President Trump attacks wind turbines, claims the noise causes cancer

April 5, 2019 by  
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Speaking at an event for the National Republican Congressional Committee, President Trump took a shot at wind power as he continues his war against renewable energy. In a surprising statement, Trump claimed that having a wind turbine near your home will devalue the property and cause cancer. “If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value,” Trump told his fellow Republicans. “And they say the noise causes cancer. You tell me that one, okay? Rerrrr rerrrr!” The allegation that wind turbines cause cancer is simply false. According to EcoWatch , some studies have looked into the issue but have found no link between wind turbines and health-related issues; this includes strokes and heart attacks. Simply put, the only real issue with wind turbines is that they might be a minor annoyance and create about as much noise as traffic. Trump also doubled down on his previous claims that wind power results in massive bird deaths. Although wind turbines do kill birds on an annual basis, they do so at a much lower rate than traditional energy sources. A study conducted in 2009 discovered that fossil fuel facilities kill almost 15 times the amount of birds as wind turbines. If wind turbines do not cause cancer or kill birds on a large scale, then why is Trump so against them? Turns out, Trump has a history with fighting wind turbines that dates back to 2006. At the time, Trump had purchased some land in Scotland that he intended to turn into a golf course. A nearby farm ruined those plans when it decided to put up a wind turbine. Trump sued the farmers but lost in court. Trump’s stance against wind power also sits nicely with the Republican party’s policy on energy. His administration has initiated plans to boost fossil fuel production in the United States and has made it clear that renewable energy is not high on its priority list. Exactly how this will affect the future of wind turbines in the United States is unclear. Via EcoWatch Image via Pixabay

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Tesla hit with $86K fine for violating emission standards in California

April 4, 2019 by  
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Tesla just had to shell out thousands of dollars after losing a lawsuit over air pollution. The car company was hit with an $86,000 fine for violating emission standards in a facility based in Fremont, California . The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) led the charge against Tesla , inspecting the manufacturing site with help from the Department of Toxic Substances Control and Bay Area Air Quality Management. The organizations found that Tesla failed to properly handle waste that should have been deemed toxic. Related: Greenhouse gas emissions rose during 2018 after three year decline According to Gizmodo , Tesla is now following proper protocols in the disposal of toxic waste. In the settlement, the car company agreed to pay off a $31,000 fine and purchase new equipment for local firefighters worth around $55,000. In total, Tesla forked over around $86,000 in fines. “The company has now corrected those violations and has provided training in hazardous waste management to more than 1,100 paint shop workers, technicians and supervisors,” the EPA explained. The settlement further revealed that Tesla failed to dispose of solvents and paints that were flammable. This includes not labeling waste and failing to properly secure containers. The company also did not adequately store and label waste that was toxic in nature. The EPA marked  Tesla for not having enough space in waste management areas as well. This is unfortunately not the first time Tesla has faced environmental violations. In 2010, the company received a $275,000 fine because of certification issues with the Tesla Roadster. Three years later, Tesla payed a $71,000 fine, because a few workers came in contact with molten aluminum. In 2019, the EPA issued the company a $29,000 fine for violating safety standards and a $139,000 fine for breaking pollution  laws. Because of the ongoing health and safety violations, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health just labeled Tesla among the most dangerous places to work in the United States. Although the company continues to face public scrutiny over its workplace standards, especially when it comes to toxic waste and air pollution , it refuses to allow workers to unionize. Via Gizmodo Image via FreePhotos

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A prefabricated timber facade envelops a gorgeous glass home on a Norwegian island

