California couple fined $18,000 for destroying Joshua trees

July 6, 2021 by  
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A California-based couple, Jeffrey Walter and Jonetta Nordberg-Walter, face a fine of $18,000 after uprooting 36 Joshua trees to build a new house. The couple was fined after an anonymous neighbor sent a tip to the California Fish and Wildlife Department. The neighbor is said to have witnessed the trees being bulldozed and buried during the construction of the new home. According to California Fish and Wildlife Department officials, the neighbor had warned the Morongo Basin couple about the consequences of bulldozing the trees , but the couple ignored the warning. Joshua trees are protected in California, and anyone found cutting them is likely to be sued.  Related: California votes to protect Joshua trees Nathaniel Arnold, deputy chief of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife law enforcement division, said that protecting the endangered Joshua trees depends on locals who are passionate about the species. “Most California citizens who reside in Joshua Tree habitat revere these iconic desert species, more so now than ever because of its degraded population status,” Arnold said. Arnold commended the work done by the resident who out the tip about the destruction of Joshua trees . He says that such a move could serve as a deterrent to those who wish to destroy the trees. “We’re pleased to see the citizen tip led to a successful disposition and we hope it serves as a deterrent to others who may think it is acceptable to unlawfully remove Joshua trees to make way for development,” Arnold added. California wildlife officials are now considering having Joshua trees protected under the Endangered Species Act. Global warming has made it almost impossible for Joshua trees to thrive. In 2020, California’s Dome wildfire consumed over 43,000 acres of Joshua tree woodland . Based on the  National Park Service  data, this single event led to the destruction of about 1.3 million Joshua trees. There are also many documented incidences where fires or individuals have led to the destruction of Joshua trees. In 2019, Joshua Tree National Park was closed temporarily following increased instances of Joshua tree destruction. Following the latest ruling, Walter and Nordberg-Walter were required by the court to each pay $9,000 for the destroyed trees. However, they can earn credit toward the fine if they volunteer at Joshua Tree National Park or the Mojave Desert Land Trust. Via Washington Post Images via San Bernardino County District Attorney

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California couple fined $18,000 for destroying Joshua trees

A botanic garden to save an endangered Colombian ecosystem

July 6, 2021 by  
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South America is often depicted as a lush landscape full of diverse ecosystems. And once, Colombia was like that. But today, mining, deforestation, extensive cattle ranching and draining of the wetlands in favor of urban development have threatened the country’s ecosystems and devastated the natural landscape. A project named El Tropicario seeks to raise awareness of these environmental problems and create a space where native plant lif e can be studied and preserved. The project seeks to conserve wax palms, Colombia’s national tree, among achieving other goals. The wax palms that are native to Colombia live for more than 100 years, and they are in danger of extinction. Related: This Colombian modular home is surrounded by Monkeypod trees El Tropicario is part of a huge botanical garden that serves as a center of education for environmental threats and as a space to preserve native plant life. The design includes floating wetland spaces, an environment that has all but disappeared on the Bogotá Savanna. There are six collections in the botanical garden: humid forest, dry forest, useful plants, special collections, biodiversity and superpáramos. The botanical garden is designed with passive temperature control systems that don’t need mechanical ventilation. The glass used in the design is made up of different thicknesses and filters. Automated systems are integrated to help control the temperature. Each structure is designed to capture rainwater and collect it in a large reservoir. This creates a closed cycle that provides irrigation for the plants. The gardens’ support system uses concrete pillars driven deep into the ground. These pillars surround the perimeter and support the metal structure of the gardens. This creates a self-supporting, “structural basket” design where no columns or supports are needed inside. Without columns inside, the interior spaces can include more soil for deep seeding. The design prioritizes plant life and creates a space for plants to thrive. + DARP Via ArchDaily Photography © Mauricio Carvajal

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A botanic garden to save an endangered Colombian ecosystem

