How to celebrate Earth Day virtually in 2020

April 17, 2020 by  
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With social distancing in full force this Earth Day , the 50th anniversary of this environmental movement is certainly one for the history books. Just because you can’t go outside in large groups this year doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of inventive ways to celebrate Earth, though. The Earth Day 2020 theme is “climate action,” and while we aren’t able to come together physically this year, technology is presenting some unique opportunities to show your love for the Earth virtually. Learn the history The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, when 20 million Americans (about 10% of the U.S. population at that time) took to the streets and college campuses to protest environmental ignorance and promote environmental awareness. The movement, now recognized as the world’s largest civic event each year, launched the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Related: How Earth Day began and how it helps the planet Take a virtual tour Because many of us are now homeschooling kids, Google has created 360-degree tours of 113 different national park sites, including monuments, historic sites and shorelines. The Nature Conservancy also features a series of virtual field trips designed for grades 5-8. Live webcams have also gained popularity since social distancing began. People may be staying indoors for the most part, but animals are still keeping up with their daily routines. Check out live feeds of marine animals at Monterey Bay Aquarium or a series of different feeds, from remote locations throughout Africa to rescue animal facilities around the world, with Explore.org . Earthx , in partnership with National Geographic, is streaming everything from speaker series to film festivals to student activities via its website. Participate in a running challenge A healthy running challenge that raises awareness for the environment is a win-win to celebrate this year’s Earth Day. The 2020 Earth Day Run presented by The Virtual Run Challenge encourages participants to spend the month of April (though you can start anytime) to collectively run the distance of the equator — 24,901 miles. Log your running and walking miles every day and connect with others for a common goal; participation is free. Related: Orca Running offers a Social Distance Run Virtual Strides is celebrating Earth Day by hosting the 5K/10K/Half-Marathon Earth Run virtually. After runners (or walkers) finish their course, they can upload results and photos to the website. Registration isn’t free, but a portion of the proceeds from the race (around $4 from each registration) will be donated to EarthShare, a non-profit that supports critical environmental causes. In the past, the organization has raised more than $300 million for programs benefiting air, land, water, wildlife and public health. Download the Earth Challenge 2020 app By downloading the Earth Challenge 2020 app , you’ll help gather critical environmental data near your area, providing scientists and other “citizen scientists” with research to help maintain a cleaner planet. Users measure air quality and plastic pollution where they are and add each reading to a global database. Related: Earth Day 2020 goes digital For example, Earth Challenge 2020 launched its monarch butterfly project on April 1 with a goal to fill 1 billion data points before the month’s end. When users launch the app, they are able to snap pictures of insects that they see, submit them to be verified and allow scientists to better understand the distribution of butterflies and migration patterns. This kind of knowledge is essential to identify the different regions that need habitat restoration. Take action From April 20 to April 25, more than 100 speakers from five continents will participate in the largest online climate conference ever held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Topics ranging from climate finance and agriculture to circular economy and politics will be discussed and can be viewed virtually via the partnership program We Don’t Have Time . Sign up with the official Earth Day website volunteer database for the latest resources and information on at-home or online activities as well as ways to spread the word to your friends. You can also create your own “act of green” and share it with the rest of the Earth Day community. The official Earth Day website also has a planning guide to help get people inspired and organized; check the map for ideas and to see how other people around the world are celebrating. Spread the word Digital tools are making it easier than ever to connect, especially through social media. You can bring your friends, teachers and family together to raise awareness and do their own part for the environment. Utilize Vote Earth to take the pledge to vote for climate candidates . The global initiative has already mobilized millions of people who wish to show their concern for the Earth and demand change at the polls. Sign up on the website to pledge to vote for candidates who support sustainability in your next election, and you’ll have the option to receive automatic email reminders to vote. + Earth Day Images via Carl Heyerdahl , University of Michigan School of Environment and Sustainability , Arek Adeoye , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

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How to celebrate Earth Day virtually in 2020

