Can Florida save its prized Everglades from climate change destruction?

March 19, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Can Florida save its prized Everglades from climate change destruction?

Half of all Floridians will live underwater by the end of the century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s predictions . In her disheartening article in The Guardian , researcher and author of Rising, Elizabeth Grant instructs Floridians to flip a coin – tails and your home is headed under the sea. Overpopulation, unsustainable development and sea level rise also threaten to destroy Florida’s famous Everglades, but the newly elected Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, is an unexpected champion of its restoration. The Everglades are an expansive wetland preserve in Southern Florida that originally spanned millions of acres. Since European settlers arrived, the wetlands were rapidly drained and filled to make way for farms, roads and housing. Now, 1.5 million acres remain protected in the Everglades National Park, which is home to incredible biodiversity, such as “mangrove forests and cypress swamps, alligators, orchids, storks and ibises, as well as threatened species such as the Florida panther,” according to  The Guardian Related: Meet Squid: Key West’s solar-powered boat for dolphin tours Florida’s history of wetland destruction Changes to the landscape, including draining, paving and building, as well as carving out agricultural lands, have damaged the wetland’s sensitive ecology. The amount of water flowing into the wetland had already been cut in half by the 1960’s and is currently a third of what it used to be. Fresh water from Lake Okeechobee, its main source, has largely been rerouted to irrigate farms and re-enter the wetlands full of agricultural chemicals. Steve Davis, senior ecologist from the Everglades Foundation explained to The Guardian , “We only get about a third of the water in the eastern Florida Bay that we received historically. A national park, a world heritage site, an international biosphere reserve, and we’re starving it of fresh water.” These changes in water circulation not only introduce synthetic nutrients that kill wildlife and produce toxic algae blooms, but an overall decrease in water, exacerbated by drought and sea level rise, also changes the water salinity. In 2015, a decline in rainfall caused the water to be twice as salty as the ocean, leading to rapid die-off of its expansive sea grass, which caused a domino-effect die-off of the hundreds of species that live and breed in sea grass beds. Recent changes to a fragile ecosystem In 2017, Category 4 Hurricane Irma tore through and uprooted the mangroves – an ecosystem typically celebrated for its fortitude and ability to protect infrastructure during storms. Without mangrove roots and sea grass beds to stabilize the sediment, what used to be a mecca for birdwatching, fishing and buggy tours is now what The Guardian’s Oliver Milman calls a “mud pit.” “The water used to be so clear you could see the seagrass move back and forth. Now you can’t see the bottom. The dead water sort of moves around the bay and you think ‘I’ve just gotta get out of here,’” a seasoned fisherman lamented to Milman . Related: Can the Cayman Islands save the Caribbean’s remaining coral reefs? An unexpected green champion – for some In January 2019, Florida elected a new governor: Ron DeSantis, a self-proclaimed “conservative warrior” and Trump bestie . In just two months in office, DeSantis released a progressive $250-billion plan to restore the Everglades and invest in water quality remediation infrastructure. Though DeSantis’s predecessor, Rick Scott, set the bar pretty low in terms of green policy (he reportedly banned the phrase “climate change” ), environmentalists are generally hopeful about DeSantis’s commitment. “Our water and natural resources are the foundation of our economy and our way of life in Florida,” Governor DeSantis said in a news release . “The protection of water resources is one of the most pressing issues facing our state.” The four-year plan, “Achieving More Now for Florida’s Environment ,” designates $625 million per year to address water pollution, restore ecosystems and raise the Tamiami Trail, a highway that traverses the Everglades and cuts off water circulation. Annual Budget Breakdown: $360 million for Everglades restoration, such as creating a reservoir and raising the highway to allow water to flow beneath it $175 million for targeted water quality remediation infrastructure, monitoring and treatment $50 million to restore natural springs $40 million to develop alternate water supplies and reduce water drawn from Everglade sources Many Democrats, however, believe the proposed budget is still too modest and needs to be reassessed. In 2000, a similar “Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan” passed Congress with ambitions to redirect freshwater and reduce sea water incursion. In the nearly 20 years since the bill passed, the crisis of sea level rise had become far more serious. The Guardian reports that the sea level is now three inches above the 1993 average and future levels are a “moving target.” A more comprehensive restoration plan, conservationists argue , would need to consider the worst-case predictions. Still, the new plan provides one billion dollars more than the budget from previous years, which is a welcomed, albeit insufficient, increase in much needed investment. “This is not a partisan issue,” DeSantis said in a news release . “This is something that Floridians from all walks of life and political persuasions think needs to be done. I look forward to working with the Legislature on bringing this into fruition and getting the job done for the people of this state.” Via The Guardian Images via Shutterstock 

