The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger

September 13, 2017 by  
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The Free Store, a non-profit organization and grocery store based in Wellington, New Zealand, is serving food for free and aiding in the fight against food waste . Originally started as a two-week-long art project by artist Kim Paton in 2010, the store has now grown into a more permanent institution, stocking its shelves with surplus food from bakeries and supermarkets. In redistributing free food that would otherwise have gone to waste, the Free Store has proven to be a valuable community space. “There are no conditions on who can come to The Free Store,” said co-founder and director Benjamin Johnson. “There are no criteria. Anybody can come for whatever reason and take whatever they want.” Food waste is a major social problem in New Zealand , as it is in much of the industrialized world. Kiwis, or residents of New Zealand, dispose of approximately $625 million worth of food (120,000 tons) each year. Globally, it is estimated that total food waste weighs up to 1.3 billion tons. Meanwhile, people still go hungry. “We saw the potential in an untapped food supply. You had food that was perfectly good to eat, and then you had people that were hungry . We could facilitate a connection between the two,” said Johnson. Related: Britain’s first zero-waste store is packaging-free and only sells ethical goods The Free Store is made possible through support from volunteers , donors, and around 65 suppliers, located around Wellington city center eager to put their surplus food to good use. According to Johnson, the Free Store distributes between 800 to 1,500 food items each weeknight between 6 PM and 7 PM, averaging about 250,000 food items; that amounts to $1 million worth of food saved per year. Since its establishment, the Free Store has spread to four locations throughout New Zealand, adapting their model and funding structure to fit each area. “All you need is a space to operate from, surplus food, people who need the food and will come and take it, volunteers, and a committed group of people who can actually do it,” said Johnson. “There has to be local ownership. In every area where there’s a Free Store, there needs to be a deeply rooted community of people.” + The Free Store Via EcoWatch Images via The Free Store

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The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger

Dreamy cabin is a luxurious escape in the New Zealand bush

September 4, 2017 by  
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Cabin envy is real with this gorgeous Back Country house in New Zealand’s Puhoi bush. Designed by David Maurice of LTD Architectural , this timber-clad holiday home combines backcountry tradition with beautiful contemporary design. The environmentally sensitive cabin was built with locally sourced materials and makes use of passive heating and ventilation. Inspired by New Zealand’s backcountry typology, the Back Country house boasts a simple and clean silhouette comprising a single volume for the communal activities and a lean-to annex for the lower floor sleeping and service areas. The main volume embraces indoor-outdoor living and is open fully on two sides to a large wraparound deck. The deck feels like an outdoor room with its large fireplace and twin built-in bathtubs. Related: Seascape cottage is a self-sustaining getaway made from locally-sourced materials Locally sourced bandsawn macrocarpa is used inside and out to reinforce the cabin’s connection to the outdoors, while galvanized corrugated iron strengthens the hut aesthetic. Natural light floods the open-plan living room, dining, area, and kitchen, as well as the mezzanine master suite. To add interest to the mostly white and timber palette, bright and colorful furniture punctuate the spaces. Passive heating and ventilation as well as high performance insulation keep the Back Country house’s environmental impact low . + LTD Architectural Via Contemporist Images via LTD Architectural

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Dreamy cabin is a luxurious escape in the New Zealand bush

Zaha Hadid Architects wins bid for the Port of Tallinn Masterplan

September 4, 2017 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects just won an international competition to redevelop one of Europe’s fastest growing ports in Estonia’s bustling capital of Tallinn. The Masterplan 2030 will oversee a comprehensive and long-term redevelopment strategy for the Old City Harbor and reconnect disparate parts of the city into a more cohesive whole. Pedestrian friendly design, improved public transit access, and increased public space are part of ZHA’s redevelopment plans, as is sensitivity to the city’s historic fabric. An uptick of cruise ships and ferries to the Port of Tallinn has accelerated the demand for better passenger services as the port moves beyond just cargo needs. ZHA’s aim is to redevelop the port into a more attractive and easy-to-traverse urban space. The design will combine Tallinn’s innovative digital information technology with the charms of Tallinn’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Europe’s best preserved medieval cities. “We’re honoured to work with the Port of Tallinn, developing unique solutions to create these important connections for the Old City Harbour’s long-term vision,” said Ginaluca Racana, Director at Zaha Hadid Architects. “Supported by its network of new pedestrian routes and public transport links, the masterplan reinvents a familiar space in Tallinn and reconnects the city with its harbour, enabling residents to reclaim a part of the city that is currently difficult to access and designed only for transit.” Related: Zaha Hadid Architects turn an old fire station into a sparkling port headquarters for Antwerp The new masterplan is centered on a central pedestrian promenade with branching pedestrian footpaths that connect disparate parts of the city and link the ferry and cruise terminals to the city center. In addition to the emphasis on connectivity, the design preserves the city’s urban fabric from existing vistas to the sizing of new city blocks. The flexible and mixed-use civic spaces will provide cultural, entertainment, shopping, and hotel amenities to the over 5 million visitors to the port every year. The masterplan for the Old City Harbour is expected for completion by the end of 2017. + Zaha Hadid Architects Renders by VA

