LEED-Platinum Knight Cancer Research Building champions team science

April 2, 2021 by  
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In Portland’s South Waterfront, the Knight Cancer Research Building at Oregon Health & Science University is using a “team science” approach to help scientists and researchers find cures to cancer. Designed by Seattle-based design firm SRG Partnership , the cancer research facility features wellness-focused workspaces that encourage collaboration and innovation across different disciplines. As a beacon of sustainability, the building has also been certified LEED Platinum for its use of non-toxic, Red List-free materials and for achieving 38% greater energy efficiency and 68% reduced water use as compared to standard lab buildings.  Home to over 600 employees from different scientific disciplines, the 320,000-square-foot Knight Cancer Research Building includes seven stories of wet labs, computational biology facilities, research core services, a 300-seat auditorium, a conference center, ground-floor retail and underground parking for 77 cars. Two floors of the building are also occupied by the Center for Early Detection Research, the first large-scale early cancer detection program of its kind. The research facility is strategically located at the heart of a pedestrian-oriented hub easily accessible by multi-modal transit. Related: A LEED Gold-targeted office will enhance worker wellbeing To promote cross-disciplinary research, the building’s research floors follow an open neighborhood concept where team spaces are shared, visibility and collegiality is enhanced with glass partitions, laboratories follow non-hierarchical design and wet and dry labs are placed side by side. The architects have also inserted diverse gathering spaces throughout the building for spontaneous interactions that include a central kitchen, an auditorium , a social lounge and a rooftop terrace as well as other informal seating areas and social hubs. Floor-to-ceiling glazing floods the building with natural light while a sawtooth-shaped configuration of windows along the south elevation frames views of the Willamette River and Tilikum Bridge. Balconies and outdoor terraces further the building’s indoor-to-outdoor connections. The Knight Cancer Research Building was designed entirely with BIM to optimize energy-efficient operations.  + SRG Partnership Photography by Brad Feinknop Photography and Christian Columbres Photography via SRG Partnership

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LEED-Platinum Knight Cancer Research Building champions team science

This will be the largest CLT affordable housing complex in the Netherlands

April 2, 2021 by  
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Rotterdam-based architecture office Powerhouse Company has unveiled designs for Valckensteyn, a circular and sustainable building expected to become the largest timber-built affordable housing complex in the Netherlands. Commissioned by housing corporation Woonstad Rotterdam, the pioneering, 12-story project will feature 11 stories built of cross-laminated timber without the use of adhesives to allow the building to be demounted and reassembled elsewhere as needed. Proposed for the post-war Rotterdam neighborhood of Pendrecht, the 40-meter-tall Valckensteyn will occupy the site of a residential complex that was demolished a decade ago. Due to Valckensteyn’s relatively lightweight timber build as compared to steel-and-concrete construction, the architects will be able to repurpose the old building’s foundations — a sustainable design decision that helps to significantly reduce the project’s carbon footprint . Related: Self-sufficient floating office building for GCA will take anchor in Rotterdam For stability, the affordable housing complex will comprise a concrete ground floor and core. The ground-floor lobby will be clad in travertine — a post-war material with strong ties to the neighborhood — and house a large, inviting space with what the architects hope will be “the most beautiful bicycle storage in Rotterdam.” Cross-laminated timber construction will be exposed in the above floors, where all 82 homes will enjoy connections to the outdoors via floor-to-ceiling windows and timber-clad, west-facing balconies. A lush landscaping plan designed by LAP Landscape & Urban Design will surround the building and stimulate biodiversity. The carpark will also integrate cement-free paving stones and water filtration systems to take on the appearance of a “green carpet.” “With project Valckensteyn, Woonstad set out the challenge to develop a responsible and sustainable housing supply for middle-income families,” said Robbert Groeneveld, senior project manager at Woonstad Rotterdam. “The desire of Woonstad for a wooden building has been developed into an integrated design where sustainability, housing comfort and nature inclusivity come together.” Construction on Valckensteyn is expected to start in January 2022. + Powerhouse Company Images via Powerhouse Company

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This will be the largest CLT affordable housing complex in the Netherlands

