10 world landmarks would look if air pollution worsens

May 10, 2022 by  
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Housefresh completed a study that looks at the visual impact of worsening air pollution on the world’s top 10 landmarks. They warn us if we don’t reduce air pollution, we might lose some of the most beautiful places on Earth. From St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to the Eiffel Tower , here’s how the world’s destinations with the most incredible views will suffer if air pollution continues to increase. “We curated a list of the most beautiful city views around the world, pulling examples from articles from Insider, RTE and The Times,” Housefresh said. “The air pollution levels for each city with regards to PM2.5 concentration were sourced from  IQAir .” Related: Air pollution now directly affects 99% of the world The side-by-side images show how current views from each city will look if pollution levels reach that of Ghaziabad, India , the second most polluted city in the world, according to IQAir. At the time the study was collecting its data, Ghaziabad had a PM 2.5 level 18.2 times higher than the WHO annual air quality guidelines value, with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 169. A good rating falls between 0-50 AQI. Data was collected in February 2022. Furthermore, Housefresh chose Ghaziabad because Hotan, China , the world’s most air polluted city, has the worst air mostly because of dust storms rather than man-made pollution. Housefresh took the images of these popular destinations and replicated visibility levels from Ghaziabad by sourcing images that “convey the smog levels experienced in Ghaziabad.” So, can we prevent the world from continuing down the road of the world’s most polluted places? “Ultimately, the effects of air pollution on our beloved views may be a gift in disguise,” the founders of the study said. “Poor air quality tends to go unnoticed day to day, and it takes events such as Beijing’s orange skies — or the unusually blue skies of lockdown life — to draw attention to the air we breathe.” By making this problem visible, Housefresh hopes to contribute to the conversation about how air quality directly impacts our health and quality of life. Seven million people die each year from air pollution related causes. And this is worsening with wildfires in the western U.S. and the Amazon. The World Health Organization recently reduced maximum safe levels of air pollution, reporting that polluted air is more dangerous than previously thought, and suggested that “almost 80% of deaths related to PM 2.5 could be avoided in the world if the current air pollution levels were reduced to those proposed in the updated guideline.” + Housefresh Images via Housefresh

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10 world landmarks would look if air pollution worsens

Rice Love gives rice to families in need with each purchase

April 22, 2022 by  
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Rice Love strives to help end world hunger, increase education about poverty and recycle readily-available materials into beautiful and usable statement pieces.  Rice Love makes bags , backpacks, clothing and accessories. For each purchase, the company delivers one kilo (2.2 pounds) of rice to a family in India, the primary food in the country.  Related: This backpack is made from locally sourced cork and recycled materials The company was born out of a passion to do good for people and the environment . Founders Coney and Corbin came from strikingly different backgrounds, yet found a common desire after meeting in 2013. Coney was born into an extremely poor family in an area of India with few opportunities. After his father managed to send him to America for school, Coney felt an unquestionable draw to help his native countrymen upon his return to India.  On the other hand, Corbin was born in California . After some travel and work with the poor in South America, he ended up in Hawaii. From his home on the islands, he is passionate about helping those less fortunate. Now living in separate parts of the world, Coney and Corbin run their business on a global level. Meanwhile, each purchase provides a positive impact for families and workers in India.  Furthermore, the company organizes trips that include tours of India. There is an opportunity to meet the families and deliver the rice personally. Even without catching a flight, customers can connect with the families who benefit from their purchase. Each bag is adorned with an identifying tag. Thereby, customers enter the tag number on the website to see pictures and find out more about the family who received the rice. Providing this staple allows families in India to divert money away from food for things like medical care or education. In addition, Rice Love prioritizes Fair Trade material selections and employee treatment. For the bags, they buy burlap rice bags locally from India. The material is then recycled into unique handmade bags, each different from the next. The bags in the Recycled Collection are made from plant-based fibers, biodegradable and eco-friendly. “We have given over 50,000 kilos of rice,” Rice Love said. “There are an equal number of wanderers wearing our bags and sharing our story around the world . Our goal is to give 1 million kilos of rice by the end of 2024. We invite you to join the movement. Buy a bag. Feed a family.” + Rice Love  Images via Rice Love