April 4, 2019 by  
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Oslo-based firm Atelier Oslo has created a beautiful home for a pair of artists who wanted to enjoy a peaceful retreat on the remote Norwegian island of Skåtøy. Built into the rocky landscape, the design for the House on an Island was inspired by the couple’s desire to find a place for contemplation in nature. The 7,500-square-foot glass cube features a prefabricated timber frame enveloped by a loosely gridded timber facade that filters the sunlight into playful shadows throughout the interior, emitting the calming feeling of sitting under a swaying tree. The home was built on a rugged landscape characterized by smooth and curved rocks that run down to the coastline. Although the rocky terrain was challenging, the architects managed to use it to their advantage. Using the large rocks as a base, the architects laid a concrete foundation that wraps around the rocks to mark the home’s layout, resulting in various split-levels that follow the contour of the natural topography. Built on a slight knoll, the home’s frame is made out of prefabricated timber . Related: Prefab CLT pavilion cleverly encourages dialogue at a Vancouver TED conference The main volume is a cube-like shape comprised of massive glass panels partially covered with a timber “netting.” The timber panels, which were made from heat-treated wood that will turn gray over time, covers the rooftop and drops down over the front facade. This system allowed the architects to truly embed the home into its natural surroundings. The timber slats are placed far apart, allowing filtered natural light and playful shadows to emit a calming atmosphere throughout the interior. The living space of the two-bedroom home is an open layout with modern furnishings. Again, using the home’s natural materials to enhance the atmosphere, Atelier Oslo emphasized natural wood and concrete for the interior design. Exposed wooden beams run the length of the ceilings, and concrete flooring gives the space a fun, industrial feel. Concrete was also used to craft an impressive fireplace and adjacent stairwell (which doubles as a bookcase) that leads to the top floor. + Atelier Oslo Via Dezeen Photography by Ivar Kvaal and Charlotte Thiis via Atelier Oslo

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One third of the world’s power now comes from renewable energy

April 4, 2019 by  
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After years of hard work and dedication, a third of the power generated around the world is now linked to renewable energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) just released new data that shows impressive growth in both wind and solar energy , which has contributed to the changes in energy sources around the globe. Locations differed in the rate of renewable energy capacity. Asia, for example, witnessed an increase in renewable energy by 11 percent, while Africa’s pace was a little above 8.4 percent. Also contributing the numbers is the fact that two-thirds of the power added last year came from renewable sources, and developing countries are leading the pack. Related: Amazon plans to reach net-zero carbon use by 2030 “Through its compelling business case, renewable energy has established itself as the technology of choice for new power generation capacity,” the director of IRENA, Adnan Z. Amin explained. Renewable energy has been on the rise for past five years, and the numbers released in IRENA’s study show they are not slowing down. While the numbers are a positive sign for the future, Amin believes they need to increase at an even faster pace if we want to reach our global climate goals. New technology, of course, is the driving force behind renewable energy. Not only does technology make these energy sources possible, but it also makes them easier than ever to access. This includes the use of wind and solar energy, which contributed the most to energy capacities in 2018. Wind energy experienced a growth by around 49 GW while solar energy led the pack with an increase of 94 GW. While hydropower is the largest source of renewable energy, its growth has steadily declined over the years. Other notable sources include bioenergy , which saw growth in both China and the UK, and geothermal energy which increased in Turkey, Indonesia and the United States. Considering the fast growth rate of renewable energy, environmentalists hope the trend will continue for decades to come. If more and more countries continue to invest in renewable energy, we should be able to make great strides in curbing global carbon emissions over the next century. + IRENA Image via IRENA

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H&M releases sustainable fashion line made from fruit and algae

