Are these zero-carbon domes the future of sustainable housing?

March 20, 2020 by  
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When design and architecture start-up Geoship met its $100,000 equity crowdfunding goal in just five days in January 2020, founder and CEO Morgan Bierschenk knew the fledgling company had something special on its hands. The product? Sustainable, affordable housing in the form of unique geodesic domes that are also zero-carbon. Geoship built its first prototype dome in 2015, and in 2019, it partnered with Zappos in an effort to address the homelessness crisis in downtown Las Vegas, where the company is headquartered. The partnership has since created a scalable model of villages specifically aimed at helping to eliminate homelessness in the United States by 2030. Related: Create your own backyard geodesic dome with these super affordable DIY kits So what makes these domes so special? A 100% bioceramic material combined with basalt and hemp fiber (similar to bone and shells) is used to construct the framing, insulation and panels to provide an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional building materials. This ceramic composite is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, making it fireproof up to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit. The dome shape distributes pressure evenly throughout the structure, a feature that makes it both earthquake- and hurricane-proof, according to Geoship. Additionally, the material doesn’t attract mold or insects and won’t rust, rot or deteriorate. The minerals used to create the bioceramic can be harvested from sustainable, natural resources, such as seawater desalination plants and non-toxic sewage treatment plants. Old material can either be turned into new panels or used as fertilizer. Currently, estimated turnkey prices for the domes range from $45,000 to $230,000, depending on the size. The price includes everything from delivery, permitting, installation, mechanical systems, interior finishing, appliances and materials for passive solar heating and cooling. Geoship is unique in that it is structured as a “Social Purpose Corporation,” a multi-stakeholder cooperative where customers will be major owners in the company in addition to the investors and employees, a model that Bierschenk believes consumers were all too ready for. “Old school capitalism makes rich people richer, and everybody defers responsibility, while our planet pays the price,” Bierschenk said. “We’re shifting that paradigm by making our seed investment widely accessible, and distributing equity to customers and the Earth.” + Geoship Images via Geoship

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Are these zero-carbon domes the future of sustainable housing?

Washington moves to ban "detrimental" bottled water operations

February 26, 2020 by  
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Washington state, known for mountains, glaciers and rainforests, has an abundance of fresh water. To protect those natural resources , the state senate has passed a bill that will ban any new water bottling permits. Bill SB 6278, “An act relating to water withdrawals for commercial bottled water production; and amending RCW 90.03.290” was approved by the senate on February 17 and is currently progressing through the house. The bill will take effect retroactively to any applications as of January 1, 2019, effectively banning any new bottling operations in the state. Related: Arsenic found in bottled water sold at major retailers For definition, bottled water is clearly defined as any water labeled or marketed for sale as water in any type of container. Spring water or enhanced water is also included in the ban; however, it does not include products made from water that are not marketed as water. The state also included a clause stating that the limitation does not apply to municipal water suppliers or in the case of a state of emergency, drought or public health emergency — an argument from representatives of the bottled water industry. According to the bill, “the commercial production of bottled water is deemed to be detrimental to the public welfare and the public interest.” With water campaigners promoting the notion that private companies should not profit from public resources, the Washington senate was moved into action. Harvesting the water allows the industry to deplete a natural resource, put it in a plastic bottle and ship it out of state, all while collecting water for almost nothing and seeing exorbitant profits. With water being the No. 1 bottled drink in the United States, the production is bound to have consequences at the source, and there have been several instances of groundwater pollution as well as arsenic being diverted to water treatment plants without notifications regarding the toxins. Washington will be the first state in the nation to enact such a ban, but other states have similar legislation in the works, including Maine and Michigan introducing state bills and both Oregon and Montana recently passing ballot measures. + Washington State Legislature Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay

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Washington moves to ban "detrimental" bottled water operations

