Tourists could spread COVID-19 to gorillas in East Africa

February 18, 2021 by  
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A study by researchers at Oxford Brookes University shows that tourists may be spreading COVID-19 to gorillas in the wild. The study was carried out through an analysis of about 1,000 photos from Instagram posts. The researchers noted that tourists were taking photos too close to gorillas, a situation that may lead to disease transmission. Most of the photos analyzed were from people visiting mountain gorillas in East Africa. “The risk of disease transmission between visitors and gorillas is very concerning,” said Gaspard Van Hamme, lead author and Oxford Brookes University Primate Conservation alumnus. “It is vital that we strengthen and enforce tour regulations to ensure gorilla trekking practices do not further threaten these already imperiled great apes.” Related: 2 gorillas at the San Diego Zoo test positive for COVID-19 The researchers’ concerns draw from the fact that apes have been infected by the virus from humans before. In January, gorillas at the San Diego Zoo were infected with the virus, which was passed on from their caretakers. Magdalena Svensson, biology lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, noted that most tourists do not wear masks when interacting with the animals . “In the photos we analyzed, we found that face masks were rarely worn by tourists visiting gorillas, and that brings the potential for disease transmission between people and the gorillas they visit,” Svensson said. “With people all over the world getting more used to wearing face masks we have hope that in the future wearing face masks will become common practice in gorilla trekking.” Mountain gorillas are native to East Africa, with the largest population in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. Their population had been on a downward trend due to hunting and other human activities. In recent years, legislation and strict policies have seen the numbers start to climb. Today, there are 1,063 gorillas in the region that must be protected. According to Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka of Conservation Through Public Health, Uganda, the new study shows the need for responsibility from tourists. “This research provides a valuable perspective on how much tourists are willing to share their too-close encounters with mountain gorillas through Instagram, which creates expectations for future tourists,” Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka said. “It highlights a great need for responsible tourism to provide adequate protection while minimizing disease transmission, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic.” + People and Nature Via Oxford Brookes University Image via Thomas Fuhrmann

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Climate change pushes US weather to extremes

February 18, 2021 by  
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Terrible hurricanes in the summer and temperatures now plunging to the lowest they’ve been in decades in much of the U.S. — is all this bad weather just bad luck? Not according to climate scientists, who say this deadly weather is one more sign of climate change . Oklahoma City saw a temperature this week of -14°F, the coldest it’s been since 1899, before Oklahoma was even a state. In Texas, Dallas dropped to -2°F, while southerly Houston and San Antonio got down to 13°F and 12­°F, respectively. In New Orleans, if COVID-19 hadn’t already ruined Mardi Gras, ice would have. Many cities across the U.S. have or are expected to hit record low temperatures this week. Related: Spiders are becoming aggressive thanks to climate change Then, there were power outages galore — more than 4.2 million people without power in Texas alone on Tuesday morning — to make deadly storms even more lethal. In this topsy-turvy world, Texans would be more comfortable right now in Iceland. “There are waves in the jet stream and because of climate change and the warmer air in the Arctic and the largely ice-free Arctic sea, those waves are able to go far south,” said Chris Gloninger, a meteorologist with NBC10 Boston. “So places like Alaska or Iceland, which today is in the low 40s, is warmer than places like Texas, Louisiana or Oklahoma. That’s why we’re seeing these extremes.” Texas is especially vulnerable to the current storms because its main electric grid is separate from the rest of the country. Texas is better known for A/C than for heaters, and this week’s need for cranking up the heat broke the grid, plunging vulnerable Texans into cold and darkness. At least 20 people in the state have died from these conditions. Are we convinced yet? Extreme weather sure is making it harder for climate change deniers to win their arguments, according to Michael E. Mann, author of The New Climate War, as reported by NBCLX . “We really are so close to seeing the action that we need to confront the climate crisis,” Mann said. “But there are still obstacles that have been thrown in our path by the same institutions that were denying climate change years ago. There’s no way to deny it now because people can see it playing out in real time in the form of unprecedented, devastating weather events.” You can find more information on where to donate money or resources to those experiencing these life-threatening cold conditions here and here . Via NBCLX and CNN Image via NOAA ( 1 , 2 )

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The Wild West of plastic credits and offsets