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Rice Love gives rice to families in need with each purchase

These beautiful textiles are an earthy breath of fresh air

April 8, 2022 by  
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KUFRI hand weaves and hand prints textiles with earthy hues and a sustainable story. The KUFRI mission is to champion the craft of handloom weaving. They pass on a traditional art and culture that provides employment to women and aging weavers. The brand also promotes a conscious, beautiful life at home through these domestic products. KUFRI textiles are made into wallpapers, pillows and furniture upholstery. It’s a breath of fresh air in a market saturated with bright colors and plastic-based fabrics . All KUFRI products are designed in Dallas by first-generation immigrant Mili Suleman, founder and creative director of the company, then hand woven and hand dyed in India by skilled artisans. Related: With California Design Den bedding your conscience can rest easy Furthermore, hand weaving is done on traditional wooden looms. It starts by having the threads dyed in small batches by hand. Then, they are all washed by hand the traditional way. Some fabrics are printed by wood block print with dyes while others are woven from thread dyed in traditional methods. You can see more about the process and the people behind the company in this video by KUFRI . Suleman wanted to preserve the art of weaving in India by presenting it in a new way to the world. That is the product she has come up with: unique, raw, peaceful prints and designs that go with pretty much any décor. “To me, a home ought to bring deep comforts, and that begins with natural, imperfectly perfect textures that feel beautiful,” Suleman said. “Using my textiles for upholstery, pillows , bedding and kitchen will allow you to indulge in and enjoy the simpler pleasures of a wabi-sabi life.” Therefore, KUFRI’s weaving method is extremely low in energy consumption . It requires no electricity, modern machines, computers — really anything but human labor and the facilities to house the looms. The company also makes upholstered accessory furniture such as benches, with a unique modern Indian flare. The brand works to bring together local designers for round tables on social impact, heritage and commerce. + KUFRI Images via KUFRI

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These beautiful textiles are an earthy breath of fresh air

