Big in 2021: American jobs created by EV companies

January 6, 2021 by  
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Big in 2021: American jobs created by EV companies Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 01/06/2021 – 00:30 One of the big things I’m thinking about to kick off 2021 is how electric vehicles will be entwined with a U.S. recovery. Even before Joe Biden has formalized any green stimulus plans, the EV industry in the U.S. is showing important indicators that it will see solid growth this year — and that means jobs. New industry jobs. Electric jobs. Climate jobs.  Recently I chatted with the CEO and founder of Lion Electric , an electric bus and truck maker based in Saint-Jerome, Quebec. Marc Bedard founded the company 12 years ago — after working at a diesel school bus company in the 1990’s — with the goals of eliminating diesel engines for school buses and diesel fumes from the air that school kids breathe.  Lion got its start making electric school buses and has delivered major orders to the Twin Rivers Unified School District in Sacramento, California, and White Plains School District in White Plains, New York. More recently it unveiled an electric delivery truck and scored orders with Amazon and Canadian logistics provider CN.  While Lion Electric already has a factory in Montreal that can make 2,500 e-buses and trucks a year, the company tells GreenBiz it plans to expand into the U.S. by buying and converting an American factory that could be large enough to make 20,000 vehicles a year. Lion will unveil more details about where exactly that factory could be in the coming weeks, although vehicle production there probably won’t start for a couple of years. The expected rise of EV jobs across new and established automakers offers a spark of good news amidst expected anemic job growth for the first half of the year. Lion isn’t the only EV truck maker eying expansion into the U.S. market. Arrival — a London-based EV truck maker with a 10,000-EV deal with UPS —  plans to invest $43 million into its first U.S. factory in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The factory is expected to produce 240 jobs, with operations to start in the second quarter of 2021. The company’s U.S. headquarters will be in nearby Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to Arrival and Lion, a handful of other independent U.S. EV makers have emerged in recent years to tap into the growing American electric truck market, including Lordstown Motors , Hyliion , XL Fleet , Rivian, Nikola and Lightning eMotors. All of these companies recently have raised hundreds of millions of dollars and gone public by merging with “blank check” companies, or Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (also called SPACs).  Although the financial tool is a bit speculative in nature — the SPAC process is far quicker and less rigorous than going public via a traditional initial public offering — it turns out that SPACs, strangely enough, could help create thousands, if not tens of thousands, American EV industry jobs. Hopefully, most of those will end up being long-term, stable jobs.  And those are just the latest jobs from the newest players. Ford is developing an all-electric cargo van at a Kansas City plant that will create 150 jobs this year. That’s on top of the hundreds of other new EV jobs created by Ford’s new electric vehicle lines, the electric F-150 and the Mustang Mach-E. Likewise, Daimler Trucks North America has been converting and expanding its factory to make electric trucks at its Swan Island headquarters in North Portland, Oregon. The new EV jobs couldn’t come at a better time. Thanks to the pandemic, 2020 saw historic American unemployment rates peaking in April and recovering to just 6.7 percent unemployment as of November. But with a slow vaccine rollout and surging infection rates, prolonged long-term high unemployment rates are expected. Clean energy jobs have been equally hit hard, with about a half-million clean energy workers left unemployed by the pandemic this year.  Despite not knowing what Biden’s green stimulus will look like, the administration already has signaled that the automakers could be a big part of a recovery. Biden selected former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as his energy department secretary. Granholm worked closely with the Obama administration and the auto industry throughout the green stimulus program following the 2008 financial crisis.  The expected rise of EV jobs across new and established automakers offers a spark of good news amidst expected anemic job growth for the first half of the year. And these are just jobs from the vehicle manufacturers.  Equally strong job growth is expected for EV infrastructure providers riding the same electric wave and could get even more of a boost from a green infrastructure stimulus. A federal government stimulus also could inject funding and jobs into a growing domestic EV battery production sector.  In what is expected to be another dark couple of quarters for employment in 2021, look to EV jobs to offer a bright spot.  Sign up for Katie Fehrenbacher’s newsletter, Transport Weekly, at this link . Follow her on Twitter. Pull Quote The expected rise of EV jobs across new and established automakers offers a spark of good news amidst expected anemic job growth for the first half of the year. Topics Transportation & Mobility Jobs & Careers Electric Vehicles Electric Bus Electric School Buses Electric Trucks Featured Column Driving Change 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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Big in 2021: American jobs created by EV companies

