Necessity is the mother of reinvention

June 5, 2017 by  
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In its 25th year, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) wants to redefine the way we think about sustainable business. Just like technology is in a “constant state of becoming” and societies are adapting along with these tools, “sustainable business is also in a state of becoming,” said Aron Cramer, president and CEO of BSR. 

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Necessity is the mother of reinvention

Michigan to replace thousands of Flint water lines in settlement

March 29, 2017 by  
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A judge approved a settlement with the state of Michigan today that will come as welcome news to thousands of residents: at least 18,000 homes in Flint will have their toxic water pipes replaced over the next three years. The state has committed $87 million to identify and replace any service lines containing lead or galvanized steel by 2020. The settlement marks the end of a lawsuit filed last year by Concerned Pastors for Social Action , the Natural Resources Defense Council , the American Civil Liberties Union and a resident of Flint, targeted at both city and state officials. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has praised the agreement. The $87 million used to replace the pipes will come from a variety of sources. The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which was passed by Congress last year, will provide up to $20 million in funds, with the state matching another $20 million. The state must also hold an extra $10 million in reserve, in case the repairs end up being more expensive than anticipated. The state will also cover the $895,000 the plaintiffs ran up in litigation costs. Related: 1,700 Flint residents sue the EPA over tainted water In the meantime , residents will have to either pick up bottled water from designated locations in the city, or they’ll have to install water filters on their taps. Though the filters have been shown to render the city’s water safe for human consumption, many residents are nervous and distrustful of anything that comes out of their taps (and with good reason). The lawsuit had asked that bottled water be delivered door to door throughout the city until pipe replacement was complete, but the judge shot down that request. Via Reuters Images via Pixabay and Paul Hudson

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Michigan to replace thousands of Flint water lines in settlement

Wheelchair-friendly tiny house proves universal design can be cool

January 31, 2017 by  
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In a perfect world, architecture would be accessible for everyone, but sadly, people with disabilities or mobility issues are often limited to the physical barriers found in typical constructions. Vermont-based firm LineSync Architecture wants to change that with a new brand of accessible architecture, starting with their wheelchair-friendly tiny house , the Wheel Pad. https://youtu.be/EzE7irfnCbY The Wheel Pad is a prototype home for those who need more long-term adaptability from a home design . The 200-square-feet residence was designed in consultation with home health nurses, physicians, physical therapists and occupational therapists. Related: This $10k tiny house can be built with a hex key in less than a day The Wheel Pad was designed with a number of features geared to a wide range of needs, such as fixtures installed at lower heights, double swing doors, and a Hoyer lift that slides on a ceiling track to provide mobility assistance . Like most tiny homes, the space is compact, however, large windows give the interior a nice, airy feel. The home is also built on a mobile chassis base , which means it can be parked without a permit in most places around the US, allowing the inhabitants total freedom to travel. According to the architects, the design has a wide range of possible uses, “With Wheel Pad, we will change the way our injured soldiers and civilians come home from rehab. Wheel Pad is “disruptive” in the best sense of the word. It seems everyone has a use for Wheel Pad including: spinal cord injuries, people newly using wheelchairs or prosthetics, elderly veterans and civilians, hospice care, children with disabilities.” + LineSync Architecture Via Treehugger Video via Chibi Moku Photographs by Carolyn Bates

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Wheelchair-friendly tiny house proves universal design can be cool

WonderSphere safely brings nature indoors for hospitalized children to enjoy

December 4, 2016 by  
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Many studies link exposure to nature to improved health and healing , but it’s risky to exposure immunocompromised patients to the dirt and microbes of the outdoors. That’s why science teacher and nature lover Katie Stoudemire created the WonderSphere , a sealed chamber that children can safely stick their hands into to touch and explore plant life. The design recently won the Core 77 Design for Social Impact Award .

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WonderSphere safely brings nature indoors for hospitalized children to enjoy