Chef Mark Reinfeld opens a vegan culinary school in Colorado

April 15, 2020 by  
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If you’re interested in vegan food, you may already be familiar with Chef Mark Reinfeld. He was the founding chef at the Blossoming Lotus restaurants in Hawaii and Portland, Oregon, has authored eight cookbooks and was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame in 2017. For more than 20 years, Reinfeld has trained everybody from home cooks to top vegan chefs and consulted with corporations around the world. Now, he’s opening a brick-and-mortar vegan culinary school this fall ( pandemic permitting) in Boulder, Colorado. Reinfeld took some time to talk with Inhabitat about his new Vegan Fusion Culinary Academy. Inhabitat: What kind of students will attend your culinary school? Reinfeld: So the main program is we want to train people for a career in the plant-based culinary world. So we’re calling that the aspiring chef. We’re looking to have that be a four-month nationally accredited culinary program. We’ll offer job placement and support and help people get gigs out in the real world with the training. Related: Pixie Retreat — behind the scenes in a raw commercial kitchen And then we’ll do consulting, like professional chef trainings. So if you’re a chef out in the real world but you didn’t know anything about vegan or plant-based, you could come and take anywhere from a one- to five-day training. Then we’ll also be offering evening classes for date nights and vegan desserts, or vegan holidays, as well as kombucha-making and cheese-making, all-day and weekend workshops. The idea is to have it be a real community center where we’ll have movie screenings and we’ll be able to do benefit fundraising events for vegan and other environmental organizations to raise awareness and funds for some of those. Inhabitat: Besides yourself, who will be teaching the courses? Reinfeld: We’re going to have guest chefs come to teach. Fran Costigan is on the books to be the first visiting chef to do a course on vegan desserts. Miyoko offered to do a cheese-making class. If you look on the website on the Our Team page, you’ll see a lot of the leading voices in the plant-based culinary world will be passing through to do either a presentation or a cooking class with their expertise. Inhabitat: What else are you planning for the school? Reinfeld: My wife is a vegan naturopathic doctor, so she’s developing an eight-part Food is Medicine component of the aspiring chef program. We want to empower students with a basic knowledge of the health of a plant-based lifestyle. We’re also going to be working with the local medical community to create a CME, continuing medical education credit, for doctors and nurses to learn about the healing qualities of plant-based foods. Dr. [Michael] Greger and Dr. [Joel] Kahn have agreed to come to the school and teach. We’re bringing in the medical community that way, too. Inhabitat: Are you getting more acceptance now from the medical community about plant-based eating? Reinfeld: Yeah. Definitely, the movement is growing. And Dr. [Kim] Williams, who was the president of the American College of Cardiology, he’s also expressed a willingness to come to the school . He said cardiologists are either vegan or they haven’t seen the data. He’s a well-respected person there. Inhabitat: Tell us more about your motivation. Reinfeld: I like to consider what I do as food activism . Basically, by educating people on the how-to part of plant-based cuisine, like how to bring plant-based food into your daily rotation, I put in the activism category because you’re empowering people with the gift of their own health. Then, if they’re aware of the environmental impact or the animal welfare components, well, those benefits will occur whether people are aware of them or not. If they are aware of them, then it goes even further, I think. Inhabitat: What is your vision for the future of veganism in general and your students in particular? Reinfeld: I’ve been plant-based for 20-plus years, so I’ve seen a lot of changes occur — more recently than in years prior. It just feels like it is reaching a tipping point where it will be considered more mainstream to eat more plant-based. I would love for the students to be innovators and leaders. As far as where they wind up, whatever type of food service sector there is now will become more and more plant-based. Opportunities in any of those emerging plant-based industries like food trucks, restaurants , personal chefs that are able to help people have a foundation for a healthy, plant-based lifestyle. I could see them writing cookbooks and developing recipe formulas for major companies or consulting with companies on how to bring more plant-based foods into their food service. Part of what we think is cool is the people that come here to train will go back to their communities around the world and have their plant-based knowledge there. Inhabitat: What’s the best thing about being a vegan chef? Reinfeld: I like to show people that you can have food that’s amazing and still be plant-based. Inhabitat: What else should readers know about you, your work and the academy? Reinfeld: We’re really striving to create the best environment that we can for people to learn about the plant-based lifestyle and the cuisine in whatever way people are wanting to go with it. Whether it’s a home cook who wants fresh ideas for her family or a chef who’s been in the restaurant business for 20 years but needs training in plant-based cooking or a deep four-month immersion into cuisine and lifestyle… everyone’s welcome. + Vegan Fusion Culinary Academy Images via Mark Reinfeld

