Are you up for the Plastic Free July challenge?

July 1, 2020 by  
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How hard would it be to say no to single-use plastics for an entire month? People who sign up for Plastic Free July are about to find out. The global movement is asking people around the world to be part of the plastic pollution solution. Plastic Free July started back in 2011. Last year, about 250 million people from 177 countries took part in the movement. A survey about Plastic Free July found that participants reduced their household waste about 5% per year and made changes that became long-term habits. Related: How to replace single-use and plastic items in the kitchen Brought to you by the Plastic Free Foundation Rebecca Prince-Ruiz founded the Plastic Free Foundation as a not-for-profit in 2017 along with a team of committed folks in Western Australia. Now, the organization promotes Plastic Free July. The foundation’s ambassador, musician Jack Johnson, is instrumental in spreading the word. “Plastic Free July inspires me to step up my commitment to reducing single-use plastic in my daily life and on tour,” he said on the organization’s website. “A great first step is to commit to using reusable water bottles . I’m also working with the music industry (artists, venues, festivals and fans) to reduce plastic waste through the BYOBottle campaign.” The foundation’s website is its most accessible resource for people around the world. It inspires visitors with stories about ordinary people trying to escape the siren song of convenient plastic. A section called “What others do” features — and invites readers to submit — their stories about alternatives to plastics they use in their everyday life. For example, a mother of two in New Zealand has found strategies for working toward a zero-waste household, and another woman managed to talk her hospital coworkers out of using 70,000 single-use cups each year. You can download posters from the website urging people to avoid single-use straws , takeout containers, plastic bags and other pitfalls of modern life. The posters are suitable for hanging at work, school or local businesses. Ways to avoid single-use plastic People who take the Plastic Free July pledge probably figure they can do without straws for a month or more and remember to bring their reusable cloth bags to the market. But some plastic products are harder to avoid. The web page called “What you can do” provides solutions to many of these problems. For many people, menstruation seems to bring an unfair burden: cramps, moodiness and the responsibility for plastic tampon applicators and used sanitary napkins piling up in landfills or blocking sewage pipes and even causing ingestion issues for marine animals. Instead, the Plastic Free Foundation recommends using menstrual cups, period underwear or reusable pads. Worldwide, people struggle with what to do about bin liners. While putting a plastic bag in your trash can is exceedingly convenient, plastic stays in the landfill forever, eventually breaking down into microplastics that can harm animals. Instead, you can line your bin with newspaper, or let your bin go “naked” and wash it frequently. Of course, composting all your food scraps will cut down on the bin’s ickiest contents. Audit your bin Before you can improve, you need to know how bad the problem is. The Plastic Free Foundation recommends auditing your bin. Doing a bin audit will help you understand what kind of waste you’re creating and how you can minimize it. You can do a bin audit at home or in your workplace. Try to get your family or coworkers onboard to help with the audit and to implement changes based on your findings. Choose an auspicious day for the bin audit. This should be long enough after trash day so that some stuff has accumulated in your bin but not long enough for it to stink. Find a sheltered outdoor place with good airflow. Spread a tarp on the ground and dump your bin. Separate your trash into categories, such as paper , food, cans, batteries, plastics, etc. Estimate the volume and percentage of each category and write it down in a notebook. Later, after cleaning up, you can assess your findings. Some things will be obvious, like if you’ve been too lazy to carry your apple cores and potato peels to the compost and have been chucking them in the bin instead. Or maybe you’ll notice lots of food packaging and realize you could be buying more of those items in bulk instead. Focus on one or two behaviors that will be the easiest to change. Do another bin audit about six months later, check your improvement and pick a new goal. Take the plastic-free challenge Ready for a meaningful sustainability challenge? You can sign up on the Plastic Free July website. The web form asks for your name, email address, country and post code. You’ll get weekly motivational emails in your inbox with tips for avoiding plastic and news on the global movement. The form also gives you choices about the level of your participation. You can commit to going plastic-free for a day, a week, the whole month of July or indefinitely. You can also select whether you’re taking part in the challenge in your workplace, at your school or at home. + Plastic Free July Images via Laura Mitulla , Volodymyr Hryshchenko , Jasmin Sessler ( 1 , 2 ) and Good Soul Shop

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Are you up for the Plastic Free July challenge?

