It’s time to speed up the sustainability shift

March 23, 2021 by  
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It’s time to speed up the sustainability shift Katie Thompson Levey Tue, 03/23/2021 – 01:45 “I am discovering a whole new respect for chief sustainability officers,” I texted the facilitator of Leading the Sustainability Transformation . I was general manager of a mock company, Rio Negro Bioproducts, with the express goal to transform it from a traditional business to a sustainable one — economically, environmentally and socially — over a 20-year period compressed into a 10-week virtual simulation.   Powered by leadership readiness firm, WholeWorks through the University of Victoria, the simulation teamed me up with global counterparts, ranging from leaders at Griffith Foods and Plant Tech Alliance to designers, consultants and a former Airbnb executive. We assumed the roles you would expect at a manufacturing site designed to supply a global market — supply chain, operations, HR, marketing, sales, IT, EHS — as well as the roles sometimes considered “fringe” but that are in reality critical success factors such as government officials (a local mayor) and civil society (an NGO leader). We strove to adhere to Rio Negro’s vision and meet aggressive triple bottom-line targets as major systemic issues hit its operations — geopolitical tensions and natural disaster brought on by climate change. We did this all while facing, relentlessly, shareholder demands for their expected return on investment. Companies are under immense public and competitive pressure to change — to positively contribute to problems that seem nearly impossible to solve including climate change, racial inequity, an increasing cultural divide and the global pandemic. Where should a business begin?  The Leading the Sustainability Transformation is an opportunity to experiment with sustainable transformation — and accelerate the implications — both the good and the bad. Here are my lessons learned. 1. Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation — embrace the mess A common cultural expectation of managers is to know the answer in advance, to be confident and ready to move. Researcher Brene Brown has long pointed out vulnerability is basically uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. If it’s genuinely uncomfortable, why embrace it? Real innovation requires walking into the unknown — sometimes alone, sometimes with others. It requires you lead by acknowledging what you don’t know and inviting others along with you.  Sustainability is about aligning different departmental agendas and incentives, for which you have varying degrees of subject matter knowledge, to create a cohesive strategy. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable — to take risks — can open up business opportunity. Build an environment where individuals can introduce unproven or partial ideas that may not even make sense yet but have the seeds of something great.  But how do we create the conditions for this kind of environment? Applying the idea: Ask questions, rather than answer them. One person doesn’t need to have all the answers, and together with the knowledge of those around you, solutions can emerge that aren’t immediately obvious. When facing a particularly thorny problem, slow things down. Give people a chance to dwell more, instead of racing to the answer. 2. There are no absolutes — hypothesize, learn and adjust When approaching systemic problems, you’re heading into a situation that’s naturally messy. It’s not quite clear where you’re going with it, so by definition, there cannot be one right universal or pre-determined answer. In some ways, the answer is the path you forge with the unique communities or stakeholders you’re working with to do that. “Systemic problems affect people in so many different ways, there’s no one way to frame or define it. You can’t say at the onset this is one way to do it and we will know the solution when we’re done,” points out Matt Mayberry, Whole Works founder and designer of the LST curriculum. This principle of always starting from a place of acknowledging uncertainties was an ongoing refrain throughout the course. At times, I thought something was absolutely the right answer, only to be reminded through the experience of my colleagues that I could see only one part of the whole picture. Even when I served in the most senior team role of senior vice president, blind spots were not in short supply. While perception often seems like hard facts, in reality, it’s often a subjective set of assumptions. Applying the idea: Frame activities as experiments. Be upfront about your assumptions, uncertainties, and potential blind spots. This accelerates learning.   Move in shorter, faster intervals. What’s the easiest experiment you can do to test if what you think is aligned with where things really are?  3. Have the courage to fail and take personal responsibility for it Fail fast, learn and adjust. It’s a popularized notion, but it takes courage to fail. A less popular concept? Failure doesn’t feel good! Who wants to be in a high stakes situation and fail? Individuals and teams, for the most part, want to achieve their goals. Yet it’s inevitable: To create something that hasn’t been done before, you will fail along the way. At one point in our simulation, I, along with a couple of others, made an operational call early on that took us a hypothetical decade to recover from. Those of us who made the decision said, “We feel awful about this, but we made this decision and these are the impacts.” The decision cost a lot of money. Thankfully, it was hypothetical. Taking responsibility for the failure helped us move through it, learn and adjust. At one point, we thought our team wouldn’t recover. By acknowledging it in a provenly safe environment, our team helped others quickly learn from our failure. Applying the idea: Build an environment where individuals feel safe enough to acknowledge when an activity doesn’t meet expectations. Model taking personal responsibility by doing so if you experience failure. This sets the stage for others to do so. 4. Lead by asking what works Cross-functional teams perform better when they focus on peak experiences and best practices compared to teams that focus on problems and gaps. Groups initially characterized by dysfunction and defensiveness can be revitalized and energized through an approach called Appreciative Inquiry.  The Appreciative Inquiry approach asks what gives life to a system, what keeps it most healthy and alive. Ask questions about what’s working well and what are the possibilities of building on that. This creates a different frame than asking what is broken, who or what is causing it, and how it can be fixed. This approach does not suggest blindly ignore problems. It means leading by observing what is already giving healthy life to a system. “When we focus on problems, we start from a hole that we must crawl our way out of” was a key principle pointed out by Mayberry during the course. “Unfortunately, when working with a group, creating a shared negative view of the world tends to lead us to dig ourselves even deeper. This is not an inspiring place to be if you’re trying to imagine a better future and think of creative ways to make it a reality.” Applying the idea: When a group is faced with a difficult challenge, ask questions about what’s working well, what might be, and what should be? Frame an opportunity in a way that opens things up to a collaborative approach. Include the whole system in the room. Include stakeholders outside your immediate sphere of sight, such as those on the “fringe” — the poor, weak, isolated, non-legitimate and non-human (other species). This is part one of a two-part series. Keep an eye out for the next installment about strategy. The next Leading the Sustainability Transformation Professional Certification takes place April 19-June 27, with registration due by April 12. Learn more here. Topics Corporate Strategy Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Whyframe Close Authorship

