Self-sustaining Ugandan surgical facility provides healthcare to underserved areas

January 21, 2020 by  
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In an inspiring example of humanitarian architecture, Kliment Halsband Architects teamed up with Mount Sinai Surgery in New York to create the Mount Sinai Kyabirwa Uganda Surgical Facility, a prototype for an independent, self-sustaining ambulatory surgical facility. According to the architects, roughly 5 billion people lack any form of safe or affordable surgery, leading to millions of deaths annually worldwide. In response, the architects created a modular, easily replicable surgical facility to provide ambulatory surgical procedures for underserved populations in resource-poor regions. Located in Kyabirwa, a rural village near the equator in Uganda, the Mount Sinai Kyabirwa Uganda Surgical Facility is located on a site that originally lacked potable water, reliable electricity, internet or adequate sanitary facilities. To keep construction simple, the architects used a modular and minimally invasive design inspired by locally available materials. Taking advantage of the area’s abundance of red clay, the architects used locally sourced and fired bricks and cladding tiles for the main structure and topped it with a wavy roof reminiscent of the nearby White Nile. Related: Snøhetta designs healing forest cabins for patients at Norway’s largest hospitals Uninterrupted power is provided by 75 kWp solar panels installed atop the wavy roof, Li-Lead Acid Hybrid battery storage, an onsite generator and intermittent power from the grid. The team also installed 20 miles of underground cabling with fiberoptic service to provide critical internet connection for telemedicine links to Mount Sinai Surgery in New York, where doctors provide advanced surgical consultation and real-time operating room video conferencing. Gravity tanks with a filter and sterilization system store well water and intermittently available town water on-site, while water from a graywater system is recycled for toilet flushing and irrigation. The building relies primarily on natural ventilation and is not air conditioned with the exception of the operating rooms. “The primary reason for the limited availability of surgical treatments in underserved parts of the world is the belief that surgery is either too expensive or too complicated to be broadly available,” reads the project’s client statement. “We believe that surgical treatments are essential to building healthy communities worldwide and that surgical therapies need not be complex or expensive. This model is built around developing an independent, self-sustaining facility capable of providing surgical treatments in resource-poor areas.” + Kliment Halsband Architects Photography by Bob Ditty and Will Boase via Kliment Halsband Architects

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Self-sustaining Ugandan surgical facility provides healthcare to underserved areas

Modern farmhouse in Italy pays homage to its agricultural surroundings

January 20, 2020 by  
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Tucked into the rolling wheat fields of the Italian region of Le Marche, the Border Crossing House is a private residence that pays homage to the area’s rich agricultural history. Designed by Italian firm Simone Subissati Architects, the project manages to skillfully blend a traditional barn volume with several contemporary features, creating a light-filled family home that fits respectfully into its idyllic setting. Located in Polverigi, just outside of Ancona, the Border Crossing House is set on a ridge looking out over expansive fields of wheat. According to the architects, this bucolic location set the tone for the design, which deftly manages to “border” the vernacular aesthetics of both urban and rural architecture. Related: Old Belgian barn is transformed into a gorgeous contemporary home The home’s rectangular volume with an asymmetrical, double-pitched roof, runs from east to west, creating a strong silhouette up on the hill. The exterior cladding, which is made primarily of steel , separates the white upper floor from the ground floor, which was painted in a deep red coating. The home’s classic barn-like volume is broken up, however, by various slatted openings on the roof. These eye-catching slats of different shapes and functions were installed throughout the design as a way of creating a seamless connection between the home and its stunning landscape, which includes fields of wheat, barley, beans and sunflowers. Lead architect, Simone Subissati explained, “The idea was to overflow, to break the boundaries, without following conventions whereby the private living space is separated from the agricultural workspace.” Throughout the two-story home, the layout was designed to be what the architect refers to as a “straightforward simplicity, a true essentially that is very different from today’s trendy poetic of minimalism .” According, the home is functional, efficient and comfortable while maintaining a vibrant, contemporary feel. The ground floor comprises an open-plan living area with a spacious living room, kitchen and spa . A wooden staircase leads to the upper floor, which houses the bedrooms. Protected by a simple chicken coop net, an indoor balcony leads to a central area, where a winter garden and a second living room are located. The second floor is covered with a micro-perforated membrane that allows natural light to brighten the house during the day. At night, the upper part of the home appears to glow from within. The home was also built to passive and bioclimatic standards that created a tight thermal mass for the winter months and a natural cooling system in the warm, summer months. The various openings provide ample cross ventilation, so much so that the home needs no air conditioning to stay cool. A rainwater collection system was also installed and includes several underground storage tanks. + Simone Subissati Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Alessandro Magi Galluzzi via Simone Subissati Architects

