Virginia bans cosmetic testing on animals

March 17, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Virginia bans cosmetic testing on animals

Starting January 1, 2022, the state of Virginia will no longer allow animal testing or the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. Thanks to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam — and other kind and dedicated Virginians — the Virginia Humane Cosmetics Act became law this month. Senator Jennifer Boysko and Delegate Kaye Kory introduced the bill. Its passage makes Virginia the fourth state in the U.S. to make a law prohibiting cosmetic animal testing . Related: EPA promises an end to animal testing “This fantastic news illustrates a growing momentum in efforts to end unnecessary testing on animals in the United States and around the world for products like shampoos, mascara and lipstick,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF). “Consumers are scanning labels and demanding products free of animal testing, cosmetics companies are listening to them and changing their practices, and lawmakers are solidifying these changes into permanent policy.” For vegans and anybody else who cares about animal suffering, this act makes shopping much easier. Instead of trying to read the tiny print on a tube of eyeliner, consumers will be able to get straight in line with their purchases, saving both time and eyestrain. In 2018, California became the first state to pass a law banning animal testing for cosmetics. The California law makes exceptions for cosmetic ingredients that the USDA requires testing for because of health concerns, or if regulatory compliance is called for by a foreign authority. Nevada passed a cruelty-free cosmetics act in June 2019, and Illinois followed in August 2019. Six other states are considering their own cruelty-free cosmetic acts: Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island. The movement is picking up steam all over the world as more and more consumers start asking exactly what’s in that lipstick and if animal suffering is really necessary for human beauty. “Cosmetics animal testing is simply not needed to ensure the safety of cosmetics for human use,” Amundson said. “In the case of new ingredients, many non-animal test methods have been, and continue to be, developed that are as effective — or even more effective — than animal tests have been.” Via VegNews Image via Anna Sulencka

More:
Virginia bans cosmetic testing on animals

Hacking solutions to ‘time-sensitive’ climate problems

March 11, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Hacking solutions to ‘time-sensitive’ climate problems

Hacking solutions to ‘time-sensitive’ climate problems Shana Rappaport Thu, 03/11/2021 – 01:03 For more essays and articles by Shana Rapport, sign up for VERGE Weekly , one of our free newsletters. Sanjana Paul is a 23-year-old scientist, electrical engineer and environmental activist on a mission.  Yes, she’s worked at NASA. But her mission isn’t to explore the outer edges of the solar system. Instead, it’s to harness the full power of technology and the ingenuity of young people to solve our most pressing environmental challenges — right here on Earth.  In addition to her former role as a junior atmospheric science software developer at NASA and her current work as a researcher at MIT, Sanjana is founder and executive director of Earth Hacks , an organization that hosts hackathons for college students to combat the climate crisis.  I caught up recently with her to talk about technology innovation, climate solutions and environmental justice. The following interview has been edited for clarity and length. Shana Rappaport: Before we get into Earth Hacks’ mission, let’s start with your own passion for innovation. What technologies are you personally most excited about or inventions are you most proud of? Sanjana Paul: That’s a great question, and not an easy one because the answer changes every few months. The technology landscape is evolving so rapidly and always reflective of the society that we live in.  I think I’ll have to stick with a classic and choose harnessing the photoelectric effect through solar panels. The trajectory we’re on of being a planet powered by the sun is such a powerful way to support a growing, thriving society. Rappaport: You also have some inventions of your own. Can you speak briefly to those?  Paul: I’ve been fortunate to work on a number of different hardware prototyping projects that I’m very proud of. One is what’s now the Sentinel Project at Conservation X Labs , which is a next-gen camera trap for wildlife conservation that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to assist wildlife conservationists. Another is a robot that I created with a partner of mine, FLOATIBOI , that captures marine plastic debris in coastal areas using visual identification. [Editor’s note: FLOATIBOI is short for Floating Long-term Oceanic Autonomous Trawler Incorporating Buoyant Object Identification.] Rappaport: You founded Earth Hacks in 2018 to leverage the power of the hackathon innovation model in direct service of climate education and solutions. Talk a little bit about what set you on this journey. Paul: I used to go to hackathons as a way to boost my coding skills and supplement what I was learning as an electrical engineering and physics student. But I’d go to these hackathons and find myself stunned because the problems that they presented seemed completely out of touch with the reality that we are living in. They seemed like things only third-year computer science majors would care about.  So, I started to wonder: If hackathons are a place where really smart people come to essentially give up their whole weekends to work on problems, why are we not presenting societally relevant problems? And why are we not presenting really time-sensitive problems, like climate change, which is the most time-sensitive issue we have ever faced as a species? I got a group of my friends together, and we decided to have environmental hackathons as a space to engage with environmental issues and actually start imagining what we can do about them. It all spiraled from there. We started out with one in Richmond, Virginia, and then started getting contacted by students across the country and eventually across the world. We formed an organization around it, and now we’re fortunate to have worked with people from every inhabited continent on the planet — on hackathons ranging from creating urban heat island maps to creating better tools for conservationists working with endangered species. Rappaport: The EarthHacks model is also working to ensure that great ideas don’t just get generated at these student-driven hackathons but are actually implemented. What are some of the real-world projects that have come out of them so far? Paul: That’s a great question, and before I dive into it, I just want to say that one amazing part of all this is that nothing is ever really lost at these hackathons. Even if no cool inventions or startups come out of them, we’re still fortunate that this is an educational opportunity — students still walk away learning about these issues and engaging with them more closely than they did before. That said, we’ve seen some really incredible projects come out, already being put to work in really interesting ways.  We collaborated with a startup called Urban Canopy and with scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab — working with satellite data from the International Space Station to create the world’s first public map of urban heat islands. We basically gave students data, said, “Pick a city, plot the land surface temperature and put it on a map.” This told us where urban heat is most concentrated, which we can hand over to city planners or researchers, and hopefully guide policy so that people have to deal less with extreme heat.  Another example is endangered species conservation. We worked with a bunch of nonprofit organizations who focus on vaquitas — a very endangered porpoise that lives in the Sea of Cortez. We were able to create technical tools for the conservation teams to better track the animals and some of the key issues surrounding them; and to engage law students to draft a white paper that is going to go public soon with real recommendations to lawmakers about how to deal with wildlife crime. We also created a public outreach campaign, because no one is going to do anything about endangered species if they don’t know about them.  Rappaport: Let’s talk about the intersection of tech, climate and social issues. What are your aspirations for how EarthHacks, and the tech industry more broadly, can work to advance environmental justice?  Paul: First, I just want to acknowledge that, for a long time, I think the environmental movement as a whole was really focused on environmental issues as somewhat abstract, as separate from us. Maybe they affect species in far-off places or natural landmarks whose beauty we marvel at but we’ve never seen in person.  But fundamentally, the climate crisis is about people, right? It’s about whether we’re going to have the ability to live happy, healthy lives. Because of that, the climate crisis is inherently tied into social justice and social crises. That’s why I think that taking a more complete view of climate is so critical. The single biggest thing that business leaders today can do to help young people with aspirations is to take drastic action on climate, so that we have the time and space to grow up and to be business leaders ourselves. Second, it’s the practical thing to do. If we ignore how social issues are a huge chunk of the climate problem, and how it’s actually playing out, we’re not going to be able to meaningfully solve either. For the tech industry, specifically, the movement for social, racial and gender equality needs to become integrated into all of the core actions that we take — not just an extra thing to do. Social equity needs to be included in decision-making processes and planning from the very start.  If we don’t work to address these issues now, we’re not going to be able to when we’re overwhelmed by changing temperatures and extreme storms. Even though these can be uncomfortable conversations, we need to expand the cultural window of where they happen and make sure that they happen everywhere all the time. Rappaport: You’re speaking to an audience of business leaders. What kind of support can the private sector provide to you and other young technologists committed to solving environmental challenges, either as corporate partners or as intergenerational allies? Paul: I love the phrase “intergenerational allies” — and I think that’s key. The single biggest thing that business leaders today can do to help young people with aspirations is to take drastic action on climate, so that we have the time and space to grow up and to be business leaders ourselves.  The other smaller step that everyone can take is, put simply, to engage. All of the students we work with at our hackathons are always looking for more opportunities. They’re looking for people to learn from, to come and speak at their events, to mentor them. They’re looking for places to work that are advancing sustainability. So, just engaging with us, reaching out and saying, “Hey, we’d like to support you in some way” — that’s hugely meaningful to us. There are so many different ways to get involved, but it’s always going to start with just reaching out. Pull Quote The single biggest thing that business leaders today can do to help young people with aspirations is to take drastic action on climate, so that we have the time and space to grow up and to be business leaders ourselves. Topics Innovation Featured Column On the VERGE Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off An Earth Hacks hackathon in 2019.