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Chef Mark Reinfeld opens a vegan culinary school in Colorado

Help NASA save endangered coral with a new gaming app

April 15, 2020 by  
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NASA is calling citizen scientists of all ages to help map endangered coral — while sheltering in place. Instead of endlessly livestreaming TV shows during the pandemic , you could help program a supercomputer to classify and ultimately save ocean life with a fun app called NeMO-Net. The Neural Multi-Modal Observation and Training Network, also known as NeMO-Net , is a new gaming app. Players use 3D images to identify and classify coral while virtually cruising the seas on a research vessel called the Nautilus. The end goal is for all the players’ input to be pooled together, producing the highest resolution global map of coral reefs. Scientists will use this map to figure out how to better protect shallow marine systems. Related: Newly released video game challenges players to survive the climate apocalypse Researchers at NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley are improving fluid-lensing, a way to look through the ocean’s rippled surface. Through complex calculations, they’ve found an algorithm to correct for the way water absorbs and intensifies light, which distorts images and makes them hard to read. Scientists at Ames’ Laboratory for Advanced Sensing are refining two fluid-lensing technologies: FluidCam and MiDAR, the Multispectral Imaging, Detection and Active Reflectance instrument. But the resulting images still need discerning human eyes to correctly classify them. “NeMO-Net leverages the most powerful force on this planet: not a fancy camera or a supercomputer, but people,” said principal investigator Ved Chirayath at NASA Ames Research Center. “Anyone, even a first grader, can play this game and sort through these data to help us map one of the most beautiful forms of life we know of.” On each virtual dive, players will interact with real NASA data. Their actions will help train NASA’s Pleiades supercomputer to identify different coral on the ocean floor from images of varying quality. The more input Pleiades gets from players, the better it will be able to use machine learning to classify corals on its own. Players will learn about different kinds of coral, earn badges and watch educational videos about creatures that dwell on the sea floor. Surprisingly, scientists have mapped Mars and Earth’s moon in great detail, but only 4% of the ocean floor is mapped. With the new fluid-lensing technology — and the help of a homebound population — NASA hopes to change that. + NASA Image via NASA

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Help NASA save endangered coral with a new gaming app