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Modern farmhouse in Italy pays homage to its agricultural surroundings

White Sands officially becomes the 62nd national park

December 26, 2019 by  
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Last week, President Donald Trump signed legislation, seen here , designating White Sands National Park as the 62nd national park. Since 1933, the country’s largest gypsum dunefield has been a national monument. The recent signing of the National Defense Authorization Act (the 2020 defense spending bill), with a provision on White Sands, has now upgraded the national monument to its new national park status, thereby protecting its glistening white sand dunes, which are visible even from outer space. In 2018, a study conducted on eight national monuments that were upgraded to national parks found that redesignation increased visits by an average of 21 percent in the five years after redesignation. Projections further estimate that White Sands’ redesignation will bring $7.5 million in revenue and $3.3 million in labor income. Related: How national parks benefit the environment Wondering why the provision was included in the 2020 NDAA? The reason stems from White Sands National Monument sharing land with White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), the long-standing national military weapons testing area and site of the first atomic bomb detonation. By 1963, NASA established the White Sands Test Facility at WSMR, which eventually became the primary training ground for NASA space shuttle pilots and a rocket research test site. However, White Sands’ appeal goes beyond strategic military and aerospace history, extending to its geological, biological and anthropological assets. For instance, the endless dunes’ surreal beauty makes White Sands one of Earth’s natural wonders. Gypsum, which makes up the dunes, is a common sedimentary mineral, usually forming via precipitation from highly saline waters. Thus, White Sands’ landscape formed because Lake Otero dried up millennia ago . Its predominantly desert habitat today supports unique wildlife , with five endemic species and many well-adapted flora and fauna. Archaeologically, the area was home to hunter-gatherers as far back as 10,000 years ago and even has the planet’s largest collection of Ice Age fossilized footprints. “Our staff are very excited for White Sands to be recognized as a national park and to reintroduce ourselves to the American public,” shared Marie Sauter, superintendent of White Sands National Park. “We are so appreciative of our partners, local communities and congressional leaders who made this achievement possible and look forward to continued success working together.” With national park 36 CFR 2.1 protections, desert sand and other resources cannot be removed from White Sands. This ensures the ecosystem thrives and remains in tact for future generations to enjoy. + National Park Service Via EcoWatch Image via White Sands National Monument

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White Sands officially becomes the 62nd national park