Biden chooses his climate team here are the nominees

December 18, 2020 by  
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As president-elect Joe Biden continues to pick his Cabinet and agency heads, eco-conscious Americans watch to see what his choices will mean for the climate crisis. So far, it looks like Biden is surrounding himself with a strong climate team consistent with his top priority of quickly reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. On Wednesday, Biden named former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary. Auto workers, energy lobbyists and environmental groups supported this choice. “ Transportation is an issue that touches all Americans — urban, rural, coastal and in the heartland of our nation,” said Chris Spear , American Trucking Associations President and CEO. “Having served as a mayor, Pete Buttigieg has had an up close and personal look at how our infrastructure problems are impacting Americans, and how important it is to solve them.” Related: Biden promises US-led climate summit in 2021 Buttigieg also comes into the position with a plan that he developed during his time as a presidential contender. The plan, which he presented back in January, included $165 billion for the Highway Trust Fund to fix and update bridges and roads and create more union jobs. He championed electric vehicles and suggested dispersing $6 billion in loans and grants to cities and states for funding charging station networks. Biden has nominated former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm for energy secretary, and he said he will appoint former Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy to lead domestic climate efforts. The Energy Department is in charge of regulating utility companies. Granholm has a good record on clean energy and has worked closely with chemical and energy firms in the past. As Michigan’s governor, she encouraged the increased manufacturing of electric vehicles. McCarthy was head of the EPA under President Barack Obama. She had a strong record of making rules to oppose climate change. Her new position would be coordinating and overseeing a federal interagency approach to climate issues. She is currently the president and CEO of NRDC . On Thursday, Biden nominated Michael Regan to lead the EPA. Regan began working as North Carolina’s environmental chief in 2017, and during this time, he focused on environmental justice. He has spent years helping low-income communities that were the most impacted by industrial pollution. Biden also announced his nomination of Deb Haaland, who would be the first Native American to lead the Department of the Interior. If confirmed, she will oversee the management of public lands as well as the protection and honoring of Indigenous communities. In a statement, the Biden-Harris transition team said Haaland will be “ready on day one to protect our environment and fight for a clean energy future.” Via Washington Post , AP and NPR Image via René DeAnda

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Biden chooses his climate team here are the nominees

Hungary announces preemptive ban on fur farms

December 2, 2020 by  
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Hungary’s ministerial commissioner of animal protection, Péter Óvári, announced this week that farming mink, foxes, ferrets and coypu will not be allowed in the country. These animals are not currently farmed there. But now that millions of mink have been slaughtered in other European countries due to COVID-19 concerns, Hungarian officials worried that fur farmers might try to move their operations to Hungary . “This is a precautionary measure that shuts the door to that happening, and that is a good outcome for human health and animal welfare ,” said Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International (HSI) Europe, as reported by VegNews . Related: Denmark’s top fur cooperative is closing The COVID-19 virus has spread between animals on mink farms in some European countries, including Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Greece and Italy. Infected minks have been identified in at least 15 U.S. farms in Wisconsin, Michigan and Utah. Denmark and the Netherlands have slaughtered millions of mink to stop the spread of zoonotic disease . Health experts worry that the virus could mutate in the animals, which could spell disaster for vaccine development. The strange thing about Hungary’s decision is that while local farmers don’t raise mink, foxes, ferrets or coypu (aka nutria), they do raise chinchillas for fur and plan to continue doing so. “For as long as the animal exploitation of fur farming is tolerated, the potential for reservoirs of animal to human pathogens will persist,” Swabe said, “and so HSI hopes that the Hungarian government will also consider strengthening its ban by shutting down the country’s chinchilla fur farms too, and make fur farming history in Hungary.” Chinchillas are native to South America, but their extremely soft, luxurious fur has made them susceptible to international fur farmers who want to turn the sensitive, nocturnal creatures into coats and cash. A company called Wanger is responsible for much of the fur farming across southeast Europe, including in Hungary, Serbia and Bosnia. Activists have used the hashtag #stopwanger when protesting this company. Via VegNews , Respect for Animals Image via Jo-Anne McArthur

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Hungary announces preemptive ban on fur farms

