Italys 2020 World Expo pavilion celebrates sustainable, circular design

October 28, 2019 by  
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Exactly one year before the opening of the World Fair in Dubai, Carlo Ratti Associati has unveiled images for Italy’s Expo 2020 pavilion. Created in collaboration with Italo Rota Building Office, matteogatto&associati and F&M Ingegneria, the temporary structure embodies circular principles to minimize waste and integrate recycled materials such as coffee grounds, mycelium and ocean plastic. To reduce the building’s environmental footprint, natural climate control strategies will be used instead of air conditioning. Inspired by the seafaring populations of the Mediterranean basin, the Italy Expo 2020 pavilion will be constructed out of three boats that will delivered to the site as a symbol of the figurative journey from Italy to Dubai . Once on site, the boats will be transformed into the pavilion’s roof with an undulating shape that recalls the sea and desert waves. Sinuous lines will be repeated at the base of the pavilion, which will be built from a giant dune made with real sand. Meanwhile, an adaptable facade made from LED lights and nautical ropes will be installed to broadcast multimedia content. Related: WOHA unveils a lush, net-zero Singapore Pavilion for the 2020 World Expo “We liked the idea of a pavilion that would continuously mutate into different forms,” said Carlo Ratti, founding partner of Carlo Ratti Associati and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab. “We pursued a kind of architecture that could be reconfigured both in the long-term — because of its circularity — and in the short term — thanks to digital technologies.” The pavilion’s circular design will be rendered visible in the construction. The skywalk, for example, will be constructed with materials created from discarded orange peels and used coffee grounds. Italy’s Expo 2020 Pavilion will open its doors to the public on October 20, 2020 in Dubai and remain open until April 10, 2021. + Carlo Ratti Associati Renderings by Gary di Silvio, Pasquale Milieri, Gianluca Zimbardi / Carlo Ratti Associati

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Italys 2020 World Expo pavilion celebrates sustainable, circular design

A solar-powered catamaran with a built-in plastic clean-up system sets sail off the coast of Ibiza

September 25, 2019 by  
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Tourists from all over the world flock to Spain’s coastal regions throughout the year; however, the rising amount of plastic waste accumulating in the Mediterranean is threatening to do irreversible damage to these once-pristine waters. Thankfully, one forward-thinking cruise company is doing its part to keep the damage at bay. La Bella Verde has recently launched the Mediterranean’s only solar-powered and zero-emissions charter catamaran that comes equipped with a unique ocean filtering system, which removes plastics from the ocean waters. Launched in 2014 by two captains and one marine biologist who call Ibiza home, La Bella Verde is a sustainable charter company that also runs a non-profit foundation dedicated to preserving Ibiza’s beautiful waters. According to the company ethos, the eco-boating service revolves around enjoying life while caring for the environment. “We are here for a good time, and mother nature should not suffer at our expense,” the website reads. Related: Meet Squid — Key West’s solar-powered boat for dolphin tours With seven solar-powered catamarans, the company charters its “eco-cats” to tourists and locals, providing an exciting experience on the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea, all while emitting zero emissions. Now, the company has launched a new clean-up boat that actively filters out any debris in the water. The IBI Clean-Up Boat’s innovative, integrated system includes a high-grade inox steel framework with tight nylon netting that is connected between the boat’s two hulls. Operated with a central winch, the netting is lowered into the water to scoop up plastic waste . The system is designed so that marine life and seaweed can easily be released back into the water without any suffering. When it is not lowered for cleaning, the area serves as a comfortable, hammock-style lounge. According to the company’s calculations, the solar-powered boats , which sail seven hours per day, are able to clean approximately the equivalent of 30 Olympic-sized swimming pools per day. + La Bella Verde Photography by Victor Frankowski via La Bella Verde

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A solar-powered catamaran with a built-in plastic clean-up system sets sail off the coast of Ibiza

