12 good things that happened for the environment in 2019

December 26, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on 12 good things that happened for the environment in 2019

For folks who read — and write — about sustainability, dire projections are revealed every day. Between rainforest fires and ocean pollution, much of the news is grim. However, 2019 also brought good news. In the spirit of optimism as we start a new year, let’s hope our species can build on this year’s gains in 2020. Here are a few high points from 2019. Banana leaves as packaging If you’ve ever had the good fortune to visit a southern Indian restaurant in Asia, you may have been served dinner on a banana leaf instead of a plate. Now, that idea has found its way into some Thai supermarkets. Forbes reported on Rimping supermarket in Chiangmai, Thailand that wraps its produce in banana leaves and secures them with a piece of bamboo . Way to cut down on plastic packaging! Robots rejuvenating reefs As we learned in the classic yet highly disturbing film  2001,  not all  robots are trustworthy. However,  Tech Crunch informed us about Larvalbot, a new underwater robot that is reseeding old corals with new polyps. A bot-controlling team at Queensland University of Technology is finding that robots can do this much faster than humans — and lack that pesky need to breathe. Good news for the American barrier reef Meanwhile, in Florida, researchers at Tampa’s Florida Aquarium  worked on “Project Coral” in partnership with London’s  Horniman Museum and Gardens . They announced their first successful attempt at Atlantic coral reproduction in a lab setting. The objective: to create large  coral egg deposits in a laboratory and ultimately repopulate the Florida Reef Tract. Inhabitat reported about how this could have important implications for saving barrier reefs. Help for the rainforests One Green Planet held out some hope for the tropical land being devastated by  palm oil plantations. A collaboration between the Peruvian government, the National Wildlife Federation, conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo and the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers’ Association (JUNPALMA) led to an agreement to only produce sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil by 2021. Peru will join the ranks of South American countries fighting palm oil deforestation, the second after Colombia. Cactus plastic developed in Mexico Research professor Sandra Pascoe Ortiz and other scientists at the University of Valle de Atemajac in Zapopan, Mexico used prickly pear juice to craft a new biodegradable plastic. This cactus plastic begins breaking down in a month when placed in soil and only a few days in water. Unlike traditional plastics, no crude oil is required, according to Forbes . Things are looking up for whales Humpback whales have made a comeback off the South American coast, USA Today reported. After nearing extinction in the 1950s, numbers have surged from a low of 440 South Atlantic humpbacks to more than 25,000. The rise in population coincides with the end of whaling in the 1970s. North American whales got a new app this year. Inhabitat reported on Washington State Ferries implementing a whale report alert system. This new app notifies ferry captains of the whereabouts of orcas and other cetaceans in Puget Sound to help prevent boat strikes. Baby girls and tree planting In the Indian village of Piplantri, families plant 111 trees every time a baby girl is born. Since 2006, this village has been fighting stigma against the double X chromosome, leading to more than 350,000 trees planted so far. The number 111 is said to bring success in Indian culture, according to this YouTube video about Piplantri. Renewable energy growth The International Renewable Energy Agency released a study showing that renewable energy capacity continued to grow globally. Solar and wind energy accounted for 84 percent of recent growth, according to Bioenergy International . Brazilian street dogs and cats get comfy and stylish beds Young artist Amarildo Silva realized he could do something about two problems in his Brazilian city Campina Grande: stray animals and too much trash. He began making colorful beds out of  upcycled tires for both pets and strays. The 23-year-old has been able to leave his supermarket job and make a living as an artist while having a positive and far-reaching effect on his city. The stray  dogs themselves inspired Silva’s breakthrough idea. He noticed that at night, they liked to bed down in discarded tires. So Silva began to collect old tires from landfills, streets and parking lots. After he cleans and cuts them down to size, he decorates the tires with paw prints, bones and hearts, according to Bored Panda . Dogs and cats sleep better, and people see art, not the eyesores of discarded tires. Video game entrepreneur saves North Carolina forests Tim Sweeney, co-founder of Epic Games, has amassed billions with games like Fortnite, Unreal Tournament  and  Gears of War.  Fortunately for the world, he’s putting the money to excellent use. Over the last decade, he’s spent millions on  forest preservation in his home state of North Carolina, according to  The Gamer . This video game developer likes his land undeveloped. South Korean food recycling soars Since 2005, when the South Korean government prohibited people from sending food to landfills, the amount of recycled food waste has soared to 95 percent. This is amazing, considering less than two percent was recycled in 1995. Seoul residents are now required to discard their food waste in special biodegradable bags, which cost families an average of six dollars per month. Money paid for bags covers more than half the cost of collecting and processing this waste, according to Huffington Post . Will artificial islands draw wildlife back to Netherlands? After a dyke collapsed in the Markermeer, an enormous, 270-mile Dutch lake, water became too cloudy with sediment to sustain fish, plants and birds. Now a Dutch NGO called Natuurmonumenten is building five artificial islands out of silt at a cost of €60 million, mostly from public donation, according to The Daily Mail . They hope that this faux archipelago will draw wildlife back to the lake. And so do we. Here’s hoping for more good news in 2020.