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It’s time to speed up the sustainability shift

Scientists search for cause of mass marine die-off in Russia

October 14, 2020 by  
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Massive deaths of marine life off of the Russian Pacific Coast have left many scientists baffled. At the beginning of October, thousands of dead sea creatures were spotted along the eastern coast, after they had been pushed on the shoreline by waves. Although environmental experts have already ruled out human activity as a cause, they are still investigating other possibilities. Among the dead ocean creatures are octopuses, crabs and sea urchins. The organisms were found washed up on Khalaktyrsky Beach, which is a popular surfing destination. This week, Russian environmental officials revealed that the water where the deaths occurred has excess amounts of phosphate ion, iron and phenol. But where this pollution originated is still a puzzle to scientists. Related: Botswana elephant deaths caused by cyanobacteria At the same time, environmental officials are still trying to assess the full extent of the damage. There are fears that more dead fish and other marine life could be found in other areas. Speaking to ABC News, Elena Sakirko of Greenpeace revealed that signs of trouble have also been observed farther north. We published the first results of sample analysis collected in Kamchatka where the massive die-off of benthic marine organisms happened. #SaveKamchatka pic.twitter.com/0qLeoG5RZO — Greenpeace Russia (@greenpeaceru) October 14, 2020 The most affected areas are Avacha Bay to the south and Cape Nalychev to the north. Scientists who examined the impacted waters said that about 95% of sea creatures to the depth of 15 meters have died. But local environmental officials are suggesting that the deaths are a natural occurrence. Several theories have arisen to try and explain the mass die-off. Some experts suggest that the marine organisms may have died due to a poisonous algal bloom , while others suggest that the event might have been caused by seismic activity. It is common for seismic activities in the region in question, as it is a volcanically active area. Sakirko said that it is too early to rule out any theories, including that the deaths could be caused by human activity. For now, scientists and environmental officials must continue investigations to determine the exact cause of the deaths. Via ABC News Image via Valery Balievich

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Scientists search for cause of mass marine die-off in Russia