April 4, 2019 by  
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Many people remember Lady Gaga’s jaw dropping meat dress , so when you hear of a dress made out of fruit, your mind is not likely to think of the trendy pieces H&M is releasing next week. On April 11, 2019, fashion giant H&M will release its ninth Conscious Exclusive line, but this year, it has partnered with eco textile companies to make cutting-edge food waste clothing technology a global success. Eco textiles made from fruit waste This newest technology in sustainable fashion includes vegan leather made out of pineapple leaves by Piñatex , a silk alternative made from orange peels by Orange Fiber and shoe soles made from algae by  BLOOM Foam . All of these organic materials are readily available and otherwise considered waste by-products from the harvest of pineapples, juicing of oranges and the harmful overpopulation of algae in waterways. The materials would otherwise rot in landfills but are processed in factories so that they do not biodegrade while you’re wearing them. Related: These vegan “Star Wars” sneakers are made with discarded pineapple leaves Like other fabrics, these eco textiles are finished with harmful chemicals that prevent the fabrics from biodegrading. That also means that they cannot be recycled and do not break down in a landfill, not to mention that the harmful chemical process pollutes waterways. In the end, these textiles have an environmental impact sadly similar to their conventional counterparts. On the positive side, most conventional textiles materials are sourced from endangered  rainforests . Though they aren’t perfect, eco textiles do succeed in more sustainable sourcing. H&M is one of the largest fashion brands, with more than  4,433 retail locations worldwide and nearly 50 online markets. Its Conscious Exclusive line is a way to experiment with and scale-up sustainable technologies that otherwise get little traction from limited boutique markets. Despite H&M’s ninth consecutive sustainable line, critics still argue that experiments with food waste do not address the major environmental problems with fast fashion and that these distracting pineapple gimmicks are just that — gimmicks. Fast fashion and its toll on the environment According to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change , the fast fashion industry contributes approximately 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and consumes more energy than the aviation and shipping industries combined. The report said that the fashion industry produces 20 percent of all waste water, and 85 percent of textiles end up in landfills. Related: The environmental secrets the fashion industry does not want you to know More than just the harmful sourcing and toxic processing of fabrics, fast fashion culture is highly problematic in terms of the quantities of materials produced, purchased and disposed of. According to the World Resource Institute , the average consumer bought 60 percent more clothing between 2000 and 2014 than previous years and had each item for half as long. Relevant Magazine added that the average article of clothing is only worn five times before it is discarded. Both responsible for and responding to these trends, fast fashion companies like H&M aren’t making clothes to last, but instead to be trendy, cheap enough to be disposable and in quantities that seem endless. H&M as a trendsetter for sustainable fashion There is plenty to criticize about fast fashion and companies’ feeble attempts at sustainability; however, the size and scale of H&M makes it an important ally and trendsetter in shifting the market toward sustainable fashion. The Swedish company has made serious commitments toward sustainability goals that could equate to substantial shifts because of its size. For example, H&M claimed that 57 percent of all its clothing comes from recycled or sustainable sources, and it has set a benchmark goal to get to 100 percent by 2030. In addition, many H&M retail stores have recycling programs where customers can bring in old clothing to be recycled, reused or disposed of properly. Global Citizen also reported that H&M promises to eliminate problematic plastics from its supply chain by 2025. Can eco textiles save fashion? Textiles made from pineapples and oranges are fun and stylish, and they get people talking. As Vogue explained, if your clothing was made from pineapples, isn’t that the first thing you would tell your friends when they compliment your outfit? Despite the sustainable sourcing, though, critics argue that there is simply not enough leaves from pineapple harvests to make this a scalable solution to even address unsustainable fashion within H&M’s own markets. It is only a small bandage and cute talking point. Fashion sustainability expert and former scientist at the Natural Resource Defense Council Linda Greer  argued , “They need to focus on things that matter the most and stop spending time on these amateur initiatives that are never going to scale. They’re just trying to tickle our fancy.” There is still a lot of work to turn shoppers and companies into conscious consumers and producers. Before the general public will consider or prioritize the ethics of their clothing, it has to be the right aesthetic and price point to even get their attention. Even if the eco textiles are not sustainable at a global scale or making a huge impact, a fashion giant like H&M showing public commitment and getting people talking sends a message to consumers around the world and amplifies the conversation. It also sends a message to designers and experimental sustainable fashion start-ups that large manufacturers are paying attention, committing to sustainability goals and looking to their inventions for the next big thing. That motivation alone could be enough to shift the future of the industry. + H&M Via Global Citizen Images via H&M

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Coal prices continue to rise, becoming more costly than solar and wind alternatives

March 27, 2019 by  
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Coal prices are on the rise in the United States. The vast majority of coal production now costs more than wind and solar energy. Unless the price of coal production drops quickly, experts believe the fossil fuel will be replaced in the near future. “Even without major policy shift, we will continue to see coal retire pretty rapidly,” said Mike O’Boyle, who authored a new study for Energy Innovation on the rising costs of coal. “Our analysis shows that we can move a lot faster to replace coal with wind and solar .” The new study examined financial data obtained from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) to determine how much it costs to produce coal in the United States. Related: Finland plans to complete its coal ban one year early According to The Guardian , the researchers discovered that over two-thirds of coal produced in the United States is more costly than solar and wind alternatives. This includes the cost of building solar panels and wind turbines and maintaining them. If the cost of coal continues to rise, the fuel will no longer be a viable option for energy over the next five to six years. Americans across the country will be able to save money by replacing their coal energy with wind or solar power. The scientists leading the study already knew that coal prices have gone up, but they did not expect it to be so widespread. There are several reasons why coal prices have skyrocketed in recent years. The two biggest causes are maintenance bills and the cost of retrofitting factories to comply with new pollution laws. While coal prices are on the rise, wind and solar energies have actually decreased in cost as technology improves. Coupled with an increase in demand for natural gas, renewable energy is killing the coal industry. Renewable sources of energy, like wind and solar power, now make up about 17 percent of electrical production in the United States. Although coal is clearly on its way out, the Trump administration has been advocating for it, which has only slowed its demise. Financial institutions have also kept coal alive by handing out around $1.9 trillion dollars in loans over the past four years. But if coal prices continue their current trend, the industry is doomed to be replaced by more affordable, cleaner energy alternatives. Via The Guardian Image via Lucas Faria / U.S. Department of Energy