An Oregon utility’s unique model for supporting clean energy goals 

March 19, 2021 by  
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An Oregon utility’s unique model for supporting clean energy goals  Sarah Golden Fri, 03/19/2021 – 01:00 Want more great analysis of the clean energy transition? Sign up for Energy Weekly , our free email newsletter. Portland General Electric (PGE) in Oregon manages a two-year-old program it hopes will accelerate the speed of renewable deployment in the state. It also may be a model for how other utilities can help customers choose clean energy.  The Green Future Impact (GFI) program provides an avenue for large companies and cities to choose renewable energy. The deals themselves look familiar to corporate energy buyers: power purchase agreements (PPAs) and load aggregation. The difference is how the utility acts as a partner in the deal, working with regulators to streamline the process for the customers.  “If we’re able to bring the utility together with our customers and bring new clean resources online, we can accelerate the impact and the move to a clean energy future in Oregon,” John McFarland, vice president and chief customer officer of PGE, said in a phone interview.  So far the program, approved by the Oregon Public Utilities Commission in 2019, has inked deals for 300 megawatts (MW) of new capacity, with hopes to expand soon. The program acts as a platform, so far supporting two procurement models: aggregate PPAs and corporate PPAs. The Wy’East Solar Project in Oregon. Credit: Avangrid Renewables The utility as a load aggregator  In May 2019, PGE launched the first GFI offering: access to the energy from a new 162-MW solar facility, to be built in Gilliam County, Oregon. Enrolling committed companies and municipalities to purchase energy from the new facility, allowing companies to get closer to clean energy goals while ensuring additionality.  The program filled up within three minutes of going live, with commitments from Adobe, Comcast, Intel, Daimler Trucks North America, Digital Reality, and 13 municipalities and academic institutions.  “What was really exciting about this was the demand,” McFarland said. “It signaled to us that we are onto something here, that our large business customer and our cities really wanted to partner to bring renewable energy online as quickly as possible.” All of the processes, all of the work with the state and the regulators, we had already done. In essence, PGE leveraged a PPA aggregation model, bundling together energy offtakers’ demand to support a new deployment (in this case, the largest solar farm in the state, according to PGE ). This structure allows companies and cities that may not be able to navigate a complex procurement process to benefit from clean energy.  Aggregation models have been growing in popularity with corporate energy buyers. One of the earliest was in 2018, when Apple helped orchestrate a deal with three smaller buyers: Akamai; Swiss Re; and Etsy. In that deal, Apple acted as the anchor offtaker, shouldering much of the legal and regulatory burden. In January 2019 , five corporations — Bloomberg, Cox, Gap, Salesforce and Workday — spearheaded a similar model in a 100 MW procurement deal, in which the companies jointly took on the project to split the closing cost and project risk.  More recently, this week Enel Green Power announced an aggregation deal for 111 MW, with offtakers MilliporeSigma, Akamai, Synopsys, and Uber.  Through the GFI program, PGE is taking on the regulatory and legal lift related to aggregation deals, meaning companies just need to sign up. The speed at which the program filled up indicates there is pent-up demand for streamlined clean energy options. McFarland said PGE is looking at adding 200 MW of capacity to include new customers.  “Our customers want clean, carbon-free energy, and they want it soon. They want it to be easy,” said McFarland. A utility as a PPA partner  Aside from the aggregation model described above, GFI supports a “customer supply option,” where a customer can identify a new renewable energy project and bring it to the utility for support in executing the PPAs.  Intel used this option to bring a 138-MW solar PPA to PGE, with developer Avangrid Renewables. The deal was inked in February , and the solar project will be built in Wasco County, Oregon.  The deal looks similar to other corporate PPAs: Intel signed a 15-year agreement to procure clean energy from the new resource. However, by using the GFI program, Intel was able to sidestep some regulatory and legal work associated with such an agreement.  “All of the processes, all of the work with the state and the regulators, we had already done,” McFarland said. “It was already worked through, it was already set up. We knew the offerings would be consistent with the requirements we have in Oregon.”  By doing the regulatory legwork, GFI could be a model for how other states could remove obstacles for corporate procurements and open up more options to companies.  Pull Quote All of the processes, all of the work with the state and the regulators, we had already done. Topics Renewable Energy Corporate Procurement Featured Column Power Points Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Intel’s Oregon campus. Source: PGE

