LA City Council unanimously agrees to ban the sale of fur

September 25, 2018 by  
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The Los Angeles City Council made a historic vote last week by unanimously agreeing to ban the sale of fur. The meeting resulted in a direct order to the L.A. City Attorney, who is responsible for penning the formal policy to outline the new law. The document is expected to surface sometime next month and will effectively ban fur beginning two years from the date of its signage. When completed, this process will result in L.A. being the largest city in the U.S. to ban the sale of fur clothing and accessories. “This is L.A. taking a stand and saying we will no longer be complicit in the inhumane and vile fur trade that’s been going on for years,” council member Bob Blumenfield said. Related: British Fashion Council commits to a fur-free London Fashion Week Some skeptics of the policy raised eyebrows, wondering how a city like L.A. that enjoys average temperatures of 75 degrees plans to make a major impact on the fur market. “I don’t think it’s happening in Moscow,” said P.J. Smith, the senior manager of fashion policy at the Humane Society. While colder cities are not expected to jump on the band wagon any time soon, the council’s initiative is definitely sparking encouragement for other cities and states in the U.S. to adopt the same measures. Blumenfield, the council member responsible for initiating the motion, explained, “We’re trying to set an example for the rest of the state and the rest of the country.” Smith agreed that as the second largest city in the U.S. — also recognized as an epicenter of global fashion — the influence that L.A. would have over other cities is extraordinary. Top international fashion houses have also pledged their commitment to the no-fur campaign, along with several other cities and countries. Smith described his experience with this domino effect saying, “I’ve been doing this job for about 10 years, and if you would have told me just two years ago that Gucci, Versace, Burberry, InStyle magazine, London Fashion Week, Norway, the Netherlands, São Paulo would be going fur-free, I wouldn’t have believed you, but it’s happening.” Related: Burberry vows to stop burning unsold clothes and using real fur Smith attributed the back-to-back bans to a little friendly competition between cities. There is already a handful of cities that have adopted anti-fur laws in California , for instance. L.A. will be joining a list that includes San Francisco and West Hollywood, “to see who’s the most compassionate city out there,” Smith explained. “San Francisco’s colder, and when San Francisco banned fur sales, it was considered the compassion capital. Then you have L.A. turning around and claiming that title back.” Via New York Times Image via Pete Bellis

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LA City Council unanimously agrees to ban the sale of fur

California implements plastic straw ban at dine-in restaurants

September 25, 2018 by  
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A monumental week of reforms forged by California lawmakers saw no sign of slowing down as groundbreaking legislation was brought into effect by Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday. The statesman, who has chastised the overuse of single-use plastics on several occasions, signed a bill banning restaurants from distributing plastic straws with their customers’ beverages. While diners will still be given a straw if they specifically ask for one, the plastic straw ban could make leaps in curtailing unnecessary pollution and raising public awareness about the environmental impact of disposable straws. California politicians such as Governor Brown agree with many supporters that the ban is unfortunately limited and easily circumvented. “It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it,” Brown noted in his signing address . “And it might make them pause and think again about an alternative.” Related: Plastic straws are a thing of the past, but which reusable straw is best for the future? Beginning January 1, dine-in restaurants will no longer be handing out plastic straws with meals; however, the largest distributors, including fast food chains, delis, coffee shops and any other take-out locales, will be able to disregard the rule completely. Despite the free pass to these types of restaurants, the governor believes that in due time, Californians will likely choose to nix plastic straws on their own, regardless of legal mandates. Plastic was invented back in the 19th century and, as Governor Brown explained, “has helped advance innovation in our society, but our infatuation with single-use convenience has led to disastrous consequences.” The politician has been mobilizing efforts to reduce and eliminate plastic consumption vehemently throughout his tenure. “One thing is clear,” he wrote. “We must find ways to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic products.” Plastic straws appeared in the early 1960s. By the 1970s, they had almost entirely replaced paper straws, the original variety of sipper. According to the California Coast Commission, plastic straws are seeded sixth in the rank of most common forms of litter found on beaches, and they threaten more than 500 aquatic species. Among these, 23 endangered forms of wildlife exist in the San Francisco Bay, where plastic pollution fed through urban storm drains are placing the animals at an even higher risk of perishing.  “Plastics, in all forms — straws, bottles, packaging, bags, etc. — are choking our planet,” Brown wrote. The California straw ban follows in the footsteps of previous legislature banning plastic bags in 2016. The state is the first in the nation to enact limitations on disposable straws. City-level restrictions are already in effect for San Francisco, Alameda, Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, Carmel, San Luis, Obispo and Davis. Via San Francisco Chronicle Image via Joshua Sorenson

