Federal judge blocks the Keystone XL Pipeline

November 12, 2018 by  
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In a major setback for President Trump and his administration, a U.S. district judge has issued an order to block construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline while the State Department studies its impact on the environment . Last year, the Trump administration approved the controversial 1,179-mile pipeline, but Judge Brian Morris’ 54-page order is preventing it from being built — for now. The decision does not permanently stop construction, but it is putting the development on hold until the State Department takes a harder look at the impact the pipeline will have on oil prices, the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions, potential oil spills and cultural resources. Related: The Keystone Pipeline leak was nearly twice as big as we thought Under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, there is an obligation to protect the environment. Under the Obama administration, the State Department denied a permit to build the pipeline because of the environmental effects. But President Trump shifted the policy when he took office and invited TransCanada to re-submit its permit application just four days after he was sworn in. Then, in March 2017, the POTUS signed an executive order supporting the Keystone Pipeline’s construction. Judge Morris wrote in his decision that the president did not give a reasoned explanation or a fact-based determination for the course reversal. According to NPR , there has been a lot of backlash from environmentalists and indigenous peoples since the pipeline’s conception in 2008 because of the possible environmental impact and violations of historic treaties. “Today’s ruling is a decisive moment in our fight against the corporate polluters who have rushed to destroy our planet,” said Marcie Keever, legal director at Friends of the Earth. “Today, the courts showed the Trump administration and their corporate polluter friends that they cannot bully rural landowners, farmers, environmentalists and Native communities.” If the Keystone Pipeline does become a reality, it will run through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Canada, and it will transport about 830,000 barrels of crude oil each day. Via NPR Image via Pax Ahimsa Gethen

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Federal judge blocks the Keystone XL Pipeline

Yves Bhar designs compact, prefab homes to tackle the housing crisis

November 12, 2018 by  
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Yves Béhar has designed everything from high-tech wearables to voice-activated,  transforming furniture  — now, the prolific San Francisco-based designer is adding prefabricated homes to the list. Unveiled earlier this month at the Summit Festival in Los Angeles, the YB1 (Yves Béhar LivingHomes) is a line of prefabricated accessory dwelling units created in partnership with LivingHomes, the design studio of California-based prefabricated home producers Plant Prefab. The fully customizable homes are built with sustainable construction methods and materials, and they are aimed at increasing urban density while reducing the environmental impact of new construction. Designed with flexibility in mind, the modular YB1 can be fully customized to meet a variety of living requirements, climatic conditions and aesthetic desires. The first three available versions of YB1, for instance, include three different floor plans and roof systems thanks to a 4-foot grid system that allows for a range of 250- to 1,200-square-foot units. Depending on the footprint, the interiors can be outfitted with a full kitchen, bathroom with a shower, living room, a bedroom and an office. Homeowners will be able to choose the appliances, finishes, lighting and electrical systems ahead of time for pre-installation. “Following our work on efficient living with robotic furniture company ORI, I’m excited to extend the passion for tiny homes and prefab by partnering with LivingHomes. For me, the next frontier of design is to think of the entire home as a product that a homeowner can shape to their needs in terms of size, usage, aesthetic and lifestyle,” said Yves Béhar, founder and CEO of fuseproject . “This is why we’re interested in the customizable nature of prefabricated ADU’s: people want their living environment to be a reflection of their specific life needs. The design goal of the LivingHomes ADU is adding urban density with a range of sizes and home designs while providing a building system that delivers on sustainable and efficient living in urban areas.” Related: Yves Béhar’s shapeshifting Ori furniture transforms your home at the touch of a button To reduce the environmental impact of YB1, the designers will use Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood siding and cement panels as well as passive solar principles to inform the roof options. The houses will also offer Smart Home capabilities for measuring resource use and energy production. Plant Prefab’s efficient building system allows the homes to be constructed in just one month. Then, it takes only a day to install them on-site. Initial pricing for the YB1 starts at around $280,000; however, the designers hope to offer Yves Béhar LivingHomes for less than $100,000 in the future. + YB1 Images via Yves Béhar

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Yves Bhar designs compact, prefab homes to tackle the housing crisis

