Amazon deforestation reaches a 12-year record

December 2, 2020 by  
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Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has risen to a 12-year high in 2020, according to data released by Inpe, the national space research agency in Brazil. The official data, released on Monday, shows that deforestation in the rainforest has been on the rise since President Jair Bolsonaro took office. In 2020 alone, the destruction of the rainforest rose by 9.5% as compared to the rate of deforestation in 2019. This means that about 11,088 square kilometers of the forest have been cleared this year. In 2018, the year before Bolsonaro became Brazil’s president, a total of 7,536 square kilometers of the rainforest was cleared. Compared to when Bolsonaro took office, the state of the forest has been on a downward spiral following weakened environmental laws. The president has encouraged more agricultural and industrial activities within the Amazon rainforest, citing that it is the only way to reduce poverty. Such a move has seen many land-grabbers and investors pounce on the opportunity to turn large chunks of the Amazon into ranches, agricultural land and even mining fields. Related: You can help monitor Amazon deforestation from your couch The data now shows that Brazil is unable to reach its own target of reducing annual deforestation to about 3,900 square kilometers. The target, which was set in a climate-related law in 2009, was aimed at reducing deforestation and carbon emissions as well as protecting the natural habitat. While the Amazon is being deforested at an alarming rate, the Brazilian government is busy trying to paint a rosy picture of the situation. Federal officials have hailed the 9.5% growth as a sign of progress in the fight against deforestation. They argue that it is way lower than the 34% increase witnessed in 2019. “While we are not here to celebrate this, it does signify that the efforts we are making are beginning to bear fruit,” Vice President Hamilton Mourão told reporters. The Amazon is the largest rainforest on Earth. If it is destroyed, the world could suffer devastating environmental consequences. Further, much of the planet’s biodiversity would be lost with the forest. For this reason, the Brazilian government is under pressure to tame economic activities that lead to deforestation. Via The New York Times Image via Alexander Gerst

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Amazon deforestation reaches a 12-year record

Hungary announces preemptive ban on fur farms

December 2, 2020 by  
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Hungary’s ministerial commissioner of animal protection, Péter Óvári, announced this week that farming mink, foxes, ferrets and coypu will not be allowed in the country. These animals are not currently farmed there. But now that millions of mink have been slaughtered in other European countries due to COVID-19 concerns, Hungarian officials worried that fur farmers might try to move their operations to Hungary . “This is a precautionary measure that shuts the door to that happening, and that is a good outcome for human health and animal welfare ,” said Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International (HSI) Europe, as reported by VegNews . Related: Denmark’s top fur cooperative is closing The COVID-19 virus has spread between animals on mink farms in some European countries, including Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Greece and Italy. Infected minks have been identified in at least 15 U.S. farms in Wisconsin, Michigan and Utah. Denmark and the Netherlands have slaughtered millions of mink to stop the spread of zoonotic disease . Health experts worry that the virus could mutate in the animals, which could spell disaster for vaccine development. The strange thing about Hungary’s decision is that while local farmers don’t raise mink, foxes, ferrets or coypu (aka nutria), they do raise chinchillas for fur and plan to continue doing so. “For as long as the animal exploitation of fur farming is tolerated, the potential for reservoirs of animal to human pathogens will persist,” Swabe said, “and so HSI hopes that the Hungarian government will also consider strengthening its ban by shutting down the country’s chinchilla fur farms too, and make fur farming history in Hungary.” Chinchillas are native to South America, but their extremely soft, luxurious fur has made them susceptible to international fur farmers who want to turn the sensitive, nocturnal creatures into coats and cash. A company called Wanger is responsible for much of the fur farming across southeast Europe, including in Hungary, Serbia and Bosnia. Activists have used the hashtag #stopwanger when protesting this company. Via VegNews , Respect for Animals Image via Jo-Anne McArthur

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Hungary announces preemptive ban on fur farms

