The fearless dog who refused to leave his goats during the Santa Rosa wildfire

October 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

It would seem that dogs, in addition to being man’s, are also best friends with goats and deer. Odin, a loyal, headstrong Great Pyrenees who guards his owner’s goat herd, refused to leave their side even when fierce wildfires bore down around his home in Sonoma County, California . “Even under the best of circumstances it is nearly impossible to separate Odin from the goats after nightfall when he takes over the close watch from his sister Tessa,” wrote Roland Tembo Hendel, Odin’s owner. “I made a decision to leave him, and I doubt I could have made him come with us if I tried.” Thankfully, even though buildings around their location burned to the ground, Odin and his goats survived and were even joined by a few adopted baby deer. Around 10:30, Hendel began to smell smoke at his property. About a half hour later, Hendel and his family caught their first glimpse of flames coming into their valley. After Hendel and his family gathered their other dogs and cat into the vehicle, they had to depart without Odin, who refused to leave his goats . “Cars behind us on Mark West Springs Road were pouring flames out of the windows as they roared down the road,” said Hendel of the scene. “Later that morning when we had outrun the fires I cried, sure that I had sentenced Odie to death, along with our precious family of bottle-raised goats.” Related: Frida the rescue dog helps search for survivors after Mexico’s deadly earthquake Hendel and his family were thrilled to return and find their animal companions alive and well. Although every nearby structure had been destroyed, Odin kept his flock safe from harm. “Eight goats came running to see us and get cuddles and kisses. Dixon has a burn on his back the size of a nickel. Other than that they are perfectly fine,” said Hendel. Odin received minor injuries from the fire. The baby deer that joined the herd found both shelter and clean water with the help of their new canine papa. “Odin has lived up to his namesake,” wrote Hendel. “Pray for him and his charges. He is our inspiration. If he can be so fearless in this maelstrom, surely so can we.” Hendel and his family are raising funds, half of every dollar for a replacement trailer for Odin and his goats and half for the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Center . After the trailer has been paid for, all of the proceeds will go to SCWRC. Donations can be made here. Via Treehugger Images via  Roland Tembo Hendel/Facebook

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The fearless dog who refused to leave his goats during the Santa Rosa wildfire

Ai Weiwei installs huge fences in New York City to challenge Trumps border control measures

October 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Ai Weiwei continues to address the refugee crisis through his latest multi-site, multi-media exhibition in New York City . In a campaign against Donald Trump’s border-control measures, the famous Chinese artist and human-rights activist has enclosed spaces throughout New York with gigantic security fences . The project, titled Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, includes a huge golden cage placed in Central Park, and a fence-like enclosure embedded within the Washington Square Arch. In 2016, Weiwei traveled to 23 countries and visited over 40 refugee camps while filming his documentary Human Flow . He chose a proverb from Robert Frost’s poem Mending Wall as the title for this new piece, which continues to explore the theme of borders. Related: Ai Weiwei Uses 1.2 Million LEGO Bricks to Portray 176 Political Prisoners and Exiles The artist worked with New York charity the Public Art Fund to create temporary structures in three locations in New York City. Funded through Kickstarter, the project aims to provoke and further the discussion about Trump’s plans to tighten immigration controls. The large circular gold structure, titled Gilded Cage, was installed on the Doris C Freedman Plaza, just a few minutes away from Trump Tower . The second installation is embedded in the Washington Square Arch as a mirrored passageway in the shape of two joined human figures. In Queens, Weiwei wrapped the Unisphere in Corona Park in mesh netting to create a low-lying fence. The exhibition will run until 11 February 2018, and it also includes several smaller interventions scattered throughout the city. + Ai Weiwei Photos by Jason Wyche via Public Art Fund, NY

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Ai Weiwei installs huge fences in New York City to challenge Trumps border control measures