Read more:
12 good things that happened for the environment in 2019

Millions of acres of Alaskan rainforest may be opened for business

August 29, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Millions of acres of Alaskan rainforest may be opened for business

As Amazon wildfires blaze, the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest faces a wholly different threat: corporate exploitation. President Donald Trump wants to open Alaska’s 16.7 million acre Tongass National Forest for logging, energy and mining projects. The Tongass is the country’s largest national forest, encompassing much of the southeast Alaskan panhandle, including the capital city of Juneau. Environmentalists have long fought business interests in the Alaskan forest. In the 1990s, the Clinton administration passed the “roadless rule,” barring commercial logging and prohibiting roads from being built without Forest Service approval. Obama’s administration saw the finalization of a plan to eliminate logging old-growth in the Tongass by 2016. Related: Bureau of Land Management moves forward with the sale of sacred land But many Alaskans don’t appreciate government intervention in their state. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy and the state’s entire congressional delegation want Trump to reverse the roadless rule. They see it as a barrier to business and a threat to southeast Alaska’s economy. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski told the Washington Post , “The timber industry has declined precipitously, and it is astonishing that the few remaining mills in our nation’s largest national forest have to constantly worry about running out of supply.” Environmentalists point out that the Tongass’ old-growth trees provide critical habitat for Sitka black-tailed deer, black bear and the Northern Goshawk, which is a bird of prey. Chris Wood, president of Trout Unlimited, is worried about Alaska ’s wild salmon, which spawn in the Tongass. The salmon, rivers and trees have a symbiotic relationship. If the trees go, the $986 million salmon industry could also be threatened. Wood said that Forest Service officials have “realized the golden goose is the salmon, not the trees.” Not all of Alaska’s business owners are there to exploit resources. The adventure tourism sector relies on intact forests. Dan Blanchard’s company, UnCruise Adventures, takes 7,000 guests on small-ship Alaskan wilderness cruises annually. He’s seen dramatic improvements in the forest since the 1980s and doesn’t want that to be reversed. “The demand for wilderness and uncut areas have just dramatically increased,” Blanchard told the Washington Post . “Our view here is, there are very few places in the world that are wild. Here we have one, in southeast Alaska, and it’s being put at risk.” Via Washington Post Image via Bob Familiar

See the original post here:
Millions of acres of Alaskan rainforest may be opened for business

A rustic wood cabin from the ’70s is remodeled into a charming getaway

August 20, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on A rustic wood cabin from the ’70s is remodeled into a charming getaway