A London office boasts biophilic design for a healthier, happier workplace

November 12, 2018 by  
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A new experimental office on the 12th floor of The Shard in London offers a breath of fresh air … literally. Wrapped in bamboo surfaces and punctuated by living plants, facilities management company Mitie’s headquarters in London was created by local practice DaeWha Kang Design . The biophilic project — dubbed the Living Lab at The Shard — mimics nature from its natural materials palette to the circadian lighting system linked to an astronomical clock. As its name suggests, the Living Lab at The Shard will be used as a pilot study to measure the impact of biophilic design on worker wellness and productivity. In addition to the client, the project was created in collaboration with Dr. Marcella Ucci (head of the MSc in Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings at the University College of London). A post-occupancy study will compare daily surveys of Mitie employees who will work at the Living Lab desks for four weeks at a time followed by a four-week work period in a “control area” on the same floor with similar environmental conditions but without biophilic design. “Biophilia refers to human beings’ innate need for a connection with nature,” DaeWha Kang Design said in its press release. “Human physiology is wired to seek qualities of light, view, material and other factors common in the natural world. The Living Lab is fully immersive, with rich and intricate patternization, natural materials  and interactive and dynamic lighting.” Related: This dreamy cluster of cabins houses light-filled live/work spaces in Hokkaido The project comprises two main spaces: the “Living Lab” immersive work environment and two “Regeneration Pods” for short-term rest and meditation. Bamboo was used for the sculptural privacy screens that curve up at the ceiling; different textures and shades of bamboo were also used for the floor, desks and task lights providing a warm contrast to The Shard’s cool glass-and-metal palette. The Regeneration Pods, also built of bamboo, were created by combining digital fabrication with hand-finishing techniques and feature plush built-in seating that faces walls of glass for city views. A subtle circadian lighting system uses color-changing lights to mimic the sun — a cool blue is cast in the morning that changes to bright white in the afternoon and finally reaches a fiery orange near sunset. + DaeWha Kang Design Images by Tom Donald for Aldworth James & Bond and Kyungsub Shin via DaeWha Kang Design

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A London office boasts biophilic design for a healthier, happier workplace

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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6 easy tips to green your Fourth of July

Monsanto will scrap its notorious name after acquisition by Bayer

June 4, 2018 by  
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“Monsanto” is a bad word in environmentalist circles. However, the company name so connected with concerns over glyphosate , the main ingredient in Monsanto’s product Roundup, will vanish following the company’s acquisition by Bayer — a deal described as “a marriage made in hell.” Bayer will retire the 117-year-old brand name Monsanto, The Guardian reported . Bayer said in a statement , “Bayer will remain the company name. Monsanto will no longer be a company name. The acquired products will retain their brand names and become part of the Bayer portfolio.” Related: Bayer’s proposed $66B Monsanto takeover is “a marriage made in hell” Activists say the deal will create the most powerful agribusiness in the world. In 2016, Bayer announced plans to acquire Monsanto, and said in their statement they signed an agreement for $128 per share later that year — which corresponds to a total cost of around $63 billion this year, considering Monsanto’s debt. Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann said, “We aim to deepen our dialogue with society. We will listen to our critics and work together where we find common ground. Agriculture is too important to allow ideological differences to bring process to a standstill. We have to talk to each other. We need to listen to each other. It’s the only way to build bridges.” Campaigners have protested the takeover — Friends of the Earth said it would “increase control over farmers and cut out competitors, and allow it to become the dominant ‘Facebook of farming .’” Friends of the Earth Europe food and farming campaigner Adrian Bebb said Bayer “will become Monsanto in all but name unless it takes drastic measures to distance itself from the US chemical giant’s controversial past. If it continues to peddle dangerous pesticides and unwanted GMOs then it will quickly find itself dealing with the same global resistance that Monsanto did.” + Bayer Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos

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Monsanto will scrap its notorious name after acquisition by Bayer

9 Green Gift Ideas for Your Friends

April 3, 2017 by  
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You and your friends are dedicated to going green in every aspect of your lives, from recycling and composting to reducing your carbon footprint. So why should gifts be any different? If you’re looking for the best environmentally friendly…

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9 Green Gift Ideas for Your Friends

9 fun things you can do during Earth Hour!