Domed, desert eco-dwellings are built of organic papier-mch

July 15, 2020 by  
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Illinois-based design studio i/thee has teamed up with Los Angeles firm Roundhouse to create Agg Hab — short for Aggregate Habitat — an experimental eco-dwelling built from papier-mâché. The project, which the designers say is possibly the world’s largest self-supporting papier-mâché structure, functions as a prototype for a semi-subterranean house integrated into the desert of Clarendon, Texas. Made with nearly 200 liters of glue and 270 pounds of paper, Agg Hab measures over 20 feet in length and 8 feet wide and stands at a height of 4.5 feet. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Agg-Hab-I-thee-3-889×593.jpg" alt="irregular paper domes in the desert" class="wp-image-2274847" Developed as part of an exercise to push the possibilities of construction with as few resources as possible, Agg Hab follows a simple design and construction process that began with the excavation of two “mirrored convexo-concave” holes, each 4.5 feet deep. The designers then cast each hole with multiple layers of organic papier-mâché mixture — comprising recycled paper and non-toxic glue — to create dome-shaped shells spanning over 20 feet in length. The 4-millimeter-thick shells were flipped over and set atop the holes to create the roof of the semi-subterranean dwelling.  Related: Spectacular rammed-earth dome home is tucked deep into a Costa Rican jungle <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Agg-Hab-I-thee-6-889×667.jpg" alt="rammed-earth and paper dome interior with large opening" class="wp-image-2274850" <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Agg-Hab-I-thee-8-889×666.jpg" alt="round skylight bringing light into a paper dome home" class="wp-image-2274852" “Together, the holes, matched with their respective shells, create a semi-subterranean house in which the negative and positive expressions of a series of excavated forms take on a reciprocal relationship to create multiple habitable spaces,” the designers explained. “The result of this process is a formal and phenomenal experience derived from the earth itself. There are no perfect lines or manufactured shapes or colors in the design. Instead, the formal language of the habitat follows cues from those found in nature: the contours of the domes perfectly matching those of the excavated dirt; the surface of the paper stained with a plethora of natural, earthen tones.” <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Agg-Hab-I-thee-9-889×667.jpg" alt="people resting against earth and paper walls of a dome home" class="wp-image-2274853" <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Agg-Hab-I-thee-10-889×667.jpg" alt="people looking into skylight of a dome home" class="wp-image-2274854" Large circular openings have been cut into parts of the papier-mâché shells to let in light and views of the desert. The Agg Hab eco-dwelling serves as a prototype for a larger project the designers are working on.  + i/thee Photography by Neal Lucas Hitch via i/thee <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Agg-Hab-I-thee-4-889×592.jpg" alt="aerial view of two elongated, irregular paper domes in the desert" class="wp-image-2274848"

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Domed, desert eco-dwellings are built of organic papier-mch

New solar farm in Indiana boosts local pollinators

July 15, 2020 by  
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Goodbye, dirty old coal-fired power plant. Hello, sunshine,  bees  and butterflies. That’s what the folks of Logansport, Indiana are saying as they trade their last coal power plant for a new 80-acre, 16-megawatt solar farm complete with a pollinator habitat. Inovateus Solar, headquartered in South Bend, is developing the solar installation for Logansport Municipal Utility (LMU). The project will take place on former  farmland  near the city’s light industrial area. LMU aims to reduce its carbon emissions and help stabilize customer costs. The solar farm will generate enough power for about 3,700 homes. Related: Celebrate National Pollinator Week from June 22-28 Power purchase agreement The old  coal -fired power plant toiled for over 120 years before recently shutting down. In its wake, Alchemy Renewable Energy financed a 30-year power purchase agreement with LMU. Alchemy is a portfolio company of Monarch Private Capital. Founded in 2016, Alchemy’s projects include building solar installations in North Carolina, Florida and Texas. A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial arrangement where the developer is responsible for designing, permitting, financing and installing a solar energy system on a customer’s property. The customer pays little or nothing for the setup but agrees to pay a fixed rate to the developer for the power generated. The developer gets the income from  electricity  sales as well as tax credits and incentives earned by the renewable energy system. After the term of the agreement — typically 10 to 25 years — the customer can buy the solar installation, extend the PPA or get the developer to remove the system. The contract between LMU and Alchemy Renewable Energy allows LMU to purchase the  solar  power at a fixed kilowatt-hour rate with no upfront capital costs. LMU has the option to eventually buy the solar energy system. “Inovateus is excited to be working with Alchemy to develop LMU’s first solar energy installation for the citizens and businesses of Logansport,” Jordan Richardson, Inovateus Solar’s business development manager, said in a press release. “We want to thank the City of Logansport, LMU, the Logansport Utility Service Board, Alchemy, Cass County, and all the residents who helped us to design a solar system that will create local  jobs  and enhance the city’s natural habitats.” Bees and butterflies The plan is to complete the solar installation construction in early 2021, then plant a  pollinator  seed mix underneath the solar panels. This mix will attract bees and butterflies more than traditional groundcover, which will be beneficial for these species and local farmers. Inovateus will partner with Fresh Energy and the Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund for this phase of the project. Combining beneficial insects and solar is part of a growing trend. “Pollinator-friendly solar is rapidly emerging as a best practice for all solar farms build on arable soils or prime farmland,” Rob Davis, director of the Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy, told Inhabitat. “Within the last year, Clif Bar, Aveda, Dr. Bronners, Organic Valley, Perdue Farms, Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, Denison University, University of Dayton, and many more have announced or build and  seeded  pollinator-friendly solar project.” According to Davis, the 80-acre project site will plant more than 40 species of pollinator-friendly plants, including sky blue aster, purple coneflower, crimson clover, goldenrod and lemon bee balm. The project will benefit local  butterflies , bees and farmers, too. “We have about 430 species of bees, 140 species of butterflies, thousands of moth species…and many species of flower-visiting flies, wasps, ants, and beetles,” said Dr. Brock Harpur, an entomologist at Purdue University. “These new landscapes can provide nesting sites and food sources for pollinators that need it most.” Attracting more pollinators will also benefit certain  crops , Davis said. “Having a diverse assemblage of pollinators (not just one or a few species) can dramatically improve crop yield. By providing food and habitat for pollinators, we can, potentially, boost the number of pollinators in an area and help surrounding farms be pollinated more efficiently.”  Plants  will also benefit the solar panels by creating a cooler micro-climate. Deep-rooted plants can boost resilience to both drought and heavy rains. Celebrating solar After continuously operating coal-fired smokestack power plants for 122 years, Logansport closed its last one in 2016. The  city  looks forward to a solar future. In fact, people are so excited about it that Mayor Chris Martin signed an official proclamation naming June 26 as Bird & Pollinator-Friendly Solar Day. Fittingly, this date falls within National Pollinator Week. “We are proud to work with Inovateus Solar to bring the first ever solar energy project to Logansport,” said Martin. “How exciting to be a part of pioneering this clean, alternative energy source right here in our community that will help curb LMU energy costs for our consumers. The creation of a bee and butterfly  habitat  will also be a great environmentally friendly addition to the city’s west side!” + Rob Davis and Dr. Brock Harpur Images via Schuler Publicity