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Virginia bans cosmetic testing on animals

March 17, 2021 by  
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Starting January 1, 2022, the state of Virginia will no longer allow animal testing or the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. Thanks to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam — and other kind and dedicated Virginians — the Virginia Humane Cosmetics Act became law this month. Senator Jennifer Boysko and Delegate Kaye Kory introduced the bill. Its passage makes Virginia the fourth state in the U.S. to make a law prohibiting cosmetic animal testing . Related: EPA promises an end to animal testing “This fantastic news illustrates a growing momentum in efforts to end unnecessary testing on animals in the United States and around the world for products like shampoos, mascara and lipstick,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF). “Consumers are scanning labels and demanding products free of animal testing, cosmetics companies are listening to them and changing their practices, and lawmakers are solidifying these changes into permanent policy.” For vegans and anybody else who cares about animal suffering, this act makes shopping much easier. Instead of trying to read the tiny print on a tube of eyeliner, consumers will be able to get straight in line with their purchases, saving both time and eyestrain. In 2018, California became the first state to pass a law banning animal testing for cosmetics. The California law makes exceptions for cosmetic ingredients that the USDA requires testing for because of health concerns, or if regulatory compliance is called for by a foreign authority. Nevada passed a cruelty-free cosmetics act in June 2019, and Illinois followed in August 2019. Six other states are considering their own cruelty-free cosmetic acts: Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island. The movement is picking up steam all over the world as more and more consumers start asking exactly what’s in that lipstick and if animal suffering is really necessary for human beauty. “Cosmetics animal testing is simply not needed to ensure the safety of cosmetics for human use,” Amundson said. “In the case of new ingredients, many non-animal test methods have been, and continue to be, developed that are as effective — or even more effective — than animal tests have been.” Via VegNews Image via Anna Sulencka

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LEED Gold Columbia Building cleans stormwater runoff with green roofs

March 2, 2021 by  
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When Portland-based Skylab Architecture was asked by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services to design an extension of a wastewater treatment facility, sustainability was immediately identified as a key priority. Not only did the architects need to design the public project to meet a minimum of LEED Gold certification, but the building would also have to serve an educational purpose by providing a working demonstration of onsite stormwater filtration. Completed in 2014, the award-winning Columbia Building successfully meets its design targets with an attractive green roof and a visible stormwater management system.  Located south of the Columbia River and about 9 miles north of downtown Portland , the 11,640-square-foot Columbia Building primarily serves as a workspace for the wastewater treatment’s engineering department. The building also includes a visitor reception area and public meeting spaces. Large windows with operable air circulation vents and mirrored glass along the north facade frame views toward a partially enclosed Commons area and the riverine landscape beyond.  Related: Wedge-shaped Sideyard champions CLT construction From afar, the single-story building draws the eye with its seven folded, cast-in-place concrete roof forms designed to channel and filter stormwater into a visible water collection system. After passing through the series of green roofs, the stormwater is drained along landscape berms for further filtration. The treated water is finally discharged back into the Columbia River. “This project accomplished three unique objectives in one single campus site: we created a vibrant and efficient workspace, clean on-site stormwater filtration and a dynamic conversation around the health of the surrounding watershed all working for clean rivers,” the architects noted in a project description. The Columbia Building has received nearly a dozen awards, including the 2015 Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design: American Architecture Award and the 2014 ASLA Oregon Award of Excellence. + Skylab Architecture Photography by Jeremy Bittermann via Skylab Architecture

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LEED Gold Columbia Building cleans stormwater runoff with green roofs

Are Florida manatees starving to death?

