Artist Hugo McCloud spotlights waste with art made of plastic bags

April 8, 2021 by  
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Artist Hugo McCloud, known for using unusual medium choices such as aluminum sheeting, tar paper, scrap metal and solder, spent his quarantine in Mexico, layering together tiny pieces of plastic bag waste . The result is a 31-piece exhibition dubbed Burdened , recently on display at the Sean Kelly Gallery in Hudson Yards, New York. The artwork is a statement against the environmental impact of single-use plastic , but it’s also a response to the hardships of the human condition. The final pieces reflect the lives and tell a story of individuals potentially impacted by the journey of a single plastic bag. Related: Attenborough Effect inspires people to drastically reduce single-use plastics “Traveling in India, I saw multicolor polypropylene plastic sacks everywhere and started to understand their downcycle, from the companies that purchased and used them to distribute their products, down to the trash pickers in Dharavi slums,” McCloud explained. “The idea that these plastic bags would always be around — never biodegrade — interested me, curious about the hands and lives of the many people they would pass through.” The artistic process eliminates the need for glues or paints, relying instead on many thin layers of plastic-bag bits. The outcome requires planning, because the plastic is fused onto the panel with the heat from an iron. This type of art can’t be painted over, so the visions were clearly outlined from the start. The Burdened exhibition is aptly named, sending a message of human hardship, with struggle communicated through the posturing of the subjects, who are seen hauling garbage and products. The daily tasks represented in the works speak to worldwide economic adversities and the brutal honesty of sheer survival. For his third solo exhibition with the gallery, McCloud said the collection is, “about the idea of the person that is burdened in life, trying to survive, or make ends meet. I think in some regards, everybody is burdened in their own way in life.” In addition to the theme of daily challenges, McCloud focuses on the plight of migrants in the Mediterranean refugee crisis making the treacherous journey across the sea in hopes of an escape from oppression and poverty. The works communicate the need for hope and opportunities at a better life in a different land. McCloud also includes a small collage of flower arrangements , a focused effort to bring brightness to a time that has carried a heavy cloud for us all. The artist said he needed to “find a moment in each day for something that was in a sense still beautiful and still light.” More of McCloud’s work can be seen at an exhibition at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut in June 2021. + SKNY Via Dezeen Photography by Jason Wyche, images via SKNY 

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What you should know about new Interior Secretary Deb Haaland