Continued here:
Hacking solutions to ‘time-sensitive’ climate problems

Orlando’s journey to accelerate sustainability and resilience

March 11, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Orlando’s journey to accelerate sustainability and resilience

Orlando’s journey to accelerate sustainability and resilience Chris Castro Thu, 03/11/2021 – 01:00 Cities are home to more than 50 percent of the global population and as a result are presented with ever-growing challenges, including finding a balance between social equity, economic vitality and environmental sustainability. Cities also have extraordinary potential to enable change and the ability to find harmony between people, prosperity and the planet that creates a better future for all. Recognizing this, member-countries of the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals , including a historic goal on SDG 11: Sustainable Cities: “to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” by 2030, leaving no person, place or ecosystem behind. This global framework continues to be centered as a Rosetta Stone to advance humanity in a more sustainable direction. I’m a second-generation Cuban-American from Miami. I’m also a social entrepreneur, community organizer and now director of sustainability and resilience for the city of Orlando. In my role, I advise Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and am tasked with making Orlando a showcase model for the U.N.’s sustainable cities vision and making our city a great place, to live, work, learn and play. Cities have extraordinary potential to enable change and to find harmony between people, prosperity and the planet. Before I get to details about my day job, it’s important to share my experiences where things actually get done: the community. Over the last 15 years, I’ve been actively engaged in the Central Florida community through my work with several nonprofit NGOs, social enterprises, academia, community groups and businesses chambers to engage a wide range of individuals in advancing the sustainable cities vision, including USGBC-Florida, Florida Green Chamber of Commerce (FGCC), Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), Goodwill Industries of Central Florida, Florida Renewable Energy Association (FREA), Solar United Neighborhoods of Florida (FL SUN), Global Shapers Orlando and Climate Reality Project. One organization that is near and dear to my heart is Ideas For Us , a U.N.-accredited NGO that works to develop, fund and scale local solutions that advance the Sustainable Development Goals worldwide. In 2008, I co-founded Ideas for Us while attending college at the University of Central Florida, and over the last 13 years I have worked with an amazing team to expand a grassroots movement of collegiate and community chapters that engage youth leaders around the world, creating and expanding local sustainability solutions to more than 200 communities in 25 countries on five continents. Today, two of the most successful and impactful programs are still active across the IDEAS movement. The first is a think and do tank called the Ideas Hive , which brings public awareness to the U.N. SDGs by facilitating conversations about global challenges and developing local action projects that we can implement in our own community. In addition to monthly workshops (made virtual thanks to COVID), the Ideas Hive also coordinates public eco-tours, eco-film screenings and Umuganda Community Action days for public awareness, education and community engagement. The second successful program is an urban agricultural solution for communities that is redefining local food systems, specifically how we produce and distribute food in our communities.  Fleet Farming turns suburban lawns into a distributed network of micro-urban farms and uses a fleet of volunteer farmers to build, maintain and distribute the produce grown to local venues — all by bicycle. This effort has gotten the attention of more than 60 million people around the world, been on major media outlets such as NPR and NBC Nightly News , and is in the process of scaling to communities to address food insecurity and access. Ideas for Us has incorporated an exciting new program called the Solutions Fund, a micro-granting program providing funding to women and young change-makers to incubate proof-of-concept ideas that advance the SDGs around the world. With this focus on environmental philanthropy, we are becoming a conduit for foundations and corporations to make a direct difference in advancing sustainability, and an outlet for people of all ages around the world to make a difference in our local communities. As for my work in the city, I’m happy to say Orlando is shaping up to be one of the smartest and most sustainable cities in the country at the forefront of innovation and sustainability. Through the vision and leadership of Dyer and the Green Works Orlando initiative, we have implemented innovative policies and programs in a wide variety of focus areas, including energy and green buildings, local food systems, livability, water resources, transportation and smart cities — and have worked to provide our residents and businesses with the tools to live more environmentally friendly lifestyles. In 2018, Orlando became the first city in Florida to pass legislation that requires public disclosure of energy and water efficiency in buildings , and an ambitious goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy city-wide by 2050 . To strive towards the goal, the city added four new rooftop solar projects to critical facilities, including fire stations and neighborhood centers, and subscribed over 5 megawatts of community solar to offset all of our electricity use at Orlando City Hall, the Orlando police headquarters and all 17 fire stations. With clean energy financing options available for home and business owners, community solar farms and local solar cooperatives, we are working to make the transition to renewable energy as easy and cost-effective as possible. We’ve even been researching creative applications to achieve this goal, such as floating solar farms on stormwater ponds at the Orlando International Airport and other locations throughout the region. In December, our hometown utility, OUC, also published the Energy Integrated Resources Plan (EIRP) , which outlined a long-term plan for the electric utility that made bold commitments, including achieving net-zero by 2050 without offsets, with intermediate targets of 50 percent CO2 reduction by 2030 and 75 pecent by 2040; a commitment to early-retire the last two coal-fired power plants; and a significant ramp-up of energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy storage and electric vehicles over the next 30 years. This plan not only aligns with the Green Works goals, but it also supports science-based targets to address the climate crisis. Imagine if every utility in the country made this commitment. As for transportation, our city has bike-share and ride-share programs, one of the largest networks of electric vehicle chargers, real-time bus travel information, a commuter rail (SunRail) and a fare-free bus rapid transit system called the Lymmo to help lessen commuter pollution and congestion within the city. In October, we also unveiled the first fleet of electric buses in the Lymmo BRT, and a commitment to transition 100 percent of transit buses to electric and alternative fuels by 2030. If that wasn’t enough, in December, the city also published its first smart city master plan, Future-Ready Orlando , which works to combine some of my work in sustainability and resilience with technology to position Orlando to be a leading experimental prototype city of the 21st century. I believe in the ability for humans to live sustainably in harmony with the planet, and not just survive, but thrive. Whether it’s building climate resilience to the challenges we will face, taking direct action to mitigate and reverse our impacts or increasing public awareness and engagement about creating a more environmentally friendly future, I have made it my life’s mission to advance sustainability on a personal and professional level. Many say it’s become who I am, not what I do. No small act of improvement is wasted in this effort, so how much are you willing to contribute to building the future we want? Listen to Chris Castro on the EDF+Business podcast. Pull Quote Cities have extraordinary potential to enable change and to find harmony between people, prosperity and the planet. Topics Cities Renewable Energy Transportation & Mobility Resilience 30 Under 30 Collective Insight 30 Under 30 EDF Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