12 good things that happened for the environment in 2019

December 26, 2019 by  
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For folks who read — and write — about sustainability, dire projections are revealed every day. Between rainforest fires and ocean pollution, much of the news is grim. However, 2019 also brought good news. In the spirit of optimism as we start a new year, let’s hope our species can build on this year’s gains in 2020. Here are a few high points from 2019. Banana leaves as packaging If you’ve ever had the good fortune to visit a southern Indian restaurant in Asia, you may have been served dinner on a banana leaf instead of a plate. Now, that idea has found its way into some Thai supermarkets. Forbes reported on Rimping supermarket in Chiangmai, Thailand that wraps its produce in banana leaves and secures them with a piece of bamboo . Way to cut down on plastic packaging! Robots rejuvenating reefs As we learned in the classic yet highly disturbing film  2001,  not all  robots are trustworthy. However,  Tech Crunch informed us about Larvalbot, a new underwater robot that is reseeding old corals with new polyps. A bot-controlling team at Queensland University of Technology is finding that robots can do this much faster than humans — and lack that pesky need to breathe. Good news for the American barrier reef Meanwhile, in Florida, researchers at Tampa’s Florida Aquarium  worked on “Project Coral” in partnership with London’s  Horniman Museum and Gardens . They announced their first successful attempt at Atlantic coral reproduction in a lab setting. The objective: to create large  coral egg deposits in a laboratory and ultimately repopulate the Florida Reef Tract. Inhabitat reported about how this could have important implications for saving barrier reefs. Help for the rainforests One Green Planet held out some hope for the tropical land being devastated by  palm oil plantations. A collaboration between the Peruvian government, the National Wildlife Federation, conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo and the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers’ Association (JUNPALMA) led to an agreement to only produce sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil by 2021. Peru will join the ranks of South American countries fighting palm oil deforestation, the second after Colombia. Cactus plastic developed in Mexico Research professor Sandra Pascoe Ortiz and other scientists at the University of Valle de Atemajac in Zapopan, Mexico used prickly pear juice to craft a new biodegradable plastic. This cactus plastic begins breaking down in a month when placed in soil and only a few days in water. Unlike traditional plastics, no crude oil is required, according to Forbes . Things are looking up for whales Humpback whales have made a comeback off the South American coast, USA Today reported. After nearing extinction in the 1950s, numbers have surged from a low of 440 South Atlantic humpbacks to more than 25,000. The rise in population coincides with the end of whaling in the 1970s. North American whales got a new app this year. Inhabitat reported on Washington State Ferries implementing a whale report alert system. This new app notifies ferry captains of the whereabouts of orcas and other cetaceans in Puget Sound to help prevent boat strikes. Baby girls and tree planting In the Indian village of Piplantri, families plant 111 trees every time a baby girl is born. Since 2006, this village has been fighting stigma against the double X chromosome, leading to more than 350,000 trees planted so far. The number 111 is said to bring success in Indian culture, according to this YouTube video about Piplantri. Renewable energy growth The International Renewable Energy Agency released a study showing that renewable energy capacity continued to grow globally. Solar and wind energy accounted for 84 percent of recent growth, according to Bioenergy International . Brazilian street dogs and cats get comfy and stylish beds Young artist Amarildo Silva realized he could do something about two problems in his Brazilian city Campina Grande: stray animals and too much trash. He began making colorful beds out of  upcycled tires for both pets and strays. The 23-year-old has been able to leave his supermarket job and make a living as an artist while having a positive and far-reaching effect on his city. The stray  dogs themselves inspired Silva’s breakthrough idea. He noticed that at night, they liked to bed down in discarded tires. So Silva began to collect old tires from landfills, streets and parking lots. After he cleans and cuts them down to size, he decorates the tires with paw prints, bones and hearts, according to Bored Panda . Dogs and cats sleep better, and people see art, not the eyesores of discarded tires. Video game entrepreneur saves North Carolina forests Tim Sweeney, co-founder of Epic Games, has amassed billions with games like Fortnite, Unreal Tournament  and  Gears of War.  Fortunately for the world, he’s putting the money to excellent use. Over the last decade, he’s spent millions on  forest preservation in his home state of North Carolina, according to  The Gamer . This video game developer likes his land undeveloped. South Korean food recycling soars Since 2005, when the South Korean government prohibited people from sending food to landfills, the amount of recycled food waste has soared to 95 percent. This is amazing, considering less than two percent was recycled in 1995. Seoul residents are now required to discard their food waste in special biodegradable bags, which cost families an average of six dollars per month. Money paid for bags covers more than half the cost of collecting and processing this waste, according to Huffington Post . Will artificial islands draw wildlife back to Netherlands? After a dyke collapsed in the Markermeer, an enormous, 270-mile Dutch lake, water became too cloudy with sediment to sustain fish, plants and birds. Now a Dutch NGO called Natuurmonumenten is building five artificial islands out of silt at a cost of €60 million, mostly from public donation, according to The Daily Mail . They hope that this faux archipelago will draw wildlife back to the lake. And so do we. Here’s hoping for more good news in 2020.

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12 good things that happened for the environment in 2019

