Mio Borsa unveils summer collection of vegan leather bags

August 5, 2020 by  
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Mio Borsa, a vegan leather bag brand based in New Delhi, has unveiled its Spring/Summer 2020 collection of handbags. This stylish, cruelty-free line is made using Piñatex, an eco-textile made from pineapple stems. Mio Borsa founder Palavi Behl believes that fashion should be about holistic trends and integrity. As such, Behl created a line of cruelty-free , vegan leather handbags to show the world what fashion can be without using animal skins of any kind. The line includes bucket, drawstring zip, baguette box, sling and shoulder bags as well as clutches and totes. Related: Dutch designer creates leather alternative from palm leaves The vegan leather is not just environmentally friendly — it is highly durable and wears well. It is also dirt-resistant, making it easy to clean. Mio Borsa’s vegan leather is made with a combination of pineapple stem extract and polyurethane, a synthetic resin. Polyurethane is often used as a wood sealant because of its resistant to water, abrasions and stains. The Mio Borsa bags feature both modern and classic silhouettes, each with a distinctive look. While they are certainly beautiful, they are also functional and affordable, as the designer hopes to make sustainable fashion more accessible. Each bag is offered in multiple colors, so you can choose a favorite or buy multiple hues to coordinate with your outfits. For centuries, fashion has required great sacrifice from the animal kingdom. Fur made with mink, leather made from the hide of cows, snakeskin, alligator skin — the list goes on and on. Now, it’s time to move into a new era of fashion: cruelty-free fashion. There are lots of ways to shop sustainably and stylishly at the same time, and Mio Borsa is here to prove just that. “While leather requires the skin of animals, faux and vegan leather offer alternatives that keep us looking good and doing good,” the company said. “And not only is it better for the world, it’s better for our closets and wallets too: vegan leather is almost always cheaper than the real thing, and can be versatile and adapted to whatever our needs are.” + Mio Borsa Images via Mio Borsa

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Mio Borsa unveils summer collection of vegan leather bags

Panda conservation efforts lead to unexpected losses

August 5, 2020 by  
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Roughly three decades ago, the International Union for Conservation of Nature classified giant pandas as an endangered species. In 2016, giant pandas moved from endangered species to “vulnerable” on the official extinction list. Many conservationists cite successful panda conservation efforts to show that protection measures work. That said, protecting pandas may come at a higher price than expected.  According to a  new study  published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, panda protection efforts may have put other animals at risk, some of which face possible extinction. Created ecosystems that cater to pandas do not provide room for other animals such as leopards, snow leopards, wolves and Asian wild dogs. Consequently, most of these animals have nearly disappeared from protected areas. The lack of predators negatively affects the ecosystem by allowing prey animals to proliferate and damage habitats. The study attributes the animal disappearances to ecosystem shifts influenced by humans’ attempts to create proper homes for pandas. Panda conservation efforts focused on designating areas where pandas and other animals could thrive. Although many species benefited from the initiative, some lost out. The new study proposes enacting measures to ensure a more inclusive ecosystem. Dr. Sheng Li of Peking University, co-author of the study, calls for a holistic approach to wildlife protection. Such efforts will help protect all animals, not just a few species. Li explains that this is “critically needed to better increase the resilience and sustainability of the ecosystems not only for giant pandas but also for other wild species.” The study states that leopards have disappeared from 81% of panda reserves since the panda habitats were established. Meanwhile, snow leopards have disappeared from 38%, wild dogs from 95% and wolves from 77% of the protected areas. Reintroducing these animals is key to keeping the ecosystem balanced. Otherwise, some species may go extinct during attempts to protect others. + Nature Ecology & Evolution Via BBC Image via Pixabay

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Panda conservation efforts lead to unexpected losses

