The largest solar farm apiary in the US opens this week

June 20, 2018 by  
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An important feature of permaculture is the concept of stacking functions, or finding multiple uses for the same space or resource. North Carolina-based PineGate Renewables is taking this principle to a new level with the opening of the largest solar farm apiary in the U.S.  Starting this week, the Eagle Point solar farm in Jackson County, Oregon will host 48 hives of honey bees underneath and between the solar panels. John Jacob of Old Sol Apiaries helped to determine the site’s suitability and will serve as the caretaker of the bees. “In 2016/17, Oregon beekeepers reported losing nearly one-third of all honey bee colonies statewide,” Jacob said. “The pollinator-friendly solar sites Pine Gate Renewables is developing can play an important role in helping address the population crisis among our managed and native pollinators.” Studies conducted on solar farm apiaries in the U.K.  suggest these kinds of hybrid projects can increase the bee and insect pollinator population in a region, thus benefiting the natural environment and agricultural farms. A new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found that there are more than 16,000 acres of pollinator-dependent crops near 204 megawatts of solar energy facilities in Oregon alone. Related: Bee Saving Paper “works like an energy drink for bees” PineGate Renewables’ SolarCulture sites are planted with low-ground native flowers and grasses, which boost soil health, store storm water and support a healthy ecology. The specific vegetation plan for the Oregon site was designed by Colorado -based ecological services firm Regenerate, and by spring 2019, this site is expected to provide pollinator habitat equivalent to about 24,800 homes with 6’ x 12’ pollinator gardens maintained for 25 years. In the future, the buzz about PineGate Renewables’ pollinator project may inspire others to join forces to serve the public and the environment with solar farm apiaries. + PineGate Renewables + Old Sol Apiaries Images via PineGateRenewables

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The largest solar farm apiary in the US opens this week

Warming seas could shift fish habitats out of the reach of some fishers

May 18, 2018 by  
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Climate change is doing more than causing  sea levels to rise or sea ice to dwindle — it’s pressuring  fish to move far away from their typical habitats. Warming waters have already prompted some fish to migrate south or north. As the climate continues to change, marine species’ shifts could be challenging for fisheries as the fish potentially move into new areas altogether — some hundreds of miles away. Fish are already seeking more favorable habitats in a changing world, and a team of six scientists at institutions in the U.S. and Switzerland decided to predict how they might move in the future. In research published this week in PLOS One , the team modeled the habitat of 686 species. Ecologist and co-author Malin Pinksy of Rutgers University told NPR they have high certainty for how far around 450 of those species will shift in the future. Related: Bottlenose dolphins spotted in Canadian Pacific waters for the first time “We found a major effect of carbon emissions scenario on the magnitude of projected shifts in species habitat during the 21st century,” lead author James Morley of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said in a statement . “Under a high carbon emissions future we anticipate that many economically important species will expand into new regions and decline in areas of historic abundance.” Some species might just shift a few miles. But others might move so far that they become out of reach for some fishers. For example, the Alaskan snow crab could move north as far as 900 miles. A shift of just a couple hundred miles could place lobster or other fish out of the range for fishers with small boats — and limited time and fuel. The scientists aren’t sure when the shifts might happen; it depends on how much the waters warm. But the movement could pose challenges for resource management — co-author Richard Seagraves, formerly with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council , told NPR that states get a catch limit, or quota, for fish. The catch limit is based on where the fish were decades ago. Seagraves said, “Some of the Southern states are having trouble catching their quota, and states to the north have more availability of fish.” + PLOS One Via NPR and EurekAlert! Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Warming seas could shift fish habitats out of the reach of some fishers

