Green Getaways for Eco-Conscious Travelers

June 4, 2018 by  
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Summer travel season is just around the corner and for … The post Green Getaways for Eco-Conscious Travelers appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Green Getaways for Eco-Conscious Travelers

Woman-Powered Ripple Effect Rows the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

June 4, 2018 by  
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In June, the only all-women team in this year’s Great … The post Woman-Powered Ripple Effect Rows the Great Pacific Garbage Patch appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Woman-Powered Ripple Effect Rows the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Scandinavian-inspired hotel emerges from the lush Costa Rican landscape

May 2, 2018 by  
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European design elements meet Costa Rican craftsmanship in the newly completed Mint Santa Teresa , a modern hotel set into a steep hillside in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. San Jose-based architecture firm Studio Saxe completed the upscale hotel for Swedish owners who fell in love with the beautiful area, which has become a hotspot for surfing and yoga. Built to harmonize with the landscape, the hotel is comprised of pavilion-like structures that step down towards the beach. Mint Santa Teresa has multiple spacious,  pavilion -like guest rooms that fully open up to views of the surrounding nature while preserving privacy. Each room comes with a personal terrace overlooking the ocean in front of the hotel, as well as the tropical gardens behind it. Guests also enjoy access to a rooftop terrace with hammocks , lush landscaping, and elevated views. Rattan furniture sourced from the famous crafts town Sarchí is used throughout the hotel, as are locally sourced materials, such as the caña brava grass ceilings and other custom furniture made from  locally sourced wood. An infinity pool and sunset bar are located at the heart of the hotel, in the communal lounge area where the breakfast buffet is served. Related: Costa Rica eco-resort combines jungle yoga with sustainable design “Hotels traditionally became vast objects in the landscape that bear no relation to their surroundings and are devoid of genuine human interaction,” according to architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe. “At Mint, we endeavored to create a contextual design that adapts to its landscape and offers a new type of experience for a breed of traveler seeking authenticity.” + Studio Saxe

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Scandinavian-inspired hotel emerges from the lush Costa Rican landscape

Wet wipe pollution is clogging up riverbeds across the UK

May 2, 2018 by  
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The UK’s obsession with wet wipes is completely changing rivers around the country. A London environmental group found a 1,000-fold increase in the number of wet wipes showing up in waterways, with more than 5,000 of them covering the bed of the Thames in just 116 square meters (about 1,250 square feet). “The Thames riverbed is changing. Wet wipes are accumulating on the riverbed and affecting the shape of the riverbed,” said Kirsten Downer of Thames 21 , a non-profit working to clean up the rivers in England. “It looks natural, but when you get close you can see that these clumps are composed of wet wipes mixed with twigs and mud.” The wet wipe industry has expanded beyond baby wipes – now there’s ‘moist towelettes’ for everything, including pet wipes and anti-malarial wipes. The market is expected to grow into a $4 billion industry by 2021, and as it grows, there will be an increase in wipes polluting waterways around the world. Even though many companies advertise their products as flushable, wet wipes are usually made from cotton and plastic weaved together, which means they definitely aren’t biodegradable. People “don’t realize that you are not supposed to flush wet wipes down the toilet,” Downer said to The Guardian . Related: “Family cloths” reusable toilet wipes: gross or great? A study in the UK showed that wet wipes are particularly insidious when it comes to clogging up sewers. According to the research, wet wipes comprised 93 percent of the material in blockages. “We want people to realize that this is not just happening on the Thames, but on rivers and canals all around the country,” Downer said. “All the time we were working, people kept coming to ask what we were doing. People are far more upset and concerned about the plastics problem than they ever have been.” Via The Guardian Images via Deposit Photos and Luca Micheli

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Wet wipe pollution is clogging up riverbeds across the UK