The 10 best tiny homes in California

March 23, 2020 by  
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If you’re looking for some cool tiny home retreats to try out a more minimalist style of living or just looking for a serene vacation spot, well, California is definitely the place to be. We’ve scoured the beautiful coastal state for some of the best tiny homes in California. Take a look! Gorgeous tiny home thrives in the California sunshine Surf’s up in this gorgeous tiny home, which is designed to be both comfy and mobile. One of Canadian studio  Minimaliste’s most recent tiny home builds, the compact 331-square-foot structure was built to perform just as well in warm climates as it does in colder regions. The interior space, although compact, was strategically laid out to provide optimal space, including a cozy sleeping loft made possible by the home’s slanted roof. Related: 8 tiny homes built tough for off-grid living Converted school bus in Malibu Creek State Park This gorgeous glamping retreat is located near Malibu Creek State Park and promises incredible mountain views. The interior is spacious and sleeps up to four people comfortably. Although you’ll most likely enjoy this cozy interior, the outdoor space is what makes this skoolie so special. An open-air deck with ample seating and dining space is a wonderful area to take in the views over breakfast, lunch and dinner. The nearby hammock is a prime napping spot. Young couple build tiny home to avoid sky-high Bay Area housing prices It’s well-known that California’s Bay Area is one of the country’s — and the world’s — most expensive places to live. However, its also an idyllic area to put down roots, or wheels for that matter. When Nicolette and Michael decided to live in the Bay Area so that Michael could stay in college, they had an impossible time finding proper housing. Frustrated at price of housing, the ambitious couple decided to just build their own tiny home . The result is a stunning, 300-square-foot home on wheels that comes with a full kitchen, sleeping loft and even a reading nook. Off-grid eucalyptus tiny home radiates cool Californian vibes Another creation by Canada-based  Minimaliste Houses , the Eucalptus tiny home is a sight to behold. Built for a client who wanted to explore the California coast, the beautiful tiny home on wheels is optimized for off-grid fun. Besides its modern design, the 28-foot-long home is equipped with roof-top solar panels , tight thermal insulation and natural light, all of which contribute to the home’s self-sustenance. Try out tiny home living in San Francisco’s ‘Pavilion’ This tiny home retreat is a perfect place to enjoy the beautiful city of San Francisco. The Airbnb property is just 450 square feet, but its charming cottage-style design, made up of several recycled and repurposed materials , makes it feel so much bigger. The retreat sleeps up to two guests, who can make use of its many amenities such as a light-filled, glass-enclosed living space surrounded by a serene garden with a pond. Relax in this retreat with a hot tub in San Francisco If you’re looking for a tiny home experience in California that is guaranteed to bring a little tranquility to your life, check out this retreat in San Francisco. Located in a spacious backyard of the owner’s home, the minuscule studio sleeps two guests comfortably in its shed-like space. The interior is compact, with just one room fitting in the bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom. But, the biggest draw to this retreat is its outdoor space. The home is surrounded by an open-air hardwood deck with a two-person hot tub. Built around a 700-year-old redwood tree that offers as much of a romantic touch as it does shade, the rental also boasts an outdoor shower, where you can bathe under the stars. The ‘Nugget’ in Costa Mesa takes tiny home living back to basics Located just a 10-minute drive to the beach, this beautiful tiny home in Costa Mesa is the perfect place to recharge your batteries. Although it is just 140 square feet, the retreat sleeps up to two guests comfortably. With its large sliding glass door entryway, the home boasts a minimalist feel that makes it just as perfect for a business trip as it does for a relaxing stay at the beach. A private deck wraps around the home and is shaded by bamboo trees. Tiny home getaway near San Diego These days, many travelers are forgoing the excessive displays of luxury in fancy hotels for simpler getaways. Tiny home retreats, like this gorgeous cabin-inspired tiny home near San Diego, offer guests a chance to relax and reconnect with nature. Located near beautiful Mount Laguna, the tiny home sleeps up to four people between a double bed and two sofa beds. Although the living space is more than sufficient, it is the outdoor area that is so special. The glamping retreat is completely immersed in nature, and features a rooftop terrace for guests to take in a bit of stargazing before enjoying a toasty nightcap around the private fire pit. Vintage glamping travel trailer in San Fernando Valley If there’s one iconic image that encompasses California adventure, it’s the gleaming vintage travel trailer, like this 1954 trailer just outside of Los Angeles. The trailer itself sleeps up to four and has a lovely interior. The magic really begins with the outdoor space, which features a covered deck with a romantic canopied double bed, perfect for sleeping under the stars during the long summer months. Additionally, guests can enjoy the incredible views of the San Fernando Valley from the adjacent outdoor lounge space. Off-grid tiny home in southern California Sometimes, you just need to get away from the hustle and bustle. For those times, this off-grid tiny home in Southern California will do the trick. The compact studio is outfitted with a plush, queen-sized bed. The space is tiny, but as an extra bonus, the home features a custom, garage door-style window that can be fully opened to enjoy amazing views of the 20 acres of beautiful private land that surround the tiny home retreat. Images via Minimaliste, Airbnb and Glamping Hub

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Tour 5 national parks from home

March 19, 2020 by  
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As people social distance and shelter in place, they may feel the walls closing in on them. Fortunately, the National Park Service has partnered with Google Arts & Culture to offer free virtual tours of five beloved parks. Of course, the online experience isn’t quite like being there, but these tours are pretty cool and may inspire dreams of post-pandemic travels . The five tours feature Kenai Fjords in Alaska , Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Hawaii Volcanoes, Bryce Canyon in Utah and Dry Tortugas in Florida. Each virtual tour is led by a National Park Service ranger. The varied terrains and activities help entertain viewers. Related: How National Parks benefit the environment The tour of Kenai Fjords lets you climb down a slippery, icy crevasse in Exit Glacier — much easier done virtually than in real life. In Carlsbad Caverns, viewers get a bat’s eye view to help them learn about echolocation. Hawaii Volcanoes features a walk through a lava tube and a trip up volcanic cliffs. Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park consists of 1% Fort Jefferson and 99% underwater. Join a ranger for a virtual dive into this diverse ecosystem, including a swim through a coral reef and an exploration of the Windjammer shipwreck. As the Bryce Canyon tour points out, two-thirds of Americans can no longer see the Milky Way from their backyards. This tour highlights Bryce Canyon’s dark skies and allows viewers to tap around to check out constellations while listening to night sounds like owls and crickets. At press time, many National Park Service units are still open with reduced services and closed visitors centers. But this may change as the coronavirus situation progresses. “The NPS is working with federal, state and local authorities, while we as a nation respond to this public health challenge,” NPS deputy director David Vela said in a press release. “Park superintendents are assessing their operations now to determine how best to protect the people and their parks going forward.” So before setting out on that big drive to camp in a park, consider sitting tight on your couch and taking a virtual tour. + National Park Service and Google Arts & Culture Images via Wikimedia Commons

