Lynn Hoffman and Kate Davenport: The role of recycling in a regenerative and just economy

July 19, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

The co-presidents of a local non-profit social enterprise recycler explain their vision for the evolution of recycling and key role it can play in stabilizing the climate, creating strong local economies, and supporting healthy communities.

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Lynn Hoffman and Kate Davenport: The role of recycling in a regenerative and just economy

Accelerate at Circularity 19: Fast-Pitch Competition: r.cup

July 19, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Accelerate at Circularity 19 is a fast-pitch competition featuring entrepreneurs with innovative technologies, products and services advancing a circular economy. r.cup’s Michael Martin pitches from the main stage.

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Accelerate at Circularity 19: Fast-Pitch Competition: r.cup

Tropical forest restoration is a global, high-value opportunity

July 19, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Forests have valuable ecological services and economic benefits, and this is where we should focus.

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Tropical forest restoration is a global, high-value opportunity

Extreme heat wallops US

July 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

If you live in the central or eastern U.S., it’s time to fill your ice trays and seek shade as a major heat wave will put 50 million Americans under a heat warning this week. People in Nashville, Chicago, Kansas City, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C. and many other cities will be fanning themselves as temperatures top 95 degrees. High humidity will intensify the effect. “The prolonged duration of the heat and humidity will potentially become dangerous to those most vulnerable,” the National Weather Service warned. The heat wave will probably last at least three days. Related: Heatwave roasts mussels alive in California Climate scientists predict that by the mid-21st century, Americans will face an average of 36 days annually when the heat index surpasses 100 degrees, and 24 days when it exceeds 105. By 2100, those numbers could rise to 54 and 40. “Our analysis shows a hotter future that’s hard to imagine today,” said UCS senior climate scientist Kristina Dahl, according to Newsweek . In addition to direct health risks of scorching weather , heat waves bring other dangers and inconveniences to cities. More people cranking air conditioners lead to power fails. Places like Manhattan— which is served by underground delivery systems that heat up as the ground gets hot— are especially susceptible to blackouts. Scientists predict that the current heat wave will bring record high overnight lows in many cities, and that this pattern will also continue to rise with climate change. This phenomenon presents a serious health risk, as people’s bodies don’t have a chance to cool overnight. Via EcoWatch Image via NASA Earth Observatory

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Extreme heat wallops US

Study shows reusable menstrual cups are safe and just as effective as tampons, pads

July 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Reusable menstrual cups have been around for decades, but they are just starting to pick up in popularity. Most people can’t shake their familiar comfort with tampons and pads, but a new study indicates that the cup is just as effective as the disposables and has no health risks. If you can get past the learning curve and “ick” factor, the menstrual cup is one of the easiest and most sustainable options for your period. Reusable cups are typically made from silicone or rubber and are inserted into the vagina. The cup stays put via suction against the vaginal walls. A finger must be inserted to break the suction, and then the user removes the cup, empties its contents, washes it and reinserts it. It can stay for up to 12 hours. The initial cost of cups might seem expensive, around $40 USD, but they last up to 10 years. Related: 5 eco-friendly menstrual products that also protect women’s health The study in The Lancet Public Health used data from more than 3,000 people around the world and proved that the cup is safe and effective. Not only are there no associated health risks, including vaginal infection or discharge, but the cups are light, compact and easy to travel with. Once you get past the initial sticker price, cups are one of the most affordable options and could be helpful for people in poor and rural communities. “People in non-profits assume that [the cups are] not suitable,” said Mandu Reid, founder of The Cup Effect , which trains people how to use cup. “That’s based on presumptions about these women’s preferences. That they wouldn’t like them because they have to be inserted or because they don’t want to touch their own menstrual blood.” There is certainly an “ick” factor to get past and some challenges in areas with limited access to clean water ; however, the study found that 73 percent of first-time users expressed a willingness to continue using it. + The Lancet Public Health Via NPR Image via Shutterstock

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Study shows reusable menstrual cups are safe and just as effective as tampons, pads