All-natural, gender-neutral Juniper Ridge fragrances offer new scent options

December 20, 2019 by  
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What makes a fragrance pleasant is highly subjective — what appeals to one person may be objectionable to another. However, one thing almost everyone can agree on is that using natural ingredients is better than dousing yourself in synthetic ones. Providing an alternative to synthetic scents, Juniper Ridge has released a new line of gender-neutral colognes with nature on the label and in the bottle. Based in Oakland, Calif., Juniper Ridge collects ingredients for its products on the trails of the Western United States. With a passion for the outdoors, Juniper Ridge’s team developed the cologne line in conjunction with a host of other products to bring natural scents into the home. This is done with essential oils created from locally sourced wildflowers, plants, bark, moss, mushrooms and tree trimmings. Many ingredients are hand-harvested, while others make use of waste , which would otherwise be burned, from the timber industry and the California Department of Transportation. Related: Some fragrances in the US may be made using urine, antifreeze and other awful ingredients With only two ingredients in the bottle — steam distilled essential oils and organic sugar cane alcohol — this fragrance line stays true to its all-natural essence. Such a simple recipe doesn’t leave room for the chemicals present in most fragrances. In fact, the cologne line is missing a lot — meaning it’s 100% plant-based and free of parabens, phthalates, preservatives, dyes and animal cruelty. The idea is that nature is vast, yet primitive; Juniper Ridge aims to capture that experience in a bottle with the scents White Sage, Desert Cedar, Coastal Pine and Redwood Mist. Each scent is also available as a solid perfume inside a metal tin. Juniper Ridge produces an assortment of other naturally sourced products including room sprays, massage oils, soaking salts and candles. Inhabitat’s review of the Wilderness Colognes Juniper Ridge sent me samples of three of the four available colognes. I’ve had them for a few weeks, so I’ve had a chance to share them with family members and experience the scents in various ways. It’s difficult to provide a comprehensive review of something as personal as fragrance, but generally, I would say the colognes’ profiles range from slightly sweet to woodsy, with strong initial scents that diffuse quickly into overtones reminiscent of trees, salty breezes and crisp air. White Sage was a favorite for my daughter and myself. Although the initial blast was overwhelming, especially for people with strong reactions to scents of all kinds, within a few minutes we found it to be subtly floral, with light earthiness and a dash of spice. My husband favored Redwood Mist, a strong woodsy scent that transports the mind to the mighty and vast Redwood Forest. Having visited the region and currently living in Oregon, we can verify this scent captures the essence of evergreen forests . My adult son immediately adopted the Coastal Pine, a cologne that initiates a flood of memories of forest walks and cutting down Christmas trees. After a few minutes of settling, the scent mutes into a subtle hint of fresh cut wood lingering in coastal mountain air. All of the scents are a distinct diversion from typical perfumes and colognes, which have mostly been banned from our home due to sensitivities. I am happy to report that none of these colognes caused allergic reactions for anyone in the house so now our challenge may be tracking down bottles as they disappear into personal caches. + Juniper Ridge Images via Juniper Ridge and Dawn Hammon

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All-natural, gender-neutral Juniper Ridge fragrances offer new scent options

Stunning new prefab kit home centers on sustainability

December 20, 2019 by  
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Michigan-based Hygge Supply is known as a leader in the world of sustainable home design thanks to its customizable kit homes. Now, the company has unveiled the Birch Le Collaboration House — an incredible house that highlights how the company’s innovative, prefab designs can marry sustainability and high-end luxury. Founded by entrepreneur Kelly Sean Karcher, Hygge Supply creates what it calls “kit homes,” — sustainable, high-end prefab home designs that are customizable to virtually any taste or style. The company ships its kit homes all over the United States. Karcher explained, “What sets Hygge Supply apart is the focus on high design, sustainability and simplicity.” Related: Cube Haus seeks to solve the housing crisis with affordable prefab homes To highlight its unique kit homes, the company recently built a gorgeous, contemporary house in a forest, just steps away from Michigan’s Lake Leelenau. Like all of its projects, Hygge Supply’s Birch Le Collaboration House is made from structural insulated panels (SIPs) and steel framing. This framework allows the prefab home to be built to the owner’s specifications and easily delivered to the building site, leaving zero waste behind. Combining the best of minimalist , Scandinavian design with environmental sustainability, the contemporary home kit includes several high-end materials provided by Hygge Supply’s like-minded partners. The home is clad in Thermory’s responsibly sourced wood panels, while all of the home’s doors and windows were produced using environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. Floor-to-ceiling glass panels wrap around sections of the home, not only creating a seamless connection between the exterior and interior, but also providing the interior with an abundance of natural light. The interior design revolves around the idea that top-of-the-line, eco-friendly furnishings don’t have to be prohibitively expensive. For example, the kitchen features Durat countertops that are made from 30-50 oercent recycled hard plastics and are 100 percent recyclable. Additionally, no-VOC powder coat color was used throughout the home. The beautiful home features one of the company’s most popular layouts, a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath space with multiple connections to the exterior. What’s more, the Birch Le Collaboration House can be rented out by potential buyers who would like to test it out before ordering a Hygge Supply kit for themselves. Karcher invites guests to enjoy the sustainable home as a serene retreat that could possibly be their permanent home. “This home highlights the best of Hygge Supply: minimalist design, modern finishes, high comfort and expansive windows that draw the natural world in,” Karcher said. “We invite people to put down the concept drawings and come live immersively in this intimate space. It’s a perfect spot to retreat and it may inspire you to envision your own modern sanctuary.” + Hygge Supply Via Dwell Photography by Will Johnson via Hygge Supply