Ai Weiwei to build 100 fences in NYC to shed light on immigration issues

March 28, 2017 by  
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As debates over immigration policy and the refugee crisis continue to rage across the United States, Ai Weiwei , the Beijing-born provocateur, has revealed his plans to raise more than 100 wire security fences across New York City. On view from October 12 through February 11, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”  will be a commentary on the barriers, both psychic and physical, that divide us as a people. The multi-site installation, which is expected to span locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, will be one of Ai’s largest public art projects to date. Indeed it’s the most ambitious to be commissioned by the Public Art Fund , which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. “Ai Weiwei transforms an ordinary architectural element into a series of striking installations,” said Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of the Public Art Fund. “’Good Fences Make Good Neighbors’ invites us to consider the role of the fence in a modern society as well as our own relationship to the object in question: Does this fence serve a purpose? Does it feel imposed or like it belongs? What does it separate me from? What side of the fence am I on? Does it protect me, or do I feel constrained?” Ai’s exhibition takes its name from “Mending Wall,” a poem by Robert Frost about a stone wall that separates the narrator’s property from his neighbor’s. The pieces will appear to grow out of the urban landscape in unexpected contexts, Baume said, including on rooftops, the spaces between buildings, and on bus shelters. Related: Wool art installation repurposed into blankets for Syrian refugees For Ai, who lived in New York for a time, the political is personal. “I was an immigrant in New York in the 1980s for 10 years and the issue with the migration crisis has been a longtime focus of my practice,” Ai said. “The fence has always been a tool in the vocabulary of political landscaping and evokes associations with words like ‘border,’ ‘security,’ and ‘neighbor,’ which are connected to the current global political environment. But what’s important to remember is that while barriers have been used to divide us, as humans we are all the same. Some are more privileged than others, but with that privilege comes a responsibility to do more.” + Ai Weiwei + Public Art Fund Via the New York Times

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Ai Weiwei to build 100 fences in NYC to shed light on immigration issues

Tesla to start taking solar roof orders in April

March 28, 2017 by  
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk is continuing in his quest to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy by announcing via Twitter on Friday that the electric carmaker and clean energy storage company will start taking orders for its solar roof shingles in April. The solar roof shingle product will be offered by Tesla’s SolarCity division. Tesla aquired the solar panel maker last November. Musk’s vision of a Tesla-powered home includes the solar roof turning sunlight into renewable electricity used for immediate use or storage in a Powerwall battery used to charge a Tesla electric vehicle in the garage and provide residential power when the sun sets. The solar tiles integrated into the roof include three layers — the color louver film in the middle that makes the solar tiles invisible from the street level but fully able to take advantage of the sun from above; the tempered glass on top that is durable and impact resistant; and of course on the bottom layer the high efficiency solar cell . The glass comes in four tile styles — tuscan glass, slate glass, textured glass and smooth glass. Related: Elon Musk says Tesla’s solar roof will be cheaper than ordinary roofs “The base of the proposition would be, would you like a roof that looks better than the normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less, and by the way, generates electricity?” Musk told investors in November. “It’s like why would you get anything else? Maybe there’s a reason. I’m not sure why.” According to an estimate in Consumer Reports , an installed textured glass tile solar roof should cost around $73,500. However, Consumer Reports added $2,000 a year to the value of the roof from the free electricity generated with solar. Over the 30-year solar roof lifespan, that is a $60,000 value, significantly offsetting the upfront costs. + Tesla Solar Via Greentech Media Images via Tesla

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Tesla to start taking solar roof orders in April

How Americans Are Embracing the Power of Their Homes

February 28, 2017 by  
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Just a few years ago, living off the grid conjured up images of tiny cabins in the middle of nowhere. Today, the dream of average American homeowners powering their homes with alternative energies is coming true. Solar panels on your neighbor’s…

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How Americans Are Embracing the Power of Their Homes

Deconstructing Construction Waste

August 22, 2016 by  
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When I approached my neighbor’s construction site, Edward Small of Sheridan Brick & Stone Work was chiseling off construction waste — mortar from old bricks to be exact. He suspects they were salvaged from a nearby Maine paper mill, and…

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Deconstructing Construction Waste

Donald Trump sues neighbor over solar panel glare

April 1, 2016 by  
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Everyone’s favorite Drumpf is at it again. Last year, presidential-hopeful Donald Trump lost his Supreme Court case to prevent the construction of a wind farm that would “ruin” the view from his luxury golf course off the coast of Scotland. But it seems that defeat hasn’t deterred The Trumpster, because this week he filed a lawsuit against his neighbor. Why? Because their solar panel array is causing unsightly glare in Trump’s luxury Fifth Avenue penthouse. Read the rest of Donald Trump sues neighbor over solar panel glare

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Like a Good Neighbor, the Clean Air Act is There

August 31, 2010 by  
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Since 1970, the Clean Air Act has been the EPA’s most effective tool for combating air pollution.

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Like a Good Neighbor, the Clean Air Act is There

Are Low-E Windows Melting Your Neighbor’s House?

August 6, 2010 by  
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Architects Newspaper recently shared some surprising news suggesting that new low-E windows could be responsible for melting the vinyl siding on neighboring homes.

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Are Low-E Windows Melting Your Neighbor’s House?

A Tale of Two Countries: Japan, China, and the Low-Carbon Economy

March 15, 2010 by  
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Japan’s business leaders are focused on cutting emissions, though they have about the same level of a roadmap as Americans; their neighbor to the southwest, however, has quickly moved into the spotlight as a challenger, and potentially an economic threat.

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A Tale of Two Countries: Japan, China, and the Low-Carbon Economy

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