Read more:
Orlando’s journey to accelerate sustainability and resilience

Aquaculture becomes a net-positive

February 22, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Aquaculture becomes a net-positive

Aquaculture becomes a net-positive Heather Clancy Mon, 02/22/2021 – 00:15 This article originally appeared in the State of Green Business 2021. You can download the entire report here . The practice of farming finfish, shellfish and aquatic plants — by land and by sea — dates back 3,000 years as first the Chinese and then the Romans sought ways to supplement their food supplies with species such as carp and oysters. In more modern times, support for aquaculture has ebbed and flowed along with concerns about animal health and welfare, worries over the effluent pollution caused by wastewater discharges, and the unintended impacts of production infrastructure such as pipes and pumps on natural ecosystems. Now, a wave of technology innovation and funding from an eclectic group of companies ranging from Google’s parent Alphabet, to the Seed2Growth fund linked to Lukas Walton (grandson of Walmart founder Sam Walton), to Cargill and Chevron Ventures (both focused on fish-feed ventures) is changing the tide again. In 2018, the last year for which figures were available, worldwide aquaculture production reached an all-time high of 114.5 million metric tons in “live weight,” representing a market value of almost $264 billion, according to a 2020 report by U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). That amount accounted for 52 percent of global fish consumption. The annual growth rate will slow over the next decade, but FAO projects aquaculture will supply close to 60 percent of fish consumed globally by 2030. You have to be engaged in aquaculture, you have to be successful in aquaculture, to be successful in seafood. Many factors contribute to this renewed surge in interest in farming fish and sea vegetables. Chief among them are worries over the long-term viability of global fisheries and concern over the fragility of food supply chains, sorely tested by disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States, for example, imports a vast majority of the salmon it eats, with long-term consequences for transportation-related emissions. The most dominant region in the world today for aquaculture production is Asia, particularly China, but Norway (for salmon) and Central America (for tilapia) are also big exporters. “Expanding access to blue food — that is, sustainably grown marine and freshwater organisms including fish, shellfish and sea vegetables — can play an important role in reducing the carbon emissions associated with the food we eat … While sustainable aquaculture alone won’t solve the problem of reducing carbon emissions, seafood is one of the lowest carbon sources of protein available — so it’s a great place to make an impact on the climate crisis in the next five to 10 years,” said Neil Davé, general manager of Tidal , an Alphabet X moonshot project. The Tidal research team is testing artificial intelligence and imaging technology as a means to monitor fish health, spot pests and reduce waste at fish farms run by Norwegian seafood company Mowi , the world’s largest Atlantic salmon producer and ranked ( again ) in November as the world’s most sustainable protein producer by the FAIRR Initiative, which produces research for institutional investors interested in environment, social and governance issues. Digital innovations such as Tidal’s that provide better insights into fish farming operations — alongside new recirculating aquaculture system designs and purification advances, such as the “nanobubbles” generators designed by startup Moleaer — are contributing to rising levels of speculative activity. Over the past four years, for example, more than 20 companies have filed development permits in Norway for new approaches, including several for semi-enclosed or enclosed cages that decrease the potential impact on ocean ecosystems. The number of companies building land-based operations is also growing, notably in the United States. That’s important as more countries consider investing in sustainable domestic sources of production. A recent study by nonprofit WorldFish suggested that “inland freshwater aquaculture and marine capture fisheries have far greater potential to continue to supply most of the world’s aquatic food and contribute to human equity and food security than offshore marine finfish farming.” These self-contained operations are designed to address concerns about wastewater discharges in coastal waters, as well as concerns over viruses, parasites and microplastics that plague ocean and coastal operations. The downside: They are incredibly capital-intensive, costing millions to get up and running. Among the emerging U.S. players are Aquabanq  (a Maine salmon concern), Infinity Blue (a brand raising barramundi with aspirations in Arizona ), Innovasea Systems (based in Boston) and Pure Salmon (which is building an operation in Virginia). Atlantic Sapphire , which is raising Bluehouse salmon on land in southern Florida and has invested upwards of $100 million in the facilities to do so, in November began selling its first fish raised without hormones, antibiotics or pesticides to supermarkets including the Publix supermarket chain. While its initial capacity is limited to about 10,000 metric tons of fish, the company aspires to supply 12 percent of the market by 2026. Its ultimate goal: 220 metric tons annually by 2030 — that’s nearly 1 billion salmon meals. “By producing an increasing amount of seafood sustainably as farmers, the industry can help relieve pressure on wild stocks that might currently be overfished commercially. Raising salmon on land helps to avoid the effect on coastal areas, ensuring the well-being of our planet,” observed Damien Claire, chief sales and marketing officer at Atlantic Sapphire. Publix Super Markets is already making a big bet on aquaculture , not just with salmon but with species such as cobia, shrimp, pompano