You can stay in this tiny treehouse made out of locally-sourced materials in Hawaii

October 18, 2017 by  
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Nothing says peaceful solitude like waking up surrounded by lush greenery with birds chirping away in the treetops. And that’s just what you’ll get in this tiny tree cottage  located in Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park. Although compact in size, the 300-square-foot Airbnb getaway feels anything but cramped. Set up ten feet off the ground, floor-to-ceiling windows flood the small space with natural light and provide beautiful viewing of colorful birds flitting about in the native ohi’a and hapu’u trees. Located on the side of the volcano, the tiny retreat offers the ultimate in serenity. The cottage – which was built by a local contractor using locally-sourced materials – is a mere 300 square feet, but the glass french doors and large windows provide a ton of natural light. The light wooden floors along with the vaulted ceiling also add a sense of spaciousness to the interior. Related: 8 inspiring tiny Airbnb homes for a taste of living small Guests will be able to enjoy the basic amenities such as a comfy bed, swinging rattan chair, a fully-equipped kitchen, along with a complete bathroom and shower. For water usage, the house is equipped with an outdoor rain catchment system to store water that is then purified with a UV system and filtered. Although the interior is closely connected to the beautiful surroundings, guests will be able to reconnect with the great outdoors by enjoying the covered lounge area on the ground floor, complete with acacia wood furniture and string lights. + Airbnb

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You can stay in this tiny treehouse made out of locally-sourced materials in Hawaii

White House kills ban on bottled water at National Parks

August 18, 2017 by  
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The Trump administration has put the kibosh on a six-year-old ban on selling bottled water at some national parks . The National Park Service announced on Wednesday that, effectively immediately, parks like the Grand Canyon will no longer be able to block the sale of plastic water bottles in a bid to reduce litter. In a statement, the National Park Service said it wanted to “expand hydration options for recreationalists, hikers, and other visitors to national parks.” The decision serves as yet another rollback of one of President Barack Obama’s environmental policies. Since 2011, the Green Parks Plan has encouraged the use of refillable water bottles on park lands. While it didn’t prohibit the sale of bottled sweetened drinks, the policy allowed parks to prevent the sale of disposable water bottles in vending machines, stores, and hotels. Related: Big Water fights plans to ban plastic water bottles in national parks Besides the Grand Canyon, 22 of the 417 National Park Service sites implemented the policy, officials said. These included Bryce Canyon National Park, Mount Rushmore, and Zion National Park. The rollback is a win for the bottled water and beverage industry, which campaigned against the ban, noting that the Obama administration “removed the healthiest beverage choice at a variety of parks while still allowing sales of bottled sweetened drinks.” “Consumption of water in all forms, tap, filtered, and bottled, should always be encouraged,” said Jill Culora, a spokeswoman for the International Bottled Water Association , a trade group. “The rescinded policy was seriously flawed.” The move by the National Parks comes three weeks after the Senate confirmation of David Bernhardt as deputy interior secretary. Bernhardt, according to the Washington Post , served as a lobbyist with the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, which has represented Nestlé Water , one of the largest water bottlers in the United States and the distributor of the Deer Park brand. Via Washington Post and Associated Press Lead image via Pixabay , others by National Park Service/Flickr

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White House kills ban on bottled water at National Parks

NPS offers $5K reward for information about beloved white wolf shot in Yellowstone

May 15, 2017 by  
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There are only three white wolves known to reside in Yellowstone National Park . But one of them, a 12-year-old alpha female, was recently mortally wounded from a gunshot and had to be put down by park staff. Park superintendent Dan Wenk said this was a criminal act, and the park is offering $5,000 for any information about who might have shot the animal . Hikers came across the severely wounded white wolf last month inside the national park near Gardiner, Montana . Park staff responded and had to euthanize the wolf because her wounds were too grave. She was sent to the United States Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Oregon for a necropsy, and this week Yellowstone National Park shared the preliminary results: the wolf suffered from a gunshot. Related: Court condemns Wyoming wolves to first legal hunt in four years Park officials think someone shot the alpha female in the north side of Yellowstone or near the Old Yellowstone Trail. They think she was wounded between 1 AM on April 10 and 2 PM on April 11. Wenk said the park will offer a reward for information that can help them arrest and convict the person or people who criminally shot the wolf. The white wolf was 12 years old, which is double the average Yellowstone wolf’s age. She was the alpha female for more than nine years with one alpha male. She gave birth to at least 20 pups as an alpha female. The park said her range was quite expansive, from Hayden Valley in Wyoming to the Firehole River area, and even up to the northern part of the park near Montana. The park describes her as “one of the most recognizable wolves and sought after by visitors to view and photograph .” The park encourages anyone with information to step forward and call, text, email, or message them on social media; details to get in touch are here . Tips are confidential. Via the National Park Service Images via Yellowstone National Park on Flickr ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 )

