Sperry introduces shoes made with ocean plastic

March 27, 2020 by  
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Undoubtedly, one of the world’s most pressing issues is the massive amount of plastic waste that is clogging our oceans and waterways on a daily basis. Thankfully, some companies are converting this ocean plastic into useful products for the everyday consumer. Already well-known for its attractive boat shoes, American footwear company Sperry has just launched Bionic, a new type of eco-friendly boat shoe that is made with textiles spun from ocean plastic. Dating back to 1935, Sperry is an American shoe line that specializes in stylish and durable boat shoes. Its shoes are beloved by professional and amateur sailors, who also have a front-row seat to the shocking amount of plastic waste that is suffocating our planet’s water systems. Related: New line of men’s swimwear is made from recycled ocean plastic Working under its motto of “Look Good. Do Good.”, the footwear company has just unveiled a new line of eco-friendly boat shoes that are made out of recycled plastic waste. Working in collaboration with the teams from Water Keeper Alliance and Bionic Yarn , Sperry created the new Bionics collection, which features various boat shoes that are made with fabric spun from recycled plastic bottles. Once the plastic waste is collected from marine and coastal environments, it is then sent to be turned into eco-friendly yarn and fabric. Each shoe has the same rugged structure as Sperry’s regular collections, but the Bionic boat shoes feature that eco-friendly twist. In fact, according to Sperry’s calculations, each pair of shoes is made out of the equivalent of five recycled plastic bottles. Each item in the collection varies in cost, ranging from $30 to $100 per pair, with a range of styles and colors to choose from for both adults and children. + Sperry Images via Sperry

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Sperry introduces shoes made with ocean plastic

Adidas unveils lightweight hiking shoe made from ocean plastic

March 24, 2020 by  
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Long-distance hiking never looked so comfortable thanks to Adidas’ new shoes made especially for adventure. The Terrex Free Hiker Parley shoes are constructed using a sustainable combination of the company’s Boost technology and Parley for the Oceans’ recycled plastic material. The shoes will form to the shape of the wearer’s feet while providing a sleek look to match almost every style. This is the first in Adidas’ Terrex Free Hiker collection to incorporate Parley Ocean Plastic yarn, which is made from upcycled plastic waste collected from coastal areas. Adidas is a founding member of Parley for the Oceans, a global network that helps raise awareness for the oceans by collaborating among mindful brands and environmental groups. Related: New line of men’s swimwear is made from recycled ocean plastic Adidas’ Boost technology offers energy-return cushioning, even on rocky surfaces, and the mid-cut profile with a rubber outsole provides an adaptable grip on every type of terrain. The company’s signature Primeknit fabric makes the shoes water-repellent, lightweight and form-fitting to hug all the right spots of your feet (almost like a sock). Don’t let the breathable material fool you — these kicks are just as equipped for comfortable, long-distance hiking as they are for normal, everyday wear. This allows consumers to go from the rugged outdoors to the city sidewalks and urban settings to natural landscapes without missing a beat. “We believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives, and our latest shoe in the Terrex collection does just that,” said Tim Janaway, general manager of Adidas Outdoor. “The Terrex Free Hiker Parley represents both sustainability and performance, empowering you to get outside and challenge yourself, without challenging the environment .” The men’s and women’s designs weigh just 400 grams and 340 grams, respectively, and will retail for $200. All of Adidas’ Parley products are made using a yarn material spun from discarded plastic pollution collected from coastal areas, such as the Maldives, by beach cleanups run by partner organizations. + Adidas Images via Adidas

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Adidas unveils lightweight hiking shoe made from ocean plastic