and tripletail. “You have to be engaged in aquaculture, you have to be successful in aquaculture, to be successful in seafood,” noted Guy Pizzuti, business development director for seafood at Publix. These are farms that bring back to the ocean as they bring back food. Of course, there are other creatures in the sea aside from finfish. One notable difference between the aquaculture industry emerging this decade and the focus of the past is that it’s not all about cultivating more animals. Seaweed is the fastest-growing segment of the industry. It is being considered more often as a sustainable alternative to plastic packaging , which gives farmers another potential buyer. For example, materials pioneer Loliware is creating seaweed straws that will be used by the likes of hotel chain Marriott and fast-casual restaurant chain Sweetgreen, which also has put kelp-inspired dishes on its menu. Food startup Akua is using kelp as a staple for jerky and pasta, and Blue Evolution is selling a range of products, including kelp popcorn. And in November, the Bezos Earth Fund made a $100 million grant to the World Wildlife Fund to support, among other things, the development of new markets for seaweed as an alternative to fossil fuel-based products. One nonprofit organization, GreenWave , is even advocating the idea of “regenerative ocean farming.” Its aim is to support the development of polycultural operations that combine a mix of seaweeds and shellfish that require zero artificial inputs. GreenWave’s pitch is that those with access to 20 acres, a boat and startup costs of $20,000 to $50,000 can start their own farm. Not only can these farms revive economic livelihoods for fishing communities that have seen local fisheries decline, they also can provide carbon sequestration benefits. One figure touted by the Eat More Kelp campaign suggests that the process of growing regenerative kelp can capture five times more CO2 than leafy vegetables such as kale or lettuce. “These are farms that bring back to the ocean as they bring back food,” said GreenWave founder Bren Smith. For food retailers such as Publix, the primary environmental benefit of supporting aquaculture includes the ability to offer customers a certified product vetted for ecological considerations such as wastewater management, water quality, effluent discharge and health. Two of the biggest challenges the evolving aquaculture industry must overcome, Pizzuti noted, are customer perceptions over the impact of aquaculture practices and the price premium they still must pay over fish and seafood sold by commercial fishing operations. Still, as more food companies, investors and entrepreneurs cast their ideas into the ocean of aquaculture innovation, the greater the chances for a bountiful, sustainable catch. Pull Quote You have to be engaged in aquaculture, you have to be successful in aquaculture, to be successful in seafood. These are farms that bring back to the ocean as they bring back food. Topics Oceans & Fisheries Food Systems State of Green Business Report Aquaculture Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off An Atlantic salmon cage site. Photo by Shutterstock/Leo W. Kowal

Original post:
Aquaculture becomes a net-positive

The Great American Rail-Trail to offer bike access from coast to coast

January 6, 2021 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on The Great American Rail-Trail to offer bike access from coast to coast

People have turned toward outdoor exercise as a way to keep fit, lift spirits and fight the monotony of a pandemic. Now, new and veteran outdoor athletes have something exciting to train for: the cross-country Great American Rail-Trail, which will one day let people bike or hike from Washington state to Washington, D.C. The Great American Rail Trail is a project of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), which was founded in 1986. Back then, a few out-of-service railroad corridors had been converted into usable trails . Today, the U.S. has more than 24,000 miles of rail-trails. The Great American Rail-Trail project requires another 8,000 miles to connect existing trails. Related: How to make American cities bike-friendly The plan is for the trail to traverse Washington state, the top of Idaho and part of western Montana, then cross the whole of Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa. It will travel through the top of Illinois, then cross Indiana, Ohio and small sections of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland before ending in Washington, D.C. The route will cover more than 3,700 miles. With 50 million people living within 50 miles of the route, planners expect it to get a lot of use. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has raised more than $4 million in public and private funds to complete the massive trail. “This year has proven how vital projects like the Great American Rail-Trail are to the country. Millions of people have found their way outside on trails as a way to cope with the pandemic,” said Ryan Chao, president of RTC. “As the Great American Rail-Trail connects more towns, cities, states and regions, this infrastructure serves as the backbone of resilient communities, while uniting us around a bold, ambitious and impactful vision.” When complete, the Great American Rail-Trail will join other ambitious thoroughfares around the world. The EuroVelo 6 route travels 2,765 miles through 10 European countries between the Black Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Last year, the Great North Trail opened in the U.K. and allows hikers and bikers to travel from northern England’s Peak District to the northeastern tip of Scotland. + Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Image via Pam Patterson

Read the original:
The Great American Rail-Trail to offer bike access from coast to coast

Why Google, BASF and Sephora are coming together on safer chemistry

October 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Why Google, BASF and Sephora are coming together on safer chemistry

