Most active volcano in the Philippines sends locals and tourists fleeing

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Mount Mayon, the most active volcano in the Philippines , sent lava billowing down its slopes on Tuesday and prompted an evacuation of more than 21,000 locals who live in threatened areas. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, lava flowed as far as 1.2 miles from the crater while ash from the volcanic activity spread to several communities in the northeastern Albay Province, where Mayon is located. Although the sight of an active volcano is breathtaking, authorities have advised that people remain beyond the 3.7-4.3 mile danger zone around Mayon. “They say it’s beauty juxtaposed with danger,” Office of Civil Defense regional director Claudio Yucot said, according to CBS News . Of the at least 21,800 people to be displaced by Mayon’s most recent eruptive episode, over 16,800 have taken shelter in 22 schools throughout the region. Others found safety at the homes of relatives far from the danger zone. Locals have expressed concern for their livestocks, which authorities have met by setting up evacuation areas for animals such as pigs, poultry, water buffalo, and cattle.  Despite the vivid display of danger, the volcano’s current lava spell was sparked by lava fragments splitting from the lava flow, not from an explosive eruption from within the crater. Further, scientists have not observed the level of volcanic earthquakes that would indicate an imminent eruption. If such an eruption were to appear imminent, authorities say that they are ready for a large-scale evacuation operation. Related: Scientists construct new theory of Yellowstone’s supervolcano hotspot Mayon has erupted about 50 times in the past 500 years, often with great strength. Its first recorded eruption was in 1616 while the most destructive occurred in 1814, when 1,200 people were killed and the town of Cagsawa was buried. The most recent episode before the current occurred in 2013 when an eruption of ash killed five people who attempted to climb the volcano despite warnings. While Mount Mayon may be the most active, it certainly is not the only volcano in the Philippines. Mayon is a part of the Ring of Fire, an area in the Pacific in which seismic faults are plentiful and often produce earthquakes and volcanic activity. Via CBS News Images via Denvie Balidoy/Flickr and Tom Falcon/Flickr

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Most active volcano in the Philippines sends locals and tourists fleeing

Ford’s new electric SUV will battle Tesla’s Model X

January 16, 2018 by  
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Over the past few days, Ford has released lots of new information about its future lineup at the Detroit Auto Show. While our eyes were on its latest trucks and even a new Mustang, the automaker quietly dropped some information about its new electric SUV that’s slated to arrive in 2020. In a tweet, Ford posted a quick teaser video with the end of it announcing that the new SUV will be called the Mach 1. Mach 1 isn’t a new name: its roots go back to the 1960s when it was introduced as a performance package for the 1969 Mustang. The decision to use the name for its new electric SUV alludes to the performance that Ford expects from the vehicle. Rather than create en electric crossover, like the Chevy Bolt or upcoming Hyundai Kona EV , Ford is going at it from the other end of the spectrum with a high performance SUV that will rival the Tesla Model X. Related: Hyundai unveils new Nexo fuel cell SUV with an impressive 370-mile range Inspired by icons. Developed by #Ford Team Edison. Born in Detroit. A new all-electric performance SUV. Coming 2020. #FordNAIAS pic.twitter.com/DqFSRAtp8l — Ford Motor Company (@Ford) January 14, 2018 Other than the teaser video, Ford hasn’t released any other details about the Mach 1. When it does arrive in 2020, it will already have a long list of new rivals, including Jaguar’s I-Pace , Audi’s e-tron SUVs and maybe even an electric Porsche SUV. + Twitter All images ©Ford

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Drinking water for 170 million Americans tainted by radiation

