Community collects locally sourced materials to construct a school in Vietnam

May 4, 2020 by  
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The Xuan Hoa commune in the Lao Cai province of northwest Vietnam is, like much of the surrounding area, a region that has suffered from economic hardships in the past. A large number of households in Xuan Hoa live in extreme poverty, including many of the school district’s 78 students aged 6 to 11 years old. The new Dao school by 1+1>2 Architects was completed in 2019 to provide provide education to the area’s children in first through fifth grades. All of the students are ethnic minorities from the Tay, Nung, Dao and Mong groups; this multicultural aspect was a strong motivating factor in the development of the project. A combination of shared open spaces and a school yard helps inspire students from different groups to interact. Related: A clean-energy school in southern France draws power from the sun The former school housed five classrooms, two of which were temporary structures for students from grade four and five, and was very vulnerable. The original structures were made of deteriorating wood and were close to collapse, damaged and fitted with years of poorly adapted repair jobs. The new school was developed by the Vietnam Sustainability Social Enterprise and coordinated, designed and constructed by 1+1>2 Architects. Vietnam-based Transsolar advised on the climate aspects of the project, which included an open-style concept to join bricks with a specified wall thickness of 15 centimeters for the main structure. This concept keeps the school interior at a comfortable temperature for the students and teachers by taking advantage of the daylight and wind to help cool down the building during the hot summer months. More than 3,000 bricks were crafted from local soil to build the school; over 4,000 dried leaves were collected by the community for the traditional thatched roof. + 1+1>2 Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Son Vu via 1+1>2 Architects

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Community collects locally sourced materials to construct a school in Vietnam

Eco-friendly Fun, Education, & Advocacy While Staying Home

April 21, 2020 by  
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Responsibly social distancing yourself from others during the coronavirus pandemic … The post Eco-friendly Fun, Education, & Advocacy While Staying Home appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Eco-friendly Fun, Education, & Advocacy While Staying Home

Geothermal-powered education center anchors Louisvilles new Waterfront Botanical Gardens

February 26, 2020 by  
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A notorious old landfill in Louisville, Kentucky is being transformed into the new Waterfront Botanical Gardens, a verdant 23.5-acre site designed by architecture firm Perkins + Will . At the heart of the newly opened gardens is the 6,000-square-foot Graeser Family Education Center — also designed by Perkins + Will — that features an organic, sinuous form evocative of the nearby Ohio River. Engineered for a small environmental footprint, the energy-efficient building is powered with geothermal energy . Opened last fall as part of the first phase of the Waterfront Botanical Gardens, the Graeser Family Education Center doubles as an events venue that seamlessly connects to an outdoor landscaped plaza. Because the site was used as a landfill , massive concrete supports and concrete-filled steep pipes were put underground to secure the building. Above ground, the long spans of the horizontal building are supported by a continuous, ribbon-like beam propped up with 99 pine columns that alternate with glass windows around a 300-foot perimeter. The names of the $10,000 donors to the project have been added to each column. The wood will develop a natural patina over time. Related: Perkins + Will’s KTTC building blends beauty and sustainability in Ontario The long roof overhang mitigates unwanted solar gain while the glass walls let in ample natural light and continuous views of the gardens on all sides. The building functions as the heart of all educational programming at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens and includes a large, multifunctional space for activities as well as event space with seating for about 250 people. The education center has easy access to the outdoor plaza, which has been landscaped with edible gardens, native gardens and pollinator gardens , all of which are fully accessible to visitors and feature hands-on learning. The last part of phase one is set to open in 2020 and will include the Beargrass Creek Overlook and an immersive allée. Future phases include a visitors center, an entry garden, a water filtration garden, outdoor garden spaces and a glass conservatory. + Perkins + Will Photography by James Steinkamp Photography via Perkins + Will

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Geothermal-powered education center anchors Louisvilles new Waterfront Botanical Gardens

BAS breaks ground on energy-efficient Discovery Building to study climate change in Antarctica

