Here’s what you can do on Endangered Species Day

May 20, 2022 by  
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The health of our planet depends on a rich and diverse ecosystem. That includes all types of plants and animals, in conjunction with humans. When the environment is in balance, everyone benefits. But when natural and human forces create an imbalance, the fragile ecosystem doesn’t always recover. Such is the case for dozens of endangered species that are in threat of being erased from the planet.  Endangered animals Around the world, animal populations ebb and flow over time. However, some species are in a desperate decline. Some endangered animals include: African forest elephant , Bornean orangutan, cross river gorilla and Javan rhino, among much, much more. Other animals are classified as vulnerable, near threatened or are on the list but categorized as least concern.  Related: Court restores gray wolf protections after Trump-era delist The process of endangered species classification Wildlife protection really began with the passing of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973. The law passed with bipartisan support in order to offer additional protections to endangered species through an expansion of watchdogs and policies. ESA opened doors for individuals and organizations to petition to have a species listed as endangered or threatened. Although the petition still goes through a review process, having extra eyes on the issue offers a faster and more thorough opportunity to protect animals in decline. There are two primary authorities who make the final decisions about when to list animals as endangered and when they should be reclassified. For most marine animals, that agency is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For land animals and inland fish, that is the Fish and Wildlife Service. Factors that contribute to animal endangerment There are a variety of factors that affect the livelihood of animals. Some of them are natural, such as increased numbers of predators or an environmental change . However, the vast majority of contributing factors are indirectly or directly caused by humans.  Pollution Marine wildlife are particularly hard hit by the pollutants humans contribute to their environment. Debris that is not properly disposed of end up in waterways that run directly into the ocean. Recreational and commercial activities on the water contribute too. This results in water pollution , specifically in the form of plastic waste. As a result, marine animals such as the endangered southern resident orca, bluefin tuna and green turtle become tangled, ingest toxins or are driven away by noise pollution.  Hunting and fishing Another human-caused activity that results in declining wildlife numbers is hunting and fishing. We have some regulations in place, which change often in response to populations. However, illegal hunting and fishing, commercial overfishing and game harvesting for profit affect sensitive populations.  Climate change There’s no denying the planet is warming. With it comes an increase in natural disasters. Rising water levels, floods, drought, hurricanes, tornados and wildfires are a significant cause of animal habitat loss that causes declining numbers.  Habitat destruction However, extreme weather isn’t the only cause of habitat destruction. It’s the number one cause of species endangerment and thereby requires a critical eye. Everything in nature works in conjunction with everything around it, so even small changes can lead to devastating results. For example, removing a number of trees in favor of a housing development can remove the habitat of squirrels, birds and raccoons. Similarly, damming the river to create hydropower creates significant obstacles for salmon who spawn on the river . As a result, the decreased number of salmon (several of which are endangered) leave the southern resident orcas without their primary food source. What you can do to help On Endangered Species Day and every day, there are ways you can help protect endangered species . Start with a stop at the Endangered Species Coalition’s site. You’ll find a variety of grassroots activist campaigns you can join. There’s also a regional breakdown and a species breakdown for specific projects they are working on.  At a local level, volunteer for clean up events on the street, in the park, at a refuge or on the beach. Remember, all waste can present a danger to wildlife, regardless of where it is, so your work at a local level can make an impact far from home.  In your yard, select native plants that are adapted to the environment and provide shelter, food and nectar for the animals in your neighborhood. Plus, native plants drive out the invasive species that are causing them habitat challenges. If you aren’t already, commit to buying and growing organic produce. Pesticides and herbicides are toxic to some animals and pollute waterways animals rely on. In fact, make clean choices at every turn. You never know what impact a choice you’re making today can affect an endangered or threatened species tomorrow. Via Endangered Species Coalition Images via Pexels

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Here’s what you can do on Endangered Species Day

Can Engine No.1 lead Wall Street to ‘beyond investment as usual’?

May 16, 2022 by  
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There’s a new player on Wall Street — the beta activist — and it’s shaking up portfolio risk management.

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Can Engine No.1 lead Wall Street to ‘beyond investment as usual’?

More frequent wildfires could drive up the cost of insurance for vulnerable businesses

May 16, 2022 by  
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Innovation in the form of parametric risk transfer is helping the public and private sector in the face of an evolving climate. 

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More frequent wildfires could drive up the cost of insurance for vulnerable businesses

The GreenFin Interview: The view of Wall Street, with State Street’s CFO and head of ESG

April 13, 2022 by  
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What does it take to install trust in financial institutions these days? State Street seems to be trying.