March 17, 2021 by  
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What you should know about new Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Shaandiin Cedar Wed, 03/17/2021 – 02:00 According to a Wilderness Society analysis of U.S. Geological Survey data, life-cycle emissions from oil, gas and coal pulled from public lands and waters were equivalent to more than 20 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. If those emissions were attributed to a single country, it would rank fifth in life-cycle emissions, a sobering fact that exposes the need for bold leadership at the helm of historically slow-moving federal agencies. Early in his presidency, President Joe Biden made it a priority to select a diverse team proficient in climate work, and his cabinet appointment of Deb Haaland as Secretary for the Department of the Interior is no exception.  Born in Winslow, Arizona, Haaland spent summers with her grandmother in the Laguna Pueblo in Northwestern New Mexico and identifies as 35th generation Indigenous New Mexican with ties to the region dating back to the 13th century. Haaland was one of the first Native women elected to Congress, representing New Mexico’s 1st congressional district, and her appointment to the Interior makes her the first Native person to lead a U.S. cabinet agency. This breaks a 245-year record of non-Native leadership in a department directly responsible for managing the relationship with the nation’s 574 tribes and the 50 million acres of Native land held in trust by Interior bureaus. Haaland will oversee nearly 500 million acres of land — that’s one-fifth the land area of the U.S. and 70% of all public lands — and almost 700 million acres of natural resources that lay beneath it and its coasts. As Interior Secretary, Haaland will oversee nearly 500 million acres of land — that’s one-fifth the land area of the U.S. and 70 percent of all public lands — and almost 700 million acres of natural resources that lay beneath it and its coasts. The department is responsible for 422 national parks, 129 national monuments and 567 wildlife refuges, stewarding biodiversity conservation projects and protecting more than 1,000 endangered species. “It was in the cornfields with my grandfather where I learned the importance of water and protecting our resources and where I gained a deep respect for the earth,” Haaland said in her confirmation hearings, emphasizing that her experiences make her uniquely qualified to lead the Interior Department.  Climate advocates believe this is a significant turning point for the Interior, creating a pathway for private sector collaboration in the agency’s efforts to decarbonize and bolster federal production of renewable energy.  The Interior’s dirty fuel challenge  Given the sheer size of land and water under management, the Interior represents a valued powerhouse of domestic output and natural resource development. During Haaland’s confirmation hearings, Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) pointed out that the agency “generates $12 billion for treasury, $315 billion to the U.S. economy and nearly 2 million jobs,” a statement made to underline the importance of the department’s current and future operations. In terms of resource development, Haaland inherits a department that produces the resources for 20 percent of U.S. energy , including 12 percent of its natural gas, 24 percent of its oil and 43 percent of its coal. Leases managed by the Interior hit a record 1 billion barrels in 2020 — a 23 percent increase from 2016 levels. By contrast, sites primarily consisting of Bureau of Land Management projects — an Interior-managed department — produce only 1 percent of the country’s wind and virtually none of its solar power. Fossil fuels development on public lands and waters is responsible for almost one-quarter of the country’s emissions, according to a 2018 U.S. Geological Survey report , making public lands a net emitter of greenhouse gas and the subject of priority review by the Interior’s new leadership. Public land-based solutions As a valuable carbon sink, America’s public lands and waters are an essential part of a successful federal climate strategy, writes Alison Kelly, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. U.S. federal forests and grasslands are a major carbon pool and a significant component of the national greenhouse gas inventory, encompassing 248 million acres estimated to contain more than 12 billion tons of carbon .  Currently, the country’s 154 national forests absorb about 10 percent of the nation’s total carbon emissions each year, and a U.S. House of Representatives Special Select Committee on the Climate Crisis report states that there’s potential for capacity increases if deforestation is prevented, new forests are planted and agencies bring new lands into federal ownership. There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed. According to the committee report, protecting and expanding federal “blue carbon systems” — those that include ocean and wetland ecosystems, including mangroves, seagrasses and marshes — are essential to offset department emissions since they store carbon at a faster rate than terrestrial forests, a finding likely to inform the Interior department’s emission reduction strategies. The Interior’s bold to-do list  Historically, the agency has adhered to traditional notions of energy development, and Haaland has been an outspoken critic of that strategy. She was an early sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution in the House and has said she’s “wholeheartedly against fracking and drilling on public lands.”  As Secretary of the Interior, Haaland acknowledges that the role primarily consists of following the law and directives from the White House, not making them. “I understand that [my] role, it’s to serve all Americans, not just my one district in New Mexico,” said Haaland in her confirmation hearings. To that point, while climate change has become a political tension point, Haaland has emerged as someone who can work effectively with colleagues across the aisle. During her first term in the House, she was named the most bipartisan freshman congresswoman, a trait seen as an asset in aiding efforts to transform the Interior department into a climate-positive entity and potential ally for private sector contractors in the renewable energy space. During her confirmation hearings, Haaland was diplomatic and realistic. “There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come,” she told the committee. “But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed.”  As Haaland settles into her new role, federal and private sector companies should look to the following key priorities for early indications on how business can expect to plug into achieving the administration’s ambitious goals.  1. Pausing new oil fossil fuel development As directed in the recent Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad executive order , the Interior has put a pause on new oil and natural gas leases pending the completion of a “comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices.” This is seen as a bold step to systematically quantify climate impact, using it to inform future leasing processes. 2. Doubling offshore wind by 2030 As Secretary of the Interior, Haaland said she is committed to finding the right balance between economic growth and investing in a clean energy future.  “As part of this balance, the Department has a role in harnessing the clean energy potential of our public lands to create jobs and new economic opportunities,” she said. “The president’s agenda demonstrates that America’s public lands can and should be engines for clean energy production.”  To this end, Haaland will be responsible for reviewing opportunities to increase renewable energy production on Interior lands and waters, with the goal to double offshore wind by 2030. Currently, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management — an Interior managed department — has 15 active commercial leases in various, early stages of development in the Atlantic which, if developed fully, have the potential to support more than 21 GW of energy generating capacity — enough to power almost 7.5 million homes On a national scale, offshore wind for the contiguous United States and Hawaii has a potential capacity of 2,058 gigawatts, or 7,203 terawatt-hours per year, nearly double the electricity consumption of the U.S., according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s 2016 Offshore Wind Resource Assessment for the United States report . 3. Creating jobs with the Civilian Climate Corps Within 90 days, the Interior will submit “a strategy creating a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative, to mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs,” as directed by the executive order, and Haaland is fully onboard.  The creation of a Civilian Climate Corps “demonstrates that America’s public lands can and should be engines for clean energy production” and “has the potential to spur job creation,” Haaland said during her confirmation hearings. 4. Centering equity and environmental justice “Communities of color, low-income families, and rural and Indigenous communities have long suffered disproportionate and cumulative harm from air pollution, water pollution, and toxic sites,” states the Interior’s recently updated priorities list .  As a Congresswoman, and through her lived experiences with Indigenous communities, Haaland says she understands that negative environmental and social impacts are not evenly distributed in our society. As leader of the Interior, and a new member of the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council, she will be held accountable for addressing environmental injustice in accordance with Biden’s executive order directing the Interior to provide a comprehensive justice strategy and performance metrics. A fierce new climate ally   With the confirmation of Haaland as Secretary of the Interior, government leaders, activists and businesses expect to see major disruptions to business-as-usual public lands management. Haaland will be tasked with preserving natural spaces for generations to come, reducing the department’s sizable environmental impact and reorienting a team of 70,000 employees. While her supporters expect her to be strong on climate action, her skeptics expect her to listen and work with them, something that she says she’s willing and able to do.  In an open letter to Senate leaders during Haaland’s confirmation hearings — signed by nearly 500 national and regional organizations representing Native communities, environmental justice groups and private sector businesses — Haaland was described as “a proven leader and the right person to lead the charge against the existential threats of our time: tackling the climate, biodiversity, extinction and COVID-19 crises and racial justice inequities on our federal public lands and waters.”  At the helm of the Interior, Haaland will play a central role in realizing the federal government’s promises to combat climate change, deploy clean energy and address environmental racism.  Pull Quote Haaland will oversee nearly 500 million acres of land — that’s one-fifth the land area of the U.S. and 70% of all public lands — and almost 700 million acres of natural resources that lay beneath it and its coasts. There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed. Topics Policy & Politics Social Justice Environmental Responsibility Equity & Inclusion Indigenous People Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Get ready, Corporate America: The carbon disclosure mandates are coming