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Stunning new prefab kit home centers on sustainability

Research raises animal welfare concerns over "humanely" raised turkeys

November 18, 2019 by  
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While many meat eaters don’t want to think about the actual slaughter of a turkey, they might comfort themselves with the thought that their Thanksgiving dinner was humanely raised. Think again. The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) has just released a new report showing that poultry producers are deceiving customers by making unfounded animal welfare and environmental claims. The report used Freedom of Information Act requests to procure the USDA’s label approval files, then analyzed them for supporting evidence regarding these claims. Unfortunately, things haven’t improved since the AWI petitioned the USDA in 2014 to require third-party certification of animal welfare in order to earn the “humane” label. Related: Is your Thanksgiving turkey putting your family’s health at risk? “The system is easily manipulated by producers who want to make higher welfare claims on their packages and charge a premium without improving the treatment of animals raised under their care,” said Erin Sutherland, staff attorney for AWI’s farm animal program. “Because of the USDA ’s lack of oversight, consumers are often thwarted in their attempts to use labels to guide their food-buying decisions.” In its new report, the AWI evaluated label approvals for claims like “humanely raised,” “free raised” and “sustainably farmed” on 19 poultry and meat products. The AWI concluded that the USDA failed to enforce labeling standards and that producers’ definitions were often vague and irrelevant. Using its own scoring tool, the AWI gave 12 of 23 claims an F score. Two turkey product lines, Diestel Turkey Ranch Organic Turkey Products and Empire Kosher Natural Ground White Turkey, fared slightly better with D grades. The AWI pointed out that the current label approval process harms honest farmers , because producers who make false claims can undercut them by selling inhumanely raised turkeys disguised as humanely raised at lower prices. Part of the problem is that the USDA doesn’t visit farms to see if practices conform to the claims made on labels. Instead, the USDA relies on information about animal treatment provided by the producers themselves. It’s ironic that while meat producers lobby against “deceptive” fake meat labeling, they’re practicing some fakery of their own. + Animal Welfare Institute Image via SJ Baren

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Research raises animal welfare concerns over "humanely" raised turkeys

Sigurd Larsen unveils a stunning prefab home in the Austrian Alps

November 18, 2019 by  
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Prefab design offers an infinite number of benefits, but it is especially useful when constructing in extreme landscapes and climates. Danish architect Sigurd Larsen has almost entirely relied on prefabrication to construct the Mountain House, an incredible family home nestled deep into the spectacular, mountainous landscape of the Austrian Alps. The Mountain House is a beautiful home that blends seamlessly into its surroundings. An elongated volume with a pitched roof, the structure cantilevers over the landscape’s natural slope, creating the perfect height to take in unobstructed views of the stunning mountainside. Related: Sigurd Larsen adds the ultimate grown up playhouse to Berlin’s Hotel Michelberger The two-level home’s walls and roof were prefabricated in a factory before they were assembled on-site. This decision was strategic to not only reduce costs and construction time but also the overall efficiency of the project. Building in the remote landscape of the alps is nearly impossible during the cold winter months, so using a heated factory to manufacture the components helped to facilitate the project on various levels. In fact, once the materials were delivered to the site, the exterior was constructed in just 12 hours. Clad in locally sourced larch timber stained a dark gray, the mountain home is chic and sophisticated, and it emits a welcoming cabin feel inside and out. The bottom floor is clad in floor-to-ceiling panels. These glazed facades allow for the family to feel a strong connection to the natural setting. Additionally, the home boasts an open-air deck that is covered by the upper floor, creating a serene outdoor place to enjoy the views and fresh mountain air. Throughout the interior , natural wood is used for the flooring and the walls, again creating a natural, minimalist living space. Keeping the focus on the views, the furnishings are sparse and space-efficient. The architects called on local woodcutters to create several pieces of built-in furniture, such as a kitchen bench and a wooden staircase. + Sigurd Larsen Via Architectural Digest Photography by Christian Flatscher via Sigurd Larsen