Repurposed cargotecture dwellings keep naturally cool in Costa Rica

January 23, 2018 by  
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An environmentally conscious family tapped DAO and Re Arquitectura to design a home expansion project with low landscape impact. In response, the architecture firms created Franceschi Container Houses, a series of cargotecture apartments to independently house the family’s three sons. Located in Santa Ana west of Costa Rica’s capital, the repurposed shipping container dwellings make use of passive climate control, solar water heaters, and recycled materials to minimize waste and energy demands. Set next to the Uruca River canyon, the Franceschi Container Houses were built on the same property as the main family house where the clients have been living for around 20 years. The project comprises three independent units raised off the ground for minimal landscape impact . The dwellings were built from repurposed 40-foot-tall cargo containers and feature identical floor plans. Related: Qatar unveils first-ever FIFA World Cup stadium to be built from shipping containers The architects carefully placed the dwellings to maximize passive climate control conditions and to optimize natural lighting. The social areas and a deep covered porch are located on the ground floor while the private areas are placed on the upper level. Waste was minimized through recycling and leftover materials like wood and metal were reused for miscellaneous objects like handrails, door handles, planters, and hangers. + Re Arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images via Re Arquitectura

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Repurposed cargotecture dwellings keep naturally cool in Costa Rica

How orange peels helped barren land in Costa Rica spring back to life

August 23, 2017 by  
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There’s more to oranges than juice! Back in the 1990’s, two ecologists suggested orange juice manufacturer Del Oro donate some of their land near a national park in Costa Rica ; in exchange, they’d be able to deposit agricultural waste for free on degraded land inside the park. Del Oro agreed and dumped 1,000 truckloads of orange pulp and peels on the land. Today, that area is a thriving forest . A Princeton University -led team of researchers journeyed to the forest to discover just how much that food trash transformed the forest – and how other businesses might do the same. Del Oro donated land to Área de Conservación Guanacaste at the suggestion of husband and wife ecologist team Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs, who’d worked as advisors at the park. The company unloaded around 12,000 metric tons of orange waste for biodegradation until rival company TicoFruit sued, saying Del Oro had defiled the park. TicoFruit won and the land went largely overlooked for over a decade. Related: 16-year-old South African girl invents drought-fighting super material from orange peels Years later, environmental researchers decided to evaluate the site. They discovered a lush forest that had a 176 percent increase in aboveground biomass – what Princeton described as the trees’ wood – in the seven acres they studied. They also found a difference between areas where orange peels hadn’t been dumped and where they had – according to Princeton, the latter showed richer soil, greater tree-species richness, and more closure in the forest canopy. The researchers think regenerating forests with agricultural waste could help us sequester carbon . Princeton graduate student Timothy Treuer said in a statement, “This is one of the only instances I’ve ever heard of where you can have cost-negative carbon sequestration. It’s not just a win-win between the company and the local park – it’s a win for everyone.” Princeton University ecologist David Wilcove thinks more businesses could help the environment in similar ways. He said while companies do generate environmental problems, “…an awful lot of those problems can be alleviated if the private sector and the environmental community work together. I’m confident we’ll find many more opportunities to use the leftovers from industrial food production to bring back tropical forests. That’s recycling at its best.” University of Pennsylvania , Beloit College , and University of Minnesota scientists joined the Princeton researchers to write a study published by the journal Restoration Ecology this week. Via Princeton Environmental Institute Images via Pixabay and Princeton University

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How orange peels helped barren land in Costa Rica spring back to life

NASA considers puncturing Yellowstone supervolcano to save life on Earth

August 23, 2017 by  
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A new study from NASA’s Jet Propulsion unit has determined that the threat of a supervolcanic eruption to life on Earth may be more pressing than any interstellar collisions. An eruption of a supervolcano, like that found in Yellowstone National Park in the United States, could trigger a collapse of the global agricultural and economic systems and result in the deaths of potentially millions of people. Although NASA scientists can’t predict when such an event would occur, they have already begun preparing a preventative measure: drilling into the magma chamber of a supervolcano to cool it down. Although the potential consequences of a supervolcano eruption would be devastating, earthlings should rest easy knowing that the chance of such an eruption taking place this year is roughly 1-in-730,000. Even then, there is a chance that it could be nothing more than a little lava flow. Nonetheless, NASA scientists are preparing to deal with the problem before it happens. Related: World’s most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid home—and you can stay overnight Magma eruptions occur only when it is thoroughly melted by intense heat; cooling magma down by 35 percent would prevent a supervolcano from erupting. To do this, the scientists envision using a drill to puncture above the chamber, where hydrothermal fluids are pushed to the surface. Adding water in this highly pressurized environment would be sufficient to cool the magma. To avoid fracturing the surrounding rock and potentially setting off an eruption, NASA scientists suggest drilling into the supervolcano from below. It is estimated that such a plan would cost around $3.5 billion, although governments would be encouraged to think of this as an investment : Excess heat could be captured and transformed into clean energy . Via IFLScience Lead image via Pixabay , others via Laineema/Flickr  and Peter Hartree/Flickr