March 17, 2021 by  
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Get ready, Corporate America: The carbon disclosure mandates are coming Tim Mohin Wed, 03/17/2021 – 01:00 A slew of announcements earlier this month point to new regulations on carbon disclosure. Corporate America better get ready. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been particularly busy. Acting chairwoman Allison Herren Lee issued a public statement directing the SEC staff “to enhance its focus on climate-related disclosure in public company filings.” In a series of tweets , Lee also aligned with the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) statement of an “urgent need to improve the consistency, comparability, and reliability of sustainability reporting, with an initial focus on climate change-related risks and opportunities.” Also earlier this month, the SEC hired its first senior policy adviser for climate and ESG . (See a partial transcript from Lee’s speech earlier this week here .) The message is clear: Carbon disclosure will be mandatory. It’s undeniable that climate risks and opportunities are material to corporate performance and must be included in audited financial statements. This is long overdue, but there can be no doubt that climate disclosure will become a fixture for publicly traded companies. Britain , New Zealand and Switzerland already have moved forward with unprecedented speed to require disclosures aligned with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The TCFD, created by the G20 Financial Stability Board, issued its disclosure recommendations back 2017. Since then, thousands of companies, governments and others have lined up in support.  It’s undeniable that climate risks and opportunities are material to corporate performance and must be included in audited financial statements. T While coming mandates are clear, the required disclosures are still a bit murky. There is real momentum behind the IFRS Foundation’s move to develop international “sustainability reporting” standards . The trustees meeting this month may shed some more light, but don’t hold your breath; the IFRS already has stated that it will “produce a definitive proposal (including a road map with timeline) by the end of September 2021, and possibly leading to an announcement on the establishment of a sustainability standards board at the meeting of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 in November 2021.” With the slow pace of standards development, companies are facing uncertainty about what information to collect. While the requirements are unclear, carbon accounting procedures are well established. The greenhouse gas protocol has been around for many years and sets out a detailed process (more than 700 pages) for measuring corporate carbon footprints. While we wait to see what the required disclosures will be, companies can get a leg up by ensuring that their current carbon reporting is as aligned as possible with the greenhouse gas protocol. Accounting for carbon emissions from large enterprises is a daunting job. Complex multinational enterprises conduct thousands of carbon-generating transactions each day. Adding to the challenge is the Scope 3 problem: accounting for the carbon generated upstream (across the supply chain, for example) and downstream (products). Even for leading companies, creating assured carbon disclosures is hard work and will require new expertise, collaborations and enterprise-level technologies to streamline the process. Companies should start making those carbon finance hires today. Corporate leaders and boards also would be wise to get ahead of these regulations and take stock of their carbon management practices now. Having worked for three Fortune 500 companies, I can say firsthand that they won’t like what they find. Carbon management and disclosure is typically done on spreadsheets once per year and the data can be months old. This is not a management system; it’s a way to track annual performance.  Adding to these gaps is the carbon trading market. Carbon prices in Europe are skyrocketing  — surging 60 percent since November — on the news of impending regulation. Simultaneously, there are efforts in Europe and the U.S . to assign monetary value to each ton of carbon, with the Biden administration’s reinvigoration of the “social cost of carbon” initiative.   And if these developments weren’t enough of a wakeup call, the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, made it very clear it would hold the companies it invests in accountable for their carbon management. With $8 trillion under management, this would touch just about every company. Just to make the signal clearer, BlackRock doubled down by signaling it would vote against the boards who fail to meet its standards. Alarm bells are ringing in the C-suite and boardrooms. Corporate compliance officers will be up late scrambling to develop their carbon disclosure strategy. While there is a lot of work to be done, new resources emerge every day to help companies navigate this challenge.   After a long career in the sustainability space, it is gratifying to witness the tipping point where sustainability enters the mainstream of global commerce. It’s about time.  Pull Quote It’s undeniable that climate risks and opportunities are material to corporate performance and must be included in audited financial statements. T Topics Finance & Investing Reporting Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Casa Etrea offers off-grid lodging on an extinct volcano