Oliver Co. makes vegan leather wallets from apple waste and wood

May 14, 2020 by  
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A new London-based company has created a sustainable line of wallets and cardholders made from a combination of vegan “apple leather” and “wood leather.” Oliver Co. puts a priority on sustainability by focusing on high-performance, eco-friendly fabrics for its products, moving away from the non-renewable resources that the world has come to expect out of fashion accessories. Matt Oliver, the 27-year-old product design graduate behind the company, understood the difficulties of finding sustainable fabrics that maintained the same quality and look of traditional materials, especially when it came to leather. He spent about two years looking for the right materials to fit his goals, working with Sustainable Angle, a nonprofit organization that connects small businesses with high-quality eco-textile suppliers. It was then that the vegan leather came to life. Related: These vegan “Star Wars” sneakers are made with discarded pineapple leaves The wood leather is made by bonding thin sheets of wood and fabric with a non-toxic adhesive. The wood fabric gets its soft, supple touch and pliability thanks to small micro-laser etchings to make it look and feel more like leather. All of the wood comes from FSC-approved forests, helping to reduce carbon emissions by about 60% when compared to traditional leather. The apple leather is created using a 50/50 combination of apple by-product and polyurethane coated onto a cotton polyester canvas. The company gets the apple waste from an apple-producing region of Bolzano that grows and processes a large number of apples each year and faces a significant amount of food waste . According to Oliver Co., the upcycled apple leather has a much lower impact than similar faux leathers on the market right now. Oliver Co. continues to work on innovative ways to incorporate sustainability into its business model. The company works closely with its suppliers to ensure high ethical standards in product manufacturing and full transparency for its product ingredients. Future collections of Oliver Co. accessories , such as clutch bags, pouches and laptop cases, will use the same unique vegan leather. + Oliver Co. Images via Oliver Co.

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Oliver Co. makes vegan leather wallets from apple waste and wood

Pittsburghs MuseumLab for children achieves LEED Gold

May 14, 2020 by  
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MuseumLab, one of Pittsburgh’s most creative and innovative youth learning spaces, has earned LEED Gold a year after the project was completed in the recently renovated 1890 Carnegie Library, which is located in the city’s North Side neighborhood. Santa Monica-based Koning Eizenberg Architecture led the design of the energy-efficient adaptive reuse project that now serves as a beacon for sustainability, historic preservation and community investment. Part interactive museum and part learning lab, the MuseumLab was developed by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, which received LEED Silver in 2006, to offer a variety of innovative activities for kids aged 10 and above for experimenting with art and technology. The new space hosts three labs: the Studio Lab for art; the Make Lab that comprises woodworking and metalworking equipment as well as CNC routers and laser cutters; and the Tech Lab that teaches children coding, augmented reality and video game design. The MuseumLab also has program and rental spaces, commissioned artworks, unique camps, workshops and after-school activities. Related: The net-zero Frick Environmental Center is officially one of the world’s greenest buildings In renovating the 130-year-old Carnegie Library, the architects sought to preserve and expose as much of the original 1890 archways, columns and mosaic floors as possible while bolstering the building’s energy efficiency. As a result, deteriorated plaster was sensitively rehabilitated with thermal plaster patching rather than demolished altogether. Windows were reinstated to bring greater amounts of natural light to the interiors to highlight the many historic details and new contemporary art brought into the space. “The work of innovative building projects like MuseumLab is a fundamental driving force in transforming the way our buildings are built, designed and operated,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of U.S. Green Building Council. “Buildings that achieve LEED certification are lowering carbon emissions , reducing operating costs and conserving resources while prioritizing sustainable practices and human health. Because of MuseumLab, we are increasing the number of green buildings and getting closer to USGBC’s goal to outpace conventional buildings, while being environmentally and socially responsible and improving quality of life for generations to come.” + Koning Eizenberg Architecture Photography by Erik Staudenmaier via Koning Eizenberg Architecture

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Pittsburghs MuseumLab for children achieves LEED Gold

Old Polish barn transforms into a cool contemporary home

May 14, 2020 by  
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Pozna?-based design studio  mode:lina  recently transformed a decrepit old barn into the ?lonsko Cha?pa (Silesian House), a light-filled home that beautifully combines elements of the agricultural vernacular with contemporary design. While the barn’s gabled form and concrete structure were mostly preserved, the architects improved the livability of the building by shortening its length and raising the roof to create a second floor for the bedrooms. The barn’s existing brick, steel and concrete details have been deliberately left exposed and celebrated in the redesign.  Inspired by the austere appearances of the old State Collective Farm buildings, the architects took a minimalist design approach to the Silesian House. In addition to truncating the length of the original building, the existing roof and exterior walls were simplified to create a pure  gabled  shape with no overhangs. New timber cladding was installed to the exterior envelope that was then punctuated with large irregular openings to let in as much daylight to the interior as possible.  Key to the renovation was the addition of a new double-height extension that houses the living room and dining area. “The original structure and shape of the barn is clearly visible from the living room, where we have an exact cross-section of the building in the form of a  mezzanine ,” the architects of the exposed concrete structure explained. A spacious kitchen with black granite countertops and timber cabinetry is located beneath the mezzanine. Related: Mode:lina upcycles construction materials into an industrial-chic eatery The interior is dressed in exposed  natural materials  throughout, including on the upper floor where brick walls are complemented by timber floors and ceilings and exposed beams and columns. The exposed materials and white walls provide a perfect neutral backdrop for the clients’ extensive art collection. The architects also converted the small building next to the 300-square-meter Silesian House into a guesthouse.  + mode:lina Images by Patryk Lewi?ski

