Lemurs are now the most endangered species of primate on the planet

August 3, 2018 by  
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Approximately 94% of the 111 species and subspecies of lemur are under threat of extinction in their native country of Madagascar – the only place they exist outside of captivity. Of the remaining lemur groups, only six do not face high risk of extinction, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species . This retrogression was revealed by the Primate Specialist Group , a conservation organization that has been analyzing current threats to the survival of lemur populations and their habitats. Chair of the Primate Specialist Group and Chief Conservation Officer of  Global Wildlife Conservation  Russ Mittermeier indicated that the “very high extinction risk to Madagascar’s unique lemurs” would compound, generating “grave threats to Madagascar’s biodiversity as a whole.” Loss of habitat poses the single greatest threat the lemurs now face in the wild. Developments in illegal logging and slash-and-burn agriculture, as well as mining activities and charcoal production, are ultimately determining the fate of these endangered animals. Related: Conservationists sound the alarm to address ‘America’s wildlife crisis’ Lemurs also face threats from pet trading hobbyists or hunters who wish to turn them into food. Once a delicacy, lemur’s presence on menus has become more and more mainstream in Madagascar, according to Professor Christoph Schweitzer of the Bristol Zoological Society . In an interview with BBC News , Schwitzer commented, “More and more, we are seeing unsustainable levels of lemur poaching. We see commercial hunting as well – probably for local restaurants. And this is a new phenomenon for Madagascar – we didn’t see it at this scale 15 years ago” Although many would bow their heads at the unfortunate fate of the lemurs, Schwitzer is an optimist. People “need to shout about these problems and get the message out there” he remarked. “When we published the lemur action plan and the media picked up on it, suddenly we had people call offering to help – to donate money or other resources. That can really make a difference,” he remarked. The “lemur action plan” has already had an effect, protecting habitats that contain the densest numbers of lemur species while helping Madagascar boost its ecotourism in the hopes of tackling poverty. By helping the local people economically, the groups involved in the plan are deterring hunting and other activities destructive to the tropical forests that provide the lemurs with their natural habitat. + Global Wildlife Conservation + IUCN Via BBC News

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Lemurs are now the most endangered species of primate on the planet

Handsome timber-clad extension embraces Australias great outdoors

August 3, 2018 by  
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When the residents of a home in Eganstown, Australia, decided to add a modest extension to their house, they were looking for more than just extra breathing room. Enlisting the help of Melbourne-based emerging design practice Solomon Troup Architects , they envisioned the extension as a way to more fully embrace the expansive hillside landscape. The resulting structure—named the Limerick House—does just that, all while referencing the outdoors with its natural materials palette . Covering an area of nearly 2,100 square feet, the Limerick House offers a twist on the original home’s pitched forms with an asymmetrical gabled roof inspired by the lean-to timber shearing sheds found throughout the local landscape. “The gabled form of the addition responds to the existing pitched roofs of the existing house,” explains Solomon Troup Architects. “The new addition has the same dimensions and shape as the existing three railway cottages used to build the existing house, but is sloped on the eastern boundary to create a doorway, used to link the house to another existing house on the property.” In another nod to the local sheds , the new extension is built mainly from timber. Spotted gum decking boards—stained black—clad the exterior and will develop a silvery patina over time. In contrast to the dark facade, the interior is lined with light-colored silvertop ash boards, which the architects say give the addition the look of a “warm winter weekend cabin.” Related: A modular extension boasts a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience The extension houses an open-plan kitchen and dining area, freeing up room in the main house, which now includes a master ensuite, two bedrooms and a living room that opens up to a cozy den through a sliding door. A massive steel-framed pivoting door opens the new structure up to the outdoors and a spacious timber deck partly sheltered by a deep roof overhang. Large windows let in plenty of natural light and views. + Solomon Troup Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Tatjana Plitt

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Handsome timber-clad extension embraces Australias great outdoors