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Coal prices continue to rise, becoming more costly than solar and wind alternatives

This distillery helps you make delicious, carbon-negative cocktails

March 14, 2019 by  
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Do you ever think about how your happy hour is affecting the environment? Manufacturing alcohol in the United States creates harmful carbon dioxide that can wreck the earth’s system of natural resources, and a massive amount of the materials needed to package and distribute alcohol (bottles, plastic caps, etc.) end up in the trash. Los Angeles-based Greenbar Distillery , however, is changing the game entirely with its carbon-negative company model. One of the world’s largest selections of USDA-certified organic spirits can be found at Greenbar Distillery — that means no artificial fertilizers or synthetic pesticides seeping into the earth or your body. Additionally, the company only uses lightweight and eco-friendly packaging. By taking the environment into account with its manufacturing process and its commitment to planting one tree for every bottle of liquor that it sells, buying from Greenbar Distillery actually helps to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. According to the website, a standard cocktail made with 1.5 ounces of Greenbar Distillery spirits will make you carbon negative for the day . “By being efficient and careful in the manufacturing process and planting one tree a bottle sold, 1.5 ounces of any Greenbar Distillery organic spirits — about what’s in a typical cocktail — helps remove 46.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” according to the website. Related: Grow your own cocktails — drink recipes from the garden Because the average American produces 45.2 kilograms of carbon dioxide every day, the 46.6 kilograms that Greenbar Distillery helps to remove daily means the drinks are not just carbon-neutral , but carbon-negative. You can even find a report on the company’s carbon footprint analysis on its website. So go ahead, celebrate Earth Day with a cocktail (or two). Another of the company’s impactful attributes? Its tree-planting program. It solidifies Greenbar Distillery’s enthusiasm and commitment to not only reducing its own carbon footprint with sustainable production techniques but educating the community and building awareness of the world’s environmental issues. Whenever you buy a bottle of Greenbar Distillery liquor, a tree is planted. Since beginning a partnership with Sustainable Harvest International in 2008, Greenbar has planted more than 766,000 trees in the Central American rainforest. These aren’t just any trees, either. They plant indigenous shade trees that can help protect locally-farmed, fair-trade crops like coffee and cacao. Sustainable Harvest International has also provided local training to rural farming communities throughout Central America since 1997, with programs in Belize, Honduras and Panama. Greenbar Distillery founders Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew taught themselves how to make liquor through trial-and-error in 2004, completing each process start to finish themselves in the company’s early years. They started out using traditional methods and materials and didn’t make the switch to fully organic until 2009. Initially launching a spirits line called Modern Spirits Artisan, Khosrovian and Mathew put their focus on using locally-farmed ingredients and exotic flavors. The company thrived while winning awards from Wine Enthusiast and the Wall Street Journal, but when some of their local sources began switching to organic, Khosrovian and Mathew noticed a difference. Once they discovered the superior quality and taste of organic ingredients, the duo was completely inspired. This early discovery led to education on sustainable, eco-friendly farming practices and an overhaul of the entire company to focus on sustainability. Gone were the heavy glass bottles and plastic labels. Instead, Khosrovian and Mathew focused on lightweight bottles and recycled labels with water-soluble ink. Today, Greenbar Distillery uses glass bottles that weight 25 percent less than the average spirits bottle, meaning fewer resources used and less carbon dioxide emissions from production. The shipping boxes are designed to fold together and reduce the need for tape. The labels use 100 percent post-consumer waste recycled paper, and the ink is soy-based, which is more biodegradable than traditional inks. The company also eliminated the use of plastic , tamper-evident capsules on its bottles, a popular and modern practice that adds more non-recyclable plastic to the environment. While synthetic corks are gaining popularity in the alcohol industry, Greenbar Distillery only uses recyclable corks, which are biodegradable and naturally-sourced. The company seems to be constantly coming up with new, innovative techniques while simultaneously honoring the old-school methods. With enough variation to please any bartender or cocktail-enthusiast, Greenbar Distillery offers organic gin, rum, liqueur, amaro, tequila, whiskey, vodka and even bitters. Its Slow Hand whiskey uses organic malted barley and infused flavor from white oak, hickory, maple, mulberry, red oak and grape woods. Greenbar Distillery was the first to use this whiskey-making technique in the Los Angeles area since the Prohibition Period. It is also free from added sugars or artificial colors. Related: 12 delicious and crowd-pleasing vegan brunch ideas The Greenbar gin uses organic and hand-picked juniper berries from Bulgaria, and the Renaissance-era distilling process takes up to two months. When it comes to flavored liquor, Greenbar Distillery flavors its gluten-free, organic vodkas with natural ingredients like California lemons and pomegranate. Its Tru Garden Vodka is a unique blend of celery, dill, coriander, fennel, mint, thyme, pink peppercorn, cumin and vanilla beans (perfect for a morning Bloody Mary). Check out Greenbar Distillery website for more information on distillery tours and practices or to make a purchase. You can also find a whole arsenal of cocktail recipes and concoctions on the  recipes page . + Greenbar Distillery Images via Sustainable Harvest, Maker Walk LA, Marc Royce, Terreanea Resort and Greenbar Distillery

