An autism-friendly hospital emphasizes nature for resiliency and healing

January 13, 2021 by  
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Charleston, South Carolina has raised the bar for inclusive healthcare design with the opening of the new Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion. Designed by Perkins and Will in collaboration with associate architect McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, the new, 625,000-square-foot facility aims to be one of the country’s most autism-friendly hospitals with its welcoming design that emphasizes access to natural light, a warm materials palette and an abundance of greenery indoors and out. The building also prioritizes resiliency by placing all patient care areas above the designated flood elevation and integrating flood-proof panels, an absorbent native planting plan and a series of flood walls into its design.  Using feedback from parents with children who are on the autism spectrum, the architects crafted calming interiors that take into account the full-sensory experience — from the removal of automatic flushers and hand dryers in bathrooms to the minimization of visual clutter — as a means of avoiding potential triggers. The biophilic design also taps into the healing power of nature by creating connections between the indoors and out wherever possible. Fresh air, natural light, indoor greenery and nature-inspired artwork by local artists create a joyful indoor atmosphere. Related: Biophilic campus provides a safe haven for children with autism The rich culture and history of Charleston also inspired the interior design, from the two-story main lobby with recycled cypress paneling that takes cues from historic Charleston’s Courtyard Garden to a large-scale, stained glass artwork that evokes Angel Oak, an approximately 400-year-old Southern Live Oak. Timber-lined patient bedrooms mimic local beach houses and come with simple furnishings and customizable features to encourage children to decorate their own spaces. The 10-story, 250-bed facility is set back from the street to make room for an “urban green space” in a nod to Charleston’s famous civic gardens. Defined by a low seat wall that can help mitigate low-level flooding events, the landscape is planted with native species for low maintenance. Outdoor terraces on the seventh and eighth floors also connect the hospital with the outdoors.  + Perkins and Will Photography by James Steinkamp and Halkin Mason via Perkins and Will

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An autism-friendly hospital emphasizes nature for resiliency and healing

