These enchanting, off-grid cabins are handcrafted from salvaged materials

October 12, 2018 by  
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Ambitious tiny cabin crafter  Jacob Witzling  has taken inspiration from childhood fairytales to build some seriously dreamy woodland dwellings for himself and his friends. Using  reclaimed wood  and other materials scavenged from construction sites, Witzling has designed and handcrafted a series of gorgeous tiny cabins tucked deep into lush forestscapes. Inspired by a deep respect for nature, all of his amazing cabins run 100 percent off the grid with no running water. It seems as if Witzling was destined to be close to nature. As a teenager, he moved into a 1920s cabin tucked into a wooded forest near his parents’ house. Although he would go home to do laundry and eat, he said that he always found himself drawn back to his real home in the woods. He has always preferred to live with simple pleasures. “Inside was a wood stove that I fed and stoked through the harsh winter nights,” Witzling explained. “I had my freedom and my fire. They were all I needed to be happy.” Witzling has taken his love of simple living and turned it into an amazing craft based on sustainability. Not only are all of his cabins built with reclaimed materials , but they are completely off-grid. They are powered by 12-volt D/C systems using deep cycle batteries. All water needed for drinking, cooking and bathing is collected from a well, and separate outhouses are equipped with composting toilets . Most of his wooden cabins are built on land owned by friends or acquaintances. He builds the structures with the agreement that he will have complete access after their completion. To date, he has built six amazingly unique cabins, including an innovative home on the bed of a pickup truck. Take a look below. Cabin 1 Witzling’s very first cabin was built for just $800. The two-story structure with a sloping shed roof was constructed out of reclaimed building materials , including salvaged wood, nails and screws leftover from construction projects, a local reuse store and straight from garbage pits. The cabin has two levels, a ground level of 100 square feet and a 70-square-foot sleeping loft. Witzling lived in this cabin for three years. Related: 9 brilliant backwoods cabins for reconnecting with nature Cabin 2 The second tiny cabin was built with wood salvaged from an old warehouse. Certainly fairytale-inspired, this 200-square-foot cabin takes on a cruciform shape with two pitched roofs covered in thick moss. Inside, there’s a compact living area and a 90-square-foot sleeping loft, all illuminated with natural light. Cabin 3 The third cabin (perhaps the most impressive) is a tiny octagonal structure with a pyramid roof featuring eight A-frame dormers. Witzling built the geometric cabin with his lifelong friend Wesley Daughenbaugh. Two large wooden doors open into the 135-square-foot interior, where many windows flood the space with natural light . The roofs are covered with metal sheets, chicken wire and a layer of moss. Cabin 4 The fourth cabin is quite distinct from the previous work in that the roof design is so eccentric. The cabin, which he built with his brother, Ethan Hamby, is set on an 80-square-foot, irregular base and topped with an  undulating pitched roof layered in small wooden shingles. The cabin was built with all reclaimed materials and is 17 feet long, 11 feet tall and 7 feet wide with a small, 30-square-foot sleeping loft inside. Cabin 5 The fifth cabin was a collaborative effort between Witzling, his brother Ethan and a childhood friend, Scott Pearson. The 200-square-foot wooden cabin , again made out of reclaimed lumber, is built on 25-square-foot alcoves on each side. A pitched 4-foot spire adds a chapel-like aesthetic to the cabin, which is surrounded by forest and adjacent to a small lake. Truck Cabin From off-grid cabins nestled into evergreen forests to homes on wheels roaming the highways, Witzling’s sixth project is a surprising twist to the traditional tiny cabin. Using the roof design from Cabin 4 as inspiration, he and his partner, Sara Underwood, built a tiny asymmetrical cabin on the bed of a 1979 pickup truck. The crafty duo are currently exploring the U.S. in their amazing creation. You can follow their adventures on Jacob’s Instagram . + Jacob Witzling Via Dwell Photography by Jacon Witzling, Sara Underwood, Forrest Smith, Chris Poops, Andrew Kearns, Erik Hecht, Justin D. Kauffman, Allen Meyer, Peter Crosby all via Jacob Witzling

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These enchanting, off-grid cabins are handcrafted from salvaged materials