The original cabin, dubbed chAlet, was built onto a patch of land in Donovaly, Slovenia in the 1970s. Since its construction, the wood cabin had fallen into near disrepair. The shutters were misshapen and splintered, the bottom had been damaged by the elements and the paint was faded and peeling. Rather than completely tearing down the structure, Y100 Ateliér decided to focus on the property’s sustainable features and improve upon them to create an updated, yet rustic, cabin that continues to embody the charm of the original structure. The chAlet cabin remodel was completed between 2018 and 2019, with the updated design by lead architect Jana Stofan Stykova and designer Pavol Stofan of Y100 Ateliér. Why the capital “A” inside chAlet? The project leaders wanted to emphasize the classic A-frame shape that is so iconic for these types of wooden houses and cottages. Related: Escape to the Bavarian Alps in a charming A-frame that produces surplus energy The age-old question of whether it is more environmentally friendly to remodel versus completely rebuild has always been a subject of debate in the design world, but it is generally considered better for the environment to remodel because of the reduced need for resources and energy. Some properties are obviously too run-down or unsafe in order to justify renovation , but luckily that was not the case for this unique cabin. The designers wanted the cabin to blend into the natural scenery without a need to compete with the forest, instead adding to its beauty. The original chalet was the optimal size for its recreational and accommodation needs, so the structure was not expanded in any way. Rather, the challenge was in providing an appropriately comfortable atmosphere for the small interior while improving the aesthetic qualities of the exterior. A first floor bedroom was removed to give the occupants better views from the living room. Benches and beds throughout were modified to include room for extra storage, and the bathroom now comes with a recessed bathtub with views of the treetops through a skylight . On the second-level terrace, you’ll find a private playground complete with a sandpit, slide and small climbing wall as well as a quiet area for relaxing and enjoying the forest views. The basement, bearing elements, interior staircase and roofing were all preserved during the reconstruction, maintaining a rustic charm to the updated chalet. + Y100 Ateliér Via ArchDaily Photography by Miro Pochyba and Pavol Stofan via Y100 Ateliér

Here is the original post: 
A rustic wood cabin from the ’70s is remodeled into a charming getaway

MASK Architects design a sustainable pavilion nestled in a German forest

July 19, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on MASK Architects design a sustainable pavilion nestled in a German forest

Turkish architect Öznur P?nar Çer’s firm MASK Architects has designed a sustainably minded pavilion proposed for Waldspielpark Heinrich Kraft Park, the largest forest game park in Frankfurt, Germany. Created with a leaf-shaped structure, the building is designed to blend into the forest with its natural materials palette that mainly comprises locally sourced timber. Dubbed Leaf and Bean Co Pavilion, the building will house a coffee shop, a semi-open library, recreational areas and an events space. Shaped like an ovate leaf, the Leaf and Bean Co Pavilion will span an area of more than 2,000 square feet across two floors. The pavilion’s ground floor will be semi open and house exhibition space, while the upper level will include the coffee shop with the service areas placed inside a circular core at the heart of the building. Optimization of views of the surrounding forest informed the decisions for placing the programming. In addition to providing structural support, locally sourced timber will be used to give the pavilion a sculptural appeal. The architects propose crisscrossing long timber blocks around the building exterior for a nest-like appearance that evokes branches in a forest. Large amounts of glazing wrap around the building to create an immersive experience in nature. The roof of the pavilion directly above the coffee service areas will be planted with trees and greenery visible from the coffee shop below. Related: A modern reusable pavilion is sustainably designed to pop-up almost anywhere “We carried out a design in which people can provide unforgettable experience without disturbing the mathematics and physics of nature,” Öznur P?nar Çer said in a press statement. “This pavilion can be adapted to any kind of forest area, the development offers visitors an escape from the city with the celebration of fresh and organic dining. A hub educating and reestablishing gastronomy’s historic and appropriate connection with nature. Guests may enjoy the leisure and programmed resting on the terrace level while connected with the natural forest. By wandering in the forest, visitors not only discover co-creation programs but also meet with the people involved with the project and explore their creative process.” + MASK Architects Images via MASK Architects

See the original post here:
MASK Architects design a sustainable pavilion nestled in a German forest

