Earth911 Reader: Civilian Conservation Corps and the Economic Impact of Extreme Temperatures

February 13, 2021 by  
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Earth911 Reader: Civilian Conservation Corps and the Economic Impact of Extreme Temperatures

Studio Rygalik’s Circula bench uses sustainable materials

January 12, 2021 by  
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Designed by Tomek Rygalik, Circula is a circular bench made from sustainable materials such as  FSC-certified wood , recycled plastic and phosphate steel. Round in shape and with room for multiple people, the benches are meant to encourage dialogue and social interactions. The project was originally commissioned for use among children in schools, but the Poland-based designer believes that the benches will come in handy when social distancing decreases following an end to the  COVID-19  pandemic. “Humans are social creatures. That fact contains both the problem and the solution to our current crisis,” Rygalik said. “Human beings are not intended to be a solitary species: we are social animals. Today everyone’s talking about distancing – but there will come a moment dedicated to recovery from all of this, both physically and relationally.” Related: KALO’s PVC Bench is made from plastic waste and wood scraps Rygalik chose a circle, the perfect symbol for balance and harmony with neither a beginning nor an end, as the design focus to stimulate sharing and creative flow. This shape also makes Circula an ideal meeting spot for brainstorming sessions with coworkers or socializing among friends. For each piece purchased, the company will  donate  another to an association or foundation that requests a bench for social or charitable purposes. Circula comes in three different versions: wood, recycled plastic or phosphate steel. The wood design uses spruce or pine sourced from responsibly-managed, FSC- or PEFC-certified forests, while the  recycled plastic  bench is made using 100% recycled packaging in collaboration with Boomplastic. The wood and steel materials present a minimalist aesthetic, but the recycled plastic material stays partially transparent to highlight the unique, multicolored fragments within it.   The bench uses three interlocking  modules  held together by a hidden locking mechanism. Its three legs can be anchored to the ground if needed and guarantee stability even on uneven surfaces. Seating capacity ranges from two to six people, and the currently available standard size is 1,900 mm in diameter. + Studio Rygalic Images via Studio Rygalic

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Studio Rygalik’s Circula bench uses sustainable materials

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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50 countries pledge to conserve 30% of land and water

The Ocean Cleanup launches sunglasses made from ocean plastic

November 25, 2020 by  
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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a floating island of waste located in the Pacific Ocean. Several organizations have taken part in cleaning up the area and transporting the garbage back to shore, where it is mostly hauled to landfills. But The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization based in Holland, has diverted plastic from the ocean and recycled it into fashionable sunglasses that are an essential part of the funding for future efforts. The organization spent years developing a garbage retrieval system, which eventually donned the moniker System 001/B when it was launched into the North Pacific Ocean in the middle of 2019. The team of more than 90 engineers, researchers, scientists and computational modelers successfully returned the collected debris to land. The plastic was then carefully bagged and labeled to ensure transparency throughout the process. The goal is to guarantee the plastic used in the sunglasses comes directly from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch cleanup . Related: The Ocean Cleanup reveals the Interceptor to remove plastic pollution from rivers The certified plastic was then processed at a commercial scale, creating a strong, durable plastic for the sunglasses. The sunglasses are designed by Yves Béhar in California and manufactured by Safilo , a leading eyewear company in Italy. Every part of the product is made for recycling at the end-of-wear lifespan, including the polarized lenses and metal hinges. Because the amount of certified plastic is limited, the number of sunglasses produced is small. But the impact is mighty. Each purchase of the sunglasses supports cleaning up an area of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that is equivalent to 24 football fields. The sale of all sunglasses in this initial release equates to 500,000 football fields full of waste removed from the ocean. The Ocean Cleanup will put 100% of the profits back into the process as it continues to innovate the best ways to clean up the ocean. This is not a one-time event, with plans well underway to improve the System 001/B for the next ocean exploration and cleanup. “It’s incredible to think that only a year ago this plastic was polluting our oceans and now it’s something beautiful, thereby turning a problem into a solution,” said Boyan Slat, founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. “Of course, The Ocean Cleanup is only here today because of our supporters, so I am excited these sunglasses are just another opportunity for everyone to be part of the cleanup and help us maximize our impact. I am thankful for the support of our followers and our partners and for their dedication and efforts to realize this very important step on our mission to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.” + The Ocean Cleanup Images via The Ocean Cleanup