Metal-clad Treehouse for "no-commute lifestyles" mimics Portlands forests

February 15, 2018 by  
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With projects like LEVER Architecture’s recently completed Treehouse, it’s little wonder Portland, Ore. scores high marks for livability and sustainability. Located on the Marquam Hill campus of the Oregon Health & Science University (OSHU), Treehouse caters to those interested in a “live/work/no-commute lifestyle”. Designed for mixed use , the seven-story houses 69 apartment units as well as retail on the ground floor. Taking cues from the forest, Treehouse is wrapped in a textured metal skin that mimics the color and form of tree trunks. The facade’s consistent texture and pattern give the building a dynamic depth and appearance that changes throughout the day. “The design bridges the urban and topographical qualities of the campus by placing the building as an “in the round” object in the forest,” wrote the architects. “Instead of cutting into the hill, the building form is carved to follow the landscape. A continuous carved building skin is achieved by eliminating the expression of floor levels by incorporating all expansion joints into the custom window surrounds.” Related: Nation’s tallest timber building to rise in Portland The apartment units are clustered around a compact central core housing the stairs and elevator. Glazing can be found on all sides of the irregular octagonal building and maximize daylight into the studio and one-bedroom units. A rain garden landscape and deck on the lower level handles all stormwater runoff. + LEVER Architecture Via ArchDaily Images via LEVER Architecture

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Metal-clad Treehouse for "no-commute lifestyles" mimics Portlands forests

Pacific starfish bounce back after massive die-off

January 1, 2018 by  
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It may feel like it’s a constant stream of bad news for the environment, so brace yourself for something good. A few years ago, it seemed as though we may completely lose sea stars after a mysterious wasting syndrome rapidly killed millions of the creatures from Canada to Mexico. But this year, researchers say that starfish are making a massive comeback. Sea Star Wasting Syndrome, which is linked to warming waters , hit the West Coast from 2013 to 2014, causing starfish to sort of “melt,” dropping limbs, deflating and wasting away. But where sea stars had practically vanished in some areas, they can be seen popping up again. “They are coming back, big time,” said Darryl Deleske, a researcher for the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium . Related: Researchers in Oregon Expect Wasting Disease to Completely Wipe Out Starfish Populations in the Near Future These types of die-offs have happened every decade since the 1970s, but never on the scale of 2013. But lately, places that were completely devoid of starfish are filling up with them once again. Sadly, it isn’t time to celebrate, yet. While populations seem to be rebounding, the disease hasn’t completely disappeared. It appears to be active in Washington and has never completely stopped in California or Oregon. Still, experts are hopeful that future generations of sea stars will be more resilient to the disease. Via Phys.org Images via Unsplash and UCSC

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Tel Aviv builds world’s tallest block tower to honor 8-year-old cancer victim

January 1, 2018 by  
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Tel Aviv is shooting for the stars with the world’s tallest LEGO tower . Technically, the 118-foot tower is made out of LEGO and other toy bricks, and the attempt isn’t sponsored by LEGO, like other towers have been. Instead, this tower is a playful way to honor an 8-year old cancer victim named Omer Sayag. Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’LK_n8Ge2RURt1djGz5PRkw’,sig:’yDrTFkOxwQULu4XBM14CfRxI62Hm_kzNZ_MoNE5oTTo=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’898930378′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); Milan and Budapest have both made attempts at the world’s tallest LEGO tower, although both were in collaboration with LEGO. Tel Aviv’s tower is a collaboration between Tel Aviv City Hall and Young Engineers, a program that uses LEGO blocks to help teach kids engineering. Omer Sayang lost his battle to cancer in 2014, and his teachers, knowing how much he loved to build, started a petition to build what is being called Omer’s Tower. Related: Hungary Builds World’s Tallest LEGO Tower Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’HfCEwf1aSJJ8hV_iH3ewQA’,sig:’zIl0az1XJK5K9FWYnapqRC0KoPvzgf8ZAAtIRFpdzZY=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’898928316′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); The tower stretches 117 feet 11 inches and required a half million toy bricks. Thousands of people collaborated to realize its construction, marking it with their team insignias and positive messages. The measurements were sent to Guinness and now the team is waiting for official confirmation that the tower is, in fact, the tallest ever, beating Milan by 35 inches. Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’Dhg7nk98SkBUJyx9FCHqsQ’,sig:’Gi2GkMIY6wzABbr2ze7xbejRs0UzlxJDU0hExwjZZRg=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’898928182′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); Via the New York Times Lead image via Unsplash