3XN unveils Denmarks first climate-positive hotel for Bornholm island

December 2, 2020 by  
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On the tiny Danish island of Bornholm, Hotel Green Solution House (GSH) will raise its eco-friendly charms with a new climate-positive wing designed by Copenhagen-based firm 3XN and its green think-tank, GXN. Slated for completion in summer 2021, the new extension will be entirely built, clad and insulated with timber materials for a carbon-neutral footprint. The hotel wing will incorporate upcycled materials from construction offcuts for the furnishings and surfaces. Opened in 2015, Hotel GSH was designed by 3XN and GXN to serve as an inspiring leader in green hospitality. An all-timber build was selected for the new wing for a reduced carbon footprint ; according to the International Environment Agency, approximately 40% of the world’s carbon emissions are attributed to the construction industry, with steel and concrete responsible for a total of 16%. Related: Low-impact geodesic dome hotel immerses guests in Patagonian nature “It is a privilege to work with a developer who is completely uncompromising in her approach to sustainability and the circular economy . In this way, the project is making the impossible a reality,” said Kasper Guldager Jensen, architect and partner at 3XN and founder of GXN. “In addition to creating the foundation for a successful business, I hope that the new project can help to show others the potential of wood construction. If we in Denmark want to be able to achieve our climate goals, the construction industry needs to think and act differently, and there is therefore a great need for lighthouse projects like this.” The new hotel wing at Hotel GSH will feature 24 rooms, a conference room and a rooftop spa. In addition to the use of upcycled materials, debris from local granite quarries in Bornholm will be repurposed as temperature-regulating décor in the conference room. The timber building will reduce its energy footprint with operable windows that let in natural daylight and ventilation. All components of the building are designed with reversible joints so that they can be reused in the future rather than end up as demolition waste. Construction of the new hotel wing is expected to begin this fall. + 3XN Images via 3XN

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3XN unveils Denmarks first climate-positive hotel for Bornholm island

California governor issues executive order to conserve 30% of state land by 2030

October 9, 2020 by  
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On Wednesday, October 7, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an executive order to reserve 30% of state land for conservation by 2030. The governor said the move will help preserve biodiversity and prevent further destruction of vulnerable ecosystems. Gov. Newsom explained that the executive order corresponds with existing plans to conserve at least 30% of state land. Following the executive order, state agencies will be required to boost and maintain soil health, restore wetlands , manage forests to reduce fire risks and create more parks and green spaces for cities. The governor said California would be the first state to carry out this type of land conservation. Related: No new gas-powered cars by 2035, California governor says “This is a critical part of the climate change conversation, and it’s so often omitted,” the governor said. “When we talk about climate change , we get so consumed by energy and industry, commercial and residential side of this equation, and we forget our working lands. We forget our natural lands. We forget about species and we forget about animals, and plants, and insects. All of these things that truly make life not only worth living but life even capable of living.” The executive order is just one of many measures that have been put in place by the state to curb environmental degradation. Last month, the governor made an executive order to phase out gas-powered vehicles in favor of zero-emission vehicles by 2035. The executive order does not make it illegal for residents of California to own gas-powered cars or even resell them as used cars. It only aims at ensuring that gas-powered cars are phased out moving forward. “I don’t know of any other state in this country that’s been more forceful and forthright in establishing and anchoring a consciousness around climate change,” Gov. Newsom said. “We just want to fundamentally reconcile the fact we’re no longer living in the 19th century, and we don’t need to drill things or extract things in order to advance our economic goals and advance our mobility needs.” Via ABC7 Image via David Mark

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California governor issues executive order to conserve 30% of state land by 2030

Mature trees shape a leafy, light-filled home in Mexico

October 9, 2020 by  
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South of Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco, local architecture firm  Estudio Radillo Alba  has completed the Casa R.A., a family of five’s countryside home that takes its site-specific massing from the existing trees on site. Designed for a client who wanted a home that would make the most of the available land surface, the single-family dwelling embraces indoor/outdoor living with floor-to-ceiling windows and patios full of lush vegetation throughout the home.  Five mature trees shaped the design of Casa R.A., with designers arranging the building around the trees’ root systems. Two of the three trees, located at the front of the site, define the location of the garage, while another tree at the side of the home marks the main entrance. The remaining trees in the rear of the property provide shade and shelter to a back terrace. An  open-plan  living area, kitchen, dining space and small powder room reside on the ground floor. The second floor contains the master bedroom along with three secondary bedrooms and three baths. Sections of the home utilize cut-outs to make way for plant-filled patios, accesses and terraces. The home’s material palette stays light, using only mud-brick from a nearby region known for its mud-brick techniques. Related: Brick cladding conceals a family home’s sophisticated, zero-energy systems “The house was conceived as one single block which called for a single choice of material ,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Close to the plot, there is a region known for its production of mud-brick, a technique still practiced in some parts of the country. Its cultural value and its constructive heritage encouraged us to use it as a single material for the project’s envelope. The customized exposed brick covers and protects all structural elements, slabs, and mechanical installations while intending to reveal the constructive system and pay homage to the laborious process of the artisanal material.” + Estudio Radillo Alba Images via Ce?sar Belio

