A radical plan for livestock is coming to The Netherlands

December 16, 2021 by  
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The Netherlands has too much manure. So the  Dutch  government announced a 25 billion euro plan to greatly reduce the country’s livestock. Earlier this week, a new coalition government unveiled the radical scheme to cut  nitrogen  pollution levels by buying out farmers. But the farmers aren’t happy about it. In the past, farmers have taken to the streets to protest new regulations and buyouts. Many farmers aren’t sure how they can switch to less intensive methods and fewer animals while still paying their debts. Related: 20 livestock firms emit more greenhouse gas than Britain, France or Germany “We don’t want the system to collapse,” said Marije Klever, a Utrecht dairy farmer, as reported by The Guardian. “I am a land owner, so a critical question is whether the  government  are allowed to push farmers out of the land. It can’t be The Hague telling farmers they must go, you need an agreement.” The plan’s time frame stretches over 13 years and includes paying some  farmers  to relocate their farms or change industries altogether. Others will transition to different farming methods involving more land and fewer animals. At first, the program will be voluntary. But it won’t remain that way if too few farmers accept the compensation and exit farming. By the end of 13 years, the government expects to have reduced the Netherlands’ cow, pig and chicken population by about one-third. Right now, there are more than 100 million of the animals. While the Netherlands is small, it’s Europe’s largest  meat  exporter. Livestock is more than four times as densely concentrated in the Netherlands as in the U.K. or France. A lot of pollution comes from all that animal manure. When mixed with animal urine, ammonia seeps into streams and lakes, carried by farm runoff. The excessive nitrogen in ammonia damages the natural habitat. “We can’t be the tiny country that feeds the world if we shit ourselves,” said MP Tjeerd de Groot, according to The Guardian. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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A radical plan for livestock is coming to The Netherlands

Climate change is already affecting 85% of world population

November 3, 2021 by  
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A recent  study  Nature Climate Change has concluded that climate change is already affecting people across the world. The study found that at least 85% of the world’s population has already been affected by climate change in some way.  The unprecedented changes that await the world are not yet well understood due to limited research . One known fact is that the effects of climate change will affect poor countries more than wealthier ones. This is despite wealthier nations having fueled the majority of pollution worldwide. Related: 110 countries pledge to end deforestation by 2030 Discussing this topic, the Nature Climate Change study states, “Our results reveal a substantial ‘attribution gap’ as robust levels of evidence for potentially attributable impacts are twice as prevalent in high-income than in low-income countries.” Friederike Otto, a senior lecturer at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College, says that we are at a time where almost everyone is exposed to the effects of climate change. “It is likely that nearly everyone in the world now experiences changes in extreme weather as a result of human greenhouse gas emissions ,” Otto said. The disparities in data across the world make it difficult to accurately predict the future. For instance, most studies concerning the effects of climate change have been conducted in North America and Europe, leaving little to no information about Africa and South America. These disparities leave huge gaps that make it impossible for the most threatened countries to prepare for climate change’s effects. Researchers have found that climate change will force behavior changes in several ways. For instance, scientists predict the need for species to move from their traditional habitats in search of habitable ones. Additionally, reforestation measures will likely become more relevant. Mangrove forests can store four times more carbon than other tropical forests, but they are threatened by rising ocean levels. With severe weather patterns already being experienced worldwide, the recent pledge to end deforestation from countries at COP26 is more necessary than ever. + Nature Climate Change Via The Revelator Lead image via Pixabay

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Climate change is already affecting 85% of world population