Zara pledges 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025

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

Comments Off on Zara pledges 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025

This week, major fashion brand Zara announced a pledge to use 100 percent sustainable fabrics by 2025. The company also upped the ante for large-scale sustainable fashion by promising to use 80 percent renewable energy for its headquarters, factories and stores by the same deadline. “We need to be a force for change, not only in the company but in the whole sector,” said Pablo Isla, CEO of Inditex, the corporation that owns Zara. “We are the ones establishing these targets; the strength and impulse for change is coming from the commercial team, the people who are working with our suppliers, the people working with fabrics.” Related: H&M releases sustainable fashion line from fruit and algae Inditex is the third-largest apparel company in the world and promises that its other brands, including Massimo Dutti, will follow Zara’s example. Zara is by far the corporation’s largest brand, pulling in 70 percent of its sales, which totaled $29 billion USD last year. A major component of the sustainability plan involves increasing the offerings and sales from Zara’s eco-conscious line, Join Life. Zara also partners with the Red Cross to donate leftover stock and has an ongoing project with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to innovate new ways to recycle fabrics. The announcements come after increased pressure from consumers worldwide who seek sustainable fashion choices and critique the waste generated by the fast fashion industry. Zara claims it is not “ fast fashion ,” even though a documentary recently revealed that factory workers are judged by a woman holding a stopwatch and that the time between spotting a trend and having it hit Zara stores is only 2 to 4 weeks . Most fashion brands, by comparison, take 40 weeks. Critics and experts of the fashion industry noted that the new sustainability plan does not address concerns about the conditions for factory workers, despite recent controversies when disgruntled workers stitched S.O.S. notes into Zara clothing. + Zara Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

More: 
Zara pledges 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025

This off-grid retreat in Ohio was inspired by a treehouse

April 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on This off-grid retreat in Ohio was inspired by a treehouse

With features like a natural ventilation system to cool the home and rainwater collection to supply plumbing, The Hut is completely eco-friendly in addition to being off-grid . There is no access to main electricity or water, so the minimalist structure relies exclusively on solar power. Rather than constructing on top of the building site as most projects do, the architects built the home to harmonize with its surrounding environment. While the sustainable and eco-conscious design is worth commendation alone, The Hut was also born from a unique emotional place as well. Architect Greg Dutton of Midland Architecture wanted to build a quiet retreat in his family’s forested property on their Ohio cattle farm, within an area filled with happy childhood memories of hiking and exploration. The land, which he and his family have owned and operated for 40 years, holds a nostalgic value that helps connect the home with the building site. Related: Eco-friendly “treehouse” in French pine forest boasts surprisingly chic interiors Designed to appear as a treehouse , The Hut is elevated within the trees overlooking a lake through the use of concrete pillars at the edge of a small cliff. The position takes full advantage of exposure from the southern sun, helping to keep the home powered by solar energy. The floor-to-ceiling windows behind the wood-burning stove add to the lofted-in-the-trees effect. Though the natural cedar that tops the roof initially sticks out, with time and weather, the color will blend in perfectly with the surrounding forest. Inside, the floors are made of white pine and the wall/ceiling paneling of yellow pine, an homage to the Scandinavian and Danish architecture style that inspires a cozy atmosphere . The interior utilizes mostly organic light brown and white colors, with touches of black to add natural accents. There is a simple living space that connects to a kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area. The architect drew inspiration from the rustic and straightforward designs he grew up with in his farming background. + Midland Architecture Via Dezeen Photography by Lexi Ribar via Midland Architecture

Read more from the original source: 
This off-grid retreat in Ohio was inspired by a treehouse

A micro home in one of Quebecs regional parks offers a unique way to enjoy the outdoors

April 9, 2019 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Comments Off on A micro home in one of Quebecs regional parks offers a unique way to enjoy the outdoors