Gardens grow on all floors of Saint-Gobains crystalline HQ

July 1, 2020 by  
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On the outskirts of Paris, French architecture firm Valode & Pistre has completed a new headquarters — a crystalline tower wrapped in low-emission glass — for Saint-Gobain, a multinational building materials company. Designed to emphasize urban integration, energy performance and user comfort, the skyscraper features wind-sheltered gardens accessible from every floor, an abundance of natural light and stunning panoramic views. The building, known as Tour Saint-Gobain, was completed in 2019 in the business district of La Défense. Selected as the winning entry in an international architecture competition, Valode & Pistre’s design for Tour Saint-Gobain references Saint-Gobain’s leading role in construction material distribution — particularly with glass — with its crystalline architecture. The new company headquarters is divided into three distinct parts that are likened to the head, body and feet of a person: the lower floor, or “feet”, contain the open access areas and showroom; the main “body” comprises flexible office spaces; and the highest floors at the “head” houses reception areas, meeting places and the “espace plein ciel”, a stunning gathering space with panoramic views. Related: Dramatic crystalline concert hall boasts a gorgeous prismatic interior in Poland “A tower, more than any other building, is about people and how it affects them,” the architecture firm explained in a press release. “Emotions are expected to be felt at the sight of such a building and the architect should strive to bring about these feelings and this excitement. The dynamic silhouette of the building, through the assembly of three oblique prisms that, in an anthropomorphic way, resemble a head, a body and a foot, allows it to interact with the surrounding towers. The tower thus becomes a figure turning its head and slightly stooping as a sign of warm welcome.” At 165 meters tall, Tour Saint-Gobain spans 44 floors and encompasses 49,900 square meters of floor space. High-performance glass ensures optimal user comfort for occupants, who not only enjoy panoramic views but also direct access to indoor gardens from all of the office spaces. + Valode & Pistre Photography by Sergio Grazia via Valode & Pistre

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Gardens grow on all floors of Saint-Gobains crystalline HQ

Climate change intensifies seaweed infestation in Caribbean Sea

July 2, 2019 by  
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Many consecutive years of sargassum — large brown seaweed — infestations have driven countries around the Caribbean Sea to consider declaring national emergencies. The smelly seaweed blankets beaches, turns the water brown and smothers coral reefs and marine life. Its rotten stench and unsightly appearance is causing many tourism-dependent communities and nations to lose revenue, and it is even causing a public health concern. “It produces an acid gas with a rotten egg smell [when it decomposes] that can be harmful to human health,” read a letter from the local government of Quitana Roo in Mexico, where a public emergency was declared. Mexico already spent $17 million USD trying to clear away the seaweed from popular beaches along the Riviera Maya, which contributes about 50 percent of the country’s tourism dollars. The government cleared more than 500,000 tons of the brown seaweed, with some hotels lamenting that they often have to have their staff clear the beach two or three times every day. Related: Woman arrested in Florida for stomping on sea turtle nest For nearly a decade, scientists have been concluding that the influx of seaweed is likely from fertilizers and raw sewage entering the Caribbean Sea via drains and watersheds. New research indicates that climate change is also playing a role. “Because of global climate change, we may have increased upwelling, increased air deposition or increased nutrient source from rivers, so all three may have increased the recent large amounts of sargassum,” said Chuanmin Hu, an oceanography professor at South Florida University. While small amounts of sargassum are natural and normal on beaches — and even provide habitat for crustaceans and other marine life — it is detrimental to nearshore ecosystems. Hatchling sea turtles , for example, cannot swim out to sea through the heavy seaweed, and many simply get stuck and die. Some agricultural communities are turning the seaweed into compost for crops; however, none are able to keep up with processing and clearing the massive quantities that periodically plague coastal areas. Via The Independent Image via Tam Warner Minton

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Climate change intensifies seaweed infestation in Caribbean Sea