March 2, 2021 by  
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Manatee mortality in  Florida  has shot up this year, with 358 recorded deaths in January and February. Last year, the first two months had a combined total of 143 deaths — less than half this year’s current toll. Conservationists worry that the manatees are starving to death. Some causes of 2021 manatee deaths are known and include boat strikes, cold stress and natural deaths. But many have died for unknown reasons. Pat Rose, director of Save the Manatee Club, suspects one of these reasons is a sea grass shortage. “It’s something we’ve never really seen before,” Rose said. “It looks like we have a substantial number of  manatees that are starving.” Related: Effects of COVID-19 lead to increased deaths of Florida manatees The potato-shaped marine mammals spend up to seven hours a day eating freshwater  plants  like hyacinth, water lettuce, pickerelweed and hydrilla, and saltwater foods like sea clover, marine algae and grasses. They eat 100 to 200 pounds of grass per day, which is about 10-15% of their body weight. With an estimated 6,300 manatees in Florida, that’s a lot of grass. Sea grasses have other crucial benefits to life on the planet, such as storing carbon and thus staving off climate change. But warming waters, rampant coastal development, agricultural runoff and  pollution  from wastewater treatment plants are all causing toxic algae blooms which spell the doom of grasses. Nearly half of this year’s manatee deaths have been in Brevard County, home of a crucial manatee habitat called Indian River Lagoon. “The raw truth of the matter is due to negligence of our stormwater we’ve had continual algal blooms over the past 10 years, which blocks out  sea  grass and kills it,” Billy Rotne, an Indian River Lagoon guide, told the News-Press. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is the agency that performs necropsies, which are autopsies on non-human  animals . But between the high death rate of manatees this year and difficulties of working during the pandemic, the commission is behind on its caseload. Via Huff Post and Manatee Eco-Tours Lead image via Pexels

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5 ways businesses can take action to reduce environmental racism

