Compensation for conservation: water markets are economists’ answer to scarcity

February 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

As cites grow and put more pressure on water sources, scarcity is an increasingly important issue. More than two thirds of the world’s population experience a water shortage every year. Just because water continues to reach your tap does not mean your area isn’t experiencing a shortage. Instead, it could mean your town is forced to tap sources, such as rivers, faster than they can renew. Economists have introduced one solution, water markets, which assign a value to usage under the premise that when something has a dollar value, people are more likely to conserve it. What are water markets? When preserving nature for nature’s sake is not enough to get a company’s attention, sometimes the best strategy is through its bottom line. Related: 7 ways to conserve water and reduce your water footprint Water markets function similarly to the stock market or carbon trading markets, where water usage rights and quantities can be traded among voluntary stakeholders within a watershed. There are different types of trades and markets that vary based on local legislation, infrastructure and government regulation. Ultimately, one water user sells a portion of its predetermined water allotment to another user, meaning it reduces the quantity of water it uses (in exchange for compensation), while the buyer utilizes the agreed upon amount of water. Why would the seller engage in a water market? A farmer, for example, might sell a portion of their water access and use the funding to purchase more efficient irrigation or use it as compensation for reducing their yield. Why would the buyer engage in a water market? A metropolitan area, for example, might purchase water from farmers upstream and use it for urban residents. This enables more efficient use of the water available, without forcing the government to tap into reserves or build expensive infrastructure to reach far away sources. Environmental organizations might also purchase water and then not use it, simply to ensure that an optimum amount of water cycles through the watershed to support healthy ecosystems . Why do we need water markets? Most people consider water a human right and a shared resource; however, this means that people do not necessarily have tangible incentive to conserve . Agriculture is the largest water user, with more than 90 percent of all water going to irrigated farms . But nearly 75 percent of all irrigated farms are vulnerable to scarcity, and almost 20 percent of all irrigated crops are produced with nonrenewable groundwater. This means that a fifth of everything we eat taps the earth’s water supply beyond what the water cycle can naturally replenish. This rate is alarmingly unsustainable. As The Nature Conservancy reported , “Nature is the silent and unseen victim of water scarcity.” But with the rise in severe weather, including flooding and drought , those who are paying attention could argue that nature is not so silent. Not to mention the 844 million people living without adequate access to clean water who are also victims in plain sight. Have water markets been successful? Australia’s Murray-Darling river has one of the most widely cited examples of a successful water market. Established in response to a seven-year drought, the market provides farmers with an alternate revenue stream that helps them stay in business even during times of water crises. Currently, 40 percent of all water used within the extensive basin in southeastern Australia is traded water. Another example comes from San Diego, California , where the water authority pays farmers to reduce water and reroute it to urban areas. This traded water covers one third of the city’s water needs. Reducing water use on large farms — without destroying local economies and food supplies — inevitably has to be a major part of the solution. Unlike carbon trading, which many argue promotes “pay to pollute,” water markets offer “compensation for conservation.” According to The Nature Conservancy , water markets “offer a powerful mechanism for alleviating water scarcity, restoring ecosystems and driving sustainable water management.” Markets, however, are intended to be one solution within a more comprehensive conservation strategy. Other components include enforcing meaningful reductions in water usage —  forcing businesses to innovate more efficient operations, appliances and products. The concepts of trading and monetizing water access are complex, abstract and focus on major players. More research is continually needed to ensure that market approaches do not only benefit the loudest and highest bidders, but to ensure the equity of markets for small and nontraditional users. + ‘The Nature Conservancy’ Image via Diego Delso

Read more:
Compensation for conservation: water markets are economists’ answer to scarcity

Reimagine a resilient future with this nature-based tool

January 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Reimagine a resilient future with this nature-based tool

