The European bison population is no longer vulnerable

January 14, 2021 by  
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The European bison’s population has increased sufficiently for it to be removed from IUCN’s list of vulnerable species. Thanks to long-term conservation work, the population has increased to more than 6,200, up from a 2003 figure of only 1,800. Rather than vulnerable, the European bison is now classified as “almost threatened.” Romania is the place to be if you’re a bison — or somebody who wants to see them roaming free. The largest populations are in Vân?tori Neam? Natural Park, ?arcu Mountains and F?g?r? Mountains. The Tarcu herd of over 65 bison was developed by WWF Romania and Rewilding Europe. Related: Cow escapes pen to live wild with a herd of bison in Poland The 5-year LIFE Bison project started in 2016 and is set to end March 30, 2021. Its mission is to create a viable population of bison in Romania that would breed in the wild, promoting biodiversity . The project also aims to use bison as an ecotourism draw that will help local communities. The LIFE Bison project is co-funded by the LIFE Programme, the European Union’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action that was created in 1992. “The bison calves born in the wild and the support of local communities are good signs that bison belong to these ancestral lands, but let’s not forget that the species is still threatened by various challenges, from habitat loss to ambiguity in legislative processes,” said Marina Drug?, LIFE Bison project manager, WWF-Romania, in a press release. “That is why we believe that only by working together can we ensure the progress made in the last 70 years will not decline, but that we will witness a change for the better.” The European bison hit a low point early in the 20th century, when it only survived in captivity. The reintroduction of the bison into the wild began in the 1950s. So far, Russia, Poland and Belarus have the largest subpopulations. But the species will still rely on conservation measures for the foreseeable future. + LIFEBison Photography by Daniel Mîrlea/Rewilding Europe via WWF

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The European bison population is no longer vulnerable

50 countries pledge to conserve 30% of land and water

January 12, 2021 by  
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The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People has made a pledge to protect 30% of the land and water on Earth by 2030 to slow destruction of nature and species extinctions. The pledge was made public last Monday during the One Planet Summit in Paris. HAC is a coalition of more than 50 countries that was formed in 2011 to encourage internal action on the climate crisis prior to the Paris Agreement. The coalition is currently co-chaired by three countries: France, the U.K., and Costa Rica. It was formed in Durban in 2011 and has been at the forefront of encouraging international action on the climate crisis. The coalition is promoting actions against biodiversity loss and hopes that the pledge will lead to a successful conservation agreement during the Cop15 2021 summit in China. Related: Polar bears could go extinct in 80 years if global warming persists In their pledge, the countries have agreed to reserve at least 30% of the planet’s land and water as natural habitats. While making the announcement, HAC noted that protecting 30% of the planet by the turn of the decade is necessary to prevent mass extinction of plant and animal species. On Monday, several world leaders met at the One Planet Summit in Paris to discuss the biodiversity crisis and promotion of archeology as well as to examine the relationship between human health and nature . The event was addressed by various world leaders, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Besides the pledge to protect 30% of the planet, several countries in the coalition also made pledges to fund nature conservation projects. The coalition has pledged to invest billions of pounds in the  Great Green Wall of Africa  project and the launch of the new  Terra Carta  by Prince Charles. The coalition’s pledges have been applauded but also met by some criticism from various environmentalists. Many emphasized that the commitment needs to be met with actual efforts and delivery. Greenpeace U.K.’s head of politics Rebecca Newsom explained that there are also concerns about the source of funds being pledged by countries such as the U.K. Newsom argued that the funds should not be cut from budgets already allocated for other environmental projects. “Increasing funds to protect and enhance nature is critical to help secure success at the global biodiversity conference in China this year,” Newsom said. “Siphoning off cash from funds already committed to tackling the climate crisis simply isn’t enough.” Via The Guardian Image via Pauline Bernfeld

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Robert De Niro and partners to open a garden hotel in Poland