More than 50% of New York Citys public schools now have gardens

October 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

There’s a food revolution brewing in over half of New York City’s public schools, and it’s not slowing down. Thanks to the local nonprofit GrowNYC , The Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, and Grow to Learn , five boroughs have been established to set up sustainable gardens in public schools. There are now at least 700 gardens across the city, and teachers are witnessing a myriad of changes in the kids who are spending more time outdoors and less time in a “traditional” classroom setting. From container gardens to bottle planters in the classrooms, teachers and the kids are getting creative to grow produce at their schools. Arielle Hartman, School Gardens Coordinator with GrowNYC, said, “I’ve seen teachers grow plants in soda bottles and old shoes or in projector carts with fluorescent lights.” Some of the most popular vegetables and fruit that are being grown include tomatoes , cucumbers, lettuce, eggplant, mint, collard greens, and herbs. At some schools, grapes and strawberries are cultivated, as well. The benefits of school gardening extend beyond the children learning about where their food comes from — which is an important lesson. For many kids, the gardens exist as a place of respite and contemplation. Rodale’s Organic Life reports, “Schools are using these green spaces not only as teaching tools and hands-on laboratories for math and science, they’ve also become arenas for social and emotional growth, particularly for students who may not do well in the traditional classroom environment, as well as serving as a respite for teachers and administrators.” As a result of improved emotional well-being among the student body, teachers are witnessing a reduction in behavioral issues . Julie Walsh, Assistant Director at GrowNYC, said, “Behavioral issues are dramatically reduced when kids are exposed to nature and to this kind of real sensory and experimental learning that the natural world offers.” Research presented at the 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition supports this observation. It noted that green schoolyards — which are bursting with nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables — provide children, families and their communities a “healthy environment ” for relaxation and play. Related: The Garden School is a New Green-Roofed Learning Facility for China Walsh says that by partnering with agencies, such as the Parks Department and the Department of Education, the challenge of introducing gardens into schools was made much easier. “Historically, one of the challenges for successful and sustainable school garden models has been a lack of coordination,” said Walsh. “If you try to do this in a vacuum, you run into bureaucratic impediments. By partnering […], we’re able to help schools run the gauntlet with these agencies so they don’t run into obstacles.” Other schools can easily implement a garden by partnering with the Grow to Learn program. Registered schools can attend free workshops that cover a number of relevant topics, and schools are eligible to receive free garden materials, access to an online resource library and garden network and the tools to apply for mini-grant funding to start or expand a school garden. The future of school gardens is only limited by the creativity of the teachers, parents, administrators, and students. As long as all involved are willing to work together, public school gardens can flourish across the entire city — and perhaps, the entire nation. GrowNYC , + Grow to Learn Via Rodale’s Organic Life Images via  Pinterest , Arielle Hartman, Grow to Learn, Pixabay

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More than 50% of New York Citys public schools now have gardens

Inferno rages through North California, killing at least 10 people

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

For the past several days, 15 ferocious wildfires have been burning across at least 119,032 acres throughout Northern California . The inferno has claimed the lives of at least 10 people, a number that is expected to grow, and has torched over 1,500 homes and businesses. The scenic Wine Country counties of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino have been particularly hard hit. After igniting on Sunday night, the fires multiplied quickly due to the pervasive dry conditions in the area and strong winds of up to 50 MPH. In response to the raging flames consuming all in its path, 20,000 people were evacuated, many without much notice, into safer areas. In Sonoma County , the city of Santa Rosa, with a population of 125,000, has suffered serious damage. Seven of the 10 casualties from the wildfires have occurred in Santa Rosa. “That number’s going to change,” said Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano. Given the ongoing search and rescue operation, “it’s just logical,” he said, that more people trapped by the fire will be found. Local landmarks destroyed by the fires include The Fountaingrove Inn and Round Barn, and sections of the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. “I’m lucky,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey. “My house is fine. My family is fine. My city is not.” Related: Over 82,000 people evacuated as wildfire engulfs Southern California While Santa Rosa may have endured the most casualties so far, the most powerful fires are burning in Napa County. “I have friends fighting off fires with hoses in the hills, said Alison Crowe, winemaker for Garnet Vineyards & Picket Fence Vineyards in Napa Valley. “Thankfully a lot of my friends got out last night.” Although Crowe has not been ordered to evacuate her home in downtown Napa and the main route out of town remains open, she and her neighbors are concerned. “It’s scary,” Crowe said. “We feel surrounded.” Via CNN Images via US Department of Agriculture and Glenn Beltz

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Inferno rages through North California, killing at least 10 people