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Mature trees shape a leafy, light-filled home in Mexico

The World’s First Smart Microhabitat

February 16, 2016 by  
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One of the most devastating consequences of the destruction we’ve wreaked on this little blue and green planet of ours has been the extinction of so many flora and fauna. From strange looking dodo birds to great auk’s, and innumerable plant and…

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The World’s First Smart Microhabitat

New app lets Chinese citizens track biggest polluters’ activity in real time

January 6, 2015 by  
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Tracking China’s most devious polluters ? Now there’s an app for that, after Chinese environmentalist Ma Jun and his supporters developed an app that can show citizens just who is polluting them — in real time on a geo-location map. Powered by data collected at 10,000 plants around the country, the app allows millions to access and pinpoint major polluters , right on their smart phones or computers. Read the rest of New app lets Chinese citizens track biggest polluters’ activity in real time Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: app , China Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs , China pollutes app , china smog , destruction , eco design , Environment , green , green design , Ma Jun , Pollution , sustainable design

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New app lets Chinese citizens track biggest polluters’ activity in real time

Scientists Agree Earth Has Entered a New Human-Shaped Geological Epoch

November 12, 2014 by  
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With 7 billion humans and counting living on Earth, all of whom have the increasing capacity to build, shape and often devastate the planet, scientists are now starting to agree that the planet is entering a new geological age shaped by humanity’s impact. According to New Scientist , the idea that humans have the ability to make significant impacts on Earth’s structure has been around for a long time, but were mostly dismissed by geologists who thought humans could never make an imprint on the Earth that was so long lasting it would never be erased. Read the rest of Scientists Agree Earth Has Entered a New Human-Shaped Geological Epoch Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: anthropocene , artificial , destruction , epoch , geological , human , impact , mineral , mining , shaped , time

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Weed Wildfire Leaves Hundreds Without Homes, Jobs

September 18, 2014 by  
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What would you do if all your most cherished possessions suddenly went up in smoke? That’s the situation facing dozens of families in Weed, California right now as a fast-moving wildfire destroyed about 150 buildings in the Northern California logging town on Monday. According to the LA Times , the wildfire that did all the destruction, at 375 acres, was relatively small in the scope of the massive wildfires that have burned through California this year. Yet it was able to wreak significant damage in a short period of time, burning down two churches, a library and a community organization that aided the poor. The town also lost machinery at its plywood mill – putting many out of work. Read the rest of Weed Wildfire Leaves Hundreds Without Homes, Jobs Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: buildings , burns , California , Drought , emergency , fire , forestry , Homes , weed , Weed fire , Weed wildfire , wildifire

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Weed Wildfire Leaves Hundreds Without Homes, Jobs

Dept. of Public Health Deliberately Silenced Citizens Calling about Fracking

August 12, 2014 by  
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NPR recently covered a story about two former Pennsylvania Department of Public Health employees who said they were told to keep their mouths shut when people called in about fracking and related development. Former employee Tammi Stuck said, “we were absolutely not allowed to talk to them,” regarding people who called in insisting that fracking and related processes caused nosebleeds, migraines, skin rashes, and a bunch of other problems common to carcinogen exposure. The concerns mirror public health advocates who say that Pennsylvania hasn’t funded enough research to examine health impacts of blasting apart the Marcellus Shale. Read the rest of Dept. of Public Health Deliberately Silenced Citizens Calling about Fracking Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , Atlantic Sunrise , Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project , Cabot , cabot oil and gas , Climate Change , climate justice , corporations , destruction , dirty energy , drilling violations , energy industry , Energy Justice Network , Energy Justice Summer , Environment , environmental justice , extraction , FERC , fossil fuels , fracking , fracking well violations , gag orders , government , industry , methane , natural gas , pennsylvania , pipelines , politics , renewable energy , renewables , Susquehanna , susquehanna county , toxic , Vera Scroggins , Williams , Williams companies

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