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California implements plastic straw ban at dine-in restaurants

MVRDV introduces a psychedelic blend of art and architecture in Paradise City

September 25, 2018 by  
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Dutch design firm MVRDV recently completed its latest project: The Imprint, an art-entertainment complex near Seoul’s Incheon Airport that toes the line between art and architecture. Completed as part of the city’s Paradise City complex, The Imprint features strikingly sculptural facades painted white and gold that can be easily recognized from the sky as passengers land at Incheon Airport. The eye-catching visuals of the windowless exteriors are echoed in the interiors, which were installed with mirrored ceilings and glass media floors for a psychedelic effect. MVRDV’s The Imprint complex includes a nightclub in the building marked by a golden entrance spot as well as an indoor theme park in the other building. Both structures featured dramatic lifted entrances designed in such a way to mimic the look of draped fabric. Despite the facades’ malleable appearance, glass-fiber reinforced concrete panels were used to construct the exteriors, and the 3,869 panels are unique and individually produced from the architects’ 3D modeling files. The panels were painted white to highlight the relief in the design. “Two months ago most of the cladding was done and the client said, ‘this is an art piece,’” said Winy Maas, principle and co-founder of MVRDV. “What is interesting about that is that they are looking for that momentum — that entertainment can become art or that the building can become artistic in that way. What, then, is the difference between architecture and  art ? The project plays with that and I think that abstraction is part of it, but it has to surprise, seduce and it has to calm down.” Related: MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center Connected with a shared central courtyard , the two buildings were heavily influenced by the site context. Features from the neighboring buildings, such as window and door shapes, were replicated in the relief as if they were imprinted on, while the massing and height of the new construction also respond to the existing architecture. + MVRDV Images © Ossip van Duivenbode

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Burberry vows to stop burning unsold clothes and using real fur

September 6, 2018 by  
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Burberry has confirmed it will no longer destroy fashion items it cannot sell. The British company has officially vowed to stop its long-standing practice of burning clothes and bags that remain unsold at the end of the year. The company is also moving to end the use of real fur in its products. Burberry’s policy changes follow criticism by environmental agencies and activists for how it disposed of unsold products. In 2017, Burberry burned more than $36 million USD worth of items to keep the products out of the hands of its competitors, fearing that the materials would be sold at discount prices and damage the brand. Since 2012, Burberry has destroyed over $135 million USD worth of products. In the past, the company defended these actions by claiming it reused the energy produced from the massive burns. Related: This Swedish power plant is burning H&M clothes instead of fossil fuels Fortunately, Burberry has changed its attitude on the issue and will no longer burn old products. Instead, the fashion giant will recycle the goods by reusing the materials or donating them to local charities. With the new policy in place, Burberry is the first fashion company to stop burning unsaleable products. The company also hopes that other businesses will follow its example and recycle old products instead of outright destroying them. In addition to not burning old clothes , Burberry has confirmed it will stop using real fur in products. The company is planning on releasing a new collection this month that does not feature any real fur. All existing lines containing real fur will be gradually eliminated in coming years. In order to promote its drastic change in policies, Burberry is also redesigning its logo and wants customers to know that it is serious about protecting the environment. Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti said of the new policy change, “Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible.” This past May, Burberry became an official partner with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and is working with its program, Make Fashion Circular. The initiative was established to stop waste in the fashion world. + Burberry Via Reuters , The Guardian Image via Franklin Heijnen  

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Burberry vows to stop burning unsold clothes and using real fur

Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy

September 6, 2018 by  
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Scientists at the University of Buffalo have discovered an adept way of storing renewable energy thanks to waste water produced from the textile industry. Polluted water containing blue dye, chemically referred to as methylene blue, has been found to have electrical properties and may soon be repurposed to revolutionize the battery industry in the near future. The revelation could help the textile industry, which is not known for its sustainable practices, reach a milestone in dealing with its water pollution and consumption issues. Similarly, for countries such as Sri Lanka where the textile industry makes up the majority of income, the discovery is paramount in facing the world’s changing environmental standards. Only 5 percent of methylene blue is absorbed by fabric in the dyeing process, meaning that thousands of liters of dye are released by factories daily to produce the azure hues people love to wear. The rest of the dye, now infused into water sources, is simply thrown away. Discovering the electrical properties of methylene blue — which is also used as medicine in some blood diseases, urinary tract infections and cyanide poisoning cases — is a game changer for both the textile industry and countries where textiles are increasingly damaging the environment. Related: Biotech company Nanollose could offer plant-free alternatives for the textile industry “The textile industry is what most of my country’s income is based on, but it’s associated with a lot of waste water, which is causing problems,” collaborating chemist and Sri Lankan national Anjula Kosswattaarachchi explained. “The good thing is we can repurpose the wastewater and create a green energy storage technology.” The research, published last month in the scientific journal ChemElectroChem reveals how methylene blue molecules change form when voltage is applied to the compound. Two protons and two electrons are taken on by the deep blue dye to form leuco-methylene blue, a colorless byproduct. Related: The devastating reason Mumbai dogs are turning blue This composition is then used by chemists in alternating reduction and oxidation processes, making it a successful alternative to current battery compositions. Using a solar cell to generate power, large quantities of the dye can be transformed into leuco-methylene blue. Alternately, the reverse process is employed at night when the electricity is needed back from the dye. Best of all, by varying the size of the cell in which the dye is subject to the voltage, the desired power output may be obtained independent of the size of the chemical storage tanks. This is a quality that other batteries, such as lithium ion models, do not have. The configuration is being referred to as the redox flow battery, which is already available with vanadium solutions, however the near-perfect reversibility exhibited by the methylene blue composition will certainly create some competition. Kosswattaarachchi and PhD supervisor Tim Cook are now working on repeating tests with actual samples of waste water, which contain other chemicals as well as the methylene blue, and creating scalable models in an effort to refashion both textiles and renewable energy into more sustainable models. + ChemElectroChem Via Cosmos Image via Daniel Romero

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Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy

Drone operators disturbing wildlife incur fines and jail time in Scotland

September 4, 2018 by  
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The number of cases in Scotland involving drone interference with animals on nature reserves has increased, causing police and wildlife experts to become “increasingly concerned” for the welfare of the protected animals. While nature reserve managers and wildlife specialists are encouraging outsiders to watch and enjoy the environment and animals in the sanctuaries, mounting numbers of injuries caused to the creatures by drones are leading Scottish lawmakers to impose fines on or even arrest individuals caught disturbing the peace. Drones are being flown inconsiderately according to Andy Turner, wildlife crime officer with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). “There have been several incidents involving drones disturbing seals at designated haul-out sites,” he said. Seals that have protective considerations during breeding season are having their pups crushed in these haul-out zones, where they tend to flee when scared into the water by drones. Related: Daan Roosegaarde reveals vision for air-purifying Smog Free Drones “Likewise, there have been anecdotal reports of drones being used to film seabird colonies and raptors,” Turner continued. “While the footage from drones in these circumstances can be very spectacular, the operator must be mindful of the effect on wildlife.” The interference with some birds , such as guillemots and razorbills, has “almost catastrophic” implications according to nature reserve coordinators RSPB Scotland . Drones that fly in too quickly cause birds to panic and dive headfirst into the cliffs or plummet into the sea. Ian Thompson, Head of Investigations at RSPB Scotland, had a message for wildlife observers. “Watch the animals. You will get a sign if you are causing them any stress, you’ll see from their behavior,” he warned. “You might see birds take flight or suddenly lift their heads and run off or walk off. If the birds start altering their behavior, that shows that you are disturbing them, and then it is time to move a drone away.” Fines for harassing wildlife in the nature reserves can cost disrespectful droners up to £5,000 (about $6,425 USD). Alternately, severe infractions can earn individuals up to a six-month sentence in a Scottish penitentiary. Officers of the U.K. National Wildlife Crime Unit are taking the disturbances very seriously, regardless of the perpetrator. “Irrespective of whether the offender is an egg collector, boat skipper or drone operator, the possible sentences are the same,” said PC Charlie Everitt of the crime unit. “It is therefore essential that drone operators understand the law, research the legal status and behavior of any wildlife they intend to film and obtain the necessary licences to keep on the right side of the law.” Via BBC Image via Joe Hayhurst

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Drone operators disturbing wildlife incur fines and jail time in Scotland