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New solar farm in Indiana boosts local pollinators

The many ways fungi are saving our planet

April 10, 2020 by  
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Fungi are living organisms that support the ecosystem of the entire planet. Most people associate mushrooms with fungi, but in reality, mushrooms merely make up the ‘flower’ portion of some species of fungi. Up to 90% of the fungi associated with the mushroom is underground as part of a web called mycelium . Scientists are continually discovering ways fungi enhance the circle of life. The mushroom and mycelium components of fungi are currently a hot topic in the research world, because there are already over 100,000 identified varieties with thousands more being discovered annually. Together, these fungi species are unlocking solutions for cleaning up the environment, developing greener construction and product materials and contributing significant medicinal benefits. What are fungi? Fungi are basically the digestive tract of the planet. As a carbon-based substance, fungi work in conjunction with all living or decaying things. Whether that is a tree that has fallen in the woods or an animal that dies along the side of the road, mycelium works below-ground to facilitate decomposition. Mycelium is a massive filter that removes toxins from the soil , improving water quality as a result. Related: How fungi made Earth’s atmosphere livable This network also cycles nutrients from one location to another, essentially transporting food and water from one plant to another. It’s also believed they send messages throughout the forest that support the success of other fungi as well as overall plant life. In scientific papers reviewed as recently as two months ago, evidence has come to light indicating fungal fossils may date back at least 715 to 810 million years and possibly even over one billion years ago. Whether that can be proven or not, most scientists accept that fungi have survived on the planet since at least 400 million years ago. Further, researchers give credit to fungi for their critical role in facilitating the continued existence of the planet. Fungi and climate change In addition to supporting the entire plant kingdom, fungi are recognized as a promising weapon in the fight against climate change . While some of these discoveries happen in a lab, others are happening in nature as we go about our daily lives. As outlined in a new documentary, Fantastic Fungi , fungi are indiscriminate in their consumption of organic material. As an example of this cycle, fungi can break down carbon-based diesel oil, growing mushrooms in its wake. Then birds, bees and bugs feed, spread seeds and pollinate as a result, supporting more than just the surrounding area. In fact, many scientists believe mushrooms might be one solution to ending the crisis bees are facing, because mushrooms’ antiviral characteristics may offer protection from damaging chemicals in other plants. Fungi can likely clean up other aspects of the environment, too. According to the State of the World’s Fungi 2018 report , the mushroom Aspergillus tubingensis has the ability to grow directly on the surface of plastic and has properties that actually deteriorate the material. Yes, apparently some mushrooms can eat plastic . Even more amazing is the discovery that fungi were found consuming radiation off the walls of the abandoned Chernobyl plant. In fact, three species were found to be absorbing the radiation and turning it into energy for growth. In essence, they were feeding off radiation. Mushroom waste becomes biofuel Natural waste from mushroom production can also be converted into biofuel . According to research published in Science Advances , the research team revealed that a naturally occurring bacterium called Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum (TG57), isolated from waste generated after harvesting mushrooms, is capable of directly converting cellulose (a plant-based material) to biobutanol, leading to a much cleaner way to produce biofuel and reduce emissions from fossil fuels. Products made from fungi Product manufacturers are also looking toward fungi in material development due to properties that allow them to naturally decompose at the end of their life cycle. Fungi are being used as a substitute for environmental nemesis polystyrene foam , animal leather and chemical-laden building materials. One company, Coeio, has even created a mushroom-infused burial suit, explaining that a human body will break down faster and give back to the Earth sooner while the fungal properties filter out any toxic chemicals the body has acquired while living. Fungi for health Fungi are also in the spotlight for exciting medical advancements, such as treating anxiety and depression with psilocybin . Fungi could also help fight against cognitive decline, according to a recent study . Plus, fungi are already part of our everyday life in ways you may not even recognize. In addition to the mushrooms on your pizza , fungi are important for fermentation, which creates alcohol, leavened bread and much more. The list of possible ways fungi are saving our planet is nearly as long as the list of species themselves. With an increasing interest in research, the possibilities for finding innovative ways to use fungi in the future are exciting and promising. Images via Pixabay

