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Exhale – abionic chandelier by Julian Melchiorri

Exhale – abionic chandelier by Julian Melchiorri

 
Bionic Chandelier

(2017)

Exhale is the world’s first living Bionic Chandelier which purifies the air indoor.

This piece explores how advances in biotechnology and engineering can be applied to everyday objects and architecture to increase the quality of our lives. The chandelier purifies the air indoors through photosynthesis performed by living microalgae enclosed into leaf modules.

Exhale is also the first living object which continuously grows while performing biologically-driven depurative functions. The light of the chandelier illuminate the space but also stimulates photosynthesis performed by tiny microalgae, this living microorganisms feed on carbon dioxide while releasing breathable oxygen into the room. This biological process performed by the chandelier establishes and explores a new symbiotic relationship between object and people where life-giving resources are constantly exchanged, and where each other waste enables respective metabolic processes. This exchange recalls how biospheric systems work, where waste ultimately doesn’t exists but is a valuable resource for other elements in that system.

Exhale is now part of the prestigious V&A permanent collection. The design follows Julian’s biomimicry approach of “forming through function” while taking inspiration from nature and the V&A’s Art-Nouveau and Islamic Art collections.

The metal structure is entirely hand-made and burned-colored. Each structure holds a single leaf module of 3 different sizes that repeats it-self 70 times on a radial array; similar to how nature shapes plants and shells.

The Bionic Chandelier is connected to a life-support-unit device, developed by Arborea’s engineers, which nourish and maintains the microorganisms culture alive.


• Engineered by Arborea ltd.
• Supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund.
• Special thanks to Millimetre’s team for the metal fabrication.

 

 
 
photo source: julianmelchiorri.com/
A Nightclub of a Special Kind

A Nightclub of a Special Kind

This nightclub for the elderly is fighting loneliness with tea party disco

 

 

Knitting, owning fifteen cats, reading the newspaper on a rocking chair, staying indoors — these are just some of the many things associated with being old. But for the Posh Club, the word “old” doesn’t even exist.

The group started with siblings Simon Casson and Annie Bowden, who wanted to do something for their mother who constantly felt lonely. They organized a tea party and invited some of their mother’s friends who were also in their 80s to 90s.

Seeing the positive effect of this gathering to their mother, Simon and Annie decided to take it to the next level — they hired and decorated the local church hall and opened the invitation to all senior citizens in their neighborhood.

The community continually grew, and now the Posh Club established five major clubs all over London and the South East.

Coined as “a glamorous cabaret for older folk”, what you will see at the Posh Club events are not far from the typical parties the young ones go to. Except there’s tea instead of strong alcohol, fancy pastries instead of chips, walking sticks and crutches scattered on the dance floor because yes, the oldies are busy dancing.

 

All photos are from The Posh Club’s Facebook Page

Aside from the club’s main vision to unite a happier and healthier community of old folks, for Simon Casson, it is also an attempt to create a crossover between the younger and the older generations. “I think we’ve lost a lot of interaction between the ages, it’s not the type of thing that capitalism encourages.” (The Guardian) This is also the reason why the roster of volunteers for the club are composed of people from different age groups and backgrounds.

Things seem to be looking up for the Posh Club, but volunteer Dickie admits that every successful event is made possible by grants, and as much as they want to put up more club events, there is a need to limit it. Dickie also shares that people from other cities show up in their events and express their need to have the same type of community in their own neighborhood.

“They always say, ‘Why can’t we have something like this where we live?’ So that’s an ambition. But it would need to be quality, have the right atmosphere, be done with love – because if it doesn’t have those things it’s not The Posh Club.” (Vice)

Loneliness and isolation is a very common and serious condition that the aging group go through. There are numerous factors on why they are expected to stay inside the comfort of their own homes, and these cases are usually due to physical inability and illness.

However, there is a large sum of old folks left in their own homes who are forced to look after themselves because their relatives cannot attend to them anymore. This is why some resort to retirement homes.

