No more neglect: Mongolia says rangelands are a global priority

April 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

When most people think of conservation , they often picture the large, hallmark mammals (think pandas) or key ecosystems like coral reefs and rainforests. Few people think about or even understand rangelands as a priority for land restoration, even though rangelands cover more than 50 percent of all land on earth. In March, Mongolian community-conservation leaders persuaded the United Nations to acknowledge the importance of rangelands and commit to global action to fill glaring gaps in data. As a result of their efforts, the United Nations adopted a resolution to recommend an official “Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists” and to center rangeland restoration within the already declared Decade of Ecosystems Restoration (2021-2030). In Mongolia, leaders have also submitted a “Rangeland Law” to parliament, which would ensure that herders have legal land rights and are named the primary protectors of their land. What are rangelands? The International Center for Agriculture Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) defines rangelands as land that is covered with grass and shrub species and used as a primary source for livestock grazing. Rangelands are also recognized for their ability to provide other environmental services, including carbon sequestration, eco-tourism opportunities, biodiversity, ranching and mining. Related: Less fertilizer, greater crop yields and more money — China’s agricultural breakthrough ICARDA estimates suggest that nearly 50 percent of all land surface is considered rangeland, which includes grasslands, savannas and marshes. Why is Mongolia on the forefront? Herding has been a defining part of Mongolian culture and tradition for more than 4,000 years . Up to 15 percent of the country’s gross domestic product comes from sheep, cattle and other livestock. However, economic, environmental and migration changes have caused much of Mongolia’s rangelands to become degraded. The United Nations reports that nearly 57 percent of all rangeland in Mongolia is degraded and 13 percent is so degraded that it is believed to be impossible to restore. Despite this, Mongolia still has some of the world’s last remaining natural grasslands, and people there are committed to preserving these diverse ecosystems and their traditional way of life. “If nothing is done now, we face the danger of losing this beautiful land, threatening the livelihoods of thousands of nomadic herder families,” said Enkh-Amgalan Tseelei , a sustainable rangeland expert from Mongolia. Research shows that indigenous and local communities are some of the most effective stewards of natural land. However, these same groups rarely have legal land rights, making them vulnerable to dislocation and exploitation. According to the World Resource Institute’s  land mapping tool , indigenous and collectively-managed lands store about 25 percent of the world’s above-ground carbon , which means land restoration in these areas is essential to reducing climate change , and that indigenous people are the rightful leaders. We don’t know enough about rangelands The UN resolution aims to elevate awareness, earmark funding and increase collaborative action to improve the  protection and restoration of rangelands. The resolution also amplifies the role of community leadership and traditional management practices. Most critically, however, the resolution calls for increased research, pointing to major gaps in current scientific knowledge about the “status, conditions and trends in rangeland, pastoral land and pastoralism.” Another UN report from March suggests that current data on agriculture and livestock within rangeland regions and societies are insufficient to inform effective policy. The report, “A case of benign neglect: Knowledge gaps about sustainability in pastoralism and rangelands,” recommends further collection and disaggregation of data to highlight different needs and opportunities for locally based, sustainable management. For example, the report warns that some governments have misconceptions of rangelands and even consider them to be “forgotten” or “barren.” Seemingly environmentally progressive programs have implemented afforestation projects — meaning large  tree  planting initiatives — in rangelands. This can actually devastate rangeland biodiversity and have a negative impact on existing carbon sequestration. Pastoralism and marginalization Nearly 500 million people are considered pastoralists, yet these communities are among the most marginalized societies in the world. Herding, nomadic and pastoral groups face challenges such as land degradation, biodiversity loss, vulnerability to climate change, low investments, inequity, low literacy, inadequate infrastructure, lack of access to markets, lack of legal ownership and exodus of youth. Related: One of the last remaining communities still farming like the Aztecs If March is any indication of the next few years — and hopefully the next decade — pastoralists might have the attention, investment and collective action needed to make meaningful advancements in land restoration and community management. Deputy Director General of Integrated Sciences at the International Livestock Research Institute, Iain Wright, praised the efforts of governments and partners so far. “In my 35 years’ experience working on rangelands and pastoralists, this is the first real progress I am seeing,” Wright said. “The lack of data up to now has been critical, and this report forms one of the building blocks in getting this issue into the political and international agenda.” Via UN Environment Images via Jeanne Menjoulet , Ludovic Hirlimann , Sergio Tittarini ,  Christopher Michel , and Paulo Philippidis

