Windwords proposal turns wind turbines into public art

January 6, 2020 by  
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In a bid to clamp down on the NIMBY (“not in my backyard”) opposition to wind farms, international design collective Prototype 2030 has created a two-part proposal that would turn wind turbines into interactive public art. The first part of the design, dubbed Windwords, proposes reshaping wind turbines into giant letters to create landmarks representative of the community. To further empower communities with wind farms, the designers suggest allowing local residents to share in the profits and control the wind turbines through a smartphone app. Inspired by community-oriented design processes for public infrastructure, Prototype 2030 believes that the way to wider acceptance of wind farms and wind turbines begins with neighborhood-centered design. The Windwords proposal takes cues from the Hollywood sign and the IAMSTERDAM letters, which are not only iconic landmarks in their respective cities but also attract attention from tourists. Related: LEGO reintroduces Vestas wind turbine set, now made with plant-based plastic “Our point is not, of course, that every wind turbine has to be turned into a giant letter,” the collective explained. “Every site and community is different and will present different needs and opportunities. Big pink words will not be the solution every time. The real lesson is that wind farms need to be designed to mean something to humans — because they do, to neighbors and passersby. Right now, what they say is usually not what we want to hear. They need to be designed to speak human.” To further humanize the relationship between wind farms and communities, the designers have also proposed Windswitch, a smartphone app that would allow local residents to share in the profits from wind energy . The app would also give users the opportunity to “influence the turbines in their backyard” by trading previous earnings in as credits to temporarily pause a wind turbine. + Prototype 2030 Images by Prototype 2030

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Windwords proposal turns wind turbines into public art

16 must-see environmental documentaries

December 23, 2019 by  
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From animals facing extinction to pollution to global warming, the world is changing — quickly. Some days you may feel like you’re the only one concerned with what is happening to the planet. But there are a host of scientists, environmentalists, authors, journalists, adventurers and Hollywood actors that share your mindset and went through the effort of getting it to the screen. Here are some top environmental documentaries to watch if you’re looking for a show that keeps sustainability in focus. Before the Flood, 2016 Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio in conjunction with National Geographic, Before the Flood follows DiCaprio as he talks with world leaders, politicians, scientists and religious figures to better understand the thinking around the climate crisis . Related: Attenborough Effect inspires people to drastically reduce single-use plastics Chasing Coral, 2017 Coral is a barometer for the health of the planet . As a measure of this health, coral is showing that the earth is sick. This documentary follows scientists, divers and photographers underwater, where they investigate the reasons behind the detrimental disappearance of healthy coral around the globe. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, 2014 In a world where many people either deny climate change or talk in generalizations about the causes and solutions, this documentary puts a fine point on the pervasive damage that agriculture has on the planet, connecting it to global warming, water use , deforestation and ocean dead zones. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, 2017 No list of environmental documentaries would be complete without mentioning the climate change film that added fuel to the conversation, An Inconvenient Truth , which features Former American Vice President Al Gore’s efforts to inform and inspire climate policies around the globe. The story continues with An Inconvenient Sequel , following Gore on his environmental campaign, sharing poignant personal and public moments with activists across the planet. The True Cost, 2015 The True Cost exposes another major contributor of pollution, waste and consumption — the fast fashion industry. This is a first-hand account of the human cost of clothing manufacturing, exposing low-wages and poor treatment of workers. It also highlights toxins added to the soil and waterways via plant growth (such as cotton) and throughout the manufacturing process (such as dyes). Director Andrew Morgan connects all of this to the driving force of the media, culture, societal norms and consumerism. Chasing Ice, 2012 This award-winning film pulls together years of time-lapse photography to document the planet’s rapidly melting glaciers . More Than Honey, 2012 In light of mass colony collapse, this documentary seeks to provide a better understanding of the importance of honey bees while looking for answers as to what is causing the decline in bee populations. A Plastic Ocean, 2016 Adventurers Craig Leeson and Tanya Streeter team up with an international team of scientists and researchers to reveal the astonishing amount of plastic waste consuming the ocean and coastlines, endangering animals and polluting the food chain. The images and reporting cover 20 locations over the course of four years. Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, 2014 This film uncovers the nasty truth behind food waste , from farms to retail consumption. The lens follows filmmakers Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer as they vow to sustain themselves for six months without buying groceries, instead relying on food that would otherwise be thrown out. The Story of Stuff, 2007 The Story of Stuff appears to be a playful, 20-minute video that is actually a dart thrown directly into the bullseye of consumerism and capitalism. This powerful animation cuts straight to the point of the damaging effects of manufacturing, material sourcing, convenience and quick disposal of the “stuff” in our lives. Explained, 2018 This docuseries , a Netflix original, highlights a range of topics, many of which pertain to the environment. Look for episodes titled, “The Future of Meat,” and “The World’s Water Crisis” to get started. Tomorrow, 2015 Where many documentaries are fatalistic, Tomorrow aims to focus on the positive. From French filmmakers Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent, Tomorrow is a mostly uplifting journey around the planet, discovering people and communities focused on solutions through agriculture, energy , economy, education and government policy. Tapped, 2009 Plastic is a well-known environmental issue. In Tapped , directors Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Lindsey aim directly at the bottled water industry as a major contributor to the problem. They explore the financial and environmental impact of the industry, including material sources, manufacturing, and post-consumer waste. No Impact Man, 2009 Following the journey of author Colin Beavan, No Impact Man provides a look inside his dedication to going green. The cameras follow Beavan as he disconnects from all modern conveniences including electricity, gas-powered transportation, shipped food and public waste disposal in an effort to experience a life without environment impact. What begins as a journey about minimalism leads to a discovery about happiness, relationships and balance. How to Change the World, 2015 Drawing from archived video from 1971, this film tells the story of the passionate pioneers that founded Greenpeace and somewhat unintentionally gave birth to the green movement. Patrimonio, 2018 It’s happening all over the world — corporations moving into small communities and changing their ways of life. Patrimonio is an example of one community forever driven toward change as a resort and housing development, packaged commercially as a holistic yoga retreat, moves into town. Images via

