Surround yourself with Californias wildlife and flora at Oakland Zoos eco-minded California Trail

July 17, 2019 by  
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If you’re looking for a unique, family-friendly activity in the Bay Area, look no further than the California Trail at the Oakland Zoo . Now celebrating its one-year anniversary, the eco-friendly exhibit offers gondola rides, an immersive experience in nature and up-close encounters with native California species. Designed by Berkeley-based architectural firm Noll & Tam Architects , the $72 million California Trail project is a triumph in environmental conservation, education and research. When the California Trail project was completed last July after 20-plus years in the making, the project doubled the size of the Oakland Zoo and added several new native California animal species including American buffalo, black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions, jaguars, California condors and gray wolves. The 56-acre exhibit includes 26 structures and was carefully designed and constructed for minimal site impact. To further reduce landscape impact, Noll & Tam Architects decided against developing roads and parking lots in favor of an aerial gondola that whisks visitors over the landscape to the start of the trail. “We worked closely with the zoo to minimize impact to the natural landscape, from the placement of the gondola that eliminates auto traffic to the careful siting of the boardwalk that preserves oak trees,” noted Janet Tam, principal in charge of the project. “The design intertwines animal habitats with human habitats; animals have their feeding grounds and night houses to retreat to, much like visitors enjoy the Landing Cafe for refreshment then stroll over to the Interpretive Center for quiet reflection.” Related: Newly opened Los Gatos Library by Noll & Tam Architects pursuing LEED Gold Visitors journey to different exhibitions via an 800-foot-long elevated boardwalk , which loops back around to the 20,150-square-foot Visitor and Interpretative complex that offers information about the history of the animals and the state of California. The California Trail also includes The Landing Cafe, an overnight campground and a playground designed to reflect the ecological zones of California. The buildings’ environmental impact is reduced even more with the use of solar power and rainwater harvesting. + Noll & Tam Architects Photography by Eric Dugan Photography via Noll & Tam Architects

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Surround yourself with Californias wildlife and flora at Oakland Zoos eco-minded California Trail

Smart fertilizers help farmers and fight climate change

July 9, 2019 by  
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Synthetic fertilizers aren’t great for natural ecosystems, but they do help farmers produce the crop yields needed to feed the world’s skyrocketing population. Since major chemical companies began pushing fertilizers, farmers have been spraying their fields and hoping for the best. Over the past two decades, however, controlled-release fertilizers have become available with high-precision release formulas that are not only better for the plants but are arguably better for the planet. Controlled release fertilizers contain nutrients in capsules instead of the soluble granules of conventional fertilizer. The capsules slow down the release of the nutrients, which gives the plant more time to absorb everything rather than having to take up the nutrients all at once. Recently, slow-release fertilizers have become even smarter. Companies like Haifa Group and ICL Specialty Fertilizers have capsules that release at different intervals depending on the soil conditions — such as temperature, acidity or moisture level. Related: Can vertical farming feed the world and change the agriculture industry? When combined with GPS sensors, soil quality mapping and artificial intelligence , precision farming technology can save farmers and neighboring ecosystems from serious fertilizer waste and pollution. A recent study by Michigan State University revealed that smart fertilizers also benefit the planet. According to the research, precision fertilizers and remote sensing technology could save 6.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere — the equivalent of 1.5 million cars per year. The technology they studied identifies a farmers’ most productive land using historical yield data and fertilizer rates. With this knowledge, large-scale farmers can focus crop production and fertilizer use on only the most productive land and reduce their use of fertilizers on land where the crops simply won’t perform as well. The researchers also suggest that farmers could use these least productive zones to develop “wild areas” specifically for important pollinators like the honeybee . “Nobody wins when fertilizer is wasted on areas that won’t produce,” the Michigan State researchers wrote in the published study . “Once farmers identify these areas, they can both save money and help the environment.” Via Scientific American Image via Binyamin Mellish

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Smart fertilizers help farmers and fight climate change

GreenBiz Group announces first conference on the business of carbon removal

March 20, 2019 by  
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VERGE Carbon slated for October 22-24 in Oakland

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GreenBiz Group announces first conference on the business of carbon removal

An open letter to Marriott about VERGE 18 and workers’ rights

October 11, 2018 by  
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We are committed as ever to Oakland and the Bay Area, and to the rich and beautiful diversity of our community.

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An open letter to Marriott about VERGE 18 and workers’ rights

Bill Weihl leaves Facebook; a McKinsey partner goes solo

March 9, 2018 by  
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An Alliance to Save Energy leader electrifies energy efficiency, Terry Yosie asks for career inspiration and mission-driven capital gains Oakland grit.

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Bill Weihl leaves Facebook; a McKinsey partner goes solo