Former Walmart exec brings ride-share technology to fresh produce transport

October 27, 2020 by  
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Former Walmart exec brings ride-share technology to fresh produce transport Jesse Klein Tue, 10/27/2020 – 01:00 Hwy Haul co-founder and CEO Syed Aman knows fresh produce is the future of grocery stores. It’s one of the few categories that still drives shoppers to buy in-store. But some points in the supply chain for fresh produce are still stuck in the dark ages. Using his experience at Walmart, Aman is dragging trucking into the digital age with the added bonus of reducing food waste and eliminating unnecessary transportation emissions.  The trucking industry is fragmented and driven by individual relationships, according to Aman. Hwy Haul is trying to unite every stakeholder — shipper, trucker and retailer — in one place. Hwy Haul’s app digitally connects growers with fresh produce to truckers who can deliver the loads to buyers around the country. According to Max Gorobets, associate director of transportation for Lakeside Produce , one of Hwy Haul’s clients, before the app, would have to get on the phone to call each trucking company to find a truck and a driver to pick up and deliver his load. Lakeside Produce delivers 12 million cases of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers to large grocery stores in Canada every year, usually dealing with regional trucking companies. “You spend a lot of time and effort and money to get it done manually,” he said. Now Gorobets enters his load’s origin and destination information into the Hwy Haul app, and drivers on the other end can decide to accept it. Gorobets’ story reminds me of my own transition from yellow cabs to the Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services. Hwy Haul is used by thousands of carriers across North America, and it earns a commission on every load. The San Francisco-based startup has raised $3.3 million in seed funding. According to its website , investors and advisers include partners and CEOs at August Capital, Freshworks and Nutanix. But convenience isn’t the main driver modernizing the trucking industry. Aman hopes his platform will help with transportation-related sustainability commitments by reducing the number of empty miles driven by trucks and the amount of food waste. Technology working to reducing empty mileage  In the trucking sector, anywhere between 20 and 30 percent of miles are driven by empty freights, according to industry research. Sometimes, trucks drive 300 miles just to pick up a load. Those emissions add up. Hwy Haul has reduced empty mileage by 80 percent compared to industry standards by using data science, AI and algorithms, Aman said.  Gorobets described a time he was short a driver in California on a Saturday night. He needed a truck within the hour to make it on time for his delivery in Michigan or he would have lost the produce to a different retailer. Gorobets was in Leamington, Ontario, trying to figure out a truck for a load in San Francisco, not usually an easy task. “With Hwy Haul, I posted the load and within half an hour, I had a driver in the area ready for pick-up,” he said.   Without Hwy Haul, Gorobets would have called every carrier in California and might have been able to connect only with a driver a few hundred miles away. He would have had to settle for those empty miles, and the planet would have had to suck in CO2 from an unnecessary and unproductive drive.  21st-century monitoring could eliminate waste Aman’s key metric of success, however, is reducing rejections and therefore reducing food waste. According to him, produce spends half its shelf life on a truck.  “Produce is a very time-sensitive commodity,” he said.  That means having eyes on the produce at all times during the route. Hwy Haul uses sensors to monitor metrics such as temperature and location that are uploaded in real-time to its portal.  “One of the biggest problems of this industry is visibility and transparency,” he said. “Everyone is anxious about what’s happening to their load.” Shippers can log into the portal to see what is happening to their products and where a shipment is along the trip instead of hassling the truck driver over email, phone or text. According to Aman, an average of 14 percent of loads are rejected by the retailer once they make it to the destination because of spoilage and damage en route. If there’s one metric he hopes to get down to negligible, it’s that one. So far, Hwy Haul has reduced rejections by 90 percent compared to industry standards, he estimated.  “If the food gets rejected, we are working on certain programs to be routed to a nearby food bank or wholesalers rather than crashing into the dumpster,” Aman said. Topics Transportation & Mobility Food Systems Supply Chain Food Waste Transportation Supply Chain Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Hwy Haul connects truckers and shippers through a digital platform for convenience and sustainability improvements.  Courtesy of Hwy Haul Close Authorship

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Parsing Panera’s plan to nudge consumers toward low-carbon meals

