This floating park in Rotterdam is made from recycled plastic waste

July 11, 2018 by  
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More than 1,000 square feet of plastic ultimately destined to pollute the ocean is getting a second lease on life in Rotterdam. On July 4, 2018, Recycled Island Foundation opened its prototype to the public: a floating park made entirely from recycled plastic waste and appropriately named the Recycled Park. According to a report commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment , more than 1,000 cubic meters of plastic waste is transported every year down the Meuse River and into the North Sea. The plastics come from landfills, agriculture, sewage and inland shipping. They ultimate reach the river through a number of methods, including dumping, littering and run-off. Instead of letting the plastic reach the ocean, the Recycled Island Foundation and 25 partners created the Recycled Park: a public space in Rotterdam consisting of floating platforms made from recycled plastic waste. The team set traps along the Meuse River that collect waste, which is then gathered and transformed into platforms for the floating park. Related: A massive five-ton plastic waste whale breaches in a Bruges canal The Recycled Park project is focused on the Meuse River because of the overall viability of plastic in the aquatic space. The collected waste  is newer than in other waterways, so it can easily be made into platforms. To create the platforms, the collected plastic is sent to Wageningen University, which leads the research on effective recycling techniques . From there, the platforms are designed with HEBO Mariteimservice , who removes the garbage from the water. But the platforms aren’t just designed to reduce plastic pollution — they also serve as a wildlife habitat. Plants grow both above and below the river surface, allowing greenery to thrive on top of the platforms, providing a habitat capable of sustaining marine life and encouraging fish to lay eggs below the platforms. With the prototype park open, the organization is now looking for expansion options. Its ultimate goal is to incorporate several aquatic platform types into the park, while finding a permanent location to collect plastic from the Dutch harbor . + Recycled Park + Recycled Island Foundation Images via Recycled Island Foundation

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This floating park in Rotterdam is made from recycled plastic waste

Built on a budget, this elegant Dock Building glows like a lantern in Vancouver

June 20, 2018 by  
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Tight budgets typically pose one of the biggest challenges in design projects. But as Michael Green, CEO and President of Michael Green Architecture , shows in his firm’s recently completed Dock Building, beautiful architecture is “always possible regardless of budget.” Built for the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, the building melds modern and industrial influences in a sleek and sculptural volume that appears to glow like a lantern at night. Located on Jericho Beach in Vancouver , British Columbia, the Dock Building for the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club serves a large marine of sailboats. The facility consists of offices for the Harbor Master; educational spaces for children; a variety of workshops for maintaining boats, sails and gear; as well as bathrooms and showers. The modern yet simple design is made up of two intersecting wedge-shaped volumes created in reference to the cannery and the industrial waterfront building that once defined the site. “The design team at MGA aimed to demonstrate that all projects, from working industrial buildings to boutique museums , can and should be realized with grace and architectural dignity. Throughout, the details are modest and practical to work with the limited project budget,” said the Vancouver-based architecture firm in a project statement, adding that nearly half of the budget went to the foundation and piles. “The Dock Building exemplifies what a creative team, an ambitious client and a big vision can produce.” Related: Aperture-like windows maximize shading in this stunning Vancouver residence The Dock Building’s lantern-like effect can be enjoyed from the land and the sea. A glulam and translucent polycarbonate wall was installed on the side facing the land. The translucent facade glows at night and lets natural light into the workshop spaces during the day. On the side facing the sea and the marina are a row of garage doors and a glazed office frontage. The structure was built from glulam posts and beams with light timber infill decking and walls. White standing seam panels clad the exterior to mimic the color of nearby boats. The interior is predominately finished in construction-grade plywood. + Michael Green Architecture Images by Ema Peter

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Built on a budget, this elegant Dock Building glows like a lantern in Vancouver