March 25, 2017 by  
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Today at 8:30 pm , WWF’s Earth Hour will begin. Started in 2007 , Earth Hour is a symbolic act to get us thinking about our planet and our impact on it. But more than that, it’s also part of a simple idea to start an environmental resolution — this is not only about one hour in the dark, it’s about creating a brighter future. Even though you’re switching off your lights and electronic appliances for the environment, you don’t have to sit twiddling your thumbs in the dark. There is still a lot you can do without using a watt of electricity. Earth Hour can be as fun as it is good for the planet, and if you’re looking for some entertaining ways to spend it you’re in luck because we’ve rounded up 9 fun activities that are sure to deliver a good time completely off-grid! Candlelight dinner via Shutterstock Have a candle-lit dinner using menus from celebrity chefs Celebrate the hour with your partner, friends or family and have a candlelit dinner with your own tasty dishes based on WWF’s Livewell principles, which has been created for healthy people and a planet with a brilliant future. Get inspired by celebrity chefs who support the Livewell principles . Board Game Pieces and Dices via Shutterstock Invite friends around for a quiz and board games by candlelight WWF’s Earth Hour is all about people coming together to celebrate our world. If you’ve decided to invite friends over, the Earth Hour team has created a fantastic Quiz to download to make the most of the night while the lights remain off. The night sky via Shutterstock Take a wildlife walk or go star-gazing Get closer to nature while doing something for your health and well-being by taking a night walk or going star-gazing. And if you don’t have a telescope, don’t worry. Just darkness, a blanket and hot drinks will be enough for a perfect star-gazing hour. San Antonio Texas River Walk at night via Shutterstock Go for a nightime city walk If you are a “city animal”, why not take a walk around town and see what has switched off in your city? In past years, many landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, the Tour Eiffel and Big Ben switched off their lights in honor of Earth Hour. This year is sure to find more participants, so be sure to check out what else is happening. Silhouette of biker at sunset via Shutterstock Go for a nighttime bike ride Cycling is not a trend, it’s part of a sustainable lifestyle. Everyday more people decide to leave their car at home and start cycling. And once you’ve started cycling, you can’t stop. So why not go for a ride during the hour? Yoga exercise via Shutterstock Try candle-lit yoga or exercise “Mens sana in corpore sano,” says the famous Latin quotation. WWF’s Earth Hour is a moment for appreciating the brilliant world we all share, and how we need to protect it. Use this time to pursue a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle. Playing the Guitar via Shutterstock Have an unplugged jam session at home Invite your friends over and unplug while you enjoy some in-house music. Children reading via Shutterstock Read a bed time story Light a candle to create a cozy atmosphere, and transform your favorite bedtime story into a fantastic journey of the imagination. Make a green energy resolution WWF has lots of resources to help you be green every day. Check out their resources for making a lifestyle change  and then plan with your family and friends how you will change things up even when it isn’t Earth Hour. + WWF EARTH HOUR 

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How to Have an Eco-Friendly Galentine’s Day

February 14, 2017 by  
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Ah, Galentine’s Day. A sacred holiday observed on Feb. 13 by single females and their friends everywhere. And although it may actually be Valentine’s Day, there’s no reason you can’t celebrate Galentine’s Day today or…

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How to Have an Eco-Friendly Galentine’s Day

What Does a Trump Presidency Mean for the Environment?

November 17, 2016 by  
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President-elect Donald Trump has a lot of people worried. Worried about their healthcare, their reproductive rights, and the citizenship of their friends and family. But perhaps the most worrying effect of a Trump presidency is one that could have…

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What Does a Trump Presidency Mean for the Environment?

Friends Use Recycled Cardboard Boxes to Build Amazing Life-Size Pirate Ship!

November 12, 2016 by  
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Three creative eco-artists have built an incredible life-sized pirate ship out of recycled cardboard ! Three Reddit-using friends named Josh, Mikey and Joel made the ghostly ship in just five days for what was probably the best Halloween party ever. Armed with just a hot glue gun and box cutters, the trio masterfully transformed old cardboard boxes into a meticulously detailed vessel fit for Treasure Island. The friends came up with the idea for the ship when planning a “Halloween Party on Treasure Island.”  To prepare for the project, the friends began what they call “trolling”- or stalking the streets for piles of cardboard left at curbsides , waiting for garbage truck pick up. The trio loaded these bounties up in their car and hauled the cardboard to the warehouse-studio where the party took place. Using hot glue and blades, the guys began building up the massive ship. Cardboard planks make up its sides, and circular holes were cut out to serve as portholes. Larger sheets of cardboard were cut to make curly waves licking at the base of the boat, while trimmer remnants added texture to the faux- wood on the side of the boat. A tattered, discarded sail was hung from the ship’s cardboard mast. The intricate piece was crowned with a ghastly figurehead depicting a skeleton witch with wild cardboard hair and a curling cardboard tongue. The incredible project shows what a little creativity can do with material otherwise headed for the garbage. Via Bored Panda

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