The volunteers’ initiative to create this kind of community is big step in helping fight their loneliness and isolation. Not only does it build a sense of belongingness, but it also breaks the stereotype that old folks cannot enjoy themselves anymore. As 71-year-old Margaret Koroidovi said, “I call us recycled teenagers. We’ve retired, not expired.” (The Guardian) And maybe it’s about time that we give them this credit too. Who says old folks ever stopped the party?

Watch the video below to see what goes down at The Posh Club events.

The most effective way to tackle climate change? Plant 1 trillion trees

The most effective way to tackle climate change? Plant 1 trillion trees

 

London (CNN)What’s low-tech, sustainable and possibly the most effective thing we can do to fight climate change? Planting trees. A trillion of them.

 

Tom Crowther is a climate change ecologist at Swiss university ETH Zurich. Four years ago he found there are about 3 trillion trees already on earth — much higher than NASA’s previous estimate of 400 billion. Now, his team of researchers has calculated there is enough room on the planet for an additional 1.2 trillion — and that planting them would have huge benefits in terms of absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide, the main driver of climate change.
“The amount of carbon that we can restore if we plant 1.2 trillion trees, or at least allow those trees to grow, would be way higher than the next best climate change solution,” Crowther told CNN.
 

Global tree density, calculated by Crowther's team. Existing forests are shown in green, potential forests are yellow.

 

Because his research is currently under review for publication in the journal Science, he says he can’t share exact figures of how much extra CO2 could be stored by those trees. But he points to numbers from Project Drawdown — a non-profit that ranks climate solutions by the amount of CO2 they could remove from the atmosphere. Its number one ranked solution — managing the release of HFC greenhouse gases from fridges and air conditioners — could reduce atmospheric CO2 by 90 billion tons. Crowther says planting 1.2 trillion trees would give a reduction “way above” that figure.
To put that in context, global CO2 emissions are around 37 billion tons per year.
 

Can it be done?

But while there may be space for a trillion new trees, is it actually practical to plant that number?
One organization that thinks so is youth-led Plant for the Planet (PFTP), which is running the “Trillion Tree” campaign to do just that.
Set up as the “Billion Tree” campaign by the UN in 2006, it was later handed over to PFTP, which has upped its planting ambitions in response to Crowther’s work.

Felix Finkbeiner founded Plant for the Planet in 2007, when he was just nine years old. He is now a PhD student at Tom Crowther's lab at ETH Zurich. He's pictured at an award ceremony in 2015.

It has already planted nearly 15 billion trees, with the help of various governments, including India’s, which has planted more than 2 billion trees as part of the initiative.
“I think a trillion trees is achievable,” says PFTP chairman Sagar Aryal. “It’s not that we don’t have enough money in the world — maybe governments alone can’t do enough but if we work together with the private sector we can do it.”
 

The right location

Crowther is a scientific adviser to Plant for the Planet, providing them with information on the best places to restore trees. He says all the locations identified by his team are on degraded land, rather than agricultural or urban areas.
 
“These are places where farms have been abandoned, or where there’s been deforestation and it’s been left,” he explains.
To successfully fight climate change, it’s vital that the right land is restored. For example, in parts of northern Europe, planting more trees could reduce the heat and light reflected from snowy ground, and actually increase global warming.
 

A chemically deforested area of the Amazon caused by illegal mining in southeast Peru,  February 2019.

 

Joseph Veldman, of the department of ecosystem science and management at Texas A&M University, told CNN that although reforestation can play a role in carbon sequestration, “There is no doubt that super-aggressive tree planting efforts that are not done with consideration of the historic ecosystem will be a bad investment.”
 
He says some previous reforestation projects have targeted grasslands and savannah ecosystems that already play an important role in storing carbon.
Such schemes often plant exotic trees, like pine and eucalyptus, which are very flammable and also valuable as timber and pulp, he says. As a result, the carbon they store above ground can be lost to wildfires or logging.
Crowther agrees wholeheartedly. “All the models that previously existed about where forest can be restored disregard whether they should,” he said. “We don’t just model the forest, we also model grasslands and shrublands and piece them all together to reveal what should be where.”
 