March 12, 2021 by  
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Nestled into the slope of the dormant Palo Huérfano volcano in central Mexico, Casa Etérea is a passion project of Singapore writer, photographer and designer Prashant Ashoka. The mirrored dwelling is not only self-sustaining but environmentally friendly, too. Casa Etérea is located just 20 minutes from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors arrive via four-wheel-drive transport from town, provided as part of the lodging package. Upon arrival, Casa Etérea makes a memorable statement with its mirrored exterior. Not only does the glass reflect the surrounding hillsides and mesquite trees for the human eye, but a special patterned, ultraviolet coating allows birds to see it as a structure, thus eliminating impact risks. The name Etérea translates from Spanish to ethereal, deepening the emphasis on art, beauty and connection to the natural environment. Related: Filmmaker designs and builds off-grid backcountry cabin for $50k Ashoka explained, “The vision was to create a theatre to nature , so sustainability was crucial in achieving a truly complete integration with the environment.” The structure is completely off of the grid and houses two people comfortably within the 75-square-meter space. Solar panels provide 100% power to the home, which includes plenty of amenities for comfort: a king-sized bed, a luxe living space, a kitchen and laundry facilities. Rainwater is collected and reused for daily activities, including to fill the distinctive copper bathtub located beside the bed. Natural materials such as jute, leather, wood and stone further express the connection with nature. Ashoka wanted to ensure minimal site impact , so the entire foundation was formed from rocks collected on the surrounding mountain. Careful positioning of the structure allows for effective ventilation, and insulating glass regulates temperature control. This level of energy efficiency doesn’t sacrifice the views offered by the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. Once the home is opened to the outdoors, guests can step directly onto a patio and pool area naturally shaded by olive and pomegranate trees. Meaningful community engagement was also important to Ashoka, who has connected with local providers for activities such as horseback riding, guided hikes and ATV tours. Casa Etérea is available to experience for up to two guests and can be booked directly through Instagram [@casa_eterea]. + Casa Etérea Images via Prashant Ashoka