What to know about Hulu’s Greta Thunberg documentary

February 28, 2020 by  
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Hopeful, passionate and completely fearless, Greta Thunberg is quickly becoming the face of climate change awareness. The teenage climate activist became a household name after a school-wide strike ignited an international sensation, inspiring millions of young people to stand up to the environmental crisis plaguing the planet we all share. Since those first days of solitary protests outside of the Swedish Parliament, Thunberg has continued to be an example for climate activism. From taking a zero-emissions sailboat for two weeks to attend the United Nations Climate Action Summit to publicly putting the world’s leading politicians on blast, it appears that the 16-year-old is just getting started. Now, her inspirational efforts will be explored in a new Greta Thunberg documentary by Hulu. Hulu recently announced that the original documentary on 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg will be released sometime in 2020. Directed by Nathan Grossman and tentatively titled Greta , the documentary will follow the young activist beginning in August 2018, when she single-handedly started a climate-focused strike in her school in Stockholm, Sweden at the age of 15. The strike and its passion-fueled message made headlines around the world; seemingly overnight, the young girl was catapulted into the spotlight at the center of the climate crisis stage. Related: 16 must-see environmental documentaries Thunberg is the daughter of opera singer Malena Ernman and actor Svante Thunberg and a distant relative of Svante Arrhenius, a scientist who came up with a model of the greenhouse effect and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1903. Thunberg’s passion for the environment was clear from an early age (she even convinced her parents to become vegan ), and she said that she first learned about climate change at the age of eight . She told Time that after finding out what exactly climate change was, she thought, “That can’t be happening, because if that were happening, then the politicians would be taking care of it.” In May 2018, just three months after winning a local newspaper contest with an essay on climate change, she began protesting weekly in front of the Swedish parliament building with a sign simply reading “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (Swedish for “ school strike for climate ”). Her mission was to convince the government to meet the carbon emissions goal that had been set out by the Paris Climate Agreement , requiring governments to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise. By December, there were more than 20,000 students following suit using the hashtag #FridaysForFuture, with millions more from 150 countries around the world joining in shortly after. Thunberg quickly graduated to internationally covered protests, touring North America while attending rallies, meeting with world leaders and, most famously, speaking at the UN Climate Action Summit (which went viral soon after) and the COP25 Climate Change Conference in Madrid. Part of her impassioned message during the Climate Action Summit addressed her frustration at politicians for ignoring the signs of climate change and placing the burden on young people. “How dare you. I shouldn’t be up here,” she said. “I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. We will be watching you.” The teenager took almost all of the 2019 school year off in order to attend the UN summit in New York as well as the annual Climate Change Conference in Madrid. Thunberg made history again when she became nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize by two lawmakers in her home country of Sweden. She was named 2019’s Person of the Year by Time , the youngest person with the honor in the 92-year history of the award. After fearlessly going to bat with the likes of President Trump and Vladimir Putin, she has received an outpouring of support from fans including Michelle Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio . The famously public Twitter feud between the President and Thunberg escalated when President Trump suggested she “chill,” “work on her anger management problem” and go to “a good old fashioned movie with a friend,” leading the 16-year-old to quickly update her Twitter bio to say she was “a teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.” The spat even was featured in a “Saturday Night Live” cold open shortly after, with Kate McKinnon playing Thunberg. The team responsible for the documentary has been following Thunberg from her initial school strikes in Sweden through her more recent evolution into a world-famous face of climate change . So, you can expect to see a deeper dive into all of the above events in the Greta Thunberg documentary. Produced by Cecilia Nessen and Frederik Heinig of B-Reel Films, the production of the film is unsurprisingly an international affair. The documentary is co-produced by WDR of Germany, France Télévisions of France, BBC of the U.K., SVT of Sweden, DR of Denmark, YLE of Finland, NRK of Norway and Hulu of the U.S. Greta will also be sold internationally by distributor Dogwoof, which recently boarded the documentary. “ Greta goes well beyond the subject of climate change,” Anne Godas, CEO of Dogwoof, told Variety . “It’s about young people accepting themselves as they are, believing they can change the world, and celebrating being different from the rest. As a mother of two young girls, I can’t think of a better inspiration for them.” Images via Lev Radin, Per Grunditz and Roland Marconi / Shutterstock

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What to know about Hulu’s Greta Thunberg documentary

