Sustainable finance ideals thrive in Asia

November 16, 2018 by  
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From Malaysia to Australia, more investors are funding renewable energy, sustainable supply chains and other efforts to future-proof economies against climate change.

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Sustainable finance ideals thrive in Asia

Endangered Malayan tigers are threatened by the demand for durian

October 24, 2018 by  
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The habitat of the Malayan tiger — one of the world’s most endangered tigers — is being threatened by a strange fruit. Because of a growing demand in China for durian, a ‘smelly’ and controversial fruit, Malaysian forests are being cleared to make room for growing the crop. This deforestation could destroy the chances of survival for the Malayan tigers, of which only 300 remain in the world. Forests in the Malaysian region of Raub, home of the Malayan tiger , have become a popular destination for “durian tours.” As such, this forested land is being burned and cleared to make room for plantations to grow the Muang King variety of durian. Related: Wild tigers are returning to Kazakhtstan after 70-year absence According to Siti Zuraidah Abidin from WWF Malaysia, the Hulu Sempam area of the country had been named an “expected tiger habitat.” Now, plans for a new durian plantation in this region are in place, despite its proximity to the habitat of most of the planet’s 300 remaining Malayan tigers. Perbadanan Setiausaha Kerajaan, a company with ties to the government, has plans to cut down more than 1,200 hectares of land in Hulu Sempam for a durian plantation. The Pahang Forestry Department said that the company does not need permission for the project, even though Malayan tigers exist only on the Malay Peninsula and southern Thailand . “Land clearing at Hulu Sempam can cause the wider forests to be fragmented, which in turn can affect the wildlife movement,” Abidin warned. As The Guardian reported, the durian market has become incredibly profitable. In just the last year, demand has increased the cost of the fruit in China, leading to a surge in durian farming in Malaysia. Some experts even predict that it could replace palm oil as the country’s largest export. Over the past decade, the value of China’s durian imports has jumped about 26 percent each year, reaching $1.1 billion in 2016. Environmental groups are afraid that durian will be just like palm oil and lead to the same destruction of endangered wildlife habitats, particularly of the Malayan tigers. Via  The Guardian Images via Kent Wang and Rennett Stowe

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Endangered Malayan tigers are threatened by the demand for durian

Colorful bamboo pavilion champions sustainable design in Kuala Lumpur

February 28, 2018 by  
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Renewable and fast-growing bamboo is catching on in the world of construction. To spur on the green material’s popularity, architect Eleena Jamil designed and built Urban Brains, a temporary pavilion that shows off the versatility of bamboo from structural support to decorative cladding. Built for the World Urban Forum 2018 in collaboration with UNHabitat, the pop-up pavilion in Kuala Lumpur also encourages visitors to add their thoughts to the design by literally writing on the walls. Located on an open square next to Klang River, Urban Brains provided tranquil respite during the weeklong World Urban Forum 2018 that concluded February 13, 2018. The simple 16-square-meter pavilion is a four-wall structure covered in by 100-millimeter-long bamboo cross-sections. Some of the circular rings were filled in with colorful semi-translucent panels to evoke the effect of stained glass windows while other bamboo rings were left hollow. The colored panels are also a nod to the colors of the UN sustainable design goals. Related: This breezy bamboo amphitheater pops up in just 25 days Custom-designed stools made from short bamboo poles tied together with rattan were placed inside the pavilion in a square courtyard -like space. The roof, built with concentric square bamboo shapes, is fitted with transparent plastic and a large opening in the center to let in natural light. Visitors are encouraged to add their thoughts and ideas for improving the city by writing them down on the circular colored panels punctuating the pavilion walls. + Eleena Jamil Images via Eleena Jamil

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Colorful bamboo pavilion champions sustainable design in Kuala Lumpur