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The Ocean Cleanup launches sunglasses made from ocean plastic

LeSportsac’s ReCycled collection uses recycled water bottles

September 11, 2020 by  
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In 1974, LeSportsac opened its doors for business in New York City. Much has changed since then, but not the company’s focus on creating innovative, colorful and useful bags that encourage an on-the-go lifestyle. With the modern-day zeitgeist squarely aimed at improving sustainable practices, both in the private and business world, LeSportsac’s most recent release removes plastic from the waste stream while encouraging fans to continue their LeSportsac journey. Called ReCycled, the new bags come in three prints, each making a statement about green developments in production and packaging. LeSportsac’s effort to improve its products through sustainable practices has led to a reduced carbon footprint by utilizing post-consumer water bottles in the fabric. In fact, every yard of fabric equals nine recycled bottles, and each product lists the actual equivalent number of water bottles used. Related: This versatile, waterproof parka is made with recycled PET bottles Fortunately for the environment, many companies have adopted the advancing technology of turning  post-consumer plastic  into usable fabric. The process involves collecting, cleaning and shredding plastic into small chips. Subsequently, the chips are spun into yarn for the fabric.  Small and large cosmetic, cross-body, hobo and weekender bags make up the collection in all three prints. Eco Iris Garden features tones of blue and purple with the telltale yellow color punch of an iris in bloom. Eco Rose Garden offers a colorful and classically feminine floral motif. Eco Black delivers the same travel bag options in a more subdued color offering.  LeSportsac has even transformed its old logo to accommodate the recycled logo. The LeSportsac Fall 2020 ReCycled Collection debuted in-store and online mid-August 2020, and each component of the capsule collection is now ready for purchase. After more than four decades in the industry , LeSportsac aims to continue providing the bags consumers need for an active lifestyle while simultaneously focusing on sustainable, eco-friendly development. + LeSportsac Images via LeSportsac

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LeSportsac’s ReCycled collection uses recycled water bottles

Sanikind kickstarts refillable hand sanitizer bottle project

July 17, 2020 by  
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Hand sanitizer has become an essential part of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, but its environmental impact via  plastic waste  increases with each empty bottle. As a consumer, it’s frustrating wanting to do the right thing for the planet, but being unable to get the hand sanitizer you need without contributing to plastic pollution. Enter Sanikind, a sustainable solution for portable and conveniently refillable hand sanitizer. Sanikind’s widely popular Kickstarter campaign, which ends on July 24, has over 4,000 backers funding over $200,000 to the project. This support shows how many people feel frustrated about plastic pollution, and it’s not hard to see why. Sanikind offers a simple solution to alleviate  pollution  and plastic waste problems. The Sanikind spray bottle, useful for both hands and surfaces, provides around 250 sprays. When sprays run out, simply refill the one-ounce container with more sanitizer from the endlessly recyclable aluminum refill bottle. Each spray bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic, sourcing manufacturing materials from the waste stream and creating a reduced waste circle. Related:  Discarded COVID-19 masks are now littering seas and oceans “We developed Sanikind because you shouldn’t have to choose between clean hands and clean oceans,” said Miles Pepper, Sanikind co-founder. “Experts believe COVID-19 has set us back 10 years in terms of reducing plastic consumption and use. Our Kickstarter supporters can help prevent millions of tiny plastic hand sanitizer bottles from ending up in our oceans, which are already being clogged by single-use coronavirus-related waste.” Sanikind knows the list of items you need when leaving the house has grown during the pandemic: wallet or purse, phone, keys, mask and sanitizer. With this in mind, Sanikind includes an easy to use carabiner with each bottle of Sanikind. Conveniently attach it to your keys, purse or backpack, so it’s always on hand, for your hands. In addition to providing a sustainable solution for an urgent problem, the project also employs U.S. distillery workers who manufacture according to WHO and FDA guidelines. This isn’t the first product from Pepper, who already has another well-received product under his young belt. According to the company, “Sanikind was co-founded by 25-year-old serial entrepreneur Miles Pepper, the inventor and co-founder of FinalStraw, which raised almost $2 million dollars on Kickstarter in 2018 and went on to be featured on Shark Tank and ship hundreds of thousands of units to consumers. When Coronavirus hit, Pepper immediately mobilized to create Disinfect Connect, putting distillery-made disinfectant in the hands of 32,000+ frontline healthcare workers, first responders and nursing home staff.” Available this fall, Sanikind can be purchased as you need it, or as a subscription. All shipments are 100% plastic-free, and Sanikind will offset its carbon footprint . + Sanikind Images via Sanikind