Man converts old ambulance into a traveling tiny home on wheels

August 3, 2018 by  
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Ebay may be filled with trash that many turn into treasure, but one man has taken it a step further by converting an old ambulance into a gorgeous tiny home on wheels . Ian Dow purchased the ambulance in 2016 and promptly got to work customizing the space into a dream home built for adventure – one that even comes complete with a rooftop sundeck. Unlike many bus and van conversions built on the owners’ dreams, Ian’s tiny home on wheels was built on pain. “I’d been searching for a van to convert and was blinded by the Sprinter fad,” Dow told ABC News . “After getting burned by a Craigslist seller — he backed out after I drove 12 hours to buy his Sprinter — I was depressed and I crashed my motorcycle. Then I had an epiphany. I was in pain and needed some emergency help. Sitting on the couch that night with a busted shoulder, I searched eBay for ambulances, found a cheap one, and even Google Earthed the charity listed as the seller, finding the ambulance parked right outside.” Related: Traveling family renovates old school bus as both solar-powered home and hostel The Newport Beach native purchased the old ambulance for $2,800 and began the renovating process by gutting most of the interior and retrofitting the old life-saver into a customized tiny home on wheels . To make efficient use of the space, he installed some seriously flexible features. For starters, Dow installed beautiful teak floors that run the length of the living space. The subway-tiled kitchen is a space-saver, with built-in shelves and plenty of storage areas to avoid clutter. A collapsible hardwood table, used for eating or working, can be stowed when not in use. There’s even a cedar-lined closet for Dow’s clothing. The sofa folds out into a bed, and an additional wooden plank – stored in a closet – extends to create extra sleeping or lounging space. Unique to the design is the former equipment closet located on the exterior, which Ian converted into an outdoor shower – perfect for enjoying incredible views while cleaning up after a long day of hiking or surfing. And, as if the beautiful interior weren’t enough, he added a sundeck on the ambulance’s roof, complete with an extendable umbrella. Dow, Dino the dog and their friend, Dylan, have been traveling for the last few years in the converted home on wheels. You can follow their adventures on Instagram . + Ian Dow Via Little Things and ABC News Images via Ian Dow

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Man converts old ambulance into a traveling tiny home on wheels

LEED Gold hub for artists and activists takes over an abandoned NYC firehouse

August 2, 2018 by  
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An abandoned firehouse has been reborn as the newly certified LEED Gold home for the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) in Harlem. Developed by CSA Group NY Architects & Engineers in conjunction with real estate agency Denham Wolf , the cultural center celebrates New York City’s Afro-Caribbean and African-American populations with exhibition and performance spaces, meeting and community rooms, a media center, classrooms and offices. The adaptive reuse project respects the architectural integrity of the historic building and features a variety of sustainable elements, including a green roof and 100 percent Forest Stewardship Council-certified timbers. Located in the heart of East Harlem’s cultural district at 120 East 125th Street, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute serves as a neighborhood anchor and catalyst for cultural and economic development. The CCCADI took over the former municipal firehouse , Engine Company Number 36, as part of the NYC Economic Development Corporation and Department of Housing Preservation’s initiative to turn decommissioned firehouses into cultural institutions. All parts of the 8,400-square-foot landmark building were preserved wherever possible, save for adjustments needed to meet the city’s current building codes, such as the addition of egress stairs. “Originally built to serve the local community , before being abandoned and becoming a symbol of blight, the firehouse has fittingly been restored for a public purpose,” said Ronzard Innocent, Director of Project Management at Denham Wolf. “As a connector to arts, culture and social justice, CCCADI brings the story of this building full circle.” Related: East Harlem celebrates opening of vibrant LEED Gold-seeking Center for Living and Learning To reach LEED Gold status, CCCADI focuses on saving energy and water while minimizing waste. Thanks to highly efficient bathroom fixtures, the project saves an estimated 37.2 percent in water use compared to standard baselines. The building also boasts an estimated 36.1 percent  energy savings from high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning units. Approximately 92 percent of the project’s construction waste was recycled . The team installed a high-albedo membrane on the roof along with a green roof. Low-emitting paints, coatings, flooring and agrifiber products were used throughout, and more than 20 percent of the materials used were sourced regionally. + CSA Group NY Architects & Engineers + Denham Wolf Images by Sakeenah Saleem

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LEED Gold hub for artists and activists takes over an abandoned NYC firehouse

VERGE Talk: Why clean, equitable energy and EVs are good business

June 27, 2018 by  
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While many stakeholders in the clean energy economy claim poverty, there’s good news: Equitable financing models exist for decarbonizing our local energy and transportation systems! Holmes Hummel is back to build on her VERGE Talk last year on how to scale clean energy investments with equity as a driver — showing how financing the clean energy infrastructure transition is not just a social imperative, but also a business opportunity.