Built on a budget, this elegant Dock Building glows like a lantern in Vancouver

June 20, 2018 by  
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Tight budgets typically pose one of the biggest challenges in design projects. But as Michael Green, CEO and President of Michael Green Architecture , shows in his firm’s recently completed Dock Building, beautiful architecture is “always possible regardless of budget.” Built for the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, the building melds modern and industrial influences in a sleek and sculptural volume that appears to glow like a lantern at night. Located on Jericho Beach in Vancouver , British Columbia, the Dock Building for the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club serves a large marine of sailboats. The facility consists of offices for the Harbor Master; educational spaces for children; a variety of workshops for maintaining boats, sails and gear; as well as bathrooms and showers. The modern yet simple design is made up of two intersecting wedge-shaped volumes created in reference to the cannery and the industrial waterfront building that once defined the site. “The design team at MGA aimed to demonstrate that all projects, from working industrial buildings to boutique museums , can and should be realized with grace and architectural dignity. Throughout, the details are modest and practical to work with the limited project budget,” said the Vancouver-based architecture firm in a project statement, adding that nearly half of the budget went to the foundation and piles. “The Dock Building exemplifies what a creative team, an ambitious client and a big vision can produce.” Related: Aperture-like windows maximize shading in this stunning Vancouver residence The Dock Building’s lantern-like effect can be enjoyed from the land and the sea. A glulam and translucent polycarbonate wall was installed on the side facing the land. The translucent facade glows at night and lets natural light into the workshop spaces during the day. On the side facing the sea and the marina are a row of garage doors and a glazed office frontage. The structure was built from glulam posts and beams with light timber infill decking and walls. White standing seam panels clad the exterior to mimic the color of nearby boats. The interior is predominately finished in construction-grade plywood. + Michael Green Architecture Images by Ema Peter

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Built on a budget, this elegant Dock Building glows like a lantern in Vancouver

Yellowstone superintendent says the Trump administration forced him out of his job due to wildlife advocacy

June 11, 2018 by  
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Yellowstone National Park superintendent Dan Wenk says he was forced out of his position by President Donald Trump’s administration because of his wildlife advocacy, The Guardian reported . Former National Park Service director Jon Jarvis told the publication the move was meant to make Wenk into an example to weaken a culture of conservation . Wenk said, “It’s a hell of a way to be treated at the end of four decades spent trying to do my best for the park service and places like Yellowstone, but that’s how these guys are. Throughout my career, I’ve not encountered anything like this, ever.” Last week, the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) told Wenk, who has been the Yellowstone superintendent since 2011, that he must accept a reassignment to the Capital Region in Washington, D.C. in 60 days or resign. The Guardian said Wenk had been outspoken about creating more room for wild bison to ramble outside the national park to Montana, a move opposed by the cattle industry, which comprises a core section of Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke ‘s constituency. Wenk had also questioned proposed sport hunting of grizzly bears. Related: US DOI scientist claims he was reassigned for speaking up on climate change Jarvis told The Guardian that preservation in large parks, largely in Alaska and the American West, conflicts with Zinke’s hopes to increase industrial development and monetize natural resources located on public lands . He said that Zinke “holds little regard for the esprit de corps traditions of the park service. Dan [Wenk] was set up as the first domino to fall.” An April 2018 Office of Inspector General at the DOI report scrutinized the reassignment of 27 senior executives between June 15, 2017 and October 29, 2017 and discovered the DOI’s Executive Resources Board “did not document its plan for selecting senior executives for reassignment, nor did it consistently apply the reasons it stated it used to select senior executives for reassignment.” They also found the board “did not gather the information needed to make informed decisions about the reassignments” and didn’t effectively communicate with the senior executives or most managers impacted by the reassignments. The report said, “As a result, many of the affected senior executives questioned whether these reassignments were political or punitive, based on a prior conflict with DOI leadership, or on the senior executive’s nearness to retirement. Many executives…believed their reassignment may have been related to their prior work assignments, including climate change , energy, or conservation.” Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons (1)

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Yellowstone superintendent says the Trump administration forced him out of his job due to wildlife advocacy

Beekeepers file a complaint against Bayer after glyphosate was discovered in honey

