Iceland will unveil monument for the first glacier lost to climate change

July 24, 2019 by  
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Scientists and local Icelanders will unveil a monument next month that memorializes the first glacier out of the country’s 400 glaciers to be lost to climate change. The Okjokull glacier, nicknamed “Ok”, no longer qualifies as a glacier, given that it is melting at a faster rate than it can expand. When this happens, glaciers become known as “dead ice”. Scientists in Iceland and Texas’ Rice University believe that this will be the fate of all Icelandic glaciers by year 2200— unless the world takes drastic action to curb climate change . “By marking Ok’s passing, we hope to draw attention to what is being lost as Earth’s glaciers expire. These bodies of ice are the largest freshwater reserves on the planet and frozen within them are histories of the atmosphere. They are also often important cultural forms that are full of significance,” said Cymene Howe, a professor at Rice University. Related:Earliest human air pollution detected in glaciers The unveiling celebration will be held on August 18 and attended by scientists, locals, media and Hiking Society members. Just 100 years ago, the glacier covered nearly six square miles and was over 150 feet thick. The plaque, located at a site where the glacier once covered, will read: “Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.” The plaque is in both Icelandic and English. The plaque also monumentalizes the current count of carbon parts per million in the atmosphere, which reaches a record breaking 415 parts per million in May. “An Icelandic colleague said: ‘Memorials are not for the dead; they are for the living,’” Howe said. “We want to underscore that it is up to us, the living, to respond to the rapid loss of glaciers and the ongoing impacts of climate change. For Ok glacier it is already too late.” The Guardian Image via RICE University

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Iceland will unveil monument for the first glacier lost to climate change

Mysterious Black Villa is to be tucked in the lush forests just outside of Moscow

June 12, 2019 by  
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There are few things we love more than dark cabins embedded into lush evergreen forests, and this tiny structure is no exception. The Black Villa in the Forest, designed by Russian architectural firm Archslon, has a certain air of mystery to it that is enhanced by its off-grid location just outside of bustling Moscow. The tiny cabin is a low-lying rectangular volume comprised of two blocks with an inner courtyard separating the two spaces. The entrance is through a small open area, which runs from the front of the house to the back. Related: Black charred-timber home embraces forest views in Zürich The front of the cabin is an elongated, open-air deck, or what the architects call a “bypass gallery,” that runs the length of one of the main blocks. The space is lined with a series of thin columns, giving a touch of modernity to the structure. The compact square footage and height was a strategic decision made to conserve as many existing trees as possible during construction. Clad in jet-black timber, the home was also designed to blend into its natural surroundings. The main living area is illumined by natural light thanks to a full wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. Along with providing panoramic views of the picturesque scenery, the glazed wall creates a strong, continual connection to the home’s forestscape surroundings. The two blocks separate the home into two living spaces: public and private. On one side of the cabin is the living room and open kitchen. On the other end is the master bedroom that is connected with another small room that can be used as a small office or library. Like the living space, the master bedroom has fully glazed walls, further integrating the surrounding nature into the cabin’s interior. + Archslon Via Archdaily Images via Archslon

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Mysterious Black Villa is to be tucked in the lush forests just outside of Moscow

Young couple build their own tiny home to avoid sky-high housing prices in the Bay Area

May 29, 2019 by  
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The San Francisco Bay Area is notoriously expensive for both renters and buyers. But one enterprising young couple has found a way to live in the beautiful city on their own terms by building their very own tiny home . Nicolette and Michael spent just seven months constructing their dream home. Although it is only 300 square feet, it comes complete with a sleeping loft, a full kitchen and a little reading nook for the studious couple. The young couple was inspired to build their own home for a number of reasons. With Michael being a full-time student at CAL, they had to stay in the Bay Area; however, after realizing how expensive the area is, they decided to enjoy the financial freedom that comes with building their own tiny home. Additionally, they were inspired to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle where they could reduce their footprint on the planet. Related: This tiny home allows a family of 3 to go off the grid in Maui As they set out on their tiny home journey, the amateur — but ambitious — builders decided to do most of the work themselves, accepting help from family and friends along they way. Built on a 28-foot long trailer, the home is clad in metal and wood siding with plenty of windows that flood the interior with natural light . According to Nicolette, the interior design was inspired by an industrial farmhouse aesthetic. The home is bright and airy with white walls and high ceilings. To the left, the living room is compact but comfortable with a loveseat that pulls out into a futon. A beautiful silicon-gel fireplace keeps the space warm and cozy during the winter months. The main wall is clad in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that provide plenty of storage space. At the heart of the couple’s tiny home design is a sweet little reading nook that was built onto the end of the structure, past the main living area. With two large windows that open, this space is perfect for snuggling up with a good book or creating artwork. Between the living space and the kitchen, the couple installed a work/dining space consisting of two desks under a wall of windows. On the other side of the space is a compact metal kitchen area along with an oven with a four-burner stove and even a full-size refrigerator. A barn-yard door separates the living space from the bathroom, which has a full shower and vanity along with a composting toilet . Above the kitchen space is the sleeping loft accessible by a metal ladder. White shiplap walls along with two horizontal windows turn the tiny space into a soothing oasis. + Nicolette Notes Via Apartment Therapy Images via Nicolette and Michael

