A young couple creates a dreamy Scandinavian-inspired yurt home in Oregon

November 11, 2019 by  
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When filmmaker Zach Both decided to hit pause on his itinerant lifestyle after three years on the road in a self-converted camper van, he and his girlfriend, Nicole Lopez, tapped into their DIY roots to assemble their new home — a contemporary yurt 20 minutes outside of downtown Portland, Oregon. Prefabricated by Rainier Outdoor, the couple’s modified yurt offers 930 square feet of light-filled living space furnished to ooze hygge vibes. To share the knowledge they learned during the build, Both created a website, DoItYurtself.com , a free step-by-step guide to show others how to build a modern yurt. Built over the course of six months, the prefabricated Eagle Yurt that Both and Lopez purchased from Rainier Outdoor measures just over 30 feet in diameter with 730 square feet of living space; the couple added a bedroom loft to squeeze in an additional 200 square feet of space. While the exterior of the yurt only took a single weekend to erect with the help of friends and family, finishing the interiors was a much more involved process. As stalwart DIYers, the duo took on all parts of the project from running electrical lines and plumbing to framing the walls and furnishing the greenery-filled contemporary interior. Related: This yurt-inspired modern cabin is a holiday getaway in Slovakia The modern yurt serves as a functional home for the couple and as a home office where Both can work on his filmmaking and writing. At the heart of the circular residence is a service core housing the bathroom with a composting toilet , service equipment and kitchen. This core is wrapped by the living room with a wood-burning stove, dining space and office. The home is hooked up to electricity and draws water from a well. A round bedroom loft is elevated atop the service core and features a circular planter with more than 45 plants. “It’s been incredible to adapt a structure with a history that stretches back thousands of years,” Both said. “It was our attempt at building a modern yurt for the 21st century.” To help others, Both’s online yurt guide offers photos and videos of his entire build process as well as a comprehensive collection of information about American yurt companies on the internet. + Do It Yurtself Photography by Bryan Aulick via Do It Yurtself

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A young couple creates a dreamy Scandinavian-inspired yurt home in Oregon

New e-snowmobiles bring eco tourism to the northern lights

November 11, 2019 by  
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Between Norway and the North Pole is Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago and one of the most rugged and northern inhabited areas. With an average January high of 9 degrees and 24 hours of darkness, you might not expect this to be a tourist hot-spot. But the northern lights are drawing bigger and bigger crowds through Svalbard’s dark winter. The trick is making sure that the roughly 75,000 annual visitors don’t overwhelm the environment and culture of the archipelago’s 2,583 year-round residents. One strategy has been to spread tourism out over the entire year, and a new tactic is using electric snowmobiles to explore the area in a more sustainable way. Off the Map Travel, based in England, specializes in Northern Lights travel. Its “Truly Green Aurora Holiday” package has developed the lowest impact Arctic northern lights adventure yet. The team has harnessed Arctic winds to power e-snowmobiles. Off the Map Travel offers the new activity out of Longyearbyen, the Svalbard town where the majority of the population lives. The company recommends this activity from November to January, when the skies over the islands are almost permanently black. Related: Sleep beneath the northern lights in this unique Iceland bubble “Although the northern lights are a natural phenomenon and are never guaranteed, you need clear, dark skies to optimize your chances to see them,” noted Jonny Cooper, Arctic travel expert and founder of Off the Map Travel. “Svalbard’s dark skies and extended aurora viewing are due to the sun’s being at least six degrees below the horizon. This means it can be dark all day, so the northern lights can appear at any time. In effect, the sun never rises.” In addition to the more eco-friendly nature of the e-snowmobiles, they are also much quieter. Unlike the roar of an average snowmobile , the electric variety allows visitors a peaceful and silent experience. “The quiet engine allows for gentle searching of the northern lights, reindeer , ptarmigans and polar foxes,” Cooper said. “Exploring some of the most uncharted areas of our planet has never been more eco-friendly.” + Off the Map Travel Image via Off the Map Travel

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New e-snowmobiles bring eco tourism to the northern lights