February 26, 2020 by  
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To establish Britain as a world leader in the fight against climate change, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has broken ground on the new Discovery Building at Rothera Research Station, its largest facility for ongoing climate-related research in Antarctica. Designed by Hugh Broughton Architects (HBA) as part of the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Partnership, the new operations building and ongoing modernization efforts will follow a bespoke BREEAM accreditation and assessment system to ensure that the upgraded facility meets the highest environmental standards. Located on a rocky promontory at the southern extremity of Adelaide Island, the Rothera Research Station has operated year-round since its opening in 1975 and serves as a major logistics center for all BAS operations on the continent. The new cutting-edge facility — named The Discovery Building to commemorate the discovery of Antarctica in 1820 by the British naval officer Edward Bransfield — will consolidate the existing facility by replacing a series of scattered buildings that are too outdated or costly to maintain. Spanning an area of 4,500 square meters, the two-story building will comprise preparation areas for field expeditions, a central store, medical facility, offices, recreational spaces, workshops and areas for plant. Related: Antarctica reaches record high temperature To minimize environmental impact, The Discovery Building will feature an energy-efficient, aerodynamic design oriented into the prevailing wind. A snow and wind deflector — the largest of its kind in Antarctica — will channel air at higher speeds down the leeward face to minimize snow accumulation. The exterior composite insulated metal panels will be tinted a pale blue in reference to the Antarctic sky and to minimize impacts of degradation from high levels of UV. Triple glazing will let in natural light while ensuring an airtight envelope. Health and wellness for field staff is also considered in the design. Vibrant colors, transparent glazed screens between spaces and access to natural light will help mitigate the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the long, dark Antarctic winters. Open-plan workspaces and break-out areas will help foster collaboration. The Discovery Building is expected to finish construction in 2023. The project was designed with BAM Nuttall Ltd and its team, design consultants Sweco, Hugh Broughton Architects as well as with Ramboll acting as BAS’s Technical Advisers and with its team Norr and Turner & Townsend. + Hugh Broughton Architects Images via Hugh Broughton Architects

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BAS breaks ground on energy-efficient Discovery Building to study climate change in Antarctica

Earth911 Inspiration: Malala Yousafzai on the Value of Education

February 14, 2020 by  
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This week’s quote is from Nobel Laureate and human rights … The post Earth911 Inspiration: Malala Yousafzai on the Value of Education appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Inspiration: Malala Yousafzai on the Value of Education

New architecture learning center in London is built with bamboo and recycled yogurt pots

November 21, 2019 by  
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Architecture lovers have a new place to convene in London thanks to the recent completion of the Clore Learning Center at the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) headquarters. Designed by local architectural practice Hayhurst & Co , the new public destination offers a variety of interactive learning displays about architecture for all audiences, from children and families to life-long learners. In addition to its creative educational program, the space is also a beacon for sustainable design and incorporates eco-friendly materials such as bamboo and recycled yogurt containers .  Developed with input from Price and Myers, Max Fordham and Jack Wates lighting design, the Clore Learning Center is the result of Hayhurst and Co’s winning proposal in a RIBA -organized design competition in 2017. The architects drew inspiration for their design of the new playful space from architect Grey Wornum’s vision for the original RIBA headquarters, a Grade II* listed building. Located on the fourth floor of the headquarters, the Clore Learning Center includes a dedicated studio, study room, terrace and interactive display area. Related: RIBA crowns Children Village in Brazil as the world’s best new building “Hayhurst & Co’s design invites visitors to explore their ‘sense of space’ and develop an understanding of the architecture that surrounds us every day,” Hayhurst & Co said. “Conceived as a series of simple, delightful and adaptable interventions that enable an interactive learning experience, the spaces promote an understanding of architecture through active learning: observing, testing, making and sharing.” Sustainability was also a major driver behind the design of the project. Instead of timber, the architects opted for fast-growing bamboo and recycled yogurt containers — leaving some lids and labels visible — as primary materials for interior furnishings. Natural daylight is emphasized indoors and complemented with energy-efficient LEDs that can be dimmed and altered depending on the occasion. A mechanical ventilation system helps provide a constant supply of fresh air. + Hayhurst & Co Photography by Kilian O’Sullivan via Hayhurst & Co

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New architecture learning center in London is built with bamboo and recycled yogurt pots