Tackling sustainability in sporting events

February 19, 2020 by  
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At the recent Super Bowl, the NFL focused on sustainability more than in past years with its Ocean to Everglades (O2E) initiative throughout South Florida. Efforts included education on invasive species, beach cleanups, food recovery and recycling initiatives. These conservation efforts are part of a larger trend internationally to shrink the carbon footprints of major sporting events. “Sports is one of the few avenues which can unite people of all different races, creeds and social status,” Matt Jozwiak said in an interview with Inhabitat. Jozwiak was a chef at swanky New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park before founding Rethink Food NYC . His organization feeds 2,000 New Yorkers a day by repurposing leftovers from restaurants and food companies in the tri-state area. Jozwiak is a big proponent of more sustainable sporting events. “The industry literally has the power to make drastic sustainability changes. When a sporting team comes out in favor of a cause, people listen.” He acknowledges there may be growing pains when adopting unfamiliar behaviors. “But eventually, fans will go along with the new changes.” Sporting events step up to sustainability Fans traveling to one European Cup match can generate almost 5,600 tons of carbon dioxide, according to the World Economic Forum. But now, many sports are taking a closer look at how to be more responsible. Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games are a leading example of organizers prioritizing sustainability in their planning. For example, builders will use locally sourced wood to construct the athletes’ village, and hydrogen fuel cells will power the event vehicles. Organizers plan to generate solar power onsite and recycle 99 percent of everything used during the event. With the exception of drinking water, they’ll use recycled rainwater for all Olympic water needs. Paris is hoping to be even more sustainable during its turn to host the 2024 Olympic Games. Related: Tokyo’s Olympic medals will be made from recycled phones Some European cities have given their football (soccer to Americans) stadiums an eco-makeover by installing seats made from recycled plastic. In Amsterdam, fans bought the old seats as souvenirs. The stadium in Pontedera, Italy boasts seats made using plastic from local waste. Meanwhile, in England, the Forest Green Rovers have won the title of world’s greenest football club by powering its grounds with solar, recycling water and serving an entirely vegan menu to players and fans. At the 2019 Helsinki International Horse Show, 135 tons of horse manure powered the electricity. A company called Fortum HorsePower enlists 4,300 Finnish horses to generate energy for electrical grids. Stadium food waste Jozwiak takes a special interest in food wasted inside stadiums. He’s found that stadiums are among the hardest places from which to rescue food, because they tend to only have games periodically and throw the food away afterward. Much of that food quickly spoils or gets soggy and unappetizing, like hamburger buns and pretzels. Stadiums should rely on freezers more, Jozwiak said. “Instead of purchasing food all the time, bulk purchase and immediately freezing can cut down a lot on the waste for sporting arenas. Proper refrigeration strategies can expand the lifecycle of food and reduce food waste.”  He also recommended a fire sale strategy for avoiding waste. “Implement a plan where spectators can purchase the remaining food to take home,” he advised. “A lot of food ends up in landfills . So if sporting arenas can provide the options for the fans to either buy or provide for free the remaining food, it would cut down on waste drastically.” One by one, stadium directors of operations need to craft individual action plans to become more sustainable, Joswiak suggested. In addition to avoiding food waste, he recommended conserving water and offering healthier food options with more vegetables and less meat . Stadiums should only contract with vendors who can manage recycling. New buildings should work to be LEED-certified. Joswiak suggested hosting a climate-related event for fans to explain and support all of these green changes. If fans could be convinced to bring their own reusable utensils, that would be great, too. Eco-travel to sporting events Of course, while the football match or the golf tournament is the main event, fans and players still have to travel to the game and may require overnight housing. According to Solar Impulse, 5 million people converged on Russia in 2018 to watch the FIFA World Cup. Their travel and accommodations generated about 85% of greenhouse gas emissions from this event, totaling about 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Related: Green-roofed Copenhagen sports center is open to the public 24/7 Some major governing bodies in sports are embracing carbon offset projects around the world to atone for their contribution to emissions. FIFA managed to offset 1.1 million tons of carbon emissions since the 2014 World Cup . The governing body for European football is promising to offset fan-generated emissions for the EURO 2020 competition. It has also collaborated with the 12 host cities to offer free public transportation to fans with tickets on the days of the matches. This should cut down on emissions and road congestion. Via World Economic Forum and Solar Impulse Images via Shutterstock