More: 
Can Florida save its prized Everglades from climate change destruction?

Can the Caymans save the Caribbean’s remaining coral reefs?

February 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Can the Caymans save the Caribbean’s remaining coral reefs?

A rehabilitation program for coral reef species has proven to be successful for an ongoing project to combat a massive disease spreading throughout the Cayman’s pillar coral species, according to the Department of the Environment in the Cayman Islands. The rapidly spreading disease, called “white band disease”, was first noticed on a famous dive site called the Killer Pillars in February 2018. It has ravaged pillar coral throughout the Caribbean and destroyed almost 90 percent of the species along the Florida coast. Scientists in the Cayman Islands removed diseased coral from the reef and selected healthy fragments to grow in a nursery. They later planted healthy coral back onto the reef, in hopes the fragments became resilient enough to resist the disease and build back the reef. Though the project is still an experiment, the results look promising thus far and can have wide implications on how other islands respond to this disease throughout the region. The Caribbean already lost 80 percent of all coral reefs Throughout the world, coral reefs are seriously vulnerable and rapidly dying. Reefs are thought to host the most biodiversity of any ecosystem in the world– even more than a rainforest . Despite their importance, reefs are critically vulnerable to small changes in the environment. Slight increases in ocean temperature cause widespread die-off throughout Caribbean and Pacific reefs. Additional threats include pollution, over fishing and run-off of nitrogen from farms that fertilize algae and causes it to smother reefs. Abandoned fishing gear also wreaks havoc on reefs and creates an opportunity for disease. “Fishing line not only causes coral tissue injuries and skeleton damage, but also provides an additional surface for potential pathogens to colonize, increasing their capacity to infect wounds caused by entangled fishing line,” says Dr. Joleah Lamb from the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Coral reefs are home to nearly 25 percent of all marine species and sustain the fishing industry. They are paramount to Caribbean economies and are an important defense for small islands and coastal communities during hurricanes . Evidence shows their structures reduce damaging wave energy by nearly 97 percent . Also, reefs attract dive tourists and help build beaches by breaking down into sand. Experiments such as the one in the Cayman Islands are critically important for ensuring the reefs that do remain, are healthy and functioning. How does the project in the Cayman Islands work? Along with marine scientists from the U.K. and U.S., coral experts from the Department of the Environment removed diseased coral from the reef in order to stem the alarming spread of the disease. They then cut segments of healthy coral to regrow in nurseries. Coral nurseries, a growing trend in coral restoration, are structures constructed in clean, sandy sections of the ocean floor. Scientists attach healthy coral fragments to the simple structures, often made out of PVC pipe, and monitor them as they grow in a safe environment. Once the corals are strong, healthy and considerably larger in size than the original fragments, the scientists plant them back onto the original reef or select new sites to start a reef. Related: Using nature to build resilient communities Coral nurseries are popping up around the Caribbean Impressively, 100 percent of the coral fragments in the Department of Environment’s nursery survived. Coral nurseries are a restoration technique popular throughout the Caribbean basin, including Bonaire, Curacao, Grenada, the Virgin Islands and many restoration and research laboratories in Florida. Disease is still a threat After their successful growth in the nursery, 81 percent of the fragments re-planted were still alive after five months. This is a considerable success rate given the threats these corals face. However, 23 percent of the planted fragments also showed signs of the relentless “white band disease” (Acroporid white syndrome). Researchers have not given up hope and recognize that if kept contained, disease can be a natural part of ecosystems. “We do know that diseases have their seasons, they come and go, they are vigorous for a while and then they die back, and at that point we have to see some kind of coral colony recovery,” Tim Austin, Deputy Director of the Department of Environment, told Cayman 27 News . “We are monitoring it and we are hoping to have a better handle on how this disease progresses.” In addition to techniques such as reducing marine debris, pollution and establishing protected conservation zones around reefs, coral salvage projects are an important technique to ensure that Caribbean’s the remaining corals survive. “If longer-term monitoring results prove equally successful, the salvage, relocation and restoration of actively diseased coral colonies could become an everyday tool in the restoration toolbox of coral reef managers,” the Department of Environment reported . Via Yale 360 Image via Shutterstock