Hunters issued permits to import lion trophies to United States

July 27, 2018 by  
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A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request has revealed that the U.S. government has issued over three dozen permits allowing trophy parts hunted from lions to be brought back into the United States from Africa. Despite the permits’ issue, lions remain on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to their threatened survival status in the wild. Friends of Animals obtained the documents and released them through The Huffington Post , which reported the animal rights violation on Thursday. The memorandum , released by the United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service on March 1, 2018, removes trophy import bans dating as far back as 1995. “If African wildlife is to survive the next few decades in their homelands, these elephants, lions and other animals—coveted by hunters for their strength and beauty—must be worth more alive than dead. That means safeguarding habitat along with photographic safaris and ecotourism must outpace blood-drenched trophy hunting expeditions,” declared Priscilla Feral, President of Friends of Animals, in a press release. Related: The Trump Administration decides to allow the import of elephant trophies after all New rules by the Fish and Wildlife Service require the filing of a FOIA request to see the details of government-issued permits that are determined on an individual basis – information that used to be publicly available . In this case, the majority of the permit recipients are Republican donors or are part of Safari Club International, a hunting advocacy group. While big game hunters argue that their activities help conservation efforts and local economies, animal rights supporters say that killing big game animals only further endangers their already at-risk populations. + Friends of Animals Via EcoWatch and The New York Times

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Only 13% of Earth’s oceans remain untouched by humans for now

July 27, 2018 by  
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Only 13 percent of the planet’s oceans are unaffected by human activities, such as fishing and pollution, according to a recent study from the Wildlife Conservation Society . The study , published in Current Biology and executed in tandem with the University of Queensland, has completed the first systematic analysis of the Earth’s oceans and revealed that the only intact portions of global waters could be found in protected parts of the remote Pacific Ocean and around the poles. But even those waters have their tides turning toward becoming unsafe territories for marine wildlife . The research comes after studies in January and February revealed dead zones of marine wildlife quadrupled since the 1950s, and industrial fishing areas now cover half of the world’s oceans. “We were astonished by just how little marine wilderness remains,” Kendall Jones, lead researcher on the project, told NPR . “The ocean is immense, covering over 70 percent of our planet, but we’ve managed to significantly impact almost all of this vast ecosystem.” The cause of this human impression is due to enormous fishing fleets, global shipping and pollution run-offs from land. Add all of this to the distress caused by climate change , and it’s no surprise we’ve arrived at this point. Still, only 5 percent of the remaining wilderness found in the ocean resides in marine protection areas. Related: Astounding responsive map shows shark interactions with commercial fishers “Beyond just valuing nature for nature’s sake, having these large intact seascapes that function in a way that they always have done is really important for the Earth,” Jones said. “They maintain the ecological processes that are how the climate and Earth system function — [without them], you can start seeing big knock-on effects with drastic and unforeseen consequences.” In response to mounting pressure by scientists to create a protection status for the high seas, the UN Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS) has planned negotiations to create a treaty in September 2018. The debate will center around cutting fishing subsidies valued at more than $4 billion by governments worldwide. According to Jones, fishing “would actually be unprofitable if it weren’t for big subsidies.” He continued by noting that “the vast majority of marine wilderness could be lost at any time, as improvements in technology allow us to fish deeper and ship farther than ever before.” + Wildlife Conservation Society + Current Biology Via  The Guardian Images via Nelly Lendvai and Rey Perezoso

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Only 13% of Earth’s oceans remain untouched by humans for now