Freedom for 5 moon bears held captive for 21 years on a bile farm

August 31, 2018 by  
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This Monday, non-profit group Animals Asia saved five moon bears that had been captive for more than two decades on a farm in Vietnam . The animals were held for 21 years, receiving regular bile extractions until their rescue from the southern town of My Tho, according to the group. The NGO transported the “freedom five” 1,050 miles by truck over the course of the week to Vietnam’s Tam Dao National Park. They were eagerly awaited at the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre , an expansive and lush sanctuary dedicated to the animals’ conservation since 2006. The #FiveAlive bears have been given names for the very first time in their lives. LeBON, Kim, Mai, Star and Mekong were treated for injuries such as abdominal penetrations as well as dental decay from malnutrition and biting the cages in attempts to free themselves. Related: Montana judge to rule on first grizzly bear hunt in 40 years “We know that in more than 20 years of cruel incarceration, LeBON, Star, Mai, Mekong and Kim have never had proper nutrition or medical care,” Animals Asia Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said. “They have known only rusty cages and a life of suffering. They were viewed as commodities and not treated as individuals. At the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, they will finally experience freedom, play in grassy enclosures, forage for food and have the chance to behave like real bears.” The moon bear, also referred to as the Asiatic Black Bear, as well as sun bears and brown bears are often captured by bile farms who sell the compounds in the practice of traditional medicine. The bears are listed as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List and endangered by the  CITES list . The global nonprofit Animals Asia was founded by Jill Robinson MBE and is celebrating its 20 year anniversary this month. Since then, Robinson, a medical veterinarian who is recognized as the world’s leading authority on the cruel bear bile industry, has been devoted to ending the longstanding eastern tradition of bile farming. “We eagerly await LeBON, Kim, Mekong, Star and Mai’s arrival at their new home at Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre,” Robinson announced shortly before their arrival. “They will never suffer behind bars again. This is an important step in our work to remove all of the bears who remain on farms in Vietnam from their cages and bring them to sanctuary . It is a new day for these innocent bears who will now finally enjoy some of the freedoms they were denied so long ago.” Related: Polar bears could go extinct sooner than scientists previously thought The Vietnamese government has been compliant with the NGO’s efforts, even signing a groundbreaking memorandum in 2017 agreeing to the removal and relocation of approximately 800 bears from bile farms to sanctuaries such as the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre. Social media support of the #FiveAlive mission has been pouring in with growing encouragement to donate to the bears’ care for the remainder of their — now free — lives. + Animals Asia Images via Animals Asia

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Freedom for 5 moon bears held captive for 21 years on a bile farm

Montana judge to rule on first grizzly bear hunt in 40 years

August 29, 2018 by  
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This week, a U.S. judge will hear the arguments presented by Native American tribes and animal activists for the protection of recently demoted Yellowstone-area grizzly bears from the endangered list. The removal of the grizzlies’ protection status has caused states such as Montana, Idaho and Wyoming to launch trophy hunting expeditions in and around Yellowstone National Park for the first time in over 40 years. All in all, 700 American bears are at risk of staring down the barrel since their elimination from the U.S. List of Endangered and Threatened Species in 2017 under the Trump administration. While some states hailed the decision, along with hunters and ranchers who worried about bears preying on their livestock, Native Americans and conservation groups took matters into their own hands, filing lawsuits with the U.S. courts. “We feel all our beliefs, medicines, ceremonies and ancestral ways of life are being disrespected … because a few people want to kill grizzlies … to mount their heads on walls or make rugs for their floors,” explained Crawford White, part of the Northern Arapaho Elders Society, a Wyoming tribe that is supporting the suit for what it feels is a violation of religious freedom. Related: Movement to save grizzly bears from hunters scores a victory Constituents arguing for the hunt said that they met with tribal leaders before allowing up to 22 grizzly bears to be killed in the scheduled hunt, according to Renny MacKay, spokesperson for the Game and Fish Department . They maintain their stance that grizzly populations have exceeded targets for recovery measures and risk over-pouring into the surrounding area. More than 7,000 people have applied to the lottery system, which is accepting 22 individuals into the hunt, one person for every bear to be killed. Some applicants include individuals in the conservation group “Shoot ‘Em with a Camera, Not a Gun,” which has scored at least one of the 22 licenses. The hunt is set to begin September 1 in Wyoming and Idaho, and groups are impatiently awaiting the trial’s commencement to find out whether or not the state of Montana will join as well. Related: Jane Goodall and conservationists move to obtain bear hunting licences in Wyoming The hearing is set for Thursday, and opponents will meet in the U.S. District Court of Montana. The judge presiding over the case will make the final decision whether to restore protective status to the Yellowstone grizzlies or give them up to the hunt. Via Reuters Image via Yellowstone National Park

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Montana judge to rule on first grizzly bear hunt in 40 years

Can businesses practice profitable conservation?

August 18, 2018 by  
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Investing in the environment proves valuable for all organizations. Here’s how.

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Can businesses practice profitable conservation?

8 Ways to Green Your Water

August 16, 2018 by  
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You H2O it to yourself to read this – get it? The post 8 Ways to Green Your Water appeared first on Earth911.com.

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