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NPS offers $5K reward for information about beloved white wolf shot in Yellowstone

Revolutionary printed solar sheets reach final trial stages in New South Wales

May 15, 2017 by  
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When disaster strikes, whether it be man-made or natural, power is the resource people need most. For this reason, Professor Paul Dastoor has been working for decades to develop a lightweight “printed solar ” panel that is capable of generating power . Now, the invention is in its final trial stages at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales. The revolutionary solar panels are made by printing electronic ink onto clear, plastic sheets. The final product is lightweight enough it can be quickly shipped to populations in distress – and that is the point. “What we do know right now is that if there’s a disaster the first thing people need is power,” said Dastoor. “Typically that’s generated by a diesel generator and you have to truck in fuel.” Compared to a silicon model, the lightweight solar panels are made from glass, which makes them much lighter. This, in turn, makes them ideal for developing countries. ”If I had 1000 square metres of typical silicone cells, that would weigh the equivalent of roughly three African Elephants . 1000m2 of this material would weigh about 100 kilograms,” said Vaughan, putting the product’s weight into perspective. The panels are also very economical to produce. After doing extensive economic modeling, the research team has concluded that they can produce the printed solar scales for less than $10 a square meter. “Try buying carpet for less than $10 a square metre,” said Vaughan. Related: MIT unveils new solar 3D printer that can build houses on other planets Based on data collected by the research team thus far, it is estimated that the university’s small printer can produce hundreds of meters of solar cells every day. In Professor Dastoor’s words, this “means that we’ll be able to power using scaled up printers , say thousands and thousands of homes… it’s very exciting.” You can expect to find the printed solar panels available for sale in about three years time. And, they won’t be marketed to just go on roofs . “One of the things about these cells is that they’re not as sensitive to light intensity,” said Dastoor. “Any part of the roof will generate electricity ; even walls, windows, surfaces of vehicles, tents, lightweight structures, roofs that can’t take a heavy conventional silicone solar cells are now accessible to these modules.”The inventor will “massively increase” the area of solar cells so energy can be produced in a variety of new ways. Added Dastoor, “We think it’s going to be a big change to the way in which we think about power being generated renewably .” Via ABC News Images via Kerrin Thomas of ABC News

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Revolutionary printed solar sheets reach final trial stages in New South Wales

More "rogue" national park Twitter accounts are popping up

January 25, 2017 by  
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Just a few days into the Trump administration, scientists are already rebelling against efforts to stifle the truth. Shortly after Badlands National Park tweets about climate change were removed, several new “rogue” Twitter accounts started popping up. One of the account claims to be run by current National Park Service (NPS) rangers working on their own time. While it’s difficult to verify the account is really run by NPS rangers, it does demonstrate how difficult it will be for the president and his posse to silence Americans guided by science. National Park Twitter accounts were briefly suspended, according to Time , after the NPS tweeted out photos comparing President Donald Trump’s inauguration with President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Then the Badlands National Park Twitter account tweeted a few climate change facts, which were swiftly removed, sparking a Twitter truth war. Related: Rogue national park tweets climate change facts in defiance of Donald Trump @AltNatParkSer , which Twitter says joined their site in May 2015, began actively tweeting yesterday, shooting out more climate change facts and saying , “Mr Trump, you may have taken us down officially. But with scientific evidence & the Internet our message will get out.” A flurry of people quickly began to question if the account was real. Again, it’s hard to 100 percent verify the account is indeed run by current NPS rangers, although they claim that’s who they are. https://twitter.com/AltNatParkSer/status/824052819003146240 https://twitter.com/AltNatParkSer/status/824061490097438720 https://twitter.com/AltNatParkSer/status/824081620240056321 Other Twitter accounts that are more clearly parody accounts popped up too, like @BadIandsNPS (using an uppercase ‘I’ to look like an ‘L’), which started this month. With a rather Orwellian vibe, @BadIandsNPS tweeted , “We apologize for our insolence, @realdonaldtrump. We have been successfully reeducated.” Since then, along with tweeting those infamous inauguration pictures, the account has also tweeted sarcastic quips such as this one: https://twitter.com/BadIandsNPS/status/824035323025981441 @BadHombreNPS also started up in January to fire off climate change facts. Neither of those two accounts have claimed in tweets that they’re run by current NPS rangers. @BadHombreNPS does claim in their account description they’re the “unofficial feed of Badlands NP” to protect “rugged scenery, fossil beds, 244,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie & wildlife from two-bit cheetoh-hued despots.” It appears people are hungry for the information these “rogue” accounts are tweeting; at time of publication, @BadIandsNPS boasted 42.7K followers, @BadHombreNPS 27.1K followers, and @AltNatParkSer 180K followers. The latter has also used their platform to publicize a scientist march on Washington, D.C, pointing to a blog, Scientists’ March on Washington . The blog includes a January 21 post announcing they are planning a march, although they have not yet picked a date. You can follow their Facebook and Twitter accounts, or sign up to receive updates here . + Scientists’ March on Washington Via The Guardian and A.V. Club Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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More "rogue" national park Twitter accounts are popping up