Read more:
No more neglect: Mongolia says rangelands are a global priority

Restaurant UNDERs handcrafted tableware celebrates natural materials

April 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

When Snøhetta designed the spectacular concept for UNDER, the world’s largest underwater restaurant located along a rocky Norwegian shoreline, the renowned architecture firm wanted to reference the local landscape in all aspects of design, including the tableware. That’s why the Norwegian brand MENT was chosen as the main supplier for the design and manufacturing of the tableware for the restaurant’s 18-course menu. Founded by sisters Ingvild and Sidsel Forr Hemma, the Fåberg-based design brand designed a unique series of bowls, plates, mugs and other items all crafted by hand from natural materials and Norwegian minerals. Since June 2018, MENT has worked in close collaboration with UNDER head chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard to design, research, test and produce products evocative of the restaurant’s overall concept of celebrating nature, craft and sustainable sourcing. “Getting to work with such a thought out concept — and implementing it further in our design has been incredibly inspiring!” the designers said in a press statement. “For this project, MENT have made items in porcelain, stoneware, wood and clay, and in most products the colors used are made from Norwegian minerals. All items are handmade in MENTs workshop at Fåberg.” For the 18-course menu, MENT created approximately 500 products with 17 different unique designs that include bowls, plates, water jugs, toothpick holders, coffee and tea mugs, a milk-and-sugar set and large snack bowls. Several of the designs also vary in size, material and color. The tableware gets its earthy colors from iron pigments processed from natural magnetite sourced from the area of Nordland in Norway. The color and shapes of the products take inspiration from the Norwegian coast — from the different seaweed, sand and coastal rocks — defined by beautiful textures and a color palette of browns, grays and greens. Related: Europe’s first underwater restaurant opens its doors in Norway Because all of the tableware is handmade and created with natural magnetite with techniques that “are impossible to control,” each product has its own unique features. Although UNDER has already opened to the public, MENT will continue to work in collaboration with the restaurant and the head chef. + MENT Images via MENT

See the original post: 
Restaurant UNDERs handcrafted tableware celebrates natural materials

Yurt-inspired visitor’s center in China blends into its exceptional surroundings

February 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Yurt-inspired visitor’s center in China blends into its exceptional surroundings

This gorgeous visitor center in China was inspired by Mongolian yurts . Architecture firm HDD combined locally sourced stone and wooden beams to create a multi-functional space where local children can play and read. The Mulan Weichang Visitors Center also offers overnight accommodations and a great spot for astronomy enthusiasts to observe the night sky, all nestled within the stunning Mongolian grasslands. The building is located in the northeast of Hebei province, an area connected to inner Mongolia grasslands where ancient Chinese emperors used to hold autumn hunting festivals. Blending into its grassy surroundings, the building resembles the traditional Mongolian yurt. This layout creates a series of round, semi-public spaces that fit perfectly with the modern lifestyle. Related: A Firsthand Look at the Magnolia 2300 Yurt – the First Energy Star Home in British Columbia The middle of the library is a sunken living space, and the kitchen and dining area located off to the side. Large windows fill the interior with natural light and offer views of the landscape. This openness toward the exterior dominates every corner of the interior, including the bathroom, where a freestanding bathtub sits in front of another large window. Related: Trakke Transforms Ancient Yurt into a Packable Round House That Pops Up Anywhere for the Everyday Adventurer The architects used local materials including old stone and used wooden beams in order for the building to blend seamlessly into its natural surroundings. The main structure of the building is steel framing, combined with triple layered low-e glass panels, while the exterior wooden frames double as an efficient shading system. + HDD Architecture Via Contemporist Photos by Shengliang Su

Original post: 
Yurt-inspired visitor’s center in China blends into its exceptional surroundings

Scott Pruitt thinks global warming could be favorable for humans

February 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Scott Pruitt thinks global warming could be favorable for humans