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Macys and Bloomingdales to be fur-free by 2021

October 24, 2019 by  
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In partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, both Macy’s and its subsidiary, Bloomingdale’s, will cease sales of authentic fur. The fur ban aligns with the Fur Free Alliance’s guidelines against exotic skins (mink, fox, raccoon, rabbit, chinchilla) and will be fully enacted by the close of fiscal 2020, shifting the tide toward more environmental, socially responsible consumerism. Fur-free policies have been adopted across several luxury fashion brands and major retailers in recent years, thanks to the spread of both legislation and public education on the realities of animal cruelty. Related: LA City Council unanimously agrees to ban the sale of fur Interestingly, public pressure is also driving faux fur manufacturing away from synthetic fibers as well. That’s because polyester, nylon and other petroleum-based textile fibers are exacerbating the microplastic pollution crisis. In lieu of these textiles, eco-conscious alternatives like vegan leather and organic cotton are emerging and appealing to ethical shoppers. “Over the past two years, we have been closely following consumer and brand trends, listening to our customers and researching alternatives to fur . We’ve listened to our colleagues, including direct feedback from our Go Green Employee Resource Group, and we have met regularly on this topic with the Humane Society of the United States and other NGOs. Macy’s private brands are already fur-free, so expanding this practice across all Macy’s, Inc. is the natural next step,” explained Jeff Gennette, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s. “We are proud to partner with the Humane Society of the United States in our commitment to ending the sale of fur. We remain committed to providing great fashion and value to our customers, and we will continue to offer high-quality and fashionable faux fur alternatives.” Macy’s is not the first U.S. department store to enact a fur ban, for JCPenney and Sears did so already. But the impact of Macy’s business move will be far-reaching, becausee it operates 680 stores across 43 states. While Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s will no longer sell fur across their brands and off-price stores — even closing off a fleet of fur vaults and salons where storage and alterations of furs were offered — the ban does not mean Macy’s and its subsidiaries will stop selling all animal-based goods. Rather, they will still continue to retail calf hair, cowhide and sheepskin merchandise to shoppers. + Macy’s Image via Macy’s

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Macys and Bloomingdales to be fur-free by 2021

Sculptural, solar-powered home generates more energy than it uses

October 24, 2019 by  
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In the Texan suburb of Addison just north of Dallas, 5G Studio Collaborative has completed the Winnwood Residence, a contemporary home that blurs the line between the indoors and out. Certified LEED Platinum , the single-family home offsets all its energy use with a 10 kW rooftop solar array and geothermal wells drilled beneath the driveway. Walls of glass, large skylights and outdoor living spaces immerse the residents in the landscape and help bring in natural light and ventilation to reduce the home’s energy demands. Completed in 2016, the Winnwood Residence is a sculptural, single-story home that spreads out across 4,600 square feet to embrace varied landscape views, one of which is a land and water conservation park funded by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the U.S. Department of the Interior; the front third of the client’s property has been designated as an extension to the conservation project across the street. To keep focus on the outdoors, the architects opted for a minimalist yet modern design of “a solid black plaster mass sitting within an enclosed garden.” The interiors are also simple and feature white walls of smooth reflective plaster and minimalist decor. Related: Solar-powered Austin home can save owners nearly $100K in energy costs “The exterior finish is black plaster, upon which climbing Boston Ivy is expected to overtake overtime; the shadowy blackness of the exterior surfaces allows one to truly enjoy light, not shadow, filtering through the trees,” the architects explained in a statement. “The architecture elegantly and quietly achieves its sustainability objectives; proposes a new vocabulary of architecture that is decidedly un-local yet celebrates Texas living and is very much about the landscape as it is about the interior.” The building will gradually blend into the lush landscape, which has been repopulated with native and adaptive species. To further reduce site impact, the architects installed a rainwater collection cistern beneath the driveway to minimize runoff and increase water permeability. Geothermal and solar energy power the energy-positive home. + 5G Studio Collaborative Photography by Adam Mørk via 5G Studio Collaborative

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Sculptural, solar-powered home generates more energy than it uses