Netherlands’ massive vault of sustainability and art

October 11, 2021 by  
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Located in Amersfoort, Netherlands, the CollectionCentre Netherlands (CC NL) designed by cepezed architects is a masterpiece of modern architectural design . From the impressive exterior design, to the functionality of the collection center, the CC NL is a true reflection of the future. The building was officially launched on September 13, 2021 by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid Van Engleshoven. With a storage space of about 30, 000 square meters, the building is home to over 500, 000 pieces of art and historical objects , including artifacts, evidence, paintings, jewelry, clothing and furniture. The CC NL holds pieces from the Rijksmuseum, Netherlands Open Air Museum, Paleis Het Loo and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. Related: Sculptural roof tops eco-minded Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts expansion CC NL is designed in three sections: the ”head,” ”neck” and ”trunk.” The “neck” is the busiest of the three sections of the building, functioning as workshops where all the objects are processed, shaped and preserved before being transferred to storage rooms. It is also home to the freezer room, oxygen-free area, photo studio and X-ray room. The “head,” on the other hand, contains the entrance and walkways. Lastly, the ”trunk” forms the most co-pact part of the collection center. The CC NL has four stories with large pans for the storage of key objects. The storage in this section features maximum protection and also has small fire compartments. It has rooms with highly classified information stored under special rooms in special facilities. The aim of the building is to achieve durable, sustainable and beautiful preservation of history. To achieve this, the designers constructed the building with special rooms where museum species can be taken to get rid of harmful pests through freezing. With open access, the building’s resources can be used by research institutions. The CC NL is ranked the 15th most sustainable in Holland. The roof and facades used in the construction of the building give it a highly insulating outlook. The ground is less insulated since it was intended to act as a buffer. Its direct contact with the earth buffers the environment within, cutting down the need for air conditioning. On average, internal temperatures are maintained at about 12 and 15 degrees Celsius. This ensures the safety of the CC NL and reduces the risks of fires.Other aspects of the building that make it stand out in terms of sustainability include water recycling and renewable energy . With over 3,600 square meters of solar panels on the roof, the center can manage most of its energy needs without requiring external support in sunny months. It is also fitted with an ATES and gray water flushing toilet. The center also uses a rural rainwater collection system , that acts as an infiltration facility for the local vegetation. The widespread ecological landscape with detailed integration of flora and fauna makes the design one of the most sustainable section centers in the world. For those who work at the CC NL, the breathtaking beauty , comfort and usability are key factors. The working space here is among the best in Europe and will remain so for years. + cepezed architects Photography by Lucas van der Wee

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Mysterious fish deaths in Mar Menor Spain prompt investigation

August 19, 2021 by  
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Prosecutors in Spain have launched investigations into the mysterious death of fish along the shores of Mar Menor in southeast Spain . Mar Menor is one of the largest saltwater lagoons in Europe and home to a rich diversity of sea species. This week, residents noticed dead fish washing up along the shores and raised alarm by posting pictures and videos on social media. Residents reported spotting different types of dead sea life, including fish , shrimp and blue crabs. As Ada García Saura of SOS Mar Menor said, “[The blue crab] is a predator that is quite strong and resistant. So if we’re seeing these species that are much more resistant, it hints at the seriousness of what is happening.” Related: Heartbreaking video shows salmon suffering through heat wave The occurrence is not new to Mar Menor, as in 2019, thousands of crustaceans washed on the shore in the same lagoon. Ecologists are warning that the recent occurrence could be a repeat of what happened in 2019. Initial investigations in 2019 established that a lack of oxygen killed the crustaceans. Experts said that heavy agricultural runoff had sparked an algae boom, leading to oxygen depletion in the area. In 2015, another similar occurrence happened, when all the lagoon’s water was colored and 85% of seagrass was killed. The phenomenon was termed extreme eutrophication and was a result of agricultural runoff. Mar Menor is an agriculturally intensive region, with experts warning that the region is under pressure. The lagoon receives runoff from a 60,000-hectare agricultural area. To compound the problem, nearby towns lack proper sewerage systems. As a result, all this waste ends up in the lagoon untreated. Locals have been vocal about the issue, calling out authorities for the death of the fish this week. “They haven’t done anything in five years, nothing,” one resident told reporters. Another added, “We’re seeing a significant environmental change in the Mar Menor and it’s getting worse. It’s dying.” Currently, regional government officials deny that the fish deaths were caused by a lack of oxygen. Instead, they are pointing to early studies from a local university, highlighting the recent heat wave’s potential impact. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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ANNA is a stunning prefab cabin with off-grid potential