January 12, 2018 by  
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Up to 170 million Americans in all fifty states may be exposed to radiation-tainted drinking water . Using data from 50,000 public water systems, the Environmental Working Group found that more than 22,000 utilities reported the presence of radium in treated drinking water between 2010 and 2015. Although only a small number of these systems had radium levels that exceeded the legal limits put in place by the EPA in 1976, these guidelines are in need of an update to ensure the public is aware of potential risks — which should be minimized. Perhaps unsurprisingly, President Trump ‘s nominee to be the White House environmental czar, Kathleen Hartnett White, does not even believe in the science behind the EPA’s current, insufficient standard for radium monitoring. Although the amount of radiation in the drinking water is minimal, there is a risk to public health, particularly if standards and policy are not based on the latest science. “Most radioactive elements in tap water come from natural sources, but that doesn’t take away the need to protect people through stronger standards and better water treatment,” said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., EWG’s senior science advisor for children’s environmental health. “Millions of Americans are drinking water with potentially harmful levels of radioactive elements, but the outdated federal standards mean many people don’t know about the risk they face when they turn on the tap.” In Texas, about 80 percent of the water tested contained detectable levels of two radium isotopes. While Trump nominee Kathleen Hartnett White was the Lone Star State’s top environmental regulator, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality would alter the numbers to make it seem that tap water in Texas met federal standards. Related: “Raw water” craze draws concern from health professionals During an 2011 investigation, Hartnett White admitted that she did not believe in the science that supported the EPA guidelines. When asked by a reporter what would come if Harnett White was wrong and the EPA was right, she simply said that “it would be regrettable.” After Harnett White admitted to the United States Senate that Texas did indeed alter data, her nomination was rejected. Nonetheless, the Trump White House decided to renominate her in hopes that senators would let her negligence slide. “Putting someone in charge of CEQ who deliberately falsified data to get around federal regulations is outrageous, and the fact that her deception left people at serious risk of cancer is even more alarming,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s vice president of government affairs. “The Senate should reject this radioactive nominee.” Via EWG Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Drinking water for 170 million Americans tainted by radiation

Rundown 1970s A-frame cabin transformed into light-filled modern getaway

January 12, 2018 by  
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Proving that a little sweat and ingenuity makes for great design, this formerly outdated A-frame cabin in Big Bear, California underwent a major transformation at the hands of its owner. Courtney Poulos loved her 880-square-foot cabin – but not its 1970s look – so she gave the space a modern makeover the preserves its rustic charm. Reforming the 1973 wood cabin would not be an easy task, principally because of budget and time restraints. Working with $40,000 and five weeks time, the rehabilitation of the space was even more complicated thanks to the fact that all of the materials had to be hauled up the mountainside. Related: Renovated 1960s A-frame cabin proves that clever design triumphs over square footage With a little interior design help from Nicole Palczynski of Vein Design , Poulos began the project with a few key focus points to guide the design theme, “We wanted to create a handsome space full of butterscotch and whiskey undertones, dark woods, and light accents,” she remembers. Starting in the interior, the ceiling’s high wood beams were painted a dark ebony that made the other features such as the light wooden paneling on the walls and the hearth’s brick base stand out. The kitchen also has a new look thanks adding a fresh coat of paint to the existing solid wood cabinets. A fun, bohemian theme was used to update the bedrooms using patterned textiles and saturated colors. The renovation also focused on bringing as much natural light to the interior as possible. After the project was finished, Poulos was amazed at how much she could do on a limited budget, “You don’t necessarily need to limit your creativity to a conventional cabin design,” she says. “It was a treat to maintain the balance between the vintage architectural space and the modern finishes for a covetable end result.” + Courtney Poulos Via Dwell Images via Courtney Poulos

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Rundown 1970s A-frame cabin transformed into light-filled modern getaway