The rest is here: 
Can the Caymans save the Caribbean’s remaining coral reefs?

ODA to transform Rotterdams historic post office into a vibrant destination

February 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Comments Off on ODA to transform Rotterdams historic post office into a vibrant destination

After sitting vacant for over a decade, Rotterdam’s former Central Post Office, the Postkantoor, will soon undergo an extraordinary transformation into a vibrant, mixed-use destination. Designed by ODA New York , the adaptive reuse project will span 58,000 square meters and sensitively restore the building’s early 20th century architecture while injecting new programming ranging from retail to a five-star hotel. ODA will work in close collaboration with local architecture firm Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau in addition to Omnam Investment Group to create POST Rotterdam, a civic hub that’s slated to begin construction in 2019. Built in 1916, Rotterdam’s former Central Post Office is one of the only original structures left standing after the 1940 Rotterdam Blitz that decimated much of the city’s historic core. ODA New York was tapped to revive the building with a mixed-use design that mixes new construction with preservation efforts, from the new 150-meter tower that will rise at the rear of the Postkantoor to the restoration of the dramatically vaulted 1916 Great Hall, which will serve as the project’s public heart. Public amenities will reactivate the building’s curbside appeal and include retail, gallery spaces, restaurants and cafes woven throughout the hall and courtyard spaces. A five-star hotel operated by Kimpton will take over the upper floors that formerly housed the Post Office’s telegraph and telephone services. The renovated Postkantoor will be accessible from every side and not only offer open sight lines to the Coolsingel and Rodezand streets, but also serve as a bustling city hub and connection between Rotterdam Centraal to Markthal. Related: This floating park in Rotterdam is made from recycled plastic waste “We believe that it’s time for the POST to stand not only as a memory, but also as an expression of the strength of Rotterdam today as a vibrant, connected, center of culture, renewal, and quality of life. We believe that the hidden treasures that it holds should be shared by all citizens,” says Eran Chen, Executive Director at ODA. “The POST tower is a reinterpretation of both urban living and the Post Office’s architectural assets, extending the elegance of the main hall through to the tower. This modern addition to the Ensemble Buildings in the Coolsingel district is based on an extremely rigorous investigation combined with the expertise gained over two years working with city partners.” + ODA New York Images by Forbes Massie via ODA New York

Read more:
ODA to transform Rotterdams historic post office into a vibrant destination

New research shows an organic diet shrinks pesticide exposure

February 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on New research shows an organic diet shrinks pesticide exposure