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Tour 5 national parks from home

Sustainable agriculture cleans up rivers in Cuba

February 7, 2020 by  
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New scientific findings reveal that Cuba’s rivers are in better health than the Mississippi River. The research was a joint effort between Cuba and the United States, marking the two countries’ first collaboration in more than 60 years. The work was part of a study on Cuba’s hydrology, focusing on the water quality of the island’s rivers. Despite centuries of cattle and sugarcane farming, research results reveal there hasn’t been much damage to Cuba’s rivers thanks to the country’s other sustainable agriculture methods. Compared to the Mississippi River, Cuba’s 25 rivers surveyed showed lower nutrient concentration of phosphorus and nitrogen pollution. This is likely attributed to Cuba’s shift toward sustainable agriculture , particularly the country’s shunning of imported synthetic chemicals. Related: Dutch company collects plastic pollution from rivers to make parks and products “A lot of stories about the value of Cuba’s shift to conservation agriculture have been based on fuzzy, feel-good evidence,” explained geologist and researcher Paul Bierman. “This study provides hard data that a crucial part of this story is true.” By contrast, the U.S. has more widespread dependence on chemical fertilizers . Hence, dead zones occur where the Mississippi River mouth opens into the Gulf of Mexico, adversely affecting the region’s marine ecosystems with dangerous bacterial and algal blooms caused by elevated nitrogen levels. Another interesting finding is that even though more than 80% of the Cuban river samples had E. coli bacteria, the source was found to be from fecal material by cattle and horses grazing along the riverbanks. The research team believes that this is partly attributed to “Cuba’s intensive use of horses and other draft animals for transportation and farm work.” The researchers concluded that the island country has been committed to promoting more sustainable agriculture to improve both its soil and water. The efforts have led to promising results. The American team was comprised of University of Vermont geologist Paul Bierman and Oberlin College geoscientist Amanda Schmidt. The Cuban team was led by Rita Hernández, representing the Cienfuegos Center for Environmental Studies, an ecological research group. Their joint research, supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, was recently published in the GSA Today journal of the Geological Society of America. “This research can help the people of Cuba,” Hernández said, “and may give a good example to other people in the Caribbean and all over the world.” + The Geological Society of America Via Phys.org Image via Wikimedia Commons

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Sustainable agriculture cleans up rivers in Cuba