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The GreenFin Interview: The view of Wall Street, with State Street’s CFO and head of ESG

The end of ‘vroom, vroom’? Mattel brings first carbon neutral electric vehicle toys to mass market

April 13, 2022 by  
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The launch of Mega Bloks Green Town range aims to encourage sustainable behaviors in children from an early age.

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The end of ‘vroom, vroom’? Mattel brings first carbon neutral electric vehicle toys to mass market

Unique gardening tips and tricks to try for Gardening Day

April 11, 2022 by  
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As the cold days of winter roll into longer hours of warmer weather in the spring, flowers are in bloom and the seeds in our minds are planted with gardening ideas for the upcoming season. While we’re busy figuring out what vegetables to grow and where we’ll put the compost bin and rain barrels, give some consideration to out-of-the-box thinking that might save you time, money and energy. You might even find a solution to a dilemma you didn’t know you had, or you might simply find inspiration to try something fun and unique.  Related: Why is permaculture gardening so popular? Put pots in the flower beds It’s one of those simple ideas that often gets overlooked. Instead of delegating your best pots exclusively to the deck or patio, place them throughout the garden. This allows you to add colorful flowers, herbs, and other  plants  to the landscape and swap them out as you desire. It’s particularly useful if you’re renting and want to move your plants with you.  Keep detailed gardening record s It’s essential to keep track of all your seed packets, yard diagrams and planting schedules. Use an organizational method you find convenient. For example, you can put everything into a digital file on the computer, use a file cabinet, or simply gather papers and put them in your favorite gardening book . However it best works for you, make sure you keep track of what you’ve planted, where you planted it, when it should be trimmed or harvested, and if it needs to be moved to a more beneficial location before next season.  Proudly display plant markers To benefit the  environment , minimize the number of plant markers you buy. Instead, get creative with what you already have around. Cut tall plastic yogurt containers into strips, use wood stakes, or invest in metal markers that can be cleaned and reused endlessly.  Try rocks and filters in planters One of the biggest issues with plant success is balancing the correct amount of  water  the plant receives and retains. Help your plants out with good drainage in holes with a bit of gravel at the bottom. You can also place rocks inside planters. Instead of facilitating drainage, you can use coffee filters inside planters for water retention. Place a mesh screen at the bottom to keep soil from falling through the hole at the bottom of the planter too.  Use boots, bathtubs and baskets There’s more to a garden landscape than ceramic or concrete planters. In fact, just about anything that will hold soil can be  recycled  into a planter. Try out a purse, basket, bucket, tea kettle or even an old boot. The inside of a broken washing machine, a bathtub or the tried-and-true toilet can all add a bit of something to the landscape design too.  Bring pictures to the garden center It’s often difficult to describe what you’re looking for, so when heading to the garden center, bring pictures of your space. A visual reference can help guide your shopping choices. Intercropping If you haven’t heard of intercropping, you may be missing out on taking advantage of valuable garden space. Intercropping simply means planting vegetables near each other. It’s ideal in small spaces to increase your harvest. The key is to plant companion plants that don’t fight for the same resources. For example, place carrots (which grow underground) right up next to lettuce or peas.  Easy edging If you have edging envy for the well-manicured lawn down the street, create your own technique with a flat spade and a plank of 2×4 or similar  wood . Simply lay the wood down and hold it in place with your foot while you use the spade to create a straight edge.  Gardening with beer Slugs like beer as much as many gardeners. However, they don’t recover from imbibing the fermented beverage. Place the warm, half-drank or cheap beer you were going to throw out into a cup or old can. Secure the reservoir by burying it slightly into the ground, then pour the beer inside. You want to have a bit of an edge so when the slugs climb in for a drink they can’t climb back out.  Use less soil Planters filled with soil, especially large ones, get very heavy and are difficult to move. Instead of filling the planter with expensive soil from top to bottom, fill the bottom half with a filler. If you have old packing peanuts or plastic foam around the house, this is a good way to reuse them. Plant-based materials also work, though they will break down over time.  Rely on ice When leaving town for the weekend, freeze several containers filled with water. These can be orange juice containers, water bottles or glass bottles. Whatever container you choose, make sure there’s a way to puncture small holes in the lid or down the side. Place the containers in your planters or alongside plants in the ground. As they defrost they will slowly release water into the plants, saving you the hassle of asking your neighbor to do the watering.  Regrow your food There are many  foods  you can regrow after your grocery store run. These foods don’t require a seed start. For example, cut your romaine lettuce off near the base and place it in a bowl of water. Soon you’ll see new leaves forming. The same is true for green onions, celery, ginger, herbs and more.  Via Ecophiles , InstallitDirect , Martha Stewart Images via Pexels and Pixabay

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Unique gardening tips and tricks to try for Gardening Day