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt has once again aired thoughts that depart from mainstream climate science , according to The Guardian . In a recent interview with Nevada TV station News 3 , Pruitt suggested global warming could be beneficial for people. He said, “Do we really know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100, in the year 2018? It’s fairly arrogant for us to think we know exactly what it should be in 2100.” Pruitt said in an interview with News 3’s Gerard Ramahlo, “No one disputes the climate changes , is changing, that’s, we see that, that’s constant. We obviously contribute to it; we live in the climate, right?…Now measuring that with precision, Gerard, I think is more challenging than is let on at times but I think the bigger question is…is it an existential threat? Is it something that is unsustainable or what kind of effect or harm is this going to have? I mean, we know that humans have most flourished during times of what, warming trends. I mean, so, so, I think there’s assumptions made that because the climate is warming that that necessarily is a bad thing.” Related: Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO before denying pesticide ban The EPA administrator echoed an idea that’s been raised in the past of a debate on climate change, to go over “what we do know and what we don’t know, so the American people can be informed and make decisions on their own.” A snapshot of the EPA website on January 19, 2017, the day before Donald Trump was sworn into office, was very clear that the impacts of climate change would threaten human health . They said people could be exposed to disease , be threatened by extreme weather events, or face food insecurity due to climate change impacts. Via The Guardian and News 3 Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

Continued here: 
Scott Pruitt thinks global warming could be favorable for humans

Beautiful Eichler-inspired home draws the eye with a dramatic roof

February 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Beautiful Eichler-inspired home draws the eye with a dramatic roof

A coastal infill lot in Southern California has been transformed into a beautiful new home that leans heavily on mid-century modern influences. Surfside Projects and architect Lloyd Russell teamed up to design Avocado Acres House in Encinitas, a beach town just outside of San Diego. The Case Study Houses and Eichler Homes provided the main inspiration for the home, which also incorporates sustainable and energy-efficient design elements. Like all beloved mid-century modern homes in California, Avocado Acres Home embraces the outdoors with ample glazing . A sloping curved shed roof tops the single-story building and tie together its three pavilions that make up a U-shaped plan. “Straight lines with an angular street front geometry sits in stark contrast to the unique curvilinear roof profile,” wrote the designers. “A simple color palette of the open interior space complements the muscular concrete walls and extensive use of natural wood tones on the vaulted ceiling, flooring and cabinetry.” Related: Classic Eichler gets a tasteful renovation and expansion in the heart of Silicon Valley The main living spaces are placed at the front of the home near the street and arranged in an L-formation, however, high walls and clerestory windows preserve privacy. In contrast, nine-foot-tall sliding glass doors open the dining room up to the outdoor courtyard hidden from the street. Three bedrooms, including the master ensuite, are located at the rear of the home. The home’s sustainable features were certified by California’s GreenPoint Rated system. + Surfside Projects + Lloyd Russell Photos by Darren Bradley

Read more: 
Beautiful Eichler-inspired home draws the eye with a dramatic roof

Ancient flying reptile was around the size of a small plane

November 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Ancient flying reptile was around the size of a small plane

Pterosaurs roamed the skies long ago as the first animals to evolve powered flight after insects – and in the Gobi Desert , scientists recently found the remains of one that could have been nearly as big as a small aircraft. The massive pterosaur lived around 70 million years ago and could have been one of the biggest pterosaurs to ever walk the Earth, with a 36-foot wingspan. Pterosaurs were reptiles , according to the American Museum of Natural History . They were close cousins to dinosaurs , and some were as tiny as a paper airplane. But this new pterosaur was anything but tiny. An international team led by the University of Tokyo found what they described as fragmentary cervical vertebral elements. From these fossil bones they determined the creature was huge. No pterosaur that large had been found in Asia until this one. Related: Brand new “mega-carnivore” dinosaur discovered in Africa The two biggest pterosaurs we know of are the Quetzalcoatlus , found in the 1970’s in Texas, and Hatzegopteryx , found in the 1990’s in Romania. These reptiles had wingspans of around 32 to 36 feet, and could have reached 18 feet high on the ground – around as tall as a big bull giraffe, according to National Geographic . Pterosaur expert of the University of Portsmouth Mark Witton, who was not a co-author on this study, said there’s a chance this new pterosaur could have been even bigger than those other two. The new pterosaur is part of a group called azhdarchids, though scientists are reluctant to say they come from a new species given the incomplete remains. The pterosaur possibly ate baby dinosaurs, but could have been capable of taking prey the size of a human, according to Witton. It wouldn’t have been an apex predator, because it was alive alongside a 5.5 ton-relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex , Tarbosaurus – although the pterosaur probably wouldn’t have been lunch for those creatures because in mere seconds it could have hurled itself towards the sky from a standing start. The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology published the discovery online in October. Scientists from Mongolia, the United States, and Japan contributed to the research. Via National Geographic Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