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The best eco tourism spots in San Diego

January 8, 2020 by  
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With 70 miles of coastline and average high temperatures ranging from 66 degrees in January to 77 in August, San Diego is a city where people like to spend time outside. This city of over 1.42 million between Los Angeles and Mexico has endless beaches, parks and cultural opportunities to explore. Its history combines native Kumeyaay people, Mexicans and European explorers, who first landed in San Diego Bay in 1542. Nowadays it’s home to people from around the world and welcomes nearly 36 million visitors per year. San Diego outdoors San Diego’s mild temperatures and beautiful topography make it ideal for biking, hiking and, of course, water sports. La Jolla Sea Kayak will take you on a tour of this beach town’s seven sea caves, where you might see sea lions, leopard sharks and dolphins. If you prefer a more placid paddle, the SUP Connection at Liberty Station offers a sheltered area to practice your SUP and kayak maneuvers. Some of San Diego’s best views are from Cabrillo National Monument at the end of the Point Loma peninsula. An excellent historic lighthouse welcomes lighthouse lovers, the ocean views stun bicyclists and hikers, and this national park unit has some of the best tide pools in the area. In springtime, the wildflowers are awesome. If you’re visiting San Diego with your canine friend, don’t miss the dog-friendly beaches. Dog Beach is a spacious section of Ocean Beach where dogs can run off-leash 24/7. Most of Fiesta Island in Mission Bay is also open to dogs. The SUP Connection offers SUP Pups — private lessons for if you want help training your dog to join you paddle boarding. If you can tear yourself away from the ocean, Balboa Park is an enduring San Diego attraction for museums, gardens , a miniature railroad, the zoo and just walking around. Much of the park was built for the 1935-36 California-Pacific International Exposition. The botanical building and lily pond are much beloved photographic backdrops. On the park’s eastern edge, the less-trafficked historic cactus garden features succulents and African protea. The Spanish Village Art Center houses 35 working art studios for those who like to shop and meet makers. Some of the area’s best beaches are on Coronado Island. For a varied outing, take the ferry from downtown San Diego to Coronado, rent a bike and explore. Don’t miss the famous Hotel Del Coronado. Built in 1888, the wooden Victorian beach resort provided the setting for many movies, including Marilyn Monroe’s “Some Like it Hot.” The beach in front of the Hotel Del has calm water and family-friendly swimming. San Diego wellness Not only does San Diego have a bazillion yoga studios, but many classes are also held outside. Whether you want to do yin yoga in Ocean Beach or vinyasa at Bird Rock in La Jolla, yogis dot every major beach. Mission Bay Aquatic Center will help you take your practice onto a stand-up paddleboard. Or go a little inland and join a Hatha class beside a koi pond at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. Just a little bit up the coast in San Diego’s North County, you can visit the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas. Founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, the SRF offers lectures, meditations, kirtans and other events. Or just stroll through the beautiful meditation gardens. Also in North County, the Chopra Center is part of Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad. It hosts varied multi-day meditation and wellness retreats from an Ayurvedic medicine perspective. Dining out in San Diego San Diego has a high veg IQ, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. For old-school veg food, try Jyoti-Bihanga in Normal Heights. Run by devotees of spiritual master Sri Chinmoy, this vegetarian restaurant has been serving Neatloaf sandwiches and other hearty meals for more than thirty years. For modern fast-casual wraps, bowls, tacos and burgers, try one of Native Foods’ three vegan outlets in San Diego County. In Ocean Beach, Peace Pies has all your raw vegan needs covered, from mango curry wraps to coconut cream pie. Veganic Thai Café in Hillcrest and Plumeria in University Heights and Encinitas allow you to enjoy your pad thai without worries of fish sauce contamination. Heartwork Coffee Bar in Hillcrest offers a case full of delicious vegan croissants, scones and other treats. Public transit Southern California is known for its car-centered ways, but many San Diego neighborhoods are extremely walkable. Since the city is large and spread out, you might need to take a bus, trolley or Uber to get between neighborhoods. San Diego Metropolitan Transit System runs the county’s extensive bus and trolley system. If you’re visiting Tijuana , the easiest way is to take the trolley to the border and walk across. For those with limited time who are firmly on the tourist track, buying a day-pass on the Old Town Trolley will take you directly to San Diego’s most-visited spots. You can hop on and off as much as you like. Guides will clue you in on the city’s history and lore between stops. Amtrak is a good way to get to other southern California cities, such as Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, without braving the hectic highways. For those needing to cross water, ferries run to Coronado Island, or you can call a water taxi. Since San Diego’s airport is downtown, it’s one of the few American cities where you can easily walk to many hotels. A shared-use bike/pedestrian path connects the airport to Liberty Station and Point Loma to the west, and downtown San Diego to the east. Eco hotels Many San Diego hotels are getting greener, but the city has a few real standouts. Hotel Indigo is the city’s only LEED-certified and Platinum Level GreenLeader, featuring rooftop composting and an eco-roof. It’s also central to all kinds of public transit. The Lafayette Hotel , Sheraton Hotel & Marina , Bahia Resort Hotel , and La Jolla’s Estancia Hotel & Spa are Gold Level GreenLeaders. The Bahia’s long list of eco measures includes subsidizing public transit for employees, converting cooking oil to biodiesel , participating in beach cleanups, and composting 100 percent of food waste. The Lafayette combines eco-consciousness with 1940s Hollywood style glamour. One warning: Avoid the many hotels located in the area called Hotel Circle, as you’ll find yourself walled in by unsightly freeways and a total lack of charm. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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How to have a sustainable NYE party