The bad news isn’t news to many — eating a conventional diet leads to pesticide buildup. But a new study published in Environmental Research reveals surprisingly good news. Switching to an all-organic diet quickly and significantly reduced synthetic pesticide levels in study participants. After six days of an all-organic diet, their pesticide and pesticide metabolite levels dropped by an average of 60.5 percent. Four American families of different races participated in the study, titled Organic Diet Intervention Significantly Reduces Urinary Pesticide Levels in U.S. Children and Adults . The families lived in Atlanta, Baltimore, Minneapolis and Oakland. Related: Is a flexitarian diet right for you? The most significant finding was a huge drop in levels of organophosphates, insecticides that are commonly used in agriculture , gardening and household products, such as roach spray. Farm workers often administer them when growing apples, peaches, strawberries, spinach, potatoes and other common crops. The study showed a 95 percent drop in the organophosphate malathion, a probable human carcinogen linked to brain damage in children. Levels of pesticides associated with endocrine disruption, autism, adverse reproductive effects, thyroid disorders, lymphoma and other serious health issues dropped between 37 and 83 percent after a week of all-organic eating. “This study shows that organic works,” said study co-author Kendra Klein, PhD, senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth. “We all have the right to food that is free of toxic pesticides . Farmers and farmworkers growing our nation’s food and rural communities have a right not to be exposed to chemicals linked to cancer, autism and infertility. And the way we grow food should protect, not harm, our environment. We urgently need our elected leaders to support our farmers in making healthy organic food available for all.” The study’s authors are affiliated with the University of California at San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Friends of the Earth U.S. and the Commonweal Institute. Friends of the Earth is urging the U.S. Congress to pass a bill to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that causes brain damage in children. In 2017 under President Trump, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reversed its proposed ban on chlorpyrifos. + Friends of the Earth Image via Paja1000

Here is the original post:
New research shows an organic diet shrinks pesticide exposure

Gorgeous new Apple store is powered entirely by renewable energy in Paris

January 3, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Gorgeous new Apple store is powered entirely by renewable energy in Paris

The latest Apple store designed by Foster + Partners has opened in a beautifully renovated 19th-century building on Paris’s Champs-Élysées. Powered with 100 percent renewable energy, Apple Champs-Élysées draws energy from the photovoltaic panels integrated into its kaleidoscopic roof light and collects rainwater for reuse in the bathrooms and irrigation systems. Described by Apple as the tech company’s “grandest Forum,” the retail location blends historic architecture with contemporary design in a light-filled setting filled with greenery. Located on the corner of Champs-Élysées and Rue Washington, Apple Champs-Élysées is housed within a Haussmann-era apartment building. In addition to the careful restoration of the 19th-century facade and entryway, Foster + Partners also extended original materials—such as the exterior Burgundy stone and French oak parquet flooring—throughout the building to achieve an appearance the firm describes as a “Parisian apartment.” The entryway, which branches off to display spaces on either side, leads to the recently revived courtyard flanked with large mature trees and bathed in daylight. Above, the kaleidoscopic solar roof light is fitted with mirrored pyramids that reflect dappled sunlight into the interior. The original timber and marble scalier d’honneur (grand staircase) connects the ground floor to the floors above, where rooms are equipped with balconies opening onto the Champs-Élysées.   Related: Dramatic fountain and plaza define Foster + Partners’ newest Apple Store in Milan “This is one of the most unique Apple Flagships in the world, located along the world’s most beautiful avenue,” Stefan Behling, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners said. “In true Parisian style it is rich in texture and envelopes a range of experiences that stimulate your senses. This is emblematic of the idea of juxtaposition that runs throughout the interior spaces, bringing together the historic and contemporary, interior and exterior, and ground and sky. As a place that inspires creativity, I love the fact that this was previously home to the aviation genius Alberto Santos-Dumont.” + Foster + Partners Images by Nigel Young

More here: 
Gorgeous new Apple store is powered entirely by renewable energy in Paris

MAD Architects to transform an ancient Chinese courtyard into a kindergarten with a "floating roof"

November 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on MAD Architects to transform an ancient Chinese courtyard into a kindergarten with a "floating roof"