Passive design helps Casa 22 Avellaners blend into Catalonia

February 18, 2022 by  
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Architect Guillem Carrera faced multiple challenges regarding the placement, orientation and composition of this family home in Catalonia , known as Casa 22 Avellaners. The solution? Smart, passive design. The neighborhood sits among old monastery buildings and architecture of historical relevance, such as the stone bridge, Gothic cross, small Baroque church of Santa Llúcia and the old modernist cooperative winery. Down the road is the natural wonder of Alameda de Santes Creus. Casa 22 Avellaners was originally built as part of an urban expansion project meant to support the monastery’s needs and provide residential housing. Related: Architect turns old cement factory into incredible fairytale home – and the interior will blow you away Carrera began the design process by analyzing the houses adjacent to the lot. On one side, the home is large and fills the dimensions of the parcel in both height and footprint. On the other side, the home is lower and more spread out. This inspired the architect to frame the home for optimal views and natural light. As it sits, the result is views to the mountains to the east, second-floor views above the house to the north, and a western view out to the street.  With the orientation configured, the design then focused on creating a staggered volume that would match and blend in with the surrounding architectural elements. An additional goal was to connect with the outdoor environment at every level of the home. This was achieved through  passive design  elements, including an open floorplan between and within levels of the home.  The use of concrete, light-colored  wood , steel and natural paint colors brightens the space. A spiral staircase connecting the spaces is a central element to the design, optimally located for convenience and to accentuate the open feel even through the multi-level floorplan. The staircase also acts as an architectural element, mirroring the tall, vertical profile of the home. A skylight, along with copious and well-placed windows, floods the home with natural light . The 2,583-square-foot space includes an open kitchen, garage, bedroom, bathrooms, living room, dining room, study, play area and multi-purpose room.  The lowest level opens into a backyard garden area, and the upper levels benefit from terraces. When possible, locally sourced  natural materials , such as lime mortar and ceramic tile, were used to avoid lengthy transport. With a similar focus on minimalist and streamlined elements, the interior design centers on practicality, comfort and warmth. The architect reports, “When designing this house, energy efficiency was a premise. This has been achieved through  passive solar  architecture solutions and indirect light detection which, together with the building system itself and an exhaustive study of the composition of the different skins of the building and its thermal behavior, have [earned] this house an energy certification A.” + Guillem Carrera Architecture Via ArchDaily Images via Guillem Carrera Architecture

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Passive design helps Casa 22 Avellaners blend into Catalonia

House Offset reinvents New York renovation aesthetics

January 10, 2022 by  
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Overlay Office has renovated a 19th-century New York City townhouse to create House Offset. Located in South Slope, Brooklyn, the three-unit condominium uses classic design and sustainable materials that reinvent and enhance common contemporary renovation methods. It features increased natural light, open floor plans that maximize interior space, and outdoor spaces for each apartment. While the house underwent significant interior transformations, much of the exterior design was left to preserve the building’s relationship to its surrounding neighborhood context. The front façade is painted with two shades of black paint , with rounded arch shapes over a few windows. This feature is a callback to scalloped windows and roofs common in the neighborhood. 1903 New York house gets an eco-friendly makeover The lower third of the street-facing elevation is clad with shou sugi ban , a charred timber cladding that provides weathering and pest resistance. This visually complements the black brickwork above. The stoop at the entry forsakes traditional materiality and instead uses dark terrazzo stairs to reinforce the color scheme of the front façade. House Offset’s residential units comprise two bedrooms and one-and-a-half baths, as well as generous living spaces. Each apartment also has a private outdoor patio with patterned tiling, synthetic turf, and powder-coated metal railings. On the ground level, the patio leads to the backyard, while on the top floor, residents have access to the roof deck. The primary interior finishes are black and white and serve as elegant monochromatic backgrounds for brightly colored and richly-patterned furniture and fixtures. Overlay Office worked closely with suppliers for customized architectural details. These include suppliers like Durat, for the 100% recycled plastic “ terrazzo ” solid surfaces, and Watermark Brooklyn for the colored kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixtures. The designers also referenced the scalloped pattern from the front façade in interior details, ranging from the rounded edges of solid surfaces to the barrel-vaulted ceilings. Overlay Office challenges ubiquitous renovation aesthetics through thoughtful design choices in the project. The attention to materiality and bold patterns and colors accentuate the townhouse without sacrificing elegance. Instead of a conventional refurbishment project, the simple yet effective customizations expand the vocabulary of the building and create a homey space for residents. + Overlay Office Images by Ryan Lahiff , courtesy of Corcoran

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House Offset reinvents New York renovation aesthetics