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Casa Colorada merges luxury and sustainability

February 16, 2021 by  
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Homes like the incredible Casa Colorada prove that smart design can blend high-end style with sustainability. The home is named for the clay and red soil of the mountain where it is built in touristy Valle de Bravo, which is about 87 miles from Mexico City. Overlooking a lake and a forest of oak and pine trees, Casa Colorada is surrounded by winding rivers and breathtaking views. Once Once Arquitectura faced several challenges to create this luxury home. The terrain is elongated and has steep slopes, and the team wanted to preserve all trees on the property. As such, columns were built to allow the trees to remain undisturbed, and the front terrace has many gaps to provide room for trees and branches. It’s an innovative design that strongly conveys how architects can approach preserving nature. Related: Half-buried home in Brazil is crafted from rammed earth The house has a breezy, open floor plan that includes a large dining room, a kitchen and a living room all surrounded by windows that share the stunning views. The dining room opens up to a terrace and an interior patio. This patio area catches the sunlight in the morning. In the afternoon, it becomes a shady space to enjoy nature. Sliding doors connect the living room and dining room to the outside. The kitchen has its own bar area with a terrace of its own. The materials for Casa Colorada were carefully chosen. The walls are plastered with cement and sand, and the floors are paneled with mud. The roofs are made with planks of local wood and beams as well as clay tiles. The efficient windows are made with double glass to prevent energy loss. A passive design and naturally insulating materials keep this house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Casa Colorada is luxurious, but it is also clear that it was made with sustainability in mind. + Once Once Arquitectura Photography by Camila Cossio via v2com

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Green-roofed Casa 23s porous facade opens and closes to save energy