Beijing-based design practice MAD Architects has broken ground on the Courtyard Kindergarten, a striking adaptive reuse project that transform a traditional siheyuan courtyard from the 1700s into the site of a creative and colorful kindergarten. Located in Beijing, the project aims to preserve the cultural heritage of the site while injecting fresh life through the addition of new structures, including a “dynamic floating roof” that surrounds the historic courtyard. As with many of the firm’s projects, the design features curvaceous elements and is evocative of a Martian landscape. “There is a saying in old Beijing when children are naughty: ‘if you go three days without being punished, the roof will cave in,’” said MAD principal Ma Yansong of one of the inspirations behind the eye-catching rooftop , a place the firm describes as “full of magic — a playful escape for the children that is a symbol of freedom and endless imagination.” Designed as the primary space for children to engage in outdoor sports and activities, the multicolored floating roof will curve around the siheyuan’s existing hipped roofs and tree canopy and will also feature an undulating landscape of several small ‘hills’ and ‘plains.’ Classrooms, a library, a small theater and a gymnasium will be located below the roof in a new building with an open-plan layout that’s surrounded by walls of glass to let in ample natural light as well as views of greenery and the historic buildings next door. The building will also wrap around three existing ancient trees, creating miniature courtyards where children can connect with nature. The Courtyard Kindergarten will accommodate 400 children between the ages of two and five. Related: A 650-foot-long running track tops this space-saving elementary school in China The design aims to reconcile new and old elements, from the existing modern building on-site that was built in the 1990s to the nearly 400-year-old courtyard. Having just broke ground this month, the Courtyard Kindergarten is expected to be completed and operational in the fall of 2019. + MAD Architects Images via MAD Architects

Go here to see the original:
MAD Architects to transform an ancient Chinese courtyard into a kindergarten with a "floating roof"

Worlds largest Victorian glasshouse receives a glorious restoration

September 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Worlds largest Victorian glasshouse receives a glorious restoration

After five years of restoration work, the iconic Temperate House recently reopened to the public, bringing with it an astounding 10,000 plants — many of which are rare and threatened. Designed by Decimus Burton and completed in 1899, the Temperate House is the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse and the iconic landmark of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew . To restore the building back to its full glory, Donald Insall Associates was called upon to sensitively renovate the greenhouse and insert modern technology for improved plant cultivation and care. Appointed as the conservation architects in 2012, Donald Insall Associates was tasked with improving the Temperate House for the enjoyment of the public and creating the “best possible conditions for plants.” This included optimizing air flow standards and lighting levels. During the renovation process — the largest in Kew’s history — all botanical specimens were removed save for nine trees considered too significant to risk moving. The structure was then thoroughly cleaned and then fastidiously repainted, while advancements such as new glazing and mechanical ventilation systems were put in place. The Temperate House reopened to the public on May 5, 2018. The massive greenhouse consists of 1,500 species spanning different temperate regions around the world from the Mediterranean and Africa to Asia and island floras. Meanwhile, both the internal and external landscaping have been improved with interpretation facilities and a new dedicated education space on site. Related: Wolfgang Buttress’ Hive is brought back to life in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew “The restoration of the Temperate House has been a complex and immensely rewarding project, recalibrating contemporary understanding of Victorian architecture and the development of past innovations,” said Aimée Felton, lead architect on the project. “New glazing, mechanical ventilation systems, path and bedding arrangements all took their founding principles from Decimus Burton’s own drawings, held within Kew’s archives.” + Donald Insall Associates Via ArchDaily Images by Gareth Gardner, Thomas Erskine

Go here to read the rest:
Worlds largest Victorian glasshouse receives a glorious restoration

Harvest your own produce at this solar-powered wellness retreat

September 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Harvest your own produce at this solar-powered wellness retreat