6 easy tips to green your Fourth of July

July 4, 2018 by  
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Although the Fourth of July is a wonderful time to celebrate our freedom with friends and family, with all the cups, utensils and fireworks we end up using, it’s also one of our most wasteful holidays! So this year, why not take advantage of our six ideas that will help you green-up your festivities without sacrificing an ounce of fun. In fact, it might surprise you to find that following our tips could actually increase the fun quotient while sparing the planet at the same time. 1. Go meatless for the day Nothing says Independence Day like a backyard barbecue, but the global meat industry has put a terrible strain on the planet. This year, ditch the pork chops and steaks and consider some delicious vegetarian grilling recipes instead. Although forgoing the meat might seem akin to sacrilege, there are so many more creative dishes available that are good for your health and the planet. 2. Use real plates When you have 15 guests coming around, it’s so easy to break out the paper plates to avoid a sink full of dishes. But imagine the waste if every American went this route! If washing your own dishes in a water-saving dishwasher doesn’t sound appealing, it is now possible to purchase biodegradable packaging that won’t clog up the landfill. 3. Use public transportation If you live out in the middle of Iowa, taking a bus or train to your friend’s house might not be possible for you. But most city dwellers certainly do have this option. Using public transportation , or even cycling instead of driving a car, has more than one benefit: not only will you reduce your carbon footprint for the day, but you won’t have to drive home after drinking! Which brings us to our next point… 4. Buy kegs instead of cans and bottles Don’t take this the wrong way — Inhabitat isn’t endorsing national drunkenness, but we are realistic. People have the day off, they’re hanging out with their favorite people… beer will be had. Instead of buying a stack of cans and bottles that use up a lot of unnecessary materials, consider purchasing a keg. This is cheaper, usually, and you’ll have zero waste — especially if you use your own mugs or compostable cups . 5. Cool down with a batch of delicious organic popsicles If drinking beer isn’t your thing, or you’re celebrating the holiday with a handful of screaming young children, consider following our recipes for 30 kinds of delicious organic popsicles . They’re so easy to make and contain none of the junk that store-bought popsicles do. Plus, you won’t produce any waste as a byproduct of enjoying one of our favorite summer treats. 6. Enjoy a sunset with wind- and solar-powered lights Sunset is probably our favorite part of the Fourth of July. Not that we’re excited for the day to end, but the temperature simmers down at last, and the sky fills up with the vibrant colors of fireworks. Make the ambiance last and reduce your energy footprint by using  wind and solar lights . They’re easy to find at IKEA, and they’ll impress the daylights out of your friends and family! Have a happy and green Fourth of July! Images via Nigel Howe , Shutterstock ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ), Inhabitat and IKEA

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Elephants should be recognized as legal persons, argues Connecticut lawsuit

November 16, 2017 by  
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Should elephants be viewed as legal persons in the eyes of the court? A new lawsuit filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) argues yes. The group says three elephants, owned by a traveling Connecticut zoo, should have “the fundamental right to bodily liberty” and be placed in an animal sanctuary instead. Beulah, Karen, and Minnie are three elephants owned by the Commerford Zoo in Goshen, Connecticut. The animals give rides and appear in circuses, fairs, weddings, and movies. They’re between 33 and 50 years old, and the zoo has owned them for at least 30 years. But according to the NhRP, the United States Department of Agriculture has cited the zoo more than 50 times for not adhering to the minimum standards of the Animal Welfare Act. People have described the elephants as sick or sad, with one Yelp review describing facilities as a “stockyard of despair.” Related: New Zealand river world’s first to obtain legal status as a person NhRP filed the lawsuit with the Connecticut Superior Court, requesting the elephants be released to the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s ARK 2000 sanctuary, where NhRP says “their right to bodily liberty will be respected.” NhRP founder and attorney Steven Wise said the case isn’t about animal welfare, but animal rights , saying in a statement, “What they are doing is depriving Beulah, Karen, and Minnie of their freedom, which we see as an inherently cruel violation of their most fundamental right as elephants. If Connecticut common law courts truly value autonomy, as previous rulings suggest they do, they too will see their situation in this light and order the elephants’ release from captivity.” Commerford Zoo owner Tim Commerford told The Washington Post, “It’s not right to rip them from my family, from their home.” According to The Washington Post, legal personhood has been applied to corporations in the United States, a New Zealand river , and chimpanzees and a bear in Argentina and Colombia. But Pepperdine law school professor Richard Cupp told The Washington Post it’s better to help captive animals with expanded animal welfare laws. Giving legal personhood to animals could loosen the definition, he argued, which could harm vulnerable humans. He said, “It would not surprise me if these animals could be put in a better situation. But we should focus on human responsibility…Our expansion of animal protection laws has been dramatic over the last 20 or 30 years. I’m arguing that should continue.” Via the Nonhuman Rights Project ( 1 , 2 ) and The Washington Post Images via Joel Mbugua on Unsplash and Anne Zwagers on Unsplash

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Vienna cocktail bar is hidden underground in an 18th-century cellar

November 16, 2017 by  
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The places hidden beneath our feet are sometimes home to a city’s coolest spaces. That’s the case for the krypt.bar , a subterranean cocktail bar in Vienna , tucked away in a forgotten 18th century cellar that was only recently uncovered after renovations on Berggasse—a famed street associated with Sigmund Freud. Designed by Büro KLK , this secret bar breathes new life into a historic setting and is decorated with minimalist furniture designs of the International Style. The 18th century cellar on Vienna’s traditional Berggasse was found after workers struck upon a bricked up staircase. It let to a twelve-meters-deep cellar with handsome brick vaults . Further digging into cellar’s history showed that it once operated as a semi-legal establishment in the jazz area of the mid-20th century. Related: Historic 7th-century cellar in Spain renovated to celebrate the history of wine-making Büro KLK preserved the brick vaults and underground feel of the place, and added luxury materials and high-quality furnishings such as Knoll’s famous Platner Arm Chairs and Ubald Lug’s Sofa DS-1025. Write the designers: “The whole static structure as well as the ventilating pipes and further installations, were cladded in composition gold. The floor plate is covered with a layer of Italian nero marquina marble manually laid in a herringbone bond. The cladding of the bar counter was cut out of a massive block of Sahara noir laurent gold marble applied in a mirrored pattern, and the counter plate was crafted out of a massive European walnut.” + Büro KLK Photography: David Schreyer