August 19, 2021 by  
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Many people dream of staying in a cabin in the woods, but few have dreamed of one like this. Fortunately, Dutch designer Caspar Schols did, and now it’s available in a flat-pack design that can be quickly constructed for work, living or a getaway. The idea behind this unique and versatile  cabin  is to allow nature into the space, rather than simply placing a lodging in nature. “It’s primarily about being outside, and about creating a dynamic interaction between yourself, cabin ANNA as your home, and nature,” Schols explained. Related: ARCspace’s prefab homes are a quick and sustainable housing solution That’s done through a dynamic and innovative design that allows layers of the cabin to roll away as different situations arise. It features a glass-framed interior and a wooden exterior with a roof. The exterior is made of panels on rollers that can quickly transform the space. Completely retracting the walls and roof leaves a deck surface for true outdoor living. Alternatively, removing only the  wood  panels leaves a glass sunroom for shelter from the elements while allowing in copious natural light and views. When the weather rolls in, so do the walls, for a tight closure and a cozy protected space.  Schols was new to the architecture realm, but he dreamed big and delivered. ANNA, as the cabin is known, is now a completed ANNA Stay location, and the home can be delivered to a buyer’s location nearly anywhere in Europe . It’s expected to be available for shipping worldwide in 2022. ANNA can come flat-packed or fully constructed. If construction is required onsite, the build takes a few days with a small crew and an electric crane. Schols relies on  natural materials  inside and out, using sustainable Siberian larch wood and birch plywood. Sawdust is used for insulation. The cabins are prefabricated for minimal construction waste and site impact.  The cabin covers the basics with a shower, toilet, bathtub, complete kitchen and space for a couple of beds. Buyers can customize ANNA with a central heating system to match the location’s climate. It can also be fully equipped for off-grid living with a fire-heated boiler, a solar energy system and a water  waste  treatment system. ANNA Stay has received the 2021 Architizer A+Awards Project of the Year Award in a competition with over 5,000 entries from more than 100 countries. ANNA’s ability to adapt and change enables occupants to immerse themselves in the natural surroundings. Schols says, “She gives the freedom to live among an abundance of life, and cultivates a sense of belonging. You become part of everything around you, and I believe that everyone recognizes that feeling deeply from within.”  + Cabin ANNA Photography by Jorrit ‘t Hoen and Tonu Tunnel

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Sicily hits record high temperature amid heatwave

August 12, 2021 by  
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In the latest extreme  weather  news, Europe has set a new record high temperature. Sicily hit 48.8 degrees Celsius this week, or 119.85 Fahrenheit, according to a reading at a Syracuse, Sicily monitoring station. At press time, the record high hadn’t yet been verified by the World Meteorological Organization. But if the organization accepts the reading, it will be the hottest day in recorded  European  history. The previous record was 48 degrees Celsius (118.4 Fahrenheit), set in 1977 in Athens, Greece. Related: It’s code red for Earth, says new UN study “Sicily has been experiencing a heatwave in the last few days,” said U.K. meteorologist Trevor Mitchell, as reported by The Guardian. “The foehn effect in the lee of the mountains to the west of Syracuse is likely to have assisted in generating the 48.8C observed there today.” This weather phenomenon happens when air is forced over  mountains  or other elevated terrains, changing from wet and cold conditions on one side to drier and warmer on the other. Sicily is one hotspot in a hemisphere of blazing weather this week. Canada, Finland, the western U.S., Turkey, Estonia and Moscow have all been breaking heat records. Then there are the terrifying wildfires in  Siberia’s  biggest forest and deadly floods in China and Germany. Scottish meteorologist Scott Duncan predicts more heat records are on the way. “A dangerous  heatwave  spanning much of north Africa and into southern Europe is unfolding right now,” he tweeted. “The focus of heat will shift west and north slightly in the coming days.” Humans, in our irksome humanness, manage to be shocked by these extreme weather catastrophes despite having been warned for several decades. “This is climate change in 3D. It is here,” said Owen Gaffney, an analyst at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, as reported by The Guardian. “We are radically changing the  climate  system so hot areas will get hotter, wet areas will get wetter. We are going to get more extremes.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Invasive lanternflies want to take over the U.S.