Sustainable holiday gift ideas for siblings

December 11, 2020 by  
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You grew up with them and have probably known them your whole life. So why are some siblings so hard to shop for? We’ve scoured the internet for fun, thoughtful and sustainable  gifts  which even the most discerning sib will be thrilled to receive. Zero-waste cocktail kit This  zero-waste cocktail kit  lets your siblings stir up a gimlet or  French  75 anywhere. The mason jar cocktail shaker, two stainless steel mini straws and sphere ice tray travel well in their own special tote. Related: Gift loved ones with classes that teach and build nature skills Organic soaps Okay, people often use soap as a sort of fallback gift when they don’t know what else to give somebody. But  Birch Ridge ‘s handmade soaps are something special. These soaps are vegan,  organic , synthetic-free and, best of all, come in delicious fragrances with cool names. Blood Moon is a combo of citrus notes — blood orange, tangerine, lime, sweet orange, tangerine and lemongrass. Collins pairs lemongrass with sage, patchouli, lime and bergamot. Hemp socks Want  hemp socks  without the hippie look? These unisex machine washable crew socks use a cotton, nylon and  hemp  blend. They come in three patterns: mustard with a mountain pattern, tan with bison and rust with a geometric pattern. The socks are also responsibly made in China (a self-reported label meaning a company aims to treat workers fairly and reduce environmental impacts). Sustainable wireless charger For the electronically-inclined sibling, try these  chargers  made from hemp and recycled plastic. Go Nimble offers several options, including a wireless travel kit and a dual pad for simultaneously charging two devices. A safe bet for your bro who is always wearing down his phone battery at  family  dinners. EcoVibe gift set EcoVibe  has done the work of putting together cutesy gift sets for you. The company has lots of choices depending on your sib’s favorite activity. An Icelandic bath kit includes a special  Icelandic  kelp soap, stone soap dish and matching tiny Icelandic kelp candle. The bike buff gift set includes shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream and lip salve to clean up post-ride, plus a cyclist kit and a pocket bicycle multi-tool. The air plant wall mounting kit will help up your sib’s botanical game with a natural cork backdrop for their air plant collection. Includes step-by-step instructions. Vegan jams by Trade Street Jam, like soap, is a classic gift because the recipient can enjoy a special flavor without leaving behind an artifact to clutter their house forever. We want to try all of  Trade Street Jam’s  interesting  vegan  blends, like strawberry chipotle and fig or plum and rose. Or maybe sour cherry ginger. Or smoke peach. Whichever you choose, be sure to order some of Trade Street’s darling mini wooden jam spoons to go with your gift. Wellness app membership Is wellness a gift you can give? Sure. Help your anxious sib learn to slow down with a gift of  Calm , the leading meditation app.  Headspace  is another meditation app that promises to change lives with an investment of only a few minutes a day. Or you could give a gift of Zoom classes with your sibling’s favorite  yoga  teacher. Vegan, biodegradable juice masks Is your sibling into clean living? This  masking and juicing set  brings the raw juice trend into skincare with biodegradable sheet masks. We especially like the set’s included sprout headband to secure your hair while the raw juice cleanse mask is on your face. This set is, of course, vegan, organic, eco-friendly and cruelty-free. I+I Botanicals For the CBD-inclined sibling,  I+I Botanicals  offers expertly crafted feel-good formulations to solve skincare issues. I+I Infused Bath Teas blend CBD and essential oils into bath salts. I+I Dry Oil Body Mist will leave your sib glowing, not greasy, and smelling of citrus and sandalwood. This women-owned company uses only American -grown, lab-tested CBD in its products. Artsy reusable water bottle People may not leave the house as often during the pandemic, but when your sibling goes out, they’ll want to be toting an eye-catching  water bottle . This cute retro  water  bottle comes in mint, coral, dark gray and indigo, each with a contrasting top. It’s vacuum-sealed and has a double-walled construction that keeps cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to twelve. Plant-based milk maker If your sibling is part of the global trend against dairy, they’ll benefit from this  plant-based milk maker . Instead of buying premade and processed faux milk from the store, this gadget turns  nuts , grains and seeds into fresh dairy-free milk at home. Your sibling can even devise their own custom blends. Compostable phone case Alas, every good thing comes to an end. Even a trusty and beloved phone case.  