May 29, 2020 by  
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If a glimpse into history is on your bucket list, a stay at the soon-to-open Nobu hotel in Poland can help put a check in that column. Decimated by World War II, the city of Warsaw originated in the 1300s and has been under meticulous reconstruction for decades. Blending the old with the new, historical architecture is balanced with nearby neighborhoods that are alive with trendy wine bars, art galleries and cafes. Joining the creative hub is the newest addition to the Nobu family of hotels being built by Nobu Hospitality, a globally established lifestyle brand owned by actor Robert De Niro, chef Nobu Matsuhisa and film producer Meir Teper. The heart of this capital city will be the site of the V-shaped hotel. Nobu Hotel Warsaw will feature 117 sleek and spacious rooms along with meeting and event spaces, an expansive fitness center and the signature Nobu Restaurant and café. “Nobu Hotel Warsaw is a really exciting project for us,” said Trevor Horwell, Chief Executive Officer of Nobu Hotels . “The luxury hospitality market has been gaining momentum in Warsaw for a while. There’s a certain type of energy that extends far beyond the bricks and mortar – we’re very excited to be at the forefront of this new wave of lifestyle and hospitality development – and being from Poland originally, this opening is particularly exciting for our co-founder Meir Teper.” While luxury and the location are undeniably enticing, the building design also represents a marriage of the historic with modern elements that feed a need to completely understand the multifaceted city. Half of the hotel is housed in what used to be the Hotel Rialto, a building dating back to the 1920s that represents Art Deco design elements. A lobby connects this sample of Warsaw’s past to the other wing of the hotel, an ultra-contemporary space designed in collaboration with Polish architectural firm Medusa Group and California-based Studio PCH. The outdoor space features a pyramid of balconies with living gardens for a contrast of green space to cityscape. Hotel Nobu Warsaw is one of 18 hotels by Nobu Hospitality spanning five continents, each offering premium service, unique design elements and an extraordinary culinary experience. The Hotel Nobu Warsaw is expected to open in August 2020. + Nobu Hotel Images via ?ukasz K?pielewski

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Robert De Niro and partners to open a garden hotel in Poland

Robert De Niro and partners to open a garden hotel in Poland

May 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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If a glimpse into history is on your bucket list, a stay at the soon-to-open Nobu hotel in Poland can help put a check in that column. Decimated by World War II, the city of Warsaw originated in the 1300s and has been under meticulous reconstruction for decades. Blending the old with the new, historical architecture is balanced with nearby neighborhoods that are alive with trendy wine bars, art galleries and cafes. Joining the creative hub is the newest addition to the Nobu family of hotels being built by Nobu Hospitality, a globally established lifestyle brand owned by actor Robert De Niro, chef Nobu Matsuhisa and film producer Meir Teper. The heart of this capital city will be the site of the V-shaped hotel. Nobu Hotel Warsaw will feature 117 sleek and spacious rooms along with meeting and event spaces, an expansive fitness center and the signature Nobu Restaurant and café. “Nobu Hotel Warsaw is a really exciting project for us,” said Trevor Horwell, Chief Executive Officer of Nobu Hotels . “The luxury hospitality market has been gaining momentum in Warsaw for a while. There’s a certain type of energy that extends far beyond the bricks and mortar – we’re very excited to be at the forefront of this new wave of lifestyle and hospitality development – and being from Poland originally, this opening is particularly exciting for our co-founder Meir Teper.” While luxury and the location are undeniably enticing, the building design also represents a marriage of the historic with modern elements that feed a need to completely understand the multifaceted city. Half of the hotel is housed in what used to be the Hotel Rialto, a building dating back to the 1920s that represents Art Deco design elements. A lobby connects this sample of Warsaw’s past to the other wing of the hotel, an ultra-contemporary space designed in collaboration with Polish architectural firm Medusa Group and California-based Studio PCH. The outdoor space features a pyramid of balconies with living gardens for a contrast of green space to cityscape. Hotel Nobu Warsaw is one of 18 hotels by Nobu Hospitality spanning five continents, each offering premium service, unique design elements and an extraordinary culinary experience. The Hotel Nobu Warsaw is expected to open in August 2020. + Nobu Hotel Images via ?ukasz K?pielewski

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Modernist, off-grid home in Los Angeles features a huge green roof