A budget-friendly bamboo house was completed in just 10 months

August 2, 2018 by  
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Brazilian architecture firm Vilela Florez designed Casa Bambu (Bamboo House), a breezy, contemporary home in northeast Brazil that takes its name from its striking use of bamboo for herringbone-patterned exterior paneling. Covering an area of nearly 2,000 square feet, this holiday home was built on a limited budget of 80,000 euros (approximately $93,140 USD) with a tight design and construction deadline of ten months for a couple who spends most of the year on a sailboat traveling through the Mediterranean Sea. The house takes cues from the clients’ travels with its Mediterranean-inspired blue hues and Portuguese mosaic stone floors found in the outdoor living areas. Located outside of a small village near Pipa Beach, Casa Bambu includes three bedrooms and bathrooms placed separately from the outdoor communal living areas. The architects built a two-story volume for the private rooms out of concrete masonry blocks that they then clad in panels of bamboo arranged in a herringbone pattern. In contrast, the primary living areas — including the dining room, kitchen and living space — are located in an adjacent open-air structure that overlooks the pool. Related: How to install bamboo paneling “Given the limited time granted for design and construction, a simple volume with the rooms is proposed and connected by bridges to an outdoor living area, paved in stone as the traditional Portuguese sidewalks,” the architects explained in a project statement. “This living area is protected laterally by two local stone walls and shaded by a wooden roof. Besides the natural color palette, spanning from wood, to bamboo and natural stone , the bedroom volume is painted in Mediterranean blue, a color so familiar to the clients from their many boat trips.” Related: This breezy bamboo amphitheater pops up in just 25 days The house is also oriented to take advantage of cooling cross ventilation . The prevailing winds are cooled when they pass over the outdoor pool and are passed into the living spaces and the bedrooms, which open up through sliding doors. + Vilela Florez Images by Mariana Vilela and Daniel F. Flórez

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A budget-friendly bamboo house was completed in just 10 months

Most active volcano in Europe ‘sliding into the sea’

March 27, 2018 by  
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Volcanic eruptions or lava flows you’ve heard of, but what about a volcano sliding into the sea? Scientists say that’s exactly what’s happening to Mount Etna, which The Open University described as the most active volcano in Europe. It’s the first time scientists have directly observed anything like it, and it could have disturbing consequences in the future. “Constant movement could contribute to a major landslide along Etna’s coast, causing devastating tsunamis to surrounding areas.” Mount Etna in Italy is headed towards the Mediterranean Sea. Researchers have observed parts of volcanoes move, but according to the BBC , these scientists think this is the first time anyone has directly observed basement sliding of a whole active volcano. They drew on 11 years of GPS measurements all over Etna to make the discovery. Related: Mount Etna eruption creates a display of fire, ash, and lightning over Sicily The Open University ‘s John Murray, lead author of the study on the work, said Mount Etna is moving 14 millimeters (mm) a year toward the Mediterranean. “While 14 mm might not seem much, previous studies of long-extinct volcanoes found those sliding downslope in a similar way have resulted in catastrophic landslides later in their history,” Murray said in the university’s statement. Should we be worried? Etna might not slide into the sea in our lifetimes, so local residents needn’t be afraid, but “continued sliding for hundreds or thousands of years could cause it to become dangerously unstable,” Murray said. He told the BBC scientists should monitor the motion to see if it accelerates. Mount Etna’s movement may impact research today, however; Murray said it could interfere with signals that clue scientists into where magma is. It could be trickier to monitor the likelihood of an eruption. The Bulletin of Volcanology published the research online late last week; scientists from Université Clermont Auvergne in France and Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom contributed. + The Open University + Bulletin of Volcanology Via the BBC Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Most active volcano in Europe ‘sliding into the sea’

