Richard Branson’s plan to help rebuild the Caribbean with clean energy

November 3, 2017 by  
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Renewable energy could help islands in the Caribbean be more resilient in the face of future hurricanes – and billionaire Richard Branson wants to make that happen. He’s spearheading a plan for recovery centering on renewable energy. Replacing fossil fuel power grids with clean energy sources like solar and wind could also promote economic development. Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Caribbean islands. Now, Branson aims to help them rebuild. He has spoken with lenders and foundations about a fund to pay for a Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan, a name that nods to the Marshall Plan to rebuild Western Europe following World War 2. His efforts, which focus on renewable energy, could also include debt relief negotiations in which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) might be involved – Branson met with IMF managing director Christine Lagarde and said she was willing to facilitate meetings between creditors and Caribbean nations. He also said in a blog post he met recently with over 50 representatives from Caribbean governments and utility companies. Related: Puerto Rico electricity crisis sparks interest in renewable energy He told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, “We want to move the Caribbean countries into clean energy and make them more sustainable, which will make dealing with hurricanes much easier. The Caribbean heads of state agree with one voice that this is a good idea.” Branson rode out Hurricane Irma in a cellar on Necker, his private island in the British Virgin Islands. The island’s solar-powered microgrid weathered the storm well, he said, with the solar panels running again just 24 hours after the hurricane. In a blog post, Branson said people interested in helping could donate to the BVI Community Support Appeal , which aims “to raise money for the long term reconstruction” of the British Virgin Islands. Via the Thomson Reuters Foundation and Richard Branson Images via Caribbean Buzz Helicopters/Virgin and Ricardo Rossello on Twitter

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Richard Branson’s plan to help rebuild the Caribbean with clean energy

Colorful Peoples Pavilion in Eindhoven is made from 100% borrowed materials

November 3, 2017 by  
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All the materials needed to build this temporary pavilion in the Netherlands are borrowed. bureau SLA and Overtreders W built the People’s Pavilion – a centerpiece of the Dutch Design Week (DDW) taking place in Eindhoven – using materials from suppliers and Eindhoven residents which will be returned after the event closes. The only exception is the faceted upper façade, which is made of plastic household waste materials collected by Eindhoven residents. The People’s Pavilion will function as the main pavilion of the World Design Event in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, which provides a platform for future makers from all over the world. It will also be used as a meeting place and hang-out for visitors and serves as a venue for music and theater. Related: Spectacular origami pavilion made of recycled plastic pops up in Columbus, Indiana The 269-square-foot (25-square-meter) building can accommodate 200 seated or 600 standing people. Its structure is based on 12 concrete foundation piles and 19 wooden frames, designed in collaboration with Arup. Steel straps hold together wooden beams , while concrete piles and frames are connected with 350 tensioning straps. The glass roof resembles those used in the greenhouse industry. Related: The Folkets House is an inclusive space where refugees can learn skills and find jobs Colorful plastic tiles cover the upper façade of the building and are made from recycled plastic household waste . Leftovers from a refurbishment of BOL.com’s headquarters were used for the glass portion of the façade on the ground floor and will be reused for a new office space after the Dutch Design Week concludes. All the materials, including concrete slabs used for the podium, lighting, heating and bar are borrowed. + bureau SLA + Overtreders W + Dutch Design Week 

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Colorful Peoples Pavilion in Eindhoven is made from 100% borrowed materials

Trump administration wants to end uranium mining ban near the Grand Canyon

November 3, 2017 by  
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The Grand Canyon is one of America’s most beloved national parks , attracting over four million visitors annually — but President Donald Trump’s administration doesn’t seem to care about that. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently proposed lifting a ban on new uranium mining near the national park, as part of a broader effort, according to Reuters, to do away with regulations hindering development after a March executive order from the president. The Forest Service , which is under the USDA and manages the land that could be re-opened to uranium mining , prepared a report in response to Trump’s Executive Order 13783 titled “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.” They proposed lifting the mining ban, put in place in 2012 to protect the watershed around the Grand Canyon. Related: Big Oil celebrates Trump’s goal to open up drilling in national parks Uranium mining pollutes water, and impacts animals and plants as it removes water sources, according to Earthjustice . The Center for Biological Diversity reports past uranium mining in the Grand Canyon area “has polluted soils, washes, aquifers, and drinking water.” They said that according to nonpartisan polls, 80 percent of Americans and 80 percent of Arizona voters back permanent protection in the Grand Canyon region from new uranium mining. According to Reuters, global demand and prices for uranium are weak. The new report even says uranium mining doesn’t generate revenue for America, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Havasupai Tribal Chairman Don Watahomigie said in a statement, “This is a dangerous industry that is motivated by profit and greed with a long history of significantly damaging lands and waters. They are now seeking new mines when this industry has yet to clean up the hundreds of existing mines all over the landscape that continue to damage our home. We should learn from the past, not ignore it.” Via Reuters , the Associated Press , Earthjustice , and the Center for Biological Diversity Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Trump administration wants to end uranium mining ban near the Grand Canyon