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Sigurd Larsen unveils a stunning prefab home in the Austrian Alps

10 vegan myths, debunked

November 18, 2019 by  
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Vegans and vegetarians are often the target of jokes, scorn, concern and/or fear by a majority culture that routinely consumes animals. The upcoming holidays are a prime time for omnivorous family members and friends to heckle a loved one who is vegan while brandishing a turkey leg or Christmas pudding. So, just in time for those awkward holiday encounters with family, here are 10 vegan myths, debunked. Tucson-based Alison Ozgur , registered dietitian at Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa and an instructor for the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies , kindly assisted with her solid nutritional knowledge. Vegans don’t get enough protein. Every vegetarian and vegan has heard this approximately a gazillion times. “This is a common myth that needs to be eliminated,” Ozgur said. “Here in the United States, we have never had a protein shortage, and the sad truth is, protein is being unnecessarily added to many foods. Vegetables, fruits and grains all have ample amounts of protein for optimal health and achieving a healthy body weight.” If you’re consuming enough calories, she said, you’re getting enough protein. Vegans can’t get calcium without dairy. The dairy industry has long campaigned to convince Americans we will keel over if we don’t guzzle milk. Not true, said Ozgur. “Yes, dairy products contain calcium, but they can also contain artery-clogging saturated fat, cholesterol and contaminants. Fortunately, plant-based foods are a healthier option.” She recommends leafy greens like kale, mustard greens, collard greens and Swiss chard as well as legumes, broccoli, organic soy foods — such as tempeh and tofu — almonds and calcium-fortified plant-based milks. It’s too expensive to be vegan. Those turmeric smoothies, packaged organic kale chips and meals in upscale vegan restaurants can certainly break the bank. “Eating vegan can be expensive,” Ozgur explained. “However, the cost of treatment for chronic disease is far more expensive. A diet rich in nutrient-dense, whole plant foods is our first line of defense for disease prevention and reversal.” That said, if you forego the prepackaged options and buy staple dry foods like bulk beans, lentils and oats, you’ll save money. Many vegetables, such as carrots and cabbage, are also inexpensive. All vegans are white. If this were true, you wouldn’t find websites like Black Vegans Rock or celebrations like the Vegan SoulFest . Activist Aph Ko, founder of Black Vegans Rock , raised awareness about the many vegans of color by publishing a list of 100 prominent black vegans in 2015. Vegans of color also own vegan restaurants and write vegan cookbooks, just like white vegans, but with roots of their own. Non-white vegan traditions include Rastafarians in Jamaica, Jainism in India and the part-time veganism of Ethiopia ’s fasting season. All vegans are hippies. Depending on who you ask, being called a hippie could be an insult or a compliment. The Merriam-Webster dictionary offers a more objective definition, “a usually young person who rejects the mores of established society (as by dressing unconventionally or favoring communal living) and advocates a nonviolent ethic. Broadly: a long-haired unconventionally dressed young person.” So, if we’re talking about vegans in a society dominated by meat -eaters, there’s some truth in this myth. Vegans are rejecting mores of the established society and advocating nonviolence, at least against farm animals. As for being young, dressing unconventionally, living communally, having long hair or, as found in other online definitions of hippies, taking hallucinogenic drugs, we’d need to evaluate vegans on a case-by-case basis. Vegans are weak. You’d better not say that to Bryant Jennings, pro boxer, or karate expert Tammy Fry Kelly — they just might take you out. Then, there are the vegan charismatic megafauna, like gorillas and elephants . “There is no shortage of athletes and fitness enthusiasts who thrive on a vegan diet,” Ozgur said. “Plant-based foods can speed up muscle recovery time and decrease inflammation due to their high amount of antioxidants and phytonutrients.” She recommends the documentary movie Game Changers to see just how strong vegans can be. If I went vegan, I’d always be hungry/tired/sick. Not true, as long as you’re eating enough. “ If you decrease your daily calorie intake to below your body’s requirement, indeed you will be hungry, tired, sick and eventually dead,” Ozgur explained. “Choosing a colorful variety of whole plant foods nourishes your body and cells, thus increasing your immunity and longevity. Chronic inflammation is linked to a variety of diseases, and numerous studies have confirmed that a plant-rich diet high in fiber is beneficial for disease prevention.” If everybody went vegan, cows and pigs would go extinct. What would happen if every paddock door was opened — if all the chickens pecking each other’s eyes out in tiny cages were freed; if farmed fish were tossed into rivers? Would sheep starve? Would hogs take over the world? “Billions of farm animals would no longer be destined for our dinner plates, and if we couldn’t return them to the wild, they might be slaughtered, abandoned or taken care of in sanctuaries,” journalist Paul Allen wrote on BBC’s Good Food website. “Or, more realistically, farmers might slow down breeding as demand for meat falls.” Allen theorized that the number of returned animal populations would fluctuate, then eventually reach a balance, depending on predators and available resources. “It’s worth noting that not all animals could simply ‘go free.’ Some farm breeds, such as broiler chickens, are now so far removed from their ancestors that they couldn’t survive in the wild. Others, like pigs and sheep, could feasibly return to woodlands and grazing pastures and find their own natural population levels.” Plants feel pain, too, so it’s just as bad to eat them. According to Jack C. Schultz, professor in the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia, plants “are just very slow animals.” They fight for territory, seek food, trap prey and evade predators, he said. It’s possible they feel pain, too, despite lacking a central nervous system, nerves or a brain. However, is it as unkind to eat a tomato as a cow? Everybody draws the line somewhere. For some people, all non-human animals are fair game. Many others think it’s okay to eat a cow but not a dog or cat. Vegans just draw that line even higher. As the PETA website points out, “We have to eat — it’s a matter of survival. And eating plants directly — rather than feeding them to animals and then killing those animals for their flesh — requires far fewer plants and doesn’t hurt animals, who, we already know for sure , feel pain.” If men eat tofu, they’ll grow breasts. Ozgur assured this won’t happen. “There is no valid medical evidence supporting men increasing breast size from eating soy foods,” she said. “This myth surfaced over 10 years ago when a man was diagnosed with gynecomastia from drinking three quarts of soy milk per day. Upon discontinuing his soy milk intake, his breast tenderness resolved. Asian men consume soy daily, yet do not experience gynecomastia.” Ozgur recommends choosing organic whole soy foods and avoiding soy protein isolates or fractionated soy ingredients. Images via Shutterstock and Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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This versatile, waterproof parka is made with recycled PET bottles