10 holiday gifts for eco-friendly coworkers

December 16, 2019 by  
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If you have coworkers who are eco-conscious or you hope to encourage them to be, then a thoughtful gift will certainly convey that you appreciate everything they do as your teammates — all while helping the planet. Besides, showing gratitude for the people you work with is tremendously helpful for boosting morale, building rapport and cultivating a positive work environment. To spread the holiday cheer and the message of sustainability, here is a gift guide for eco-friendly presents for coworkers. Ecozoi stainless steel lunch box Stainless steel is better for the environment than plastic because it is meant to last. This stainless steel lunch box is free of BPA , PVC and phthalate. It also comes in recycled packaging that can be reused. A purchase comes with a bonus lunch pod for fruits, healthy snacks or dessert options, making it a great gift for your desk neighbor. Sustainable notebooks from ECO Imprints ECO Imprints has long been dedicated to social and environmental responsibility, often promoting positive change for greener merchandise that is recycled, reusable, reclaimed, organic, sustainable or ethically sourced . ECO Imprints has a wide range of notebooks from which to choose, and many of the notebooks are accompanied with eco-friendly pens for a complete gift set. Namaste water bottle from Yuhme Made from sugarcane, this water bottle is both BPA- and toxin-free. It is also 100 percent recyclable . The fun design will make everyone at work want one, in turn eliminating plastic bottles in exchange for stylish trips to the water fountain. HankyBook handkerchiefs These eco-friendly handkerchiefs are made of 100 percent certified organic cotton . HankyBooks are more sustainable and reusable than disposable paper tissues, thereby keeping our planet (and your work space) greener. Plantable Sprout pencils For a sustainable pencil option — made from 100 percent natural clay, graphite and PEFC-/ FSC-certified cedar wood — consider Sprout. Once you’ve finished with your Sprout pencil, you can plant the stub and watch it grow into herbs, flowers or vegetables. This is a truly unique and functional gift that you can give to everyone at work. Related: Sustainable pencil stubs Sprout into plants Living vertical wall garden from Portrait Gardens Available in three sizes — 4×6, 5×7 or 8×10 — this vertical wall garden allows its recipient to arrange plants (everything from succulents to flowers to herbs, vegetables and more) on a tray, pin them to a securing grid, then frame them, so the plants of choice will be ready for your coworker to display proudly. Abeego beeswax food wrap Abeego is renowned for saving honeybees. It is also a company that is sustainable, natural and zero-waste . This food wrap, made with beeswax, can be washed and reused. It’s a much better alternative for wrapping sandwiches or saving half of an avocado from lunch compared to single-use plastic wrap. Wooden tech accessories from iameco For more than 20 years, iameco has been crafting sustainable, ecological and high-performance computers, devices and accessories that are free from harmful chemicals. The company’s electronics do not harm the environment nearly as much as mainstream devices, especially given that they operate at a third less power. What’s more, iameco harvests the natural wood used for its electronics, devices and accessories from sustainable forests. As such, a fun wood keyboard or mouse from iameco makes an interesting gift for coworkers who love design, technology and the planet. Related: This eco-friendly wooden laptop is designed to curb e-waste Zero-Waste starter kit from Wakecup This kit has all the eco-friendly essentials: a vegan rucksack, a bamboo and stainless steel water bottle, a bamboo travel mug and two reusable bamboo straws. As Wakecup shares on its website, “Did you know that excluding food packaging, 90 percent of single-use plastic waste comes in the form of bags, bottles, cups and straws?” By giving these to your coworkers, imagine how much greener the Earth becomes as each person reduces their waste! Compostable phone case from Pela Pela is widely known as the company with the world’s first 100 percent compostable phone case. Phone cases are a simple way to show coworkers you appreciate them this holiday season, and a compostable phone case means less waste, too. Images via Shutterstock, Ecozoi, ECO Imprints, Yuhme, HankyBook, Sprout, Portrait Gardens, Abeego, iameco, Wakecup and Pela

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10 holiday gifts for eco-friendly coworkers

Sigurd Larsen completes a luxurious, treetop hotel cabin in a Danish forest

December 2, 2019 by  
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Danish architect Sigurd Larsen has just unveiled a beautiful, angular treehouse  tucked deep into a picturesque Danish forest. Built for the Løvtag hotel group, the tiny treehouse, which is just 333 square feet, is elevated 26 feet in the air and is accessible by a wooden bridge that leads directly into a stunning, luxurious interior. The treehouse cabin is the first of nine to be built in a quaint, remote forest on the Als Odde peninsula. The idyllic location offers guests the opportunity to explore Denmark’s longest fjord, the Mariager, which is adjacent to the site. Related: Sigurd Larsen adds the ultimate grown up playhouse to Berlin’s Hotel Michelberger Elevated 26 feet off the landscape, the cabins will provide stunning views of the natural surroundings. The studio said, “The cabins are located on a small hilltop overlooking a meadow, which gives a wonderful view over the top of the forest and lets the sunshine in during the afternoon.” The entrance is reachable by a wooden bridge that leads up from the forest floor. Clad in light wood and dark metal sidings, the treehouse hotel was built around an existing pine tree, which rises straight through the cabin’s interior and roof. Designed to be an expression of “ Nordic minimalism ,” the cabins are compact but use every inch of space to create a light-filled, luxurious atmosphere. The interior includes a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom with a cantilevered shower room and main living area. Each treehouse can accommodate up to four people thanks to a double bed and a double sofa bed. The interior features a floor-to-ceiling window to let in natural light and provide unobstructed views of the surroundings from morning to night. For a comfortable space where guests can really take in the views, the cabins have rooftop terraces with plenty of seating. + Sigurd Larsen + Løvtag Cabins Via Dezeen Photography by Soeren-Larsen via Sigurd Larsen