November 16, 2020 by  
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5 ways businesses can take action to reduce environmental racism Samantha Harris Mon, 11/16/2020 – 00:20 For decades, Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in the United States have sought environmental justice as a civil right, but now, the grave disparities in environmental harms are coming into national prominence . This year’s COVID-19 crisis and racial justice movement have highlighted the systemic inequities in the U.S. and revealed how crises disproportionately affect certain populations. The urgency of now is underscored by the climate crisis and the need for climate justice.  Businesses continue to lead on climate in the absence of U.S. political will. And while we have a long way to go, businesses are also stepping up in the fight for racial equity  — some leading the pack, such as Starbucks , and beginning to integrate equitable strategies across their business, particularly in their climate solutions. Whether we say climate justice, climate equity, the intersection of climate change and people or the social impacts of climate change, one thing is clear: Business has a role to play in addressing the structural inequity that causes low-income populations and communities of color to bear the brunt of the climate crisis.  Extreme heat and storms, sea level rise, intense wildfires — climate change may threaten everyone, but many BIPOC communities are more vulnerable to climate impacts. These communities also suffer disproportionately from the broader socioeconomic impacts of climate change, such as disrupted access to social services and increased energy costs — so much so that race is the most salient indicator in the U.S. of how the climate crisis affects people. This includes poor air quality due to proximity to polluting facilities such as fossil fuel power plants and refineries, which compounds the impacts of crises such as COVID-19.  The business role in climate justice  Business has an important role to play in helping to bring climate justice and racial equity front and center while shifting the finance for the energy transition. Business action, supported by government regulations, investments and incentives, is absolutely critical for transitioning to net-zero emissions by 2050. Achieving this not only addresses the climate crisis writ large, but it also improves local environments and economies to be more sustainable for everyone.  The move to a net-zero GHG emissions economy will require systemic transitions in business operations; however, the benefits of this shift are immense both for business and for broader society. Billions of dollars will be spent, saved and made during this transition. A fair, just and inclusive transition with justice at its core calls for climate investments to alleviate or eliminate existing disparities in environmental, social and economic opportunities and outcomes. Billions of dollars will be spent, saved and made during this transition. Traditionally, climate action has focused too narrowly on only the global benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ignoring the potential to generate immediate benefits for community well-being, such as “improving local air quality and economies through investments in infrastructure, restoring ecosystems and increasing community vitality .”  Stakeholders, people, matter to business — whether through direct employment, raw material production in value chains, or markets. The barriers that prevent BIPOC communities from thriving also hinder business growth and sustainability. No longer can businesses ignore entrenched social inequality — greater inequality leads to greater environmental degradation. This phenomenon, also known as intersectional environmentalism , means that instead of one bottom line, there are three: environment; economy; and equity. Businesses can and should design all activities, especially those that address the climate crisis, with a racial equity and justice lens. As we transition, we must bring BIPOC communities along with us; otherwise, there’s a risk that they’ll continue to be left out, even in the new structure we create. What business can do about climate justice While many businesses are stepping up by setting the necessary ambitious climate targets in line with the Paris Agreement, it simply isn’t enough to protect those most affected by the climate crisis. The good news is, businesses can do many things to promote climate justice activities, including learning from what others already have done. For example, learning from the cities of Portland, Oregon and Oakland, California, businesses can take steps to place social justice at the center of their core activities, including those related to climate, within their own operations; enable others to do the same; and influence policies to reduce systemic inequities at their roots. Portland’s 2015 Climate Action Plan and Oakland’s 2030 Equitable Climate Action Plan (ECAP) center climate solutions that address existing disparities, transitioning away from fossil fuel dependence while increasing community resilience. A companion document to Oakland’s ECAP, the Racial Equity Impact Assessment & Implementation Guide (REIA) , describes how to identify the most affected communities and reduce equity gaps in resource allocation and climate vulnerability.  Here are more ways in which businesses can lead:  Center climate justice and racial equity in climate activities Commit to a net-zero GHG reduction target by 2050, or sooner, across the entire value chain. Identify the business activities that disproportionately affect communities on the basis of race, and develop solutions centered in climate justice and racial equity. This can include reducing harmful on-site emissions as well as off-site fleet electrification in high pollution areas. Identify the business activities that disproportionately affect communities on the basis of race, and develop solutions centered in climate justice and racial equity. Companies also can develop green jobs in a just manner that respects human rights and livelihoods. Resilience solutions should also ensure that those across the company operations and value chains (employees, factory workers, smallholder farmers, vital communities) are protected from climate-related events.  Engage those most affected by the climate crisis Assess your business’ climate impact and compile data showing the impacts on the communities and stakeholders most affected by the structural inequalities (climate risk and vulnerability assessments). Engage them in community-driven climate resilience planning. For example, businesses can diversify the value chain to support small disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) with sustainable practices and enter Community Benefits Agreements with residents living near business facilities to increase climate benefits such as urban tree cover, home weatherization and electric vehicle (EV) access. Educate and build awareness about climate justice Educate leadership and employees internally on how race intersects with the climate crisis. Build awareness externally and help educate others on the issue. Earlier this year, the B Corp Climate Collective launched its Climate Justice Learning Task Force , intended to help others access resources about climate justice. Collaborate to scale impact Solving the climate crisis is too big to only act alone — companies should collaborate with others across industries and with expert stakeholders. For example, companies can commit to the Business Pledge for Just Transition and Decent Green Jobs . And Starbucks is collaborating with partners to identify areas across their business to incorporate climate justice, including how they procure renewable energy and build infrastructure.  Leverage influence and advocate for public policy Call on all levels of government to integrate a justice lens into their climate solutions. The climate action plans developed by the cities of Portland and Oakland are great examples of how to integrate racial equity into government plans.  We commend the efforts that businesses already have made, with over 1,300 commitments that formally recognize the transition to a net-zero economy. But businesses are only starting to scratch the surface on climate justice solutions. When business solutions center those most affected by global crises — whether a pandemic or climate change — and improve these communities, everyone benefits. When they are left behind, everyone’s harmed. Now’s the moment to build a truly inclusive future. Pull Quote Billions of dollars will be spent, saved and made during this transition. Identify the business activities that disproportionately affect communities on the basis of race, and develop solutions centered in climate justice and racial equity. Topics Social Justice Leadership BSR Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Global Climate Strike in New York City. Photo by Katie Rodriguez on Unsplash. Close Authorship

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Episode 239: Wildfires and resilience, California’s car ban