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Zaha Hadid Architects wins bid for the Port of Tallinn Masterplan

The Tesla of solar electric yachts launches in New Zealand

June 21, 2017 by  
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The future of boating is electric – and silent. That’s what Dutch company Soel Yachts says, and they’re bringing electric travel to the seas with their SoelCat 12. Inhabitat covered the boat’s design last year , and now the company is launching their sustainably-powered yacht in New Zealand . The yacht is kind to the environment not simply in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions , but in the reduction of noise pollution as well. The SoelCat 12, which was built in New Zealand, is powered by the sun. Soel Yachts describes the boat as the ‘ Tesla on the water,’ noting while cars are transitioning over to being powered by electricity , the same movement largely hasn’t occurred in boating. They want to revolutionize the boating industry, and are debuting the SoelCat 12, designed in partnership with Naval DC , in Auckland, New Zealand this week. Related: Solar-powered yacht sails silently for a cleaner, greener eco-tourism experience The company says it wasn’t enough to just stick an electric motor on a boat. They kept electric propulsion in mind as they designed the SoelCat 12, evidenced for example in the highly efficient lines of the hull. Traveling at a speed of eight knots, the yacht can run simply on battery power for six hours. Reducing the speed to six knots, the boat can travel for 24 hours – even at night when the yacht’s solar panels aren’t harvesting energy. The boat’s systems can be monitored on a phone or tablet, allowing boaters to see their energy use as in a Tesla, according to Soel Yachts. Soel Yachts co-founder Joep Koster said in a statement the SoelCat 12 “reduces all disturbing sound and CO2 emissions in our harbors, lagoons, and oceans .” The solar electric yacht quietly glides through waves, minimizing disturbance in the form of noise pollution to marine life. And the yacht is still useful even when it’s not in use. Soel Yachts says the boat can become a mobile power station, offering energy for as much as five homes, even in remote locations. + Soel Yachts + Naval DC Images courtesy of Soel Yachts

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The Tesla of solar electric yachts launches in New Zealand

New Zealand river world’s first to obtain legal staus as a person

March 16, 2017 by  
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A river in New Zealand now has legal status similar to a human being, marking a historic victory for indigenous people. For over 100 years, the Whanganui Iwi have fought over the rights of the Whanganui River, the country’s longest navigable river . Now the New Zealand Parliament has recently passed the Te Awa Tupua Bill , or Whanganui River Claims Settlement Bill, acknowledging past wrongs and declaring the river “an indivisible and living whole.” The Whanganui River can now be represented through two human representatives, one appointed by the New Zealand government and the other by the Whanganui Iwi. Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson told Newshub, “I know some people will say it’s pretty strange to give a natural resource a legal personality, but it’s no stranger than family trusts, or companies, or incorporated societies.” A $56 million financial redress payment is also part of the significant legislation. Related: Indonesian president gives forest management back to indigenous communities It’s been a long battle for the Whanganui Iwi. According to the bill, “Since 1873, Whanganui Iwi have sought recognition of their authority over the River, including by pursuing one of New Zealand’s longest-running court cases.” Whanganui Iwi spokesperson Gerrard Albert said the people have challenged the government’s impact on the river’s health since the mid-1850’s, and sought recognition of their rights over the river. In a statement he said, “We have always believed that the Whanganui River is an indivisible and living whole – Te Awa Tupua – which includes all its physical and spiritual elements from the mountains of the central North Island to the sea.” A government website adds, “The tribes of Whanganui take their name, their spirit, and their strength from the great river…The people say, ‘Ko au te awa. Ko te awa ko au’ (I am the river. The river is me).” Over 200 Whanganui Iwi descendants were present in Parliament as the bill passed, and sang songs after the third and final bill reading. Via EcoWatch Images via Alex Indigo on Flickr and eyeintim on Flickr

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New Zealand river world’s first to obtain legal staus as a person

New Zealand is exterminating all rats and non-native predators

July 25, 2016 by  
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Today the New Zealand government announced plans to rid the country of introduced predators by 2050. That includes species like possums, rats, and stoats that kill around 25 million birds native to New Zealand (like the kiwi) yearly, according to the government. Prime Minister John Key said introduced predators are a bigger threat to native animals than deforestation and poaching. In a statement Key said, “This is the most ambitious conservation project attempted anywhere in the world, but we believe if we all work together as a country we can achieve it.” The government will spend $28 million to see the goal through in a “new joint venture company,” Predator Free New Zealand Limited. The company will seek out “predator control projects” to pursue. Related: Highly invasive New Guinea flatworms spotted in the U.S. for the first time Key said the costs of introduced predators are high: around 3.3 billion New Zealand dollars every year (that’s about USD 2.3 billion), along with the deaths of native species. There are less than 70,000 kiwis left in the country, and 20 more die every week. Professors and activists expressed excitement about the government’s announcement. Manager of Campaigns & Advocacy at the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Kevin Hackwell told The Guardian, “I think 2050 is a conservative goal, we could be on track to doing it by 2040. The government has just come on board but many groups around New Zealand have been working towards being predator-free for years…The biggest hurdle in the end will be public support for the project.” One such group fighting the introduced predators is Predator Free New Zealand , who said in a news release they are “delighted the Government wants to borrow” their name. They’ve been around since 2013, and have a map of predator control projects throughout the country. They also offer a guide for volunteer groups who want to exterminate introduced pests in their area, such as information on permits and different types of traps. Via The Guardian Images via Andrew on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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New Zealand is exterminating all rats and non-native predators