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Sigurd Larsen completes a luxurious, treetop hotel cabin in a Danish forest

Eco-friendly subscription boxes to gift this holiday season

December 2, 2019 by  
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The holiday spirit of gift-giving can be enjoyed throughout the year. How? Giving the gift of a subscription box can provide year-round enjoyment for any recipient, especially when delivered via monthly, quarterly or semi-annual subscription plans. For those who are eco-conscious, here are some environmentally friendly subscription boxes to consider. For people striving for zero-waste and plastic-free living The greenUP subscription is curated to minimize dependence on disposable plastic. Even the company’s website emphasizes a plastic-free lifestyle, “so there’s less plastic waste ending up on our beaches and in our oceans.” Each box in this subscription is valued at $70+ and features six to eight sustainable items. Another subscription box conscientious about the planet is EarthLove , a curated box of products “that are ethically and environmentally responsible, including zero-waste packaging, natural ingredients, organic and non-GMO, gluten-free, cruelty-free, beegan/vegan and fair trade.” Then there’s MightyNest , with its MightyFix and Mighty Essentials subscription packages that promote green lifestyles. MightyNest products are free of BPA, lead, parabens, phthalates and PVC. For ethical shoppers As a verified member of the Fair Trade Federation , GlobeIn strives to support healthy working conditions for the artisans who craft the goods included in each subscription box. Thus, each GlobeIn artisan box is filled with ethically handmade products. GlobeIn offers more than five monthly box themes to provide a variety of choices to subscribers. For the skincare-obsessed For those who prefer toxin-free personal care products, the Natural Vegan Body Care subscription is the perfect gift. Goodies on offer in this box are all-natural, cruelty-free and biodegradable. This includes natural balms, deodorants, hair care supplies and hand soaps all free of unwanted synthetics. Bamboo toothbrushes and organic loofahs also complete the packages. For parents and kids The monthly Ecocentric Mom subscription box offers products perfect for motherhood, ensuring green home care from the first trimester to the toddler years. There are often up to six products provided that include organic self-care products, toxin-free baby products, accessories suited for developmental milestones, eco-conscious practical home care items for the growing family and non-GMO snacks. Related: A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for children Ethical fashion for babies and toddlers can be found in the SmockBox . Each box includes an outfit, an accessory and a toy — all made ethically. Meanwhile, Dyper offers an eco-friendly diaper subscription. These diapers are made with fibers from renewable bamboo and other biodegradable materials. They are also free of “chlorine, latex, alcohol, perfumes, PVC, lotions, TBT and phthalates.” Wipe On Us correspondingly offers bamboo wipes as a family subscription. The wipes have no plastic packaging whatsoever. Kids will rejoice at receiving the eco-friendly Little Pnuts educational toy subscription box. Little Pnuts gives well-curated packages with up to five sustainable toys, which are all handmade from natural materials and non-battery operated. For low-maintenance plant enthusiasts Succulents are quickly becoming a favorite among urban gardeners because of their low-maintenance needs. There are numerous subscription boxes out there for succulents. Gift two unique succulents in biodegradable pots a month from Succulent Studios , three succulents monthly from Leaf & Clay , four succulents with a mystery bonus plant from Mountain Crest Gardens , five hand-picked succulents from the Succulent Source or up to four succulents or one air plant a month from Succulents Box . For gardeners Arcadia Seed Company is a purveyor of seeds, and its box offers four packets of vegetable or herb seeds along with a surprise packet of unusual or exotic seeds. Meanwhile, the Click and Grow subscription provides pre-seeded, biodegradable pods that can be planted in a self-sustaining Smart Garden device that is “100 percent free of GMOs and harmful substances,” with 45 different fruits, vegetables and herbs to choose from. Yet another is SproutBox , with a BPA- and BPS-free sprouting device, which creates natural aeration for sprouts that emerge from the organic, non-GMO seed packs. The highly curated Horti box includes care instructions for the plants delivered to every urban gardener who subscribes. To encourage self-assurance in gardening, the company begins by sending hardy plants as an introduction into taking care of plants. Pet-friendly plants are also available to prevent any mishaps with canine and feline friends. For foodies UrthBox offers natural, non-GMO and organic snacks and beverages, with gluten-free and vegan options, too. For more adventurous palates, there’s a Fermented Farmacy subscription box with flavorful foods packed with probiotics and enzymes to help maintain optimal gut health. Similarly, the Sun Basket subscription box has options for lean-and-clean, Mediterranean, pescatarian , vegetarian and gluten-free diets. Those who prefer raw, plant-based snacks that are also wheat-free, soy-free and refined sugar-free will find RawBox subscription to be a good match. For pet owners Canine parents can subscribe to Ollie for vet-formulated, freshly cooked recipes with zero fillers, byproducts, artificial flavors or preservatives. The Farmer’s Dog similarly offers healthier pet food made fresh then sent directly to subscribers in eco-friendly packaging. Another wonderful subscription box is offered by Nom Nom Now , which caters to both canine and feline palates, with nutrient-rich, easy-to-digest and byproduct-free foods. Related: A guide to the best eco-friendly gifts for pets Pure Earth Pets is “designed with your pet and the Earth in mind,” offering environmentally conscious products like recycled toys and treats made from natural ingredients, all packaged in biodegradable boxes. As for fishkeepers, My Aquarium Box subscribers can select from saltwater, nano tank, freshwater and planted tank offerings. Avian aficionados, meanwhile, can subscribe to the PollyWannaBird box that keeps birds happy with healthy treats, therapeutic perches and bird-safe wood toys for beak conditioning. For outdoor-lovers The Homestead Box offers three options of packages — for the gardener, the backyard chicken raiser and the woodsman — all of which cultivate simple self-sufficiency, subsistence agriculture and a closer bond to what nature has to offer. Children can also connect, interact and engage with nature via the Mud + Bloom or even the Little Hiker subscription boxes. Hiker Crate ’s subscription is for those with hiking proclivities, whereas the KinderBox is a better fit for those with a truly rugged sense of adventure. Images via Good Soul Shop , Natasha Ong , Paul Gaudriault , Y Tanaka , Skyla Design , Eco Warrior Princess , RawBox , NomNomNow and Rudolf Mark