Shopping mall design creates a balance with light and dark

December 24, 2021 by  
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The best architecture blurs the lines between the outdoors and the inside space, marrying together elements of nature at every interior turn. Developers from 10 Design kept this concept in the forefront while completing Jinwan Mall, a new lakefront shopping mall in Zhuhai. The 117,000 square meters Jinwan Mall covers all the bases for a modern shopping center with striking visual appeal and function. It’s nestled up to the edge of Jinsha Lake in Zhuhai, China , which gives visitors a chance to connect with the environment .  Related: Canada library reflects elements of parks and shopping malls Jinwan Mall is 10 Design’s second completed project on Huafa’s Jinwan Aviation City, along with the recently built Industrial Service Center and soon to be completed International Business Center. The massive mall undertaking was completed through a partnership of Ted Givens and Scott Findley. They designed it together with Project Partner Miriam Auyeung (COO), Project Leader Sonja Stoffels, and the entire architectural team made up of Peby Pratama, Joyce Lo, Vincent Fung, Yan Liu, Lufei Li, Wang Yang, Ruizhao Zhang and Echo Zhong.  The basis of the design comes from nature and is mirrored in the integration of a traditional courtyard garden into the contemporary space. In addition to the views of plants and lake, the campus incorporates the main mall, retail street and the waterside pavilions consisting of F&B and retail spaces with ample outdoor spaces. A glass canopy spine connects the retail street and the mall, which provides protection from the weather while moving between the spaces.  The striking façade represents the classic architecture of Chinese stacked stone walls and highlights unique and modern-day features such as the rhombi shapes inspired by the 4th-dimensional hypercube. In combination, the design creates a balance between dark and light, as well as massed areas with perforated panels and glass to provide natural light .  “Our design for Jinwan Mall transforms the regular shopping mall into an outdoor retail experience closely linked to nature, creating a new paradigm of how people experience retail spaces and bringing a new destination to Zhuhai’s Jinwan District,” said Design Partner Ted Givens. Jinwan Mall designers braced against road noise with a solid wall to buffer sound on the street side. By contrast, the waterfront side of the mall features endless rows of windows and accesses to the pedestrian-rich area that features areas for pop-up shops and performances. The views towards the mall present green terraces and lakefront gardens that transition visitors into the space.  “The Jinwan Mall development has been designed to maximize the nature and outdoor lifestyle of Zhuhai whilst tying it to the hypermodern concepts of discovery and exploration,” said Project Partner Miriam Auyeung (COO). “This new retail destination will provide the city with a public landmark that is inviting and accessible for all.” + 10 Design  Images via 10 Design 

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Shopping mall design creates a balance with light and dark

Cariuma teams up with Mike Vallely for 100% vegan shoes

November 16, 2021 by  
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In a partnership between lovers of nature, shoe brand Cariuma has coordinated with Mike Vallely, a legend in the skateboarding world, to develop a 100% vegan shoe that pairs well with a skateboard, a night on the town and at a PETA gathering. Cariuma isn’t new to sustainable materials, but is excited to expand their offerings to include the Mike Vallely x Cariuma sneaker. It represents the first product rolled out with the newest addition vegan suede. According to the company, the high-performance material is, “Tough like [Vallely]. This innovative material is 2.7X more resistant than animal suede, and was formulated and developed to create stellar performance and durability.” Related: Sylven New York has vegan shoes made from apples In an industry plagued with headlines around dirty manufacturing and long-term post-consumer waste , the Mike Vallely x Cariuma sneaker offers an earth and animal friendly option.  Although it clearly has feet on the ground in its concern for the environment , Cariuma didn’t stop at dabbling in environmentally-friendly materials here and there. In fact, they’ve recently achieved B-Corp certification, a process that ensures a dedication to the planet at every step of material selection, production and sales. The company reports being the first skate shoe company to earn B-Corp certification. Tuning into the stylish trends Vallely has influenced throughout his career, the contrasting materials and details on the skate shoe mirrors his not-so-subtle style on the board and in front of the mic as lead vocalist for the band Black Flag.  “The must-have for this shoe was for it to be free of animal-based materials yet still be tough and long-lasting,” said Vallely. “We’ve sourced some excellent materials for this shoe, namely vegan suede and recycled nylon that make the shoe strong, light and give it a reduced carbon footprint.” Durability was an important aspect of the design in an effort to ensure a long and useful life, even standing up to the elements on the street. But the team was able to maintain the longevity quotient in conjunction with a recycled mesh lining and rec y cled webbing, featuring a natural rubber -reinforced outsole.  The shoe also features a plant-based insole made with Mamona oil. The laces, threads and labels are all made from recycled materials. These combined efforts are leading the shoe for Oeko-Tex standard 100 certification. + Cariuma Images via Cariuma

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Cariuma teams up with Mike Vallely for 100% vegan shoes

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