Compostable cases  for your iPhone and Airpods can help pare down the global waste stream. These cases made from a bamboo-based proprietary blend can decompose and return to the earth. When your sibling’s phone case must meet its maker, we prefer to think dust to dust than permanent burial in a landfill . To make these cases even sweeter, you can customize them with your sib’s name or initials. Cases come in colors like mint and French raspberry. These work great with wireless charging or a lightning cable. Images via Package Free Shop, Birch Ridge, United by Blue, Go Nimble, EcoVibe, Trade Street Jam, Calm, ESW Beauty, I+I Botanicals, The Grommet, Pexels, and Casetify

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WSLA, GreenBiz team on Women in Sustainability Leadership Awards

December 9, 2020 by  
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WSLA, GreenBiz team on Women in Sustainability Leadership Awards Heather Clancy Wed, 12/09/2020 – 00:00 I’m excited to share that GreenBiz Group is teaming up with the newly formed WSLA Alumnae Group, which acquired the Women in Sustainability Leadership Awards (WSLA) from gb&d magazine in August. We’ll be acting as the organization’s media partner to build awareness for the next edition of its awards program. Composed of previous WSLA award recipients (there are 87 honorees), the alumnae group’s membership includes the most dedicated sustainability professionals in the field who have made significant positive changes to the planet, demonstrating bravery in the workplace and mentoring the next group of female leaders. The group’s summits, service activities and mentorship opportunities are paving the way in sustainability and for future leaders in the field. As media partner, GreenBiz will develop and execute an editorial and communications plan to increase awareness and traction for the WSLA Alumnae Group and the virtual awards program, taking place in April. The call for entries will be announced in January, with GreenBiz participating in the judging and selection of the 2021 winners. I’m honored to say that I’ll be personally serving on the WSLA Alumnae Group board of directors. The organization’s mission aligns well with GreenBiz’s values of championing corporate climate action that is informed by diverse communities and recognizes the intersection between climate change and racial justice. As more businesses embrace the “social” issues associated with environmental, social and governance strategies, it’s especially important to include, highlight and celebrate successful women and people of color. “There was no other organization that we considered for our media partner because GreenBiz has a world-class team of communicators and their dedication to both sustainability and transparency mirrors that of the alums. We are truly delighted to be working with this incredible group of people and welcome Heather Clancy as a board member,” said Rochelle Routman, president and chairman of the WSLA Alumnae Group.  Routman, chief sustainability and quality officer for flooring company HTMX Industries, also announced the organization’s new board and officers ahead of its general meeting this week. All (except for me) are past WSLA honorees. Aside from Routman, here’s the complete list with officers listed first and the remainder listed alphabetically: Lisa Colicchio, sustainability director, Metrolink (Vice President) Heather White, president & CEO, Heather White Strategies, LLC (Secretary) Sandra Leibowitz, managing principal, Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC (Treasurer) Ranae Anderson, global sustainability leader, Universal Fibers Jennifer Berthelot-Jelovic, president and CEO, A SustainAble Production, LLC (ASAP) Heather Clancy, editorial director, GreenBiz Daniele Horton, founder and president, Verdani Partners Janice Lao, ESG director, Helen of Troy Alicia Silva, director and founder, Revitaliza Consultores Kathleen Smith, director, technical support services, International Living Future Institute “I’m very excited about working with these new officers and the new board. Each of them brings a diverse perspective and valuable experience necessary to launch this new organization into a truly viable and influential force,” Routman said. “We want to take the organization further, particularly by mentoring other equally dedicated women in the field., which will result in greater positive change on a global scale in both the environmental and social realms.” Stay tuned for information about the 2021 call for entries in January. Topics Careers Women Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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WSLA, GreenBiz team on Women in Sustainability Leadership Awards

Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide: Men’s Edition

December 8, 2020 by  
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The men on your gift list may not always be … The post Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide: Men’s Edition appeared first on Earth 911.

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Buyers Guide: Clothes Washers

December 8, 2020 by  
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Old bathhouses get new life via NPS adaptive reuse program

November 19, 2020 by  
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After Rose Schweikhart, an avid homebrewer, settled in Hot Springs,  Arkansas , she began to wonder if the mineral-rich hot spring water that made “Spa City” famous could be used to brew beer. Since the springs are government-owned as part of Hot Springs National Park, she called the park superintendent to ask permission to use the water. Next thing she knew, she was filling out the long application to be part of the National Park Service’s adaptive reuse program for the crumbling, once-opulent bathhouses that line the city’s main drag, aka Bathhouse Row. Now, the 9,000-square-foot  Superior Bathhouse  finds new life as a restaurant, event space and the world’s first microbrewery to use hot spring water for brewing beer. This project represents one of the success stories revitalizing both the town of Hot Springs and the overlapping national park. Water is the soul of Hot Springs As you could guess from its name, the town wouldn’t exist without its natural hot springs.  Hot Springs National Park  is tasked with protecting 47 springs in the downtown area. “We’re really strict about the park,” said park ranger Ashley Waymouth as she led a walking tour of Bathhouse Row. “We don’t use herbicides. We don’t use pesticides. We’re really conscientious about what we do. Because we know everything that goes on the ground ultimately makes its way into the  water .” Waymouth explained the long route the water takes, how time, depth and pressure heat the water for thousands of years before it bursts through a geologic fault line in the park. Rain from ancient Egyptian times now comes out of the hots springs 4,000 years later, Waymouth said. “It really instills in us long term thinking.” Keeping that water safe requires daily monitoring by a team of hydrogeologists. Archeological evidence shows that people used the springs here for thousands of years, and early inhabitants considered them a neutral ground and a place of healing. Many Americans first learned about the springs when President Jefferson sent the Hunter-Dunbar expedition to check out this part of the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase in 1804. Explorers returned with news of the wonders of Hot Springs’ healing waters, which soon began to attract people from all over. In 1832, the U.S.  government  proclaimed the area a federal reserve. Related: These adaptive reuse hotel suites in Amsterdam are built inside old bridge houses By 1900, Hot Springs was a major  health  destination. In addition to bathing, some of the bathhouses offered gymnasiums, physical therapy and medical professionals who would prescribe hikes and other exercises. The surrounding area was cultivated as a beauty spot, with gardens in front of the bathhouses, a series of trails groomed on the hills behind and cute little parks dotting the town. The earliest bathhouses burnt in fires. Built between 1892 and 1923, the eight huge buildings standing today feature a mishmash of Spanish, Italian, Roman and Greek styles. The Fordyce, built for the town’s wealthiest visitors, features sea-colored stained  glass  and carved Neptune heads on its facade. The Ozark is mission style, in a possible nod to the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, who searched for the fountain of youth. Hot Springs accommodated a variety of people, though facilities often reflected issues of the time. While the town hosted a free government-run bathhouse, Black visitors could only use a segregated bathhouse until the 1964 Civil Rights Act passed. Of course, there were also upscale options for the rich and famous, especially those with an ailment they hoped to heal. Australian-born international opera star Marjorie Lawrence made  Hot Springs  her home after contracting polio. Gangster Al Capone also frequently visited, hoping to cure his syphilis. But over the course of the 20th century, enthusiasm for public bathing faded. By 1980, Americans preferred to relax in backyard hot tubs than public bathhouses. All bathhouses but the  Buckstaff  closed down, some remaining vacant for decades. Since Bathhouse Row is part of Hot Springs National Park, the Park Service had to figure out what to do about the empty buildings. On one hand, the buildings were historical, architectural and cultural treasures. On another, they were hulking behemoths ranging from 9,000 to nearly 30,000-square-feet inside — expensive to retrofit, heat and maintain. In 2004, the National Park Service devised an innovative adaptive  reuse  program that has preserved the bathhouses, drawn more visitors and enriched their experience, and reinvigorated downtown Hot Springs. Hospitality and adaptive reuse Of the eight bathhouses, only the Maurice remains empty. The Buckstaff has continuously operated since opening in 1912. The other six have either been repurposed by the  National Park  Service itself or entered into public/private partnerships. Fortunately, the park had the foresight to turn the opulent Fordyce into a bathhouse museum. The men’s wing is much grander than the women’s, with a stained-glass skylight featuring topless mermaids and a statue in the center of a kneeling Native woman presenting de Soto with a jug of water. The best part is all the weird and fascinating hydrotherapy equipment. While this equipment — such as steam cabinets where people sat with just their heads sticking out, and a hydroelectric tub that somehow combined electricity with water for stunning results — must have been cutting edge in its day, it now looks more like a  medical  torture chamber. At the Superior Bathhouse Brewery, Rose Schweikhart has worked wonders with both the old bathhouse and the water itself. Under the NPS adaptive reuse program, Schweikhart got a 55-year lease on the  building . Built in 1916, the Superior is the smallest bathhouse on the row, but it still has 9,000 square feet that had to be improved and now require maintenance. Currently, Schweikhart is saving for a new roof. Since the building is a historic structure in a national park and has the federal government as a landlord, Schweikhart needs approval before changing the structure. “Usually they say yes, because a vacant building isn’t doing anyone any good,” Schweikhart said. The building closed as a bathhouse in 1983 and sat empty for 30 years before Schweikhart gave it a new life. Still, the NPS drew the line at letting her install a roll-up door. This meant Schweikhart had to carefully bring all the brewery equipment through the front  window , the historic building’s largest opening. “I had to get the manufacturer to measure everything very carefully,” Schweikhart said. The water is piped in at about 144 degrees, then heated to 160 degrees to make the beer and sell it locally in growlers. It’s a bathhouse-centric operation with no canning, bottling or distribution. So, you’ll have to go to Hot Springs to experience the Superior’s Goat Rock Bock or Desoto’s Folly. Next door, Ellen and Pat McCabe repurposed the Hale Bathhouse into a nine-room boutique  hotel  with a beautiful dining room open to all. The duo incorporated touches that appeal to aficionados of historic buildings, such as exposed rough brick walls and the original pine floors. But the  Hotel Hale’s  modern touches make it a very comfortable place to stay — coffee service delivered to your door at your chosen time every morning, signature orange-vanilla scented toiletries made by a local soap maker and, best of all, hot spring water piped into your own private bathtub. Hotel Hale is also known for laying out a fabulous brunch. If you’re really lucky, the McCabes might unlock a door in the corner of the dining room and let you peek into the old natural steam room cut into the mountain. It’s hot, muddy and too much of an insurance liability for modern use, but is a fascinating glimpse back into Spa City’s history. The  Quapaw  reuse project remains truest to the original bathhouse spirit. Constructed in 1924, the 24,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial building is now a modern  spa . Its 2007 makeover earned a LEED Silver certification and won the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas’ 2009 Excellence in Preservation through Restoration Award. The Quapaw offers both private services like massages and facials and public bathing in a series of shared pools of different temperatures, ranging from comfortably warm to roasting. A visit to either the Quapaw or the even more historic Buckstaff baths is the closest visitors can get to the old days where everybody from movie stars to gangsters made healing pilgrimages to Hot Springs. Images via Teresa Bergen

