$87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions

August 23, 2019 by  
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Mountain lions in Southern California will have a safer place to roam by 2023 thanks to an $87 million bridge being designed northwest of Los Angeles and spread out above the busy 101 Highway. California is the only state in the country where shooting the creatures for sport is banned . But a March study published in the journal Ecological Applications suggested mountain lions could be extinct within 50 years if changes to their environment don’t happen. Related: Utah plans $5 million wildlife bridge over deadly I-80 highway “ Animals were able to move around through different parts of the mountains until humans cut them off with giant roads,” said Beth Pratt of the National Wildlife Federation. “GPS tracking shows that the animals are largely isolated in their own small areas, unable to mingle. Segmentation impacts animals both large and small: lizards and birds up to mountain lions.” Once the project is completed, the wildlife bridge will connect various sections of the Santa Monica Mountains, hopefully giving mountain lions and other wildlife better protection. It is designed to blend into the scenery, so the creatures won’t know they are on a bridge. Pratt stressed this ecological environment needs to be rebuilt for the sake of all animal welfare and thinks the wildlife bridge is a good idea. “This is an animal that is particularly beloved in California ,” Pratt said. “We want these animals on the landscape, and the population will go extinct if we don’t do something soon.” The project has been 20 years in the making, with the National Park Service closely studying the area during this time. It wasn’t until about a decade ago the idea became a reality; funds totaling $13.4 million have been raised by private contributors, according to The Guardian. The project has caught the attention of actor Leonardo DiCaprio , who has been a supporter of the project, as well as other big names around the world. About 9,000 comments were posted in favor of the project, and only 15 were against it when the public was given the opportunity give feedback. “We’re doing this in LA, a city of 4 million people,” Pratt said. “If LA can do it, it can work anywhere. Even in a giant city , we’ll make a home for a mountain lion.” + Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains + Clark Stevens Via The Guardian Design and images via Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains and Clark Stevens Architect/Raymond Garcia Illustrator

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$87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions

This home made of broken bricks features a series of rolling green roofs

August 23, 2019 by  
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Mexico City-based architect Fernanda Canales has unveiled the Terreno House, a beautiful, green-roofed home that was designed with two opposing factors in mind. According to the architect, the house, which was partially constructed out of broken bricks , had to be both resilient against the severe climate and as open as possible to take advantage of the vast natural landscape that surrounds the building. Located in Valle de Bravo, an idyllic lakeside community just three hours west of Mexico City, the 2,100-square-foot home was designed to blend into its environment. Set on a mountain plateau, the house is surrounded by expansive green fields and forested land. Related: Green-roofed home in Poland is made out of reclaimed brick Although the location is known as a popular resort area, the region is infamous for its severe climate of soaring high temps . It also rains almost daily for six months of the year. Accordingly, the team was tasked with not only creating a comfortable home but also designing a structure that would be resilient to the area’s extreme weather. At the same time, the family wanted a vibrant space that would be open and closely connected to the landscape. The building was strategically designed to be an extension of its setting. A low-lying elongated structure, the home is topped with a series of rolling domed roofs surrounded by greenery . The structure’s rough exterior was built out of broken brick, which creates an earthy, natural aesthetic. To create ample open-air space, the designers added four courtyards in the project. These spaces create a seamless connection with the exterior surroundings as well as provide a system of natural air ventilation throughout the home. Inside, smooth concrete ceilings and wood walls and floors create a pleasant contrast to the rough exterior. Daylighting is emphasized through the inclusion of massive windows. + Fernanda Canales Via ArchDaily Photography by Rafael Gamo via Fernanda Canales

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This home made of broken bricks features a series of rolling green roofs

Chattanooga becomes first 100% solar-powered airport in US

August 19, 2019 by  
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Tennessee’s fourth largest city, Chattanooga, became the first American airport to be 100 percent solar powered – and joins only a handful of airports who claim the same across the world.  The $5 million dollar solar farm project has been seven years in the making with funding by the Federal Aviation Administration. “This is a momentous day for the Chattanooga Airport as we complete our solar farm and achieve a major sustainability milestone,” said Terry Hart, the president and CEO of the Chattanooga Airport. “This project has immediate benefits to our airport and community, and we’re proud to set an example in renewable energy for other airports, businesses and our region. While generating a local renewable resource, we are also increasing the economic efficiency of the airport.” Related: Digging deeper for climate solutions: deep-root GMOs could feed world and store carbon While the Chattanooga airport is small and runs flights to just ten domestic cities, it has seen growth by over 500,000 additional passengers in the last year. The solar farm installation is reportedly the size of 16 football fields with capacity for 2.64 megawatts of energy and storage units that enable constant energy supply even during cloudy days and nighttime. The investment will pay for itself in approximately 20 years, and the installation is expected to last between 30 and 40 years with regular maintenance. The rise in popularity of renewable energy is partially due to increasing concern about climate change as well as the rise in affordability of solar panels. According to Forbes: “In 2009, for example, the average gross cost of installing a solar panel was $8.50 per watt. Now? Just shy of $2.98—a 65% decrease in 10 years.” This shift has made a broader range of large and small scale project possible. Internationally, India, the Galapagos Islands and South Africa also have 100 percent solar powered airports. In the U.S., the Denver Airport has a larger solar installation, but because of their scale of operations, Chattanooga is the only American airport so far that can claim 100 percent renewable energy . Via Forbes Image via jaidee