October 23, 2020 by  
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Parsing Panera’s plan to nudge consumers toward low-carbon meals Jim Giles Fri, 10/23/2020 – 01:00 Something changed recently in America’s fast-casual restaurants. It involved only a single company, but it could herald the start of a fundamental shift in the choices that diners make. I’ll get to what happened in a minute, but first take a step back and consider the information available when you buy food. At the grocery store, you’re bombarded with labels: organic and its new extension, regenerative organic; various competing fair trade standards; certifications relating to animal health and so on. Notice that these widely used labels tell you nothing about the climate change impact of your choices. If you’re eating out, you might find calorie information on menus and, typically at more boutique restaurants, notes on where ingredients were sourced from. Again, you’re unlikely to see anything relating to climate. This matters, because the greenhouse gas emissions generated by different kinds of food vary widely. Here’s a useful summary, courtesy of the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan: The reluctance of brands to use climate labels may be partly because it isn’t clear what consumers would do with emissions information. In 2007, for instance, PepsiCo added a label to its Walkers potato chips noting that each bag generated 80 grams of carbon dioxide . A few years later, the label was gone. “With consumers not having enough points of comparison to make the label a useful tool at the time, it was discontinued,” a PepsiCo spokesperson told me. There’s been little progress since, but 2020 looks to be the year when things started to change. In June, Unilever announced ambitious plans to attach carbon labels to its products . Now restaurants are acting, too. The change I referred to earlier is happening at Panera Bread, where many menu items now have a “Cool Food” badge attached to them.  The label, developed by the World Resources Institute , indicates that the emissions generated by the item are in line with the institute’s recommended dietary carbon footprint. This is 38 percent smaller than the U.S. average, a cut that WRI research has found is needed by 2030 to help avoid the worst impacts of climate change. There are two reasons why I think this could be the start of something meaningful. First, the Panera Bread brand isn’t built around environmental values, as you might expect from an early mover in this space. Panera and the WRI seem to have recognized this by making it easy for consumers to make low-carbon choices. Contrast that with the Walkers experiment: PepsiCo deserves credit for being ahead of its time, but the information consumers saw on the chips — 80 grams of carbon dioxide — wasn’t meaningful to anyone aside from climate experts. (For experts and anyone else who wants more details on what qualifies as a Cool Food Meal, Panera has provided a breakdown of emissions associated with each menu item .) It’s also critical that Panera is not going it alone. The badge is based on extensive WRI research and builds on work that the institute has been doing with foodservice operators. The hope is that other restaurants will adopt the badge, making it easier for people to find climate-friendly options whenever they eat out. One quick aside before sign off. I described Panera as an early adopter, but the first mover here might be the Just Salad chain, which introduced carbon labels last month . After I mentioned the Panera announcement a couple of weeks back, Just Salad emailed to argue that items on its menu generate less carbon than comparable offerings at Panera. I’d like to dig into this in the future, but for now, I’ll just note that it’s awesome to see chains competing on carbon.  Topics Food & Agriculture Food & Agriculture Featured Column Foodstuff Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Quality HD Close Authorship

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How to support environmental justice

July 8, 2020 by  
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When most of us think about the environment, we tend to conjure certain images. Clean waterways and national parks full of trees or wildlife come to mind, especially since environmental news often focuses on polar ice caps melting in the Arctic, deforestation in the Amazon and animals close to extinction. How often, however, do we think about the human communities in our own backyard and where we fit into environmental issues? When climate change doesn’t seem to affect you directly, it can be easy to overlook. This is where environmental justice comes in. What is environmental justice? The United States  Environmental Protection Agency  defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” This goal will become reality “when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.” This intersection between environmentalism and social justice forms an important branch of activism that focuses on people’s right to live safely without environmental hazards. Related: 5 growing environmental nonprofits to support in 2020 Concerns linked to hazardous  waste  sites, failing infrastructure and money-saving policy changes in vulnerable communities continue to plague the environment and the humans who live there. Low-income communities and communities of color are especially at risk; think Flint, Michigan, when a 2014 policy change led to at least 100,000 people losing access to clean water. Additional examples of environmental injustice remain plentiful. Low-income communities are more likely than the overall population to be affected by climate change threats (such as flooding), due to inadequate housing. A 2018  study  by the Environmental Protection Agency also found that  air polluting  facilities burdened Black communities at a rate 1.54 times higher than the overall population. Throughout the country, there are even neighborhoods without access to healthy food, and communities with toxic waterways and soil due to oil and gas extraction. How to help All of these environmental injustices can be daunting, but there are ways to help. Especially with  social media , something as simple as raising awareness of an issue can have a lasting effect. You can also show your support by getting involved with or donating to environmental justice  non-profits . One of the best ways to help is by backing socially-equal conservation policies and the organizations or politicians supporting them.  WE ACT  is an organization that helps low-income communities of color fight harmful environmental policies while participating in the creation of fair environmental policies.  Green For All  works to uplift the voices of low-income communities and people of color in the climate justice movement and fights to build a green economy that lifts people out of poverty. The NAACP also has an  Environmental and Climate Justice Program  to support community leadership in addressing environmental injustice and its disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income communities. Take the time to challenge unjust laws and violations of environmental policies in marginalized communities, too.  EarthJustice  believes that law is the most powerful tool for environmental change. The non-profit public interest environmental law organization supports an experienced legal team that represents their clients from small towns to large organizations (for free) in the fight against environmental injustice. Environmental justice work doesn’t stop there Indigenous communities are also disproportionately exposed to environmental contaminants, often due to federal and state laws that make it easier for extractive and polluting facilities to access tribal lands. A 2012  study  even found that Indigenous American communities face disproportionate health burdens and environmental health risks compared with the average North American population. Organizations like  Cultural Survival , which works to advance the rights and cultures of Indigenous people, and the  Indigenous Environmental Network , an alliance of Indigenous peoples who fight to address environmental and economic justice issues, help educate and empower Indigenous people while raising awareness for their environmental protection. Other facets of the environment, such as the  agricultural  sector, also experience injustice.  The National Black Farmers Association  is a non-profit organization representing African American farmers and their families in the U.S., focusing on issues such as civil rights, land retention, education, agricultural training and rural economic development. A new generation leading the way Especially in recent years, with young leaders addressing the environmental tolls that harmful practices reap upon the planet, several organizations for young people have made tremendous strides in environmental justice.  The Sunrise Movement , a youth-led organization, advocates for political action on climate change and works to help elect leaders who stand up for the health and equal wellbeing of all people. Similarly, the  Power Shift Network  mobilizes the collective power of young people to fight against environmental racism by stopping dirty energy projects and campaigning to divest from  fossil fuels . Images via Pexels