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Vienna cocktail bar is hidden underground in an 18th-century cellar

Extraordinary treehouse is a climber’s dream with its own indoor climbing wall

October 12, 2017 by  
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This narrow angular treehouse in Brisbane, Australia , captures the freedom and beauty of the outdoor-indoor lifestyle. The Taringa Treehouse, designed by Phorm Architecture + Design , is nestled under a large tree and houses a study, bedroom and a climbing wall. The entire main floor can be opened up to the exterior via sliding glass walls. The building is detached from the main residence and occupies a cozy spot under an existing tree in the backyard of the property. It’s wedge-like form points toward the residence, with its wider side facing out into the yard. A ground floor patio with a climbing wall is located at the tip of the two-story structure and opens up toward the garden via large sliding glass walls. Related: Incredible luxury tree house is hidden away in a Cape Town forest “These backyards tend to be overgrown, unruly spaces and are the domain of children and makeshift structures. The treehouse is devised as an invitation to visit and engage with this distinct yet typically unchartered territory,” said Paul Hotston of Brisbane-based Phorm Architecture + Design. Weatherboard covers the garden-facing elevation, while metal cladding dominates the western facade which creates a contrast with the verdant surroundings. The shape and materials of the house are inspired by traditional local architecture , translated into a modern-day t reehouse that’s playful and fun. + Phorm Architecture + Design Via Dezeen

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Extraordinary treehouse is a climber’s dream with its own indoor climbing wall

New super concrete makes buildings strong enough to withstand magnitude 9 earthquakes

October 12, 2017 by  
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Recent natural disasters such as hurricanes in the Caribbean and earthquakes in Mexico have laid bare the need for more resilient buildings. Fortunately, researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have developed a sprayable, eco-friendly concrete that makes the exterior of buildings as strong as steel and able to withstand unforeseen disasters . The material is called Eco-friendly Ductile Cementitious Composite, or EDCC – and it’s is predominantly comprised of an industrial by-product called fly ash. Said UBC Professor Nemy Banthia, “The cement industry produces close to seven percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. By replacing nearly 70 percent of cement with fly ash, we can reduce the amount of cement used. This is quite an urgent requirement, as one tonne of cement production releases almost a tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.” The final product is very similar to steel. It is durable, malleable and much more ductile than ordinary concrete. To test the invention, researchers sprayed EDCC on concrete block walls about 10 mm (one-half inch) thick. They then simulated a magnitude 9 earthquake — the same strength of the earthquake that rocked Tohoku, Japan, in 2011. “The results of these tests have been amazing,” said UBC engineering Ph.D. candidate Salman Soleimani-Dashtaki. “We can shake the wall extensively without it failing.” The video above shows that the unreinforced wall collapsed at about 65 percent intensity. In contrast, the reinforced wall withstood full intensity shaking and flexing. “A 10 millimeter-thick layer of EDCC … is sufficient to reinforce most interior walls against seismic shocks ,” said Soleimani-Dashtaki. EDCC is already on the market – in British Columbia, Canada , the product has been designated as “an official retrofit option.” The product is growing in popularity, as it is more cost-effective than major structural renovations or the steel bracings often required for earthquake protection. Plans are already in motion to reinforce the walls of an elementary school in Vancouver, B.C., and to upgrade a school in the seismically active area of northern India . With this technology, the costs of retrofitting buildings is cut in half. Said Banthia, “This can be very easily scaled to other projects. It costs about half of what other retrofit strategies would cost.” Via Metro News Canada , Engadget Images via UBC Civil Engineering Department, Pixabay, YouTube

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Geometric wood forest pops up at one of Europe’s biggest music festivals

September 7, 2015 by  
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Studio Osk’s Woodend House boasts serious passive house principles

September 7, 2015 by  
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