Illegal logging possibly contributes to majority of mislabeled wood in US markets

October 28, 2019 by  
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In a first-of-its-kind study , the World Wildlife Fund, World Resources Institute and United States Forest Service collaboratively found that a disconcerting 62 percent of the U.S. wood products studied were mislabeled. Mislabeling often signals wrongful supply chain violations — illegal logging and deforestation — that consequently hamper endeavors to promote sustainable wood According to Amy Smith, the World Wildlife Fund’s forests deputy director, “Wood products are intentionally mislabeled, sometimes to pass off lower-value wood for more expensive varieties, and sometimes to cover up the fact it was illegally sourced. We wanted to know how often this fraud occurs, and our study indicates it could be alarmingly common. The wood you think you are buying is not what you get.” Related: More than half of Europe’s native trees face extinction How does mislabeling occur? Loggers, for instance, could harvest trees from a threatened or ecologically vital forest ecosystem , then mix wood species to cover up the illegal logging activity. Following transport to the lumberyard, species origin of the timber logs and boards are further misrepresented to allow illegal wood in the supply chain. Distortion persists as the wood is misidentified as a different species, continuing onward to the mill’s processing, the factory’s product manufacturing, and eventually reaching the import and retail junctures as an illegally sourced wood product made available for purchase. Mislabeling of wood is of high concern because illegal logging harms fragile forests, placing them at risk of biodiversity loss . Whether purposeful or not, mislabeling breaches the U.S. Lacey Act , first enacted in 1900 to ban trafficking of illegal wildlife , then amended in 2008 to include plants and plant products, like timber. The U.S. Lacey Act’s landmark legislation continues as the world’s first ban on the trade of illegally sourced wood products. To solve the crisis, the U.S. Forest Service strives to increase training in identifying wood species. Doing so pinpoints supply chain gaps that need measures to combat illegal logging, mislabeling and the sale of fraudulent wood products. It is hoped this will cultivate best practices in verifying sources of wood species to confirm they arrive from sustainable, responsibly managed forests. Similarly, consumers are encouraged to make a difference by pledging to purchase products approved by the Forest Stewardship Council as FSC-certified . The FSC is “the most rigorous, credible forest certification system” that ensures products reliably comply with environmental protection standards before gaining access to markets. “ Deforestation and illegal logging are critical threats to our world’s forests,” Smith added. “It’s our responsibility as consumers to demand legally and responsibly sourced forest products. We do that by purchasing FSC-certified wood and paper and letting businesses and policy makers know that enforcement of our import laws — plus investment in technologies to detect fraud — must be a priority.” + PLOS ONE Image via James Schnepf / WWF-US

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Illegal logging possibly contributes to majority of mislabeled wood in US markets

11 Upcycled Storage Solutions for Small Spaces

October 24, 2019 by  
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Home life can be a challenge if your dwelling is … The post 11 Upcycled Storage Solutions for Small Spaces appeared first on Earth911.com.

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11 Upcycled Storage Solutions for Small Spaces

This 1973 Airstream could be yours for $68,900

October 10, 2019 by  
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A clean, modern design. Plentiful storage. An abundance of natural light. What more could you want in a tiny home on wheels? Renovated by DIY experts Nate and Taylor, from Augustine Along the Way, this 1973 Airstream has a new life as Mattox . Mattox is a 25-foot Airstream trailer with a gorgeous interior design featuring bamboo hardwood floors and plenty of plants. The ambitious duo put a ton of work into renovating the old Airstream , and now, the shiny little home can be yours for just $68,900. Inside and out, Mattox is a beautiful example of a DIY Airstream renovation. Starting with the trailer’s signature aluminum exterior, Taylor and Nate polished its formerly dull facade into a gleaming, mirrored finish. The Airstream even comes with a retractable rolling awning that provides a shaded, open-air place to dine or simply enjoy the fresh air just outside the front door. Related: A dull, 26-year-old Airstream becomes a bright, cozy home on wheels Although Mattox’s gleaming exterior is impressive, its interior design is what shines the brightest. The compact living space feels bright and open thanks to an abundance of windows and a fresh coat of white paint on the walls and ceiling. Contrasting nicely with the all-white background, beautiful and ultra-durable bamboo hardwood floors with eucalyptus backing run the length of the interior. Just across the front door, the kitchen sits at the middle of the Airstream. The kitchen includes everything one would need to create culinary masterpieces, including a two-burner stove and a new refrigerator. The Zellige tile backsplash adds an earthy touch. Facing the kitchen and beside the entrance is the lounge area, which comes complete with a custom, built-in couch with storage underneath. In fact, most of the furniture in the Airstream was custom-made to use every inch of space strategically . This includes the two-person, drop-down walnut dining table and small desk area complete with book storage. In the back of the classic trailer is a bedroom big enough for a full-sized bed. This space also fits in plenty of storage both underneath the bed and in a small closet near the entrance. For those adventurers out there who would like to take Mattox on the road, rest assured that the Airstream’s mechanical systems have also been completely renovated. New tires, brakes, bearings, propane hook-ups, fresh water hook-up and more will give you peace of mind while you are exploring. + Augustine Along the Way Via Tiny House Talk Images via Augustine Along the Way

