Alternative Energy

Environment News

The latest environmental news from our global warming and climate news sources.

May 21, 2018

Environment & Sustainability

Zero Waste Bistro offers four days of sustainable food and design in NYC

May 21, 2018: Sustainability is on the menu at Zero Waste Bistro, a pop-up dining experience and installation that’s exploring how great design can drastically reduce the problem of restaurant food waste. Launched as part of NYCxDESIGN’s marquee event WantedDesign Manhattan, the four-day Zero Waste Bistro—open May 19 - May 22, 2018—is presented by the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York to introduce the philosophy behind Nolla, Finland’s first zero-waste restaurant in Helsinki. Recycled and recyclable...

Is there enough water and land on Earth to meet global food demands?

May 21, 2018: There are 7.6 billion people living on Earth today, according to the United Nations. The UN expects that number to jump to 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. With 815 million people already going hungry, will we be able to feed the world’s population as it continues to grow? Do We Have Enough Resources? Once populations surge past 10 billion, will it even be physically possible to feed everyone with the limited water and land we have? The short answer is yes. The more realistic...

USDA releases controversial GMO food label prototypes

May 21, 2018: Food with genetically modified ingredients will be labeled after a 2016 bill passed by Congress, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently unveiled label prototypes. The fight for labels was controversial, and the proposed label designs are too. Legal director George Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety, which wanted labeling, told NPR, "I mean, they look like a little smiley face. They're very pro-biotech, cartoonishly so, and to that extent are, you know, not just imparting...

Adidas unveils a Manchester United jersey created with ocean plastic

May 21, 2018: Ocean plastic just got a flashy new awareness effort: in Manchester United Football Club jerseys. Adidas worked with Parley for the Oceans to release a kit created with recycled ocean plastic and inspired by the team's 1968 European Cup Final win. Manchester United director Richard Arnold said in a statement, "We are all acutely aware of the threat of plastic to the environment and we are delighted to be able to raise further awareness with this recycled kit, which I am sure the fans will love." Related: This...

Nine African cities commit to reaching zero carbon by 2050

May 21, 2018: Nine cities across Africa, a continent vulnerable to climate change, are taking action. Reuters reported the cities recently pledged to deliver their share of carbon emissions reductions to hit Paris Agreement goals. The cities, several of which are major capitals, aim to reach zero carbon economies in just over 30 years. Related:…

Point Nemo, the most remote spot in the ocean, is plagued with plastic

May 21, 2018: Point Nemo is located so far away from land that those on the International Space Station, hundreds of miles above Earth, are usually the closest humans to this most isolated place. Located nearly 1,700 miles from the nearest island, Point Nemo is the oceanic point farthest from land on our planet. Despite its extremely remote location, Point Nemo has recently been plagued with plastic pollution. Sea vessels participating in the eight-month-long, worldwide Volvo Open Race took seawater samples from...

Escape the everyday in this Geodesic Dome House in Palm Springs

May 19, 2018: Inspired by 20th-century architect R. Buckminster Fuller, architect Pavlina Williams transformed a decrepit dome house in Palm Springs into a dreamy retreat that channels bohemian and mid-century modern vibes. Now available as a vacation rental on Boutique Homes, the Geodesic Dome House offers stunning desert views and privacy on a private five-acre lot. Keep reading for a peek inside. Working together with her husband Carter, the LA-based architect Pavlina Williams worked on their...

BIG designs a high-end tiny house that goes off-grid

May 18, 2018: Bjarke Ingels Group has revealed images for the firm’s first-ever tiny house—the A45—designed for the prefab-housing startup Klein. Inspired by the traditional A-frame cabin, the A45 takes on an angular form conducive to rain run-off and easy construction. The 180-square-foot timber cabin boasts a completely customizable interior design and can be built within four to six months in any location. Constructed in Upstate New York, the A45 prototype is clad in blackened pine with...

Can vertical farming feed the world and change the agriculture industry?

May 18, 2018: Finding alternatives to traditional farming practices could help increase food production and feed the hungry. Year after year, the human population increases. We expand our cities to accommodate our needs for housing and businesses, which means we lose rainforests and prime farmland. As the population grows, our need for food increases, which means even more pristine natural habitat will be lost to grow crops or create pastures for grazing animals. Despite our encroachment into natural landscapes...

One-third of the world's protected areas face 'shocking' human impact

May 18, 2018: 2.3 million square miles — or around twice the size of Alaska — of protected areas around the world face human pressure from activities like road building, urbanization, or grazing, according to a new study. Lead author Kendall Jones, a PhD candidate at The University of Queensland, said in a statement, "We found major road infrastructure such as highways, industrial agriculture, and even entire cities occurring inside the boundaries of places supposed to be set aside for nature conservation...