LARQ: the world’s first portable, self-cleaning water bottle

November 11, 2019 by  
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Water is a basic necessity of life; however, water can also introduce our bodies to bacteria and illnesses if it is not properly treated prior to consumption. Over the years, treating water has involved adding iodine drops or filtering the water through a carbon-based system. Now, new technology has streamlined the process, offering effective water filtration at the press of a button with the LARQ water bottle. The LARQ water bottle features the world’s first portable, digital water purification system powered by a rechargeable lithium polymer battery. To ensure reliability, the patented, UV-C LEDs last 40 times longer than conventional, mercury-based UV technology. Batteries should be replaced monthly, depending on the frequency of use. Related: Cove launches the first 100% biodegradable water bottle Developing a nontoxic, chemical-, ozone- and mercury-free system sounds complex, but the idea is quite simple. Starting with UV technology that is already used by hospital staff and backpackers for sterilization, the team at LARQ converted the process into an all-in-one, portable option. Water inside the bottle is processed using a UV light built into the lid. With the touch of a button on the top, the water inside is purified in 60 seconds. For added safety, the LARQ water bottle continues to sterilize up to six times a day automatically. In addition to filtering water, the LARQ also sterilizes the bottle, eliminating bacteria prevalent in other water bottles without the hassle of trying to clean those tight necks and narrow vessels. Of course, you can also keep other liquids in your LARQ bottle, which keeps iced beverages cold for 24 hours and hot beverages warm for 12 hours. While the LARQ is an option for providing a healthy water supply, it is also a sustainable choice, replacing single-use water bottles that are problematic for the planet. Plus, it is BPA-free and made with stainless steel for durability. There are also no wasteful filters to replace. The newest collection, LARQ Bottle Movement, was developed with athletes and travelers in mind. The addition of a premium, food-grade silicone grip will prevent slips and keep you hydrated while hiking , playing tennis or kayaking. + LARQ Images via LARQ

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LARQ: the world’s first portable, self-cleaning water bottle

Green-roofed addition brings a mid-century home into the 21st century

November 11, 2019 by  
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There are few things we love more than witnessing the transformation of something old into something new — and sustainable. Washington, D.C.-based firm KUBE architecture has just unveiled the beautiful renovation of a 1950s home , called the Dual Modern Home, that includes a new addition with expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass and a lush green roof. Although the architects breathed new life into the home, they had a great structure to work with from the get-go. The mid-century home, which was designed by American architect Charles Goodman, had plenty of character and style to begin with. A one-story, elongated design, the original structure was built with glass walls that flooded the living space with plenty of natural light . Related: Stunning green-roofed home in Poland is embedded into the idyllic landscape To update the home , the design team came up with a new addition that stretches half a level up the natural slope of the site. Connected to the existing house with a courtyard, the addition houses a new living area, office and children’s playroom as well as two full bathrooms and a laundry room. To create a cohesive connection to the original home, the new addition follows the same basic features of the existing design, including multiple walls of floor-to-ceiling glass panels. The structure is topped with a split pitched roof that gives the space a modern aesthetic. Stretching from the old space and over the extension is a lush green roof , which also helps to connect the entire home with its natural surroundings. The new addition adds flexibility to the home. Sliding walls allow for a change of layout in the future, and a separate entrance was installed to allow the residents to turn the addition into a fully autonomous guest suite. + KUBE Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography by Anice Hoachlander and Julia Heine via KUBE Architecture

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Green-roofed addition brings a mid-century home into the 21st century

The Ocean Cleanup reveals the Interceptor to remove plastic pollution from rivers

October 29, 2019 by  
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After recently announcing its first success at collecting plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch , The Ocean Cleanup team is widening efforts by addressing the main entry point of litter — rivers. To tackle the 1,000 rivers responsible for about 80 percent of global ocean plastic pollution, the nonprofit has deployed a new invention, the Interceptor. The Interceptor catches and collects plastic junk, preventing its flow from rivers into oceans. “To truly rid the oceans of plastic, what we need to do is two things. One, we need to clean up the legacy pollution , the stuff that has been accumulating for decades and doesn’t go away by itself. But, two, we need to close the tap, which means preventing more plastic from reaching the oceans in the first place,” shared Boyan Slat, CEO and founder of The Ocean Cleanup. “Rivers are the arteries that carry the trash from land to sea.” Related: The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch Development of the Interceptor began in 2015. As the company’s first scalable solution to stop the river rush of plastic entering oceans, the device is shaped like a catamaran and houses an anchor, conveyor belt, barge and dumpsters. It operates autonomously and can extract 50,000 kilograms of trash per day before needing to be emptied. The Interceptor is 100 percent solar-powered and operates 24/7 without noise or exhaust fumes. It is positioned where it does not interfere with vessel traffic nor harm the safety and movement of wildlife. How does it work? The Interceptor is anchored to the riverbed at the mouth of a river flowing to the ocean. With an on-board computer connected to the internet, it continually monitors performance, energy usage and component health. Guided by the Interceptor’s barrier, plastic waste flowing downstream is directed into the device’s aperture, where a conveyor belt delivers the debris to the shuttle. The shuttle then distributes the refuse across six dumpsters that are equally filled to capacity via sensor data. When capacity is almost full, the Interceptor automatically sends a text message alert to local operators to remove the barge and empty the dumpsters. The plastic pollution will be transported to local waste management facilities, and the barge will be returned to the Interceptor for another cycle. To date, three Interceptors are already operational in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. The Dominican Republic will receive the next Interceptor in the pipeline, while other countries are on the waitlist. In the United States, Los Angeles is finalizing agreements for an Interceptor of its own in the near future. A single Interceptor is currently priced at 700,000 euros (about $777,000). As production increases, Slat has said the cost will drop over time. Of course, the benefits of removing plastic far outweigh the cost of creating the devices. Slat explained, “Deploying Interceptors is even cheaper than deploying nothing at all.” + The Ocean Cleanup Image via The Ocean Cleanup