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Cool retro boats restored with electric motors

January 13, 2020 by  
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For those planning a summer day on the waterways of Lake Michigan, there’s a new ecological option that will help you spend the day boating in sustainable style. Located on the lake’s eastern shore, Retro Boat Rentals has unveiled a collection of fiberglass boats from the 50s and 60s that have been restored using state-of-the-art electric motors . The vintage boat rentals have retained their cool retro aesthetic while updating to a more eco-friendly way of boating. When Retro Boat Rentals owner John Sharar decided to start the company, he knew that he wanted to restore a collection of old boats dating back to the 50s and 60s. Realizing that the boats’ original gas motors were incredibly harmful to the environment, he sought out an ecological way to restore the fleet. Related: The elegant NOX SV electric speedboat helps to preserve waterways After exploring various options, he made contact with the team from Torqeedo, a pioneering marine electric propulsion motor manufacturer. Working in collaboration with Torqeedo, John restored the vintage boats to their original glory, with electric motors that don’t distract from the boats’ cool retro vibe. “John came up with the idea of removing the old gas motor from its casing and replacing it with a compact Torqeedo motor coupled to a custom-designed sail drive pod,” Steve Trkla, president of Torqeedo, Inc., said. “He attended Torqeedo training and worked with Torqeedo engineers to modify various motor brands. The electric motor is driven by a Torqeedo lithium-ion battery in the boat.” The boats vary in size and weight, so the Torqeedo electric systems are custom-designed for each boat . All of the electric motors provide between eight to 10 hours of run time between charges — more than enough, considering most customers rent the boats for just two or three hours. Today, families and couples can enjoy renting the unique, classic boats that, thanks to the new electric motors, glide quietly on the water without contaminating the environment. + Torqeedo Via Retro Boat Rentals Images via Torqeedo

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Michelin and GM are moving down the road with airless wheel prototype

June 21, 2019 by  
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The term, “Sustainable mobility” is likely to become increasingly more common as we work to identify ways for transportation to have less of an impact on the environment. This year, recognizable names Michelin and GM teamed up to deliver this message with the reveal of an airless wheel at the Movin’On summit for sustainable mobility. The Uptis prototype (Unique Punctureproof Tire System) is the product of a joint venture between the two companies with a common goal to introduce the airless wheels on passenger vehicles as early as 2024. To ensure long-term durability and safety, the product will endure intense testing starting with a fleet of test cars that will be monitored beginning later this year. The selection of Chevrolet Bolt EVs will hit the road in Michigan while being observed for performance. Related: These new airless 3D-printed bicycle tires never go flat The airless design eliminates the possibility of tire blowouts, which obviously adds a significant safety feature to vehicles on the road. In addition to safety, the simultaneous goal is to change the future of tire design for the sake of the planet. Currently, manufacturing and post-consumer waste from tires is a growing environmental concern. Michelin estimates that approximately 200 million tires worldwide are scrapped prematurely every year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards or improper air pressure that cause uneven wear. However, this waste is diminished with a tire that doesn’t require air pressure and won’t go flat from a puncture. At the same Movin’On summit in 2017, the company outlined plans for the new design with four pillars of innovation: airless, connected, 3-D printed and sustainably made from renewable or bio-sourced materials. Two years later, the developed prototype is headed for the road. “Uptis demonstrates that Michelin’s vision for a future of sustainable mobility is clearly an achievable dream. Through work with strategic partners like GM, who share our ambitions for transforming mobility, we can seize the future today,” says Florent Menegaux, chief executive officer for Michelin Group. + Michelin Images via Michelin