Bering Sea ice is "at record low levels for this time of year"

May 18, 2018: Arctic sea ice is low, with Bering Sea's sea ice extent "is the lowest recorded since at least 1979," according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC). In April, Arctic sea ice extent was 378,400 square miles under the 1981 to 2010 average. And according to Earther, the Bering Sea has been something of a ground zero this winter, with sea ice disappearing when it was supposed to be growing in February, rebounding slightly in March, and then plummeting in April. Related:…

Bitcoin is expected to consume enough energy to power Austria by the end of 2018

May 18, 2018: Though bitcoin's value may rise and fall dramatically, the energy required to produce Bitcoins seems to be ever on the rise. Researchers estimate that the bitcoin network may consume as much as 7.7 gigawatts of energy, the equivalent of the electricity required to power Australia. A new study published in the journal Joule predicts that bitcoins may use up to half a percent of the world's total energy supply. If the value of bitcoin continues to rise, the entire bitcoin network may consume up to...

Warming seas could shift fish habitats out of the reach of some fishers

May 18, 2018: Warming waters have already prompted some fish to move south or north. As the climate continues to change, marine species' shifts could be challenging for fisheries as the fish potentially move into new areas altogether — some over 500 miles away, according to new research from a team of scientists from the United States and Switzerland, who modeled the habitat of 686 species.

In the UK, wind energy provides more power than nuclear for the first time

May 18, 2018: For the first time, wind energy provided more power than nuclear energy to the United Kingdom grid in the first three months of 2018. This milestone, in which wind provided 18.8% of all power during a period in which only natural gas was a larger energy source, may herald the arrival of an energy economy in which renewable energy is the most cost effective option. There was even one point during this period, March 17 overnight, in which wind energy provided nearly half of the electricity used in...

Lego-like kindergarten sparks creativity with a playful brick facade

May 17, 2018: Brick may often be seen as boring and traditional, but that’s not the case when the material falls into the hands of KIENTRUC O. The Vietnamese architecture studio creatively used the ancient building block to breathe life and openness into Ho Chi Minh City’s new Chuon Chuon Kim 2 Kindergarten. Located in the city’s District 2, the building is built entirely of bare brick forming patterns and openings in an eye-catching and playful facade that promotes natural ventilation. Likened...

Yale architecture students designed and built this handsome home for the homeless

May 17, 2018: Since 1967, first-year Yale architecture students have designed and built buildings to better the community—and last year’s project was a handsome show in affordable housing. For the 2017 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project, students completed a 1,000-square-foot home that explores cost-efficient and flexible design. Constructed in New Haven’s Upper Hill neighborhood, the dwelling was created to provide shelter for the homeless. The 1,000-square-foot house for the homeless...

UK fracking measures could make exploratory drilling "as easy as building a garden wall"

May 17, 2018: The United Kingdom government has come under fire for measures that could fast-track shale gas projects. Among the measures, explorers could drill test sites without first applying for planning permission, The Guardian reported. Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said, "Britain's fracking experiment was on life support and now the government is trying its best to shock it back into life." Related:…

NASA study shows water shortages could worsen without action

May 17, 2018: Wet land areas on Earth are becoming wetter, and dry areas drier, according to a NASA-led study the agency described as a first of its kind. Scientists drew on 14 years of satellite observations combined with data on human activities to track freshwater trends in 34 regions worldwide. Hydrologist Jay Famiglietti said, "What we are witnessing is major hydrologic change." Related: Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory,…

These new electric trucks from Volvo could soon be collecting your garbage

May 17, 2018: Swedish multinational manufacturing company Volvo has revealed its two new electric truck models, which were designed with delivery and refuse collection in mind. These utility trucks could replace those currently on the road for these services, vehicles that are a major source of diesel emissions in urban areas worldwide. "This opens the door to new forms of cooperation with cities that target to improve air quality, reduce traffic noise, and cut congestion during peak hours since commercial operations...

Levels of ozone-destroying CFCs are mysteriously rising

May 17, 2018: CFC chemicals, which were globally banned by the Montreal protocol in 1987, have been experiencing a comeback. In recent years, levels of CFCs have increased suddenly and mysteriously. The producer of the CFCs has yet to be determined. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researcher Stephen Montzka discovered the unusual trend. “I have been doing this for 27 years and this is the most surprising thing I’ve ever seen,” he told the Guardian. “I was just shocked by i...

A storage shed is transformed into a bespoke light-filled home in London

May 17, 2018: London-based architecture firm De Rosee Sa has given an old storage shed a new lease on life by converting it into a bright, bespoke family home. Sandwiched between rear terraced gardens and a row of 16 West London garages, the shed—renamed the Courtyard House—was brilliantly renovated while adhering to planning regulations that included height limitations and the requirement that any new form match the existing gable outline. Divided into two floors, the Courtyard House organizes...