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This 1973 Airstream could be yours for $68,900

Hit the road in style this summer in this ship-inspired travel trailer

June 27, 2019 by  
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Inspired to take a long summer adventure in a sweet tiny camper ? Well, French start-up Carapate has unveiled a 10.5-foot-long, boat-like travel trailer for adventurous souls to travel in style and comfort. Although compact, the interior space of the Carapate Travel Trailer is incredibly flexible with a modular bed/sofa combo, a sliding galley kitchen and an extra-wide swing door to take in panoramic views. According to the company, the design for the trailer was inspired by the beloved teardrop campers. Using the classic teardrop design as a starting point, the designers gave the camper a rounded trapezoid shape to create a bit more square footage. With traditional shipbuilding techniques, the team constructed the trailer to be incredibly lightweight. Coming in at approximately 990 pounds, the tiny trailer is easily towed by most vehicles and is extremely road-friendly. The nautical inspiration can also been seen in the camper’s exterior cladding, which includes wood, white and navy detailing. This sleek, yet classic feel continues throughout the interior. Related: These sweet teardrop trailers for adventurers run on solar power The entrance is through an oversized door that swings open and upward. This extra large doorway provides plenty of natural light to the interior as well as wide, unobstructed views of whatever incredible scenery may be surrounding the vehicle. Inside, white walls and wood detailing pay homage to boat interiors, as does the savvy storage solutions found throughout. The tiny camper comes equipped with a number of flexible furnishings that are meant to make the most out of minimal space. A modular bed layout includes three single mattresses that can be folded up into a sofa or fit together on the floor to create a sleeping area for two. The galley kitchen is also a smart, space-saving design. The concealed countertop slides out to reveal the basic amenities, including a single-burner stove, sink and a pull-out cutting board. The basic Carapate trailer package, which unfortunately is only available in Europe at the moment, starts at just under $16,000. However, the campers can also be customized with extra features including LED lighting, solar panels , an electric/gas fridge box and more. + Carapate Images via Carapate

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A 1987 International School Bus is converted into a 200-square-foot home for a family of 3

June 19, 2019 by  
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Making a tiny space into a family home is no easy feat, but with a little design savvy, it can produce some seriously amazing results. Pacific Northwest-based artist Quinn Dimitroff and her husband recently converted a 1987 International School Bus into a serene, minimalist tiny home for their family of three. The interior of the tiny home on wheels is a very compact 200 square feet, but thanks to a few smart features, it seems way more spacious. The pale beige walls, white ceiling and wood-laminate flooring give the space a fresh atmosphere, which is enhanced with a few pops of color found throughout the home. Additionally, ample natural light, especially from the extra-large windshield, brightens the entire living space. Related: A 1992 International School Bus gets a second life as an adventure-mobile According to Quinn, the renovations took a full year, with the couple doing most of the work themselves . During that time, they knew that strategic storage would be the key to living clutter-free with a toddler in tow. Accordingly, storage can be found throughout the home, from the bookshelves above the windshield to the storage cabinets hung above the kitchen. The main space is comprised of a sofa that the couple built themselves and a kitchen with a full-size stove and convection oven. Next to this space is a multifunctional table that the couple uses for food prep, working and dining. Past the kitchen is the bathroom, which is surprisingly spacious with enough room for a full-sized tub, a stand-up shower and a composting toilet. At the far end of the converted bus are the bedrooms. For the little one, the couple created a vibrant little nook with enough space for her bed and toys. The master bedroom features a queen-sized bed, which Quinn refers to as her “sanctuary space.” + Quinnarie Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Jessie Bennett

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A 1987 International School Bus is converted into a 200-square-foot home for a family of 3