Modern luxury resort blends into the lush coffee hills of India

July 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The misty coffee hills of southwest India recently gained a new luxury resort designed by Bangalore-based architectural firm Cadence Architects . Named Java Rain, the 18-villa resort is set in the middle of an active, 40-acre coffee estate and offers not only spectacular views of the landscape but is also thoughtfully nestled into nature to blur the boundaries between indoors and out. Natural, locally sourced materials were carefully selected to blend the buildings into the landscape and to reduce environmental impact. Located at the foothills of the Mullahangiri Hills in Chikkamagalur, the Java Rain resort spans an area of 60,000 square feet and comprises a clubhouse, villas, a spa, a restaurant and a treehouse that houses an elevated cafe in addition to other service buildings. The 18 contemporary, butterfly roof-topped villas range from single, twin and presidential suites, and each is named after terms associated with coffee. Glazing wraps around the villas to immerse guests in nature. Related: Escape to the Azores at this charming eco resort by the sea “The project deals with the idea of blurring the boundaries between inside and outside, such that the building becomes one with nature,” Cadence Architects said. “The challenge in this project was to insert built forms into the existing landscape and blurring the edge seamlessly like a graft. The landscape is treated as a visual and tactile element. The built form responds to both the immediate site context as well as to that of the hill station. The surfaces of the buildings are rendered with earthy and rustic materials to accentuate their contemporary forms. Local materials available on site are extensively used to not only help the architecture blend with the context but also make the project sustainable.” The mix of contemporary architecture with natural materials and organic forms helps the resort achieve its branding as a luxurious escape from the city that offers immersion in nature without sacrificing creature comforts.  + Cadence Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Patricia Parinejad via Cadence Architects

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Modern luxury resort blends into the lush coffee hills of India

Accelerate at Circularity 19: Fast-Pitch Competition: GIBBON

July 17, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Accelerate at Circularity 19 is a fast-pitch competition featuring entrepreneurs with innovative technologies, products and services advancing a circular economy. GIBBON’s Joanna Chen pitches from the main stage.

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Accelerate at Circularity 19: Fast-Pitch Competition: GIBBON

The pros and cons of electromobility

July 17, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

To those of us who concentrate on sustainability and green options for travel, electromobility appears to be a godsend — but the increasingly popular electromobility lifestyle still holds good and bad traits. Thankfully, as the market continues to grow, electric vehicles such as e-bikes and scooters only continue to improve since they were first introduced, and electric cars continue to get more and more sophisticated and efficient each year. While there are obvious benefits to using or even owning one of these trendy vehicles, the electromobility industry still has some kinks to work out. Here are the pros and cons to consider before embracing electromobility. Pro: less utilization of fossil fuels Though the extraction of different kinds of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) present different levels and types of impact on the environment, they all have one thing in common: emitting harmful pollutants and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when burned. These pollutants can include sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that contribute to acid rain, smog and soot. While the burning of fossil fuels poses serious issues, it doesn’t stop there. The only ways to extract these fossil fuels from the Earth is by mining or drilling, and both have the potential to generate significant air and water pollution , inflict serious health issues to workers or the local community and alter ecosystems. Offshore drilling poses risks of oil spills that can absolutely devastate ocean life. As the transportation sector as a whole relies almost exclusively on fossil fuels, it is responsible for a majority of the hidden environmental costs that the fossil fuel industry implements on the Earth. According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy , “In general, EVs produce fewer emissions that contribute to climate change and smog than conventional vehicles … EVs typically produce fewer life cycle emissions [emissions from vehicles over the course of its life from production to disposal] than conventional vehicles, because most emissions are lower for electricity generation than burning gasoline or diesel.” Con: batteries Replacing harmful fossil fuels with electric vehicle batteries comes at a cost. Producing these large lithium batteries requires natural resources from lithium and nickel mines, which can emit pollutants such as sulfur dioxide into the air and pose health risks to workers. Most batteries, especially in smaller EVs like scooters and e-bikes, have a limited lifespan. After disposal, batteries can end up in landfills to release toxins into the environment or in the ocean to harm sea life. Related: We love electric scooters — but is the Bird trend actually bad for the environment? Pro: improved air quality The potential to dramatically improve air quality is arguably the biggest draw for electromobility from an environmental perspective. The lack of exhaust systems in electric vehicles means less carbon dioxide emissions and less greenhouse gas buildup in our atmosphere. According to the U.N. , air pollution causes 1 in 9 deaths around the world and, “Transport contributes approximately one quarter of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, which is set to reach one-third, growing faster than any other sector.” The majority of car growth in the world is expected to take place in developing countries, most of which don’t have any type of vehicle emissions standards or programs incentivizing low-emission transportation. U.N. Environment is working to sponsor 50 countries and cities around the world to introduce electric cars and electric methods of public transportation. Con: energy use Even though electric vehicles don’t emit as much carbon dioxide, the batteries still need to be recharged regularly. As the demand for electric modes of transportation grows, so does the need for energy — and not all energy comes from renewable sources. For this reason, many owners of electric cars opt to install solar panels onto their homes to charge the vehicles from inside their garages at a much lower cost both financially and to the environment. Pro: decreased expenses Just the knowledge alone that their vehicle is better for the environment is enough for some consumers when it comes to purchasing an electric car, scooter or bike, but the reasons to make the investment into electromobility go far beyond peace of mind. A 2018 study from the University of Michigan revealed that in no U.S. state is it cheaper to use gasoline than electricity. Operating an EV in the United States, according to the study, was $485 per year, while the cost for operating a gas-powered car was $1,117. That means on average, gasoline-powered vehicles cost twice as much as electric ones. Because EVs don’t require oil either, oil changes aren’t necessary, meaning maintenance time and cost is significantly reduced as well. If all that still doesn’t convince you, some EV owners are eligible for a tax break as high as $7,500 depending on the individual tax situation and type of vehicle. The EPA website can help you estimate just how much money you could save by making the switch. Images via Airwheel , Trinity eRoller , RJA1988 and Markus Roider