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Tel Aviv builds world’s tallest block tower to honor 8-year-old cancer victim

Hundreds of organisms hitch a ride from Japan to Oregon on waves of plastic trash

September 29, 2017 by  
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Japanese marine animals have hitched a ride all the way to the United States with unlikely help from plastic garbage. The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami dumped debris into the ocean , and now, several years later, scientists have recorded almost 300 marine animal species showing up in Hawaii and North America, riding on hundreds of crates, buoys, vessels, and trash. Scientists didn’t think organisms passively drifted on debris across the ocean, according to marine scientist John Chapman of Oregon State University . He said, “This has turned out to be one of the biggest, unplanned, natural experiments in marine biology , perhaps in history.” You knew plastic trash was polluting the oceans, but you probably didn’t know it was transporting non-native species across them. Neither did many scientists, who were surprised to discover Japanese species landing alive in North America and Hawaii. Researchers didn’t expect organisms to live through the trip across the North Pacific Ocean – and many species have lived four or more years longer than any previous records of organisms living on ocean rafts. Related: Japanese sculpture memorializes 18,000 people dead or missing after the 2011 earthquake In the beginning, wood released in the natural disasters showed up in Oregon with shipworms inside, but after 2014, wood landings plummeted, and researchers realized non-biodegradable trash like plastic, styrofoam, and fiberglass was allowing non-native species to travel and survive for so long. So far, scientists haven’t found any Japanese species established on the West Coast, but Chapman said that can take years to happen. He said, “One thing this event has taught us is that some of these organisms can be extraordinarily resilient…It would not surprise me if there were species from Japan that are out there living along the Oregon coast. In fact, it would surprise me if there weren’t.” Oregon State University marine scientist Jessica Miller said out of the species that arrived in 2017, almost 20 percent were capable of reproducing. James Carlton of Williams College , who was the lead author on a study published today in Science , said, “These vast quantities of non-biodegradable debris, potentially acting as novel ocean transport vectors, are of increasing concern given the vast economic cost and environmental impacts documented from the proliferation of marine invasive species around the world.” Chapman and Miller were co-authors of the study, along with six other scientists from institutions around the United States. Via Oregon State University Images via Oregon State University on Flickr ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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Kengo Kuma unveils stunning SUTEKI house for Oregons Street of Dreams

August 2, 2017 by  
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Acclaimed architect Kengo Kuma has crafted a stunning cross-cultural home that combines the best of American modern amenities with traditional Japanese design principles. Located in Oregon’s NW Natural Street of Dreams in Portland, the sustainably built SUTEKI home promotes healthy living with its strong connection to the outdoors in both its use of natural materials and garden surroundings. The master-built home is the first of its kind constructed by Japanese homebuilder, Suteki, in the United States. As with many of Kuma’s architectural projects, nature is a big theme in the SUTEKI home. A natural materials palette used throughout the home shows off sustainably harvested wood , from the soaring Olympia wall built of timber to the regional Alaskan yellow cedar in the louvre walls. Natural stone and tile are also prominently featured. A high level of detail and craftsmanship is seen around the home, especially in the origami-inspired ceiling that creates a feeling of fluidity and movement. To deepen the connection with the outdoors and create a restorative living experience, Kuma incorporated seamless indoor and outdoor living spaces built around nature. Large openings frame views of the outdoors and every view is optimized inside and out. Portland Japanese Garden curator Sadafumi Uchiyama designed the garden and used “borrowed scenery” principles to incorporate the surrounding landscape—a giant oak and sequoia tree, and a stream that runs along the property. Related: Kengo Kuma unveils nature-filled Eco-Luxury Hotel for Paris “My collaboration with Suteki is owed to our shared view of the sublimity of nature,” said Kuma. “Embracing the surroundings, insisting on natural materials, sustainability and transparency creates a space where people can experience nature more completely and intimately.” The placement and orientation of the home contributes to its energy efficiency . The Suteki company plans to build more sustainably built homes in the Portland market in the near future. + Street of Dreams Images by Justin Krug Photography