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The Ocean Cleanup reveals the Interceptor to remove plastic pollution from rivers

Millenials are bringing camping back

July 15, 2019 by  
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Let’s get one thing straight: camping was always cool. It wasn’t, however, always a very popular pastime among young people. According to the 2019 North American Camping Report, sponsored by Kampgrounds of America, there are more millennials and Gen Xers likely to identify themselves as lifelong campers now than in any other year. The study, which began in 2014, was conducted through surveys in both the United States and Canada.  The percentage of North Americans who camp three or more times per year has increased by 72 percent since 2014, adding 7 million more camping households (families with children under 18 years-old who camp) to the Canadian and American campgrounds. Younger campers are also helping to increase the popularity of hiking and backpacking while they camp, according to the report. Related: Seven commandments of Leave-No-Trace Camping While the majority of campers choose the traditional approach of camping (sleeping in tents), there are more millennials choosing to camp in cabins and RVs instead, with 14 percent using cabins in 2016 and 21 percent in 2018 to be exact. The study also found that campers are more diverse than ever. Of the 1.4 million households that went camping for the first time in 2018, 56 percent were millennials and 51 percent identified as nonwhite. For the first time since 2014 (when the study began), the percentage of non-white first-time campers outpaced the percentage of new campers who identified as Caucasian. When it comes to trendy “glamping,” all age groups are showing interest. Particularly in millennials, 50 percent of which said they were interested in glamping in 2018 versus the 25 percent who said they wanted to try it in 2017. Glamping refers to unique camping accommodations that often includes enhanced services like luxury yurts, king-sized beds, spas and even private chefs. Some glamping companies have been praised for providing an eco-friendly alternative to traditional hotel or resort accommodations. Many take advantage of locally-sourced food, composting toilets and solar power to give their guests opportunities to connect with nature while still having access to the creature comforts they’re used to. The same goes for “van life,” a camping lifestyle that uses altered camper vans, or motorized class B vehicles, as opposed to RV’s or tents. The main objective is often to go off the grid and easily move from place to place without having to disassemble a tent or find an electrical power source for your RV. The number of millennials who wanted to experience van life shifted up by about 4 percent between 2017 and 2018. Those who live the van life trade modern comforts and space for a chance to get as close to nature as possible while living a minimalist lifestyle.   So why the spike in camping interest? 30 percent of millennials say that major life events such as having kids is impacting their desire to camp more, while another 30 percent said that the ability to see other people traveling and exploring popular destinations (thank you, social media) made them want to spend more time camping. Even more encouraging, half of all campers said that the “love of the outdoors” first sparked their interest in camping, meaning that more camp-loving North Americans are beginning to value nature even more than before— a good sign for our national parks , and the planet as a whole. One out of every 20 camping families said that 2018 was the first time they’d ever camped. 2018 also saw the highest number of self-identified lifelong campers ever recorded, with more millennials identifying themselves as lifelong campers than in past years. As studies have shown, spending as little as two hours in nature can improve mental health, and camping offers the opportunity to connect with nature with the added benefits of unplugging from the internet and electronic devices. Additionally, activities such as hiking which often accompany camping provide good exercise , even setting up your tent and site counts! Since the study began in 2014, the amount of North Americans who intend to camp more has almost doubled. The groups who were most optimistic about their camping future were families and millennials, as 61 percent of millennials said that they planned to camp more in 2019. There’s no denying it, the future of camping looks bright. So if you were in one of those families growing up that had an annual camping trip, consider yourself lucky. You’re already ahead of the pack! Via Matador Network , Curbed Images via Xue Guangjian , Kun Fotografi , Rawpixel.com , Cliford Mervil , Snapwire

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Millenials are bringing camping back

Is It Time to Replace Your Router?