Why Google, BASF and Sephora are coming together on safer chemistry Elsa Wenzel Wed, 10/28/2020 – 02:02 It’s probably fair to say that nobody expressly set out to devise a sunscreen to bleach coral reefs or a yoga mat to emit carcinogens. Yet toxic substances circulate in waterways and bloodstreams, leached out from all the consumables of everyday life. Shortsightedness and paltry data in the cycles of product design and engineering are partly to blame for this collateral damage of modern chemistry. Most product designers are unlettered in chemistry, and the practice of green chemistry remains in its early years. Even a basic count of all the industrial chemicals in use is scarce — somewhere over 80,000 , according to the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act Inventory, although the EPA total for recent output is less than 9,000 . It’s simply asking too much of most people formulating a consumer product only to include ingredients that are proven not to harm living systems. But what if design teams seeking safer ingredients didn’t have to know much about the molecules that comprise the stuff they’re making? What if they had a handy menu that graded each chemical? In theory, picking a less-toxic choice could be as simple as shunning an “F” or “C” ingredient for an “A” or a “B” on the list. We really saw this as a key to unlock in order to improve safe and circular chemistry. That’s the vision being advanced by ChemFORWARD, a mission-driven nonprofit backed by leading corporations with serious ambitions to accelerate safer chemistry. The effort is attracting pioneers in green chemistry, design and data to build a first-of-its-kind clearinghouse to help design teams and supply chains ditch hazardous chemicals for good. Leaders on board “We really saw this as a key to unlock in order to improve safe and circular chemistry,” said Mike Werner, circular economy lead at Google, who serves on the nonprofit’s advisory board. The search giant pushes for safer chemistry and a circular economy on myriad levels , including within its office spaces, at its data centers and inside the devices it sells. “ChemFORWARD fits [into] this really big important puzzle toward making materials healthy and safe.” Google is among ChemFORWARD’s roster of “co-design” partners that includes Sephora, Target, Levi’s, HP, Levi Strauss, H&M, Nike, Steelcase and Method, each recognized for various leadership efforts toward safer chemistry. Last year, for example, Sephora became the first major cosmetics retailer to broadcast its policy on chemicals. Target’s Sustainable Product Standard came on the scene in 2013. Nike has its own Chemistry Playbook . Levi’s innovations include its recyclable Wellthread denim line. Other ChemFORWARD partners include the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals.  ChemFORWARD’s technical advisory board is led by Art Fong, Apple’s green chemistry lead. Corporate scientists and chemists also come together via ChemFORWARD for regular meetings and peer reviews with third-party toxicology firms. The nonprofit is betting that teaming up with such pathfinders will help spark lasting industry innovation via its tool, in the process lowering the cost for even small companies to find safer chemical alternatives for their products. “Our intention is to reverse decades of negative impacts from the inundation of toxic chemicals that we find in our products, our economy, our environment and our bodies,” said ChemFORWARD Executive Director Stacy Glass, who has led the effort from a project within the  Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute to its current iteration, housed within the Washington, D.C.-based Healthy Building Network , a nonprofit that advocates for sustainable building materials. “We need new solutions, new ways of thinking about things to have safe, circular products.” We are fundamentally changing the way that chemical hazard data is created, maintained, distributed and financed. ChemFORWARD seeks not only to display what chemicals not to use, but also what’s available instead. This aim progresses away from the longtime industry reliance on restricted substances lists that can leave product makers empty-handed, while liberating data that until recently has been trapped in various PDF reports or proprietary databases. ChemFORWARD seeks to stand apart from other data plays by building bridges in the supply chain with its “collaborative, harmonized” approach. “We are fundamentally changing the way that chemical hazard data is created, maintained, distributed and financed,” Glass said. What’s inside However, ChemFORWARD is entering an area that’s already seeing a lot of activity. Multiple hazards assessment standards are available in increasingly usable formats to help companies identify problematic chemicals. The for-profit firm Scivera , launched in 2008 in Charlottesville, Virginia, offers a subscription database SciveraLENS, with color-coded grades for chemicals based on their inherent hazards. ChemFORWARD’s web-based software pools together data from some of the best-known chemicals assessment methodologies. A color-coded letter grade rolls up information from the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification , Cradle to Cradle (on material health) and the EPA SaferChoice Safer Chemical Ingredients List . That results in offering users more than 50 pieces of interpretation and over 20 human and environmental endpoints, such as around neurotoxicity or aquatic toxicity, for each chemical. A view inside a ChemFORWARD display of dimethyl phthalate, used in plastics. “The work that ChemFORWARD is doing and proposes to do will provide important additional information to a community of organizations seeking real-world data to better understand the safety implications of their materials choices,” said green chemistry trailblazer John C. Warner, a distinguished research fellow at synthetic biology startup Zymergen. Think of nearly any consumer-product chemical villain that’s dominated recent headlines for disrupting ecosystems or being linked to cancer or hormonal havoc. Chances are ChemFORWARD is building a collection of alternatives to it. These include ortho-phthalate plasticizers found in flexible toys, UV-blocking oxybenzone in sunscreens and halogenated flame retardants in electronics. ChemFORWARD has portfolios of alternative cleaning solvents , cosmetics preservatives and fragrance fixatives. The goal is for ChemFORWARD to scale up from about 200 to 2,000 safer chemicals in 2021. “The more technical person can see the technical data they need,” Glass said. “But most companies need, ‘Can I use it [or] can I not use it?’ for an answer.” More than skin deep ChemFORWARD is building clearinghouses for electronics and food packaging, but one of its earliest repositories coalesces data in beauty and personal care, with hundreds of safer alternatives. Someone shopping around to include a safer surfactant in a skin cleanser or an emollient in a moisturizing lotion can consult the tool for the green “A” or “B” options. Sephora, which is mindful of its many eco-conscious young customers and became a co-design partner with ChemFORWARD in March, recently took steps to advance beyond its restricted substances list. The company says 94 percent of all the products it sells eliminate potentially negative “high-priority” chemicals. The Clean at Sephora label for sustainable beauty care products in its catalog features goods from more than five dozen smaller companies, including BeautyCounter . “We knew the importance of creating a baseline expectation for all brands in terms of safety and the environment,” Carley Klekas, Sephora’s senior manager of product sustainability, said. “Sephora already had rigorous requirements in place, specifically with our in-house brand, Sephora Collection, that goes beyond EU regulations, but we also wanted to expand this even more across the brands we carry.” These chemicals used in cosmetics display letter grades according to safety. It teamed up with ChemFORWARD and EDF on a research project that prioritized four chemical categories common within beauty and personal care: preservatives; benzophenones; silicones; and ethanolamines. Sephora then sponsored chemical hazard assessments for the alternative ingredients named in the research. As a result of the partnership, safer alternatives have been assessed for 73 percent of Sephora’s high-priority chemicals — and made available to industry via ChemFORWARD. “We needed a credible and innovative resource to help us assess alternatives to chemicals within our policy, to ensure