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Young couple build their own tiny home to avoid sky-high housing prices in the Bay Area

Adobe brick combines with wood in a low-carbon villa in Chiang Mai

March 14, 2019 by  
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Architectural practice Chiangmai Life Architects has completed a striking villa that blends elements of traditional Thai architecture together with environmentally savvy construction practices and modern amenities fit for 21st-century living. Located in the mountains of northern Thailand , the project, dubbed the ‘Earth & Wood Villa,’ was built primarily of locally sourced natural materials from the self-made adobe bricks to the exposed timber elements throughout. In addition to mountain vistas, the property is sandwiched between Lamyai tree orchards and rice fields, views of which are maximized throughout the home. Spanning an area of nearly 7,500 square feet, the expansive residence serves as the family home for a couple and their three children. The main house is a U-shaped structure oriented toward the north with four bedrooms lined up in a row in the east-facing private wing. The open-plan living area, dining room, kitchen and pantry are clustered across a hallway in the south of the building; full-height glazed folding doors open the living room and dining area up to an outdoor swimming pool. An entertainment area is in the west wing. A small home office is tucked into a second-floor mezzanine gallery and overlooks views of the surrounding landscape. The guest cottage with a sunset veranda sits adjacent to the main house. To meet modern living comforts, the residence is equipped with air conditioning in the private wing; however, it relies solely on natural ventilation in the living areas. Large openings allow for cross breezes and hot air while the raised roof — inspired by local vernacular architecture — permits hot air to escape and induces air circulation. The thick adobe brick walls that were built of local clay, sand and bamboo shavings provide thermal insulation. The exterior is coated in a water-resistant mixture of lime and fine earth powder. Related: Breathtaking bamboo building withstands earthquakes and boasts a zero-carbon footprint Locally sourced  bamboo  was used to construct the carport, barn and entrance gate; natural stone tiles were used for flooring. “The client was looking for a modern interpretation of using natural materials,” Chiangmai Life Architects explained. “Adobe brick walls combined with wooden roof structures were designed in a way to make this earth and wood residence both functional as a modern family home as well as in harmony with its environment and surroundings. This meant a design and finish fit for the needs and requirements of a 21st century family.” + Chiangmai Life Architects Photogrpahy by  Alberto Cosi , drone shots by Markus Roselieb via Chiangmai Life Architects

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Adobe brick combines with wood in a low-carbon villa in Chiang Mai

Plastic waste has met its match with the viral #Trashtag challenge

March 14, 2019 by  
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It is rare when a social media trend actually results in a physical change to the environment, especially when it comes to picking up plastic waste . But a new viral challenge has thousands of people from around the world coming together to clean up places that have become overrun with plastic. The new challenge, #trashtag, encourages people to clean up litter and share photos from before and after the clean-up job is over. So far, tens of thousands of individuals have participated in the social media challenge. These participants have cleaned up roads, parks, beaches and wilderness areas. The challenge has also increased awareness of important environmental issues, like how much plastic waste ends up in the trash. Related: China closes Mount Everest base camp after overwhelming trash problem reports While the challenge only recently went viral, it actually started a few years ago. A company called UCO Gear came up with the idea in 2015 to help with its wilderness protection program. The challenge did not catch on until this year, after a post on Facebook tagged “tired teens” in the photo. Since then, there have been well over 25,000 posts with #trashtag tagged, although it has a few other variations, such as #trashchallenge and #trashtagchallenge. Although it is great to see people cleaning up the environment in their free time, conservationists hope it will eventually lead to bigger changes. According to BBC , the director of Canada’s Ecology Action Centre (EAC), Mark Butler, hopes the hashtag gets people to understand why we need to eliminate single-use plastics altogether. “Getting plastic out of the environment is important,” Butler shared. “We need to do more than go behind the people that are littering and clean it up. We need to turn off the plastic tap.” Butler argued that if we do not start curbing our plastic use, then the clean-up job will never end. Given all of the photos we’ve seen from the trash challenge, Butler has a point. Hopefully, viral challenges like #trashtag will help initiate more lasting changes as we continue to deal with the problem of plastic pollution. Via BBC Image via Pacific Southwest Region 5

