Ecosystem Services: Nature’s Gifts That Help Us Thrive

August 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco

How valuable is nature? A recent study of the economic … The post Ecosystem Services: Nature’s Gifts That Help Us Thrive appeared first on Earth 911.

Go here to see the original:
Ecosystem Services: Nature’s Gifts That Help Us Thrive

Mio Borsa unveils summer collection of vegan leather bags

August 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Mio Borsa, a vegan leather bag brand based in New Delhi, has unveiled its Spring/Summer 2020 collection of handbags. This stylish, cruelty-free line is made using Piñatex, an eco-textile made from pineapple stems. Mio Borsa founder Palavi Behl believes that fashion should be about holistic trends and integrity. As such, Behl created a line of cruelty-free , vegan leather handbags to show the world what fashion can be without using animal skins of any kind. The line includes bucket, drawstring zip, baguette box, sling and shoulder bags as well as clutches and totes. Related: Dutch designer creates leather alternative from palm leaves The vegan leather is not just environmentally friendly — it is highly durable and wears well. It is also dirt-resistant, making it easy to clean. Mio Borsa’s vegan leather is made with a combination of pineapple stem extract and polyurethane, a synthetic resin. Polyurethane is often used as a wood sealant because of its resistant to water, abrasions and stains. The Mio Borsa bags feature both modern and classic silhouettes, each with a distinctive look. While they are certainly beautiful, they are also functional and affordable, as the designer hopes to make sustainable fashion more accessible. Each bag is offered in multiple colors, so you can choose a favorite or buy multiple hues to coordinate with your outfits. For centuries, fashion has required great sacrifice from the animal kingdom. Fur made with mink, leather made from the hide of cows, snakeskin, alligator skin — the list goes on and on. Now, it’s time to move into a new era of fashion: cruelty-free fashion. There are lots of ways to shop sustainably and stylishly at the same time, and Mio Borsa is here to prove just that. “While leather requires the skin of animals, faux and vegan leather offer alternatives that keep us looking good and doing good,” the company said. “And not only is it better for the world, it’s better for our closets and wallets too: vegan leather is almost always cheaper than the real thing, and can be versatile and adapted to whatever our needs are.” + Mio Borsa Images via Mio Borsa

More: 
Mio Borsa unveils summer collection of vegan leather bags

Over 500 new dams planned for protected areas worldwide

August 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A new study published in the journal Conservation Letters has revealed that over 500 new dams are currently being constructed or are planned to be constructed within protected areas. More than 1,200 dams already exist in such areas. In the first global report on dam construction areas, it has been revealed that most governments are bypassing or rolling back laws in order to construct dams in these protected areas. The main concern being raised by the authors of the study is that the people who are mandated with protecting riparian areas are also the ones responsible for invading them. In the EU alone, about 33% of all the proposed dams lie within protected areas. For example, two hydropower projects in Romania pose a danger to Natura 2000 sites. If such constructions are not stopped, the reserved areas, rivers and natural resources around them are at risk. Michele Thieme, lead author of the study and freshwater scientist at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said, “Rivers are the lifeblood of ecosystems. Any policy that aims to conserve nature must prioritize the free flow of rivers.” Related: Hydropower demand is damaging Indigenous lands The study has established that many governments are redefining boundaries of protected lands to create room for construction . The study points out that if legislation continues being loosened in this manner, it will not be long before the delicate ecosystems in these areas are irreversibly damaged. “The sheer number of dams that are planned within protected areas is alarming,” Thieme warned. “Government and industry policies must prevent the development of dams planned within these areas. The dams that already exist within protected areas should be prioritized for possible removal and the surrounding river systems should be restored.” This study follows another paper that highlighted the impact of dams on ecosystems. A 2019 paper published in Nature revealed that over 65% of long rivers across the world are impeded with dams and other structures. Worse yet, the report established that the construction of dams across major rivers is to blame for a 76% reduction in freshwater migratory fish populations since 1970. Because dams impede the movement of fish upstream for breeding, they have led to a decline in freshwater fish populations significantly. The report is now calling on governments and other stakeholders to stop bypassing and changing laws for short-term gains. Those in authority must protect these areas at all costs to avoid further harm to ecosystems. + Conservation Letters + WWF Image via Hans Linde