Most Americans have personally experienced a federally declared, weather-related disaster in the last decade. In fact, the number is 96 percent of the population. Both science and personal testimonies indicate that extreme weather events are increasing in severity and frequency.  Naturally Resilient Communities  is an interactive website that allows users to explore successful examples of nature-based solutions to reduce risks and re-imagine a resilient and connected future for their own communities. The guide, launched in 2017, provides case studies and funding suggestions for urban planners interested in learning how to implement specific ecosystem-based strategies that address pervasive challenges such as flooding, sea level rise and coastal erosion. Naturally Resilient Communities is a partnership between the American Planning Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Association of State Floodplain Managers, the Environmental and Water Resources Institute, the National Association of Counties, The Nature Conservancy and Sasaki Associates, with funding from the Kresge Foundation. What are nature-based solutions? Nature-based solutions, according to the site, are strategies that “use natural systems, mimic natural processes or work in tandem with traditional approaches to address specific hazards.” Ideally less expensive and destructive than “over-engineered” infrastructure, such as concrete sea walls, natural solutions protect and restore ecosystems that effectively filter and redirect storm water while providing additional benefits to nearby communities. For example, a healthy coastal marsh can reduce storm waves by up to 50 percent, and therefore provides a protective buffer for homes, businesses and infrastructure along the coast. In addition, marshes are an important habitat for birds , fish and other wildlife and can be used for recreational biking and walking trails. In turn, access to urban parks increases property values. It’s a win-win-win for the community, nature and the economy. “Investing in nature is both a viable way to adapt to climate change and a good way for the community to create the kind of future they want to live in,” Nate Woiwode of The Nature Conservancy told Inhabitat in an interview. “It is smart investing across the board.” Related: Bronx community garden transformed with sustainable improvements Naturally Resilient Communities provides more than 20 suggestions of natural solutions and 30 case studies from cities and towns that successfully use them. The target audience is urban and rural planners or decision makers and the teams that support them. The guide has been utilized throughout North America and the world to engage residents and visualize smart climate action that takes nature and communities’ needs into account. Other examples of solutions include preserving floodplains and upstream watersheds, rather than paving and developing within feet of a river. Healthy river ecosystems allow space for natural, upstream flooding in times of heavy rain and reduce catastrophic flooding in urban areas downstream. The online tool allows users to specify and filter their searches based on hazard, region, type of community (eg. rural or urban) and implementation price range. Users can click on various solutions displayed on a visual coastal landscape graphic to learn more about the benefits. Nature-based solutions include: Parks and preserves Restoration of marsh, reef, sea grass, beach or mangroves Relocation of homes and businesses in flood-prone areas Flood bypass Horizontal levees Flood water detention basins Trees and vegetation throughout streets, parking lots or roofs Bioswales Rain gardens Horizontal levees , for example, integrate marsh land with a below-ground concrete wall. This alternate approach to a traditional concrete wall provides a natural buffer zone, reduces the size, cost and maintenance of the hard structure and provides natural habitat with recreational opportunities, such as birding trails. The partnership behind the online tool hopes that by making the benefits clear and accessible, municipalities will feel empowered and motivated to integrate nature into their adaptation and development plans. Green spaces build a sense of community, slow down and redirect storm water, improve water and air quality, sequester carbon and reduce heat radiating from concrete during hot summers. Natural habitats provide shelter for a variety of species, increasing biodiversity, ecotourism and commercially important fisheries. Related: Sean Parker’s wedding violations result in new app for California coastline Numerous studies also indicate a profoundly positive psychological impact of nature and access to green spaces, including increased physical activity and health. One study from California indicated that 90 percent of minor crimes occurred in places where residents had no access to vegetated areas. Facing both rising urgency and increasing public support, cities and towns are interested in implementing sustainability measures but almost always lack information and funding. In addition to case studies and links for more resources, the online tool also provides suggestions for different funding strategies. “Counties are on the front lines of emergency response and preparedness,” said Sally Clark, president of the National Association of Counties, in a press release . “And we’re pursuing forward-thinking measures to mitigate risk and foster local resiliency. The Naturally Resilient Communities project helps us leverage natural and other resources to make our neighborhoods safer and more secure.” + Naturally Resilient Communities Images via Robert Jones , Lubos Houska and Free Photos

Read the rest here:
Reimagine a resilient future with this nature-based tool

Concrete home perched on Greek island cliffside designed with large cut outs to frame the amazing sea views

January 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Concrete home perched on Greek island cliffside designed with large cut outs to frame the amazing sea views

When Stockholm-based firm, OOAK Architects were tasked with building a beautiful home for two windsurfing aficionados on the Greek island of Karpathos, they created a design completely driven by the incredible surrounding nature. The Patio House is a beautiful concrete home with large open cutouts that sits gently on the landscape, cantilevering over the rocky cliff to provide breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. According to the architects, the design and orientation of the home was driven by the rugged landscape, which is comprised of two stepped plateaus. Due to the nature of the terrain, the architects decided to cantilever the home from the higher ledge, a decision that would optimize the amazing sea views. Related:This off-grid home on a Greek island provides ‘cinematic frames’ of the sea “The question became how to introduce a foreign object– a house –into this spectacular landscape, enhancing its qualities without altering its character,” said OOAK. “Rather than trying to mimic the landscape, the house is gently placed on the site as an object, leaving the surrounding landscape as untouched as possible.” The natural terrain not only influenced the home’s overall design, but also its materials. To install the home into the rocky cliffside, the architects built the home with reinforced concrete , clad in a board-marked finish that gives the home a strong Mediterranean aesthetic. Additionally, the home’s roof was covered with gravel to blend in with the surroundings. The home’s volume is a fairly simple horizontal silhouette that stands out due to its various distinctive cutouts. These large apertures, some windows and some left completely open, were strategic to provide breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea from virtually anywhere in the home. The interior design , which includes Scandinavian-inspired furnishings and all white walls, is bright and airy, giving the design a fresh, modern aesthetic. Located high above the sea, the home is often exposed to strong winds, which prompted the architects to add a sheltered open-air patio at the heart of the living area. This space is a usable outdoor space, with a small dining area and plenty of greenery, that the family can use to enjoy fresh air despite the severe winds. For entertaining, the homeowners can also enjoy a large terrace that was placed on the lower plateau and accessed by a large staircase. + OOAK Architects Via Dezeen Photography by Yiorgos Kordakis and Åke E:son Lindman, via OOAK Architects  