February 8, 2021 by  
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The Wild West of plastic credits and offsets Lauren Phipps Mon, 02/08/2021 – 01:30 This essay first appeared in Circularity Weekly , our free email newsletter. There’s a new kid on the block of sustainability claims being made by businesses: “plastic neutrality.” Thanks to the rise in plastics pledges, an emerging and undefined market for plastic offsets is just beginning to take shape. And, much like the market for carbon offsets, it’s messy.  Fortunately, two resources released last week — a position paper by WWF and a report by The Circulate Initiative (TCI) titled ” A Sea of Plastics Claims and Credits: Steering Stakeholders Towards Impact ” — have taken the first meaningful attempt to assess the landscape of plastic standards, certifications and credit programs — and caution against potential pitfalls as the market develops.  Here are five things to know about the emerging market for plastics credits:  1 . There is no industry standard or definition  WWF defines a plastic credit as a “transferable unit representing a specific quantity of plastic that has been collected and possibly recycled from the environment.” For example, a company that uses virgin plastic to produce PET bottles in California could purchase credits for the equivalent amount of plastic to be collected somewhere else in the world. The new term “plastic neutrality” is being used to convey that a company has offset its “plastic footprint.” Organizations such as rePurpose and The Plastic Bank, as well as third-party organizations such as Verra’s 3RI Initiative, are selling claims to plastics credits in exchange for a financial investment in initiatives to collect plastic from the environment or establish infrastructure to prevent further plastic leakage into waterways and oceans. In the same way that a company’s carbon credit may offset its U.S. emissions through the carbon mitigation associated with a forest planted in Rwanda or a direct air capture project in Canada, a plastic credit could go to paying waste collectors in Bangalore or expanding a plastic processing facility in Indonesia.  According to TCI, 32 plastics claims and crediting programs are in the marketplace. However, there is no formal or standardized definition for plastics crediting, and such claims are inconsistently defined and applied differently from organization to organization. Accordingly, no industry standard or framework exists to determine the credibility of these projects. 2. We’ve seen this movie before The plastics-credit conversation leaves me with a strong feeling of déjà vu. Sustainability practitioners have spent the past couple of decades defining and debating the role of carbon credits in the transition to a clean economy, and plastics credits are not fundamentally different. There’s a lot to be learned from the market mechanisms that carbon credits and renewable energy credits have taught us — both positive and negative — such as prioritizing additionality and focusing on social co-benefits of these projects. 3. The potential for greenwashing is high Plastics crediting schemes are based on the premise that recycling plastic and keeping it out of nature equals success, which is a problem. A laser focus on offsetting business-as-usual fails to account for the importance of source reduction, material standardization and everything else it will take to build a circular economy for plastics. In other words, the whole point is to reduce or eliminate plastic waste, not offset it. In the absence of project transparency, consistent reporting and industry standards, the potential for double-counting credits is high. WWF and CTI both highlight the potential risks associated with misleading claims and call for a focus on additionality to ensure that investments have real impacts (à la renewable energy credits).  [node:field-gbz-pull-quote:0] While the idea of “plastic neutrality” may sound compelling, it’s also important to think about the context. Consider carbon markets again. With the exception of a small handful of companies, such as Microsoft , most organizations that choose to offset their carbon emissions don’t take into account the debt of legacy emissions that they’ve pumped into the atmosphere for decades. The same is true for plastics: A company’s move to offset the production of sachets and bottles going forward doesn’t acknowledge the tons of packaging already in landfills, waterways and oceans.  4. It could drive necessary investment into communities and waste management systems If done right, plastic crediting systems will fund or invest in projects that address global plastic pollution, particularly in places without formal recycling infrastructure. That could bring in necessary investment in waste collection. In the absence of economics to drive market demand for the collection of plastics, the value that brands place in associated claims could help spur market development.  Many of these projects also have a social mission and could support local economic development such as providing fair wages for waste collectors and generating new job opportunities. However, these co-benefits are not guaranteed and it will be important for these projects to work within their local context to support local businesses, waste collector livelihoods and other ongoing initiatives rather than be in competition with them.  5. Plastic credits are not a long-term strategy  We won’t offset our way to a circular economy and plastic-free seas. A systemic problem requires a holistic set of solutions and companies must first prioritize the reduction of plastic waste. They must design out unnecessary materials, transition to using materials that are widely recyclable, use recycled content and prioritize reuse systems. Given that U.S. consumers care more about ocean plastics than they do about climate change, it’s no surprise that companies are seeking ways to claim and communicate their involvement in plastic recovery. And just as carbon offsetting plays a necessary role in the transition to a net-zero economy, so too will plastics offsetting in the transition to a circular economy.  I’ll be paying close attention to how companies fold plastic crediting into their broader packaging strategies — and, I hope, use them as a stepping stone rather than an endpoint.  Pull Quote 32 plastics claims and crediting programs are in the marketplace. However, there is no formal or standardized definition for plastics crediting, and such claims are inconsistently defined and applied differently … Topics Circular Economy Plastic Plastic Waste Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Plastic collectors in the Philippines. Photo courtesy of Plastic Bank