Dubai’s new self-sufficient floating villas can withstand rising seas

January 12, 2018 by  
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Millions of people will be displaced by rising sea levels – but these floating homes are designed to weather the storm. Waterstudio is building a community of 33 villas to float on top of the water so that they won’t be inundated by sea rise. Construction of the community – dubbed Amillarah – starts this month with developer Dutch Docklands off the coast of Dubai. Sea levels could rise 3 feet by 2100, which could flood a good portion of the United Arab Emirates. These buoyed homes are designed to float on top of the water, and they wouldn’t lack the luxuries of your typical villa. Each one will feature a swimming pool complete with patio, trees, and landscaping. Each artificial island will vary from 150,000 square feet to 450,000 square feet. Related: INHABITAT INTERVIEW: Koen Olthuis of WaterStudio.nl talks about design for a Water World Leave your car on land, because the only way to reach these homes is via seaplane or boat. If you want to take advantage of ocean-front property without the flooding risk, you’d better start saving your pennies, because they start at 23 million dollars each. Waterstudio says the concrete base of each villa is built to last 100 years and the bases can help create an underwater habitat for sea life. Buyers can design their own island, and each one is self-sufficient. Waterstudio is well-known for their floating architecture , which includes a floating neighborhood in Amsterdam and

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Dubai’s new self-sufficient floating villas can withstand rising seas

Scotland to ban manufacture and sale of plastic cotton swabs

January 11, 2018 by  
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Scotland could be the first country in the United Kingdom to ban plastic -stemmed cotton swabs. Both the manufacture and sale of the polluting items – hundreds were found during a recent Gullane beach clean-up – would be banned. Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said, “…people are continuing to flush litter down their toilets and this has to stop. Scotland’s sewerage infrastructure collects and treats some 945 million liters of wastewater each day. These systems are not designed to remove small plastic items such as plastic buds, which can kill marine animals and birds that swallow them.” Campaigners said the Scotland government plans to ban manufacture and sale of plastic-handled cotton swabs, according to The Guardian – and that move could slash the country’s contribution to ocean plastic pollution in half, according to Friends of the Earth Scotland director Richard Dixon. Cunningham launched a public consultation on a ban, describing it as evidence of the government’s goal to address marine plastic. Related: Scientists call for a worldwide ban on the ‘global hazard’ of glitter It’s a photo that I wish didn’t exist but now that it does I want everyone to see it. What started as an opportunity to photograph a cute little sea horse turned into one of frustration and sadness as the incoming tide brought with it countless pieces of trash and sewage. This sea horse drifts long with the trash day in and day out as it rides the currents that flow along the Indonesian archipelago. This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans. What sort of future are we creating? How can your actions shape our planet??.?thanks to @eyosexpeditions for getting me there and to @nhm_wpy and @sea_legacy for getting this photo in front of as many eyes as possible. Go to @sea_legacy to see how you can make a difference. . #plastic #seahorse #wpy53 #wildlifephotography #conservation @nhm_wpy @noaadebris #switchthestick A post shared by Justin Hofman (@justinhofman) on Sep 12, 2017 at 8:28am PDT There have been concerns over how many of the items have washed up on beaches after people flushed them down toilets. Environmental charity Fidra recently found hundreds on the beach. The Guardian reported most large retailers have made the change to biodegradable paper-stemmed swabs, but smaller retailers still sell imported plastic-stemmed ones. Fidra, which is behind The Cotton Bud Project , said on the campaign website the physical structure of plastic cotton buds allows them to bypass filters at many waste treatment facilities, and they can be released into the sea with untreated sewage. There, they can “attract and concentrate background pollutants to toxic levels” and be consumed by animals who mistake them for food – causing the plastic and toxins to enter the food chain . The Cotton Bud Project encourages people to toss cotton swabs in the trash, not the toilet, and lists brands that sell swabs with biodegradable paper stems. Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Scotland to ban manufacture and sale of plastic cotton swabs

Salesforce Tower to include largest blackwater recycling system in a US commercial high-rise