Go here to see the original: 
Concrete home perched on Greek island cliffside designed with large cut outs to frame the amazing sea views

Sea Turtle Rescuers: Volunteers Patrol for Hatchlings Disoriented by Light Pollution

January 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco

Comments Off on Sea Turtle Rescuers: Volunteers Patrol for Hatchlings Disoriented by Light Pollution

In the dark of night, teeny sea turtles emerge from … The post Sea Turtle Rescuers: Volunteers Patrol for Hatchlings Disoriented by Light Pollution appeared first on Earth911.com.

More here:
Sea Turtle Rescuers: Volunteers Patrol for Hatchlings Disoriented by Light Pollution

Mother Nature’s Medicine: 4 Natural Remedies For Healthy Kids

December 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco

Comments Off on Mother Nature’s Medicine: 4 Natural Remedies For Healthy Kids

Some of you might have an encyclopedic knowledge of natural … The post Mother Nature’s Medicine: 4 Natural Remedies For Healthy Kids appeared first on Earth911.com.

Excerpt from:
Mother Nature’s Medicine: 4 Natural Remedies For Healthy Kids

Energy-producing pavilion proposal for Expo 2020 mimics Brazil’s biomes

December 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Energy-producing pavilion proposal for Expo 2020 mimics Brazil’s biomes

? ? Architect Gabriel Kozlowski has proposed a stunning, energy-producing structure for the Brazilian pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Created in collaboration with Gringo Cardia, Bárbara Graeff and Tripper Arquitetura, the conceptual design showcases a variety of sustainable systems, from construction materials like rammed earth to passive solar design strategies. Although the competition entry was not ultimately chosen for the Expo, the design does offer an inspiring look at the integration of Brazilian identity into sustainably minded architecture. “Our pavilion is inspired by one of the greatest technological achievements of Brazil: the improvement of the Direct Planting System over straw,” Kozlowski explained in a project statement. “This agricultural technique protects the soil and maintains the ideal thermal conditions for cultivation. The pavilion conceptually mimics this scheme through its layered arrangement — soil, entanglement of protection, productivity — presenting itself as both a building and a symbolic image of one of our progresses.” In addition to its nature-inspired form, the pavilion proposal subtly references Brazil’s previous Expo pavilions including those of Paulo Mendes da Rocha at Osaka 1970 and from Sérgio Bernardes at Brussels 1958. The building would have been built primarily of laminated timber as well as rammed earth mixed with reinforced concrete. The ground floor would serve primarily as exhibition space and is designed to host the ‘Together for Nature’ exhibition organized around six walls, each symbolic of Brazil’s six main terrestrial biomes: the Amazon Forest, the Cerrado, the Atlantic Forest, the Caatinga, the Pampa and the Pantanal. Each wall would be made from the soil of each biome and surrounded by totems housing the seeds of native species. Related: RIBA crowns Children Village in Brazil as the world’s best new building A massive, nest-like structure made from woven tree branches would appear to float above the ground floor and is accessed via a spiral staircase. The upper level would house the ’Together for People’ exhibit with images showcasing Brazil’s ethnic diversity along with the ‘Together for Tomorrow’ exhibit that explores water-related, biotechnological advancements, such as desalination and aquaculture . The upper level would have also included an auditorium and gathering spaces as well as a landscaped rooftop with a lookout terrace and restaurant. The proposed pavilion would have been engineered to produce its own energy, recycle its own water and stay naturally cool without the need for air conditioning. + Gabriel Kozlowski Via ArchDaily Images via Gabriel Kozlowski

See the original post here: 
Energy-producing pavilion proposal for Expo 2020 mimics Brazil’s biomes

Cheap drainage nets keep water pollution at bay in Australia

November 30, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Cheap drainage nets keep water pollution at bay in Australia