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The daily life of a tree farmer with One Tree Planted

August 21, 2020 by  
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Trees make the world a better place for humans by providing shade, sequestering CO2 , intercepting airborne particles, aiding respiratory health and adding great beauty to this planet we call home. Because trees do so much for us, planting more of them is an eco-strategy touted by many environmental organizations. But what’s it really like spending your workday growing, planting and caring for trees? To find out, we talked to a Zach Clark-Lee, a professional tree farmer who works with the environmental charity One Tree Planted. Founded in 2014, One Tree Planted works on reforestation projects in North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia. Some of its goals are to restore forests after natural disasters, create jobs and enhance biodiversity . The organization figures that it costs approximately $1 to grow and plant a tree, from land prep to maintaining and monitoring the planted tree. So if you have a dollar, you can sponsor a tree through One Tree Planted’s website. Or learn more about planting some trees yourself. Related: Nonprofit plants 80,000 trees in Kenya and Rwanda Here’s what Clark-Lee had to say about working with One Tree Planted. Inhabitat: What and where is your job, and how did you become affiliated with One Tree Planted? Clark-Lee: I work for the Colorado State Forest Service Seedling Nursery in Fort Collins, Colorado as a tree farmer . I took a tour of the nursery while in school, and I immediately fell in love with their mission and passion. I started as a volunteer in 2014 for about 4-5 weeks and then was offered a seasonal position. One year later, I started training to become the container production supervisor. Now, this is not the only hat that I wear. I’m the volunteer coordinator for the nursery, a licensed drone flier, tree planter and tour guide. Giving tours is how I became affiliated with One Tree Planted. I connected with their mission and values right away and then started growing trees for their vast projects. I’ve gotten a significant number of trees in the ground by working with One Tree Planted and have connected with some fantastic people along the way. Inhabitat: What was your motivation behind getting involved in the industry? Clark-Lee: To be completely honest, my motivation at first was completely selfish. I just wanted to be able to work outside. The more I learned during my hands-on experience, the more I realized how important my work and the work of the nursery was. My motivation adapted quickly. While I still love the fact that I get to work outside, I’m driven by a purpose, a want and a need to make our world a better place. Ultimately, I want to ensure my kids and future generations all over the world have a thriving planet to call home. Inhabitat: How many trees do you cultivate yearly? Clark-Lee: We sell roughly 500,000 native trees , perennials, shrubs and grasses every year. These plants have so many different applications such as going to post-fire/flood affected areas, building habitats, erosion control, creating living snow fences and windbreaks and more. Inhabitat: What’s a typical day like for you? Clark-Lee: I arrive at 6:45 in the morning and get our crew rolling for the day. We may be seeding, transplanting, weeding or getting orders ready for distribution. Every day that I’m on the farm, I get to nurture our plants to help others and Mother Nature. The days are long, and sometimes more challenging than others, but I experience a constant rewarding feeling from my work. A feeling that makes me want to get up and do it again day after day. Home is an interesting concept for me. The nursery is really my second residence, and after a long day on the 130-acre farm, I get to go to my  actual  home and spend time with my family. Inhabitat: What happens after you’ve grown the trees, and where do they go? Clark-Lee: We grow and sell trees for many different reasons. Some of our plants are going to areas that may have been impacted by devastating fires or floods . Some may be for habitat rehabilitation and animal corridors that house birds, lions, bobcats, pollinators and more. We also have specific projects for a number of different conservation efforts, like helping reservations restore their land or helping farmers/landowners with windbreaks or living snow fences to better manage their properties. Inhabitat: Do you plant trees yourself? Why? Clark-Lee: Yes, we plant the trees ourselves, mainly to ensure the success, health and beauty of the tree planting. We want our plants to help Colorado and surrounding states be as healthy and prosperous as we all know they can be. We also plant species on our property for seed increase, when seed may be hard to get your hands on. Inhabitat: Where have you planted trees? Clark-Lee: I have started my own plantings on the “High Park” burn scar, just outside of Fort Collins. I saw this site and realized that not many people were planting there. So, I took it upon myself to change that. With the help of One Tree Planted, I was able to purchase the trees from the nursery and get started. Planting is a passion of mine, and I cannot wait for the pandemic to end so that I can return to the forest with my volunteers. Inhabitat: What wild animals have you seen in the field? Clark-Lee: I have seen amazing wildlife , like mountain lions, bobcats, eagles, hawks and owls. Inhabitat: What do you like the most about working in the industry? Clark-Lee: What I like most about working in the industry is the like-minded people I have the opportunity to connect with. Volunteers are truly a different type of breed — an amazing one! They are happy to get out in the hot sun and traverse all kinds of terrain just to put trees in the ground. Volunteers don’t do it for the money, they do it because they are passionate about the cause and want to help. Inhabitat: How long have you done this work, and how long do you plan to do it? Clark-Lee: I have been doing this work for almost 7 years now, and I don’t think I could be any happier doing anything else. I have been able to grow and plant trees for the world’s health and help others find their path in this industry. Inhabitat: What else should readers know about your work? Clark-Lee: Passion is the ultimate driver for my work. If you’re looking for ways to help fight climate change , or get involved in your own community, you can start with planting trees. Get out and volunteer for an hour or two, or 10 hours, or a whole week. Do it until passion slaps you across the face. You might discover something in you that you never knew you had. Inhabitat: What are your hopes for the future of forests, and how does your work contribute to that? Clark-Lee: I hope that I can pass my torch to the future generations with a smile and know that we are in safe hands. I hope that my passion rubs off on people from all walks of life. I want my work to instill hope in others. Trees are the answer, and don’t let anyone forget it. See professional tree planters in action in this video from One Tree Planted. + One Tree Planted Images via Jplenio , George Bakos and Siggy Nowak