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Earth 911 Reader: Plastic Is In People, Women Will Suffer More From Climate Change, and $46 Billion In Packaging Savings

August 22, 2020 by  
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DIY Women’s Personal Care Products

March 5, 2020 by  
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Eco-Friendly Gifts for Women

December 11, 2019 by  
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Why co-living might be the perfect situation for you

June 27, 2019 by  
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While a college dorm room might come to mind when you hear the phrase co-living, that type of shared housing is just one example of what the concept means for both those deep in their studies and career-bound people, too. Co-living is not a new idea, but one that has evolved over many years to include several different ideas and populations. At its core, co-living simply means sharing a space with one or more other people. However, the modern concept encompasses lifestyle choices, socialization, a sense of community, financial aspects and shared resources. Around the world, different groups have embraced co-living and the reasons seem to be centered around a few general motivating factors. Related: Cambridge’s first co-housing development fosters sustainable living Money Co-living typically saves money compared to paying all the bills for a house or apartment individually. If you remember sharing an apartment with a roommate, you understand the concept. Splitting bills for utilities and rent is a financially conservative idea, but modern co-living cuts out the need to hassle your roommate for the rent. Instead, many newer co-living opportunities allow you to pay for your space only, as each person rents directly from the management company. Social life While it does appear that most newly graduated housemates make the choice in order to take advantage of the lower costs, even more people report they are moving toward co-living for the social interaction. This includes singles, married couples without children and older individuals. The advantage of co-living is two-fold in that many responsibilities are shared as far as upkeep, cooking and the like. This allows more time for socializing, which is a major draw for this crowd. In this market, shared spaces can include a kitchen or other social areas such as rec rooms and outdoor gathering spaces. Communities organize events to draw residents together with activities like game night, wine tastings, movie night, dinners and more. Sustainability While the co-housing philosophy began as a way to connect people and make better use of space, the idea of sustainable living has moved to the forefront of the co-living concept. A key component to co-living is sharing resources, which is an ideal way to live more sustainably. Many co-living situations encourage community gardens , for example, leading to more helping hands and less waste. Pretty much everything from building materials to yard tools are minimized with shared living spaces. Think two community grills for many people instead of one for each resident, and you’ll see just a small part of the picture. Shared philosophies Living sustainably is an example of a mindset that those within a co-living situation might share. There are other philosophies that bring people together as well. Religious beliefs, communal living or co-parenting philosophies might bring groups together to find their ideal living situation. For example, single women with children might find that other women in the same situation can help raise their kids together, cook meals and offer a social outlet while still allowing privacy in their own space. Urban lifestyle In many cities, housing is in a state of crisis , motivating a solution in the form of co-housing. Urban co-living situations are often built out of a necessity for resource management and lack of space. Fortunately, the need for affordable living options also fits well with many people seeking that type of living arrangement. Co-living opportunities exist around the world and in all types of environments. Where one person might be drawn to remote farm living, many find urban living in a shared space ideal for their needs. Frequent travelers, for example, embrace co-living as a way to keep a home base at a low cost and perhaps have a second base in a different urban landscape. Is co-living for you? While there are many undeniable advantages in regards to co-living, it’s not for everyone. Some typical disadvantages of this arrangement include small living spaces and sharing a space with strangers. If you are an introvert who doesn’t enjoy a lot of social interaction, this might not be your scene. Then again, perhaps the 3-bedroom urban setting isn’t for you, but the country cabin with a shared garden is. In a recent study initiated by IKEA , respondents overwhelmingly admitted that they do not want to share space with kids and teens, so unless you’re childless or are able to find a welcoming option, co-housing might not be for you. The key is finding a community that fits your goals, budget and co-living philosophy. Co-living offers many solutions to the residential, financial and social issues we face today. In a society that has become individualistic and separate, it’s an opportunity to encourage a closer sense of community. While being personally closer helps, it’s really the sense of shared responsibility and philosophies that makes friends out of roommates and family out of community members. Images via Shutterstock

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