Life-saving Classon bike helmet has built-in cameras and turn signals

July 25, 2016 by  
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The helmet has a number of safety features that aim to make cyclists aware of their environment without taking away the enjoyment of the ride. Cameras in the front and back of the helmet constantly scan the rider’s immediate environment. This info is immediately interpreted by an algorithm and communicated to the cyclist, letting them know when a vehicle is approaching in their blind spot. Related: Jeff Woolf’s Folding Bike Helmet Could Revolutionize Cycling Safety Intuitive turn signals in the front and back are activated by arm movement and blink to let surrounding vehicles know of their intentions to turn. Additionally resourceful is an adjustable light in the helmet that automatically turns on when reducing speed. The helmet’s Kickstarter campaign, which recently ended, exceeded the company’s goal by over 400 percent, demonstrating that bicyclists need and want safer, smarter gear. + Brooklyness

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Life-saving Classon bike helmet has built-in cameras and turn signals

Crowdfunding campaign bought a private beach in New Zealand and turned it into a National Park

July 18, 2016 by  
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Crowdfunding has become a great way to raise money to launch a new product, expand a small business, and now, New Zealanders have demonstrated another cool application: preserving public access to beaches . Members of the public created a crowdfunding campaign to purchase a 17-acre plot of private beach land, and they managed to raise an impressive $1.7 million in the process. Around 40,000 contributors pitched in, including a $254,000 investment from the local government to seal the deal, to purchase the land known as Awaroa beach on the north coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Awaroa beach was previously owned by Michael Spackman , a private businessman. He bought the land in 2008 for $1.4 million and had allowed the public to use it, including the half-mile of pristine beachfront , since the beginning. Financial need motivated Spackman to put the land on the market earlier this year, though, and members of the public feared that the beach’s new owner might not have the same philosophy about public access. This concern inspired Duane Major to begin a movement to save the beach and, as modern movements go, crowdfunding became the answer. The campaign closed in February , having raised enough funds to buy the property from Spackman. Related: Time really is money in this little New Zealand town Purchasing the beach with crowdsourced funds made it possible for Awaroa beach to become part of Abel Tasman National Park , which means it will be open to the public and protected for years to come. This counts as good news for the indigenous Maoris , who are particularly interested in protecting the land as it contains native burial grounds. Some locals pushed for the beach property to be handed over fully to the Maori people, but ultimately it was agreed that the beach will be open to the general public and that the national parks program will find “ways to involve local Maori youth in the management of the land.” The property is not accessible by vehicle and its remote location and limited access help ensure that it will remain “a remarkable seven-hectare utopia,” as it was described in the real estate listing. Via Fast Company Images via Bayleys

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Crowdfunding campaign bought a private beach in New Zealand and turned it into a National Park

MVRDV moves into an iconic post-war monument with their new colorful offices

July 18, 2016 by  
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The MVRDV House is located close by to the firm’s famous project the Markthal , a stunning tunnel-shaped food market integrated with apartments. The 2,400-square-meter office houses 140 staff members and 150 work spaces. The MVRDV House also shares the building with a large community of creative, technical, and entrepreneurial industries. “The expanding MVRDV family needed a new house; so this is exactly what we tried to capture. Everything that the home requires, a living room, a dining room, a sofa for the whole house to sit together,” explains MVRDV co-founder Jacob van Rijs. “This was also a chance to capture how we work and function as an office, then tailor-make new spaces that would boost our working methods and output; efficient spaces that enhance the collaborative ways in which we work.” The office is centered on the large Family Room, a light-filled communal space with “the couch” symbolized by timber stairs that double as seating and overlook a drop-down projection screen; the long “dinner table” for communal dining; and a “vegetation chandelier” that hangs above the reception. An open-plan working area takes up a large section of the central space. Meeting rooms are slotted behind transparent, multicolored glazed walls on two levels. Each meeting room is customized to a different theme, from the Drawing Room with whiteboard magnet walls for workshops to the Game Room set up for informal meetings at the table-tennis table. All aspects of the design were created to promote collaboration. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV moves into an iconic post-war monument with their new colorful offices

Time really is money in this little New Zealand town

December 18, 2015 by  
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In Lyttleton, New Zealand, an unusual currency has been circulating for the past decade, and now it’s gaining attention on a global scale. In the small port town, residents contribute hours to a ‘time bank’ from which others can make withdrawals, effectively allowing community members to trade the skills they possess in exchange for services they need. In a community where time literally is money, local residents have discovered a new kind of wealth. Read the rest of Time really is money in this little New Zealand town

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