July 3, 2019 by  
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Have you been having issues with your Wi-Fi? If so, … The post Is It Time to Replace Your Router? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Is It Time to Replace Your Router?

We Earthlings: Precycling Is Thinking Before You Buy!

July 3, 2019 by  
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What connects us all? Nature and our shared relationships through … The post We Earthlings: Precycling Is Thinking Before You Buy! appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Maven Moment: Volunteering at the Community Garden

July 3, 2019 by  
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Many years ago, my aunts belonged to “Friends of the … The post Maven Moment: Volunteering at the Community Garden appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Maven Moment: Volunteering at the Community Garden

Analysis of Wikipedia searches reveals high wildlife conservation trends

March 26, 2019 by  
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A recent study analyzed billions of Wikipedia searches and found that the public’s interest in plants and animal species is often linked to the seasonality and migration patterns of wildlife. The findings contribute to a body of research that uses internet search data to understand and gauge the public’s interest in environmental topics. Researchers believe this information can ultimately help guide more effective wildlife conservation campaigns. The study: Wikipedia searches and species The study, led by John Mittermeier, an ornithology student at the University of Oxford, was published on March 5 in the  PLOS Biology journal. It analyzed 2.3 billion Wikipedia page views of 32,000 different species. The authors examined pages across 245 different languages over a span of three years. The study’s most pertinent finding shows that over a fourth of all page views were linked to the seasonality of the searched-for species . The authors concluded that this means that people are paying attention to the plants and animals around them, despite the widening disconnect between people and nature. According to Mittermeier, each page could count as a human-wildlife interaction, “if you count a click as an interaction”. Although “clicks” are debatable as an interaction, it is true that people are increasingly disconnected with nature in many parts of the urbanized world. The study’s authors are hopeful that this knowledge of seasonal interest can turn into support for wildlife conservation . Related: IKEA teams up with London artists to upcycle old furniture into funky abodes for birds, bees, ?and bats Searches and Seasonality The study found that searches for particular species peaked during certain seasons or times of migration . For example, searches for Baltimore Orioles were higher in the Spring when the birds migrate to breeding grounds. Searches for flowering plants were also higher during times when flowers were in bloom, whereas searches for evergreen plants like pine trees had no correlation to season. “The results of this study…encouragingly suggest that humans remain attuned to the seasonal dynamics of the natural world,” Mittermeier explained. The authors also noted cultural trends in the searches. For example, searches for Great White Sharks rose during the Discovery Chanel’s Shark Week. Mittermeier and the co-authors believe the study will help explain important questions, such as “how is the world changing, for which species is it changing the most and where are the people who care the most and can do the most to help?” Similar internet-search studies There are a number of other studies that have examined the ties between internet searches and environmental topics. In fact, this body of research is part of an emerging field called “conservation culturomics,” which uses digital trend data to understand public support for and interest in the environment. One similar study examined Google searches on environmental topics since 2004, particularly testing linkages between ‘conservation’ and ‘ climate change ‘ and the competition between those two searches within the public’s “limited bandwidth” for environmental topics. Although the authors originally believed climate change would overpower conservation and biodiversity searches,  findings reveal that both topics are closely linked and that searches for the two were about equal. Remarkably, the data also revealed a drastic increase in interest in conservation and climate change among populations in India, Nepal, and Eastern and Southern African countries. Another study suggests that spikes in wildlife conservation searches occur around the publication of news articles on similar topics, however, such peaks are not associated with the publication of research studies. This discovery shows the critical importance of the media for conservation and climate change awareness and suggests that conservation organizations should look to strengthen partnerships with journalists and media channels as complementary to their investments in scientific research. Still, different  study on internet searches for endangered wildlife species revealed that the general public is far too focused on endangered mammals, while equally important and threatened fish and reptiles receive little attention and therefore very few searches. Again, this study concluded that more media attention must be given to lesser-known and often less-charismatic species in order to peak public support for their protection. All of the studies’ authors are quick to point out that though the use of internet searches is a great and inexpensive way to read the pulse of the general public and understand their curiosities; interest does not equate to support, and conservation organizations must use the new information to turn curiosities into financial and political action. Via Monga Bay Image via Dave_E

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Analysis of Wikipedia searches reveals high wildlife conservation trends

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