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Eco-friendly subscription boxes to gift this holiday season

This prefab tower was built using net-zero design principles

September 10, 2019 by  
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Located 100 kilometers from Beijing, the Lakeside Plugin Tower was developed as a model prototype for a city concept using sustainable, net-zero design principles. The tower serves as an important model for a low-carbon eco city concept, called “Xiong’an New Area,” being advanced by the central government. The urban design will use 100 percent clean electricity, and 10 percent of the area will be protected as permanent farmland. The structure creates 480 square meters of living and working space and was developed by People’s Architecture Office in partnership with the Shenzhen Institute of Building Research, a China-based engineering company helping to lead the country in both green design and urban development. Related: The prefab Plugin House turns ruins into livable dwellings in just one day Once completed, the Xiong’an New Area will become a congestion-free, sustainable housing region that will serve as an alternative to the capital. The government hopes to keep the new area affordable by making all housing state-owned and subsidized. Built on a foundation made of distributed concrete piers and raised one story above the ground to lessen environmental impact on the building site, the tower adheres to China’s “sponge city concept,” the idea of building structures above the ground to allow stormwater to permeate the earth below to reduce extreme flooding and surface pollution , especially in metropolitan areas. The elevated-building concept also allows for sunlight to better access the site and produce more greenery. The prefabricated process serves to both reduce costs and make construction more efficient. Panels can be installed manually through a locking system using a single tool, so entire sections of the tower can be removed or added without affecting the main structure. Solar panels cover the roof of the building, which also serve as a way to heat the floors. The windows are designed to allow for natural ventilation, and an off-grid sewer system creates on-site sustainable wastewater treatment. + People’s Architecture Office Via ArchDaily Photography by Jin Weiqi and People’s Architecture Office

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This prefab tower was built using net-zero design principles

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