May 20, 2020 by  
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New York-based Marc Thorpe Design has brought its savvy architectural talents to the City of Angels in the form of a beautiful, off-grid home set in the Hollywood Hills. Topped with a massive green roof, the Case Study 2020 residence is completely self-sustaining thanks to solar power, a rainwater collection system and a composting system. Set into a quiet lot covered in native plants, the house features a modernist design. Inspired by the Case Study Houses of the 1950s and 1960s, which challenged several prominent architects to design affordable and efficient homes, the Case Study 2020 home is an off-grid marvel that blends sustainability, affordability and thoughtful architecture. Related: Stunning green-roofed home in Poland is embedded into the idyllic landscape A one-level structure that combines concrete, steel, wood and glass, the Case Study 2020 home is square in shape, with an overhanging flat roof that is covered in lush vegetation. At various corners of the green rooftop , open cutouts make way for large trees to grow through. Besides its eye-catching appearance and ability to blend the home into its surroundings, this impressive green roof also conceals a rainwater harvesting system that is used to irrigate the greenery. The exterior of the home is wrapped in massive, floor-to-ceiling glass panels and surrounded by a covered walkway. At the back end of the property, a narrow swimming pool sits just feet away, surrounded by a simple, concrete-clad patio space. This thick, exposed concrete follows through into the interior, where concrete walls, ceilings and flooring bring home the modernist style. The spacious interior of the solar-powered home is comprised of three principle living spaces: the living room, a gallery and the bedrooms — all of which are connected by a series of wide corridors that also lead to the outdoor patio spaces via several accesses. Throughout Case Study 2020, the glass walls and sliding glass doors usher in natural light and ventilation, not to mention stunning views of the twinkling lights of Los Angeles. + Marc Thorpe Design Images via Marc Thorpe Design

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Rare blue bee spotted in Florida

May 20, 2020 by  
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While most Americans have been inside watching Netflix and cultivating sourdough starter, Chase Kimmel has scoured the Central Florida sand dunes for the blue calamintha bee . The rare bee hadn’t been spotted since 2016, but Kimmel’s diligence paid off. The postdoctoral researcher has caught and released a blue bee 17 times during its March-to-May flying season. Scientists think the bee lives only in the Lake Wales Ridge region, which is due east of Tampa in the “highlands” — about 300 feet above sea level. This biodiversity hotspot traces its geological history back to a time when most of Florida was underwater. The high sand dunes were like islands, each developing its own habitat. Unfortunately, this ecosystem is quickly disappearing. Related: UK bees and wildflowers thrive during lockdown “This is a highly specialized and localized bee,” Jaret Daniels, a curator and director at the Florida Museum of Natural History and Kimmel’s advisor, told the Tampa Bay Times . The bee pollinates Ashe’s calamint, a threatened perennial deciduous shrub with pale purple flowers. Scientists first described the blue calamintha bee in 2011, and some feared it had already gone extinct . It’s only been recorded in four locations within 16 square miles of Lake Wales Ridge. “I was open to the possibility that we may not find the bee at all so that first moment when we spotted it in the field was really exciting,” Kimmel said. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is funding Kimmel’s two-year study. Before the Ashe’s calamint began blooming this spring — and before the pandemic upended some of his research strategies — Kimmel and a volunteer positioned nesting boxes in promising areas of the ridge. After the flowers bloomed, he has continued to return and look for bees. When he sees what he thinks is a blue bee, he tries to catch it in a net and puts the bee in a plastic bag. Then, he cuts a hole in the corner of the bag and entices the bee to stick its head out so he can look at it with a hand lens. After photographing the bees, he releases them. Kimmel says their stings aren’t too bad. + Florida Museum Photography by Chase Kimmel via Florida Museum

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Old Polish barn transforms into a cool contemporary home