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The daily life of a tree farmer with One Tree Planted

Nonprofit plants 80,000 trees in Kenya and Rwanda

March 30, 2020 by  
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The name of global environmental charity One Tree Planted seems excessively modest now, as they’ve just finished planting 80,000 trees in Africa.  Rwanda  got 60,000 new trees, and Kenya got 20,000. In Rwanda, One Tree Planted aimed to boost local farmers’ harvests and incomes by planting coffee seedlings in the Kayonza and Gakenke districts. One Tree partnered with Kula Project to train local farmers in agronomy, technical skills and sustainable practices. Once the  coffee  Arabica seedlings mature, they should provide a sustainable income for up to three decades. This program fits in with a country-led effort to restore 100 million hectares of land in Africa by 2030. One Tree’s work in Kenya aimed to restore part of the Kijabe Forest, which suffers from overgrazing, fires and illegal harvesting. Trees native to this highland mosaic forest, also called Afro-alpine forest, include the African olive and the East African pencil-cedar. Charcoal burning and logging have damaged the forest, eroding soil and frightening people with impending mudslides. Nearly 200,000 people living in the surrounding areas depend on the forest for  water , grazing and wood. Resident wildlife includes leopards, monkeys, dik-diks and buffalo. This work in  Kenya  is part of an ongoing project which uses enrichment planting, avoided  deforestation  and assisted natural regeneration. Enrichment planting means introducing valuable species to degraded forests while retaining existing valuable species and is commonly used in forest management. Avoided deforestation is when “countries receive funding in exchange for literally avoiding and preventing deforestation.” Assisted natural regeneration happens when humans speed up natural processes by planting seedlings and protecting them as they grow. Since its founding in 2014, One Tree Planted has worked in Africa, Asia, North America and South America to restore forests, create jobs and protect  biodiversity . In 2018, the nonprofit planted 1.3 million trees. + One Tree Planted Images via One Tree Planted

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Three prefab modules make up this contemporary rural home