La Pointe is located within Canada’s Poisson Blanc Regional Park, and it’s a nature-loving minimalist’s dream come true. The micro home gets its name from the distinctive triangular geometry that comes to a cathedral-style point in the roof. The designers at Atelier L’abri wanted to honor the A-frame style that was made popular in North America in the 1950s while still providing the essential functions needed in a forest cabin. La Pointe offers off-the-grid living that isn’t completely isolated from civilization. The micro home is located off of a nature trail about 10 minutes by foot from the park’s reception pavilion. Despite the minimal square footage, there is room for up to four occupants inside thanks to the first-floor table’s ability to convert into an extra bed. Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills The structure was built on-site and features a kitchenette, an outdoor porch area and a lofted bedroom accessible by ladder. The bed is suspended mezzanine-style using steel rods, and it calmly overlooks the rest of the home. The entire space, including the sleeping area, takes full advantage of the natural light that streams in during the day. The connecting covered terrace is the perfect spot to enjoy the space when the weather is hot, and the wood-burning stove keeps the house warm in the cold Canadian winters. The whole structure is raised off the ground to prevent weather-related damage from both the snow and the nearby reservoir. The exterior, made from natural cedar boards, creates a woodsy look that blends in beautifully to the surrounding forest landscape. The roof is made from steel, a recycle-friendly option for a building material. The interior uses the same cedar, which — combined with the dark, steel-colored appliances inside — creates an organic and raw look. Occupants can enjoy the forest views from the large bay window that centers the home from the first floor. + Atelier L’abri Photography by Jack Jérôme via Atelier L’abri

More here:
A micro home in one of Quebecs regional parks offers a unique way to enjoy the outdoors

Inspiring zero-energy church in Iowa embraces nature in more ways than one

April 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Inspiring zero-energy church in Iowa embraces nature in more ways than one

An inspiring new church in Coralville, Iowa is lifting spirits and bringing people closer to nature — while generating all the energy it needs on site . Iowa City-based firm Neumann Monson Architects designed the church for the Unitarian Universalist Society; the solar-powered building embodies the Society’s core principles with its organic architecture emphasizing sustainability, accessibility and flexibility. The energy-efficient building is currently on track to achieve Zero Energy Building (ZEB) certification from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). Located on an existing open clearing so as to minimize the building’s impact on the forest, the Unitarian Universalist Society was built to replace an old structure that had multiple levels and many steps. In contrast, the new building was designed for greater accessibility to create more inclusive spaces, and it radiates an uplifting feel with its high ceilings and sloped roof that culminates into a peak in a far corner. The 133,592-square-foot church includes seven religious classrooms and six offices. It was also designed with input from the congregation’s 300 members. Designed for net-zero energy, the church is an all-electric building powered with a geothermal heat pump system and solar photovoltaic panels located on the building’s west side. To further reduce the building’s environmental impact, the architects installed bioretention cells for capturing and filtering all stormwater runoff. The landscaping features native grasses and woodland walking trails that engage the surroundings and are complemented with accessible food gardens. Materials from the property’s existing residence — deconstructed by volunteers — were donated to local nonprofits. Visitors also have access to charging stations. Related: Canada’s largest net-zero energy college building opens in Ontario “The Unitarian Universalist Society facility harmonizes with its natural landscape to provide reflective spaces for worship, fellowship, religious education and administration,” the architects explained. “Beyond fully-glazed walls , the forest provides dappled intimacy. The sanctuary’s prow extends south, a stone’s throw from a mature evergreen grove. Services pause respectfully as deer and woodland creatures pass.” + Neumann Monson Architects Photography by Integrated Studio via Neumann Monson Architects

See the original post here: 
Inspiring zero-energy church in Iowa embraces nature in more ways than one

Triangular treetop cabins offer an unforgettable stay in the Norwegian woods

February 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Triangular treetop cabins offer an unforgettable stay in the Norwegian woods