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7 ways to be a sustainable and eco-friendly pet owner

February 28, 2019 by  
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Whether we realize it or not, every choice we make for our furry friends has the potential to impact the environment. While the biggest challenge that eco-friendly pet owners face is the balance between the needs of our animals and the needs of the environment, keeping our pets healthy and happy should always come first. After all, they’re part of the family. If you’re trying to stick to sustainable living, you don’t have to stop with your own footprint — keep your pet’s environmental paw print in mind as well. Adopt, don’t shop Seven million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States, because there is no room for them in shelters. Even more alarming, there are 70 million stray animals living in the U.S. without regular food or shelter. Choosing to adopt a pet already in need of a good home rather than one from a breeder is not only more economically friendly; it also means that there is one less animal out there trying to make it on the streets. When you’re adopting from a shelter, you’re saving a life. Invest in sustainable pet food If buying sustainable pet food doesn’t appeal to you, make your own! Though time-consuming and somewhat controversial , raw diets are a huge fad right now (and they cut down on processed ingredients). You can even make your own dog treats so you know exactly what is going into their bodies. Related: Can vegan pet food be good for the planet and your pet? Just remember: your pet’s health comes first. Raw diets and homemade treats may not be what’s best for them, so make sure to consult your veterinarian before making a big change in your pet’s diet. Your vet may even be able to suggest some healthy, natural alternatives when it comes to packaged food brands. If you do choose to buy prepared or canned food for your pet, buy in bulk and make sure the packaging is recyclable. Limit plastic toys, or choose toys made of recyclable materials Especially if you have a particularly rambunctious pet who likes to chew and destroy, plastic pet toys can end up in the garbage or landfills where they’ll never decompose. Opt instead for toys made from recyclable materials or natural fibers. There are plenty of companies passionate about eco-friendly pet toys, like West Paw , which uses durable, non-toxic, recyclable plastic, and Harry Barker , which uses earth-friendly fabric like hemp and certified recycled materials. Use non-toxic pet shampoo Feel better about your pet’s least-favorite activity by using organic and natural shampoo during their baths. Make sure it is non-toxic and free of dyes and parabens — it’s not only better for your pet’s skin and hair, but it also it ensures that no excess chemicals end up going down the drain and into the environment. Do your research or ask your vet first, because many companies advertise their products as “all-natural” when they’re really not . Clean up waste properly You may think that leaving Fido’s waste behind after he goes to the bathroom is completely natural, but studies show it may be harmful to the environment if it leaks contaminants into the water supply. When it comes to cat litter, some brands use toxic ingredients or silica dust that can be harmful to humans and animals. Luckily, there are greener options out there. Purina has a kitty litter made from old newspapers, and Cedarific uses soft cedar wood chips that are eco-friendly and smell great. For animals that do their business outside, choose a bag made from plant-based materials that will actually decompose , and throw it away. Take more walks You probably already know that nothing makes your dog happier than a good walk. It’s also a great excuse to skip the carbon emissions from the car and walk your pup to the store instead. Even cats and other indoor pets could use some outside time once in a while, so get out there are enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Spay and neuter This one might seem obvious, but getting your animals spayed or neutered is one of the best gifts you can give to the environment. You never know what kind of mischief your pet might get into, and making sure that there aren’t any resulting baby animals ending up in a shelter or using up environmental resources is important. It will help control the pet homelessness epidemic and gives your animal a better chance of not catching diseases like testicular cancer, prostate issues, uterus infections and malignant breast tumors. ASPCA has an online service that finds low-cost or free spay-neuter programs in your area, so you can still be a responsible pet owner even on a budget. Images via Jowanna Daley , Luisella Planeta Leoni ,  Aqua Mechanical , Julita  and Shutterstock

