vegan cities

These gorgeous tiny art studios are surrounded by New England forest

May 23, 2018 by  
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New York-based Fiedler Marciano Architecture has unveiled a pair of gorgeous artist studios set on 450 acres of idyllic forested landscape. Created for students of the I-Park Foundation ‘s in-residence art program, the design concept is a modern take on the local New England vernacular of pitched roofs and wood siding. The studios emit a strong sense of serenity and privacy and are strategically crafted for contemplation and creation. Located just outside of East Haddam, Connecticut, the cabins host students who are enrolled in the I-Park Foundation’s live-in residential program. The architects worked with the foundation’s organizers to design a private, tranquil work environment for young artists . According to the program description, “From May through November, artists of every stripe come for a month to live, work and commune with colleagues — and all in a much cherished, serene and ‘distraction free’ environment. The place affects the work, and the work most certainly affects the place, with the ephemeral art that populates the woods, fields, trails and pond creating a perpetual sense of discovery and delight.” Related: 6 Brilliant Studios Perfect For The Eco Artist Each artist studio is approximately 1,000 square feet. The exterior is clad in dark cedar siding and topped with galvanized metal roofs that slant to pay homage to the pitched roofs traditionally found in the area. Both studios have wide front porches, which offer residents a quiet place for contemplation. They are also steps away from a network of walking paths that lead through the forest. Inside, an expansive north-facing glass wall creates a strong connection with the bucolic surroundings. Both studios take advantage of  natural light , which fills the interior from early morning until late afternoon. The designers intentionally left the walls blank, so the students could display their works of art. + Fiedler Marciano Architecture + I-Park Foundation Photography by Chris Cooper via Fiedler Marciano Architecture

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These gorgeous tiny art studios are surrounded by New England forest

Elegant net-zero home wraps around a large pond in Connecticut

May 22, 2018 by  
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Cutler Anderson Architects  completed a modern woodland home that fully embraces the outdoors. Built to wrap around a large lake, the Connecticut Residence takes design inspiration from its surroundings with a subdued palette comprised of natural materials. As an “emotionally sustainable” home, the dwelling not only provides a relaxing atmosphere for its homeowners, but also generates all the energy it consumes through renewable sources. Created for a family of five, the Connecticut Residence stretches across a 4.3-acre forested site with a large pond in the center. The architects split the home into three volumes, two of which sit on either side of the pond with a long covered bridge in between. The volume on the west side of the pond houses the entry and the main communal areas including the living room, dining room, kitchen and family room. The volumes to the east and south comprise bedrooms, with the former also housing a garage. Related: The United States’ first Passive Plus House generates nearly all the energy it needs Ample amounts of full-height glazing wrap around the house to blur the boundaries between indoors and out. Unfinished cypress clads the exterior, while the interior is mainly finished in Douglas fir broken up by white-painted walls and light-colored furnishings. The net-zero energy home is powered by rooftop solar as well as 14 geothermal wells. + Cutler Anderson Architects Via Dezeen Images © David Sundberg/ Esto

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Elegant net-zero home wraps around a large pond in Connecticut

Elephants should be recognized as legal persons, argues Connecticut lawsuit

November 16, 2017 by  
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Should elephants be viewed as legal persons in the eyes of the court? A new lawsuit filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) argues yes. The group says three elephants, owned by a traveling Connecticut zoo, should have “the fundamental right to bodily liberty” and be placed in an animal sanctuary instead. Beulah, Karen, and Minnie are three elephants owned by the Commerford Zoo in Goshen, Connecticut. The animals give rides and appear in circuses, fairs, weddings, and movies. They’re between 33 and 50 years old, and the zoo has owned them for at least 30 years. But according to the NhRP, the United States Department of Agriculture has cited the zoo more than 50 times for not adhering to the minimum standards of the Animal Welfare Act. People have described the elephants as sick or sad, with one Yelp review describing facilities as a “stockyard of despair.” Related: New Zealand river world’s first to obtain legal status as a person NhRP filed the lawsuit with the Connecticut Superior Court, requesting the elephants be released to the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s ARK 2000 sanctuary, where NhRP says “their right to bodily liberty will be respected.” NhRP founder and attorney Steven Wise said the case isn’t about animal welfare, but animal rights , saying in a statement, “What they are doing is depriving Beulah, Karen, and Minnie of their freedom, which we see as an inherently cruel violation of their most fundamental right as elephants. If Connecticut common law courts truly value autonomy, as previous rulings suggest they do, they too will see their situation in this light and order the elephants’ release from captivity.” Commerford Zoo owner Tim Commerford told The Washington Post, “It’s not right to rip them from my family, from their home.” According to The Washington Post, legal personhood has been applied to corporations in the United States, a New Zealand river , and chimpanzees and a bear in Argentina and Colombia. But Pepperdine law school professor Richard Cupp told The Washington Post it’s better to help captive animals with expanded animal welfare laws. Giving legal personhood to animals could loosen the definition, he argued, which could harm vulnerable humans. He said, “It would not surprise me if these animals could be put in a better situation. But we should focus on human responsibility…Our expansion of animal protection laws has been dramatic over the last 20 or 30 years. I’m arguing that should continue.” Via the Nonhuman Rights Project ( 1 , 2 ) and The Washington Post Images via Joel Mbugua on Unsplash and Anne Zwagers on Unsplash

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Vienna cocktail bar is hidden underground in an 18th-century cellar