August 3, 2021 by  
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Spotted lanternflies are extremely cool-looking bugs, with polka-dotted wings in shades of red, black and beige that make them resemble paper lanterns. But people should be very worried about this invasive  insect , according to entomologist Frank Hale. The spotted lanternfly hales from India, Vietnam and China. It probably immigrated to the U.S. as a stowaway in a cut stone or wood product shipment circa 2012. The initial U.S. sighting in 2014 was, fittingly enough, on a common  invasive  tree of heaven in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Since then, spotted lanternflies have spread to at least 26 counties in  Pennsylvania  and been spotted in several other eastern states. Related: More than half of Europe’s native trees face extinction The problem is, this is one destructive little bug. Lanternflies feed by piercing  tree  bark and vines, biting right into the plant’s vascular system and sucking out the sap. At an inch long, they’re pretty big for a sucking insect and can remove an awful lot of sap, jeopardizing the lives of their hosts. Then they excrete large amounts of the euphemistically called “honeydew,” which coats the tree. “The heavy flow of honeydew and the resulting sooty mold makes a mess of the landscape,” said Hale, as reported in Ecowatch. Woe to those who park beneath a tree infested with lanternflies. These invasive bugs also have a yen for grapevines. It takes a lot of  insecticide  to kill them, driving up production costs and making vintners kiss their organic status goodbye. Eastern wine-producing areas, including Long Island and Finger Lakes in New York, Newport, Rhode Island and parts of Virginia all face the threat of lanternflies ruining their vineyards. How have these little bugs spread so far in just a few years? In late summer and autumn, lanternflies lay egg masses. Any smooth surface is fair game. Including  cars , trains and trucks. The unborn lanternflies can hitch a ride anywhere, leading to future infestations. Scientists are trying to figure out the best way to stop these bugs from continuing their west and southward trajectory. “Two naturally occurring fungal pathogens of spotted lanternflies have been identified in the U.S.,” Hale told Ecowatch. “Also, U.S. labs are testing two parasitoid insects – insects that grow by feeding on lanternflies and killing them in the process – that have been brought from  China  for testing and possible future release.” Wait, haven’t we seen that in a sci-fi movie? In the meantime, if you see spotted lanternflies in your area, contact your local county extension office for suggestions on how to control the bugs. And if you’re the unlucky first sighter of the bugs in your area, contact your state department of  agriculture .  “ If the infestation is caught early before it can become established in your area, hopefully it can be eradicated there,” said Hale. “Eventually, it will spread to many parts of the country. We can slow the spread by identifying and eradicating new infestations wherever they arise.” Via Ecowatch , USDA Lead image via F Delventhal

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Vegan, natural soaps include limited-edition art prints by female artists

August 2, 2021 by  
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Art Bar founder Jen Black has been a creative director and designer for international brands since 1996. Her idea for the Berlin-based company came to life in 2018, after she made the concrete decision to live and create in alignment with her values. The main mission of the Art Bar is to encourage self care and body positivity by providing organic soaps with natural ingredients, like plant-derived base oils, glycerin and essential oils. There are no chemicals, preservatives or toxins, and all soaps are vegan and cruelty-free. “Industrial, non-organic soaps are detergents that are made up of harsh substances and lathering agents,” according to the company. “Since organic soaps contain natural ingredients, they not only work to cleanse the skin, but also have healing properties that can greatly contribute to the treatment of eczema, acne and other conditions.” The organic, raw ingredients are in line with current trends in the soap market, and Europe is expected to be one of the fastest-growing regions for herbal, cruelty-free and chemical-free soap products to meet demand. Related: This long-standing natural soap company started by accident These vegan soaps are designed to eliminate the need for purchasing multiple beauty products, which can be a big contributor to waste when you add up all those plastic tubes and containers. Art Bar soaps are packed in recyclable or recycled materials to support the climate and replace plastic packaging. To pair with the soaps, Black is providing limited-edition art prints that comment on society and encourage customers to think critically. Many pieces examine topics like the female experience, relationships, dark humor and politics. Currently, the prints are created by Black herself, although there will soon be a collection from other female artists producing special editions as well. The idea is to build a community of support for budding female artists and spread their work. Each print is signed by hand, printed in small runs and numbered. New art comes out regularly, so customers can continue to collect different pieces. + Jen Black Images via Jen Black