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LEED Gold-targeted Ottawa library will honor local history

February 13, 2020 by  
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After nearly a year of public input by Canadians from coast to coast, Toronto-based Diamond Schmitt Architects has finally revealed renderings for the new Ottawa library and archives. Designed in collaboration with KWC Architects , the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility will be an innovative landmark representative of all Canadians. The building will target, at minimum, LEED Gold certification and will reflect the region’s rich history and natural beauty with its organic and dynamic design oriented for unparalleled views of the Ottawa River and Gatineau Hills in Quebec. The recently unveiled designs for the Ottawa library are the result of an unprecedented public co-design process called the “Inspire555 Series” after the building’s address at 555 Albert Street, on the western edge of downtown Ottawa . The process, which began in February last year, asked residents, indigenous communities and Canadians from across the country to participate in a series of design workshops, pop-up events, expert lectures and online activities to shape the design and direction of the public institution. More than 4,000 people contributed to the library’s major design themes, which include accessibility, a sense of welcoming for diverse groups and needs, site-specific elements and a connection to nature.  Related: Henning Larsen’s energy-efficient Kiruna Town Hall opens to the public As a result, the final design takes cues from Ottawa’s environment with an undulating form that references the nearby Ottawa River. The stone and wood exterior grounds the building into the nearby escarpment landscape, while the top floors, rooftop and abundance of glazing frame views of the Ottawa River and Gatineau Hills. The five-story building will be organized around a large town hall at its heart and will include exhibition and collections spaces, reading rooms, a creative center, a children’s area, a genealogy center and a cafe. “The location at a cultural crossroads of a route that traces the three founding peoples — French, English and Indigenous — underscores the spirit of confluence in the building’s design and the possibilities for these memory institutions in a modern facility to advance the Canadian story,” said Donald Schmitt, principal of Diamond Schmitt Architects. The joint facility has a CA $193 million ($145 million) budget and is scheduled to open in 2024. + Diamond Schmitt Architects Images via Diamond Schmitt Architects

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LEED Gold-targeted Ottawa library will honor local history