Aperture-like windows maximize shading in this stunning Vancouver residence

May 16, 2018: When Arno Matis Architecture was tapped to help reshape the identity of Vancouver’s Cambie Street, they did so with the design of Aperture, a beautiful site-responsive residential development. The city block-sized structure derives its name from its striking aperture-like openings with glass-and-wood veneer walls angled in response to each facade’s unique solar exposure. Built to LEED Gold specifications, Aperture maximizes passive shading and is topped with green roofs. Created...

Artist upcycles discarded cassette tapes into eco-friendly MusicCloth

May 16, 2018: According to the United Nations, nearly 45 million metric tonnes of electronic waste was generated in 2016—an increase of 8 percent from just two years prior. So, when Singaporean artist and Founder of Rehyphen® studio Jessica Chuan Yi Xin stumbled upon a stash of forgotten cassette tapes in her room, she brainstormed a way to reuse the material rather than contribute to the growing problem of e-waste. A bit of creative ingenuity and experimentation led her to develop MusicCloth®, a handwoven...

Nico Nevolo quit his job at Tesla to live in his Model X - and he's loving it

May 16, 2018: Van life can be a creative way to lessen one's impact on the planet, but many van dwellers are still riding in gas-guzzling vehicles. Nico Nevolo is among the pioneers of a new paradigm: EV van life. A former Tesla employee, Nevolo quit his job in March of this year to create content about his experiences living in his Tesla Model X under the name TeslaVanLife, and says so far it's been the best decision of his life to live out of his van. Inhabitat caught up with Nevolo to hear more about his journey...

Wildfires spewing CO2 in Siberia and Russia could impact the whole planet

May 16, 2018: Fires raging in Russia and Siberia could impact all of planet Earth, according to Greenpeace. Blazes burning in the Amur region since the start of 2018 have damaged an area around six times larger than during the same time period in 2017 — and the wildfires have released nearly twice the annual carbon emissions of Moscow. Related:…

Florida coral reefs plagued with mysterious disease

May 16, 2018: With coral reefs under threat worldwide, researchers in Florida are racing to understand and treat a mysterious disease that threatens to decimate the third largest coral reef on Earth. Within four years, the as-of-yet unidentified, potentially bacterial disease has already had a significant impact on Florida's coral species, half of which are fatally vulnerable to the disease. "When they're affected by this, the tissue sloughs off the skeleton," Erinn Muller, science director at Mote Marine Lab's...

2018 hurricane season may be worse than last year

May 16, 2018: In 2017, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Puerto Rico devastated communities in the American South and Puerto Rico; those three storms resulted in around $265 billion in damage, according to The Guardian. Will the United States and Caribbean face another brutal season this year? Forecasts of 2018's looming hurricane season say it could be more active than normal — and you can start getting ready now.

London considers car-free days to fight air pollution

May 16, 2018: London officials met this week at City Hall to discuss the best way forward for a ban on cars in certain areas of the city on specific days of the year. If the initial trials are successful, the city will consider “more ambitious plans” for 2019. These moves will taken in response to the public health threat of air pollution, which prematurely kills thousands of people annually. “[London Mayor Sadiq Khan] is determined to do everything in his power to protect the health of Londoners and prioritise...

LEED Platinum fire station boosts firefighter wellness in Seattle

May 16, 2018: Firefighting is consistently ranked one of the most stressful jobs in the U.S.—which is why improving the well-being of firefighters becomes all the more important in architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s design of Seattle Fire Station 32. Located in the heart of the West Seattle Alaska Junction neighborhood, the 18,000-square-foot fire station boasts a handsome and modern appearance that not only enhances firefighter well-being, but is also welcoming of the community. The fire station,...

Casa Bruma's blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico

May 15, 2018: Mexican architects Fernanda Canales and Claudia Rodriguez completed a unique weekend home broken up into nine pavilion-like volumes, each carefully positioned for optimal views. Located in a rural site just a few hours outside Mexico City, the 6,500-square-foot holiday retreat—called Casa Bruma—was developed as a series of boxes in order to sidestep the removal of existing trees. To soften the look of the concrete volumes, the architects darkened the facades with a black pigment and topped the...

Brooklyn Grange announces a new location in a former WWII shipyard

May 15, 2018: Inhabitat is thrilled to announce that urban farming group Brooklyn Grange, who've helped popularize rooftop gardening in New York City, is launching their first location outside the city. That in itself would be exciting news, but Kearny Point, the location where their garden/education center will be, holds its own storied past. A former World War 1 and 2 shipbuilding yard in an industrial area that's spiraled downhill, Kearny Point is undergoing redevelopment, under recycling corporation Hugo Neu,...