Orange snow covers the mountains across Eastern Europe

March 26, 2018 by  
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The mountains of Russia , Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine have been splashed with color, as the region’s snow has taken on an unusual orange hue. Although the snow may look more like orange sherbet, observers are advised to not eat it. The strange color has been added to the snow by way of the Sahara Desert. While the mountains may present an otherworldly aesthetic, the phenomenon is actually quite normal and occurs every five years, according to meteorologists. Sand turned up by storms in the Sahara Desert flows north and mixes with snow and rain, turning the subsequent precipitation orange. The orange tint has not been confined to the mountains. On its way towards the high-altitude locations of Eastern Europe, the orange dust passed through the Mediterranean, where it added an orange filter to the air in places like the Greek island of Crete. While this is not the first instance in which Saharan sand has affected European weather, it is one of the most intense examples of the phenomenon. The displaced dust can even be seen from space, appearing as a narrow brown streak amidst the usual white and grey clouds. Related: This is one of the hottest places on Earth – and it just snowed there “Looking at satellite imagery from [NASA], it shows a lot of sand and dust in the atmosphere drifting across the Mediterranean,” Steven Keates, a meteorologist with the U.K.’s National Weather Service, told the Washington Post . “When it rains or snows, it drags down whatever is up there, if there is sand in the atmosphere.” Previous incidents involving orange-tinted, dust-induced weird weather in Europe include a 2016 event in which northwest Europe experienced an orange sky. Visible in London, the phenomenon was exacerbated by wildfires raging in Spain and Portugal at the time. Now, those fortunate enough to be in the mountains can enjoy the emulated experience of “skiing on Mars.” Via Washington Post Images via  margarita_alshina/Instagram and  slivi4/Instagram

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Orange snow covers the mountains across Eastern Europe

Scientists solve the mystery of Turkey’s deadly ‘Gate to Hell’

February 22, 2018 by  
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According to the ancient Romans, the Mediterranean is riddled with places where mortals can access the underworld. These “gates to hell” (or Plutoniums) are marked by stone structures, and some of them, like a cave in Hierapolis (now modern-day Turkey ) seem to have supernatural powers. Ancient Romans would bring animals into the mysterious haze inside the cave, where they would swiftly die. Now, scientists have answered the mystery of what is killing these animals and how humans could escape seemingly unscathed. According to the ancient Romans, humans would enter the grotto as part of a ritualistic sacrifice and leave unharmed, while animals would quickly die. The Greek geographer Strabo once said, “This space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death. I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell.” Some believed that the vapor was the breath of the hellhound Kerberos. Legend also has it that even birds flying by would drop out of the air. Related: Egyptians discover three sunken ships full of 2,000-year-old treasure Scientists have found that the cause of this deadly mist is actually carbon dioxide from a volcanic fissure in the earth underneath the cave. Concentrations of carbon dioxide are stronger towards the ground, which helps explain why animals were impacted more than humans. The time of day also impacts its concentration, with wind and sunlight dispersing the vapor. That means that nighttime, and particularly right before dawn, are the deadliest times to enter the cave. At dawn, concentrations are strong enough to kill a human within a minute. Researchers believe that priests participating in the rituals understood that the higher you were from the ground, the longer you could stand in the cave, making them to appear to have supernatural powers. They may have also adjusted the time that they entered the cave to coincide with lower concentrations. The cave was actually forgotten until just seven years ago, but the mystery around it has remained. Brave researchers, led by Hardy Pfanz at the University of Duisburg-Essen , wanted to understand the enigma, so they examined the grotto in detail. Pfanz’s method could be used to help solve the mysteries of other Plutoniums as well. Via IFL Science Images via Chris Parfitt and Carole Raddato

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Scientists solve the mystery of Turkey’s deadly ‘Gate to Hell’

Scientists finally know what is causing the underwater ‘fairy circles’ and it’s not good