Get cozy this season with these 7 hot vegan drinks for winter

January 8, 2019 by  
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Thoughts of snowy winter days bring to mind a toasty fire, slippers, sweaters, blankets and warm drinks. It makes sense, because they all equate to the perfect combination of coziness. While traditional tea or coffee is a lovely choice, it’s fun to explore new flavors. For those that are vegan by choice or by circumstance, traditional drinks can be limiting. We’ve conjured up a varied blend of hot drink options to fit your vegan lifestyle. Note that most of these options can also be adapted for the over-21 crowd. Cider Apple cider quickly comes to mind in any discussion of hot drinks, and it is undisputed as a sweet, delicious option. But cider encompasses a host of other possibilities as well. Because fruits and herbs are naturally vegan, there are endless combinations to suit your preferences. How about some apple-berry cider? Cranberry makes a colorful, flavorful and delightful cider that you can drink as-is or use as a base for any number of warm drinks. Take advantage of mint, basil and lavender for tasty spins on the classic ciders, too. Related: 12 delicious and crowd-pleasing vegan brunch ideas Coffee Another age-old vegan option is coffee . However, contemporary methods have turned this once black-only option into dairy-filled whipped, stirred and frothy concoctions. The advantage of modern inventions is that they’ve also come up with an assortment of creamy options that don’t come from an animal source. Replace the cow’s milk and heavy cream with rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk or the sturdy oat milk. From there, you can embellish with a dash of almond or peppermint extract and top with vegan whipped cream and chocolate shavings. There’s no reason to miss out on the seasonal peppermint mocha or cinnamon-spice latte you see everywhere when you can recreate it at home. Hot cocoa Cocoa is a childhood favorite with its sweet flavor and creamy texture. It became a classic for a reason — it’s delicious! But even the classics are due for an upgrade at some point, so take cues from the coffee suggestions above with the addition of extracts, vegan chocolate , milks and whipped cream. You can even mix it up with white chocolate or dark chocolate, too. In the family of cocoa is a vegan Mexican favorite called champurrado, made from masa and either water or milk. You can enhance the flavor with anise, cinnamon or nutmeg for a yummy twist. Gingerbread coconut milk hot cocoa is another delectable option to consider. Simply combine a can of coconut milk with cocoa powder and season with maple syrup, ginger, allspice and vanilla. Top with vegan whipped cream if desired. Tea Tea might be the oldest hot beverage on the planet. For thousands of years, native communities around the world have infused leaves into water to create a calming brew. While English breakfast and peppermint varieties are divine on their own, jazz them up a bit for an extra special treat. London Fog tea  latte is one such treat. To make it vegan, substitute your favorite milk product. Steep a cup of earl grey tea with some fresh lavender. Meanwhile, steam some alternative milk . Combine the two and use a milk frother if you desire. Top with sweetener and a dash of vanilla. Chai tea latte is another notable culinary combination. Make the tea and steam the milk separately. Then, froth the milk and combine with the tea. Add honey or another sweetener to taste and top with cinnamon or nutmeg. Related: 10 tasty and easy vegan dinner ideas Mulled wine Mulled wine is an alcoholic beverage made from wine infused with fruit. Cinnamon, cloves and orange are the typical options, but star anise, clementines and other citrus or sweeteners can be added too. To make mulled wine, simmer a bottle of inexpensive red wine on the stove with the added ingredients. You can alternately let the mulled wine simmer in a slow cooker. Eggnog Did you know you can make eggnog from scratch? Yep, you can. The great part of that news is that it means you can make it from your favorite vegan milk , too. Try coconut or cashew milk. The following recipe is from the Tasty Yummies website : 2 cups homemade cashew milk or other non-dairy milk of your choice ½ cup full fat coconut milk ? cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or for at least 30 minutes (optional) 4-6 Medjool dates 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg pinch of ground cinnamon pinch of ground cloves pinch of sea salt Add all of the ingredients to your high-speed blender and process until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately as-is or add spiced rum, bourbon, brandy or whiskey for a spirited version. Add a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg on top. Wassail If you’ve never had wassail, you’re in for a treat. It’s kind of a combination of apple and cranberry cider with an extra kick of spices. It’s fabulous warmed, and you can even throw in a shot of rum or vodka for an extra warming affect. Winter is the perfect time to cozy up to a warm cup of goodness. Enjoy! Images via Shutterstock

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Get cozy this season with these 7 hot vegan drinks for winter

Mirrors, pods, printed panels: Solar innovation heats up

July 8, 2015 by  
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As the market for solar energy grows, so, too, do the possibilities for generating that power.

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Mirrors, pods, printed panels: Solar innovation heats up

Un-Shopping, reCommerce & Building a Business on Buying Less

January 27, 2012 by  
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Gadget junkies: It's time to explore the possibilities and benefits of stepping off the treadmill of constantly upgrading to the latest and greatest gear, and setting your unwanted electronics free to find second lives.

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Un-Shopping, reCommerce & Building a Business on Buying Less

6 Prototypes With Interesting Uses For Bamboo and Silk From Buenos Aires

October 25, 2011 by  
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© Paula Alvarado The Buenos Aires Metropolitan Design Center recently organized a workshop to encourage local designers to explore the possibilities of bamboo and artisan silk as materials…. Read the full story on TreeHugger

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