March 30, 2020 by  
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On a 190-hectare working farm near the NSW city of Orange, Australian modular design company Modscape has completed a new prefab home that takes in dramatic landscape views in all directions. An exercise in efficiency, the 225-square-meter residence was constructed in a controlled factory environment and comprises just three modules. Dubbed Project Kangaroobie, the contemporary home combines floor-to-ceiling glazing, a neutral palette of natural materials and a minimalist design to keep focus on the outdoors.  When the Sydney-based clients of Project Kangaroobie approached Modscape, prefabrication was already at the top of their minds. Because their rural property was a four-hour drive from their primary residence, the clients wanted the home to be built in a controlled environment to eliminate weather-related delays and any difficulties in coordinating multiple trades. Related: A prefab home in Sydney celebrates indoor-outdoor living The three-bedroom, two-bedroom home that Modscape designed and built perfectly complements the clients’ rural land both visually and physically. The new modular home stretches across a ridge to follow the natural topography. Vertical Silvertop Ash timber cladding will develop a silvery patina over time and blend the home into its surrounding landscape. The light-filled interior features a neutral palette of warm timber , Scyon-lined walls and ceramic tiles. Project Kangaroobie’s T-shaped plan creates separate wings for living, sleeping and utilities and opens up to outdoor terraces to the west, south and east. The spatial layout also ensures that the living spaces remain clutter-free to preserve sight lines across the home and toward the landscape. The architects noted, “Windows and doors have been positioned to maximize their effect as frames to the landscape: the low wide window which, when seated, frames a view toward the tree line; the enclosed porch (complete with outdoor fireplace and hammock-hanging hooks) is a perfect vantage point for watching the weather roll up the valley; and the window in the living area perfectly captures the spectacular sunsets.” + Modscape Photography by John Madden via Modscape

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Three prefab modules make up this contemporary rural home

Is almond milk bad for the environment?

March 30, 2020 by  
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Almonds are a nutritious and satisfying food source. Not only are the munchable nuts a popular snack , but they are also used in a variety of other consumable products, such as almond butter and almond flour, and can be used in a milk alternative for people with dairy allergies or vegan preferences. Almond milk, a supermarket staple, is used in everything from coffee to baking. But like many other crops, the spotlight has been on whether almonds and the increased demand for almond milk are damaging the environment. How is almond milk produced? It’s important to first understand that almond production is a regional issue. In the United States, California grows nearly every almond in the country and also provides more than 80% of almonds shipped around the world. Needless to say, that level of production affects a significant part of the state’s land, economy and resources. The result is an industry criticized for extreme water consumption and pesticide use. Related: How to choose the healthiest, most sustainable milk alternative Water use in the almond industry The main headline on almonds echoes fears regarding excessive water use. The truth is that farming uses water and a lot of it; almonds are no exception. In fact, a single almond takes about 1.1 gallons of water to produce. However, to put this in perspective, a single pound of beef requires a whopping 1,800 gallons of water , proving that raising cattle is much more resource-intensive than growing almonds. Collectively, meat and dairy production in California uses more water than that of all homes, businesses and government buildings in the entire state. Those figures make choosing almond milk over dairy milk much easier. Farmers realize water is a precious resource, and it’s been a topic of conversation for decades. As a result, California almond producers have spent two decades reducing the amount of water it takes to grow one pound of almonds by 33%. Additionally, they are dedicated to further cutting water usage by another 20% by 2025. Farmers achieve this by targeting water usage where it is needed rather than spraying large areas. Technology is helping, too, with computer-programmed water probes that measure moisture levels in the soil and respond accordingly. Pesticides for growing almonds Another concern centers around the use of pesticides in almond production, as pesticides then end up in the soil and water supply. The answer to this problem is a basic one; simply buy organic . Although the transition has been gradual, an increasing number of almond farmers in California are converting to organic growing methods.  Is our obsession with almond milk killing bees? Then there are the claims that almond milk is killing bees , but almonds are important to bees. Not only is almond nectar the first feast bees have early in the year, but the almond groves support roughly 2 million hives from across the country, making it the world’s largest managed pollination event. With the good comes the bad — pesticides are indeed credited with contributing to colony collapse, enforcing the need to grow and buy organic almonds along with other nuts, fruits and vegetables. Almonds and the economy While California remains cognitive of the potential negative impacts of almond production, the benefits appear to outpace those concerns. As far as the economy goes, The California Agricultural Issues Center says the California almond community delivers significant economic value to the state, including providing 104,000 jobs in the state and boosting GDP by $11 billion. Almond milk’s overall impact on the environment While the discussion of almond production is important to whether almond milk is bad for the environment or not, it’s also critical to realize that most almond milk uses very few almonds. Most almond milks are high in added ingredients, like sugars, artificial flavors and thickeners. Almond milk packaging and transport both have a negative impact, and all of the added ingredients make the nutrition benefits of almond milk questionable at best. You can curb the environmental impact of prepackaged almond milk by making your own at home. There are recipes all over the internet that explain how to do so and even offer twists on the traditional almond flavor by using spices and natural flavorings. So to address the question, “Is almond milk bad for the environment?” the answer is somewhat, but the benefits of a healthy snack producing a healthy economy and a healthy bee population outweigh the water consumption issues. Also remember that almonds offer the same environmental benefits of any other tree, cleaning the air by removing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Plus, the branches offer shade to the soil allowing for better water retention and less evaporation. When the leaves drop, they add nutrients to the soil through natural composting. In all, the carbon footprint is somewhat small, especially compared to conventional dairy, while the economic, nutritional and environmental rewards are high. Images via Pixabay