The reusable LastSwab might just be the last ear swab you ever buy

May 9, 2019 by  
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You may not think about it each day when you toss that cotton swab into the garbage after touching up your make-up or cleaning out your ears, but billions of people with the same habit create a massive amount of waste ! Fortunately, designers from Copenhagen, Denmark have come to the rescue with a reusable cotton swab. The LastSwab is potentially the last “cotton” swab you’ll ever need. Well, one of two anyway. The company offers the LastSwab for traditional applications and another one styled specifically for make-up . Like your typical cotton swab, the LastSwab is two-sided, catering to a multitude of needs. It’s as easy to use as any other swab, and the company advises that you use the same caution. After use, simply rinse the swab under water with a bit of soap and store it in the convenient carrying case, which is provided. The cases come in a variety of colors to suit your preferences. Related: Scotland to ban manufacture and sale of plastic cotton swabs LastSwab is the result of a dedicated effort to reduce waste and damage to marine animals . According to the Kickstarter campaign, “1.5 billion cotton swabs are produced every single day, and the average American uses 415 cotton swabs every year. In the U.K., damage is evident: For every 100 feet of beach, there are nine cotton swabs. Let’s make single-use cotton swabs a thing of the past!” The material is medical-grade silicone that is durable and strong yet delicate. Not only does this long-term solution eliminate immediate waste, but it reduces the emissions caused by the transport and repeated mass production of all sorts of cotton swabs. In a well-rounded plan to be friendly to the environment, the storage case for the LastSwab is biodegradable, and the package arrives in cardboard. Although the idea of reusing a cotton swab might sound cringey at first, it’s not so different from reusing your toothbrush each day or eating off the same plate after washing it. Obviously, many people support the movement, with nearly 12,000 backers pledging over $400,000 toward the meager $13,319 goal on the current Kickstarter campaign , which closes May 16, 2019. + LastSwab Images via LastSwab

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The reusable LastSwab might just be the last ear swab you ever buy

Vulnerable nuclear waste stockpiles are becoming a"global crisis"

February 4, 2019 by  
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Nuclear waste is quickly becoming one of the world’s biggest problems. Earth’s growing stockpile of radioactive waste is troublesome, because these chemicals remain in their radioactive state for several millennia — and we have yet to come up with a foolproof storage solution. A new study explored facilities that store nuclear waste in seven locations around the world, including the United States, France, Japan, Belgium, Britain, Finland and Sweden. Officials discovered that the majority of nuclear waste lacked proper defense mechanisms, like secondary protocols, and are vulnerable to failing in the wake of natural and man-made disasters. Related: Blue dye could be the next key to harnessing renewable energy Storage of nuclear waste is one of the biggest obstacles facing nuclear power plants . It was once thought that deep underground was a good storage option, but that is not the case. According to Greenpeace , all of the storage facilities in the study showed some percentage of radiation leaks, which is incredibly detrimental to the environment. “More than 65 years after the start of the civil use of nuclear power, not a single country can claim that it has the solution to manage the most dangerous radioactive wastes ,” Shaun Burnie, who works with Greenpeace Germany and led the new study, explained. Even worse, some storage facilities are located in areas prone to natural disasters. For example, the U.S. is in the process of building a major nuclear waste site in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain range, which features seismic and volcanic activity, hardly suitable for keeping radioactive waste safe. The building of the Yucca Mountain facility was placed on hold by former President Barack Obama in 2010. Donald Trump, however, has expressed interest in reviving the construction and finishing the site before his term is up. As if that is not bad enough, governments are seemingly turning a blind eye to public concerns. The nuclear waste report comes after it was revealed that the U.S. government secretly moved weapons-grade plutonium across several states, despite passionate opposition from politicians in South Carolina. If scientists do not come up with a better method of disposing of nuclear waste, then it really could become the next global crisis. Fortunately, countries are exploring alternative renewable sources for energy that do not result in radioactive waste and are healthier for the environment. + Greenpeace Via EcoWatch Image via Pixabay

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Vulnerable nuclear waste stockpiles are becoming a"global crisis"

EU proposes plan to ban 90 percent of microplastics

February 4, 2019 by  
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Microplastics may appear small on the outside, but they take a major toll on the environment. Not only do these plastics ruin soil and jeopardize ocean life, but they also create health issues for people all around the world. Fortunately, a newly proposed ban on microplastics might offer a solution to this growing problem. This week, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) put forth a new law that seeks to ban over 90 percent of Europe’s microplastics. If countries in the European Union agree to the legislation, the prohibition could significantly lower the amount of microplastics on a global scale. “Microplastics are a growing concern to a number of human rights. The steps proposed by Echa are necessary to help ensure present and future generations can enjoy what is their human right: a clean, healthy and sustainable environment ,” UN reporter Baskut Tuncak shared. According to The Guardian, there are close to 400,000 tons of these small plastic particles that end up in European environments. These microplastics come from a variety of household sources, including fertilizers, detergents, paint products and cosmetics. The proposed ban would eliminate the vast majority of microplastics that are integrated into these products, many of which are not necessary. Related: Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world If passed, the law would not go into effect until 2020. By that time, companies would need to have made drastic changes in the production of goods. This includes removing microplastics from a variety of products, a move that would require a major change in design . The new ban is similar in nature to what the U.K. passed last year. The country prohibited the use of microbeads in certain personal products, such as shower gel and toothpaste. The new law, however, is much larger in scope and would eventually remove the vast majority of microplastics from production. The ban, of course, would only apply to countries that are still in the EU. Following Brexit, there is a chance that the U.K. will not adopt the law, though that has yet to be determined. In the meantime, the ECHA will continue to explore the proposed ban and will vote on the measure in three months. If passed, the law is not expected to go into effect until at least another eight months after the vote is tallied. Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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Reclaimed timber clads a chic pool house near Californian vineyards