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Plastic waste has met its match with the viral #Trashtag challenge

9 ways to add more houseplants to your home

February 18, 2019 by  
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Adding plants to your living space is an easy way to add beauty and character to your home. But aesthetics aren’t the only benefit of indoor gardening as houseplants can make your home’s air healthier  and also make you happier . No to mention, you can easily grow useful plants and herbs that work great for healthy cooking and as natural medicines . Even if you weren’t born with a green thumb or have a tiny space to work with, there are ways to go green with your decor. If you choose the right plants and get creative, your indoor garden will thrive. Here are nine ways to add more plant life to your home. Use the Windows For many indoor plants , sunlight is essential. So, placing your plants near windows is a no-brainer. A Beautiful Mess suggests a DIY ledge for the kitchen window to set up your herb garden or hang an over-the-window plant shelf in your living room or bedroom. Instead of hanging a curtain for privacy, you can create a “ plant shelfie ” and group a bunch of plants together or use a large sturdy tension rods to hang plants at the top of the window. Custom shelves around or under the window —  or added to the ledge— also work well, too. Wire Grid Jazz up a plain wall with a wire grid and S-hooks to display houseplants . You don’t need a ton of space for this idea, and it makes it easy to hang gardening essentials like scissors and a watering can. You can find wire grids in different shapes and sizes, and some also have mountable shelves. Kitchen Garden A window in your kitchen is an excellent place to grow an indoor herb garden , however, that’s not an option for everyone. You can still make it happen by hanging small planters on your cabinets .  Also, if you have the counter space,  you can create a small garden for succulents with a two-tier fruit basket and some fabric scraps. Related: How to grow 10 foods from kitchen scraps Pegboard Like the wire shelves, a pegboard is also a great idea for small spaces. They work well in any room, no matter how big or small. You can even use a peg board as a headboard . The great thing about pegboards is that you can use hooks, baskets and shelves to create the look you want. You can also add a pop of color with a few tiny potted plants or cover the board entirely. Ceiling Hangers Speaking of macrame, it has made a major comeback recently, which means you can easily find macrame plant hangers to hang from the ceiling. They are great to hang near windows, or you can use ceiling hangers in unexpected places like in the bathroom or over a dining table . When you live in a small space, ceiling hangers are a fantastic option. You won’t give up any shelf, floor or wall space, and they add a fun, unexpected layer to the decor . Wall Art Turn plants into pieces of living art by adding them to string art or macrame wall hangings . You can find tons of affordable options on sites like Etsy that can quickly turn plants and flowers into artwork. Plants and flowers nestled into different designs look great. Air plants are a great option for wall art because they are super easy to take care of. Related: Sustainable pencil stubs Sprout into plants Bookshelves and Picture Ledges If you have built-in shelves in your living room, bedroom or kitchen, don’t let the high shelves go to waste just because they are out of reach. Add some plants that drape down to add some green to your space. Trailing plants are very popular and they are low-maintenance. If you have the option of adding something to the wall, pictures ledges are perfect for displaying plants indoors because the small lip on the edge will keep them from falling. Picture ledges are usually cheaper than traditional shelves. Just make sure you choose ledges that are wide enough. Carts If there is a small, dull space in your home that needs some love, you can add some plants with a rolling cart . If you live in an apartment and can’t add shelves, grids or peg boards to the wall, a rolling cart is the perfect option for creating a mini- jungle . Or, if you have some dead space in a large room, the cart doesn’t even have to go up against the wall. Plant Corner If you have an empty corner that needs some attention, consider filling it with plants of different shapes and sizes. Place different pots (of various shapes and sizes) in the corner to create a plant corner. You can incorporate your plant cart into the area for some added height. Images via Shutterstock

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Sleep in this restored WWII air control tower full of historic charm