Costa Rica hopes to end selfies with wild animals

November 4, 2019 by  
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Costa Rica, renowned for its wildlife , has recently launched a campaign to dissuade people from taking selfies with wild animals. Despite being banned in the country more than 10 years ago, large numbers of selfies are still being taken with wildlife anyway. To spotlight animal rights , promote wildlife safety and minimize animal selfies, Costa Rican authorities instead recommend taking photos with a stuffed toy. As an animal lover’s utopia, Costa Rica sees many instances of selfies being taken with animals, whether for personal memories or for social media influencing. Unfortunately, animal selfies can be stressful for wildlife and can even place tourists at risk. To discourage this practice, the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy announced the #StopAnimalSelfies campaign, with the goal to “prevent visitors from feeding (animals), from capturing them for photos and from handling them.” Related: Human activity has decimated 60% of animal populations since 1970 Why the ban on animal selfies? Wild animals do not naturally appreciate being “held, hugged or restrained,” as described in the Wildlife Selfie Code established by the World Animal Protection organization. But wild animals are often lured into a selfie with food, and these creatures could potentially injure or be injured by tourists. The Humane Society International said, “We applaud Costa Rica’s efforts to ensure the protection , ethical management and welfare of wild animals by avoiding promoting practices that are cruel to animals, since they do not respect their natural behaviors and promote a mercantilist and utilitarian vision.” A better practice, under the Wildlife Selfie Code, is to keep a safe distance from all wildlife. Permit the animals to remain untouched in their natural habitat . Avoid making loud noises. Especially avoid throwing objects at them to get their attention, and never touch, grab or hold an animal for a selfie. Maria Revelo, Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism, further explained, “The campaign has the objective of generating conscience about the adequate treatment that a sustainable tourism destination must guarantee to its wild animals and to those that get close to them as tourists. #StopAnimalSelfies has the support of the Costa Rican Tourism Board due to its contribution it makes to the country’s model of sustainable tourism development.” Costa Rica’s move to halt cruel or inappropriate selfies with animals is a step in the right direction to educate people on wildlife encounters that place animals through stress or suffering and to promote animal rights and wildlife safety. Via TreeHugger Image via Shutterstock

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Costa Rica hopes to end selfies with wild animals

Survey shows most adults prefer volunteering at local parks and recreation areas

November 4, 2019 by  
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A recent National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) poll revealed that four in five adults (80 percent) look to their local parks and recreation areas for family-friendly, community-focused volunteer opportunities. This is welcomed news, because parks and recreational areas are vital to the health, resilience and vibrancy of communities. Communities deserve wonderful parks, and individuals can make that a reality through volunteer work. The poll was part of the NRPA’s Park Pulse series that gauges the public’s opinion on parks and recreation. Findings showed that the top three volunteer activities include collecting litter along park trails, planting trees within parks and raking leaves for composting. The survey found millennials were the most likely to volunteer, followed by Gen Xers then baby boomers. Related: Trailhead Ambassador Program enhances hiking in Oregon “Park and recreation agencies are a great place to volunteer and give back to the community,” said Kevin Roth, NRPA vice president of professional development, research and technology. “Volunteering at your local park is a win-win occasion. Not only are you giving your parks a much-needed hand, you are able to reap the many benefits of parks, including a connection to nature and physical activity.” To enhance communities, there are two main volunteer-driven NRPA initiatives on volunteering and donating to parks: the Parks Build Community (PBC) and the Heart Your Park Day Service programs. The Parks Build Community (PBC) initiative emphasizes the transformative value of parks. A couple of ways PBC does this is by restoring existing parks or building new ones from scratch with the help of volunteers. Meanwhile, the Heart Your Park Day Service provides a hands-on, corporate volunteering program that brings volunteers outdoors, away from the walls of the office, to boost company morale and employee engagement. The NRPA is a leading nonprofit devoted to advancing public parks and recreation with the help of local volunteers. The NRPA focuses on conservation , health and wellness. + NRPA Image via Virginia State Parks

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Survey shows most adults prefer volunteering at local parks and recreation areas