June 11, 2018 by  
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Beekeepers in France aren’t happy with Bayer . Agence France Presse reported (AFP) a beekeeping cooperative in the northern part of the country filed a legal complaint against the chemical giant after the controversial herbicide glyphosate was found in honey . The complaint was filed the same day as the close of Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto . The head of the beekeeping cooperative, which represents around 200 beekeepers, detected traces of glyphosate in three batches of honey from one of the members. A lawyer for the beekeeping cooperative, Emmanuel Ludot, told AFP the member’s hives are close to beet, rapeseed and sunflower fields, “But you also can’t forget the weekend gardeners who often tend to use Roundup .” Roundup, according to the news agency, “is the most widely used in France.” President Emmanuel Macron has said he’ll outlaw the weedkiller by 2021. Related: Monsanto will scrap its notorious name after acquisition by Bayer It is Ludot’s hope that this legal complaint will incite an inquiry to nail down the percentage of glyphosate in the honey batches and find if there are any health ramifications for humans. If glyphosate is detected in honey, the whole shipment is rejected, Famille Michaud president Vincent Michaud told AFP. Famille Michaud is one of France’s biggest honey marketers and Michaud said they “regularly detect foreign substances, including glyphosate.” Michaud said beekeepers usually say they’ll sell the honey at a market or roadside stand where there is no quality control if their shipments are rejected, “but this beekeeper had the courage to say, ‘I’m not going to be like everyone else; I’m going to file suit against Monsanto.’” On the date of Monsanto’s acquisition by Bayer, June 7, Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant said in a statement he was “proud of the path we have paved as Monsanto.” Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said, “Our sustainability targets are as important to us as our financial targets. We aim to live up to the heightened responsibility that a leadership position in agriculture entails and to deepen our dialogue with society.” The AFP said some scientists suspect glyphosate of causing cancer . Via Agence France Presse Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Beekeepers file a complaint against Bayer after glyphosate was discovered in honey

RepAir T-shirt cleans the air while you wear it

June 11, 2018 by  
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Italian fashion company Kloters has created a T-shirt that cleans the air through a specially designed insert capable of capturing and disintegrating pollutants and foul odors. Called RepAir, the shirt was designed to be both comfortable and environmentally friendly. “RepAir is born from the desire to go beyond the traditional concept of sustainable fashion,” said Kloters co-founders Federico Suria, Marco Lo Greco and Silvio Perucca in a press release. “[We] want to make fashion a vehicle to raise awareness and to think of new solutions to the pollution problem through nice, comfortable and, most of all, virtuous clothing .” The company is currently raising funds for the new product through a Kickstarter campaign . RepAir’s unique anti-pollutant features are made possible by the Breath , a patented absorbent fabric. “The company that produces it, Anemotech, has been very enthusiastic about the project and our collaboration started immediately,” De Greco said. “Our dream has become a reality.” The material is capable of absorbing pollutants that could contribute to health problems such as respiratory illness or cancer. The Breath has undergone extensive testing at the Università Politecnica delle Marche, which demonstrated the fabric’s ability to absorb up to 97 percent of volatile organic compounds, 92 percent of sulfur dioxide and 86 percent of nitrogen oxides. The Breath fabric insert is contained within a pocket on the T-shirt , which can be removed and replaced when necessary. Related: This startup is turning air pollution into art In addition to its pollutant fighting qualities, RepAir keeps  sustainability in mind throughout the production process. Produced in Italy, RepAir is manufactured with the support of suppliers that focus on making sure that no workers are exploited, which often occurs in the production of clothing for global consumption. The T-shirts are made from high-quality cotton and are designed to last, reducing the amount of waste created in its production. Kloters hopes that its shirts can start a conversation and a movement to improve air quality around the world. As its motto goes, “a single T-shirt may not save the world, but many can.” + Kloters Images via Kloters

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RepAir T-shirt cleans the air while you wear it