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The pros and cons of electromobility

Breezy brick house with a ground-floor cafe mimics the shape of a cuckoo clock

July 16, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

In the coastal Vietnamese city of Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City-based architectural firm Tropical Space has combined a single-family home with a coffee shop to create an architecturally striking mixed-use building that evokes the playful shapes of a cuckoo clock. Dubbed the Cuckoo House, the home is built predominately from locally sourced clay brick to tie the structure to the local vernacular, while the use of bold geometric shapes throughout the building give it a distinctly contemporary edge. The home also takes advantage of sea breezes with its porous facade that harnesses natural cooling for relief from the tropical heat. Built for a couple and their two children, the Cuckoo House spans an area of nearly 3,000 square feet across two floors and an attic. To make the most of its rectangular east-west plot, the architects split the ground floor into three sections: the entrance gate and parking pad on the east side along with a small storefront and bathrooms; the coffee shop and bar in the middle; and a semi-enclosed courtyard with a pool on the west side. Large arches surround the brick-paved courtyard and bring cooling breezes and views of the surrounding garden into the space, and full-height glazing wraps the coffee shop to blur the line between indoors and out. Related: Solar screen brings beauty and heat relief to a Vietnam home The residential section of the building is located atop the ground floor “base block” and split into three blocks: the double-story Block A with the master bedroom on one floor and the bathroom and walk-in closet on the other; the double-story Block B with the kids’ bedroom above and the living room below; and Block C that contains the kitchen and dining area. All three blocks are connected and open up to outdoor terraces with operable glazing and views. “Like a habit, most of people’s daily activities usually take place in functional spaces. Tropical Space detaches walls, which are used to defined the place and offer the buffer space to urge people to leave their rooms and join together,” the architects explained. “These buffer layers can be used flexibly, connecting the indoor and the outdoor of the house, which could make the family activities be both private and open. Meanwhile, it allows the breeze to go through all corners of the house, and make it chill in the tropical summer.” + Tropical Space Images via Tropical Space

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Breezy brick house with a ground-floor cafe mimics the shape of a cuckoo clock

Experimental design-build festival takes over Californian desert

July 16, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

For the second year in a row, design lab Space Saloon has just wrapped up an exciting avant-garde art festival deep in the Southern Californian desert. Aimed to foster innovative design-build and hands-on education, the art festival , named Fieldworks, is an experimental outdoor campus where young artists can learn new techniques and showcase their groundbreaking designs. This year’s festival took place within the expansive desert landscape in the San Bernardino mountains between Joshua Tree, Palm Springs and Los Angeles. According to Space Saloon, the desert was the perfect place to host the open-air campus thanks to the wide open landscape that offers virtually no physical limits. Related: A magical field of solar-powered lights takes over a California landscape Like the first year’s event, Landing , Fieldworks was a week-long program where teams of students and designers live and work together, collaborating on site-specific installations that seek to question the relation between art and the environment. Led by Office Kovacs + Kyle May, Architect and MILLIØNS (Zeina Koreitem and John May), Fieldworks allowed students to attend various workshops that focus on subjects that differ from traditional techniques and processes in an attempt to broaden the students’ artistic horizons . The workshops showcase a range of experimental material, from coding exercises and sound mapping to performances and interactive installations. Using these workshops as guidance, the students developed new art projects, which could include any number of formats, including performances, videos, interactive coded programs, sound installations or immersive objects. One of the standout designs from this year’s event is DOTS, a pink and white framework with various connected platforms that could be used for an almost infinite number of interventions, especially as a flexible, temporary shelter . Another innovative project is Gymnasium 1, an outdoor communal bathing facility made completely out of hempcrete that aims to show that the carbon-negative material can be used in place of traditional concrete construction. The student projects from Fieldworks will be exhibited in Los Angeles in the fall. + Space Saloon Via Archdaily Images via Space Saloon

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Experimental design-build festival takes over Californian desert

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