Seaweed pavilion encourages environmental conservation at WEF

February 4, 2020 by  
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In the landlocked Swiss town of Davos-Klosters, German designer Julia Lohmann has brought multi-sensory elements of the sea to guests of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 50th Annual Meeting. Hidaka Ohmu is a seaweed installation accompanied by a seaweed prototyping workshop. Created as part of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum exhibition, ‘Partnering with Nature,’ the installation aims to “encourage participants to play with natural elements, learn about the symbiotic relationships in nature and be inspired to imagine a more cohesive approach to working with nature.” Made from kelp and rattan, the organic pavilion immerses visitors in the scents and colors of the ocean as a reminder of the importance of environmental conservation. The Hidaka Ohmu installation is part of Julia Lohmann’s Department of Seaweed, an ongoing collection of work that explores the sustainable uses of seaweed and ways the material can be used to spark dialogue. At WEF, the installation took the shape of an organic pavilion with a rattan frame and semi-translucent kelp panels, the colors of which change depending on the light. Hidaka Ohmu takes its name from the Hidaka kelp used for the installation and the pavilion’s resemblance to Ohmu, the massive insect-like creatures from the 1984 Japanese animated film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind , a cautionary sci-fi tale of environmental devastation. Related: 100% biodegradable, edible packaging is so much better than plastic In addition to exploring the sights and smells of Hidaka Ohmu, WEF participants were invited to create objects from seaweed themselves in Lohmann’s Department of Seaweed prototyping workshop. The workshop aims to make science and our relationship with nature more tangible as a means of encouraging environmentally responsible actions and raising awareness about climate change . The installation and workshop were presented from January 21 to January 24, 2020. “We need an empathic, more than human-centric way of engaging with nature,” Lohmann said. “Every species has an equal right to life on this planet. We can use the same human ingenuity that has led to the climate crisis we are facing now — and design has a lot to answer for in this — to protect and regenerate the ecosystem that sustains us.” + Julia Lohmann Photography by Valeriano Di Domenico, Farouk Pinjo, Claran McCrickard, and Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary via WEF

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Seaweed pavilion encourages environmental conservation at WEF

Can Growth in Sustainable Energy Reduce Natural Resources Overspend?

September 30, 2019 by  
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Globally, we are consuming resources faster than the Earth can … The post Can Growth in Sustainable Energy Reduce Natural Resources Overspend? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Can Growth in Sustainable Energy Reduce Natural Resources Overspend?

Earth911 Podcast, Sept. 30, 2019: ISRI’s State of the Recycling System

September 30, 2019 by  
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Explore the state of U.S. recycling with Joe Pickard, chief … The post Earth911 Podcast, Sept. 30, 2019: ISRI’s State of the Recycling System appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, Sept. 30, 2019: ISRI’s State of the Recycling System

What to Do When You Have Bad Water at Home

September 30, 2019 by  
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Alarm over the United States’ dirty water crisis is growing. … The post What to Do When You Have Bad Water at Home appeared first on Earth911.com.

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What to Do When You Have Bad Water at Home

US Forest Service allows Nestl to continue taking water from California national forest

June 29, 2018 by  
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The U.S. Forest Service has offered Nestlé Waters North America a three-year permit on water rights in the San Bernardino National Forest , allowing the company to continue to take millions of gallons of water from the site. Under the proposed agreement, Nestlé would draw from the Strawberry Creek watershed “when there is water available consistent with the forest’s Land Management Plan” for its various bottled water brands, including Arrowhead. If California returns to severe drought conditions, the Forest Service could further limit natural resource access. The Forest Service says it will work with the Swiss company to study the watershed and determine future management plans. The watershed is currently rated as Class Three “Impaired Function,” the worst watershed functionality class. An “impaired” watershed exceeds “physical, hydrological or biological thresholds,” with major changes needed to restore the watershed to functioning status. Related: The growing wine industry is threatening California’s Napa Valley “[The decision ensures] the water withdrawal and conveyance infrastructure is under a current permit,” U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Joe Rechsteiner explained to the Associated Press. “And it provides for protection of forest resources.” In 2015, the Center for Biological Diversity in Oakland, Calif. sued the Forest Service to block Nestlé from using the watershed, arguing the conglomerate was operating without a valid permit. A federal judge allowed continued water collection for bottling , while regulators considered a new permit. In its permit renewal application, the company cited 70 environmental studies to support its continued watershed usage. Arrowhead’s use of the Strawberry Creek watershed dates back to 1909, when the Arrowhead Springs Company was formed. Nestlé must accept the agreement within 60 days. In a statement to the AP, Nestlé noted they would “carefully review the specifics of the decision.” Via  Associated Press Images via John Heil (1, 2)

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US Forest Service allows Nestl to continue taking water from California national forest

Five changes agri-businesses need to make if they want to survive

March 24, 2017 by  
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For an industry that relies heavily on natural resources such as clean air, soil and water, becoming more environmentally friendly is not just a marketing ploy — it is a necessity.

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Recycling for Profit: 5 Ways to Turn Your Trash into Cash

March 22, 2017 by  
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There are numerous benefits to recycling — reducing the use of natural resources, boosting the economy and saving energy, to name just a few — but sometimes it lacks an immediate personal benefit. If you want to profit from your good deed with more…

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Recycling for Profit: 5 Ways to Turn Your Trash into Cash

See Just How Much Food You — Yes, You — Are Wasting

December 9, 2016 by  
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In 2012, we received some dismal news about food waste. A staggering 40 percent of food is wasted from farm to fork, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Suddenly, we were all running to our fridges to make soups from…

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