View original here:
Over 500 new dams planned for protected areas worldwide

Ugakei Circles sustainable nature park set to open in 2021

August 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

It’s no secret that tourism is often an incredibly important component to a destination’s economy. In the past, overconsumption and polluting modes of transport have given tourism a bad name. Now more than ever, the future of tourism is focusing on sustainability, and Inabe, a city located between two of Japan’s busiest cities (Kyoto and Nagoya), is no exception. This is the setting for Ugakei Circles, a sustainable tourism project set to open in spring 2021, consisting of overnight glamping cabins, estuary camping sites and a centralized communal area. The project is a collaboration between Danish and Japanese design teams focused on sustainable tourism development and low-impact, regenerative tourism. Related: Bee + Hive to help explorers book green hotels and sustainable tourism experiences Responsible for the project are Danish architects Tredje Natur, Japanese engineers Structured Environment and sustainability experts Henrik Innovation. The plan is to build the new park on an existing campground using only renewable materials and repurposed building waste . Design plans for the center building and the central courtyard feature optimal micro-climate conditions with wind protection and an optimized roof profile that catches the sun rays in the winter and provides shade in the summer. The park will include an overnight section that accommodates permanent Nordic cotton tents and cabins suited to glamping as well as a public river plateau where guests can pitch their own tents. All guests can take advantage of the property’s hiking routes, ocean views, mountain creeks and several natural waterfalls. There is an education center for children and adults to learn more about the nature that surrounds them through activities, a community hub, reception area and spaces for shops and workshops. The nature park proposal highlights the importance of outdoor activity and circular gatherings, as early civilizations in Denmark and Japan often centered their communities around the universal shape. “We believe the future is about circularity,” said Flemming Rafn Thomsen, lead architect and co-founder of Tredje Natur. “Our proposal is composed by a family of circles that define a series of sustainable communities. The master plan and buildings embody a unique environment and a regenerative ‘hygge’ experience in nature. It is our hope that our project will become the base camp for a new type of regional nature-based development that promote sustainable awareness and brings the gift of nature to many urban dwellers.” + Tredje Natur Images via Tredje Natur, Structured Environment and Henrik Innovation