What3Words provides an address for every person and point on planet earth

September 8, 2017 by  
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What3Words is a revolutionary addressing system that pinpoints locations more precisely than conventional street addresses. The tool divides the world into 57 trillion 3 meter x 3 meter squares and assigns a unique combination of three words to each square. This enables more efficient aid and delivery services around the world – and it could actually save lives in disaster zones and informal settlements without street names. Roughly 75% of the world suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems, meaning that 4 billion people are unable to report crime, receive deliveries or request aid . They also are unable to exercise many of their rights as citizens because they simply have no way to communicate where they live. Even in the developed world, people get lost and mail goes delivered. Related: 5 brilliant designs that will change the world win the 2017 INDEX: Award London-based What3Words offers an efficient, precise solution that is currently being integrated into businesses, apps and services across the globe. Each of the 57 trillion 3mx3m squares in the world has been allocated a fixed & unique 3-word address. The What3words geocoder turns geographic coordinates into these 3 word addresses & vice-versa. The system works across all platforms and devices, in multiple languages, offline and with voice recognition. Related: Life-saving LifeArk snaps together like LEGO to provide emergency off-grid housing Nigeria ‘s postal service has just started using What3Words to tackle its snail-mail problem and the poor addressing system. By adopting this state-of-the-art technology , NIPOST hopes to increase home delivery to 70 percent over the next two years. The firm has also signed a deal with Mongolia’s national delivery service and drone company Altavian, which designs and manufactures high quality drones for commercial enterprises. They teamed up with Indian moped taxi firm Bikxie, which is utilizing What3Words’ award-winning addressing system to help women travel more safely. What3words has been selected as the winner of the world’s biggest design prize – the INDEX: Award – which recognizes sustainable designs that generate positive impact in the world. + What3words + INDEX: Award

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What3Words provides an address for every person and point on planet earth

Portable solar unit fits into a steel drum for off-grid events

February 24, 2017 by  
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The Solar Charging Can fills the gap between large-scale residential photovoltaics and portable solar chargers for your smartphone. The unit unpacks quickly for camping, outdoor events, and other off-grid functions and is ready to use after just a half hour of assembly. In addition to recreational use, the unit can provide crucial power to mobile medical clinics, disaster relief areas, and refugee camps. Mobile Solar Chargers Ltd developed the Solar Charging Can to be an impressively versatile unit that is easy to put together in a pinch. The basic model includes a 180W/18v 5.5A solar panel , which is both flexible and waterproof, on a retractable telescoping pole, as well as two batteries, a voltage regulator, and all other necessary equipment for the unit to run smoothly. An included anchor secures the can to the ground, but the added sand bags provide an extra dose of security. Upgraded versions can be purchased to include a WiFi router, additional panels, a remote CCTV camera, and LED lighting . Related: Portable smartflower POP solar system produces 40% more energy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8yoDfVzWfU The entire unit can be assembled in a half hour by two people, according to the website. And they can be custom ordered to meet the needs of the event it will serve. This is especially helpful for organizations that provide disaster relief support or intend to power housing for refugees for an extended amount of time. One Solar Charging Can starts at about $2,235 (£1,795). + Mobile Solar Chargers Ltd Via Treehugger Images via Mobile Solar Chargers Ltd, YouTube (screenshot)

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Portable solar unit fits into a steel drum for off-grid events

Truck lays 50 meters of its own road in 6 minutes, and then picks it back up

July 15, 2016 by  
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Rather than create an all-terrain vehicle that doesn’t need a road, a company in Wales designed a truck that carries its own road surface , lays it down, and then picks it back up. Faun Trackway —the name of the company as well as its amazing truck—utilizes a series of thin aluminum extrusions to roll out a temporary roadway capable of supporting vehicles weighing up to 70 metric tons. This unique function allows the truck, and other vehicles in its party, to travel across otherwise impassable terrain such as mud, sand, and ice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LANuOhGGG8 The Trackway was built in 50-meter lengths, comprised of a series of aluminum extrusions linked together and rolled around a spool. Similar to an invisible tape dispenser, the truck can let out the track and essentially create a road where there was none, providing an easier way to reach destinations that would otherwise be out of reach without, say, a helicopter. Although originally intended for military use (and currently used by 30 military forces around the world), Faun Trackway has another obvious application: disaster aid. Related: Crazy “zipper truck” snaps LEGO-like bricks together to build a tunnel in 24 hours Because of its ability to create a temporary, passable roadway just about anywhere—even while partially submerged—the Trackway would be incredibly useful in helping aid units traverse washed out roads, mudslides, and other obstacles that typically follow earthquakes, tsunami-induced floods, and other natural disasters . Reportedly, the truck can roll out all 50 meters of its roadway in six minutes, making it possible to reach people in need much faster than other post-disaster convoys. Once the vehicles have crossed, the Trackway truck can roll the roadway up just as easily, ready to move on to its next challenge. Via Core77 Images via Faun Trackway