This lawyer wants Big Oil to pay for climate change

December 26, 2017 by  
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Steve Berman is perhaps best known for winning a $206 billion settlement from tobacco companies in the 1990s, although he’s also taken on big companies like Enron and Volkswagen. Now he’s setting his sights on fossil fuel companies. Vice spoke to Berman about a lawsuit demanding five of the most powerful oil companies in the world pay for causing climate change . Berman, the managing partner of Hagens Berman , is one of the attorneys representing San Francisco and Oakland in two lawsuits filed against BP, Chevron, Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell, and ConocoPhillips “alleging that the Big Oil giants are responsible for the cities’ costs of protecting themselves from global warming-induced sea level rise , including expenses to construct seawalls to protect the two cities’ more than five million residents,” according to Hagens Berman. Related: UNEP chief: Polluters should pay for environmental destruction, not taxpayers The case suggests Big Oil borrowed moves from Big Tobacco, which researched cancer even as tobacco companies denied cigarettes were harmful. Berman has evidence that Exxon , for example, knew burning oil leads to global warming in the 1950’s – and oil companies worked to protect Arctic pipelines and offshore oil rigs from the impacts of climate change even as they denied the science. Vice pointed out no one has yet won a similar lawsuit. A Chevron spokesperson told Vice, “Should this litigation proceed, it will only serve special interests at the expense of broader policy, regulatory, and economic priorities.” Berman failed to win a lawsuit like this one in 2012, when he attempted to hold fossil fuel companies including Exxon responsible for the sea level rise threatening Kivalina, Alaska. A federal court dismissed the case; United States District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong wrote, “There is no realistic possibility of tracing any particular alleged effect of global warming to any particular emissions by any specific person, entity, group at any particular point in time.” Leaps in climate science since then could help Berman in this new lawsuit. Researchers have calculated nearly two-thirds of greenhouse gases emitted during the past 150 years can be connected back to 90 companies; BP, Chevron, Exxon, ConocoPhillips, and Shell are in the top ten, according to Vice. Berman told the publication, “We have better science . We think causation will be easier to prove.” Via Vice and Hagens Berman Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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This lawyer wants Big Oil to pay for climate change

Canadas newest funicular makes one of North Americas largest urban parklands more accessible

December 26, 2017 by  
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Edmonton wants you to see it from a new point of view—literally. The Canadian city recently launched a $24 million funicular that links the valley floor to a 20-meter cantilevered lookout with sweeping views of the North Saskatchewan River. Clad in the eco-friendly timber material Kebony, the cable-mechanized incline elevator designed by Canadian firm Dialog Architects taps into an old yet charming transit method in hopes of boosting tourism and access to the Edmonton River Valley, one of North America’s largest areas of urban parkland. Estimated to be approximately 21 times larger than New York City’s Central Park , Edmonton River Valley is a linear park system connecting 22 major parks with over 150 kilometers of trails. The new publicly funded river valley funicular and lookout —formally known as the 100 Street Funicular and Frederick G. Todd Lookout—offers a new way for citizens and tourists to access the green space from the downtown core. The funicular can transport mobility aids, bikes, and strollers, and is complemented by a staircase. There is no charge to use the funicular, which can hold up to 20 people at a time. Related: New Edmonton Freezeway communal ice trail opens in Canada “The project is an entrance to the river valley for everyone, regardless of age and ability, and a focal point that will bring people together in the heart of Edmonton,” said Dialog Architects. “It allows Edmontonians to become tourists in their own backyard. The City of Edmonton has long sought to improve connectivity for the public between urban areas and the North Saskatchewan River valley, and this project is a major step towards greater connectivity throughout the city.” Kebony wood, used for decking, cladding, and seating accents, was chosen for its resistance to rot and ability to last six times longer than pressure-treated wood. + Dialog Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Brock Kryton

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Canadas newest funicular makes one of North Americas largest urban parklands more accessible

Oakland has an even worse lead problem than Flint, Michigan

January 5, 2017 by  
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A new report from Reuters reveals that residents of the Fruitvale neighborhood in Oakland, CA are being exposed to far more dangerous levels of lead than residents of Flint, Michigan. However, in this case, the drinking water isn’t the reason for the contamination – it’s the lead-based paint still in use in many of the buildings there. When it chips or crumbles, the lead ends up being released into the air and the dirt nearby. Out of 500 children tested within the area, 7.57% had elevated levels of lead in their blood – far higher than the nationwide average of 2.5%. At the height of the Flint water crisis , only 5% of children within the city had elevated lead levels in their blood, meaning Oakland’s problem is actually worse. Other areas of Oakland didn’t have data available, so it’s impossible to say if other neighborhoods are as badly impacted. Chances are, however, that there’s a lead contamination problem elsewhere in the city – a study in nearby East San Jose turned up equally troubling results, with 3.02% of children testing positive for elevated lead. Related: 33 other U.S. cities have cheated water tests that detect lead The findings come as part of a report published by Reuters just before Christmas. Reporters for the agency found dangerous levels of lead present in almost 3,000 different locales within the country. In fact, more than 1,100 of the affected communities reported lead poisoning rates 4 times higher than those in Flint. Worried about your community? Read the full report and view Reuters’ map of identified lead hotspots here. + Reuters Via The Mercury News Images via Quinn Dombrowski and Christopher Najewicz

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Oakland has an even worse lead problem than Flint, Michigan

Next-Wave Recycler Sources Scrap, Solutions

September 5, 2016 by  
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Edward Kangeter IV is driving his Prius through the industrial section of West Oakland, Calif., en route to Blue Bottle Coffee, a roastery and café that sells coffee one cup at a time in pour-over fashion, along with high-end nibbles such as almond…

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Next-Wave Recycler Sources Scrap, Solutions

Husband and wife team designs timeless reclaimed wood structures

May 26, 2016 by  
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Wife and husband designer-builders Monica Reskala and Christopher Weiss produce these gorgeously unique hand carved structures from reclaimed and sustainably harvested lumbers . Since 2002, their design/build practice MRCW has been dedicated to crafting beautiful, timeless structures out of their 3200 sq. ft woodshop in Oakland, California. From architecture to landscape structures and furniture, design and construction go hand in hand, informing one another throughout the process. The duo operates from a slow craft philosophy: they believe that if one is to make a product or create a space for human use, then one should do so as conscientiously as possible. Like the slow food of architecture, what MRCW is committed to is not only the aesthetics of slow, but a way of making. + MCRW The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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