Architects envision a sustainable future for a Finnish island at risk of rising sea levels

June 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

In response to concerns that Luonnonmaa, an island on the Finnish West archipelago coast, could succumb to the destructive effects of climate change, Helsinki-based architectural firm Emmi Keskisarja & Janne Teräsvirta & Company Architects has unveiled a sustainable vision for the island in the year 2070. Named “Emerald Envisioning for Luonnonmaa 2070,” the futuristic vision calls for a utopian scheme where people and nature live in harmony within a sustainable community tapping into renewable energy sources , eco tourism and reforestation. Luonnonmaa makes up the majority of the land area for the city of Naantali; however, the island itself is sparsely populated. Traditionally used for farming , the island is renowned for its clean and idyllic Nordic landscapes. “The way of life on Luonnonmaa is challenged by climate catastrophe and biodiversity loss, just as it is in more population-concentrated locations on the planet,” the architects said. “The island is seemingly empty — or full of immaculate space — but a closer inspection reveals that most of the island area is defined by human activity and its ripple effects. A growing population on the island will need to provide more opportunity for nature, while they develop their way of life, means of transportation, work, as well as food and energy production.” The architects worked together with the City of Naantali’s public, politicians and planners as well as with a multidisciplinary group of local specialists and the Institute of Future Studies at the University of Turku to produce a creative solution to these challenges. The Emerald Envisioning for Luonnonmaa 2070 addresses such questions as “Can the future be both sustainable and desirable?” and “Could we build more to accommodate human needs, while (counter-intuitively) producing more opportunities for nature around us?” Related: Finland plans to complete its coal ban one year early The scheme also considers the future of farming for the island. Because the traditional farming industry is in decline, the proposal suggests more carbon-neutral methods of food production such as seaweed hubs and communal gardening. Meanwhile, the reduction of farmland will allow for the expansion and unification of forest areas to support the island’s unique biodiversity. To future-proof against sea level rise, housing will be built on pylons to mitigate flood concerns while social activity and communal development will be planned around waterways. A network of small-scale glamping units would also be installed to boost the island’s economy. + EETJ Images via EETJ

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Architects envision a sustainable future for a Finnish island at risk of rising sea levels

Ending animal exploitation in tourism with World Animal Protection

June 13, 2019 by  
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World Animal Protection works internationally to end the suffering of animals and urge all people to do more to protect our furred, feathered and scaly friends. World Animal Protection (formerly World Society for the Protection of Animals) works on many fronts— including wild animals, farmed animals and those suddenly displaced by disasters. Ontario-based campaign director Melissa Matlow talked to Inhabitat about World Animal Protection’s work to end the exploitation of animals in the name of tourism. Inhabitat: How and when did World Animal Protection first get involved with educating tour operators about animal attractions? Melissa Matlow: World Animal Protection has been campaigning to protect wild animals that are suffering for tourism for several years now. More than 20 years ago we started working with local partners to bring an end to bear dancing in Greece, Turkey and India, and bear baiting in Pakistan. We have been working to protect the welfare of elephants in Asia since 2005. In 2015, we launched the Wildlife Not Entertainers campaign globally and working to influence the tourism industry became one of the organization’s priority campaigns. We decided to shine a spotlight on the problem of elephant riding first because it is one of the cruelest activities and tourist demand is fueling the poaching of elephants from the wild. In 2017 we released our Taken for a Ride Report , which reviewed the welfare of nearly 3,000 elephants used for tourism in 220 tourist venues in six countries (Thailand, India, Nepal, Laos, Sri Lanka and Cambodia). We discovered that the majority of these elephants (77 percent) were living in grossly substandard conditions. Related: Conservationists in Florida are making the ultimate effort to protect manatees from tourism Inhabitat: Can you tell me a little bit about the TripAdvisor campaign? Matlow: We showed TripAdvisor our research into the animal welfare and conservation impacts of Wildlife Tourism Attractions (WTA) and how wildlife lovers were unknowingly causing harm to animals by participating in these activities. Tourists were seeing and buying tickets to cruel attractions that offer elephant rides and tiger selfies on TripAdvisor and leaving positive reviews. After more than half a million people joined our campaign and signed our petition asking TripAdvisor to stop selling cruel attractions, they listened and announced in 2016 their commitment to stop selling some problematic attractions and set up an educational portal for people to learn more. Inhabitat:  What other tour operators and companies has World Animal Protection worked closely with?                    Matlow:  World Animal Protection has worked with the Travel Corporation, G Adventures, Intrepid, World Expeditions and many other tour operators to put an end to elephant riding and other forms of wildlife entertainment. Together we formed the Coalition for Ethical Wildlife Tourism to shift tourist demand towards humane and sustainable alternatives. Inhabitat:  What have been some of your biggest wins? Matlow:  We are now working with some of the largest travel companies in the world to put an end to elephant riding and other forms of wildlife entertainment. More than 200 tour operators have signed our pledge committing to never offer, sell or promote elephant rides and shows. After more than half a million people signed our petition and joined our movement, TripAdvisor committed to stop selling tickets to cruel attractions. Expedia soon followed suit and in 2017 we convinced Instagram to educate its users of the cruelty that happens behind the scenes for wildlife selfies. Inhabitat:  What are still the biggest challenges? Matlow: We need to reach the right people— wildlife lovers who are unknowingly causing harm by participating in wildlife entertainment activities and the travel companies who sell them tickets. One of our challenges is to debunk the many myths that these tourists and travel companies are commonly subjected to. Many tourist attractions dupe people into thinking they are protecting the animals and serving some kind of conservation and education benefit but nothing could be further from the truth. Tourists don’t realize that these attractions are commercially breeding and trading wild animals for the sole purpose of entertaining them. The demand is fueling the capture of wild animals from the wild. The animals suffer every day in small tanks and cages to entertain tourists and won’t ever be released into the wild. Tourists aren’t learning about how to keep the animals in the wild, where they belong. If anything, they are being desensitized to their suffering in captivity and learning that it is okay to get up close to them to feed them, pet them and take wildlife selfies. Inhabitat: What are the most important things for tourists to keep in mind when evaluating animal attractions? Matlow: Our simple rule of thumb is— if you can ride it, hug it or take a selfie with a wild animal, chances are it is cruel, so don’t do it. The best place to see wild animals is in the wild from a respectful distance. People can download our Animal-Friendly Travel Pocket Guide and visit our website to learn more about the work we do to encourage animal-friendly tourism and to protect the welfare of animals globally. +World Animal Protection Images via World Animal Protection