Elevated on angled steel legs and clad in sleek black metal, the PAN Treetop Cabins tucked away in a forest two hours from Oslo are unlike your typical forest retreat. Located in the woods of Finnskogen (the Finnish Forest) in east Norway, the two cabins were designed by Oslo-based architect Espen Surnevik for Kristian Rostad and Christine Mowinckel, a couple who wanted to create an eco-friendly and sustainable tourism destination. Opened for bookings in late 2018, the pair of cabins offers all the comforts of home in a remote and wild landscape. Founders Kristian Rostad and Christine Mowinckel started the tourism project in hopes of connecting foreign tourists with “the real Norwegian wilderness.” The couple, who live on a farm in Finnskogen near the Swedish border, wants to raise awareness of the region, from its location at the beginning of Taiga — the earth’s largest land biome — to the area’s rich biodiversity and ties to mysticism. According to the project’s press release, “PAN Treetop Cabins is a visionary project that combines spectacular architecture with the stunning nature one finds in this little known part of Norway.” The pair of cabins has been carefully placed for optimal access to natural light and views. Each cabin is elevated on steel poles to minimize site impact and is designed with energy efficiency in mind. Inside, there are 40 square meters of living space outfitted with electricity, radiant floor heating, a rain shower, a fully equipped kitchen and a fireplace. The tent-shaped profiles were inspired by North American A-frame lodges and are punctuated on both ends with large windows. Related: This itsy-bitsy treehouse in Norway offers the ultimate off-grid escape “PAN is a unique possibility for tourists who want to experience the quiet of the forest, exciting activities, the mysterious culture of Finnskogen and the extraordinary animal life you have in this part of Norway,” the designers said, noting that all the materials were carefully selected to adhere to sustainable principles. The cabins are clad in black metal rather than timber to call attention to their man-made origins. + Espen Surnevik Images via Rasmus Norlander

View post:
Triangular treetop cabins offer an unforgettable stay in the Norwegian woods

Valuable wetlands are disappearing 3 times faster than forests, new study warns

September 28, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Valuable wetlands are disappearing 3 times faster than forests, new study warns

Wetlands around the world are disappearing at an alarming rate. New research shows that these valuable ecosystems are vanishing at a rate three times that of forests . Unless significant changes are made, the disappearance of wetlands could cause severe damage around the globe. The Global Wetland Outlook , which was completed by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, found that more than a third of the wetlands on Earth have disappeared over a 45-year period. The pace that wetlands are vanishing jumped significantly after the year 2000, and regions all over the planet were impacted equally. Unfortunately, there is a handful of reasons why wetlands are diminishing around the world. This includes climate change , urbanization, human population growth and variable consumption patterns, all of which have contributed to the way land is used. Related: Natural wetland in India filters 198 million gallons of wastewater a day with zero chemicals There are several different types of wetlands found on Earth, including marshes, lakes, peatlands and rivers. Lagoons, coral reefs , mangroves and estuaries also fall into the wetland category. In total, wetlands take up more than 12.1 million square kilometers, an area larger than Greenland. Wetlands are crucial, because they provide almost all of the world’s access to freshwater — something that is key to survival. Humans also use wetlands for hydropower and medicines. From an environmental perspective, wetlands help retain carbon and regulate global warming . They also serve as the ecosystems for 40 percent of living species on Earth, providing food, water, breeding spaces and raw materials for these animals to live. If the wetlands keep vanishing at the current rate, many species will go as well. “The Global Wetland Outlook is a wake-up call — not only on the steep rate of loss of the world’s wetlands but also on the critical services they provide. Without them, the global agenda on sustainable development will not be achieved,” said Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. “We need urgent collective action to reverse trends on wetland loss and degradation and secure both the future of wetlands and our own survival at the same time.” With wetlands in danger of disappearing, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has pledged to make saving these regions a top priority. The parties involved with the group have targeted 2,300 sites for protection and hope to expand that to include more wetlands around the globe. + Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Image via Jeanethe Falvey / EPA

Here is the original post: 
Valuable wetlands are disappearing 3 times faster than forests, new study warns

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1390 access attempts in the last 7 days.