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NYCs plant-filled Greenery Unlimited is worlds first Biophilic Design Store

February 28, 2019 by  
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An enormous green wall and a 12-foot ficus tree await visitors at Greenery Unlimited , a newly opened retail store that’s been billed by Greenery NYC owners Rebecca Bullene and Adam Besheer as the “world’s first Biophilic Design Store.” Located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn , Greenery Unlimited is the first brick-and-mortar location for the botanic design and installation company, which has a thriving online presence and an impressive client list ranging from the likes of TED Talks and Google to The New York Times and Netflix. The retail store will sell plants as well as more complex green installations aimed at improving human wellness indoors. Created as “an evolution of the traditional plant store,” Greenery Unlimited will sell plants in addition to growing systems such as grow lighting, irrigation systems, specialty vessels and tools. With a decade’s worth of experience installing large-scale botanic installations around the city, Bullene and Besheer have learned the best practices for plant cultivation and long-term management and have seen first-hand the restorative effect that indoor plants have on improving human health and comfort, a practice that Bullene and Besheer call “ biophilic design.” “As long time residents of New York, we know that the only way to deal with the chaos of the city is to make your home into a sanctuary,” Adam Besheer explained in a press release. “Plants are an unmatched aid to calm and relaxation, but there’s an inherent stress in trying to keep them alive in the suboptimal conditions of a New York City apartment. We want to provide New Yorkers with the tools and knowledge not only to keep plants alive, but to fully integrate them as part of their home environment.” Related: A London office boasts biophilic design for a healthier, happier workplace Greenery Unlimited will serve as a showcase for green installations and biophilic design concepts, such as a 120-square-foot green wall behind the reception desk and a central seating area integrated with a self-contained irrigation and fertilization system supporting a 12-foot-tall ficus tree. The indoor environment will mimic an outdoor setting with a cloud forest-like atmosphere using a pressurized misting hub and circadian lighting displays. + Greenery Unlimited Images via Greenery Unlimited

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Believed extinct for 38 years, the world’s largest bee has been found

February 22, 2019 by  
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Measuring in at four times the size of the average honeybee, Wallace’s giant bee has been on the endangered species radar for decades and was feared to be gone forever. But after 38 years of searching, scientists have confirmed that the world’s largest bee hasn’t gone extinct just yet. A team of scientists hailing from the United States and Australia discovered a female giant bee on the North Moluccas islands of Indonesia. The bee was uncovered in a termite nest, and the team was able to capture a series of photos of the massive insect, which has somehow evaded extinction all these years. Scientists have yet to determine how many giant bees are in the wild. Related: Bee Saving Paper “works like an energy drink for bees” “It was absolutely breathtaking to see this ‘flying bulldog’ of an insect that we weren’t sure existed anymore,” Clay Bolt , one of the team’s photographers, explained. According to The Guardian , Alfred Russel Wallace, a well-known naturalist and explorer from Britain, discovered the giant bee in 1858. Although it is the world’s largest bee , sightings of the flying insect have been rare, and scientists have had a difficult time unlocking its secrets. In fact, the giant bee stayed off the radar until 1981, when an American scientist named Adam Messer found three members of the species in Indonesia. The giant bee once again disappeared after Messer’s sightings, and scientists worried that the species had gone extinct. Fortunately, finding the living solo female proves that Wallace’s giant bee is still around, sparking hope that the species will continue to evade extinction in the years to come. The IUCN currently lists Wallace’s giant bee as vulnerable. Sadly, deforestation in the region is threatening the bee’s natural habitat. Collectors also seek out the giant bee because it is so rare, which has driven numbers down even more. Indonesia has yet to enact legislation that protects the bees from being targeted by humans. Scientists hope the new sighting will raise awareness about the giant bee and prompt lawmakers to take action to prevent the insect from becoming another  endangered species that goes extinct. Via The Guardian Images via Clay Bolt

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