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Woman arrested in Florida for stomping on sea turtle nest

June 18, 2019 by  
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Last weekend, a woman was arrested and taken into custody for prodding and stomping on a protected sea turtle nest on Miami Beach in Florida. The woman, Yaqun Lu from Hudsonville, Michigan, was reported by bystanders, who saw her actions and alerted the police. The police also witnessed her stepping on and poking at the turtle nest. The section of the beach where the nest was situated was blocked off by tape and “Do Not Disturb” signs, indicating that the area is a protected nesting site. Three species of turtles typically nest along Miami Beach: loggerhead turtles, green sea turtles and leatherback turtles. All three turtles are protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973. It is also illegal to interfere with sea turtles, their nests or their hatchlings, according to Florida state legislature. Related: Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world According to a Miami Beach website on the importance and vulnerability of turtle nesting sites, “It is important not to disturb [sea turtle] hatchlings, eggs or nests since hatchlings need to crawl to the sea unimpeded. Touching nesting females, taking flash pictures of nesting females or hatchlings or digging into nests is prohibited by law.” Nesting season typically runs from April to October. Female turtles can lay up to 100 eggs per nest and approximately seven nests per season. Predators, marine debris and illegal fishing have contributed to the decline in sea turtle populations worldwide. It has not yet been publicized why the woman was interfering with the nest; however, spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez of the Miami Beach police department said, “Thankfully, it appears the eggs were not damaged.” Lu is being held on a $5,000 bond and is facing a felony charge of harassing a turtle nest. She will be represented by a public defender. Via Huffington Post Image via Mitch Lensink and TravelingOtter

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Twisting brick facade fronts an innovative courtyard house near Chicago

June 12, 2019 by  
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In a Chicago suburb full of traditional gabled rooflines, California-based architectural firm Brooks + Scarpa has inserted a modern dwelling that puts a sculptural twist on a humble and overlooked building material: Chicago “Common” brick. Historically considered unattractive and only fit for unseen areas such as chimney flues, Chicago “Common” brick is given renewed attention in a recently completed courtyard house , dubbed the Thayer Brick House. Not only does the contemporary home use the brick for almost its entire facade, but it also shines the spotlight on the local resource with a sculptural, street-facing facade that’s made with twisting columns of stacked brick. Made from indigenous Michigan clay, Chicago “Common” brick has long been considered undesirable and cheap due to its variations and irregularities. Instead of the classic red color, the prosaic material takes on a more yellow hue and has been traditionally used for areas hidden from the street, such as the side and back walls, chimney flues and structural support behind the facades. In making Chicago “Common” brick highly visible in the Thayer Brick House, Brooks + Scarpa is celebrating a local material and inviting passersby to reconsider unexpected uses for everyday materials and concepts. Related: A mountain refuge in Spain is brought back to life with brickwork “By using the familiar in an unfamiliar location and application, the material becomes perceptually both old and new at the same time,” the firm said. “This makes one more aware of not just the building, but also our sense of place. There is a sense of discovery, something spontaneous and unexpected. The object is important, but it’s the experience that has a profound impact and leaves something that lasts well beyond the mere physical and visual existence of the building. This gives us the opportunity to not only learn about design but also about ourselves, our collective cultures and our place in society.” The use of Chicago “Common” brick helps contextualize the building and gives the building an unexpected appearance. The street-facing facade is made up of columns of brick rotated at varying degrees to make the courtyard look open or closed depending on where the viewer stands. Passersby can see the full effect of the facade, which has a moire-like pattern that appears to move as one walks past it. The sculptural facade also has the added benefit of reducing glare and providing privacy to the fully glazed interior volume. + Brooks + Scarpa Photography by Marty Peters and Brooks + Scarpa

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Twisting brick facade fronts an innovative courtyard house near Chicago

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