they were safe, and that we were avoiding regrettable substitution,” Klekas said. “We know this is important work to be done and will ultimately help showcase that there are safer alternatives to the high-priority chemicals we seek to reduce in our assortment, while also help the industry identify gaps where more innovation is needed.” The innovation puzzle Glass sees ChemFORWARD’s highest mission as its potential for furthering innovation. But that requires buy-in not only from retailers and product manufacturers, but also from the chemical producers themselves. The process of making chemical substitutions is only one step along the path to optimizing shiny, new, safer chemicals, which Glass hopes to help propel. Enter Pat Harmon, industry manager at chemicals powerhouse BASF. He’s been involved with ChemFORWARD for many years after meeting Lauren Heine through a Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (G3C) event. Heine was then executive director of the nonprofit Northwest Green Chemistry and had just joined MaterialWise, the early iteration of ChemFORWARD, where she’s now director of safer materials and data integrity. BASF’s sustainability strategy hinges upon developing chemicals that advance sustainability, called “accelerators,” which account for more than 25 percent of its sales. Ninety-five percent of BASF’s products have been evaluated for potential sustainability contributions. BASF has a history of involvement in collaborative assessments, and it quantifies the sustainability benefits of its products through life-cycle assessments and its Sustainable Solutions Steering methodology. It’s really powerful in terms of thinking about moving to green chemistry. Harmon aligned with Heine on the need for better third-party assessments for alternatives to troublesome ortho-phthalates, which are tied to multiple health problems. He also liked what she described of how the fledgling nonprofit chemical clearinghouse might lower the cost to companies of chemical assessments while moving away from “negative lists.” ChemFORWARD’s involvement with leadership brands and retailers, which are ultimately BASF’s downstream customers, also helped to elevate the case for BASF getting involved.  Eventually, BASF shared details for ChemFORWARD about several of its plasticizer accelerators, including its ortho-phthalate alternatives Hexamoll DINCH and Palatinol DOTP . These are used in flexible PVC and in a broad range of applications including children’s toys, yoga mats, wiring cable, vinyl flooring and automotive interiors. A bridge? “Now, chemical suppliers have the option to market their safer alternatives and to validate their low-hazard claims through an independent, trusted platform,” Glass said. “In this way, we create a bridge between chemical suppliers, their customers and prospective customers with data that has been traditionally hard to come by, difficult to interpret and sometimes hard to trust.” Harmon sees ChemFORWARD as a useful tool for companies that ultimately use BASF’s chemicals as well as a resource that can help move safer chemistry forward in industry, demonstrating for BASF’s customers the value of the safer decisions behind their product formulations. And the involvement with CHEMForward may help BASF to identify potential market gaps in areas where the number of attractive chemical alternatives is slim.  “This is why the ChemFORWARD project is so important,” Harmon said. “It’s one of the ways to help understand that you’re making the right decisions to move to new substances. I would really like to see this approach be used more and more.” For example, what if ChemFORWARD could grow to include the broader area of plastics additives in addition to plasticizers, such as flame retardants and light stabilizers? That could bring more of the plastic industry onboard, he added. “If you make it broader for the whole plastics industry, then you have a lot of people who would have interest in using this type of tool,” Harmon said, optimistic that ChemFORWARD may help to advance plastics circularity longer term. For example, if it identifies safer plastics used, say, in medical equipment that’s currently discarded, then more IV bags or other consumables finally might be recycled without the possibility of circulating harmful chemicals into the marketplace and the environment, Harmon said.   Here’s a view of inherent hazards for benzophenone, known to damage coral reefs. It has been banned in sunscreens in Hawaii. ChemFORWARD’s small team hopes to encourage more chemical suppliers to get involved by providing them a means to bring forth their safer chemicals in a way that’s trustworthy, verified and peer-reviewed by a third party, also broadening the availability of their chemicals for certifications and reporting. Companies can use this information for marketing purposes, including for consumer labels, but it’s also critical for risk management and verifying internal claims about a product. “As we get more and more eyes on our platform, we’ll be able to make that case even more strongly that: ‘Hey, chemical suppliers, if you have good stuff and you want to verify those claims, this is a great place to do it,'” Glass said. “We feel a tremendous sense of urgency to not only stop unknowing toxic chemical exposure, but to empower those who are working to create a safe and circular future for all.” Data driven Glass spent a decade in green building, serving as VP for the built environment at the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute , which shaped in 2016 the earliest version of ChemFORWARD. Research across industries, up and down supply chains, found that companies lacked information to use better chemistry. Good attempts by other nonprofits had failed to gain traction. Recognizing a larger industry need, the institute spun out the effort, which currently counts less than 10 staff members distributed across the U.S. and a network of toxicologists. I realized this was a data organization problem, our not knowing what was in our stuff and what we’re exposed to. “I realized this was a data organization problem, our not knowing what was in our stuff and what we’re exposed to, and the incredible tax this exposure is causing to society,” Glass said. “I’m not a chemist, I’m not a toxicologist — I said, we can fix this. I see the solution clearly. I’ll take any data solution, any scalable solution, that will get this information into the hands of designers and formulators so (they) can make safer decisions.” It’s possible ChemFORWARD ultimately could feed data into life-cycle analysis or supply chain management tools. It can’t hurt to have Google as a partner, and it’s worth noting that the advisory board’s latest addition is Kimberly Shenk, co-founder of the AI-driven supply chain transparency startup Novi. The movement, however, has a long road ahead. It’s still relatively cheap for companies to crank out new molecules, and the chemicals industry is a powerful economic engine and lobbying force. Nevertheless, ChemFORWARD and others pivoting away from the conventional focus in managing chemical risks and instead toward making decisions based on inherent toxicity is a huge paradigm shift, said Mark Rossi, executive director of Clean Production Action, who also created the GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals hazard assessment method with Heine. “It’s really powerful in terms of thinking about moving to green chemistry,” he said. “All chemistry should be green chemistry, and how do you get there? This is all part of that movement toward making choices based on hazards.” Pull Quote We really saw this as a key to unlock in order to improve safe and circular chemistry. We are fundamentally changing the way that chemical hazard data is created, maintained, distributed and financed. It’s really powerful in terms of thinking about moving to green chemistry. I realized this was a data organization problem, our not knowing what was in our stuff and what we’re exposed to. We create a bridge between chemical suppliers, their customers and prospective customers with data that has been traditionally hard to come by, difficult to interpret and sometimes hard to trust. Hey, chemical suppliers, if you have good stuff and you want to verify those claims, this is a great place to do it. Topics Chemicals & Toxics Data Eco-Design BASF Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Industrial chemicals have proliferated exponentially since the time of this antique medical cabinet, and new ways of organizing them are sorely needed. Shutterstock Triff Close Authorship