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Sanikind kickstarts refillable hand sanitizer bottle project

Gomi portable chargers repurpose plastic waste and batteries

April 16, 2020 by  
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Not all plastic is recyclable. In the UK, flexible plastic consisting of plastic bags, bubble wrap and pallet wrap are not accepted by local councils for recycling. Each year, the world produces 150 billion kilos of flexible plastics with the potential to pollute the environment (about 1.2 billion comes from the UK where Gomi is based). The company goes even further to raise awareness for a different type of  pollution : batteries. There are over three billion batteries produced every year, and the global demand is only growing. While both single-use and rechargeable batteries, such as lithium and button batteries, are recyclable, not all areas have access to recycling. Gomi works directly with food wholesalers, businesses and individuals around the Brighton area “intercepting” unrecyclable plastic waste before it’s sent to landfills.  Battery  cells are gathered from local manufacturers and battery suppliers who are unable to use the batteries due to misprints or cosmetic irregularities. The Gomi portable chargers are powered by repurposed batteries and made of 100% non-recyclable  plastic . Chargers measure 12 cm x 8 cm x 2.5 cm and weigh just under 10 ounces. Related: These marbled Bluetooth speakers are made from non-recyclable plastic waste The lightweight, pocket-sized 12,000mAh portable charger can charge two separate devices at a time, with the capacity for three to six full charges to your smartphone (depending on type). The manufacturing process leaves a colorful marbling style that is unique to each charger. Gomi doesn’t stop there when it comes to recycling; all of the device’s parts are designed to be modular and easily removed to melt into new components for other products. The return service is free for customers to ensure that each charger comes back to the company at the end of its life to be recycled without losing any material value. The company hopes to work with jewelers in the future to extract metals from the circuit boards of its products as well. The project’s  Kickstarter , which went live on March 31, 2020, raised nearly $30,000 as of April 13 — more than four times its original goal. + Gomi

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Gomi portable chargers repurpose plastic waste and batteries

Glowing Wishing Pavilion is made with 5,000 recycled plastic bricks

April 13, 2020 by  
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To celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival of 2019, Hong Kong-based studio Daydreamers Design crafted a glowing lantern-inspired pavilion that also raises awareness of environmental issues. Dubbed the Wishing Pavilion, the temporary installation was constructed from 5,000 bricks made of recycled high-density polyethylene, the same type of plastic commonly used in water bottles. Manufactured in seven colors, the plastic bricks created a gradient evocative of a flame, an effect enhanced by the use of sound effects, music and LED lights at night. Commissioned by the Government of Hong Kong, the Wishing Pavilion served as the anchor pavilion for the “Mid-Autumn Lantern Displays 2019” at the Victoria Park Soccer Pitch No. 1, Causeway Bay from September 13 to September 27, 2019. Daydreamers Design created the pavilion as an evolution of its 2019 “Rising Moon” project, which also called attention to environmental issues. The pavilion’s 5,000 recycled plastic bricks are arranged to form a rounded, lantern-like structure stretching 18 meters in diameter and 6 meters tall, with no foundation work needed. The modular design allowed the designers to swiftly assemble the pavilion in just 12 days.  Related: 30,000 recycled water bottles make up this 3D-printed pavilion The pavilion’s lantern-like shape references two Mid-Autumn Festival traditions: releasing candle-lit lanterns with people’s wishes written on the sides into the night sky and burning tall, purpose-built structures for good luck and good harvests. Unlike these practices, Daydreamers Design’s eco-friendly pavilion is fire-free. The recycled plastic bricks were stacked to create a flame-like gradient ranging from yellow to red. The stacks also form a double-helix layout centered on a “burning lantern” sculpture. The pavilion opens up with a 7.5-meter circular skylight to frame the full harvest moon. “Mid-Autumn Festival, falling on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, is when the families reunite to celebrate autumn harvests, light up lanterns and admire the bright moon of the year,” the designers explained. “The rituals and celebration continued for 2000 years; the famous poem by Li Bai signifies the value and meaning of Mid-Autumn Festival. Wishing Pavilion intends to embrace the tradition, recall the harmonious union and raise awareness to today’s social challenge.” + Daydreamers Design Images via Daydreamers Design