Thousands of California ‘hipster succulents’ are being stolen in plant poaching crisis

April 30, 2018 by  
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The dudleya, a California native succulent , has become a symbol of hipster lifestyle, according to The Guardian . But now so-called plant poachers are stealing the succulent by the thousand to smuggle to buyers in Asia, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has made several busts this year alone. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); CDFW wildlife officers have made a series of arrests this year while working to halt a trend of individuals poaching the Dudleya succulent plant on the north coast of California. Posted by California Department of Fish and Wildlife on  Friday, April 6, 2018 Dudleya plants aren’t rare in the Golden State. But they do take years to grow in nurseries. The Guardian said nursery owners said the plants aren’t available in the massive amounts Asian shippers seem to desire. Smugglers are stealing the plants, which have a market value of around $40 to $50 overseas. CDFW warden Pat Freeling, who’s led the plant poaching investigation, told The Guardian, “Right now these plants are a boom in Korea, China, and Japan. It’s huge among domestic housewives. It’s a status thing. It’s become an exotic lotus flower succulent. Someone likened it to the next Pokémon.” Related: Man caught smuggling 51 turtles in his pants pleads guilty An anonymous woman gave Freeling a tip in January; she had been waiting in line at a Mendocino County post office behind a man with dozens of boxes to be sent to Asia. As the man was holding up the line, the woman asked what he was sending and the man said, “Shhhhh, something very valuable.” The CDFW has already made several busts; in a post earlier this month, they said they arrested three people — two from Korea and one from China — and intercepted 1,334 dudleya en route to be shipped. 1,000 more were uncovered in the hotel room of the suspects. In another bust, they recovered 50 succulents; in another, 1,400 dudleya. CDFW said, “The removal of dudleya can result in environmental degradation of habitat and a destabilization of bluffs and cliffs on the coastline.” Multiple volunteers and CDFW staff recently came together to replant around 2,000 dudleya on the cliffs they came from in the Humboldt and Mendocino counties. + CDFW News + California Department of Fish and Wildlife Via The Guardian Image via CDFW News

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Thousands of California ‘hipster succulents’ are being stolen in plant poaching crisis

Historic Frank Lloyd Wright building to be destroyed in 5 days – unless it’s bought

January 5, 2018 by  
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For the first time in more than 40 years, we’re about to lose a Frank Lloyd Wright -designed building. The beautiful Lockridge Medical Clinic building in Whitefish, Montana was designed by Wright in 1958 and is one of his last designs before his death in 1958. The building was created as a medical clinic that was comfortable enough to feel like a home, complete with Wright’s iconic touches. Now, the owner wants to tear it down to make way for a three-story mixed-use development, unless someone pays $1.7 million in cash by the 10th to preserve it. Demolition preparations began on-site earlier this week. “This comes as a great shock to us,” said Barbara Gordon, executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. “Fruitful discussions were still taking place to bring about a successful resolution to this case, which the Conservancy and our local partners have been working on for more than a year.” Related: Woman pays $100,000 for a home and then discovers it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright The Conservancy has plans to preserve the site, with demolition not slated until the end of 2018, giving the organization time to raise funds to save the building. The news that demolition was beginning early felt like a “gut punch” to those working to save the endangered building, which housed a law office until recently. At just 25 miles from Glacier National Park , the building is perfectly poised for tourism, but the Conservancy fears that unless a buyer saves the day at the last minute, the building will be lost. + Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Images via Wikimedia and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy

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Historic Frank Lloyd Wright building to be destroyed in 5 days – unless it’s bought