December 30, 2019 by  
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With a New Year to ring in, what better time to begin your sustainable efforts for 2020 than during an eco-conscious NYE party? Here are some of Inhabitat’s recommendations for how to enjoy the festivities in green ways. Vegan treats For Earth-friendly food fare, offer fruits and vegetables as your smorgasbord. Source fruits and vegetables from your local farmer, farmers’ market or farm cooperative, or choose organic at the grocery store. For those guests who prefer a charcuterie board, choose vegan cheeses, and you can even find vegan jerky from FOREAL Foods Coconut Jerky , Pan’s Mushroom Jerky , Primal Spirit Foods Meatless Jerky , Unisoy Wholesome Wonders Jerky and Watermelon Road Jerky . Related: 6 sustainably crafted cocktails for New Year’s Eve Low- or zero-waste celebration Go digital by opting for email invites rather than paper invitations. Rather than excessively decorating for the party, opt for simplicity. Also, when decorating, avoid glitter or synthetic confetti, beads and especially anything sparkly, for those excesses can wind their way into the ocean or the environment to disrupt wildlife and their habitats. Try LED tea lights or soy candles to add more eco-conscious ambiance to your soiree without worrying too much about energy waste . If your celebration is being held outdoors, there are solar-powered lights, including fairy lights and garden lights, to set the scene for a celebration. Plastic-free party planning Rather than turning to unnecessary plastic decorations and party goods, choose sustainably sourced and biodegradable materials, such as bamboo, canvas, cloth, recycled paper or wood. Plastic-free decorations can be purchased at Bio & Chic , Botanical Paperworks and Eco Party Time . Paper lanterns and glass cloches are greener than balloons, too. Organic cotton, bamboo fiber and other sustainable fabrics are lovely for any New Year’s Eve gathering. Use these fabrics to make bunting and banners. Even the photo booth can be decorated with fabric to supplement and enhance makeshift structures devised from cardboard boxes. Make sure to raid your local thrift store for secondhand or vintage costumes. There are always wooden pipes, wool scarves, top hats, cloth togas and other unusual apparel to entertain your guests as they pose for pictures at the photo booth. Biodegradable or reusable serving utensils Dinnerware can be eco-friendly, thanks to palm leaf, banana leaf, bamboo , sugarcane and paper products that are both recyclable and compostable. Some of these can be purchased through online stores like the Eco Products store, Susty Party and TreeChoice . Choose real glasses over plastic cups. Not only is glassware eco-friendly, but it will certainly make your party guests feel classy and chic. If you don’t have quite enough glassware to cover your guest list, you can find more at your local thrift store. Horns, shakers and noisemakers No New Year’s Eve celebration is complete without noisemakers. How else will celebrants greet the New Year at midnight than with some form of triumphant, thunderous noise? For eco-friendly noisemakers, consider DIY versions of party horns, party blowers and rattles. For DIY rattles, stuff a metal container with coins, pencils or pebbles. For maracas, try raw beans or raw rice in wood containers. If you don’t have time to go the DIY route, consider visiting a thrift shop or even a music store. There, you can look for bells, cabasas, castanets, chimes, claves, cymbals, egg shakers, gongs, harmonicas, recorders, tambourines, triangles, whistles, woodblocks and other percussion instruments. Eco-friendly, functional party favors To go the extra mile, some hosts like to provide party favors. Why not gift eco-friendly ones that are functional? For example, Burt’s Bees lip balm might be appropriate for those shy about chapped lips before the New Year’s midnight kiss. Accessorize guests in allergy-free, cruelty-free, faux fur and featherless boas from Happy Boa . Add in a vegan leather or wood keychain. Include seed packets and mini succulents to help guests cultivate their green thumbs in the New Year. Organic champagne or sparkling cider Before you pop the bubbly, check the labels. Find organic or biodynamic varieties of champagne and sparkling cider to serve guests, who will enjoy toasting to the new year in green style. Related: The differences between organic, natural, biodynamic and sustainable wines Alternatives to fireworks Fireworks are harmful to nocturnal wildlife , especially migrating birds, insects, bats and more. The chemicals associated with fireworks also percolate into the water and soil, further harming ecosystems. Instead, replace fireworks with piñatas filled with vegan goodies. Another possibility is to have a light show indoors with DIY disco balls. There are also non-toxic bubbles that can be homemade from various recipes online. Images via Annie Spratt , Pen Ash , Swab Design , Tom Pumford , Sweet Mellow Chill , Joanna Kosinska , Freestocks , Frédéric Paulussen and Lumpi