Original post:
Why Google, BASF and Sephora are coming together on safer chemistry

A vote for clean energy

October 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on A vote for clean energy

A vote for clean energy Sarah Golden Fri, 10/16/2020 – 01:45 I recently joined the most impressive group of clean energy leaders I’ve known, and it happens to have come together in support of Joe Biden for president. The network: Clean Energy for Biden (CE4B).  It includes more than 9,500 clean energy professionals in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. There are entrepreneurs, engineers, policymakers, technicians and investors. There are thought leaders I’ve long admired and business leaders that have made clean energy more accessible to all people. Clean energy professionals as a voting bloc CE4B is evidence that the clean energy sector is, perhaps for the first time, a significant voting bloc in the United States.  Before the start of the COVID crisis, the clean energy sector employed nearly 3.4 million Americans in all 50 states. In 42 states, more people are included in clean energy than in the fossil fuel industry. If mobilized, these millions of Americans could have a major impact in this and future elections.  CE4B shows that support for clean energy as a voting issue is already widespread. The self-organizing, all-volunteer effort has more than 25 active state teams and organized more than 100 grassroots events, which collectively have raised more than $2.6 million on behalf of the Biden campaign.  The executive council is more than 50 industry leaders, including household names (for energy nerds) and representation from major companies, including Kate Brandt of Google, Jigar Shah of Generate Capital, Kate Gordon of California’s Office of Planning and Research and Jon Wellinghoff, former chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Why get political now? We don’t write about politics much at GreenBiz (although I’m sure regular Energy Weeklyians have a sense of my personal politics).  Much about this presidential contest is outside of the purview of my job as an energy analyst. But when it comes to accelerating the adoption of clean energy, I would be remiss to not call attention to what may be the starkest difference in energy platforms in American history.  If I may simplify the two men’s stances, Donald Trump’s energy policy looks backward to the energy that powered our past, and Biden is looking forward to the fuels of the future. I’m not going to dive into either candidate’s specific platform; others already have written much on the topic. Rather, I’m here to highlight that candidates who support clean energy policy are also supporting economic, climate and social justice policies.  Clean energy policy is economic policy As the economic fallout of the COVID pandemic is coming into focus and the job creation is leveling off, the clean energy transition represents an opportunity to put Americans back to work.  First, clean energy is more jobs-rich than fossil fuels, meaning more people are employed per unit of energy created. A 2010 study found that for every $1 million invested, oil and gas would create roughly five jobs, while wind and solar would create 13 or 14 jobs.  Second, clean energy jobs are distributed. While dirty energy is usually centralized — think coal miners in West Virginia or roughnecks in North Dakota — clean energy manufacturers, technicians and installers are needed in every community, and provide options at every skill level. According to E2, all but two of America’s 3,007 counties are home to clean energy jobs.  Third, prioritizing clean energy gives America a chance to be a global leaders in advanced energy technologies. Getting ahead of the innovation curve means the country could be exporting technologies as other nations race to meet climate goals. Which I find a lot more exciting than trying to prop up dinosaur industries.  My two cents: if you are worried about the economy, supporting candidates that understand the jobs potential in the clean energy sector is a smart move.  Clean energy policy is climate policy  Scientists agree that the next decade will be critical to addressing climate change and avoiding the worst of its economic impacts and human toll.  So it makes sense that voters are beginning to see climate as a voting issue. A recent poll from Pew Research shows that 68 percent of likely voters rank climate as “very” or “somewhat” important, up from 44 percent in 2009. Luckily, the same policies that will create clean energy jobs will curb energy-related emissions. While energy is not the only source of climate-changing emissions, it is a sector that has carbon-free solutions today, meaning it must rapidly decarbonize to give us a chance at a safe climate future.  We’re already seeing the economic impacts of extreme weather across the country and world. Politicians that work to curb the worst impacts of climate change are working to curb the human and economic tolls.  Clean energy policy is social justice policy Like so many other issues, those most affected by pollution from dirty energy are low-income communities and communities of color.  If you’re Black in America, you have higher rates of lung cancer and asthma, and are more likely to have (and die from) heart disease, all linked to living with dirty air. Nearly one in two Latinx people in the U.S. live in counties where the air doesn’t meet EPA smog standards. People of color are more likely to live near highways, airports, power plants and refineries.  That all takes a toll on health, economic potential and quality of life. Supporting a just energy transition is synonymous with supporting marginalized communities to become more resilient, prosperous and healthy.  Clean energy technologies — the same that uplift the economy and address climate change — can help all communities thrive. Politicians who understand that are taking the realities of environmental racism seriously.  Vote Clean energy is a rare issue that is win-win-win: it uplifts the economy, creates jobs and helps curb climate change. The only downside is incumbent energy powers need to get out of the way.  Of course, the sector isn’t perfect. Clean energy advocates are working hard to not replicate the same inequities or unintended consequences as the old, dirty energy sources. But I, for one, am ready for political debates about how to best create energy systems for the future, rather than debate if we should stay in the past.  And, no matter what your political ideology is, if you’re a U.S. reader, vote in whatever way you can. It’s what being American is all about.  This essay first appeared in GreenBiz’s newsletter Energy Weekly, running Thursdays. Subscribe here . Topics Energy & Climate Policy & Politics Social Justice Clean Energy Featured Column Power Points Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

See the rest here:
A vote for clean energy

Severe coastal floods could affect 287 million people by 2100

August 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Severe coastal floods could affect 287 million people by 2100

A recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports has revealed that more than 4% of the world’s population could be exposed to severe flooding by the end of the century. The study was inspired by a continuous rise in the number of coastal floods across the world, and it builds upon previous research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Currently, about 148 million people experience flooding events across the world, but this could increase to 287 million by 2100. Many of the floods are related to the rise in sea levels caused by melting glaciers. The study has now revealed that if measures are not taken to control greenhouse gas emissions , about 77 million additional people would be exposed to flooding in the next 80 years. However, even if the measures being taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions are maintained, global warming would still continue at a rate of 1.8 degrees Celsius. This would mean that about 54 million people will be exposed to coastal flooding at the end of the century. The effects of increased coastal flooding will get worse with time. In the worst-case scenario, coastal assets worth $14.2 trillion will experience flooding at the turn of the century — an equivalent of 20% of the current global GDP. Considering such factors, efforts must be made to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Related: Venice’s worst flood in 50 years blamed on climate change The causes of increased flooding in coastal cities are human-caused global warming , storm surges and high tides. As global temperatures rise, more land-based ice melts, leading to sea level rise. But the study indicates that even immediate action may not stop the extreme flooding. The report warns that by 2050, major flooding events will have increased in intensity. A one-in-100-years flooding event could occur every 10 years. As much as 4% of the global population might be exposed to severe flooding events. Professor Ian Young of the University of Melbourne and co-author of the study said, “We certainly need to mitigate our greenhouse gases but that won’t solve this problem. The sea-level rise is already baked in — even if we reduce emissions today the sea level will continue to rise because the glaciers will continue to melt for hundreds of years.” The study has identified some regions that are likely to be affected the most by the continuous rise in sea levels. Among the areas of highest concern include southeastern China, northern Australia and Bangladesh as well as Gujarat and West Bengal in India. In the U.S., North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia have been identified as the most likely to be exposed. Other countries that are likely to be affected by major flooding include France, Germany and the U.K. + Scientific Reports Via The Guardian Image via Kelly Sikkema

Original post:
Severe coastal floods could affect 287 million people by 2100

Mysterious seeds from China arriving in mail across America

July 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Mysterious seeds from China arriving in mail across America

Agricultural officials from several states have expressed alarm over unsolicited packages of seeds delivered to residents. The packages appear to come from China, as they feature China Post labeling. Agricultural officers advise farmers not to plant the seeds, in case they are harmful or invasive. Warnings sent out to farmers and residents follow reports of unsolicited seed packages being delivered in residents’ mail. Several people reported receiving seeds in white pouches that featured Chinese writing and the words “China Post.” Another concerning detail is that the seed packages were not labeled as food or agricultural products. Envelopes included misleading labels, with some listing the contents as jewelry, toys or earbuds. States that have released public notices against planting the unsolicited seeds include Washington, Virginia, Kentucky, Delaware, Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Dakota, Texas, Alabama and Florida. Kentucky , one of the first states to receive reports of unsolicited seeds, issued warnings to residents. As Ryan Quarles, Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner, wrote on Twitter, residents should “put the package and seeds in a zip lock bag and wash your hands immediately.” Residents must also send any seeds they receive to the Department of Agriculture. Following the reports, several other states, including Arkansas, Michigan , Oregon and New Jersey, issued warnings to residents. Such measures may help prevent farmers from planting harmful, contaminated seeds. The Chinese Embassy in Washington claims these China Post packages “to be fake ones with erroneous layouts and entries.” Cecilia Sequeira, spokesperson for the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, says the department is working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop illegal importation of prohibited seeds. Should you receive any mysterious seeds in the mail, report it to the nearest Agriculture Office. + NY Times Image via Pexels

See the original post here:
Mysterious seeds from China arriving in mail across America

Rael San Fratello prints amazing 3D mud structures as prototypes for affordable housing of the future

October 24, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Rael San Fratello prints amazing 3D mud structures as prototypes for affordable housing of the future

Led by architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, design studio Rael San Fratello has become well-known for creating innovative and sustainable designs, but now the studio is truly breaking ground when it comes to 3D printing . As part of its Emerging Objects series, the design team has created four solid mud structures. Built by a low-cost, portable 3D robot, the four buildings were all printed using soil and wood sourced on site in Colorado’s expansive Valle de San Luis. The team chose Colorado’s San Luis Valley as the site for their series due to its rich history of Ancestral Pueblo and the Indo-Hispano cultures. Referring to the traditional building practices of these cultures, which predominately included using earthen materials to create sturdy housing, Rael San Fratello has managed to create four 3D-printed prototypes: Hearth, Beacon, Lookout and Kiln, that explore the various techniques of mud construction . Related: BigDelta machine 3D-prints durable, affordable houses from dirt The project, called Mud Frontiers, began by researching the typical earthen items that have been made from the clay harvested from the area. They then collaborated with 3D ceramic print company 3D Potter to create a small, portable robot called Potterbot XLS-1, which was built to print the mud creations on site. The first design, Hearth was built using a thin wall of mud reinforced with rot-resistant juniper wood. This structure has a tiny fireplace on the interior that burns the wood as well. The second design, Beacon was designed to research just how thin the mud walls could be by stacking various coils of mudwork. In this structure, light illuminates through the indentations along the walls, serving as a “beacon” of light. The third design, Lookout, was comprised of a network of undulating mud coils that are layers to form a staircase, creating a structure that is strong enough to withstand substantial weight. Additionally, this structure was built with cross sections of mud piping that can be used to create a system of natural air circulation through various openings. The final prototype, Kiln, included a culmination of the anterior designs, but adds a kiln that uses locally-sourced clay fired with juniper wood to create earthen ware items. Using the various traditional techniques helped designers determine that mud could indeed be a viable solution for providing more affordable construction options in the future. Especially as urban and rural area designers and architects look for sustainable materials to build resilient structures. “What we learned was really how accessible, robust and powerful it was to print large scale structures so quickly using the soil just beneath our feet,” Rael told Dezeen. “We discovered work flows for printing, material mixture processes, structural applications and theories about new and old ways of living and designing for the future using humankind’s most humble material.” + Rael San Fratello + Emerging Objects Via Dezeen Photography by Rael San Fratello

See the rest here: 
Rael San Fratello prints amazing 3D mud structures as prototypes for affordable housing of the future

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 2256 access attempts in the last 7 days.