Green-roofed Cantilever House floats above the Malaysian rainforest

May 2, 2017 by  
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This green-roofed house juts out over the lush rainforest of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Architecture firm Design Unit Sdn Bhd envisioned the Cantilever House as a “forest” of industrial steel columns that create a weightless-looking volume. Passive House design features – including an adjustable envelope – minimize the building’s impact on the environment. The house consists of two independent structures constructed of exposed structural steel and concrete, framing a large courtyard with a swimming pool . A long ramp connects the “steel box” to the ground. The opaque appearance disappears once inside– the double glazed full height sliding glass screens and adjustable glass louvers bathe the interior in natural light. This operable envelope wrapped in external sunscreens made from perforated stainless steel provides optimal natural ventilation and allows views of the surrounding rainforest . Related: Futuristic green city design runs like a real rainforest in Malaysia The two structures of the house serve different functions– one with living areas and bedrooms, and the lower one accommodating an art gallery and cinema. The grass-covered roof establishes different micro-climates and creates gardens for relaxation. These spaces allow occupants to enjoy an indoor-outdoor lifestyle which maximizes contact with nature while minimizes disturbance to the site. + Design Unit Sdn Bhd Via Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by Lin Ho Photography

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Green-roofed Cantilever House floats above the Malaysian rainforest

Green walls and textured surfaces breathe new life into an abandoned row of shop offices

February 6, 2017 by  
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Singaporean firm L Architects transformed a row of abandoned half-built shop offices into a visually striking developer’s head office and gallery in Johor, Malaysia. The architects preserved the gable roofs and metal-framed structures, relying on material textures and patterns to give new life to the old buildings. The modern adaptive reuse project harmoniously combines a mix of hard concrete, metal decking lines, patterned brickwork, glass, and porous green walls. Located near the Johor Straits across from Singapore, the Series of Barns comprises eight three-story structures built on the grid facing the water. To blend the renovated buildings into the rural landscape, L Architects used natural materials to create a textured tapestry-like facade that’s both eye-catching and well matched with the surroundings. Currently half of the gabled structures are occupied. The unused four structures are kept as spares for future use with their front facades covered in green creepers grown on tensioned wires. The lobby and reception is housed in the gabled structure that protrudes slightly from the rest of the buildings and was built with a large glass curtain wall . The remaining three structures feature brick facades. Related: HHF Architects’ renovated a group of crumbling buildings to help revitalize an entire neighborhood L Architects write: “In this project, we wanted to experiment with various ways how we can use a seemingly modular material like brick to create a texturized façade. An attempt to break the monolithic flat surfaces of the barns. When the sun’s strength is mitigated it creates interesting shadows formed by the playful arrangement of the protruded bricks.” The eight gabled structures are elevated off the ground, providing space for shaded parking spaces underneath. In addition to the lobby, the Series of Barns contains exhibition areas, a small theater room, a conference room, office space , and an outdoor deck. + L Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Muhamad shafiq bin samsuri

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Green walls and textured surfaces breathe new life into an abandoned row of shop offices

The world’s tallest tropical "Minecraft" tree found in Malaysia

June 8, 2016 by  
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In Malaysia , scientists from the University of Cambridge discovered what they think could be the tallest recorded tropical tree . Found in the Sabah state’s “Lost World,” the Yellow Meranti tree is endangered, more commonly found in the computer game Minecraft than on Earth. At its tallest point, the tree is nearly 300 feet tall, just a little bit shorter than London’s Big Ben. In collaborTION with the Sabah Forestry Department, the scientists found the tree using a LiDAR scanner carried by an airplane. It’s one thing to track down a tall tree and another entirely to measure just how tall it is. Unding Jami, local expert tree climber, scaled the tree with a tape measure to pin down its height. At the top he texted the scientists to let them know he was unable to take photographs because “there’s an eagle around that keeps trying to attack me and also lots of bees flying around.” Related: China restores swaths of denuded forests with exemplary conservation program The new tree beat out another Malaysian Yellow Meranti for the record. Located on a slope, that tree is about 298 feet tall at its tallest point; higher on the slope it’s about 288 feet tall. It’s not the tallest tree in the world – that record still goes to a staggering 377-foot California redwood – but the scientists think it is ” probably ” the tallest tree in the tropics . According to scientist David Coomes, trees in temperate regions grow taller than tropical trees, but nobody knows why. Yellow Meranti trees are endangered mainly due to logging at the hands of the palm oil industry. The Sabah government recently said it would attempt to restore an area near the newly discovered tree. Coomes said , “Conserving these giants is really important. Some, like the California redwoods, are among the largest and longest-living organisms on earth. Huge trees are crucial for maintaining the health of the forest and its ecology.” Via New Scientist Images courtesy of Stephanie Law and the University of Cambridge