Pipeline breach spills 53,000 gallons of oil on First Nations land

January 25, 2017 by  
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This is why millions of people around the world are opposed to the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines just pushed through by Donald Trump. 53,000 gallons or around 1,260 barrels of oil was reported to have spilled on First Nations land in Saskatchewan, Canada last week, though some local residents warn the spill may have occurred earlier. The oil has leaked onto agricultural land, but the government said it has not infiltrated water sources. The leak is Saskatchewan’s largest pipeline breach since a 225,000-liter oil spill last year; some of that oil made its way into the North Saskatchewan river. The recent spill happened on reserve land owned by the Ocean Man First Nation and covered a 66-foot radius. Some 52,834 gallons of oil spilled. Related: Major oil spill 150 miles away from DAPL protest validates Standing Rock concerns With multiple pipelines in the area, the government is uncertain which was responsible for the spill. They think the source could be a pipeline owned by Tundra Energy Marketing Limited (TEML), so the company is leading clean-up efforts. So far 170,000 liters, or around 44,909 gallons, have been recovered, according to the government, which also said wildlife and air quality have not yet been harmed by the spill. TEML released a statement and said, “Clean-up work on the site commenced immediately and involved the removal of surface oil with vacuum trucks. Additional clean-up work and remediation will be conducted to ensure that the affected land is restored appropriately.” The pipeline was reportedly shut down as soon as the breach was found. But some people wonder if the spill was already underway before the government was made aware of it. Ocean Man First Nation chief Connie Big Eagle said one band member, a longtime oil industry employee, smelled a strange odor near the site of the spill. Big Eagle told CBC News the smell was “going on for about a week.” Via CBC News ( 1 , 2 ) Images via ripperda on Flickr and Ingrid Taylar on Flickr

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Rogue national park tweets climate change facts in defiance of Donald Trump

January 25, 2017 by  
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Whoever runs the Twitter account for Badlands National Park is a national hero. After the Trump Administration imposed a social media blackout on the National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, Badlands Park fired off a series of tweets that flew in the face of president Donald Trump’s stated beliefs on climate change – only to have those messages removed from the account just hours later. On Tuesday Badlands National Park’s Twitter account was flush with statements such as “Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate” and “Burning one gallon of gasoline puts nearly 20 lbs of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. #climate” As Time notes, the tweets came in the aftermath of a brief suspension of all National Park accounts. The act required the U.S. Department of the Interior to suspend operations of its Twitter account after the National Park Services official account retweeted two posts that didn’t reflect well on the Trump Administration. According to Recode , the Park Service issued an apology that said the tweets were a mistake, which apparently earned back its Twitter privileges. And while it might have displeased the president, the posts helped the NPS Twitter account jump from 7,000 on Monday to 60,000 on Tuesday. Related: Trump signs executive actions to reinstate Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline The kerfuffle comes amidst an even bigger one on the same day that saw Trump sign executive orders aimed at advancing the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines . Trump told reporters at the Oval Office he planned to “renegotiate some of the terms” on the projects, but that he would seek to “get that pipeline built,” while issuing other executive actions requiring the pipelines be built in the U.S. with U.S. materials. + Badands National Park Twitter Via Time and Recode Images via Stefan Fussan and Recode  