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Kengo Kuma unveils stunning SUTEKI house for Oregons Street of Dreams

Airstream unveils super compact, lightweight travel trailer for $30K

July 7, 2017 by  
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Light as a feather! Airstream has just unveiled the ultra-lightweight Nest, a 16-foot travel trailer that weighs just 2,500 pounds. The company has ditched its iconic polished aluminum for a molded fiberglass in order to create the ultimate in minimalist campervan design. Although the beloved trailer manufacturer has stayed true to its shiny silver aluminum cladding for almost a century, Nest’s molded fiberglass body makes the camper much lighter and more aerodynamic. At just 2,500 pounds, the compact, streamlined design makes for an extremely travel-friendly ride. Related: Airstream’s new Basecamp is a tiny house you can tow practically anywhere On the interior, travelers will enjoy a minimalist modern design with enough space for a queen bed and a small, but sufficient kitchen . According to the company, the new trailer was designed for those who “want the legendary design sense, quality, and sophistication of Airstream, in a fresh, new package.” The fiberglass Nest design is the brainchild of Nest Caravans, founded by Robert Johans. In 2016, Airstream purchased the Oregon-based company for an undisclosed amount. The Nest trailers are slated to hit the market in early 2018. + Airstream Nest Via Outside Online Images via Airstream and Roaming Times Save Save

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Airstream unveils super compact, lightweight travel trailer for $30K

Snhetta unveils spectacular makeover for nations second-largest waterfall

June 2, 2017 by  
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The nation’s second largest waterfall by volume will soon reopen to the public for the first time in over 150 years. Architecture and landscape firm Snøhetta recently revealed new renderings for their designs to restore public access to Oregon’s Willamette Falls. A mix of adaptive reuse and new build, the design will renovate the 22-acre site’s existing industrial buildings and add a new ecological riverwalk. Industrial infrastructure has cut the breathtaking Willamette Falls from public access for over a century, however, a redevelopment scheme for the area sparked newfound interest in reclaiming and rehabilitating the landscape. Snøhetta, along with Mayer/Reed, inc. and DIALOG , won an international design competition to reimagine the falls and collaborated with the community to refine their proposals. “The new design treats the whole site as a single landscape, with a network of promenades and lofted pathways that lace through the physical strata of the site, immersing visitors in a tactile experience that celebrates the changing water level, the feeling of the spray on your skin, the dramatic play of light and the roar and presence of the falls,” says Snøhetta. Key to the design is the new riverwalk that will “serve as a portal to the Northwest’s collective history” and connect Oregon City’s historic downtown to the crest of the fall. The riverwalk will feature a mix of materials, from ancient basalt and wood to industrial steel, as well as layered references to the site’s natural, ecological, cultural, and geological contexts. Related: Snøhetta’s ready-made cabin can fit into any landscape In addition to restoring public access, the design seeks to rehabilitate the landscape with the removal of select industrial structures. Five unique habitats will be restored and special attention paid to endangered species. Greater access will also be provided to the five confederated tribes who annually fish the waters. The Willamette Falls riverwalk conceptual design will be unveiled at a public event tomorrow and construction is expected to begin June 2018. + Snøhetta Images via Snøhetta

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What’s behind state efforts to kill EV incentive?

April 17, 2017 by  
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Why states such as Utah, Georgia, Oregon and Colorado are parking consumer incentives for purchasing electric vehicles.

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