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VERGE Talk: Why clean, equitable energy and EVs are good business

West Antarctica’s bedrock is rising, providing some protection to melting ice

June 22, 2018 by  
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It seems that most news concerning Antarctica’s ice sheets is bad news, with two of the world’s fastest melting glaciers shrinking away in the continent’s western region. Fortunately, this same region is also home to an unusual geological feature that may provide some relief to the effects of climate change. In a new study published in the journal Science , researchers examined how the Earth’s surface seems to expand when heavy objects, such as glaciers , are no longer present and pushing down on the ground. According to data gathered from GPS sensors, the land beneath the Amundsen Sea Embayment in western Antarctica is rising at a rate of about two inches per year, one of the fastest rising rates ever recorded. As is often the case, the discovery of western Antarctica’s rising bedrock was made somewhat by chance. “[Study co-author] Terry Wilson and colleagues were extremely wise and lucky,” study co-author Valentina Barletta told Earther . “They had the really, really good idea [to place those sensors] with very few indication[s] that there might have been something special.” The researchers concluded that the land beneath the Amundsen Sea Embayment springs back because of a relatively fluid mantle beneath the surface, which is more capable of responding to changes above. Related: Scientists uncover giant canyons under the ice in Antarctica “This study shows this region of Antarctica has a very short memory,” Antarctica researcher Matt King told Earther, likening the local geological phenomenon to memory foam. Understanding the impact that rebounding land can have enables researchers to more accurately assess ice loss, the measurement of which has been incomplete due to a lack of knowledge about rising rock. The study also provides some hope to those who live in coastal areas, which may benefit from the potential slowing of melting ice by its rising higher than the warmer water . Via Earther Image via Depositphotos

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West Antarctica’s bedrock is rising, providing some protection to melting ice

Find your zen in this tiny cabin tucked into New Zealand’s idyllic landscape

June 13, 2018 by  
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Located just outside Kawarau Falls near Queenstown, New Zealand, a tiny, off-grid  cabin conceals a truly luxurious and light-filled interior with a striking, jet-black facade. Designed by local architect Anna-Marie Chin, Tom’s Cabin, which can be rented through Airbnb , is strategically built to provide amazing views of the idyllic landscape while fitting in with the local vernacular. The 1,291-square-foot off-grid  cabin , which was voted New Zealand’s best small home in 2016, offers a serene retreat tucked into the natural landscape around Kawarau Falls. The low-lying volume with a “tilted” sloped roof mimics the landscape of the rolling hills, and the jet black exterior gives the cabin a contemporary, sophisticated feel. The simple gable form of the rooftop also provides an ultra-tall entryway, which is clad almost entirely in glass to provide stunning views from the small wooden deck. Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills The interior space is surprisingly well-lit by natural light . Using a simple color and material palette, the interior walls of the cabin are clad in plywood paneling, punctuated with large windows. Concrete floors and black accents create a seamless cohesion with the exterior. Various space-saving features and custom-made furniture provide the interior with plenty of storage . The cabin has three bedrooms and can accommodate up to six adults, with additional bedding available for small children. A large fireplace and underfloor heating keep the interior temperatures warm and cozy year round. For additional amenities, guests can enjoy the outdoor cedar hot tub after a long day of hiking or biking. In case of inclement weather, the cabin comes equipped with high-speed internet and a projector for movie night. + Tom’s Cabin Airbnb + Anna-Marie Chin Via Dwell Photography by David Straight

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Find your zen in this tiny cabin tucked into New Zealand’s idyllic landscape

Ryuji Kajino converts an 80-year-old barn into a gorgeous atelier

June 12, 2018 by  
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Architect Ryuji Kajino from Malubishi Architects has just unveiled the Tiny Atelier — a one-room work studio crafted with the remnants of an 80-year-old timber barn that previously stood on the same site. The minimalist work space, which was created for a designer who makes accessories from dried flowers, was built with timber, old beams and roof tiles repurposed from the existing barn. Located in Kurashiki, Japan, the work space was built for a designer who lives on a hilltop lot that overlooks the Seto Inland Sea in the distance. A covered porch leads from her home to the new studio, which is surrounded by greenery. In fact, the artist grows the flowers for her accessories in the onsite garden. Related: The Cornelia tiny house is a peaceful writer’s studio built with reclaimed wood The architect wanted to retain as many of the materials from the old barn as possible. The structure includes a new pitched roof topped with tiles from the existing barn. Inside, exposed log beams on the timber-lined ceiling pay homage to the former building. Vertical wooden boards  clad the petite studio, except for the front door, which has a diagonal pattern and custom-made chestnut handle. Large windows provide an abundance of natural light as well as beautiful views of the valley below. The room’s biggest window sits in a timber frame constructed with both old and new wooden pillars, again marking the transition from past to present. The office design embraces minimalism with sparse furniture and a wraparound white shelf built high up on the wall to provide space for drying flowers. According to the architect, re-using the barn’s old materials enabled him to create the atelier space as a nod to the local history. “Utilizing the materials that can be used by existing barns, we inherited the history that this site had been walking on,” explained Kajino, “but also aimed at a new architecture mixed old and new materials as a future architectural building.” + Ryuji Kajino Via Dezeen Images via Ryuji Kajino