The Inn at Moonlight Beach, located near San Diego, puts a fresh spin on wellness retreats . The inn was built with the WELL Building Standards in mind, a practice that focuses on improving the well-being of guests. Here’s a look at how the inn, redesigned and renovated by architect Shangwen Kennedy and husband Mike, is the perfect destination for your next vacation. The Inn at Moonlight Beach was constructed from reclaimed lumber and other recycled building materials. The inn is powered by solar panels , which output 90 percent of the building’s electricity. The owners also installed high-quality air and water filtration systems, as well as other environmentally conscious features, without sacrificing the comfort and well-being of guests. Related: Truly get away from it all at this gorgeous eco-resort and yoga retreat The inn has a few gorgeous shared spaces located in the main building. This includes a common room that features a book wall and dining area. Guests can enjoy bountiful fruits and vegetables in the common room, as well as ready-made breakfast baskets. After enjoying a fresh meal, guests can spend some time at the inn’s yoga studio, which offers lush garden views. Of course, they can also take a short walk to the nearby beach or explore the shops and cafes in the local town of Encinitas. The guestrooms are just as bright and inviting as the common areas. Each room features open spaces with fresh-cut flowers to make every guest feel at home. The rooms are also equipped with sitting areas, baths, modern amenities and decks that overlook the gardens below. The biodynamic gardens do more than just grace the perimeter of the inn. In addition to lending a vibrant area to view the ocean , the garden’s plants provide fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables for the establishment. The flowers are used to welcome guests in every room. The herbs are used for hot teas, and guests have full access to fruits and veggies whenever they need nourishment. + Inn at Moonlight Beach Images via Inn at Moonlight Beach

View original here:
Harvest your own produce at this solar-powered wellness retreat

Earth911 Podcast, Sep. 3, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — Land Restoration with Adam Sachs

September 3, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco

Comments Off on Earth911 Podcast, Sep. 3, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — Land Restoration with Adam Sachs

Adam Sachs, Executive Director of Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, … The post Earth911 Podcast, Sep. 3, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — Land Restoration with Adam Sachs appeared first on Earth911.com.

Originally posted here:
Earth911 Podcast, Sep. 3, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — Land Restoration with Adam Sachs

Midcentury, Scandinavian-inspired Canadian chalet gets a spectacular renovation

July 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Midcentury, Scandinavian-inspired Canadian chalet gets a spectacular renovation

An aging chalet in Canada that was facing demolition has been completely turned around thanks to a stunning renovation led by Montreal-based design studio Alain Carle Architecte . Originally built in the 1960s, the Maribou Residence features midcentury Scandinavian architectural influences—no doubt inspired by the rise of Alvar Aalto’s reputation during that time period. Enamored with the home’s history, the clients wanted to conserve the home’s original character while modernizing its appearance. When Alain Carle Architecte was approached for the project, the rural house had fallen into a serious state of disrepair, with several insulation and structural problems. The clients, who saw the renovation as their retirement project, sought to completely restore the home as well as the original Scandinavian -inspired design that had been obscured by past renovations. In addition to renovating and reinforcing the building envelope, the architects replaced the former flat roof with a pitched roof to emphasize the “Scandinavian essence” and to comply with local by-laws that required a pitched roofline. Another major change was the reconfiguration of the main entrance, which was relocated from the first floor to the ground floor for a shorter distance from the parking pad. The interior features a minimalist redesign with mostly white walls paired with pale timber floors and colorful furnishings. Related: A 1960s Swiss chalet is transformed into a whimsical off-grid home “For the interior, the strong elements represented by the big stone wall and the singular railing were conserved in their entirety and restored to context in a more contemporary composition,” adds Alain Carle Architecte. “The new volumetry, freeing more space in the master bedroom, will allow the addition of new fenestration opening on the landscape. On the main floor, new openings will also be made to finally give a view of the rocky landscape from the kitchen. The residence, which previously had a ‘back room’ exclusively orientated to the distant view, will then offer a multitude of framings of different landscape scales.” + Alain Carle Architecte Images via Raphael Thibodeau

Read more from the original source: 
Midcentury, Scandinavian-inspired Canadian chalet gets a spectacular renovation

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1388 access attempts in the last 7 days.