Louisiana wants to divert the Mississippi River to restore its coast

May 15, 2018: Louisiana has lost over 2,000 square miles of coast in the last 100 years, according to NPR. Levees, barrier islands, and artificial marshes have been among the solutions state officials have attempted, and they now want to get the Mississippi River involved. They want to divert its muddy waters to marshes. Related:…

Pew Research Center report finds bipartisan support for renewable energy

May 15, 2018: Many people see America divided along red and blue lines, and while a recent Pew Research Center report did find those divides on issues such as increasing fossil fuels, they uncovered "pockets of partisan agreement over expanding solar and wind power." In what the center called a "rare point of bipartisan consensus," 93 percent of liberal Democrats and 71 percent of conservative Republicans favored expanding wind farms. For expanding solar farms, the numbers were 96 and 80 percent. Rel...

An increasingly intense allergy season is linked to climate change

May 15, 2018: If you have found that you're having a particularly tough time breathing through this pollen season, you're not alone. This spring allergy season has been especially difficult throughout North America due to intense pollen production that may be linked to climate change.

California's Healthy Soil Initiative wants to use dirt to fight climate change

May 15, 2018: California is turning to nature in the fight against climate change: by improving soil health. Their Healthy Soils Initiative draws on farm and land management techniques to build organic soil matter with the goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering more carbon. The initiative's website quoted Governor Jerry Brown as saying, "As the leading agricultural state in the nation, it is important for California's soils to be sustainable and resilient to climate change." Relat...

Experts believe climate change could be the cause of recent deadly dust storms in India

May 15, 2018: India is experiencing a particularly powerful and deadly dust storm season this year. Over the weekend, seventy-one people were killed as a result of dust storms and related thunder storms. The affected area this season currently stretches from the eastern state of West Bengal to Uttar Pradesh in the north.

Nomad Pavilion is a woven goat hair desert shelter that collects its own water

May 14, 2018: Related: + Dina Haddadin + Rasem Kamal Via Dezeen Dina Haddadin, Rasem Kamal, Nomad Pavilion, Nomad shelter, shelter design, refugee shelters, Bedouin's tents, Bedouin shelters…

The secret behind the Leaning Tower of Pisa's resilience is revealed

May 14, 2018: Engineers from Roma Tre University has solved the mystery of how the seemingly unstable Leaning Tower of Pisa has managed to stand strong over six hundred years in a seismically active region.

The net-zero Frick Environmental Center is officially one of the worlds greenest buildings

May 14, 2018: The Frick Environmental Center (FEC) in Pittsburgh has just become the first municipally owned building in the U.S. to achieve Living Building certification—arguably the most rigorous proven performance green building standard in the world. Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the FEC is among the world’s greenest certified buildings and earned LEED Platinum certification last year. The 15,600-square-foot building produces as much energy and water as its consumes annually, and incorporates a...

1,000-foot-long fissure opens on Hawaiis Kilauea volcano amid fears of an explosive eruption

May 14, 2018: Two new fissures cracked open on Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano over the weekend, and magma and rock burst into the air. Local Mark Clawson, who hasn't evacuated, told Reuters, "It is a near-constant roar akin to a full-throttle 747 interspersed with deafening, earth-shattering explosions that hurl 100-pound lava bombs 100 feet into the air." The eruptions have destroyed almost 40 buildings. Related:…

Noise pollution is the new 'secondhand smoke' according to experts

May 14, 2018: Noise pollution is gaining prominence as a serious threat to the health and well-being of people, particularly those cities. It's “the new secondhand-smoke issue,” activist Bradley Vite told the Washington Post. “It took decades to educate people on the dangers of secondhand smoke. We may need decades to show the impact of secondhand noise.”…

NASA plans to send a helicopter to Mars

May 14, 2018: A small, autonomous helicopter could soar above the rusty rocks of Mars. Dubbed The Mars Helicopter, NASA is sending the rotocraft to the Red Planet as part of their Mars 2020 rover mission. The BBC said this could be the first test of "heavier-than-air aircraft on another planet." Related:…

This tiny cabin on the Greece-Turkey border generates 100% of its own energy

May 14, 2018: Istanbul-based studio SO? Architecture & Ideas has completed a tiny off-grid cabin perfect for reconnecting with the outdoors. Located in a village on the Turkish-Greek border, the Cabin on the Border is a prefabricated and transportable unit constructed of laminated wood and polycarbonate. As a modern take on the traditional cabin vernacular, this sustainably minded structure is equipped with solar panels and a rainwater catchment system as well as an adaptable interior design. Designed...