Dakota Access Pipeline placed under environmental review

March 27, 2020 by  
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Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe have, for many years, been voicing concerns about the likelihood of  environmental  hazards from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). And, once more, the DAPL has made headlines, thanks to a federal judge’s recent decision to strike down permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The USACE has thus been ordered to conduct a more comprehensive analysis via an environmental impact statement (EIS) to ascertain any violations with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The controversy stems from worries about leaks that could drastically affect the environment, especially where the DAPL runs under the Missouri River. Any oil spills in the Missouri River would compromise the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s reservation downstream, by contaminating their lands and drinking water.  Related:  UK carbon emissions decline 29% in past decade “The many commenters in this case pointed to serious gaps in crucial parts of the Corps’ analysis – to name a few, that the pipeline’s leak-detection system was unlikely to work, that it was not designed to catch slow spills , that the operator’s serious history of incidents had not been taken into account, that that the worst-case scenario used by the Corps was potentially only a fraction of what a realistic figure would be – and the Corps was not able to fill any of [the gaps in the analysis],” said U.S. District Judge James Boasberg. The USACE’s lawyer from the Department of Justice has declined to comment. Instead, the Grow America’s Infrastructure Now (GAIN) Coalition made their position known about the judge’s decision. GAIN has been described by the  Business & Industry Connection (BIC) magazine  as “a diverse coalition of businesses, trade associations and labor groups that share a vested interest in creating jobs and strengthening the U.S. economy through infrastructure development.” As GAIN Coalition spokesperson Craig Stevens told NPR news, “Not only does this decision risk one company’s investment, but it could also jeopardize our nation’s economic and energy security moving forward.” Meanwhile, Native American tribes and green lobbyist groups are pleased with the ruling, citing it as a legal victory for the environment. Via NPR Images via Fibonacci Blue

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Meghan Markle narrates new Disney elephant documentary

March 27, 2020 by  
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Meghan Markle is returning to show biz to narrate a new Disney documentary about African elephants . This will be her first film since the former Suits star gave up her career to marry Prince Harry. The film Elephant will start streaming on April 3 on Disney+. Elephant focuses on Shani, an African elephant, and her son, Jomo, as they migrate across the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. Led by matriarch Gaia and accompanied by the rest of their herd, they face common problems of the modern elephant: predators, diminished resources and brutal heat. Related: Villagers in India knit sweaters to protect rescued elephants from the cold Disneynature and the Disney Conservation Fund will donate some of the film’s proceeds to Elephants Without Borders . This charitable organization focuses on elephant research, education and outreach and works with the government of Botswana and Botswana’s Department of Wildlife & National Parks to run an elephant orphanage . This latest documentary is one of a series of Disneynature films narrated by celebrities. Meryl Streep, Jane Goodall and Morgan Freeman have also done voiceovers on Disneynature productions. Natalie Portman narrated Dolphin Reef, which will also premiere on April 3. You can see a joint trailer for Elephants and Dolphin Reef here . Botswana featured prominently in the royal love story between Markle and Harry. Harry has long been active in conservation work in Africa, having visited since his teens. He became president of African Parks in late 2017 and is a patron Rhino Conservation Botswana. Soon after Markle met him in 2016, Harry invited her to camp in the Botswana wilderness . “She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic,” he said, according to People. “So then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to know each other.” The following year, they again visited Botswana, this time to aid Dr. Mike Chase of Elephants Without Borders. + People Image via Wikimedia Commons

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Meghan Markle narrates new Disney elephant documentary