Recycled nylon clothing from prAna keeps you comfortable

April 8, 2022 by  
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PrAna is a clothing company deeply committed to the  environment  and ensuring safe and fair working conditions. Its newest release in the ReZion collection is a story of the company’s continued progression toward comfortable and Earth-friendly recycled nylon clothing. Released in January, the ReZion line is a new version of an old favorite that relies on Stretch Zion fabric. The ReZion collection gives that original lineup a sustainability boost with eco-friendly recycled nylon stretch performance fabric. Rather than using virgin materials that further tax the planet, the ReZion line incorporates nylon from sources like carpets and fishing lines into the mix. As a lab-made and synthetic material, nylon takes painfully long to break down in the landfill. By diverting these materials from the landfill and recycling them into something durable and comfortable, prAna short-circuits fast fashion and reduces  waste  at the same time.  In addition to conscientious material selection, the ReZion collection includes thoughtful design elements like dual-entry zipper-secured cargo pockets, mesh-lined pockets, security pockets, adjustable waistbands, ventilated inseams and reinforced back pockets. ReZion pants and shorts come in an assortment of colors, fits and lengths. The collection includes the Men’s Stretch Zion II pant, which comes in a regular or slim cut. The Men’s Stretch Zion II Shorts come in three inseam lengths and eight color options. Similarly, the Men’s Brion II lineup comes in two-leg cuts and a shorts option. The Women’s Halle II pants are available in regular or straight leg, and the Women’s Halle II Shorts offer two lengths and four color options. There are also plus-size options. The Halle Jogger II comes in four color selections and a wide range of sizes.  All products in the ReZion line offer UPF 50+ protection and are treated with a durable, PFAS-free  water  repellent. The collection is made from bluesign® approved materials, which ensures no harmful substances are used at any point in the supply chain. It also certifies that textiles are safe for the environment, workers and customers.  PrAna takes pride in advocating for corporate responsibility regarding environmental protection. For the past 12 years, the company has been committed to cleaning up its packaging and eliminating plastic. To this end, it relies on roll-packing clothing secured with  natural materials  like raffia ties. Some products are packed in Vela FSC-certified paper bags when packaging can’t be avoided. PrAna also relies on recycled paper for all clothing tags, and they are attached using organic cotton string or cotton thread instead of plastic. The company even uses recyclable paper tape to seal orders. All shipments are sent in recycled content kraft paper mailers or corrugated boxes. Packaging is just one area where prAna puts effort into analyzing the most responsible choices along the supply chain. It also abides by the 5 Freedoms Act for humane treatment of  animals , which is why it doesn’t use alpaca, angora, conventional silk, conventional cashmere, mohair, rabbit or yak. PrAna also works with the Renewal Workshop, a repair shop for clothing that allows textiles to stay in circulation longer rather than being treated as waste. Additionally, as a founding member of the OIA Climate Action Corps, prAna has set emission -reduction goals and monitors its progress toward that goal annually.  Product review of the women’s Halle Short II  With some prior exposure to prAna products, when they offered to send a sample pair of shorts, I enthusiastically accepted. In fairness, I probably came in with a bias because I own a few second-hand prAna products already and appreciate the quality and feel of these pre-loved items.  I received the Halle Short II quickly, and as promised, all packaging was  plastic-free . The recycled paper tag proudly highlights the company’s sustainability movement and pledge to provide a refund or exchange if not completely satisfied with the product. Vegetable-based ink is used on the tag, and it was attached over a belt loop without the need for plastic or metal pins. The tag also carries a sticker advertising that the product was made in a Fair Trade Certified factory.  The Halle Short II I received is the 7-inch inseam length in the Shoreline bluish-green color. Honestly, I’ll need a little help from my fashionista daughter to find the best top to match this color, but it is a wonderful break from my standard black, navy, or taupe options. I also find the Earthbound and Camo options fun and representative of the brand.  The shorts themselves are incredibly flexible and comfortable. If I were a rock climber, these would provide the range of motion needed. As it is, I look forward to wearing them while backpacking this summer since they don’t ride up or dig in anywhere. The length is also great, so I don’t have to worry about coverage. Seams, button attachment and zipper quality all rank high. The front pockets are generous and mesh-lined. The back pockets snap for secure storage if needed. The material is lightweight and breathable but feels durable at the same time. In “short,” I’m extremely happy with these shorts. Happy hiking! + prAna Images via prAna and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat

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Recycled nylon clothing from prAna keeps you comfortable

Tom Ford plastic alternatives contest awards its 8 winners

April 1, 2022 by  
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The finalists in the world’s only global competition focused exclusively on creating scalable and biologically degradable thin-film  plastic  alternatives were announced this week. The eight finalists bring perspectives and innovations from four continents. The  Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize  is a partnership between American fashion designer and film director Tom Ford and the nonprofit  Lonely Whale , whose mission is to keep plastic  waste  out of the ocean. The competition offers more than $1.2 million in prize money, plus support to get the innovations on the market. Related: Tom Ford launches new plastic film alternative competition “What we accomplish together through this competition will catalyze global change across continents, countries and industries, which is urgently needed to address plastic  pollution ,” Ford said in a statement. Meet the plastic alternatives finalists From  Kenya ,  Lwanda Biotech  addresses both agricultural waste and community-level plastic pollution with packaging alternatives. Zerocircle  is based in India, where it cultivates seaweed to make packaging that’s safe for wildlife and the ocean. Icelandic start-up  Marea   is looking toward algae to make biodegradable alternatives to thin-film plastic. The  U.K.  has three finalists. Sustainable biotech company  Kelpi , based in Bath, is also working with seaweed, as is London-based  Notpla . A spinout from the University of Cambridge,  Xampla   is turning pea and other plant proteins into plastic alternatives. The two North American finalists are  Canadian  biotech firm  Genecis , which is reprogramming and upcycling bacteria from low-value organic waste, and  Sway , an American company that is also in camp seaweed. Judges chose finalists from 64 applications representing 26 countries and six continents. The talented eight finalists will now spend a year in  material  testing. They will need to demonstrate that their plastic alternatives are biologically degradable, meet industry standards and have minimal adverse environmental and social impacts. They also must be scalable and cost-competitive. What’s the connection between  fashion  and thin-film plastic? Every year, the fashion industry uses about 180 billion thin-film plastic polybags. Thin-film plastic accounts for an estimated 46% of new plastic entering the ocean annually. “The ambition of this Prize is unparalleled, and is poised to claim the largest commercial shift away from non-recyclable thin-film plastic,” said Dune Ives, CEO of Lonely Whale. “We’ve long believed that the solutions to the plastic waste crisis exist, and by working together we can ensure a future free from plastic in the  ocean .” Via Plastic Prize Lead image via Pexels Additional images courtesy of Kelpi, Notpla, Sway, Lwanda Biotech, Xampla and Zerocircle