October 2, 2020 by  
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Episode 239: Wildfires and resilience, California’s car ban Heather Clancy Fri, 10/02/2020 – 02:00 Week in Review Stories discussed this week (5:15). 5 things to know about California’s gas car sales ban Cities should track emissions from the goods they import Missing ingredients: How to accelerate the meat alternatives revolution Features Riffing on transportation trends (11:30)   What’s the buzz in the work of fleet management? HIghlights from last week’s transportation and mobility track at Climate Week, selected by GreenBiz analyst Katie Fehrenbacher, with insights from IKEA CSO Pia Heidenmark Cook and BT Group Chief Digital Impact and Sustainability Officer Andy Wales.  The new world of wildfire management (17:15) In September, the Almeda Fire ripped through the Rogue Valley in Oregon, decimating two towns: Talent and Phoenix. This was not an ordinary wildfire, nor could it have been prevented by traditional forestry management. GreenBiz analyst Sarah Golden speaks with state senator Jeff Golden (her father) about the climate change influence and what’s next for improving resilience.  *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere: “Curiosity,” “More on That Later,” “Night Caves,” “I’m Going for a Coffee” and “Here’s the Thing” *This episode was sponsored by Amazon and MCE Resources galore Partnerships for packaging . How working together advances low-cost, circular solutions. Register for the webcast at 1 p.m. Oct. 6.  Innovation in textiles. The global fashion industry is looking toward innovative materials and strategies. Learn more about what’s possible in this interactive discussion at 1 p.m. EDT Oct. 13. Do we have a newsletter for you! We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Katie Fehrenbacher Sarah Golden Topics Energy & Climate Podcast Transportation & Mobility Electric Vehicles Zero Emissions Resilience Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 31:23 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 239: Wildfires and resilience, California’s car ban

Proud Pour wines and cider benefit bees, oceans and coral reefs

September 29, 2020 by  
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Winemaking is one of the world’s oldest arts, spanning thousands of years. This has evolved into an industry that fuels destination travel, wedding venues and lively dinner conversation. Now, we can add sustainable practices to that list of accomplishments with a new line of wines by Proud Pour, whose aim is to inspire the environmentalist in everyone, even those who simply want to enjoy a pleasant glass of wine. Proud Pour began in New York City in 2014 when founder Berlin Kelly realized wine could be an avenue for environmental improvements. “I was living in NYC and drinking almost every night with my friends when I learned that NY Harbor has lost 95% of their wild oysters ,” Kelly explained. “I launched Proud Pour wines to raise money for NYC oyster restoration with the Billion Oyster Project , our first environmental partner.” Related: The differences between organic, natural, biodynamic and sustainable wines It’s easy to be inspired to save oysters and their habitat, because they are a critical filter for the oceans . In fact, a single oyster cleans 30 gallons of ocean water each day. To bring the project full circle, Proud Pour produces a Sauvignon Blanc labeled “Save the Ocean” (as in Save-ignon). Each bottle funds restoration efforts for 100 wild oysters. Efforts so far have provided restored habitats for 12 million wild oysters. A second offering from the company focuses on bee health . “Pinot for Bees” is a Pinot Noir that highlights the need for providing bee habitat. As the print on the bottle explains, “Every bottle plants 300 wildflowers,” which is equivalent to 35 square feet of prime bee habitat. Because bees are credited with providing one out of every three bites of food we eat, it’s great to see the company report that wine-lovers have already funded the planting of 75 acres of wildflowers. The third current selection is labeled, “Rosé for Reefs,” a rosé aimed at educating wine-lovers about the importance of coral reefs . According to the bottle, “Coral reefs cover just 1% of the ocean floor but support 25% of all marine life.” With that in mind, each three cases of this wine results in one new baby coral planting. To date, the company has funded the growth and planting of 112 baby corals. For those with a different palette and passion for sea turtles, Proud Pour produces a cider made from Connecticut River Valley apples. Like all of its products, Proud Pour’s Cider for Sea Turtles is sustainably grown and vegan . Proceeds from the cider fund the work at sea turtle hospitals that rescue and care for injured sea turtles so they can return to the ocean. The adventure that is Proud Pour is the result of a two-person show that includes Berlin Kelly, founder, and Brian Thurber, CEO. Thurber came on board in 2015, the same year the wine began hitting the store shelves. Even though just the two of them run the company, they rely on a host of partners to bring the project from grape to nonprofit funding. The process begins by connecting with high quality, sustainable winemakers in Oregon and California. On the other end of the process, they rely on nonprofits who work to protect bees, wild oysters, sea turtles and coral reefs, with more missions on the radar. Thurber told Inhabitat, “Up next are Grenache for Gray Wolves, Chardonnay for Sharks , and Syrah for Soil.” While myriad companies have joined 1% For the Planet as a way to give 1% of their net profits to environmental causes, Proud Pour has pledged a larger commitment. Proud Pour donates 5% of its top-line revenue, meaning the donation amount is calculated from the revenue, not the amount leftover after everyone gets paid. Proceeds are delivered to 22 environmental nonprofits across the U.S. Six years into the enterprise, the wines can be found in over 700 shops and restaurants in 18 states. That means there are more than 700 opportunities to spread the word about the environment and sustainable actions. “We’re making Proud Pour into the ultimate tool for recruiting new environmentalists,” Thurber said. “Our fans already use the wines as a casual way to talk about the environment with friends, and we’ll be building new storytelling tools to make those conversations a snap.” The current wines can be found online with shipping to 43 states. Each order is sustainably packaged with carbon-neutral shipping. Cider For Sea Turtles is only available in stores. While sale proceeds help restore invaluable ecosystems, the overall vision of Proud Pour is to facilitate conversations about the environment with a goal to create 5 million new environmentalists over the next decade. It seems like a reasonable discussion to have over a glass of wine. Inhabitat’s review of Proud Pour wines Occasionally companies offer to send us product samples so we can provide you with a well-rounded perspective, and let me tell you, few have been more fun to sample than Proud Pour Wines. Reviewing wine is entirely subjective, so obviously this is my layman’s opinion. The bottles are blanketed with the message of environmental awareness and it’s a beautiful thing — both informative and direct. Save the Ocean, the Sauvignon Blanc, struck me as buttery with a hint of citrus. It’s got more punch than a chardonnay but is tame enough for easy drinking. I can see how it would pair well with oysters and other seafood . Pinot for the Bees was my personal favorite, considering I’m a red wine fan. Living in Oregon, I’m spoiled by Pinot Noir, so I wasn’t surprised to discover the wine was vinted and bottled a few hours from my house. I found the vintage to be light and smooth. Although it lacks the complexity of big reds, most Pinots do, so it’s not a strike, just more of a profile note. Speaking of notes, this is an easy drinker any time of year. Rosé for Reefs is a light and crisp option. It’s not a sweet rosé but very quaffable with a gorgeous, medium-pink color. We added strawberries for a burst of fresh, late-summer flavor. Overall, each wine was a solid option in its own right, and the printed bottle is a beautiful representation of what conversations around sustainable actions should look like. Cheers to that. + Proud Pour Images via Proud Pour and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Proud Pour. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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Mysterious seeds from China arriving in mail across America