January 26, 2021 by  
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On the outskirts of the town Villeta in Colombia, Bogotá-based architecture firm Arquitectura en Estudio (aRE) has completed Casa 23, a holiday home that relies on passive strategies to save energy and stay naturally cool without air conditioning. Strategically set onto a slope for extraordinary views of the mountainous landscape, the contemporary home is adapted to the existing topography to minimize landscape impact. The home is also built of locally and renewably sourced natural materials for a reduced environmental footprint. Designed to adapt to the existing topography, Casa 23 comprises a series of stepped platforms inserted into the mountainside that project toward valley views. The main living spaces, service rooms and the primary bedroom are located on the uppermost volume while the guest bedrooms are set down below. A series of “stairs-patios” links the outward-facing volumes, which are landscaped with lush vegetation and topped with insulating green roofs to blur the boundary between indoors and out. Related: Ancient Mayan-inspired Casa Merida operates off the grid in Mexico “Floating above the mountain, this abstract box shows its clean and simple geometry towards the entrance, becoming the main facade of the house,” the architects explained in a project statement. “By separating and stepping these volumes the house allows all the inhabitable spaces to enjoy an uninterrupted view of their surroundings.” Because Casa 23 is primarily used as a holiday retreat, the architects selected materials that were durable and low-maintenance. Board-formed concrete walls and ceilings tinted an earthy ochre color complement natural sandstone floors throughout and give the modern home an inviting character. The operable facade is built of teak wood screens that can be opened and closed for privacy and to modulate access to sun and wind. Deep overhangs also help mitigate unwanted solar gain and protect against the elements. In addition to the use of locally sourced materials, the build of Casa 23 relied on local construction labor. + Arquitectura en Estudio Photography by Llano Fotografía via Arquitectura en Estudio

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Green-roofed Casa 23s porous facade opens and closes to save energy

A 1905 home reborn as greenery-filled office in Mexico City

December 24, 2020 by  
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Mexican architecture firm  Gabriel Beas Arquitectura  has transformed a 1905 building in the historic  Mexico City  neighborhood of Colonia San Rafael into Corporativo BNS, a contemporary office space surrounded by lush landscaping. Completed in phases over four years, the adaptive reuse project recovered much of the carved stonework, iron windows, carpentry and tiled floors original to the 1905 construction while introducing a new contemporary aesthetic that welcomes the outdoors in.  Oriented east to west on a long and linear site, the 1,095-square-meter Corporativo BNS consists of office spaces, meeting rooms, storage and other service spaces. In remodeling the structure, the architects learned that the building was converted into an  office  in the 1970s. After this, a series of added extensions covered up the original patios. To reconnect the new office with the outdoors, the architects restored the original patios and — taking advantage of the building’s walkable location in the city center — removed the sheltered parking areas. Those spaces were replaced with lushly planted  courtyards  that serve as waiting and meeting areas as well as the main circulation pathways through the various parts of the building. The open patio is also connected to the ground-floor kitchen and dining room for employees.  Related: Midcentury warehouse becomes a community-building asset in Mexico City The original structure has also been reinforced with two new steel-framed extensions sympathetic to the architectural design of the ground floor and fitted with partition walls and floor-to-ceiling glass. Vegetation introduced on the upper levels and along the parapets, roofs and terraces appears to immerse the  adaptive reuse  building in a jungle-like environment. “The result is a homogeneous group of buildings in which the different times of construction coexist with the vegetation, generating a space of calm between the chaos of the city,” the architects noted in a project statement.  + Gabriel Beas Arquitectura Photographrapy by Onnis Luque

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CLAE launches vegan cactus leather sneakers

December 17, 2020 by  
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Independent footwear brand CLAE will be celebrating its 20th anniversary next year with the release of its newest shoes made from vegan cactus leather. The Los Angeles-based company is committed to conscious and sustainable fashion, with some of its previous eco-minded sneakers made of materials like hemp and recycled mesh. The cactus leather shoes are a collaboration between CLAE and DESSERTO , highly sustainable, plant-based vegan leather creators who won the Green Product Award in 2020. According to the sneaker company, this will be the world’s first shoe made from a perennial cactus. Related: Oliver Co. makes vegan leather wallets from apple waste and wood The leather is made in Zacatecas, Mexico from the mature leaves of the nopal (also known as prickly pear) cactus without damaging the plant. Cultivated only with natural minerals and rainwater at 8,000-foot altitudes, Nopal is known for its low ecological footprint and is 100% organic . The leaves are harvested every six to eight weeks to give the plant ample time to regenerate and help preserve the local biodiversity. After the mature leaves are cut, they spend a few days drying under the sun before undergoing DESSERTO’s patented process that transforms the plant into a soft yet durable vegan leather. CLAE doesn’t stop there; the Bradley Cactus sneakers are also fitted with laces made of recycled nylon from plastic waste, while the sole is made using 100% natural rubber. This natural rubber comes from the latex sap of Hevea trees and is harvested on sustainably managed forests that help maintain the global balance of atmospheric carbon. The shoes also come packaged in environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cardboard . Bradley Cactus sneakers are currently available for pre-order at an exclusive rate of $130, which is $20 less than the original price. They are available in white, black and green, colors inspired by the Nopal cactus plant. + CLAE Images via CLAE