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Truck lays 50 meters of its own road in 6 minutes, and then picks it back up

Beautiful prefab home is built from repurposed shipping containers

July 15, 2016 by  
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? The asymmetrical Flying Box House is split into three levels, each of which is 100 square meters in size. The ground floor, which sits on challenging sloped terrain, serves mainly as a covered parking area for two cars and also comprises a sewing studio, laundry room, and utility spaces. Two bedrooms and the communal spaces, such like the open-plan living room, kitchen, and dining area, are located on the upper floor. The topmost floor contains the master bedroom that steps out to a large landscaped patio. ? Related: Asymmetrical Happy Cheap House is a Quirky Prefab Retreat “The superposition of those different sequences shapes the house,” write the architects. “Now we are able on this little plot to organise a complete programme of the desired urban villa.” Natural light streams into the interior through the two large bands of windows on the second floor and through the third floor patio doors. + 2A Design Via ArchDaily Images via 2A Design

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Beautiful prefab home is built from repurposed shipping containers

INFOGRAPHIC: How social media can save lives in a disaster

May 19, 2016 by  
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Social media can sometimes seem like a vortex of cat videos and selfies, but these days, it is also an invaluable tool that can be used to save lives in the event of a disaster. Not only is it a great way to keep in touch with loved ones when a disaster strikes, governments are also relying on it to pass vital information along to the public. Check out this infographic by the University of San Francisco to learn all the ways that social media is being used to help people during a disaster . + USF The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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A brewery in Florida is saving sea turtles with an edible six-pack ring

May 19, 2016 by  
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We’ve all seen those heartbreaking images of marine animals strangled in the plastic rings that hold together six beverage cans, commonly used for beer and soda. One brewery in Florida is taking on this terrible environmental problem by creating “edible six-pack rings” which sea turtles can happily chomp on rather than risking injury or death. Saltwater Brewery , based in Delray Beach, released a promotional video last week for the ingenious packaging alternative, and it’s gotten tens of millions of views so far. It’s safe to say that people are excited about getting the edible six-pack rings mass into production. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YG9gUJMGyw It’s impossible to know for certain how many birds and sea creatures suffer when plastic six-pack rings are thoughtlessly discarded , but estimates put the numbers in the millions. When the public first became aware that the rings were strangling animals, many people began cutting the rings into bits before throwing them out, but that doesn’t stop birds and sea turtles from eating them anyway, which causes all manner of digestive problems. An edible plastic, made from a combination of barley and wheat byproducts of the brewing process, seems like a smart solution. Related: Green sea turtles are no longer endangered in Florida and Mexico Saltwater Brewery has been operating since late 2013 and has worked quickly to connect with local sea lovers, like surfers and fishermen. The company kicks back a portion of their profits to charities working to conserve our oceans and the creatures who call it home, including CCA, Surfrider, Ocean Foundation, and MOTE. Creating the 100-percent biodegradable , edible six-pack rings was the natural next step in the brewery’s sustainability mission, and the new rings have met with resounding approval in local trials. Craft brewers in other parts of the country are already asking to use the edible rings for their own beers. The brewers at Saltwater partnered with We Believers , an advertising agency specializing in products that improve the world, to develop and create the six-pack rings. Now, the team hopes to ramp up production and distribute the edible packaging far and wide, so the turtle-friendly rings can help save birds, turtles, and other wild creatures who are just looking for a snack. Via Good Images via Saltwater Brewery

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A brewery in Florida is saving sea turtles with an edible six-pack ring

Cyclone Pam tears through South Pacific; Vanuatu reports catastrophic damage, Kiribati flooded

March 16, 2015 by  
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Photo © Humans of Vanuatu Cyclone Pam, a 168mph storm which hit the South Pacific Friday and Saturday (March 13-14th), has been described as a ‘worst case scenario’ for the archipelago of Vanuatu. The storm lingered over the region for some 24 hours with the force of a category 5 storm. Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale told media that the storm has “wiped out” all recent development and that “everything” will have to be rebuilt, while humanitarian aid is desperately and urgently needed. The low-lying island nation of Kiribati , which has already experienced devastating flooding in recent weeks is also reported to have sustained significant damage. Read the rest of Cyclone Pam tears through South Pacific; Vanuatu reports catastrophic damage, Kiribati flooded Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aid work , australia , category 5 , cyclone pam , Disaster Relief , flooding , hospitals , housing , humanitarian , New Zealand , port-vila , schools , south pacific , storm , vanuatu

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Cyclone Pam tears through South Pacific; Vanuatu reports catastrophic damage, Kiribati flooded

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