"World’s saddest polar bear" will get temporary reprieve from tiny mall cage

November 14, 2016 by  
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Pizza the polar bear , known as the “world’s saddest polar bear,” will get a temporary reprieve from her cage at the Grandview Mall Aquarium in Guangzhou, China . As the mall makes minor alterations, Pizza will temporarily return to her birthplace, according to the aquarium . But many animal rights organizations say the sorrowful polar bear should not have to live in a mall at all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yuRaNlx0bk “Pizza the polar bear will temporarily leave Guangzhou and return to her birthplace,” The Grandview Mall Aquarium said on their social media account on WeChat . The three-year-old polar bear was born at a zoo in Tianjin, a city in northeastern China, according to The Guardian. The mall did not state when Pizza would return, but in the meantime, their facilities will undergo renovations. The New York Times said Pizza’s enclosure will be doubled as part of the alterations, based on an article in The Guangzhou Daily. Related: “World’s saddest polar bear” offered new home at UK wildlife park Several other animals, including beluga whales, arctic foxes, walruses and a wolf also live at the Grandview Mall Aquarium, and animal rights campaigners say their predicament should not be forgotten. Capital Animal Welfare Association Director Qin Xiaona told The New York Times, “We still want to see the aquarium closed once and for all, to see all the animals moved.” Back in October, three Chinese organizations and Humane Society International (HSI) spoke out about Pizza’s ongoing plight, pointing to videos of the polar bear pacing and swinging her head as confirmation of her declining mental state. The groups said the mall should be shut down. HSI campaigner Peter Li told The Guardian, “No amount of renovation could ever make a shopping mall a suitable place for this animal.” He said it would be cruel and heartless to return Pizza to the Grandview Mall Aquarium. Via The Guardian and The New York Times Images via screenshot

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"World’s saddest polar bear" will get temporary reprieve from tiny mall cage

14-year-old girl invents pedal-powered washing machine from bike parts

July 13, 2016 by  
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At the age of just fourteen, Remya Jose created her first invention : a pedal-powered washing machine made from recycled bike parts that can make laundry easier for families without electricity. Jose is from Kizhattoor Panchayat in India, and she came up with the idea when she and her twin sister were tasked with the family’s household chores after their mother fell ill. Instead of washing clothes by hand in the river, Jose invented her own solution that saves time and effort. https://youtu.be/3gkBD8buBkU Jose began by studying electric washing machines and learning how they work, so that she could replicate the functionality in an entirely human powered machine. Her father helped her find the parts she needed for her design, and then took her sketch to a neighborhood auto shop, where the workers helped construct the machine. It worked even better than Jose had planned. The machine consists of an aluminum cabin with a wire cylinder inside, which holds the laundry. The cylinder is connected to a bike chain and pedal system. Laundry is placed inside the machine, along with hot water and detergent, and left to soak for ten minutes. Then, the user pedals to spin the laundry and clean it. A small faucet on the cabin drains the soapy water, and then the whole machine is refilled with clean water for a final rinse cycle. All in all, it’s an elegant and simple solution for families living in rural areas who might otherwise be without a washing machine. Related: Ultra Compact ‘Petit Laundry Swoosh’ Washing Machine Cleans Clothes With Only a Gallon of Water Jose’s invention didn’t go unnoticed – she was presented with the National Award from former Indian president Abdul Kalam, and at age 18 she applied for a patent on her device. Now in her mid-20s , she works as a Serial Innovator at the National Foundation in India, creating new inventions to help rural communities in her home country. Via Better India Photos via Brit + Co

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14-year-old girl invents pedal-powered washing machine from bike parts

A carbon price set to carbon damage

June 22, 2016 by  
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What can we learn from the social cost of carbon about current efforts to price it?

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A carbon price set to carbon damage

Terrapotta Army art installation gives reclaimed pots a new life

June 14, 2016 by  
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In Terrapotta Army, a population of long-lost terracotta pots invades an unsuspecting garden in the city center of Ghent, Belgium . With the help of Cultural Houses Ghent, Belgian designer Boomin Sep created this social installation amidst the beautiful greenery of the medieval Sint-Pieters abbey. The artwork announces a new cultural season in Ghent with reclaimed material that reference China’s Terracotta Army. Related: The Bali Ecological Center Creates a Modular Terracotta Green Wall with Local Craftsmen The army consists of dozens of old and forgotten terracotta pots from around the country, which come alive with the help of handcrafted and branded plywood decks. The reclaimed pots of varying heights and dimensions create an unusual effect, scattered amongst orchards, ruins, and vineyards. Boomin Sep says, “It’s really interesting to observe the interaction with the public, every morning you see the remains of circled pots, a remembrance of where the people came together.” + Boomin Sep Images via Wouter Maeckelberghe The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Wasps weave rainbow nests with colored construction paper

April 11, 2016 by  
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Bambú Social educates and helps people build affordable green housing using local resources

March 2, 2016 by  
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TU Delft’s Bambú Social is an educational and construction project with the goal of sharing knowledge and expertise about the use of local resources for sustainable and affordable social housing. In El Rama, BAMBÚ SOCIAL set up a ‘Sustainable Construction’ course, together with the local university and the municipality, to create a sustainable and dignified alternative to social housing. This building method can be practiced in a completely local manner, with the integration of a decentralized, low-tech, natural water purification and storage system in order to provide clean drinking water for the inhabitants of the house. The constructed model house is the base for the design of an affordable social home, and the manual – ‘Un manual de construcción sostenible’,  – explains the entire process with step by step drawings. The model house has been donated to the local university and currently functions as a library, but the knowledge shared can help the community for a lifetime. + TU Delft The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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