Wind power supplied 43.6% of Denmark’s energy in 2017

January 5, 2018 by  
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Denmark set a new renewable energy record in 2017 by obtaining nearly half of its power from wind . The renewable source supplied 43.6 percent of electricity demand, beating the nation’s prior record of 42 percent in 2015 . In just a few years, the country could obtain 50 percent of its power from wind. Denmark’s wind turbines were particularly active in 2017, generating 14,700 gigawatt-hours in 12 months for a new production record, according to Renewables Now . Since 2001, installed wind energy capacity has doubled – even though there are around 20 percent fewer turbines. That’s because today’s turbines are larger and more efficient. The nation has installed 5.3 gigawatts of wind power on land and offshore – and most of the offshore turbines were installed after 2001. Related: Wind energy supplied all of Denmark’s power needs one day last week By 2020, Denmark could obtain around half of its electricity via wind. By then the nation should be able to generate 80 percent of its electricity from renewable sources including biomass and solar power . One of the world’s biggest wind turbine companies, Vestas , is headquartered in Denmark, and Danish companies are selling their green technology around the world, according to prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s new year speech cited by Danish Energy. CEO Lars Aagaard said milestones like the 43.6 percent figure help put Danish solutions on the agenda. At the end of 2017, Vestas announced a 96 megawatt order for a wind farm in India. TreeHugger points out that as transportation is powered more by electricity, greener grids are good news. Electric cars and buses are traversing the streets, and electric planes could someday be flying the skies. According to TreeHugger, 52 percent of new car sales in nearby Norway were electric. And while Denmark has quite a ways to go before they hit that target, once they do, those electric cars could run on clean electricity from all the wind power generated in the country. Via Danish Energy , Renewables Now , and TreeHugger Images via Depositphotos and Pixabay

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Wind power supplied 43.6% of Denmark’s energy in 2017

This woman can fit two years of trash in one small mason jar

June 5, 2015 by  
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Have you ever thought about how much trash you produce in a day? How about a year? The average person generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day ; that’s 1,569 pounds per year. Not a great feeling, huh? That harrowing statistic is what inspired New Yorker Lauren Singer to lead a truly zero-waste lifestyle. Singer produces so little waste that she can fit all of her trash from the past two years in a 16 oz. mason jar and now she’s trying to teach the rest of the world how to do the same. Read the rest of This woman can fit two years of trash in one small mason jar Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: environmentalism , environmentalist , green lifestyle tips , how to be green , Lauren Singer , tips to go green , trash is for tossers , zero waste , zero waste home , zero waste lifestyle , zero-waste life , zero-waste woman

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This woman can fit two years of trash in one small mason jar

Artist creates impossibly realistic murals in Hawaiian waterways while balanced on a surfboard

May 26, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Artist creates impossibly realistic murals in Hawaiian waterways while balanced on a surfboard Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: hawaii , hawaii street art , hula , realistic portraits , sean yoro , Street art , water murals , waterway murals

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Artist creates impossibly realistic murals in Hawaiian waterways while balanced on a surfboard

At 127, Mexican Woman is the World’s Oldest Person

September 3, 2014 by  
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At 127 years of age, Leandra Becerra Lumberras is the oldest person in the world – but she unfortunately won’t be recognized for setting the record. Lumbreras was reportedly born on August 31, 1887, and she attributes her 127 years of existence to eating chocolate, sleeping for days, and never getting married. While it’s uncertain whether she’s seeking the recognition or not, The Independent notes that Lumbreras has lost her birth certificate, so she can’t officially be declared the world’s oldest person – a slot currently occupied by 116-year-old Misao Okawa of Japan. Read the rest of At 127, Mexican Woman is the World’s Oldest Person Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: becerra , leandra , lumberras , Mexican , oldest , person , woman , worlds

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INTERVIEW: Inhabitat Speaks to Amie Hamlin, Executive Director of the Coalition for Healthy School Food

April 17, 2014 by  
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PS 244Q received a lot of attention last year when it became the first school in New York City to start  serving an exclusively vegetarian menu to its students. We recently got a chance to speak to the woman behind the switchover, Amie Hamlin of Coalition for Healthy Schools , about how plant-based diets can benefit kids both physically and academically as well as what parents can do to change what their children are served in school. Read on for the full interview! READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Amie Hamlin , best foods for kids to eat , children’s health , Coalition for Healthy School Food , healthy food , healthy food for kids , healthy food nyc schools , healthy school food , healthy school lunch , school lunch , vegetarian school flushing , vegetarian school nyc , vegetarian schools

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