Are electric bikes the future of transportation? We tested one to find out

April 10, 2018 by  
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At first glance, it might seem like the standard bicycle doesn’t have much you could improve on. It gets you to your destination faster, provides a great workout, and doesn’t pollute the air. And, of course, once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget. However, in sprawling modern day cities—Los Angeles, we’re looking at you—bikes are sometimes less than ideal as a form of transportation. Cyclists can certainly brave the crowded streets and longer commutes, but they’re far more likely to be exhausted, or at least uncomfortable, at the end of their ride. That’s where the electric bike comes in. Electric bikes, or e-bikes, have been around for a few years, but a recent increase in popularity has thrust them into the spotlight—and for good reason. As more and more people move to urban areas, we’ll have to find new ways of creating urban mobility if we want to stop problems of traffic congestion and air pollution from becoming worse. The electric bikes provides an excellent solution to this problem: by making commutes less intensive, it serves as a viable alternative to cars and lets riders enjoy their time outside and explore their city. Related: Copenhagen now has more bikes than cars Here at Inhabitat, we decided to test out an e-bike for ourselves to see just how different it was from a standard bicycle. On a typically sunny SoCal day, I headed down to Electric Bikes LA in El Segundo, a small suburb south of LAX, and picked up a Porteur Faraday bike . The bike itself was gorgeous, painted bright white and mint green, with sleek bamboo fenders above the wheels. The battery, which can last 25 miles when fully charged, was cleverly integrated into the frame of the bike. At the very least, I thought as I wheeled the bike out the shop’s front door, I would be riding in style, and nobody would know the bike was electric. I took the e-bike to a nearby park, then started out on a rutted dirt path. At first, I found I had to pedal a little harder than usual. Electric bikes weigh more than standard bikes, though, at 40 lbs, the Faraday models are much lighter than other brands. Once steady, I reached down with my thumb and switched the motor to full speed. And even though I had read about electric bikes and what they could do, I was not at all prepared for what happened next. Imagine flooring it in a car—the way the vehicle leaps forward, the landscape on either side turning to a blur. It was a little like that, except all I had to do was pedal, and instead of going from zero to sixty, I felt the bike comfortably pull me forward as I went from zero to twenty. Even so, I let out a whoop as I shot effortlessly through the park, then slowed down with ease and turned onto the street. Once I joined traffic, I dropped the motor speed down a notch, but that didn’t stop me from outpacing the cars beside me. I even spotted a few of the drivers giving me incredulous glances as I sped past. Granted, I was on residential streets, but I could understand—it’s not often that you see a cyclist pass a car without even breaking a sweat. As I navigated around El Segundo, I toggled between speeds, testing out various combinations. The motor essentially functions as a gear shift, allowing you to pair each setting with gears one through eight. The bike itself uses a Gates carbon drive belt that not only means less long-term maintenance, but also no greasy pant legs and a quieter ride. I found that the bike shifted seamlessly based on whatever speed I desired, which allowed me to pedal less while maintaining momentum. But I knew there needed to be one more test: the hill. El Segundo’s elevation changes aren’t exactly staggering, but still, I figured getting a 40-pound electric bike up a hill might take some effort. I tried it twice, only turning on the motor the second time. The first time, I have to admit that I was huffing and puffing by the time I got to the top. The next time around, I flipped on the motor and went up two gears, and I ascended the hill in about half the time, pedaling with ease. Once I got back home, charging the bike was a simple process. The adapter is about the size of a typical laptop charger and plugs straight into the battery pack. From a completely empty battery to full charge took around two and a half hours. The verdict? Faraday’s electric bike handles and rides like a dream, and it’s easy to imagine using it to commute in L.A., or any city, really. In fact, Los Angeles is just one among many cities where it can be faster to ride a bike than drive . An electric bike isn’t exactly cheap—the average retail price in 2016 was $3,000, and Faraday’s two models go for $3,499 and $2,499—but, as an alternative to other forms of transportation, it makes sense. Faraday itself offers a 24-month financing plan that knocks the price down to $104 a month, which is about the same price as a bus or metro pass in most major cities, and far less expensive than paying for gas and insurance. Plus, you have the added benefit of appreciating and experiencing your city rather than seeing it through a car window. While the concept is still relatively new, I don’t doubt that electric bikes could be on the rise as a transportation alternative —one that’s greener, faster, and much, much more pleasant than sitting in traffic. + Faraday Bikes Photos by Angela Molina and Kimberly Keller Additional images via  Faraday Bikes

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Are electric bikes the future of transportation? We tested one to find out

Major supermarket chain is the first in the UK to remove palm oil from all its food