Original post:
Ugakei Circles sustainable nature park set to open in 2021

The digital divide worsens the inequitable impacts of the climate crisis

August 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

The digital divide worsens the inequitable impacts of the climate crisis Maddie Stone Mon, 08/03/2020 – 01:00 This story originally appeared in Grist and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalistic collaboration to strengthen coverage of the climate story. One of the starkest inequalities exposed by the coronavirus pandemic is the difference between the digital haves and have-nots. Those with a fast internet connection are more able to work and learn remotely, stay in touch with loved ones and access critical services such as telemedicine. For the millions of Americans who live in an internet dead zone , fully participating in society in the age of social distancing has become difficult, if not impossible. But if the pandemic has laid bare America’s so-called “digital divide,” climate change will only worsen the inequality that stems from it. As the weather grows more extreme and unpredictable, wealthy urban communities with faster, more reliable internet access will have an easier time responding to and recovering from disasters, while rural and low-income Americans — already especially vulnerable to the impacts of a warming climate — could be left in the dark. Unless, that is, we can bring everyone’s internet up to speed, which is what Democratic lawmakers on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis are hoping to do. Buried in a sweeping, 538-page climate change plan the committee released last month is a call to expand and modernize the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure in order to prepare it, and vulnerable communities around the country, for future extreme weather events and climate disruptions. The plan calls for increasing broadband internet access nationwide with the goal of getting everyone connected, updating the country’s 911 emergency call systems and ensuring cellular communications providers are able to keep their networks up and running amid hurricane-force winds and raging wildfires. This plan isn’t the first to point out that America’s internet infrastructure is in dire need of an upgrade , but it is unusual to see lawmakers frame better internet access as an important step toward building climate resilience. While the internet is often described as a great equalizer, access to the web never has been equal.   To Jim Kessler , executive vice president for policy at the moderate public policy think tank Third Way, this framing makes perfect sense. “You’ve got to build resilience into communities but also people,” Kessler said. “And you can’t do this without people having broadband and being connected digitally.” While the internet is often described as a great equalizer , access to the web never has been equal. High-income people have faster internet access than low-income people, urban residents are more connected than rural ones, and whiter counties are more likely to have broadband than counties with more Black and Brown residents. We’re not just talking about a few digital stragglers being left behind: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that more than 18 million Americans lack access to fast broadband, which the agency defines as a 25 megabits per second download speed and 3 megabits per second upload speed. Monica Anderson , who studies the digital divide at Pew Research Center, says that many more Americans have broadband access in their area but don’t subscribe because it’s too expensive. “What we see time and again is the cost is prohibitive,” Anderson said. A lack of broadband reduces opportunities for people in the best of times, but it can be crippling in wake of a disaster, making it difficult or impossible to apply for aid or access recovery resources. Puerto Ricans experienced this in the aftermath of 2017’s Hurricane Maria, which battered the island’s telecommunications infrastructure and left many residents with terminally slow broadband more than a year after the storm had passed. Three years later, with a global pandemic moving vast swaths of the economy online for the foreseeable future, internet-impoverished communities around the country are feeling a similar strain . To some extent, mobile networks have helped bridge the broadband gap in recent years. More than 80 percent of Americans own a smartphone, with similar rates of ownership among Black, white and Hispanic Americans. Nearly 40 percent of Americans access the internet primarily from a phone. As far as disaster resilience goes, this surge in mobile adoption is good news: Our phones allow us to receive emergency alerts and evacuation orders quickly, and first responders rely on them to coordinate on the fly. Of the 240 million 911 calls made every year, more than 80 percent come from a wireless device, per the FCC . But in the age of climate change, mobile networks are becoming more vulnerable. The cell towers, cables and antennas underpinning them weren’t always built to withstand worsening fires and storms, a vulnerability that Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T have all acknowledged in recent climate change disclosures filed with the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project). And when these networks go down — as nearly 500 cell towers did during California’s Camp and Woolsey fires in 2018, according to the new House climate change plan — it can create huge challenges for emergency response. “Everything from search-and-rescue efforts to sending out warnings to getting people directions to shelters is facilitated through various telecommunications and internet,” said Samantha Montano , an assistant professor of emergency management at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. “We’re pretty reliant on them.” Democrats’ new climate plan seeks to address many problems created by unequal and unreliable internet access in order to build a more climate-hardy web and society. To help bring about universal broadband access, the plan recommends boosting investment in FCC programs such as the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund , a $20 billion fund earmarked for broadband infrastructure deployments across rural America. It also calls for increased investment in programs such as the FCC’s Lifeline , which offers government-subsidized broadband to low-income Americans, and it recommends mandating that internet service providers suspend service shutoffs for 60 days in the wake of declared emergencies. Broadband improvements should be prioritized in underserved communities “experiencing or are likely to experience disproportionate environmental and climate change impacts,” per the plan. As far as mobile networks go, House Democrats recommend that Congress authorize states to set disaster resilience requirements for wireless providers as part of their terms of service. They also recommend boosting federal investments in Next Generation 911 , a long-running effort to modernize America’s 911 emergency call systems and connect thousands of individually operating systems. Finally, the plan calls for the FCC to work with wireless providers to ensure their networks don’t go offline during disasters for reasons unrelated to equipment failure, citing Verizon’s infamous throttling of data to California firefighters as they were fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018. Kessler of Third Way said that Democrats’ climate plan lays out “the right ideas” for bridging the digital divide. “You want to be able to get the technology out there, the infrastructure out there, and you need to make sure people can pay for it,” he said. The call for hardening our internet infrastructure is especially salient to Paul Barford , a computer scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 2018, Barford and two colleagues published a study highlighting the vulnerability of America’s fiber cables to sea level rise, and he’s investigating how wildfires threaten mobile networks. In both cases, he says, it’s clear that the telecommunications infrastructure deployed today was designed with historical extreme conditions in mind — and that has to change. “We’re living in a world of climate change,” he said. “And if the intention is to make this new infrastructure that will serve the population for many years to come, then it is simply not feasible to deploy it without considering the potential effects of climate change, which include, of course, rising seas, severe weather, floods and wildfires.” Everything from search-and-rescue efforts to sending out warnings to getting people directions to shelters is facilitated through various telecommunications and internet.   Whether the House climate plan’s recommendations become law remains to be seen. Many specific ideas in the plan already have been introduced to Congress in various bills, including the LIFT America Act , which would infuse Next Generation 911 with an extra $12 billion in funding, and the WIRED Act , which would authorize states to regulate wireless companies’ infrastructure. Perhaps most significantly, House Democrats recently passed an infrastructure bill that would invest $80 billion in broadband deployment around the country overseen by a new Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth. The bill would mandate a minimum speed standard of 100/100 megabits per second for federally funded internet projects, a speed stipulation that can be met only with high-speed fiber optics, says Ernesto Omar Falcon , a senior legal counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties nonprofit. Currently, Falcon estimates that about a third of Americans have access to this advanced internet infrastructure, with a larger swath of the country accessing the web via older, slower, DSL copper or cable lines. “It would connect anyone who doesn’t have internet to a 21st century line,” Falcon said. “That’s a huge deal.” The infrastructure bill seems unlikely to move forward in a Republican-controlled Senate. But the urgency of getting everyone a fast, resilient internet connection isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the idea that internet access is a basic right seems to be gaining traction every day, even making an appearance last week in presumed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s new infrastructure plan . With the pandemic continuing to transform how we work, live and interact with one another, and with climate change necessitating even larger transformations in the future, our need to be connected digitally is only becoming greater. “I think every day the pressure mounts, because the problem is not going away,” Falcon said. “It’s really going to come down to what we want the recovery to look like. And which of the problems COVID-19 has presented us with do we want to solve.” Pull Quote While the internet is often described as a great equalizer, access to the web never has been equal. Everything from search-and-rescue efforts to sending out warnings to getting people directions to shelters is facilitated through various telecommunications and internet. Topics Climate Change Policy & Politics Social Justice Technology Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Worker on the site of an ecological disaster.