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Rogue national park tweets climate change facts in defiance of Donald Trump

Renovated 1970s brick beach house in Australia gets new life with an elegant timber screen

December 6, 2016 by  
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A 1970s modernist brick beach house in Noosa, Australia , received a modern makeover that transformed it into a gorgeous subtropical retreat. In charge of the renovation , Teeland Architects retained as much of the existing building as possible, while making sure to take best advantage of the amazing site that backs into a rainforest. The architects modernized the existing brick house, created better relationships with the surroundings, and replaced the unflattering rough dark brown brick facade with a more elegant design. They rendered the brick in a natural cement finish and designed a beautiful timber screen for the street-facing facade. Related: Modern Renovation of an 1850’s Australian Farm House They carved out a series of new openings in the rear wall so that bedrooms and bathrooms have unobstructed views of the gorgeous subtropical landscape. One of the most unique design elements are the semi-outdoor bathrooms that overlook the national park . These reference the original shower units that sat on the back deck. + Teeland Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Jared Fowler

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Renovated 1970s brick beach house in Australia gets new life with an elegant timber screen

Toyota donates $1m to build an ultra-green youth campus for Yellowstone National Park

August 26, 2016 by  
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As its name suggests, the new Yellowstone Youth Campus will provide a place of learning for future generations of conservationists. Designed by Hennebery Eddy Architects of Portland, Oregon, the new Yellowstone Youth Campus aims to be the first buildings in a national park to achieve the Living Building Challenge Certification. The Living Building Challenge integrates ecological relationship, cultural heritage, stewardship, sustainability and leadership into all aspects of design, construction and operation. Related: Toyota’s new Texas headquarters will get 25% of its power from the sun “The new Yellowstone Youth Campus is an opportunity to support the conservation principles of the National Park Service while reinforcing Toyota’s commitment to the environment,” said Toyota Motor North America Environmental General Manager Kevin Butt. “We hope this environmental learning center will inspire and empower future leaders in building a more culturally aware, ecologically responsible and regenerative future.” How exactly will the campus achieve the Living Building Challenge Certification? According to Toyota, the buildings have been designed to significantly reduce energy use through special insulation and windows and natural ventilation. Planned photovoltaic arrays on-site will provide more than 100 percent of campus energy needs and 100 percent of the water used at the campus will be locally sourced and all wastewater will be treated on-site for reuse. + Toyota All images @ Toyota

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Toyota donates $1m to build an ultra-green youth campus for Yellowstone National Park

Obama expands Hawaii marine reserve to double the size of Texas

August 26, 2016 by  
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President Barack Obama will issue a proclamation to expand the existing Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument (PMNM), off the coast of Hawaii, to four times its current size . At 582,578 square miles (1.5m sq km), the new borders will make the protected area twice the size of Texas and the largest protected marine area in the world. The move is intended to protect animal and plant life as well as the world’s deepest and northernmost coral reefs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nlpDHSJ06o Hawaii’s governor David Ige requested the expansion of the marine reserve earlier this year in response to a community-driven effort to protect what has been called “one of the earth’s last best examples of a healthy marine ecosystem.” Enlarging the already protected area will provide further safeguards for the biodiverse region, parts of which have been designated as a marine reserve for decades. PMNM was originally established in 2006 by then-President George W. Bush as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument , and the name was updated the following year. Related: Chile is creating the largest protected marine park in the Americas Initially, the protected area covered 140,000 square miles, including 10 islands and atolls that are home to 7,000 species. Among the ocean creatures living in the protected area are green sea turtles, the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, Laysan and Nihoa finches, the Nihoa millerbird, Laysan duck, seabirds such as the Laysan albatross, as well as numerous species of plants and arthropods. Obama has made marine protections something of a priority during his tenure. In 2014, he ordered the expansion of another South Pacific Ocean marine reserve . Since marine reserves close even more ocean territory to commercial fishing, industry leaders are criticizing the decision, claiming political motivations are trumping scientific findings. Obama will travel to Hawaii next week to mark the proclamation ordering PMNM’s expansion and highlight the importance of protecting the world’s oceans. Via The Guardian Images via Wikipedia ( 1 , 2 )

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