April 10, 2018 by  
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Over half of products in supermarkets contain palm oil , according to United Kingdom (UK) grocery store chain Iceland , and demand is contributing to deforestation . Iceland plans to do something about it by becoming the “first major UK supermarket” to eliminate palm oil from its own label products by the close of 2018. BREAKING NEWS: We're the UK's first supermarket to commit to removing #palmoil from our own label products by the end of this year! Watch here to find out why… #PalmOilAlarmCall pic.twitter.com/hfGvH2QRDW — Iceland Foods ?? (@IcelandFoods) April 10, 2018 Palm oil is one of the largest causes of deforestation in the world, according to Iceland , which specializes in frozen foods. So they plan to remove it from their own brand products. “By the end of 2018, Iceland will stop using palm oil as an ingredient in 100 percent of its own brand food production, reducing demand for palm oil by more than 500 tonnes per year,” head chef Neil Nugent said in Iceland’s video above. Iceland said Nugent is working to replace palm oil with fats and oils that aren’t destroying rainforests — The Guardian said this includes oils like vegetable or rapeseed oils. Related: UK researchers are developing an orangutan-safe alternative to palm oil Iceland quoted their managing director Richard Walker on their website as saying, “Until Iceland can guarantee palm oil is not causing rainforest destruction, we are simply saying ‘no to palm oil.’ We don’t believe this is such a thing as sustainable palm oil available to retailers, so we are giving consumers a choice about what they buy.” Deforestation is threatening many species, including the critically endangered orangutan — their population “has more than halved in the last 15 years,” according to Iceland. The World Wildlife Fund describes the animals as gardeners of the forest, “playing a vital role in seed dispersal.” They’re vulnerable in part due to their low reproductive rate — since females only give birth to one infant around every three to five years, it can take a while for the species to recover from declines in population. + Iceland Foods on Twitter + Iceland Environment Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Major supermarket chain is the first in the UK to remove palm oil from all its food

Whimsical park built of recycled materials pops up in Shanghai

April 5, 2018 by  
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Shanghai’s hip Anfu Road recently found itself home to a whimsical urban intervention showing how one man’s trash could be turned into public space treasure. AIM Architecture and URBAN MATTERS designed the temporary urban park, called Urban Bloom, as an experimental exercise pairing reclaimed pallets with glowing tree-like sculptures. “Transformed into an ideal urban garden, and constructed entirely from artificial means, it is a project for a city that emphasizes people,” wrote the designers. Open to the public, Urban Bloom is nestled in a quiet courtyard with popular eateries and boutiques within striking distance. Recycled timber pallets are used as modular building blocks stacked to form seating and visual interest. The installation undulates on one side to resemble hilly topography. Related: Shanghai’s sponge districts fight flooding with green space Potted plants are placed around part of the park’s perimeter to create a garden aesthetic. Plastic spheres tied to poles are filled with foliage in a sculptural take on trees. Repurposed materials were predominately used as part of the designers’ desire to promote sustainable concepts. “At the same time, cities are huge producers of waste and trash,” wrote the designers. “We wanted this new space to be low-impact, and interact with natural elements in an artificial way – in short, proving it’s possible to make something new from nothing new at all.” + AIM Architecture + URBAN MATTERS Via ArchDaily Images © URBAN MATTERS by MINI, CreatAR Images

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Whimsical park built of recycled materials pops up in Shanghai

Sprawling nets suspended mid-air turn a forest into a climbing wonderland

March 30, 2018 by  
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You don’t need to know how to climb a tree to enjoy this marvelous climbing maze suspended in a Guangdong forest. When the school affiliated to the Luofu Mountain Chinese Classics Institute wanted to encourage children to pursue more physical activity, the school tapped Chinese design studio unarchitecte to design a place conducive to play in the forested valley. Taking inspiration from nature, the designers created the Climbing Park of Luofu Mountain, a system of white nets and climbing areas elevated into the air that promotes a closer connection with nature. Careful consideration was taken to protect existing healthy trees during the construction process, while precautions were also taken to avoid damaging tree growth. Metal posts were installed to provide extra support. Hundreds of white triangular nets were pieced together to form an undulating surface with dips and rises evoking the surrounding topography. Related: Green Treehouse Provides an Incredible Learning Playground Children can explore the Climbing Park from multiple entrances, while adults (who are also invited to play up above) can supervise down below. In addition to the nets surface, the designers also included other net structures like spiral tubes and hemispherical tents . “A forest can become a place for children to return to nature, to explore and to think, to sweat and to sit still alone. In the nature, they can forget themselves and can also search for their inner selves,” wrote the architects. “Building a climbing system, architects connect all the trees in the valley by hundreds of diverse white triangle nets to constitute a combination of various topological folding surfaces like a “white sea” for children to swim carefree.” + unarchitecte Via gooood Images by Zhang Hetian

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Sprawling nets suspended mid-air turn a forest into a climbing wonderland

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