January 11, 2018 by  
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7.8 million gallons of drinking water will be saved every year with a blackwater recycling system at the new 1,070-foot tall Salesforce Tower in San Francisco . The skyscraper , designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects , will be equipped with the on-site system, which is the first of its kind in the city and the biggest in any commercial high-rise building in the United States. Inhabitat spoke with Salesforce’s senior director of sustainability Patrick Flynn to hear more about blackwater recycling and the tower ‘s other green features. Salesforce Tower’s blackwater recycling system will take water from any of the building’s sources, according to Flynn – from toilets or sinks to drainage from the roof. The system itself will be housed in the basement – Flynn said they are converting “a handful of parking spaces on two levels into rooms and storage tanks that can house the system” – and it will extensively treat blackwater and resupply it for non-potable uses like irrigating plants or flushing toilets throughout the entire building. “The impact from a water perspective is huge,” Flynn told Inhabitat. “7.8 million gallons per year of freshwater use reduced – that’s a 76 percent reduction in the overall building’s water demands, and an amount of water avoided that’s equivalent to the use of 16,000 San Francisco residents.” That translates to savings of around 30,000 gallons of water every day. Related: SOM’s LEED Platinum 350 Mission tower offers an urban living room to San Francisco Flynn said California was experiencing a drought when they first discussed the building’s design years ago. “We know that periods of extreme drought will come again,” he said. “We know that climate change is amplifying extreme weather . And so we felt like upholding our values to do the right thing for our community, for our region, here at our headquarters, was to think about water responsibility and water recycling .” Salesforce is the first recipient of a blackwater grant from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), according to the company. But the blackwater recycling system isn’t the only sustainable feature in the tower. Flynn, a HVAC engineer by profession, also said a patented HVAC system will bring fresh air from the outdoors inside the tower – a move that will not only cut energy consumption but also boost occupant health. According to Salesforce, the tower has already achieved LEED Platinum certification. LED lighting , daylight sensors, and what Flynn described as healthy materials fill the building. He told Inhabitat, “We know that people spend most of their time indoors, and it’s important to make sure that that environment is inspiring and healthy.” Clean energy will power the tower; this past summer, the company signed Salesforce East and Salesforce West up for SFPUC’s SuperGreen Service , opting in to a 100 percent renewable energy program. Flynn said they were the first Fortune 500 company to do so, and their entry more than doubled enrollment in the program. Last year the company also reached net zero greenhouse gas emissions – 33 years early on a goal they’d set in 2015. The Salesforce Tower has already changed the San Francisco skyline (check out the construction camera here ), and when asked if there were concerns over its impact on the look of the city, Flynn said, “When I think about the tower, I think of how proud I am to have such a prominent example of how high-performance buildings and sustainable buildings and healthy buildings are all synonymous with one another. I think what we have here is a showcase for how real estate can uphold the expectations and exceed the expectations of its occupants, its local community, and all of its stakeholders – and I think the blackwater system is a great example of how we’ve been able to introduce a first-of-its-kind, largest such system in a commercial high-rise in the U.S. – and show a better way forward.” Salesforce is already beginning to move in to the tower. Construction on the blackwater recycling system hasn’t started yet, but Flynn said it will be constructed over the course of 2018 and could be up and running around the end of this year. Flynn told Inhabitat, “We hope we’ve shown a path forward that other companies can follow and inspired them to take action as well.” + Salesforce Tower + Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects Images courtesy of Salesforce

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Tetra is a brilliant see-through dishwasher that fits in even the tiniest apartments

January 11, 2018 by  
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Most people living in tiny apartments are resigned to the fact that their kitchens will never have space for a dishwasher – but that’s no longer the case. Heatworks just unveiled Tetra – a new compact, tankless dishwasher that’s sure to make apartment dwellers jump for joy. According to the Heatworks team, if a two-person household were to switch from handwashing to the Tetra, they could save a whopping 1500 gallons of water every year. The Tetra, which will cost under $300, is the size of a small microwave, and it not only reduces water waste , but in fact, requires no plumbing connection at all. Since there are no faucet connections, water is loaded by hand. This simple design is a big asset, because it lets users know exactly how much water is being used. A typical Tetra load lasts just a few minutes and it uses about half a gallon of water. Detergent use is also reduced with small loads – the internal detergent reservoir will last dozens of cycles. Another cool feature is the machine’s transparency, which lets you keep track of the wash cycle. Related: Hand-powered Circo dishwasher saves time, space, money and water Standard dishwashers are designed to fit up to 13 place settings, which is great for large families. By contrast, the Tetra is designed for small households of two or three people who lack space for a full-size dishwasher and are looking to conserve water . Although compact, the Tetra can fit up to 2 place settings or 10 plates or 10 pint glass. Jerry Callahan, CEO and founder of Heatworks, revealed that the Tetra was inspired by the need to provide more efficient options to smaller households: “Our research indicates that although the average household is comprised of 2.58 people, the modern dishwasher holds place settings for 13 or more. This makes people believe that they either need to handwash their few dirty dishes — which wastes 10 times more water than using a dishwasher — or wait for a fill load to run a cycle. With Tetra, we hope to change people’s mindset.” + Heatworks Images via Heatworks