Kansas City approves free public transportation for all

December 12, 2019 by  
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Last week, the city council of Kansas City unanimously voted for free public transportation via the Zero Fare Transit proposal. The program will boost ridership of city transit systems, allaying concerns about equity and the challenges of global greenhouse gas emissions and the climate crisis . Kansas City’s streetcar service is already free, and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) likewise provides free services to veterans. But approval of the resolution is a historic move allowing for free bus and streetcar services to all. Related: When in Rome, recycle more to earn free metro and bus travel tickets “The City Council just took a monumental, unanimous step toward #ZeroFareTransit — setting Kansas City up to soon become the first major metropolitan city with free public bus service,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted. “This is going to improve the lives of so many and help fuel the local economy.” According to a 6-month study by the Citizens for Modern Transit group, which was commissioned by the Missouri Public Transit Association in partnership with AARP, Missouri’s public transportation sector in 2019 provides “an annual average of 60.1 million rides, which is equivalent to 9.8 rides per year, per Missouri resident.” That number is expected to rise with this new Zero Fare Transit program, especially in Kansas City. The rise in public transportation use can help confront the planet’s current environmental challenges. With less vehicles on the road, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced, thus improving air quality . With ride sharing through public transportation, there will be less need for many individual trips by private vehicles in dense urban areas. Plus, traffic congestion will be relieved, saving the fuel that might have been wasted in traffic gridlocks. As to concerns about the fuel use of public transportation, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the United States Department of Energy have both documented that modern buses use alternative fuels rather than diesel and gas, unlike a decade ago. Again, this emphasizes how Kansas City’s new legislation promises a smaller carbon footprint for the city. The new legislation has already garnered attention and praise outside of Missouri, with advocates in Nashville, Portland and Toronto seeking similar measures in their respective cities. Via ArchDaily Image via David Wilson

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Kansas City approves free public transportation for all

6 solar roads shaking up infrastructure around the world

April 16, 2018 by  
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Roads aren’t just for walking or driving anymore. Solar road or pathway projects around the world are showing that streets can both provide firm footing and generate clean energy . Inhabitat rounded up six projects in places as diverse as China and rural Georgia to highlight potentially game-changing technologies in the solar road sphere. Solar Roadways use modular solar panels covered in tempered glass Scott and Julie Brusaw launched Solar Roadways a few years back with the goal of transforming regular asphalt roads into energy -generating thruways. The Brusaws aimed to use  modular solar panels topped with tempered glass as replacement for standard pavement and, in 2016, celebrated the first public installation  of these panels in their hometown of Sandpoint, Idaho. While they’d also announced plans to bring their solar roads to a section of Route 66 in Missouri, it appears the project fell through. Late last year,  St. Louis Public Radio said the project wouldn’t be moving forward; according to Scott Brusaw, it “dissolved due to a variety of complex red tape factors.” But Solar Roadways is still at work to bring their product to roads and recently shared on Facebook  that they’ve met with interested connections from South Korea, Australia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Austria. Related: This bike lane in Korea is topped with 20 miles of solar panels France opens one-kilometer solar road with 2,880 solar panels In late 2016, France opened what was then the first solar road in the world: a one-kilometer stretch in Tourouvre-au-Perche, built with technology from Colas’ Wattway . The 2,880-panel road was said to generate enough energy to power street lights in the 3,400-person village. Rural Georgia gets a test stretch of Wattway’s solar roads Wattway’s solar roads hit the United States a few months after the road in France. The Ray C. Anderson Foundation installed 538 square feet of the solar road near the Alabama and Georgia border — the first Wattway pilot in America. The solar road was part of the foundation’s project The Ray , an 18-mile living laboratory testing renewable technologies that also includes  bioswales and a solar-powered electric car charging station . Solar panel expressway pops up in China Just a few months ago, a one-kilometer solar road, developed by Qilu Transportation Development Group , opened in Jinan, China . Three layers make up the road: insulation on the bottom, solar panels in the middle, and transparent concrete on top. The solar panels cover around 63,238 square feet in two lanes and one emergency lane, and can generate one million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy every year. In a strange twist , thieves actually took a small portion of the road days after it debuted; since the panels wouldn’t have been worth a lot of money, people speculated they might have wanted to learn the workings of the technology. The road was later repaired. Solar-powered bike path has generated more power than anticipated Solar panels aren’t just for highways. Bike lanes can make great use of them too, if one in Krommenie, Netherlands is any indication. After one year, the SolaRoad solar-paneled bike path  generated 70 kilowatt-hours per square meter, enough power for around three houses – and even more than the designers expected. Sten de Wit of TNO , the research organization behind SolaRoad, said most people don’t even notice the difference between the solar bike path and a regular one. Solar sidewalk helps charge electric cars Sidewalks can benefit from solar panels, too. Platio recently installed a 50-square foot solar sidewalk, created with recycled plastic , that pulls double duty: people can walk across it as it generates clean energy used to charge electric vehicles . Platio installed the 720-watt peak capacity system at a Prologis facility in Budapest — and the process only took one day. When the solar sidewalk isn’t busy charging EVs, energy it generates helps power a nearby office building. Images via Solar Roadways Facebook , Vianney Lecointre on Twitter , The Ray , Qilu Transportation Development Group , SolaRoad Netherlands, and courtesy of Platio