July 30, 2020 by  
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Agricultural officials from several states have expressed alarm over unsolicited packages of seeds delivered to residents. The packages appear to come from China, as they feature China Post labeling. Agricultural officers advise farmers not to plant the seeds, in case they are harmful or invasive. Warnings sent out to farmers and residents follow reports of unsolicited seed packages being delivered in residents’ mail. Several people reported receiving seeds in white pouches that featured Chinese writing and the words “China Post.” Another concerning detail is that the seed packages were not labeled as food or agricultural products. Envelopes included misleading labels, with some listing the contents as jewelry, toys or earbuds. States that have released public notices against planting the unsolicited seeds include Washington, Virginia, Kentucky, Delaware, Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Dakota, Texas, Alabama and Florida. Kentucky , one of the first states to receive reports of unsolicited seeds, issued warnings to residents. As Ryan Quarles, Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner, wrote on Twitter, residents should “put the package and seeds in a zip lock bag and wash your hands immediately.” Residents must also send any seeds they receive to the Department of Agriculture. Following the reports, several other states, including Arkansas, Michigan , Oregon and New Jersey, issued warnings to residents. Such measures may help prevent farmers from planting harmful, contaminated seeds. The Chinese Embassy in Washington claims these China Post packages “to be fake ones with erroneous layouts and entries.” Cecilia Sequeira, spokesperson for the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, says the department is working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop illegal importation of prohibited seeds. Should you receive any mysterious seeds in the mail, report it to the nearest Agriculture Office. + NY Times Image via Pexels

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Mysterious seeds from China arriving in mail across America

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