August 11, 2017 by  
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Have you — like many — been dumbfounded by the mysterious underwater “fairy circles” found in the Mediterranean and Baltic sea? If so, you’re not alone. Fortunately, scientists finally know what is causing the sea floor phenomena, though it’s not likely to cheer you up. It turns out the “bald patches” devoid of vegetation are actually caused by a foreign species which may put entire ecosystems at risk. In the paper “Fairy Circle Landscapes Under The Sea,” published by Science Advances , lead researcher Daniel Ruiz-Reynés wrote that the invading species are being driven into the areas by polluted waters and climate change : “The spatial organisation of vegetation landscapes is a key factor in the assessment of ecosystem health and functioning,” he wrote, adding, “Spatial configurations of vegetation landscapes act as potential indicators of climatic or human forcing affecting the ecosystem.” The scientific name for the seagrass is Posidonia oceanica, and its dwindling presence signals that the region it is located in is threatened. If large populations of the seagrass disappear, the planet’s larger ecosystem will be affected, the researchers concluded. Unfortunately, it appears the circles, which have been found around the Danish coast as well as the Balearic islands, are more prevalent than scientists realized. This is because they are located below water . “Satellite images and side-scan cartography reveals that complex seascapes are abundant in meadows of Posidonia oceanica, suggesting that self-organised submarine vegetation patterns may be prevalent but have remained thus far largely hidden under the sea,” wrote Ruiz-Reynés. Furthermore, because the seagrass has a very low growth rate, losses are “essentially irreversible.” Related: Strange “Fairy Circles” Appear in the Middle of Africa’s Namib Desert Using findings from previous studies and by creating a mathematical model based on seagrass growth rates and long-distance interaction between underwater plants, the team was able to determine the cause of the fairy circles . Long story short, the competition for resources changes the dynamics of seagrass growth and is largely propelled by both climate change and pollution . This discovery is both intriguing and frightening, considering enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the globe four times — and of that amount, 80 percent makes its way into the oceans . If humans collectively fail to curb carbon emissions and only haphazardly invest in sustainable initiatives, the effects of climate change will result in much of the planet becoming uninhabitable, as well as various species going extinct . + Science Advances Via The Daily Mail Images via University of Southern Denmark , Pixabay

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Scientists finally know what is causing the underwater ‘fairy circles’ and it’s not good

Mediterranean to become desert unless global warming limited to 1.5C, study warns

October 31, 2016 by  
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Southern Spain could look like the Sahara unless global warming is held to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, the global average temperature target governments agreed to in Paris. That is the conclusion of a new study published in the journal Science titled “Climate change: The 2015 Paris Agreement thresholds and Mediterranean basin ecosystems.” According to the analysis, if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated and global warming reaches 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), desertification could overtake many areas around the Mediterranean by the end of the century, altering ecosystems in ways not seen in 10,000 years. The researchers examined pollen cores from sediments during the Holocene, the geological epoch that began more than 10,000 years ago. They than compared the information from past conditions to predictions of future climate and vegetation under different climate change scenarios. Warming beyond 2 degrees Celsius could cause an expansion of deserts in Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East with decidious forests replaced by shrubs and bushes. Related: 6 Brilliant designs to fight desertification The Mediterranean region is already warming at a more rapid pace than the rest of the world. Since 1880 when modern record-keeping began, average land and ocean surface temperature has increased by .85 degrees Celsius (1.5 degrees Fahrenheit). However, the Mediterranean basin has seen 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming. “The main message is really to maintain at less than 1.5C,” Joel Guiot, palaeoclimatologist at the European Centre for Geoscience Research and Education in Aix-en-Provence, France, and the study’s lead author, told The Guardian. “For that, we need to decrease the emissions of greenhouse gases very quickly, and start the decreasing now, and not by 2020, and to arrive at zero emissions by 2050 and not by the end of the century.” + Climate change: The 2015 Paris Agreement thresholds and Mediterranean basin ecosystems Via Inside Climate News Images via Good Free Photos  and Wikimedia

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Mediterranean to become desert unless global warming limited to 1.5C, study warns

Mediterranean hunters trap, glue and otherwise illegally kill 25 million birds every year

August 27, 2015 by  
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Wild birds are being hunted by the millions throughout Mediterranean Europe with impunity, despite strong laws against the practice. It is estimated that 25 million birds are hunted annually, using cruel trapping methods, such as tangled nets, metal traps, and glue-covered tree branches. Egypt, Italy, and Syria are the biggest offenders, yet several nations engage in the practice. Why are people getting away with this? Read the rest of Mediterranean hunters trap, glue and otherwise illegally kill 25 million birds every year

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Mediterranean hunters trap, glue and otherwise illegally kill 25 million birds every year

15 awe-inspiring semi-finalists announced for the 2015 Buckminster Fuller Challenge

August 27, 2015 by  
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