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Tom Ford plastic alternatives contest awards its 8 winners

Victorian home in Canada offers beautiful urban views

April 1, 2022 by  
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In a heritage district in Toronto, Canada , two houses sit side by side to tell a story of Victorian design, modern construction and historical relevance.  Dubbed the Robert Street Residences, the two homes were designed by Taylor Smyth Architects. However, their completion dates are ten years apart, with the first in 2011 and the second in 2021.  Related: Green-roofed campus brings a sustainable social nexus to Toronto Thus, the homes in the area are overseen by Heritage Preservation Services. The original structures took the style of 1960s bungalows rather than the typically-mandated traditional style. Client and lead architect Michael Taylor decided to give the buildings a launch into the 21st century. As a result, contemporary architecture mirrors the Victorian vernacular of the surrounding buildings, rather than replicating the original misguided architecture.  To this end, each house features a vertical gable and front porch. The second-story windows are framed in metal. Garages were designed to be disguised. The design called for cladding the lower level garage doors, walls, front doors and soffits of the porch with the same material. The engineered siding looks like wood , but offers a durable, maintenance-free lifespan.  Furthermore, the client acted as general contractor and interior designer. With the first house wrapped up, the team used lessons learned to make the second home even more energy efficient . As a result, the second of the Robert Street Residences feature in-floor radiant heating. This provides significant energy savings during the winter months. A tight envelope and extensive insulation further complement these savings.  Additionally, materials were minimized. This is seen with the just-big-enough driveway made from permeable pavers to maximize natural water absorption. For natural lighting , both houses are organized around a central skylight atrium. In order to maximize passive heat gains in the winter and provide shade in the summer, each features custom canopies above the terraces. The interior design features an open, flowing design. There is lightly-colored natural materials that align with the goals of creating a connection to the outdoors while highlighting craftsmanship through quality material selection.  + Taylor Smyth Architects Images via Tom Arban Photography Inc.

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Victorian home in Canada offers beautiful urban views