November 16, 2017 by  
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The places hidden beneath our feet are sometimes home to a city’s coolest spaces. That’s the case for the krypt.bar , a subterranean cocktail bar in Vienna , tucked away in a forgotten 18th century cellar that was only recently uncovered after renovations on Berggasse—a famed street associated with Sigmund Freud. Designed by Büro KLK , this secret bar breathes new life into a historic setting and is decorated with minimalist furniture designs of the International Style. The 18th century cellar on Vienna’s traditional Berggasse was found after workers struck upon a bricked up staircase. It let to a twelve-meters-deep cellar with handsome brick vaults . Further digging into cellar’s history showed that it once operated as a semi-legal establishment in the jazz area of the mid-20th century. Related: Historic 7th-century cellar in Spain renovated to celebrate the history of wine-making Büro KLK preserved the brick vaults and underground feel of the place, and added luxury materials and high-quality furnishings such as Knoll’s famous Platner Arm Chairs and Ubald Lug’s Sofa DS-1025. Write the designers: “The whole static structure as well as the ventilating pipes and further installations, were cladded in composition gold. The floor plate is covered with a layer of Italian nero marquina marble manually laid in a herringbone bond. The cladding of the bar counter was cut out of a massive block of Sahara noir laurent gold marble applied in a mirrored pattern, and the counter plate was crafted out of a massive European walnut.” + Büro KLK Photography: David Schreyer

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10 brilliant communal designs helping people work and live together

August 29, 2016 by  
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1. WeWork and WeLive WeWork is an internationally recognized concept with luxury communal working spaces situated across the globe. Their membership plans allow freelancers and entrepreneurs to work at any WeWork space in the world. They’ve recently expanded their successful brand to include WeLive , a line of fully-furnished apartment complexes that boast communal workspaces, kitchens, roof decks, and even hot tubs. 2. Neuehouse Neuehouse is another urban co-working space that caters itself to creatives. Based in New York, Los Angeles, and London, Neuehouse transforms vacated and industrial buildings into multi-level communal workspaces that include screening rooms, broadcast studios, dining spaces and conference rooms, all centered around a modernist and artistic aesthetic. 3. 17th century London church by Tom Dixon Designer Tom Dixon transformed a 17th century London church into a contemplative co-working space for Clerkenwell Design Week . He installed some of his own lighting and furniture designs, including a chandelier made of CURVE lights and geometric tables and chairs. The project was inspired by vicar Andrew Baughen, who hoped to make the church more accessible to local creatives. 4. Coworkrs Brooklyn Leeser Architects transformed an old Brooklyn factory into this vibrant co-working space near the Gowanus Canal. The converted warehouse combines striking pops of color with the raw, industrial edge of the original building. The forward-thinking design features suspended LED lighting, glass conference room alcoves, and angular staircases. 5. Hoffice Some freelancers are drawn to majestic spaces; others wish for more down-to-earth offices . Swedish project Hoffice is perfect for those who want a home atmosphere but have trouble being productive alone. Hoffice helps freelancers turn their own apartments and homes into shared co-working spaces where others can come work – for free. Many have been drawn to the Hoffice idea; people in Southeast Asia, Australia, and North America have hosted events so far. 6. B:Hive Six friends outfitted a unique co-working space in Connecticut with the goal to ” create something that couldn’t be replicated .” They scoured thrift stores to find furniture and furnishings to upcycle into a funky “anti-office,” B:Hive Bridgeport . Complete with decorations from a Ping Pong table to a bicycle desk and barn wood tables, their hive offers a vibrant space for creatives looking to connect with the community. 7. 1975 ferry transformed as a buoyant work/live space Architect Olle Lundberg often works with salvaged materials . He found a 1975 ferry in Iceland, the Maritol, and brought it to San Francisco , where he worked his magic. Lundberg converted the ferry into a space where he lived and worked with his wife before selling it to Kahle and Creon Levit, who turned the old ship into a co-working space affectionately called the ” Icebreaker .” 8. Solar-powered Coboat catamaran Coboat offers the opportunity for digital nomads to take to the seas and live and work aboard a wind – and solar -powered catamaran . Desalination provides water for the boat dwellers as they live a ” zero carbon footprint ” lifestyle on the ocean . Seating outdoors and indoors allows freelancers to take full advantage of the experience. 9. Mexico City helipad converted into a co-working space and garden Coca-Cola decided it no longer needed its rooftop helipad in a Mexico City office. So they asked Rojkind Arquitectos and AGENT to renovate the helipad into a garden and co-working space. Called Foro Ciel , the space features a green roof sprouting native plants that includes an ” integrated solar system “. Walkways through the garden offer inspiring panoramic views of the city. 10. 19th century factory in Madrid inspired by Picasso Google tasked Jump Studios with converting a 19th century Madrid factory into a campus that can house ” 7,000 workers and 50 resident start-ups .” The architecture and design firm created a bold space that incorporates the building’s brick walls. For the colors decorating the factory , Jump Studios drew inspiration from painters Joaquín Sorolla and Picasso. Images via WeWork , Neuehouse , Tom Dixon , Leeser Architecture , Hoffice by David Wild and Amrit Daniel Forss, Peter DaSilva at The New York Times , B:Hive Bridgeport Facebook , Coboat , ©Jaime Navarro courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos, and Jump Studios

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10 brilliant communal designs helping people work and live together

First images of SANAA’s curvy Grace Farms cultural center unveiled

October 9, 2015 by  
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Detroit’s Wasserman Projects transformed a fire station into a contemporary arts center

October 9, 2015 by  
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