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Is almond milk bad for the environment?

Compact OffGridBox provides clean drinking water and power where it’s needed most

August 18, 2017 by  
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An Italian company has developed a compact solution for communities that lack access to clean drinking water and electricity – the OffGridBox . Measuring 6x6x6 feet, the container cube features everything necessary to generate, convert and store solar energy , as well as collect, treat and distribute clean drinking water . But the system does have drawbacks – including a $15,000 price point that’s hard to justify in certain corners of the world. Read on to learn how the founders are trying to scale their innovative solution for maximum impact. According to Fast Company, “Founder and CEO Emiliano Cecchini has sold a few of the units, but he worries he’s not yet found the formula to take his invention to scale.” “We’re looking for the next system to scale,” Cecchini told FastCo. “The idea came three years ago and, yeah, we’re kind of struggling to make it bigger. Back in Italy, it’s not easy to find the right financing strategy, mentors, and accelerator programs.” Related: Desert Twins produce drinking water in the driest place on Earth It’s a pity, because OffGridBox has the capability to serve up to 1,500 people per unit, the company says, and that’s without any upgrades. The basic model comes equipped with 12 solar modules, an inverter and battery storage. This system provides enough power to charge 300 battery packs that can each charge three LED lights for four hours and two cell phones, according to FastCo. OffGridBox also has a built-in water filtration system that produces food-quality drinking water, and a built-in storage tank that holds up to 396 gallons. That’s potentially life-changing for communities that lack good infrastructure. The company is persevering with a new model that will charge end users a nominal fee to use the station. “The new model is pay-as-you-go micro-payments, local contractors, and local empowerment,” Cecchini told FastCo. A family of four will pay 12 US cents per day for water, and the battery packs are subsidized by the company. They’re testing this new tactic in Rwanda , where the company plans to install units in 18 villages. Eventually they hope to equip the boxes with Wi-Fi. Head over to FastCo for the full story . + OffGridBox

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Huge circular windows flood Melbourne’s Cirqua Apartments with natural light

August 18, 2017 by  
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Huge circular windows flood the interior of this funky apartment block in Melbourne with natural light. BKK Architects designed the Cirqua Apartments as a series of staggered volumes that reference the region’s historical housing while reinterpreting it in a modern way. The block occupies a steeply sloping site in a residential neighborhood in Melbourne. Its exterior is dominated by huge porthole windows that span almost the full height of the six cubes. The openings bring natural light into the interior and maximize the connection of the project to the surrounding garden. Related: 6,000 Circular Windows Flood Japan’s Kanazawa Library With Light The open-plan interiors feature a lot of natural materials and warm colors, with circular light fittings echoing the circular windows. White walls, marble and wood create a delicate visual balance. Beside its remarkable design features, the project also creates a precedent in the area’s multi-residential market. It was built to appeal to owner-occupiers rather than buy-to-let investors. + BKK Architects Via Dezeen Lead photo by Peter Bennetts

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Huge circular windows flood Melbourne’s Cirqua Apartments with natural light

Africa’s fastest solar power project was built in one year

November 25, 2015 by  
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Rwanda, perhaps best known as a once war-torn nation in the middle of Africa, has garnered the attention of clean energy advocates around the globe for constructing the fastest solar power project on the continent . The solar farm, situated in the famous green hills 37 miles east of the capital, Kigali, has a capacity of 8.5 megawatts (MW), That’s enough energy to power nearly 1,400 homes in the United States. For a rural nation like Rwanda, the same amount of energy has a much broader impact. But it’s not the size of the project that has wowed critics as much as the speed. The entire $24 million solar field went from contracts to connection in just one year. Read the rest of Africa’s fastest solar power project was built in one year

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