With California Design Den bedding your conscience can rest easy

January 27, 2022 by  
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In our ever-consuming world, sometimes we fail to pause and evaluate the impact of everyday necessities like linens. But textiles are a massive contributor to landfill  waste  and water pollution, so it’s important to consider the bedding you buy.  Proudly Californian brand California Design Den produces a line of bedding that will allow you (and your conscience) to sleep well at night. The lineup of sheets, duvets, towels, mattress covers, blankets and more is developed with sustainability in mind. Related: Modern Dane offers sustainable bedding for peace of mind while you sleep Sheet sets and individual flat or fitted sheets are made from non-toxic and chemical-free  natural materials  such as cotton and bamboo. To ensure a healthy and safe product, materials are independently tested to verify Standard 100 Oeko-Tex certification. This certification means they are free of over 300 commonly-found chemicals. The organic cotton is also GOTS certified. Since the bedding uses all-natural materials, they are even biodegradable at the end of their usable life. However, the goal is to keep them out of landfills as long as possible with a durable, quality design. Each product is crafted in a green-certified facility in India by experienced artisans.  The bedding is designed at the headquarters in California, a state widely known for its dedication to the  environment . The items are then produced in India and packaged in zero-plastic, paper-based boxes for shipment. The plant-based product and packaging materials mean California Design Den bedding doesn’t contribute to water pollution. “At California Design Den, ensuring our brand is sustainable and eco-friendly is our main priority,” said Deepak Mehrotra, Founder of California Design Den. “From production to packaging, we always want to ensure that what we’re putting out into the world is doing more good than harm. This is why we use natural fibers to produce our bedding, rather than microfiber which is known to cause  pollution . Our non-toxic and chemical-free biodegradable bedding is sourced from the highest-quality, earth-grown materials and crafted by skilled artisans in our certified green facility. Our packaging is also biodegradable and contains zero plastics to help prevent polluted waterways and oceans.” + California Design Den Images via California Design Den

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With California Design Den bedding your conscience can rest easy

Canton Avenue harkens back to the Silk Road of China

January 21, 2022 by  
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The Canton Avenue by MOK Design for the Westin Pazhou Hotel in Guangzhou is a walk back in time, revisiting the days when the hotel was a stop on the historic Silk Road of China . The Westin Pazhou Hotel Guangzhou was jointly built by China Foreign Trade Center (Group) and Starwood Hotels and Resorts International Group. It is located in the center of the Guangzhou International Convention & Exhibition Center, with views of the city and the Pearl River. Entering in, the exhibition halls of the Canton Avenue can be reached through a sky corridor from the hotel directly. There are also a series of sunrooms and green space installations inside the hotel has integrated the renovated building into the surrounding landscape. Related: Grass-roofed arches and planted terraces bring nature into this modern bazaar in India A unique green lawn built into the lobby of the hotel brings daylight and air circulation indoors. There are also multiple floor and wall plantings that freshen the timeless design of the space. Central to the lobby is Canton Bazaar, an all-day garden restaurant and lobby bar combined with an outdoor sunroom. Decorated with mosaics and terrazzo floor, the sunroom was designed to combine a traditional and modern style. The space can accommodate up to 107 people for dining. Food in the Canton Bazaar follows a Cantonese food market theme. There are fresh ingredients reminiscent of the Canton Fair, the historical Maritime Silk Road, and the Lingnan culture of the Guangdong region. Most notable about the redesign is the use of green plants throughout, including the lobby and restaurant . The MOK Design team focused on both green spaces to create a healthy indoor environment and an update of the style to create a modern sleek take on the Silk Road. Details feature elements of porcelain, bronze and Cantonese embroidery. A hotel mosaic mural featuring ships sailing to port from around the world was originally created by contemporary artist Ms. Zhang Haiyan. She drew the manuscript of this mosaic mural with colored lead along with designer Li Yanfang. The manuscript was sent to an Italian mosaic factory to be used in the making of the wall mural. The main elements of the screen include: the Zhenhai Tower, bombax ceiba cotton-tree flowers, the harbor, Guangzhou Tower, merchant ships, seagulls and cloud patterns. It brings to mind the international sea trade that historically made this city a successful port. The hotel uses a neutral color palette and judicious use of quality ornamentation to evoke tranquility toward its visitors. There is thoughtful use of glass screens, greenery, marble and light and dark brown tones to balance the space. + MOK Design Photography by Zhang Jing and Weng Xiaodong

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Canton Avenue harkens back to the Silk Road of China