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Chattanooga becomes first 100% solar-powered airport in US

Babylegs the inexpensive, educational way to monitor ocean plastic pollution

August 14, 2019 by  
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Plastic pollution is a frequent topic around the planet, especially when referencing marine life and water pollution. Microplastics can’t be seen by the naked eye but are showing up in water tests nearly everywhere. Do you have plastic in your nearby waterway? If you want to find out, you can collect a sample for testing using Babylegs, a trawl for monitoring ocean plastic. Currently fully funded on Kickstarter, Babylegs was introduced by Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR), a self-proclaimed feminist and anti-colonial marine science laboratory. CLEAR is working on the project in conjunction with another organization called Public Lab, a community that develops open source tools in the hopes of motivating community involvement. Together, the groups aim to provide tools the public can use to help gather information about environmental quality issues. Related: New line of men’s swimwear is made from recycled ocean plastic Babylegs offers a simple design and is sourced from inexpensive and recycled materials. It’s a do-it-yourself kit that you put together before use. This isn’t the product of a company looking to make a profit. Babylegs is a tool that the company wants to provide to as many people as can use it, inexpensively and efficiently. With the easy-to-source materials, anyone can put together Babylegs, including classrooms of students. The basic supply list is baby leggings, a water bottle, sandpaper, a drill, scissors, rope, a plumber’s clamp and a screwdriver. With these few supplies, plus some in the kit and some provided by you (like the water bottle), you can make your Babylegs and head out to the closest body of water In addition to providing the Babylegs kits, the company has a goal to facilitate education regarding plastics in the water. The concept is that an increased number of people taking and evaluating samples will provide a larger database of water plastic information that everyone can rely on. Of course, making the Babylegs and collecting the water sample with a simple trawl behind a boat or from a boat, bridge or dock is the easy part. The science comes in through the evaluation of the data you collect, so the kit helps with that, too. According to the Kickstarter campaign, “The activity guides included with this kit are divided into sections on building the BabyLegs trawl, deploying BabyLegs in the water, processing the sample in a kitchen, school or laboratory, where plastics are sorted from organics and finally forensically analyzing the microplastics so you can learn about pollution in your waters.” The idea is solely focused on information and education, so there’s nothing fancy about the product. Instead, most of the components are from recycled materials and many are reusable at the end of the Babylegs lifecycle. Kits are shipped in fully recyclable packaging that is also reused when possible. + Babylegs Images via Public Lab and Max Liboiron / CLEAR Lab

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Babylegs the inexpensive, educational way to monitor ocean plastic pollution

Geothermal-powered bus station will use anti-smog blocks to fight pollution

August 13, 2019 by  
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The Polish city of Lublin will soon be home to an environmentally friendly bus station that not only offers a new and attractive public space, but also combats urban air pollution. Designed by Polish architectural firm Tremend , the Integrated Intermodal Metropolitan Station in Lublin will be built near the train station and aims to revitalize the area around the railway station. The contemporary design, combined with its environmental focus and green features, earned the project a spot on World Architecture Festival’s World Building of the Year shortlist.  Located close to Folk Park, the Integrated Intermodal Metropolitan Station was designed as a visual extension of the neighboring green space with a lush roof garden and large green wall that wraps the northern facade. Greenery is also referenced in the series of sculptural tree-like pillars that support a massive flat roof with large overhanging eaves. Walls of glass create an inviting and safe atmosphere, while the administration rooms will be provided with tinted windows for privacy.  To reduce energy demands, the building will be heated with geothermal energy and outfitted with energy-efficient LEDs . Meanwhile, motion detectors will be used to activate the lighting to ensure energy savings. A rainwater collection and treatment system will also be used to irrigate the plants that create a cooling microclimate and improved air quality. Air quality is further improved with the use of “anti-smog blocks,” a modern photocatalytic material containing titanium dioxide that breaks down toxic fumes.  Related: Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands “Architecture of public places is evolving in my opinion in a very good direction,” says Magdalena Federowicz-Boule, President of the Tremend Board. “Combining different spaces, open shared zones favors establishing contacts. The communication center, which is to be built in Lublin, is to revive it for revitalization district and become a meeting place where people will be able to meet and spend together time in an attractive environment with green areas. The project is also a response to problems, related to environmental protection and city life, such as smog , water and energy consumption, noise. It is an image of how we perceive the role of ecology in architecture.” + Tremend

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Geothermal-powered bus station will use anti-smog blocks to fight pollution