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Ryuji Kajino converts an 80-year-old barn into a gorgeous atelier

Croatia Pavilions Cloud Pergola is one of the worlds largest 3D-printed structures

June 12, 2018 by  
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Architect Bruno Juri?i?  has unveiled one of the world’s largest and most complex 3D-printed structures at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale . Dubbed the Cloud Pergola / The Architecture of Hospitality, this massive, site-specific structure for the Croatian Pavilion features 300 kilograms of 3D-printed biodegradable plastic. The immersive cloud-like installation invites visitors to reflect on the topics of hospitality, climate change and sociability. The Cloud Pergola is a contemporary take on the classic Mediterranean pergola structure, a space where “the private and public merge.” Curated and authored by Bruno Juri?i? in collaboration with Arup , Ai-Build and Alisa Andrašek, the innovative pavilion’s main focus is the ‘Cloud Drawing,’ a 3D-printed structure built of voxels arranged in a fluid-like mass using over 100,000 extruded elements. A “multi-agent algorithm” that was built with data on cloud formation and site-specific environmental data was used to inform the design’s lattice-like form and arrangement. The Cloud Pergola is complemented with artwork that helps create an immersive experience. Vlatka Horvat’s wall-based work ‘To Still the Eye’ explores the “notion of horizon as a physical manifestation of distance and as a metaphor for the future, wanting to address this sense of possibility,” while artist Maja Kuzmanovi?’s ‘Ephemeral Garden’ is an audio installation. “I wanted the pavilion to push the boundaries of the aesthetics, spatial and tectonic consequences of emerging paradigms of augmented intelligence at the cross-over between architecture, art, and engineering by presenting a full-scale pergola structure made using 3D robotic fabrication and automated design protocols,” said Bruno Juri?i? in a statement. “The Cloud Pergola was envisioned as a paradigm for what architecture should stand for in the 21st century.” Related: Vatican City’s first-ever pavilion debuts at the Venice Architecture Biennale Arup and the 3D manufacturing team of Ai-Build also developed a simple assembly sequence for the Cloud Pergola, which will be put on tour after the end of the Venice Biennale. The Croatian Pavilion will be exhibited for the entire duration of the Architectural Biennale, until November 25, 2018. + Croatian Pavilion Images by Jan Stojkovic

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Croatia Pavilions Cloud Pergola is one of the worlds largest 3D-printed structures

These fish and meat options are the most environmentally costly

June 12, 2018 by  
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Farmed seafood, wild-caught fish , or livestock : which one is the most environmentally costly to produce? A University of Washington -led study probed that question by scrutinizing 148 life-cycle assessments for animal protein production. Lead author Ray Hilborn, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences professor, said in a statement , “If you’re an environmentalist, what you eat makes a difference. We found there are obvious good choices, and really obvious bad choices.” (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); The environmental costs of producing meat, seafood Which food type is more environmentally costly to produce — livestock, farmed seafood, or wild-caught fish? New research from the University of Washington takes a comprehensive look at the environmental impacts of different types of animal protein production. Read more: http://www.washington.edu/news/2018/06/11/choice-matters-the-environmental-costs-of-producing-meat-seafood/ Posted by University of Washington News on Monday, June 11, 2018 Scientists drew on four metrics to compare environmental impacts of different animal proteins: greenhouse gas emissions , energy use, potential to add excess nutrients like fertilizer into the environment, and potential to emit substances that help cause  acid rain . They used 40 grams of protein — around the size of an average burger patty — as their standard amount . Related: Vegan diets deliver more environmental benefits than sustainable dairy or meat Industrial beef production and farmed catfish were the most environmentally costly in general, according to the university. Farmed mollusks such as scallops, oysters, or mussels and small wild-caught fish were the least environmentally costly. The university said capture fish choices like pollock, the cod family, and hake also have relatively low impact, and farmed salmon performed well. But there were differences across animal proteins — for example, the researchers said livestock production consumed less power than most seafood aquaculture as continual water circulation uses up electricity. Farmed tilapia, shrimp, and catfish used the most energy. Beef and catfish aquaculture generated around 20 times more greenhouse gases than chicken , farmed salmon, farmed mollusks, and small capture fisheries. “When compared to other studies of vegetarian and vegan diets, a selective diet of aquaculture and wild capture fisheries has a lower environmental impact than either of the plant-based diets,” according to the university. The journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment published the study this week. Four University of Washington scientists and one scientist from company Avalerion Capital contributed. + University of Washington + Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment Images via

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