Green roofs top Marmormolen’s sustainable timber architecture

January 17, 2022 by  
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The timber design for Copenhagen’s upcoming large commercial building Marmormolen shows sustainable architecture leadership from designers Henning Larson and Ramboll. Lush with green roofs , a waterfront garden and more, the project shows what a commercial building can be to a community. Marmormolen, which will break ground in 2022 and open in 2024, was created to be a combination retail, office and public programming space. It will be one of the largest contemporary wood structures in Denmark . The building integrates into the innovative district of the Nordhavn waterfront, which has replaced a traditionally industrial neighborhood with a residential and tech district complete with self-driving bus test routes and recycled brick buildings. Related: University under a hill in India has a green roof Marmormolen features an open green plaza out front to welcome visitors and includes lush rooftop gardens and promenades. The building blends seamlessly with the waterfront via a park that extends to the water. Marmormolen measures 28,000 square meters with eight stories and is primarily being built for the AP Pension company. “Today, it is imperative that architecture challenges our usual notion of structures and materials,” said Soren Ollgaard, Partner and Design Director at Henning Larsen. “The construction industry is a major emitter of CO2, and we therefore also have great opportunities to make things better.” Henning Larsen is collaborating with AP Pension to prioritize the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals in creating the building. Green urban space surrounds Marmormolen on three sides. The building has a full height of eight stories on the street side where train tracks cross, stepping down to three stories toward housing on the opposite side. This is possible because the building is built of cubes with individual rooftops featuring terraces, gardens, butterfly houses and beehives. The rooftop can even produce vegetables for the cafeteria. “Workplaces used to be very interior and exclusive, but people today want to feel they are a part of a more diverse community and open up to their surroundings. With Marmormolen we want to create more than a great office building, we also want it to give something back to the city and makes the building come alive – even outside office hours,” said Mikkel Eskildsen, Associate Design Director and Lead Design Architect on the project. The ground floor will house an auditorium, various markets and public meeting spaces. On upper, more private levels, workplaces enjoy views of the city skyline and the sea. A large courtyard tops the center of the building with planted gardens. + Henning Larsen and Ramboll Images via Henning Larsen and Ramboll

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Green roofs top Marmormolen’s sustainable timber architecture

The smart, simple way ecoducts help animals survive

December 30, 2021 by  
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The Swedish Transport Administration recently announced the completion of an  ecoduct over the E6 in Skåne  in southern Sweden. The animal crossing path is the agency’s third in the country. In January, Sweden announced plans to set up several reindeer crossings to help the animals cross the dense network of roads. These bridges and underpasses, also called ecoducts, are being established globally to help animals thrive in regions with dense road networks. United States President Joe Biden has already allocated $350 million of his $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan to building wildlife crossings.  Related: A radical plan for livestock is coming to The Netherlands  In southern California , plans are underway to begin the construction of the world’s largest wildlife crossing bridge in 2022. The bridge will help isolated mountain lions cross thick road networks in the state. These structures will help reduce the high rate of wildlife collisions across the U.S. It is estimated that  about 1 to 2 million crashes  between cars and large wild animals, such as deer, occur every year. These result in over 26,000 injuries, 200 human deaths, and huge losses in terms of property damage and wildlife deaths. The crashes contribute to a reduction in animal populations, including endangered species. “Ten years ago, wildlife bridges were experimental. We didn’t know whether they would work or not. Now they’ve shown they get huge reductions in collisions. In some cases, 85% to 99% reductions,” said Rob Ament, a road ecology expert at Montana State University. “You can design them for many species. Even out in the plains, we’re getting moose crossings in North Dakota.” Today, wildlife bridges are found nearly everywhere in the world. There are organized animal crossing structures on all continents, and more are coming soon. Notable structures globally include the elephant crossing underpass near Mount Kenya in Kenya and The Alligator Alley in Florida, which helps alligators, deer and the endangered Florida panther cross the roads across the Everglades. Other wildlife crossings include the “tunnel of love” in Australia and India’s tiger corridor. All these ecoduct projects provide safe passage for diverse animal species. In Costa Rica, canopy bridges made of thick ropes help sloths and monkeys cross the roads and avoid attacks from dogs. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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The smart, simple way ecoducts help animals survive

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