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Glowing Wishing Pavilion is made with 5,000 recycled plastic bricks

UK bees and wildflowers thrive during lockdown

April 13, 2020 by  
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While humans stay at home and the workforce cuts back to only those who provide essential services, mowing the verges along roadsides in the U.K. is not a top priority. This coronavirus -induced oversight may prove to be beneficial for the U.K.’s bees, butterflies, bats and wildflowers. Much of the U.K.’s natural meadows have long been converted to housing estates and farmland, so the country’s 700 wildflower species find few places to grow freely. Roadside verges — narrow grassy strips along the highways — are a last haven and home to about 45% of U.K. flora. Related: Planting wildflower strips across crop fields could slash pesticide use The lockdown coincidentally benefits a campaign by Plantlife , a wild plant conservation charity. Its road verge campaign calls on officials to reduce the cutting schedule from four cuts per year to only two. As Plantlife’s website points out, the U.K. has 238,000 hectares of road verges but only 85,000 hectares of wild grassland. “It’s a real opportunity for verges to flower again, some for the first time,” Trevor Dines, Plantlife’s botanical specialist, told The Guardian. “If the lockdown ends in late May, drivers will see great swaths of oxeye daisies and ladies bedstraw.” Various councils around the U.K. have already delayed or scaled back mowing, including Flintshire in Wales, Somerset in southwest England, Newcastle in the northeast and Lincolnshire in eastern England. These areas can expect explosive wildflower displays this spring, featuring oxeye daisy, wild carrot, yellow rattle, betony, meadow crane’s-bill, greater knapweed, harebell and other varieties that will thrill pollinators like butterflies, bees and bats. “This will certainly be good for pollinators,” said Dines, who is also a beekeeper. “Last year, we already saw improvement in the areas where councils were cutting less. I had my best ever year for honey.” Colorful flowers will also boost mental health . “People are desperate for wildlife and colour right now. Let’s see what the public response is. For lots of commuters, myself included, verges are the only chance to see wild plants.” Via The Guardian Image via Phil Gayton

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UK bees and wildflowers thrive during lockdown

Floating ICEBERG creatively confronts global warming

March 26, 2020 by  
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In summer 2019, a surprising sight popped up on a New Hampshire lake — ICEBERG, a floating, iceberg-shaped pavilion made of locally sourced wood and recycled plastic. Created to raise awareness on the issue of polar ice melt, the temporary installation was the work of  Bulot+Collins , an international architecture firm that guided over a hundred Beam Campers to build the project on-site. The environmental installation also doubled as a play space with a resting area for sunbathing and a staircase that leads to a diving platform.  ICEBERG was designed and built for  Beam Camp , a summer camp in Strafford, New Hampshire that teaches campers hands-on skills and creative thinking through large-scale collaborative projects selected through an annual worldwide design competition. In 2019, Bulot+Collins’ ICEBERG project was chosen and built in three weeks by 104 campers between the ages of 10 to 17.  Located in the middle of Willy Pond, the 700-square-foot ICEBERG pavilion features a slanted wood frame buoyed by a series of empty barrels. The structure is covered in locally sourced plywood panels clad in recycled HDPE tiles manufactured on-site by the campers with a process exclusively developed by the architects for the project. Recycled plastic was melted and molded into triangular shapes and then covered in a mix of resin and thermochromic paint to simulate the appearance of a melting iceberg : the hundreds of tiles turn from different shades of blue in the cold to a polar white in the heat.  Related: ICEBERGS immerse visitors in a beautiful underwater world in Washington, D.C. In addition to its striking visual appearance, ICEBERG served as a play space with a sunbathing area and a 10-foot-tall diving platform. “As architects accustomed to working in an environment where the designer, the client and the users are often three distinct parties, we were stimulated to have the future users play an active role in the building process of the project,” note the architects. “This blurring of boundaries familiarized campers with the subtle implications of building a space, and allowed them to evolve in a structure that they constructed with their own hands.” + Bulot+Collins Images via Bulot+Collins

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Floating ICEBERG creatively confronts global warming

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