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16 must-see environmental documentaries

DIY: A Hand-Me-Down Play Table Makeover

May 1, 2019 by  
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DIY-er Dinah Wulf shares one of her favorite trash-to-treasure projects, explaining step-by-step how she upcycled a well-loved (er, worn out) play table from Everyday Blah to Hollywood Chic. The post DIY: A Hand-Me-Down Play Table Makeover…

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DIY: A Hand-Me-Down Play Table Makeover

This sculptural home takes cues from the sloping Hollywood Hills landscape

October 12, 2018 by  
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Tucked inside a quiet and wooded site of Nichols Canyon is the Hollywood Hills House, a sculptural home that boasts cutting-edge green technologies and materials. Los Angeles-based design practice Tighe Architecture crafted the home for a musician and took inspiration from the terrain to form the curvaceous, multi-story dwelling. Spanning an area of 5,200 square feet, the home is faced with an abundance of full-height glazing that creates a seamless connection between the indoors and out. Although the Hollywood Hills House is located less than a 10-minute drive from the bustling Hollywood Boulevard, the home feels a world away in its secluded plot surrounded by mature pines, eucalyptus and indigenous plants . The multifaceted building was optimally placed to make the most of its landscape views and to protect against unwanted solar gain. Set on a solid base of board-formed concrete walls, the home’s upper levels appear to float in comparison because of its curved lines, walls of glass and plastered exterior. The main living areas, kitchen and dining room are located on the first floor and open up to views of the landscape through floor-to-ceiling glass. The master suite and two additional bedrooms can be found on the top floor, while the basement consists of a music studio, laundry room, storage and the garage. A swimming pool has been installed in the backyard. “The floating mass is shaped by the constraints of the site and a series of openings that frame specific views,” the studio noted. Related: Richard Neutra’s mid-century Hailey Residence is an exercise in compact space design The client’s request for a sustainable home directed the adoption of passive solar principles in the design process. The home is optimized for natural ventilation and lighting, yet also includes a solar photovoltaic system and a solar hydronic system for heating water. The existing native landscape has been supplemented with a drought-tolerant native planting plan. + Tighe Architecture Via Dezeen Images by Antonio Follo