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How to have a sustainable NYE party

Planned community embraces luxe, eco-conscious design in Bocas del Toro, Panama

December 25, 2019 by  
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More than 12 years in the making, the 457-acre planned community of Casi Cielo has just begun sales for its first phase. Located on Panama’s northern province of Bocas del Toro, the high-end resort will emphasize a sustainable, low carbon footprint with site-specific architecture informed by passive solar principles and the natural environment. Led by developer Circular Strategy Group, the Casi Cielo development was created with help from Mario Lazo & Unidad Diseño, WATG and XOC2 to create a “future-forward” masterplan on an undeveloped peninsula next to the ocean within close proximity of the 45,000-acre protected San San-Pond Oak natural reserve. The mixed-use site will include a grid of 75 turn-key sites with 118 hotel suites and 77 branded luxury residences designed by Zurcher Arquitectos, Wimberly Interiors and GOCO Hospitality. Related: This private island resort in Panama promises sustainable luxury “Being from Panama , I felt this was a golden opportunity, not only to preserve Bocas and make positive impact in the region but also introduce a new way for conscious communities to be built,” said Moshe Levi, co-developer of Casi Cielo. “With the infrastructure already in place, Casi Cielo essentially serves as a blank canvas that will continue to evolve, while remaining a true haven for those seeking a different way of life.” Indoor-outdoor living will be celebrated at Casi Cielo, which will also emphasize its connection with nature by offering outdoor-oriented wellness and eco-tourism programs that take advantage of the site’s proximity to world-class surf and a tropical jungle landscape. To optimize the energy performance of the community, the architects have taken passive solar strategies into account when placing and orienting the buildings. Solar thermal and rainwater collection systems are expected to be integrated into the design as well. Casi Cielo is slated to open in 2021. + Casi Cielo Images via Casi Cielo

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Planned community embraces luxe, eco-conscious design in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Slippy turns ocean plastic into versatile and endlessly reusable cup sleeves

