Washington becomes the first state to allow human composting

April 26, 2019 by  
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Washington is officially the first state to offer human composting as a substitute for cremation or burial. The state’s legislature just passed a bill that makes it legal for companies to offer composting of human remains. Lawmakers hope the new initiative will cut down on waste and carbon emissions typically associated with traditional burials . Funeral homes in the United States have few options when it comes to burials. Traditional burials use steel and wood, which often leaches harmful chemicals into the soil. There is also cremation, which results in carbon emissions and is not energy efficient. The bill is currently being reviewed by Governor Jay Inslee, who has yet to sign it. Related: Bios launches modern funerary urns that grow plants with loved ones’ remains Inslee, who plans to run for president in 2020, has been touting himself as an advocate for the environment , so not signing the initiative would go against his platform. If everything goes to plan, the new bill will become law on May 1 of 2020. Although it may sound strange, human composting could be a viable alternative to traditional burials in cities across the United States where grave spaces are limited. People have been practicing human composting, also known as natural organic reduction, for a long time. There are also a few states that currently allow aquamation, which uses water to swiftly decompose the body. Some businesses are starting to offer more eco-friendly caskets as well, most of which are made from bamboo. Farmers, of course, have been composting bodies of dead animals for years. Recompose, who supports the state bill, is a human composting company based in Washington that offers results in as little as one month. Once a body is turned into soil, the families of the deceased can use the remains however they please. If Inslee signs the bill, lawmakers hope other states will follow suit and pass similar legislation related to human composting . Via Grist Image via Shutterstock

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Washington becomes the first state to allow human composting

Taichung Discovery Pavilion champions biodiversity in new "Half Earth" multimedia art installation

April 26, 2019 by  
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In Taichung , Taiwan, the recently completed Discovery Pavilion at the Taichung World Flower Expo explores what life could be like if humans returned half of the Earth’s habitable surfaces to nature — a concept known as “Half Earth” proposed by the “Father of Biodiversity” Edward Wilson in 2016. Taipei-based Cogitoimage International Co., Ltd designed the pavilion to advocate such preservation with a large-scale exhibition that covers the ecology of the Taichung Dajia River as it flows from high to low altitudes. In keeping with the eco-friendly ethos of the project, the main materials used in the project include recycled glass and cork, sustainably sourced timber and other natural materials. Created with the theme of “Viewing Half-Earth through Taichung’s Ecology,” the Discovery Pavilion uses mixed multimedia — from poems and crafts to art installations and new media — to promote environmental stewardship  and biodiversity preservation. Spanning an area of 31,861 square feet, the exhibition covers the vertical ecology along the Dajia River, the main river in Taichung city, as it morphs from the low-lying estuary to the snow-topped mountains at 12,740 feet above sea level. Endemic species are highlighted in the exhibition, from native flora to the endangered leopard cat and the Formosan Landlocked Salmon. “With the theme of “Viewing Half-Earth through Taichung’s Ecology”, Discovery Pavilion advocates to preserve half of our planet for other species and reinterpret the ecology of Dajia River,” read the Discovery Pavilion press release. “Edward’s “Half-Earth” concept has two main points. On the one hand, we should be aware that human beings are not the only masters and inhabitants of the earth. On the other hand, we need to think about how to reserve more spaces for other inhabitants of the earth, i.e. flora and fauna in the ecosystem .” Related: A disused railway will become a sustainable green corridor in Taiwan The Discovery Pavilion consists of nine exhibition areas that are independently crafted with different styles that come together as a cohesive whole. To create a multi-sensory experience, the designers used a variety of materials and technologies to reproduce different landscapes, from the pyramidal glass and hand-woven rice straw roof that evokes the low-lying rural areas in Lishan to the use of imaging technology that creates the sensation of being underwater with the Formosan Landlocked Salmon and reproduce the overall biodiversity of Taiwan. + Cogitoimage Images by Te-Fan Wang

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Taichung Discovery Pavilion champions biodiversity in new "Half Earth" multimedia art installation

Green roofs to take over NYC skyline by law

April 26, 2019 by  
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Moments before Earth Day, New York City passed a major Climate Mobilization Act with new regulations for reducing emissions and becoming a more resilient city — including requiring all new buildings to have green roofs . New York City’s Climate Mobilization Act has been likened to the Green New Deal for its progressive and holistic approach to reducing emissions and sparking a sustainable economy. Green buildings are a critical component to the act, because buildings are the city’s biggest contributor of carbon emissions. Related: New York City passes landmark bill to cut carbon emissions of big buildings by 80% According to the act, all new buildings will be required to incorporate vegetation, solar panels and/or small wind turbines into the roof design. This mandate also includes existing buildings that are undergoing major renovations. High-profile buildings have already set precedence in New York City for progressive green roof designs, including the Barclays Center, Javits Center and Brooklyn Steel. Critics of the act fear that the policies unfairly force landlords to pay for costly construction and retrofitting. The act includes loopholes for small buildings and places of worship as well as phasing options that spread out costs. There are also exemptions for buildings that include rent-stabilized apartments . This exception attempts to prevent evictions and rent spikes following major renovations — a familiar pattern in rapidly gentrifying areas. By 2030, according to the city’s estimates, the reduction in carbon emissions created by the mandated green roofs will be equivalent to taking one million cars off the road. The Climate Mobilization Act is also predicted to create thousands of jobs, including an estimated 3,600 construction jobs and 4,400 maintenance jobs. Council member Costa Constantinides said in a statement, “The Climate Mobilization Act is a down payment on the future of New York City — one that ensures we lead the way in the ever-growing fight against climate change .” Via Dwell Image via Javits Center

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Green roofs to take over NYC skyline by law

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