November 18, 2019 by  
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Oftentimes, less is more — like when you can carry a coin purse instead of a weighty bag. When it comes to coats and jackets, choosing a light-yet-durable option is best, so you don’t find yourself in a mummy-tight arctic coat when all you really need is a lightweight, waterproof shell. That is where the Maium Lightweight Parka comes in to play. Of course, we’re all about sustainability, so while having the right jacket for the job is ideal, it’s even better when that jacket is also kind to the environment. The Maium Lightweight Parka fits the bill here, too. As with all Maium raincoats, the Lightweight Parka is made using recycled PET bottles — and we all know that diverting plastic out of landfills is a good move. Maium ensures all of its jackets are also manufactured under fair, safe and healthy working conditions. Related: Labo Mono turns plastic water bottles into Urban Jackets for cycling and everyday use Even when you want to support companies that keep sustainability in mind, the products should still live up to your expectations. Enter the versatility, convenience and great design of Maium Lightweight Parkas. The Maium Lightweight Parka is, of course, lightweight. That makes it easy to haul around from weekend sporting events to thousand-mile backpacking treks along the Pacific Crest Trail. In addition to being light, it packs down into a compressed size for easy storage and retrieval. For versatility, the parka has adjustable cuffs to fit a variety of wrist sizes and to accommodate bulky, long-sleeve clothing underneath. The waist and hood can also be adjusted. Plus, side zippers easily convert the parka into a poncho, which is especially convenient when you need the maneuverability to ride a bike. The newly released Maium Lightweight Parka is available for men and women in three color options: black, army green or iridescent. It retails for 155 euros (approximately $170). + Maium Images via Maium

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This versatile, waterproof parka is made with recycled PET bottles

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