Here is the original post: 
Ancient flying reptile was around the size of a small plane

Nicholas Cage pledges to return Mongolia’s stolen dinosaur skull

December 23, 2015 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Nicholas Cage pledges to return Mongolia’s stolen dinosaur skull

When actor Nicolas Cage bought a 70 million year old Tyrannosaurus bataar skull at auction for $276,000 in 2007, he had no way of knowing that it had actually been smuggled illegally into the United States. Cage purchased the fossil anonymously from the I.M. Chait gallery in Beverly Hills, but in July, 2014 he learned the skull was the subject of a homeland security investigation when law enforcement contacted his agent about the case. Read the rest of Nicholas Cage pledges to return Mongolia’s stolen dinosaur skull

View original post here: 
Nicholas Cage pledges to return Mongolia’s stolen dinosaur skull

Beautiful Ontario refuge built from reclaimed materials is 100% self-sufficient

December 23, 2015 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Beautiful Ontario refuge built from reclaimed materials is 100% self-sufficient

Read the rest of Beautiful Ontario refuge built from reclaimed materials is 100% self-sufficient

Read the original here:
Beautiful Ontario refuge built from reclaimed materials is 100% self-sufficient

Mongolia’s Nomads Modernize Traditional Tent Homes with Solar Panels

April 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Mongolia’s Nomads Modernize Traditional Tent Homes with Solar Panels

With 250 days of sunshine a year, Mongolia’s potential for solar energy is vast but mostly underutilized. That’s beginning to change though – a new government sponsored initiative aims to equip traditional dome-like homes called gers (tents made of felt and yak’s wool) with portable solar home systems (SHS) to make life a little easier in the northern highlands. So far, almost 70 percent of nomadic people now have access to electricity thanks to newly installed solar panels. Read the rest of Mongolia’s Nomads Modernize Traditional Tent Homes with Solar Panels Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “solar energy” , a better life for mongolian nomads , gers , mongolia’s nomads , Mongolian Ger Solar Panels , mongolian tents , nomad tents , nomadic lifestyle , renewable energies , solar energy for mongolia’s nomads , solar energy for mongolian tents , solar energy in Mongolia , solar panels , yurts

Read the original here:
Mongolia’s Nomads Modernize Traditional Tent Homes with Solar Panels

The Awesome Reason You’ll Never See a UPS Truck Take a Left Turn in the U.S.

April 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on The Awesome Reason You’ll Never See a UPS Truck Take a Left Turn in the U.S.

Email and text messages may have replaced snail mail, but there are some things that you just can’t send electronically. While the Internet may have killed the handwritten letter, all those online stores have only boosted demand for parcel delivery services. In the interest of saving money and building a greener image, delivery companies have adopted some unique policies. For instance: UPS trucks never turn left! Nope that’s not a joke: In the U.S., UPS drivers are advised to avoid left hand turns at all costs. It sounds silly, but the reduced fuel costs (and by extension, emissions) are no joke. Read the rest of The Awesome Reason You’ll Never See a UPS Truck Take a Left Turn in the U.S. Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: parcel delivery service , UPS , UPS brown truck , UPS energy efficiency , UPS hybrid trucks , UPS logistics , UPS no left turns , UPS trucks , UPS trucks don’t turn left

Here is the original: 
The Awesome Reason You’ll Never See a UPS Truck Take a Left Turn in the U.S.

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 946 access attempts in the last 7 days.