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This Oaxacan oasis uses low-maintenance local materials

November 6, 2020 by  
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On a paradisal plot between the Pacific Ocean and the Oaxacan mountain range, Mexican architecture firm  anonimous  has completed Casa Cova, a two-family vacation home with spectacular views of the ocean. Located in the tourist destination of Puerto Escondido, Mexico, the holiday home comprises two linear compounds — one for each family — that flank a shared swimming pool, communal living area, dining space and bar in the center. A system of parallel concrete walls enclose the compounds and help frame views of the water, while a palette of locally-sourced natural materials helps tie the architecture to the landscape.  Casa Cova features a U-shaped layout, with the private bedrooms located in the “arms” of the home. Each arm comprises three pavilions: a master suite with framed views of the  Pacific Ocean , two kids’ bedrooms with private bathrooms, and a hammock area. Wooden shutters divided into three parts fold back to completely open up the interior to the outdoors. The indoor/outdoor connection is further enhanced with a series of interlocking open courtyards and breaks in the parallel concrete walls that promote natural ventilation from the ocean.  The two private wings flank a large volume in the center that contains a multipurpose area and a linear  swimming pool . The central volume also contains service spaces such as the kitchen, laundry room and a machine room that are all strategically tucked away so as not to detract from views of the Pacific Ocean. Also, the building is elevated five feet off the ground to mitigate flooding.  Related: This glamping hideout in Bali is made entirely out of bamboo To integrate the building into the landscape, the architects lined the walls and ceilings with  locally-sourced  dried palm tree leaves, used Parota wood for furnishings and chose regional low-maintenance vegetation for landscaping. Long ‘palapa’ — a regional cover made from dried palm tree leaves — tops the roofs to provide shade and natural cooling. + anonimous Images via anonimous

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Denmark to cull millions of minks to prevent spread of mutant coronavirus

November 6, 2020 by  
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The Danish government has announced plans to cull all of the minks in the country’s mink farms to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus to humans. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that the minks are transmitting a new form of the coronavirus to humans, a situation that could spiral out of control. According to Frederiksen, a coronavirus-mapping agency has detected a mutated virus in several patients. Twelve individuals in the northern part of the country were diagnosed with a mutant form of the coronavirus, which is believed to have been contracted from the minks. Related: 1 million minks culled in Spain, the Netherlands Denmark is among the leading countries in mink farming. Its minks are used to produce fur , which is supplied to other parts of the world. These animals have been found to be a cause for concern relating to the transmission of the virus. According to Health Minister Magnus Heunicke, about half of the 783 humans infected with the coronavirus in northern Denmark have links to the mink farms. “It is very, very serious,” Frederiksen said. “Thus, the mutated virus in minks can have devastating consequences worldwide.” The government is now estimating that about $785 million will be required to cull the 15 million minks in the country. According to Mogens Gensen, Denmark’s minister for food, 207 mink farms are now infected. This number is alarming, considering that by this time last month, 41 farms were infected . Further, the virus has began spreading throughout the western peninsula. To date, Denmark has registered 50,530 confirmed coronavirus cases and 729 deaths. It is feared that if the situation is not contained, the numbers may get worse. To avoid this, Denmark started culling millions of minks last month, and the same is expected to continue for some time. Via Huffington Post Image via Jo-Anne McArthur

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