Originally posted here:
The digital divide worsens the inequitable impacts of the climate crisis

6 Easy Eco-Actions To Take With Your Kids

July 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A greener lifestyle is easier than you think. Here are six simple actions you can explore with your family. The post 6 Easy Eco-Actions To Take With Your Kids appeared first on Earth 911.

Read the original here:
6 Easy Eco-Actions To Take With Your Kids

This dad built a backyard coffee shop with repurposed materials

July 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

When Julianna Astrid posted about the DIY coffee shop that her dad, Ed, built in his  backyard , her social media blew up with supportive comments. The impressive backyard cafe uses only repurposed construction materials, combined with various pieces from swap meets, antique stores and thrift stores. Ed works full time as a contractor in Orange County and took unused  building materials  from past projects to build the structure. He finished the job in just three months, working on the weekends and after his regular work hours to complete the passion project. Related: San Francisco superdad builds homemade roller coaster in his backyard As daughter Julianna explained to  Newsweek , “My dad is a contractor and has been on so many job sites where he has to throw old materials away to make room for the new remodels ; but he saved some of the ‘trash’ from numerous jobs and repurposed it to create his coffee shop; these things included materials to build the structure, the coffee shops doors and the front window!” The mini coffee shop, or “La Vida” as Ed has named it, serves as a place to relax and enjoy a brew with friends and family. The design features a painted wooden exterior and interior, a bar area under one of the glass windows and a dedicated outside patio with string lights and seating. A cute pastry case and a mini-fridge filled with cold  coffee  beverages fill out the space. From the chalk menu board to the cozy chess table in the corner, you’d never know that you were in someone’s private backyard rather than an actual cafe. Julianna originally posted about La Vida on her TikTok in March before  tweeting  about it in June. Since then, the Twitter post has received over 37,000 retweets and 302,000 likes. According to Julianna, her dad has always loved coffee and building, so this project came naturally for the hardworking contractor. The space is still a work in progress, with Ed keeping an eye out for different types of coffee beans from around the world and unique pieces from second-hand stores to stock his shop. In the future, he plans on making  YouTube  videos teaching people to build things for their homes. + ELS Builds Via Twitter Images via Julianna Astrid

See more here:
This dad built a backyard coffee shop with repurposed materials

Arctic wildfires rage through Siberia

July 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The earth’s poles have made the news a lot this summer, and not for good reasons. Now, another awful update has hit, with  Arctic wildfires burning out of control. “We’ve had exceptional and prolonged heat for months now and this has fueled devastating Arctic fires,” said Clare Nullis, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) spokesperson, at a  press conference in Geneva . “And at the same time we’re seeing rapidly decreasing  sea coverage along the Arctic coast.” Related: Siberia hits record 100 degrees Scientists use satellite images to gauge the extent of the wildfires. However, fire’s dynamic nature can make it hard for authorities to track the exact number of fires burning at once. On Wednesday, data indicated “188 probable points of fire.” The worst fire blazed in Russia’s Sakha Republic and Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, in the far northeast reaches of Siberia . “We’re seeing, you know, dramatic satellite images, which show the extent of the burns surface,” said Nullis. “The fire front of the northern-most currently active Arctic wildfire is less than eight kilometres from the Arctic ocean – this should not be happening.” Pollutants found in wildfire smoke include nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, solid aerosol particles and volatile organic compounds. The WMO said that Arctic wildfires emitted the equivalent of 56 megatons of  carbon dioxide  this June, up from 53 megatons in June 2019. This year’s persistent heat is caused by what meteorologists call “blocking high pressure aloft.” A blocking high pressure system can linger over an area for a prolonged time, forcing other  weather  systems to go around it. High pressure aloft traps heat by compressing air downward and preventing cooler air from pushing through and bringing the region some relief. “In general, the Arctic is heating more than twice the global average,” said Nullis. “It’s having a big impact on local populations and  ecosystems , but we always say that what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic, it does affect our weather in different parts of the world where hundreds of millions of people live.” Via AP News and Huffpost Image via Pixabay