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NASA considers puncturing Yellowstone supervolcano to save life on Earth

Airy Costa Rica home enjoys incredible views of the ocean and jungle

August 15, 2017 by  
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This gorgeous Costa Rican residence occupies a unique location near Santa Teresa Beach, where the jungle meets the Pacific Ocean. Architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe designed the Ocean Eye House to provide stunning views of its natural surroundings while supporting an outdoor lifestyle. The house, listed for the WAN House of the Year 2017, rests against the back of a steep hill in order to help stabilize the soil. It combines closed, private spaces and light , open areas that allow the owners to enjoy the surrounding landscape. Related: Striking Off-Grid House on the Osa Penninsula in Costa Rica This design approach resulted in a series of interwoven terraces that create different levels which blur the line between the interior and the exterior spaces. This spatial ambiguity allows the occupants to truly appreciate the dual nature of the building’s location. + Benjamin Garcia Saxe Via World Architecture News Photos by Andres Garcia Lachner

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Airy Costa Rica home enjoys incredible views of the ocean and jungle

Costa Rica eco-resort combines jungle yoga with sustainable design

August 9, 2017 by  
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NALU boutique hotel in Costa Rica is a sustainable jungle retreat for exercise and relaxation. Merging sustainability with local craftsmanship, architecture firm Studio Saxe designed a series of pavilions scattered amongst the trees, offering each occupant an extra sense of privacy. The hotel is located in Nosara, a burgeoning tourist destination for health, wellness and surfing. The owners, Nomel and Mariya Libid, wanted the design of the new building to reflect this attitude by offering several tranquil spaces for various types of recreation and exercise. Dense jungle completely surrounds the individual pavilion homes. The architects determined optimal positions for each of the structures by conducting extensive analyses of wind and sun patterns. Related: 8 gorgeous green hotels to add to your bucket list The timber roofs made of recycled Teak planks protrude over each pavilion to create shade from the intense equatorial sun. Corridors lit from the pergola roofs frame views of the lush surroundings and connect separate rooms. “Our project Nalu represents the power of simple, low-key, modern tropical architecture ,” says architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe. “It has quickly become a town favorite, which shows that there is a real desire to occupy spaces that bring people closer to nature, while addressing the needs of contemporary life,” he adds. + Studio Saxe Photos by Andres Garcia Lachner

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Costa Rica eco-resort combines jungle yoga with sustainable design

Triangular beachfront home is a dreamy retreat buried in the earth

August 9, 2017 by  
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A beautiful beach-front home by renowned architect, William Morgan just hit the market for $1.75 million – and while that is a huge chunk of change, you get quite a lot for your money. Designed to be the architect’s family residence, the wooden, three-story house takes the form of a slanted triangle , and it’s strategically designed to give unreal views over the Atlantic Beach coastline in Jacksonville, Florida. Morgan built the stunning 1,800-square-foot home in 1972 for his family. The house volume is comprised of two back-to-back triangular masses , with one side facing the street entry and the other overlooking the grassy incline that leads to the beach. According to scholar Robert McCarter, the unique design was “inspired by the stepped structure of the ancient Roman seaside town of Herculaneum.” Related: Architect Leo Qvarsebo’s triangular summer home doubles as a climbing wall More than just a quirky architectural whim, the stepped design also created an amazingly open living space on the home’s interior. The space is clad in honey-toned cedar wood panels throughout, with ultra-high slanted ceilings and plenty of windows and glass doors that lead to the home’s four open-air terraces. As a bonus, the new homeowners of this remarkable home will be living next door to another William Morgan work, the earth-rammed , two-bedroom Dune House that the architect built into the adjacent sand dune to protect the “ecological character” of the landscape. + William Morgan Architecture + Premier Sotheby’s International Realty Via Dwell

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Triangular beachfront home is a dreamy retreat buried in the earth

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