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This sculptural home takes cues from the sloping Hollywood Hills landscape

Canadian island invites American immigrants escaping a Donald Trump presidency

August 9, 2016 by  
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“Is this for real? Yes. Is this a joke? No.” Cape Breton Island is serious about taking in American immigrants if Donald Trump wins the presidential election. All political ideologies are accepted on the northeastern Nova Scotia island, and – if Trump does win – may create an opportunity for the coastal region to build their population – instead of a wall. The Cape Breton If Donald Trump Wins website, created by a local DJ, touts all of the finer features of the island, including warm summers, rich cultural diversity, and North America’s first carbon neutral university campus. According to CNN , the “Trump Bump”  surge of interest in the island has resulted in at least one tourism association reporting increases in vacation bookings between 20 and 200 percent. Related: Someone built a tiny wall around Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star “We are experiencing a bit of a population problem at the moment,” says the website. “We need people. We need you!” Cape Breton is about twice as big as Delaware and working to rebuild its coal mining heyday with the tourism industry. What seems to have started as a joke has morphed into a growing economy, thanks to those looking to escape either the 9 to 5 grind or a climate change-denying , immigrant-alienating, narcissistic, talking traffic cone hellbent on initiating the end of days. Via  CNN Images via Flickr , Wikipedia

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Canadian island invites American immigrants escaping a Donald Trump presidency

Stunning corten-clad California home built for efficiency and flexibility

August 1, 2016 by  
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441 Tamalpais sits at the end of a road in a serene hillside location close to hiking trails and nature. The family home enjoys an abundance of natural light thanks to large glazed sliding doors that minimize the need for artificial lighting, and the open-plan layout provides flexibility as the family matures. Related: Terraced Hollywood Hills House Eliminates the Need for Air Conditioning Every room of the terraced home has a strong connection to the surroundings and features a shaded deck made from recycled bamboo flooring. The home is equipped with a 10Kw solar photovoltaic system, which provides energy for a hyper-efficient mini-split heat pump heating and air conditioning, as well as an automatic Heat Recovery Ventilation System (HRV) that operates around the clock. The home was designed to be virtually maintenance free with long-lasting materials that also age beautifully, including the rusty corten steel facade. + Zack De Vito Via Arch Daily Images via  Bruce Damonte

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Stunning corten-clad California home built for efficiency and flexibility

Tesla and SolarCity just agreed on a $2.6 billion merger

August 1, 2016 by  
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Elon Musk announced back in June that Tesla wished to purchase solar power company SolarCity . Now the world is one step closer to the clean energy super company that could result from such a merger. Today in a blog post , Tesla announced the two companies have come to an agreement: a hefty “all-stock transaction with an equity value of $2.6 billion.” With SolarCity’s focus on renewable energy , and Tesla’s focus on storage, Musk apparently believes now is the perfect time to combine the two companies, especially as Tesla aims to grow its Powerwall product. In Elon Musk’s ” Master Plan Part Deux ,” released near the end of July, he said it’s been a goal of his for ten years to offer solar energy, and combining with SolarCity could allow Tesla to achieve that goal. He spoke of a “beautiful solar-roof-with-battery that just works,” and envisioned with a merger the process to transition to clean energy would be simple for a customer: “One ordering experience, one installation, one service contract, one phone app.” Related: Elon Musk aims to build clean energy giant with Tesla’s $2.8 billion bid for SolarCity Musk said, “That [Telsa and SolarCity] are separate at all, despite similar origins and pursuit of the same overarching goal of sustainable energy, is largely an accident of history.” The blog post released by Tesla today announcing the agreement with SolarCity echoes many of those dreams laid out in Musk’s updated master plan. With the combination of two companies, they said, there could be an easy “one-stop solar + storage experience.” SolarCity organized a committee to review the agreement apart from Musk’s influence, reports Reuters. As Musk sits on the board of SolarCity, of which his cousin Lyndon Rive is CEO (another cousin, Peter Rive, also sits on the board), they and many other executives won’t vote on the agreement. Under the agreement, there will be a “go-shop” provision, which means Solar City has 45 days, until September 14, to see if they get a better offer than Tesla’s offer. In the blog post Tesla said they anticipate closing the transaction in 2016’s fourth quarter. Via The Verge Images via SolarCity Facebook and Flickr