This prefab concrete house harvests rainwater with food-growing vertical gardens

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Students from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri  designed this beautiful solar-powered home completely out of prefabricated concrete. Built to showcase the viability of building with concrete , the spectacular design includes a series of gutters on the exterior that serve as a large-scale hydroponic growing system that can produce food all year round. According to the team, the design of the Crete House is meant to be a reminder that concrete continues to be a viable and sustainable building material that makes for a beautiful alternative to wood constructions. Thanks an ultra-strong envelope comprised of four inches of standard concrete, five inches of insulation, and one inch of Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC), the home is incredibly resilient against fire, moisture, mold, insects, seismic activity, and extreme weather. Related: 8 amazing homes that are 100% powered by the sun The design focuses on providing the ultimate in self-sufficiency – including energy generation, water reuse, and food production. Solar panels provide sufficient energy to the home, and a water-to-water heat pump provides hot water for domestic use as well as water for the home’s radiant heating and cooling system installed in the floor and ceiling. The precast insulated concrete panels of the home are factory-manufactured, but assembled on-site, reducing travel time and energy. In addition to the home’s structure, the concrete panels were used to create a series of large L-shaped gutters that extend out and away from the house. The shape of the gutters was strategic in creating an innovative system of water collection that directs to vegetated channels built into the vertical gutters that extend out into horizontal planters on the ground level. This all-in-one hydroponic system, complete with drip emitters, integrates a home garden system into the design, allowing occupants to grow their own food all year round. + Crete House + Solar Decathlon Photos by Mike Chino for Inhabitat

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This prefab concrete house harvests rainwater with food-growing vertical gardens

Hippos could be threatened with extinction due to demand for their teeth

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

To satisfy black market demand for ivory , poachers have turned to hippos . Hippopotamus teeth offer an unfortunate alternative as elephant populations plummet. But now the animals could face extinction – with one estimate suggesting the species could vanish within 100 years . The International Union for the Conservation of Nature classifies hippos as vulnerable . Their populations have fallen in Africa as their habitats have shrunk, and they’ve been hunted for teeth, skin, and meat. They’re in trouble – but according to Anglia Ruskin University teaching fellow Ben Garrod, writing for The Guardian , “The simple truth is that they are not high on the priority list of the international conservation community.” Related: China promises to end ivory trade by the end of this year A study published earlier this year in the African Journal of Ecology dug into the issue; two researchers at the University of Hong Kong found discordance in trade data that they said could undermine regulatory measures and harm African hippo populations. They said 90 percent of the global hippo teeth trade goes through Hong Kong . 75 percent of the imports come from Uganda or Tanzania . But Hong Kong declared a different volume of imports than the exports those two countries reported. The researchers think the trade in hippo teeth exceeds quotas that have been agreed upon internationally, saying more than 14,000 kilograms – around 30,865 pounds – are “unaccounted for between Uganda and Hong Kong, representing more than 2,700 individual hippos – two percent of the global population.” According to Quartz, demand for hippo teeth spiked after a 1989 ban on the international trade of ivory from elephants. Also, it’s far less difficult to smuggle hippo teeth than elephant tusks. Lead author Alexandra Andersson said in a statement , “It is imperative that authorities in both exporting and importing nations cross check the volumes of threatened species declared on paper to those actually received, work together to understand the cause of any discrepancies, as well as correct any reporting errors or fraudulent declarations. The fate of hippos – and a plethora of other species – could depend on it.” Garrod said hippos now desperately need our help as do elephants, and will until there’s a change in the demand for ivory. Via The Guardian and Quartz Africa Images via Pixabay and Pexels

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Hippos could be threatened with extinction due to demand for their teeth

These Dutch designers are harvesting stardust from rooftops

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Did you know that 37,000 to 78,000 tons of stardust falls on the earth’s surface every year? The dust is made up of micrometeorites that make it through the earth’s atmosphere – and now two Dutch designers are collecting this rare material from rooftops in the Netherlands. Kirstie van Noot and Xandra van der Eijk are exploring ways to utilize these mini meteorites as a precious resource that literally falls from the sky. Kirstie and Xandra believe that stardust could become a new resource for a world that is quickly using up its own natural resources: “As terrestrial resources are depleting and rare earth metals are arguably indispensable for our way of life and our survival as a species, we are in dire need of alternatives,” explains van Noot in her website. To salvage stardust, the pair first collects matter from the rain gutters and roofs of houses. They then incinerate the matter and use magnets to pull out particles for inspection. By studying the shape and composition of these particles, the pair is able to identify which ones came from outer space. The designers recently displayed their star dust exhibition, “As above, so below” at this year’s London Design Festival. The exhibition included the star dust itself as well as a solid cube made of meteoric material. + Dutch Invertuals Collected + Kirstie van Noot + Xandra van der Eijk + London Design Week Coverage Photography by Ronald Smits Photography

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These Dutch designers are harvesting stardust from rooftops

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