May 14, 2020 by  
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Pozna?-based design studio  mode:lina  recently transformed a decrepit old barn into the ?lonsko Cha?pa (Silesian House), a light-filled home that beautifully combines elements of the agricultural vernacular with contemporary design. While the barn’s gabled form and concrete structure were mostly preserved, the architects improved the livability of the building by shortening its length and raising the roof to create a second floor for the bedrooms. The barn’s existing brick, steel and concrete details have been deliberately left exposed and celebrated in the redesign.  Inspired by the austere appearances of the old State Collective Farm buildings, the architects took a minimalist design approach to the Silesian House. In addition to truncating the length of the original building, the existing roof and exterior walls were simplified to create a pure  gabled  shape with no overhangs. New timber cladding was installed to the exterior envelope that was then punctuated with large irregular openings to let in as much daylight to the interior as possible.  Key to the renovation was the addition of a new double-height extension that houses the living room and dining area. “The original structure and shape of the barn is clearly visible from the living room, where we have an exact cross-section of the building in the form of a  mezzanine ,” the architects of the exposed concrete structure explained. A spacious kitchen with black granite countertops and timber cabinetry is located beneath the mezzanine. Related: Mode:lina upcycles construction materials into an industrial-chic eatery The interior is dressed in exposed  natural materials  throughout, including on the upper floor where brick walls are complemented by timber floors and ceilings and exposed beams and columns. The exposed materials and white walls provide a perfect neutral backdrop for the clients’ extensive art collection. The architects also converted the small building next to the 300-square-meter Silesian House into a guesthouse.  + mode:lina Images by Patryk Lewi?ski

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Green-roofed brick home ‘disappears’ into the landscape

February 18, 2020 by  
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Antwerp-based studio Studio Okami Architects has unveiled a design that masterfully blends a home into its surrounding landscape. Built into a sloped hill, the brick-clad and aptly named Sloped Villa uses an expansive green roof to help the house “disappear” into its serene natural setting. Located in an idyllic area of Mont-de-l’Enclus in Belgium , the Sloped Villa came to be after the homeowners, who purchased an expansive, sloping plot of land, met with the architects and explained their vision of building an “invisible house” into the rolling terrain. “We love the view too much to be constricted by predefined window sizes,” the clients said. “We love the way nature shifts through the seasons on this plot. We love the tranquility … It would be mostly for the two of us enjoying the sunrise over the valley, but make sure our four adult kids can stay over anytime.” Related: Stunning green-roofed home in Poland is embedded into the idyllic landscape To bring the clients’ dream to fruition, the architects came up with the idea to partially embed a simple, one-story volume into the sloped landscape so that it would slightly jut out on one side. With a rooftop covered in greenery , the home “vanishes” from sight from one angle while providing unobstructed views over the valley from the other. The resulting 3,000-square-foot house features a wrap-around porch made out of locally sourced bricks . The walls boast floor-to-ceiling glass panels that create a seamless connection with the outdoors and let in plenty of natural light and the landscape vistas that the clients adore so much. Inside, an open-floor plan makes the most of the main living space, which features a minimalist design . Throughout the home, neutral tones and sparse furnishings keep the focus on the views. The bedrooms are “cave-like” yet still benefit from views and light, and a soaking tub next to a glass wall offers an additional space to relax and unwind. + Studio Okami Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Filip Dujardin via Studio Okami Architects

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Green-roofed brick home ‘disappears’ into the landscape

Green-roofed sports center adds sculptural appeal to the Augustow riverfront

December 20, 2019 by  
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Polish architecture firms PSBA and INOONI have recently completed a strikingly angular water sports center in the heart of Augustow, Poland that shows how architecture can double as a public sculpture. Topped with a green roof, the facility complements the surrounding park with a facade clad in untreated Siberian larch. The building serves as a canoeing training base and is the first phase completed in a multiphase masterplan. The architects were awarded the bid to design and build the Augustow canoeing training base after winning a 2016 architecture competition for the development of recreational spaces along the Netta River. The project will include a multifunctional sports field, pump track, playground and scenic rest areas. Located on the West Bank of the Netta River, the newly built sports center was placed at a highly visible and picturesque bend of the river that is visited by locals and tourists alike. Related: FAAB reimagines Warsaw’s largest public square as a solar-powered cycle park The single-story facility features a triangular plan with a flat, landscaped green roof with a slight slope. The building is organized in two parts: a water-facing hangar for canoe and motorboat storage with a platform and a “workshop” area for the local canoe club. The “workshop” area includes gathering space for training and meetings, locker rooms, a gym with panoramic water views, a club room, a sports equipment warehouse and public bathrooms. The interiors feature a minimalist aesthetic that matches the exterior appearance. “Its characteristic form has associations with movement and dynamics,” the architects explained. “The sloping walls create distinctive arcades, highlighting the entrances and framing the views. The visual sight of the building is changing depending on where we look from. The dynamic form of the object allows an access from a mini stand into the roof of the hangar, where the observation deck is located.” + PSBA + INOONI Photography by Bartosz Dworski via INOONI