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Ending animal exploitation in tourism with World Animal Protection

Innovative window solar charger is designed for apartment dwellers

June 13, 2019 by  
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Just months ago, the innovative team at Grouphug revealed the adorable Solar Cat that made the world go “Aww.” Now, the New-York based tech company has just released a very practical Window Solar Charger designed to let apartment dwellers generate their own solar energy in order to power their devices. Recently launched on Kickstarter , the Window Solar Charger was conceived from the idea that everyone should be able to generate their own clean energy. While homeowners have much more control over their power sources, renters and people on the go often have very little options to live a truly sustainable lifestyle. Related: Meet Solar Cat, a cute and creative take on renewable energy After years of being frustrated with how hard it is to adapt solar energy in her own NYC apartment, Grouphug’s founder and lead product designer, Krystal Persaud, decided to invent a personal solar-powered charger geared toward those apartment dwellers who want to be more sustainable. Essentially, the charger is a 13-inch-by-10-inch bamboo frame with four thin solar panels. The charger can be hung in any window to soak up direct sunlight into the battery that is built into the frame. After approximately eight to 10 hours of sunlight, phones and other small devices can be plugged directly into the frame’s USB port. Devices can be charged day or night, and on average, a full battery can charge iPhones two times and Android phones one to one-and-a-half times. + Grouphug + Window Solar Charger Kickstarter Images via Grouphug

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Innovative window solar charger is designed for apartment dwellers

On the menu: Transforming global food systems

June 11, 2019 by  
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The main course of the future of food will be meeting the nutrition needs of a growing population.

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On the menu: Transforming global food systems

German circus goes cruelty-free by replacing animals with holograms

June 6, 2019 by  
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The circuses of the future will have bright lights, virtual-reality technology and one especially awe-inspiring feature: consent from all entertainers. German-based Circus Roncalli is leading the way by becoming the first circus to use 3D holograms of animals instead of forcing live animals to entertain crowds. Circus Roncalli has been around since 1976 but led the pack by dropping live circus animals from its acts as early as the 1990s. Last year, founder and director Bernhard Paul invested half a million dollars (USD) to develop the holographic animal performances that have recently gone viral on social media. Related: New Jersey first state to ban wild animals in circuses His shows now feature acts by holographic elephants , horses and large goldfish and attracted over 600,000 attendees in the first year alone. With ticket prices between $32 and $78 USD per person, his investment was well worth it. Animal rights advocates and circus enthusiasts have jumped on his success, touting Circus Roncalli as the future of the circus and using it as an example to advocate for the end of animal abuse in entertainment. Many governments are also passing laws that prohibit the use of animals for entertainment. “Thankfully, the public is voting with their feet, and increasingly visiting shows where the performers get to choose instead of being forced to perform ,” said Jan Creamer from Animal Defenders International. “This is the future of circus — a performance everyone can enjoy and for which intelligent, sentient beings are not used and depicted as objects of entertainment.” Paul claims his years of success are due to the skills of his human performers, including amazing acrobatic tricks, and the circus animals are an added feature that the crowds love. Not all entertainment acts have the available cash to invest in large light shows; however, with increasing awareness and support for animal rights, other circuses should look to Circus Roncalli as inspiration. Via The Dodo and WSVN Miami Images via Circus Roncalli ( 1 , 2 )

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German circus goes cruelty-free by replacing animals with holograms

Outside or inside the system? Time to ask the right questions in response to our climate emergency

May 23, 2019 by  
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Forum for the Future chief executive, Dr. Sally Uren, explores how to drive the transformational shifts needed to respond to the climate crisis.

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Outside or inside the system? Time to ask the right questions in response to our climate emergency

It’s ‘impossible’ to ignore the world of alternative proteins

May 23, 2019 by  
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With this month’s landmark initial public offering of alt-protein company Beyond Meat, it’s worth sinking your teeth into the disruptive market.

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It’s ‘impossible’ to ignore the world of alternative proteins

Energy equity: bringing solar power to low-income communities

May 23, 2019 by  
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From New York to California, states are adopting “community solar” programs that bring solar power and lower energy bills to low-income households.

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Energy equity: bringing solar power to low-income communities

Catalyzing the blue revolution: how investors can turn the tide on aquaculture

May 8, 2019 by  
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Seafood is a critical part of the future of food production. Are we investing enough in it?

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Catalyzing the blue revolution: how investors can turn the tide on aquaculture

Earth911 Podcast, May 6, 2019: Dr. Katrina Cornish on the Future of Rubber Production

May 6, 2019 by  
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Listen to “Earth911 Podcast, May 6, 2019: Dr. Katrina Cornish … The post Earth911 Podcast, May 6, 2019: Dr. Katrina Cornish on the Future of Rubber Production appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, May 6, 2019: Dr. Katrina Cornish on the Future of Rubber Production

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