December 10, 2019 by  
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Anyone who keeps up with news and current events knows that ocean pollution has become a major problem, especially considering the sheer quantity of plastic littering beaches and traveling through the waterways directly into marine wildlife habitats. So, the team at Slippy decided to use some of that plastic sourced from coastal areas to minimize another form of waste — cardboard cup sleeves. What is Slippy? Cardboard might be less harmful to the environment than other products, but it still requires the cutting down of trees, which provide us with clean air. The production process and post-consumer waste of cardboard sleeves could cover the entire state of Texas, so there must be a better, long-term solution for the individual sleeves on billions of coffee cups that are used for just moments and then tossed. Related: Scientists warn we are now entering the plastic age Zach Crain and his team developed Slippy, a cup sleeve that is not just reusable but is also made from recycled ocean plastic . The Slippy team launched the idea on a Kickstarter campaign , which was fully funded by 1,304 backers who pledged $41,664 toward the $10,000 goal. The entire project all started from the knowledge that once it has been produced, plastic never goes away. It takes generations to break down, adding pollutants to the soil along the way. Ocean plastic is even worse, because it ends up hurting marine wildlife. Recent studies even show alarming amounts of plastic inside the animals we rely on as food sources. Enter modern technology that can convert marine plastic into usable fibers. These fibers are typically a mix of ocean plastic combined with post-consumer plastic, and these fibers are now being used for a variety of products across many industries. Slippy took an extra step and is dedicated to creating yarn sourced 100 percent from ocean-bound plastic. That means more plastic removed from the ocean, specifically from beaches or waters within 30 miles of the coastline in areas with poor coastal maintenance systems in place. The Slippy is available in an assortment of finished fabric designs, all of which have a cone shape that fits snugly on a variety of cups, offering a non-slip grip and hand comfort for your morning brew or evening brewsky. Inhabitat’s review of Slippy While gathering more information on Slippy, the team offered to send me a sample for review. Once it arrived, I then ran around my house, slipping it over a variety of beverage vessels to truly put this cup sleeve to the test. Of course, the cone shape slides neatly onto disposable coffee cups, but as an environmentally conscious consumer, I avoid single-use cups wherever possible. The Slippy proved to be ideal for the stainless steel cups I keep in the freezer as well as bottles, cans, pint glasses, water bottles and pretty much every other form of cup I tried. There was a slight slip on cold beer bottles due to the cone shape, but it still worked well at keeping my hands warm and dry while holding the frosty beverage. The Slippy is great for keeping hands from getting too cold or too hot from the surface of cups, but my favorite part of this cup sleeve is that it keeps my drink from creating a puddle of condensation by absorbing the moisture from cold drinks. It’s honestly the best cozy I’ve ever had. They appear to be very durable and endlessly reusable, they grip the surface of cups nicely and they are pleasant to the touch (no squeaky, plastic feel). The Slippy will be a growing part of my gift-giving profile. + Slippy Images via Slippy and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Slippy. All opinions on the products and the company are the author’s own.

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Slippy turns ocean plastic into versatile and endlessly reusable cup sleeves

Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future

December 5, 2019 by  
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Italian architecture firm Luca Curci Architects has unveiled the Vertical City, a futuristic proposal for urban development comprising a series of modular, zero-energy skyscrapers anchored into the ocean floor. Envisioned as a completely self-sufficient settlement, the utopian city promises “healthier lifestyles” for the vertical city-building’s residents. The thought experiment was recently presented for the first time at the Knowledge Summit 2019 in Dubai last month. The Vertical City proposal comprises a super-tall, mixed-use residential building at its core surrounded by and connected to three civic-oriented towers and three crescent-shaped leisure buildings. All buildings would be built using modular, prefabricated elements that can be repeated horizontally as well as vertically. The Vertical City can also be expanded in parts and would be anchored into the sea bed close to the mainland. Related: WOHA unveils a lush, net-zero Singapore Pavilion for the 2020 World Expo The cylindrical buildings in the development are clad in photovoltaic glazing and punctuated with hexagonal openings that promote circulation of light and air. The central, 750-meter-tall residential tower would consist of 10 modular layers — each layer consists of 18 floors and includes a mix of homes, offices, stores and other facilities — to host a total of 25,000 people. The building would also offer more than 200,000 square meters of green space, which includes the public garden at the top of the building. “We will build a new way of living,” Luca Curci said in a press statement. “More sustainable . With more interconnected communities programs. Deleting suburbs. Reducing poverty.” In addition to the 25,000 people housed within the central residential tower, the Vertical City would service over 100,000 people who would travel to the city for work, school and medical care in the three adjacent towers that house offices, government departments, healthcare facilities and educational institutions. The three crescent-shaped buildings, called the Moons, offer lifestyle amenities such as hotels, wellness and spa centers, sport centers and shopping malls. + Luca Curci Architects Images via Luca Curci Architects