View original post here:
Arctic wildfires rage through Siberia

This DIY algae kit is an easy science experiment for kids

July 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

BioBombola is a DIY algae kit specially designed to teach kids how to grow their own domestic garden of spirulina – a sustainable source of plant-based proteins. The project is the brainchild of ecoLogicStudio’s Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto, who wanted to create a fun and educational way to keep their children occupied during the shutdown in London. In addition to cultivating the nutritious blue-green algae, the kit also helps to absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide as two young trees and provides the home with the same amount of oxygen as seven common indoor plants. Perhaps best of all, BioBombola allows children and adults alike to interact with nature from the comfort of their own homes. Related: Eos Bioreactor uses AI and algae to combat climate change The two researchers got the idea after creating an algae-growing and air pollution data collection project with their children, who were already participating in a home-school program. After their experiment has finished, the idea for the mini algae harvesting kit was born. Each kit comes with a nutrients bag, a 15-liter starting batch of living photosynthetic spirulina cells, an air piping system, a pump to keep the medium afloat, a customized photobioreactor and a 1-meter-tall, lab-grade glass container. Not only does the bubbling of the small air pump keep the precious algae constantly stirred and oxygenated, it also creates a soft, calming sound similar to a fish tank. The fresh, cultivated spirulina can be harvested several times a week and collects up to 7 grams of product per day (the daily recommended supplement intake for a family of four, according to the inventors) to be used in food and drinks. The harvesting process is simple and suitable for children, as well. While it is recommended to install the kit in a sunny spot or near a grow lamp, the photobioreactor can adapt to almost any environment. + EcoLogicStudio Photography by NAARO via EcoLogicStudio

Read the original: 
This DIY algae kit is an easy science experiment for kids

Isaac Burrough unveils solar-powered luxury yacht concept

July 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

New Zealand-based practice Isaac Burrough Design has proposed a new luxury yacht concept designed to maximize both energy efficiency and enjoyment out on the high seas. Named Kiwa after one of the divine guardians of the ocean in Maori legend, the proposed 110-meter motor yacht combines an elegant, aerodynamic hull with solar-powered technology. The boat would also include an array of amenities, from expansive lounge areas on the main deck to an elevated hot tub on the sun deck. The Kiwa is designed to accommodate 14 guests along with two staff members and a crew of 27 people. At 110 meters in length, the luxury yacht concept would be large enough for multiple deck areas as well as 175 square meters of storage space. The designers claim that the narrow, low volume-to-length hull coupled with the hybrid drivetrain powered with 200 meters of solar panels would enable the yacht to enter an electric-only mode for pollution-free and noise-free sailing. Related: Hinckley unveils the world’s first fully electric luxury yacht “The intention for Kiwa was to design a yacht that is both modern and elegant,” Burrough said. “Her sleek silhouette combined with curvaceous surfaces give grace despite her exploration capabilities. A yacht that will look sophisticated whether cruising the Mediterranean or the Arctic.”  Designed for indoor/outdoor living and panoramic views, the Kiwa features a large and versatile main deck with sliding doors and lounge areas terraced to the swim platform. Just off of the main deck is a cantilevered glass-bottom pool. Inbuilt sun pads are placed on the lower deck, while an upper sun deck would host a hot tub that is elevated for prime views of the sea. The spa area has the “best view on board” and includes semi-submerged pools to give guests views both above and below the water. The boat also has space for a helicopter pad. + Isaac Burrough Design Images via Isaac Burrough Design

View post:
Isaac Burrough unveils solar-powered luxury yacht concept

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1153 access attempts in the last 7 days.