Glowing, celestial-inspired shelter communes with nature in Denmark

August 8, 2019 by  
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The Munkeruphus Art Museum on the coast of Denmark has recently gained a striking new addition — the Observatory, an organic pavilion by Danish designer Simon Hjermind Jensen . The commission, which was supported by the Danish Arts Foundation and Knud Højgaards Fond, marks the start of the museum’s long-term vision for integrating art and nature-related projects on its grounds. Crafted with 3D modeling and CNC technology, the curvaceous pavilion has a cave-like interior that encourages visitors to gather within and reconnect with nature. When Jensen received the commission for the project, he started the design process with a 24-hour stay on the site to observe the landscape conditions from dawn to dusk as well as the trajectories of the sun and the moon. The site-specific study inspired the placement of the Observatory as well as the architectural design, which began with a ceramic model he crafted on-site. Related: A mountain refuge in Spain is brought back to life with brickwork Back at his studio, Jensen refined his concept with additional ceramic models before overlaying a construction pattern on top that was 3D-scanned for computer modeling . Finally, the pavilion shell was CNC-cut from plywood and polycarbonate, bent into place and fastened together with custom, leaf-inspired joinery. Thanks to parametric modeling, the Observatory is optimized for strength and material use. Measuring nearly 19 feet in height, the Observatory features an asymmetrical teardrop shape topped with an oculus angled toward the south, framing views of the moon and creating more access to natural light . Inside, the curved interior is weighed down by a gravel floor and includes a built-in wooden bench that accommodates 25 people as well as a concrete podium. The central fire pit, when lit, makes the pavilion glow at night. “Like the characters of our surroundings changes and shift from day to night, the Observatory changes too, especially when a bonfire is lit after nightfall.” Jensen said. “The inside spatial experience changes with the light coming from the ground and, seen from the outside, the upper part glows in a pink color created from the light from the flames.” + Simon Hjermind Jensen Images via Simon Hjermind Jensen

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Glowing, celestial-inspired shelter communes with nature in Denmark

How Organic Valley lit up 10 communities with solar while meeting its clean energy goals

August 8, 2019 by  
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The backstory on how the Butter Solar Project spreads solar across the Midwest

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How Organic Valley lit up 10 communities with solar while meeting its clean energy goals

Why NGOs top the list of those advancing sustainable development

August 8, 2019 by  
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Why do experts point to NGOs as making the greatest contribution to advancing progress on sustainable development?

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Why NGOs top the list of those advancing sustainable development

Let’s put people at the center of circular fashion

August 8, 2019 by  
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Benefits won’t reach all of society without reworking the apparel industry in a fair and inclusive way.

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Let’s put people at the center of circular fashion

Prada jumps into the sustainability realm with six Re-Nylon bags made from recycled plastic waste

July 25, 2019 by  
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The topic of sustainability is the zeitgeist of our era and there are few industries as predominantly targeted for creating waste, and in turn holding the power for high-impact solutions, as the fashion industry— even those deemed high fashion. Easily identifiable as a luxury brand, Prada now hopes to lead the industry in sustainable action with the production of a new line of bags made from an innovative material, Re-Nylon. Using recycled materials in fabric production is not a new idea, but the ability to bring together the best sustainability efforts from five continents just might be.  Related: Renewlogy turns low-grade plastic into usable fuels Re-Nylon is the result of extensive research and the dedication to sourcing recycled waste . With this in mind, Prada has collaborated with some leaders in the waste-to-material industry who are proving there are ways to reuse post-consumer products in new and exciting ways. Partnering with Italian textile specialists, Aquafil, materials are sourced from used carpeting, fishing nets and ocean waste across five continents. One example comes from Phoenix, Arizona, where the world’s first carpet recycling plant diverts some of the 1.6 million tons of carpet discarded annually and converts it into ECONYL nylon used in Prada’s Re-Nylon bags.  Putting this waste through a process of depolymerization and re-polymerisation, the end result is a yarn that is endlessly recyclable with no reduction in quality. Production facilities in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Arco, Italy receive the recycled plastic and turn it into polymers and threads used to make the initial Re-Nylon line that includes the belt bag, the shoulder bag, a tote bag, a duffle and two Prada backpacks.  The Re-Nylon project goes beyond this initial reveal of six bags with a focus on making sustainability a permanent part of the production plan.  “I’m very excited to announce the launch of the Prada Re-Nylon collection. Our ultimate goal will be to convert all Prada virgin nylon into Re-Nylon by the end of 2021. This project highlights our continued efforts towards promoting a responsible business. This collection will allow us to make our contribution and create products without using new resources,” says Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group Head of Marketing and Communication In an effort to prove this dedication, a percentage of the profit from each bag is donated to an environmental sustainability project. Prada has also partnered with UNESCO to set up an educational programs aimed at teaching youth about conservation of resources, plastic and circular economies so they can lead an awareness campaign on the topic. +Prada Images via Prada

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Prada jumps into the sustainability realm with six Re-Nylon bags made from recycled plastic waste

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