Clean your plants and reap the reward of clean air

November 4, 2019 by  
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Although cleaning house plants probably ranks somewhere between wiping down the blades on the ceiling fan and cleaning out the gutters on your to-do list, it’s a chore that’s critical to the plant and, one could argue, to humanity. Let’s go back to science class for a minute in order to understand why a clean plant is a productive plant. Remember that little thing called photosynthesis? Leaves are a central organ in the process. Technically, the stomata, which are small openings all over the surface of the leaves, absorbs carbon dioxide. At the same time, the chlorophyll in the leaves absorb sunlight. The process of photosynthesis then converts the water and CO2 into sugar plants need to grow and oxygen we need to breathe. That’s a long way of saying that dusty, dirty, grimy leaves on your house plants can result in dusty, dirty, grimy air in your home. So bump that chore up your list a bit. Here are a few ideas of how to accomplish the task with spending endless hours wiping down every individual leaf.  Take a shower Your morning shower is likely a rejuvenating ritual and your plants share your affinity. After all, it’s natural for plants to storm the rain, absorb the water and experience a cleansing. Take that concept inside by moving your plants to the shower. You can join them or place plants into the bathtub and use a detachable shower head to do the job. Give each plant a thorough soaking with cool to lukewarm water, allowing the water to both wash the leaves and provide moisture to the soil. Do not use hot or cold water that can be too shocking for the plant. Once saturated, give each plant a gentle shake to remove standing water on the leaves. Allow plants to drain into the empty tub and wipe off any excess water from the pot before placing it back on furniture. If you do not have drain holes in your planter, strain off excess water from the soil to avoid root rot. Related: This self-sustaining planter doesn’t require sunlight for plants to thrive Grab a feather duster Like every other surface in your home, the leaves on your plants will collect dust. It’s best to provide regular dustings rather than trying to deal with a thick layer of dust down the road. When feather dusting, lightly move over the surfaces of the plant , weaving between branches to touch the top and bottom of leaves. Use caution so you don’t disrupt blooms or knock healthy leaves off the plant.  Take them outside Another mess-free way to clean your plants is to take the task outside. Put your plants in a shady spot in the lawn, on your deck or patio. Use a shower setting on your garden hose to wash the plants, give them a gentle shake, and allow them to dry before bringing them back indoors. Often the water pressure from any of these showering techniques causes some of the soil to slop out. By completing the chore outdoors, clean up is a breeze. Just bring your plants indoors and hose the area down.  Use the sink The kitchen sink may or may not be an easier option than the shower, but the concept is the same. Use your faucet nozzle set to spray for a shower effect on each plant. You will likely have to wash plants in a rotation if you have more than two or three. Allow plants to drain and dry off pots before removing them from the sink and then start on a new batch until they are all cleaned.  Use a mister Not all plants can easily be moved to the bathroom or outdoors due to size and other factors. The deep soak isn’t necessary on a regular basis either, so in between showers, give your plants a spit bath with a mister. Any spray bottle set to a mist can provide the moisture, humidity and cleaning your plants need. Keep a spray bottle filled for this purpose. Some plants won’t respond well to showers, like those with spiky or furry leaves. For these plants, use a mixture of dish soap and water on a regular basis to keep the leaves dust free. Cleaning is more than removing dust Once you’ve set aside the time to give your plants the TLC they deserve, make sure to check in on their general health and not just their personal hygiene. Remove any dead leaves from the plant and the soil below it. Dead leaves can contain bacteria and contaminate otherwise healthy soil. Also check the leaves of your houseplants for bugs and insects. Similarly, watch for bugs being flushed away while you wash your plants. If you see insects on your houseplants it might be time to treat them. Sometimes you can only see evidence of very small pests or disease so look for symptoms like black spots, webbing and sticky or curling leaves. Healthy plants provide healthy air, so make the commitment to care for your plants with regular dusting and a cleansing shower every now and then. Breathe in the victory of your efforts.  Via Apartment Therapy Images via Adobe Stock

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Clean your plants and reap the reward of clean air

Learn about polar bears during a free virtual field trip to the Arctic Tundra this November

October 31, 2019 by  
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Discovery Education and Polar Bears International have once again partnered to host an exciting, immersive and free virtual field trip to the Arctic tundra. Students from K-12 and teachers everywhere are welcome to virtually observe the polar bears of Canada’s Hudson Bay in their natural habitat. Registration is now open for this engaging, educational webcast, where audience members will be transported beyond classroom walls to the site of the annual Canadian polar bear migration. Students and educators worldwide can tune in to the Virtual Field Trip to the Arctic Tundra event that will take place on two dates: Wednesday, November 13 at 12 p.m. Central Time and Thursday, November 14 at 11:30 a.m. Central Time. Both events, which will be live and span at least 30 minutes each, will treat attendees to visually engaging material about the polar habitat, sea ice, Arctic adaptations, climate change and especially the polar bears. Related: Newly released video game challenges players to survive the climate apocalypse To coincide with the webcast events, there will also be two live question-and-answer virtual sessions, where attendees can inquire more about the north polar region’s wildlife , environment and careers on the tundra. These virtual Q&A sessions will be held on Wednesday, November 13 at 1:30 p.m. Central Time and Thursday, November 14 at 1:00 p.m. Central Time. Following both dates, Discovery Education Experience will archive the events and their respective Q&A sessions in both the Polar Bears content channel as well as the Virtual Field Trip content channel. These will serve as digital curriculum and classroom instructional resources that both students and teachers can enjoy. Now in its sixth year, this virtual event has been a wonderful collaboration between Discovery Education and Polar Bears International. Their partnership in this Tundra Connections program brings important awareness to polar bears and their habits, ecology, threats and the need for conservation to secure the future of these majestic animals of the Arctic. “Discovery Education is excited to present the upcoming Tundra Connections Virtual Field Trip to teachers and students worldwide at no cost,” shared Discovery Education Director of Product Development Kyle Schutt. “Discovery Education understands that these types of events can spark in students a lifelong interest in a particular subject, and we encourage all educators to bring their students to the Arctic with us. Who knows, your class may contain the next great wildlife biologist!” + Discovery Education + Polar Bears International Image via Pixabay

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Learn about polar bears during a free virtual field trip to the Arctic Tundra this November

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