These vegan "Star Wars" sneakers are made with discarded pineapple leaves

September 7, 2017 by  
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The pineapple is strong with these sneakers—literally. A collaboration between Star Wars and London-based shoemaker Po-Zu , the limited-edition “Silver Resistance” high-top combines silver woven linen and Piñatex , a leather alternative engineered from the fibers of discarded pineapple leaves. The sneaker, which is handcrafted in Portugal, also features a rubberized Rebel Alliance badge, a quilted rear panel, a removable memory foam insole, and a grippy natural-latex outsole. The result is a shoe that is as visually striking as it is environmentally friendly. “We go the extra mile to make our shoes ethically and sustainably so you can wear them with clear conscience from dawn till dusk,” Sven Segal, fouder of Po-Zu, said in a statement. “We want them to be comfortable, collectable, and wearable. This sneaker has all of that and more. I love that it is vegan, too.” Related: Aspiring Jedis can pilot the Millennium Falcon at Disney’s upcoming ‘Star Wars’ hotel Available for preorder, the “Silver Resistance” is expected to ship in October, “just in time for Christmas and the launch of Star Wars: The Last Jedi ,” according to Po-Zu. If you miss out on one of the 1,000 pairs, you can still catch a glimpse of the sneaker, along with rest of Po-Zu’s co-branded Star Wars collection, at the Museum of Brands during London Design Week . + Star Wars Silver Resistance High-Top £150 + Po-Zu

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These vegan "Star Wars" sneakers are made with discarded pineapple leaves

New North African solar farms could send 4.5 gigawatts of energy to Europe

September 7, 2017 by  
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The age-old plan to power Europe with solar farms in North Africa and the Middle East may finally become a reality. This past June, Tunisia-based TuNur filed a request to export 4.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy to Europe. That’s enough to power 5 million homes or 7 million electric cars! If the joint venture between UK-based solar specialist Nur Energie and Tunisian and Maltese investors proves successful, the energy landscape in Europe will be forever changed. Said Daniel Rich, the chief operating officer at TuNur: “Today you have a market in need of low carbon dispatchable power, which has the mechanisms to import power from other countries. Next door is a region with extreme solar resource and in need for investment and development. Finally, there are technologies that can satisfy the demand at very competitive pricing and have a very high local impact.” The National reports that project is making fast progress. By 2020, the TuNur solar plant in Tunisia will be linked with Malta, a feat which will cost approximately €1.6 billion. (The island is already linked to the European mainland via an undersea power line that connects to Sicily.) A second cable link will connect Tunisia to central Italy at a point north of Rome. A third cable, which would link Tunisia to the south of France, is presently under review. Related: European firms eye artificial island for North Sea wind and solar farm The project will do more than provide Europe with clean energy – it will stimulate over $5 billion of investment in Tunisia . Approximately 20,000 direct and indirect jobs — specifically in the interior regions which are least developed — will also be generated. + TuNur Via The National Images via TuNur , Pixabay

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New North African solar farms could send 4.5 gigawatts of energy to Europe

Plastic fibers found in over 80% of tap water samples from five continents

September 7, 2017 by  
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If you had a glass of water from the tap today, you likely ingested plastic. Orb Media conducted an investigation of plastic in our tap water over 10 months, and their results were shocking: over 80 percent of samples they collected – in places like the United States Capitol building or the shores of Uganda’s Lake Victoria – contained plastic fibers. The authors of the study say we’re living in the Plastic Age – and the contamination probably is not limited to our water. Orb Media and a researcher from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health scrutinized plastic fibers in our tap water for the report, titled Invisibles, for what Orb Media described as the “first public scientific study of its kind.” Microplastics contaminating our water come from a variety of sources, from synthetic clothes to tire dust to microbeads to plastic utensils. According to Orb Media, “We have produced more plastic in the last 10 years than in the entirety of the last century.” They said experts said plastics are probably in your food too – like baby formula, sauces, or craft beer. Related: Plankton Pundit video shows exact moment plastic enters the food chain The research authors tested tap water in the United States, Europe, Indonesia, India, Lebanon, Uganda, and Ecuador. The United States had the greatest amount of plastics in their water at 94 percent of samples; the researchers detected the fibers at the Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, Congress buildings, and Trump Tower in New York. Lebanon and India had the next greatest amounts of contamination. Europe had the least – but plastics were still found in 72 percent of samples there. It’s easy to blame waste management or sewage treatment systems. But one marine biology professor said designers have a role to play too. Associate Dean of Research at Plymouth University Richard Thompson told Orb Media, “Plastics are inherently recyclable . What’s preventing us from recycling I’d argue, is inadequate, inappropriate, or…lack of proper consideration on the design stage for what’s going to happen at the end of life.” Senior Research Associate at the University of New South Wales Mark Browne said, “It’s all of our fault.” + Invisibles Via Orb Media and The Guardian Lead image via Depositphotos , others via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Plastic fibers found in over 80% of tap water samples from five continents

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