February 4, 2019 by  
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California-based architecture and design firm Ro Rockett Design recently added a pool house to a Sonoma County retreat that’s become so alluring, the clients decided to turn it into their full-time residence. Located in the northern California town of Geyserville, the property boasts stunning views of rolling vineyards and the rugged coastal landscape. The Dry Creek Pool House is carefully situated to take advantage of these impressive vistas and features a natural materials palette and minimalist design to blend in with the surrounding environment. Built as part of a narrow holiday home , the Dry Creek Pool House is the latest addition to the property’s growing amenities, which include the saltwater pool, outdoor living area, gardens, bocce court and guest arrival with overflow parking. To obscure views of the adjacent busy roadway, the architects sited the pool high on the property so that the raised pool edge would obstruct views of the road from the pool house, which boasts panoramic views of the landscape. “Nestled into the hill with it’s back to the trees, the new, earthen ground plane acts as a primitive plinth that supports a rustic enclosure,” the architects said in their project statement. “The prime program of the pool house is wrapped in grape stakes gathered from the property and re-sawn to operate as a shroud to the private innards of the building. This cladding provides solid walls where necessary and opens to the view where desirable.” Related: A lush green roof of native plants breathes life into this Texan cabana The modern and minimal design of the Dry Creek Pool House combined with a natural materials palette grounds the building into the landscape. The vine stakes that partly clad the building, for instance, were reclaimed from the fencing that had surrounded the site. The structure is also built of plaster and topped with a floating cedar roof. A stone terrace connects the saltwater pool with the pool house. The pool house celebrates indoor/ outdoor living and consists of an outdoor living space with a dining area and bar. Another sitting area can be found inside in addition to a mini-bar and bathroom. + Ro Rockett Design Images by Adam Rouse

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Reclaimed timber clads a chic pool house near Californian vineyards

This luxurious tiny home is powered by Southern Californian sunshine

January 15, 2019 by  
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Who says a tiny house can’t be luxurious? Certainly not David Latimer and Taylor Mallon of New Frontier Tiny Homes, designers of this comfortable and alluring solar-powered tiny home. The contemporary farmhouse style of the Orchid House allows for off-grid living without sacrificing comfort, and it is entirely powered by solar energy. Though it was built in Nashville, the Orchid House currently resides on an undeveloped piece of property in Southern California . The owner is an LA-based artist who decided a tiny house was the best option for the remote space. The structure is built on wheels, so it can be moved easily for relocation or emergencies (like wildfires, from which it recently had to be saved). Related: Breathtakingly beautiful tiny home is surprisingly luxurious inside The structure is wholly powered by the famous Southern Californian sunshine. Both the siding and the roof of the house are made of the same dimensional cedar. The designer used an intricate process to give the roof a floating appearance inspired by Scandinavian architecture . The inside walls and ceiling of this beautiful tiny home are made of maple plywood, except for inside the bathroom, which is made entirely of tile and mirrors. The floor is solid oak and all the furniture is walnut. New Frontier Tiny Homes custom-built all of the furniture except for the kitchen table and chairs, which are from West Elm. A combination of floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights brings  natural light into the entire dwelling. A garage door allows for the opening up of the entire wall as well, so there’s a sense of openness between the interior and the natural environment outside. The designers’ love of clean lines inspired the storage, which is completely hidden. The open-floor plan makes room for a guest area, and the loft has space for a lavish king-sized bed. The restroom features a full-sized shower and “The Rolls Royce of non-flushable toilets ,” according to the designers. The incinerator toilet ensures there are no pesky sewer or septic systems for the property, making it both uncomplicated and environmentally friendly. As gorgeous as this home looks during the day, it is just as breathtaking at night. Inspired by a total solar eclipse witnessed in 2017, the designers used valence LED lighting strips to create a lovely glowing effect around the light fixtures and front porch. Each lighting strip can be dimmed and has a separate switch. + New Frontier Tiny Homes Via Dwell Photography by StudioBuell Photography via New Frontier Tiny Homes

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This luxurious tiny home is powered by Southern Californian sunshine

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