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Greenland’s ice melt enough to cover Florida in water

August 2, 2021 by  
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Greenland’s vast ice sheets are melting away at an alarming rate, according to a recent report. As reported by the Danish government, the ice sheet lost 8.5 billion tons of surface mass on Tuesday alone. On Thursday, another 8.4 billion tons were lost thanks to high temperatures. The melting experienced on Tuesday released enough water to cover the entire state of Florida in two inches of water. This meltdown has caused concern, as continued large-scale melting of Greenland’s ice could lead to flooding in coastal cities worldwide. Related: Greenland ice sheet melting faster than in last 12 millennia While speaking to the Guardian, Marco Tedesco, a glacier expert at Columbia University, said that the current melting rate will likely accelerate future ice melting . “It’s a very high level of melting and it will probably change the face of Greenland, because it will be a very strong driver for an acceleration of future melting, and therefore sea-level rise.” Currently, Greenland is experiencing record temperatures, with a reading of 19.8 degrees Celcius (roughly 67 degrees Fahrenheit) recorded last Wednesday. Although it is normal for the region to experience warmer temperatures this time of year, this year’s temperatures have been a notch higher. The high temperatures led to the melting of seasonal ice, exposing darker core ice, which is also melting. “The snow is like a protective blanket so once that’s gone you get locked into faster and faster melting, so who knows what will happen with the melting now. It’s amazing to see how vulnerable these huge, giant areas of ice are. I’m astonished at how powerful the forces acting on them are,” Tedesco said. Tedesco adds that the current atmospheric events, while normal, are becoming longer and frequent. Greenland warms up when high pressure sucks warm air from further south and holds it over parts of the country. Usually, Greenland’s melting season starts in June and runs to August. According to recent data released by the Danish government, more than 100 billion tons of ice have been lost since June this year. While this year’s ice melt is less than that experienced in 2019, when 11 billion tons of ice were lost in a single day, the area affected is much bigger. The prolonged season is also a major concern. Via EcoWatch and The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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Greenland’s ice melt enough to cover Florida in water

Honda and WASP collaborate in 3D printed motorcycle design process

July 9, 2021 by  
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WASP is partnering with HONDA R&D Europe, a global branch of the well-recognized motor company, in a project it hopes will revolutionize the motorcycle industry’s  sustainable design  processes. The new concept is called Additive Manufacturing, and it will be at the forefront of a new 3D-printed motorcycle project that will combine 3D printing with hand-finished design. WASP (which stands for World’s Advanced Saving Project) is an Italy-based company that specializes in designing and producing 3D printers. The company was inspired by the Potter wasp, an insect that uses materials from its surrounding environment to construct its nests. This nest concept is integrated into the design model, as its large-scale 3D printers aim to build houses with natural materials found on site. The Delta Clay line, for example, 3D-printed dense fluid materials and  industrial clays  in large-scale dimensions. Related: Large scale 3D Printer capable of printing a motorcycle According to WASP, the prototyping process implements 3D printing with  hand-finished  work since there are some areas of motorcycle design where the human hand is “irreplaceable.” “Until today, prototyping was carried out manually and then finished by highly qualified technicians who, like modern sculptors, would skillfully define proportions, lines and volumes,” said a representative for the company in a press release. “In this field it is said that: ‘only the touch and reflection of the lights on the piece can guide the development.’” Today, motorcycle designers use industrial clay to bring their designs to life, but this sometimes a time-consuming process since the entire model must be completed by hand. The WASP collaboration with HONDA would change this by utilizing a 3D-printed design model that is finished by hand to safeguard the creative process. The resulting design process would introduce an innovative approach for the  automotive modeling  world that creates less waste and takes less time. The Design Modeling Coordinator at Honda R&D  Europe  has already met with WASP engineers to integrate the Additive Manufacturing 3D printing technology into the creative process of the company’s industrial clay models. Over the coming months, the two companies hope to showcase their results. + WASP Images courtesy of WASP

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Honda and WASP collaborate in 3D printed motorcycle design process

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