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Tetra is a brilliant see-through dishwasher that fits in even the tiniest apartments

China is planting 6.6 million hectares of new forest almost the size of Ireland

January 11, 2018 by  
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The government of China has announced its plans to plant forests in 2018 that will occupy at least 6.6 million hectares, roughly equivalent to the size of Ireland . As the United States forfeits its leadership on climate change, China has been eager to seize the moment by taking bold action to mitigate the impact of climate change . The State Forestry Administration of China is working towards raising the total percent of the country’s territory covered by forests from 21.7 percent to 23 percent by 2020, then to 26 percent by 2030. The massive reforestation project will be a collaboration between the Chinese government and internal and external groups that know how to get the job done. “Companies, organisations and talent that specialise in greening work are all welcome to join in the country’s massive greening campaign,” said Zhang Jianlong, head of the forestry administration. “Cooperation between government and social capital will be put on the priority list.” This latest announcement is not the only reforestation project being conducted in China. The strategy of planting trees has also been utilized to fight desertification in the Gobi Desert , with mixed results. The most recent reforestation project may have more success as it is focused on planting in regions already well suited for hosting forests . Related: Shanghai’s sponge districts fight flooding with green space After China declared a national emergency over pollution in 2014, the nation of nearly 1.4 billion has invested heavily in improving the health of the environment and developing clean technologies. Reforestation is one weapon in this war on pollution . In 2018, trees will primarily be planted in the northeast Hebei province, Qinghai province in the Tibetan Plateau, and in the Hunshandake Desert in the northern autonomous Inner Mongolia region. China has already spent 538 billion yuan ($82,765,920,000) on its reforestation efforts over the past five years and plans to spend much more as it transforms much of its land into forests. Via The Telegraph Images via Depositphotos and Anthony Anastas/Flickr

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China is planting 6.6 million hectares of new forest almost the size of Ireland

This is one of the hottest places on Earth – and it just snowed there

January 10, 2018 by  
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Freaky weather. Snow in the Sahara Desert, one of the hottest places on Earth #weather #snow #desert #sahara #freaky A post shared by @ galacticauthority on Jan 9, 2018 at 10:57am PST A desert town in Algeria known as the “gateway to the Sahara ” – one of the hottest places on the planet – is covered in snow. Ain Sefra got somewhere between 1 and 15 inches of snow (depending on which source you rely) last Sunday, and this snow didn’t just land and melt away – it actually stuck around for a good portion of the day. #sahara #snow #wonderful A post shared by John D (@johnd7450) on Jan 9, 2018 at 11:20am PST Sand dunes that are traditionally a warm umber were snowy white throughout the day, giving visitors and locals a rare visual treat. The snow fell mostly in locations 3,000 feet above sea level, where it is cooler than lower elevations. Related: 2017: the year climate change spiraled out of control Snow isn’t unheard of in desert areas, especially since it can drop dozens of degrees from the day’s high. But it is pretty rare. Ain Sefra has only had snow of this magnitude three times now in the past 40 years. And this snow was surprisingly deep and resilient, further showing that the weather this year has truly been exceptional. #sahara #snow #pic #january #winter A post shared by Viral Travel (@viral.travel_vt) on Jan 9, 2018 at 5:01am PST Via CNN lead image via Deposit Photos

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This is one of the hottest places on Earth – and it just snowed there

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