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Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future

Excessive road salt threatens public health and wildlife

November 13, 2019 by  
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Many people and municipalities turn to road salt to de-ice wintry streets and sidewalks. Unfortunately, road salt poses serious environmental and water contamination risks. Just one teaspoon is enough to contaminate 5 gallons of water, making removal via reverse osmosis extremely expensive. Moreover, the health of humans, pets, wildlife , aquatic organisms, vegetation, soil and infrastructure are heavily impacted as road salts enter the environment, seeping into groundwater and draining via runoff into freshwater estuaries. At the forefront of advocating for better practices on road salt use is the Izaak Walton League’s Winter Salt Watch program. Just last winter, the League dispensed 500 chloride test kits to volunteers across 17 states. Tests showed consistently high levels of chloride ions in waterways surrounding eight major metropolitan areas, signaling excessive misuse of road salts. This year, the League has sent out a batch of chloride test kits to more than 200 new volunteers. Related: The Ocean Cleanup reveals the Interceptor to remove plastic pollution from rivers “Our goal is to not only make residents aware of the impact road salt has on local streams but also give them the tools to advocate for changes to road salt practices that will decrease salt impacts while keeping roads safe for drivers,” explained Samantha Briggs, the League’s Clean Water Program Director. Road salts are mainly comprised of sodium chloride, ferrocyanide (an anti-caking substance) and impurities like aluminum, cadmium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, nickel, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. All of these components are contaminants in water and exacerbate salinity levels. What risks do they pose? The sodium chloride, for instance, breaks down into sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl-) ions. Sodium in drinking water is unhealthy for individuals suffering from hypertension, or high blood pressure, which explains the EPA’s measure of monitoring sodium content in public water supplies. Meanwhile, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has issued warnings regarding road salt ingestion and dangers to paw health of pets. Paw exposure to road salt exposure begets irritation, inflammation and cracking that leads to infection. When road salt is licked off paws or eaten, pets can exhibit vomiting, diarrhea, depression, disorientation, cardiac abnormalities, seizures, coma and even premature death. As for wildlife impacts, once road salt enters a body of water, it is nearly impossible to remove. This adversely affects bird, amphibian, mammal, fish and aquatic plant populations. Road salt in the environment elevates both salinity stress and osmotic stress, which are associated with aberrant development, nutrient uptake degradation, toxicosis, weakened immune systems, low reproductive levels, population decline and mortality. When road salt damages vegetation, that creates losses in food resources, shelter and breeding sites. Similarly, road salt’s presence accelerates infrastructure corrosion and structural integrity. Streets, highways and bridges are all subject to damage as road salt impairs asphalt and creates potholes. The corrosion extends to vehicles, as repeated salt exposure increases rusting and damage to critical vehicle components, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA) . Even more worrisome, road salts damage water pipes, causing toxic metals, like lead or copper, to leach into drinking water. To promote awareness and best practices regarding the hazards of de-icing, the Izaak Walton League has been pushing for “smarter ways” of using road salt, especially with “alternative approaches that include brine or sand application.” For those interested in volunteering as a stream monitor with the League’s Winter Salt Watch program to help gauge water quality and road salt risks, a free chloride test kit can be ordered here . + Izaak Walton League of America Image via Eddie Welker

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Excessive road salt threatens public health and wildlife

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