Water pollution is a growing crisis around the world, but one city in Australia is doing its part to tackle the huge surges of waste that come from stormwater drains. By using a somewhat obvious, simple and cost-effective system of nets, or “trash traps,” the City of Kwinana is moving to prevent waste from entering its waters. In Spring 2018, the City of Kwinana collaborated with supplier Ecosol to install two drainage nets in the Henley Reserve. The netting was simply attached to concrete drain pipes, and these nets have since collected 370 kg (about 816 lb) of waste, including plastic food wrappers and bottles. Related: Former businessman bicycles down the Thames River to stop plastic pollution The system, including manufacturing, installation and additional labor, cost the municipality about $20,000 — prior to the nets, city workers would collect debris in the water by hand. The new system is picked up and cleaned out using cranes when the nets become full of waste. Then, the waste is sorted in a designated facility. Here, green waste is transformed into mulch, and other materials are separated into recyclable /non-recyclable. The City of Kwinana has considered the drainage nets a huge success, with plans to install three more nets in the nature reserve area over the next two years. “We know that the Kwinana community is very passionate about environmental initiatives and rallies around actions with positive environmental impact, and if it was not for the drainage nets, 370 kg of debris would have ended up in our reserve,” Mayor Carol Adams said. “The nets are placed on the outlet of two drainage pipes, which are located between residential areas and natural areas … This ensures that the habitat of the local wildlife is protected and minimizes the risk of wildlife being caught in the nets. To date, no wildlife has been caught up in either of the City’s nets.” The system took off on social media, in a viral storm that Adams said shows the importance for all levels of government to focus on initiatives to save the environment . + City of Kwinana Image via Shutterstock

Read more here:
Cheap drainage nets keep water pollution at bay in Australia

How the Arctic Affects Your Family This Holiday Season (and Every Day)

November 26, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

Comments Off on How the Arctic Affects Your Family This Holiday Season (and Every Day)

This is the first of a series of Arctic ice … The post How the Arctic Affects Your Family This Holiday Season (and Every Day) appeared first on Earth911.com.

Read the original here:
How the Arctic Affects Your Family This Holiday Season (and Every Day)

Can Large Solar Farms Create Pollinator Habitat?

September 18, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco

Comments Off on Can Large Solar Farms Create Pollinator Habitat?

Pollinators play a crucial role in ecosystems. They are instrumental … The post Can Large Solar Farms Create Pollinator Habitat? appeared first on Earth911.com.

Read more here:
Can Large Solar Farms Create Pollinator Habitat?

Timber-clad modern home in New York takes a sensitive approach to the landscape

September 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Timber-clad modern home in New York takes a sensitive approach to the landscape

When an experimental modern dance choreographer tapped Anik Pearson Architects to design and build a legacy family compound in Upstate New York , the New York City-based firm took to the challenge by not only finding an appropriate site, but also designing the master plan, which includes the recently completed main house. Clad in timber and set on a steep slope, the spacious abode prioritizes low-maintenance care, sensitivity to the environment and energy-efficient design. In addition to the use of naturally resilient materials, the Hammersley Ridge Overlook, or House in Wingdale, uses a ventilated facade system to effectively seal the building envelope against water and air while maintaining an indoor-outdoor connection. When Anik Pearson was tasked with finding the site, she was bound by the requirements that the property be easily accessible from New York City via public transit and within easy reach of hiking trails. The answer came in a 68-acre lot in Upstate New York near the Appalachian Trail and the Hammersley Hill Nature Conservancy. The master plan, created in collaboration with a landscape architect, called for various site infrastructural improvements as well as a large family compound — including a main house, a guesthouse, a caretaker’s house and a dance studio — that would be completed in phases over the course of a few decades. Built for multi-generational use, the House in Wingdale is defined on one side by a three-story external ramp that connects the ground floor with the sleeping porches and a green rooftop terrace. The house is built from a combination of timbers with traditional materials that include whitewashed board paneling, white cedar , walnut and oak, as well as copper, granite and glazed encaustic tile. In contrast to the muted facade, the light-filled interiors feature bright pops of color inspired by the owner’s bright dinnerware. Large windows and a screened-in porch help bring the outdoors in. Related: Curvaceous Ex of In House is a solar-powered guest residence aligned with the natural world “The main house is designed to promote a connection to the land and to the outdoors through an external ramp linking balconies, porches and a terraced green roof ,” reads the project statement. “Sensitivity to the site is observed through water conservation, absorption and recapturing. On the structures, emphasis is given to energy efficiency and ease of maintenance through naturally resilient materials and assemblies.” + Anik Pearson Architects Images via Anik Pearson Architects

Read the original post: 
Timber-clad modern home in New York takes a sensitive approach to the landscape

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 3266 access attempts in the last 7 days.