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Green-roofed sports center adds sculptural appeal to the Augustow riverfront

Gift loved ones with classes that teach and build nature skills

December 20, 2019 by  
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Rather than gifting a material object this holiday season, opt to give an “experience” gift. Not only will it help minimize waste and clutter, but an experience gift can also be wonderfully green and intrinsically fulfilling. How so? Experience gifts, for instance, lead to quality bonding time, new skills and shared memories, all of which are priceless. Here are our top suggestions for nature courses and classes for the whole family, and be sure to check locally for nature courses near you. Wilderness survival There are various experience gifts out there, and Inhabitat celebrates those that teach about nature and cultivate an appreciation for the outdoors. Sometimes being in nature calls for wilderness survival skills for better preparedness, adaptability, endurance, resourcefulness and resilience in improvising during unexpected situations. Survival might require knowing how to tie knots and cordage, as well as knowing how to fashion and utilize stone tools. Wilderness survival classes will teach all of that and more. Related: 5 common weeds you can make into healthy (and free) teas Ice climbing and mountaineering The outdoors are best enjoyed year-round; even the winter can be an excellent time to commune with nature. What better way to do so than by partaking in ice climbing or mountaineering? Find a course near you to learn the skills needed to succeed in these athletic activities. Fly-fishing Fly-fishing appeals to many outdoor enthusiasts. This skill isn’t the same as catching fish with a simple fishing pole or net. To learn the angler intricacies of this pastime, check out Blue Quill Angler , Cabela’s Fly Fishing University , Fly Fishing Coach International , Lillard Fly Fishing and Orvis’ Fly Fishing Learning Center . Falconry lessons Falconry has been known as the “sport of emperors,” for it has long been a passion of many monarchs and historical figures. Modern falconry mainly cultivates a bond between falconer and falcon, birder and raptor. In other words, modern falconry is about avian stewardship , especially because one has to be licensed with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife or a similar local organization, such as a state wildlife department or agency, depending on your location. But the experience is a rewarding one because of the meticulous care that must be given to falcons and raptors. To learn more, contact the North American Falconers Association (NAFA) , which has been protecting and serving North American falconry since 1961. Celestial navigation Seafarers have been known to orient themselves in the open ocean by the night sky. The night sky and its stars are all part of the natural world; hence, learning to identify the constellations and other astronomical wonders will instill a deeper appreciation for nature. You can learn how to orient yourself by stargazing, thanks to resources offered by the American Sailing Association , The Great Courses and U.S. Sailing , just to name a few. Foraging Foraging is all about searching for food and particular plants. One can forage for savory spices, edible mushrooms, herbs and even medicinal plants. Foraging courses abound including at establishments like Backyard Forager , Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine , forageSF , Grow Forage Cook Ferment , Herbal Academy and Wild Plant Guide . A directory of foraging organizations is also available here . Related: Incredible edible landscape map shows you where to find free food Identifying trees and shrubs Woody plants , like trees and shrubs, come in all shapes and sizes. You can expand your knowledge of them by taking courses on identifying their characteristics and learning about the landscapes in which they can be found. Identifying animals and their tracks Besides identifying plants for foraging purposes, there are also courses that assist with identifying mammals, birds and other animals , not just by their appearance but also by their calls and spoor. Some of the best places to learn more about obtaining these skills include Adventure Out (which also offers programs for corporate retreats and team-building events), Earth Skills , Earthwork Programs , Natural Awareness Tracking School , Nature Tracking , Naturalist Ventures , Tracker School and Tracker Certification from CyberTracker North America . Homesteading Homesteading is essentially a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, with reliance on subsistence agriculture and permaculture, preservation of food via canning and drying, a return to simple textiles and an affinity for the traditions of earlier eras. Modern homesteaders also tend to rely on renewable energy, be it solar or wind power. Courses on homesteading include aquaponics, beekeeping, bread and cheese making, organic gardening, permaculture, homemaking and farm management. Images via Shutterstock

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