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Tesla and SolarCity just agreed on a $2.6 billion merger

Someone built a tiny wall around Trumps Hollywood Walk of Fame star

July 28, 2016 by  
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Someone finally listened to the passionate “build a wall” chants of Donald Trump supporters, but it’s not exactly what the Republican presidential nominee requested. A tiny, six-inch-tall wall was constructed around the billionaire’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week, on the very day his nomination was secured, by a provocative street artist . The artist Plastic Jesus posted a photo to his Instagram account of the sight, saying, “Hollywood sight-seers on the famous walk of fame were confronted with an unusual edition to Trump’s Famous Star.” The teeny, tiny wall is made from concrete and features razor wire, “keep out” signs, and itty bitty American flags. Related: Climate denier Donald Trump’s favorite Florida estate is being swallowed by the sea Along with his plan to build an enormous and expensive wall along the Mexican border – which “ gets 10 feet higher ” when he is confronted with the fact that the Mexican government has no interest in paying for his preposterous proposal – America’s worst nightmare also believes “ there is no drought ” in California and has voiced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the COP21 climate agreement. During the Republican National Convention last week in Cleveland, Donald Trump officially secured the party’s nomination for president of the United States. Via CNN Images via Instagram ( 1 , 2 )

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Someone built a tiny wall around Trumps Hollywood Walk of Fame star

Leonardo DiCaprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s foundations team up to combat climate change

May 27, 2016 by  
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Two organizations backed by Hollywood star power recently announced a partnership to pursue climate action . The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation will give a grant of $650,000 to R20 Regions of Climate Action (R20), started by Arnold Schwarzenegger. According to a statement, the sum will go towards “renewable energy, energy efficiency , and waste management initiatives.” Using the grant, R20 will identify green initiatives to benefit people around the world, construct projects, and then track their impact. R20 works with regional governments to bring about change more quickly than often happens at a national level. They work to identify and help fund community projects such as a solar bakery in Burundi, a waste management program in Algeria, and an LED streetlight program in Brazil. Related: Leonardo DiCaprio delivers passionate speech to the UN on climate change DiCaprio said in a statement, “The Paris Agreement was an important first step for reducing global carbon emissions , but there is more that must be done to accomplish this important goal. Our partnership with R20 is a signal that it is also the responsibility of private organizations to take up the charge of accelerating the adoption of climate-saving technologies, worldwide. We call on others to follow our lead because our planet is quickly running out of time.” The partnership aligns with the goals of the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance started by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon . In the statement Secretary-General Ban said, “Partnerships like this one strengthen the effort to unlock billions of dollars of private investment in projects that will urgently address climate change . I thank them for their commitment to our environment, and to the future of humanity.” The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has been around since 1998, working to combat climate change and conserve nature. R20 is a relatively newer player – in 2010 Arnold Schwarzenegger started the organization which now works with more than 560 ” subnational and local governments ” around the globe. + Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation + R20 Regions of Climate Action Images via Wikimedia Commons and R20 Facebook

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Leonardo DiCaprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s foundations team up to combat climate change

Is That Surface Honestly Clean?

August 17, 2015 by  
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Jessica Alba’s name is most recognized for being synonymous with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Immaculately-styled at blockbuster premieres, acting on the big screen, and rubbing elbows with the biggest and brightest Tinsletown stars, Alba…

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Is That Surface Honestly Clean?

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