February 15, 2019 by  
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A unique Airbnb listing in Scotland is inviting guests to stay at an amazing restored WWII air traffic control tower. Located in the Scottish Highlands area of Tain, the HMS OWL Air Control Tower dates back to the second world war, when it was used as an airbase for planes coming in and out of the country. Now, the tower has been renovated into a vibrant guesthouse with design features that pay homage to its military past. The old air tower is located in Tain, a former WWII air base that sits adjacent to the North Coast 500 Scenic Route. The former military structure was bought by Justin Hooper and Charlotte Seddon, who converted it into their family home. The family lives on the first three floors, but the top floor of the building is available for rent starting around $100 per night. Related: Sleep hundreds of feet in the air in this renovated air traffic control tower The five-year renovation process was extensive, but the couple went to extreme lengths to retain the military character of the building. To blend the tower into the expansive grassy landscape, Justin and Charlotte painted the exterior a jet black. They also left the original steel-framed Crittal windows that let in optimal natural light into the property. On the interior, large concrete pillars and exposed brickwork gives the living atmosphere a chic,  industrial feel. Large leather sofas and chairs, along with a wood-burning stove, make the living space extra warm and inviting. The top floor’s  unique guest room sleeps up to two people in a comfortable king-sized bed and beautiful en suite. The room has plenty of large windows to let in natural light as well as to offer the stunning views of the Scottish countryside. + HMS OWL Air Control Tower Via Curbed Images via HMS OWL Air Control Tower

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Earth911 Podcast, Jan. 25, 2019: EarthEasy.com’s Greg Seaman Talks off-the-Grid Living

January 25, 2019 by  
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Greg Seaman, the founder of EarthEasy.com, dares to live his … The post Earth911 Podcast, Jan. 25, 2019: EarthEasy.com’s Greg Seaman Talks off-the-Grid Living appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, Jan. 25, 2019: EarthEasy.com’s Greg Seaman Talks off-the-Grid Living

Stunning micro home features reclaimed materials and large garage door for entertaining

December 24, 2018 by  
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One of the best advantages to building a tiny home is the ability to custom design the space. When Chattanooga-based tiny home builders  Wind River Tiny Homes were approached by a couple with a strong love of outdoor hobbies, they knew that design had to reflect their active lifestyle. The result is a 650-square-foot house that includes several unique features such as a large garage door that opens up to an outdoor deck, a vertical green wall  and a battery charger for their training bikes. The exterior of the tiny home  is clad in Eastern cedar siding with light blue wood panels and corrugated metal. The aesthetic is fresh and modern, giving the tiny home just as much charm as any larger, more conventional home design. Related: Tiny homes made of concrete pipes could be the next big thing in micro housing The interior of the home, however, is where the design really shines. According to the team from Wind River Tiny Homes, the couple wanted a home that was no more than 600 square feet. In the end, the home measures a total of 650 square feet thanks to space-efficient measures such as putting the bathroom under the stairwell. Additionally, the homeowners wanted to have a space for entertaining. Accordingly, the designers installed a custom glass garage door that leads out to a 150 square feet deck. This unique feature not only floods the interior with natural light , but allows ample space for entertaining. Using mainly locally-sourced and reclaimed materials , the tiny home team custom designed the living space for the couple’s love of all things sporty. The living space was equipped with ample storage for sporting equipment such as space for the couple’s paddle boards, a carport with a pulley system for lifting kayaks off the car and a battery charger for their training bikes. The design team also used a number of reclaimed materials in the interior accents. In one corner of the living space, a beautiful Shou Sugi Ban barn door slides open to reveal a wall of reclaimed tongue-and-groove wainscoting that was reclaimed from an old elk lodge building in Chattanooga. Further into the living space, a fully-equipped kitchen features a bar made out of of the same reclaimed wood. The kitchen’s custom concrete counter top features inlaid bike gears on the bar’s countertop, another nod to the couple’s love of biking. In addition to the unique custom attributes, the home is also equipped with a number of energy-efficient features . The deck lighting is powered by solar power  and LED lighting is used throughout the home. A smart thermostat provides the home with a comfortable temperature year round, all while saving energy in the process. + Wind River Tiny Homes Via Dwell Images via Wind River Tiny Homes

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Stunning micro home features reclaimed materials and large garage door for entertaining

Can the Digital World Encourage Healthy Living?

November 15, 2018 by  
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For better or worse, many of us are hooked to … The post Can the Digital World Encourage Healthy Living? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Can the Digital World Encourage Healthy Living?

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