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The world’s tallest tropical "Minecraft" tree found in Malaysia

Malaysia just established a massive 1-million-hectare marine park

June 1, 2016 by  
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After over 13 years of negotiation and planning between conservation groups, the government, and the fishing industry, Malaysia recently established a massive 1-million-hectare marine park. The new one million-hectare Tun Mustapha Park, located by the Sabah Province in the Coral Triangle, is home to endangered species such as dugongs and green turtles. About 360 fish species, over 250 hard coral species, and vegetation such as mangroves add to the richness of this ocean space. Unsustainable fishing practices such as blast fishing had damaged the area, but a 2012 research team discovered that out of the reefs they examined, about 57 percent could be classified as ” excellent ” or ” good .” However, they also noted pollution and heard 15 bombs from blast fishing. They didn’t see many sharks or sea turtles, which is typically a signal that an ecosystem is struggling. Related: Scientists discover a 600-mile-long coral reef in the most unlikely place The fishing industry profits from being able to use the area, but so do local communities. Around 80,000 people survive off fishing in the region. As officials worked out the details of the Tun Mustapha Park, they had to balance conservation with the needs of locals. Their solution is designated fishing zones for ” sustainable uses “, which were set up with the input of the fishing industry and locals. The Sabah Parks department confirms the park will be “a multiple use, managed area” with spots for artisanal and commercial fishing as well as areas under “strict protection.” According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Malaysia, damaged regions will be allowed to recover. This could take three to five years for areas that haven’t been too badly harmed, but five to ten years for areas in worse condition. There’s also potential for ecotourism : with 50 islands in the Tun Mustapha Park, visitors could enjoy activities from diving to volunteering in turtle nesting locations to lounging on white sand beaches. WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini said , “The Park’s gazettement should act as a model and an inspiration for marine conservation in the Coral Triangle and worldwide.” Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Malaysia just established a massive 1-million-hectare marine park

Two foot-long bug discovered in China dubbed worlds longest insect

May 24, 2016 by  
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Don’t freak out, but an insect spanning over two feet long has been discovered and it’s an apparent expert at lurking in disguise. A Chinese researcher had been searching for six years before finally finding one, but I doubt that will help you sleep more easily tonight. The previous world record for longest six-legged critter was a 22.3 inch stick insect from Malaysia, according to Discovery News, yet the new species discovered in the Guanxi province of China measures in at 24.6…

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Two foot-long bug discovered in China dubbed worlds longest insect

The endangered animal trade is taking off on Facebook

March 7, 2016 by  
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In Malaysia, you can purchase a pet gibbon, otter, slow loris, or even a bear without ever leaving the comfort of your own home , thanks to the explosion of exotic animal trading groups on Facebook. The issue was highlighted recently in a new report by the global wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic . Read the rest of The endangered animal trade is taking off on Facebook

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The endangered animal trade is taking off on Facebook

Orangutan killed over palm oil had 40 shotgun pellets in her body

December 17, 2014 by  
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A female orangutan was shot and killed in Nyaru Menteng, Indonesia last week in the species’ latest struggle with the palm oil industry. Riddled with over 40 shotgun pellets, the orangutan was found with her arms and legs broken on a plantation owned by the Makin Group of Indonesia, a major provider of palm oil to the world market. Read the rest of Orangutan killed over palm oil had 40 shotgun pellets in her body Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cosmetics , deforestation , endangered species , extinction , food , food products , habitat loss , indonesia , Malaysia , orangutans , palm oil

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Orangutan killed over palm oil had 40 shotgun pellets in her body

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