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Missouri community is building 50 tiny homes for homeless veterans

February 17, 2017 by  
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The epidemic of homeless veterans has hit numerous communities across the country, but one Missouri town is about to tackle the large problem with a tiny solution. Working with the non-profit Veterans Community Project (VCP), a Kansas City neighborhood is in the process of creating the Veterans Village, a neighborhood of 50 tiny homes built by fellow veterans in order to house their homeless brothers and sisters. As reported by Fox 4 KC , land for the new neighborhood has already been cleared. Working in collaboration with the Veterans Community Project, several local organizations are helping put the tiny home community together. The building team is made up of fellow veterans who are currently constructing 50, 20-foot-long and 240-square-foot tiny homes that will make up the new community. The process is currently on going, but they are shooting for a move in date in late 2017. Related: Tiny House Nation’s Zack Giffin will teach veterans to build their own homes VCP founder and Marine Corps veteran Kevin Jamison explained the inspiration for the initiative to Fox4, “These are my brothers and sisters out there on the streets. We didn’t want to see any veteran suffering. We want to give them something they can stay in, call it their own and then socialize and re-integrate at their own pace.” + Veterans Community Project Via Country Living Images via Veterans Community Project

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The Make it Right foundation releases six new home designs for its Kansas City Manheim Park project

February 3, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of The Make it Right foundation releases six new home designs for its Kansas City Manheim Park project Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: BNIM , DRAW , El Dorado Architecture , Hufft , KEM Studio , Make it Right Achitecture , Make It Right Foundation , Make it Right Kansas City , Make it Right single family homes , Manheim Park Kansas City , Manheim Park Make it Right , Missouri Make it RIght , pendulum

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The Make it Right foundation releases six new home designs for its Kansas City Manheim Park project

Peanut: The Story Behind a Poor Turtle Deformed by a Six-Pack Ring

March 20, 2013 by  
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You may recognize  Peanut , the small waisted  turtle that obviously didn’t get her slender figure from exercising. Photos of this poor turtle have been making the rounds across the internet over the last couple weeks, but what’s the story behind her travail? Apparently she was trapped in a six-pack ring at a young age, couldn’t get out of it, and her body continued to grow around it. Read the rest of Peanut: The Story Behind a Poor Turtle Deformed by a Six-Pack Ring Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Animals , deformed turtle , garbage , Missouri , Missouri Department of Conservation , Peanut , six-pack ring

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Green Circle Marketplace is First LEED Platinum Shopping Center in the US

March 24, 2010 by  
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Inhabitat readers hufftprojects recently wrote in to tell us about their Green Circle Market place, the first shopping center in the US to receive the rating of LEED Platinum from the USGBC . By utilizing recycled materials , photovoltaic solar cells , and geothermal energy , this 23,000 square foot shopping center in Springfield, Missouri has become of the most environmentally sustainable retail spaces in the United States

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Green Circle Marketplace is First LEED Platinum Shopping Center in the US

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