Growing in popularity

Tree planting is no quick climate fix. It can take 30 to 40 years of growth for the carbon storage to reach its full potential. A more immediate benefit can come from halting deforestation, says Crowther, which costs our planet around 15 billion trees each year.
 
 
But although tree planting on such a colossal scale faces significant challenges (not least identifying who owns the land in question, and securing the rights to plant and maintain trees there), widespread efforts are already underway.
The Australian government has announced it will plant 1 billion trees by 2030; work is underway on a “Great Green Wall” to stop the spread of the Sahara by restoring 100 million hectares of degraded land (and sequester 250 million tons of carbon), and China’s anti-desertification program, also known as the “Great Green Wall,” has planted more than 50 billion trees since the 1970s. The UN-endorsed Bonn Challenge aims to reforest 350 million hectares of degraded land globally by 2030.
 

Africa's Great Green Wall aims to slow down desertification.

 

Crowther says he was once skeptical about the benefits of tree planting, but has now changed his mind.
“Climate change is seen as such an immense and complicated issue — it feels like it’s seen as someone else’s problem, someone else is dealing with it or not dealing with it, and no one has a simple message for how to go about tackling it,” he says.
“I’d like to try and champion this as a solution that everyone can get involved in. If all the millions of people who went on climate marches in recent weeks got involved in tree planting the impact would be huge.”
 
 
Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment

Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment

The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment is a charity which exists to improve the quality of people’s lives by teaching and practicing timeless and ecological ways of planning, designing and building.

 

Respecting the past, building the future

The Prince’s Foundation supports people to create community. Whether through championing a sustainable approach to how we live our lives and build our homes, teaching traditional arts and skills and restoring historic sites, or by looking after places to visit for everyone to enjoy, The Prince’s Foundation is leading the way forward.

 

Realising HRH The Prince of Wales’ Vision of creating harmonious communities

The Prince’s Foundation supports people to create community. Whether through championing a sustainable approach to how we live our lives and build our homes, teaching traditional arts and skills and restoring historic sites, or by looking after places to visit for everyone to enjoy, The Prince’s Foundation is leading the way forward.

The Prince’s Foundation was created by the merging of The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust and The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in 2018. This combined force enables the charity to achieve His Royal Highness’s goal of creating harmonious communities, through three core tiers.

Realising HRH The Prince of Wales’s vision of creating harmonious communities. Respecting the Past, Building the Future.

 

 

Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment

Mission: Sustainability

There is overwhelming scientific consensus that our world is experiencing dangerous global climate change, and equally overwhelming evidence that environmental pollutants are harming our health.  It is urgent that we take immediate steps to minimize carbon emissions, reduce other pollutants, and remove unsustainable materials and harmful chemical inputs from all furnishings product platforms.  SFC supports members of the industry in taking those steps. 

 

The Sustainable Furnishings Council is a coalition of manufacturers, retailers and designers dedicated to raising awareness and expanding the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices across the home furnishings industry.

 

Our mission is to help companies reduce their environmental footprints as they grow, and to help consumers find healthy furnishings.  To accomplish these lofty goals, we provide the best education, promotion, and networking opportunities available.  We raise consumer interest in environmentally safe furnishings and promote the development of many more sustainable options.

 

SFC urges the use of Life Cycle Assessment as the best method for analyzing the environmental and health impact of products and a verifiable chain of custody as the only acceptable method for tracking wood flow. SFC members support the triple bottom line of PEOPLE – PLANET – PROFITS and lead the industry in best practices throughout their supply chains. Members are committed to continuous work toward a healthy future, inside and out.

 

Our goals are to:

  • Raise awareness of sustainability issues
  • Assist companies in adopting eco-friendly practices
  • Serve as an information clearinghouse
  • Provide a symbol of assurance for consumers

 

History:

The Sustainable Furnishings Council was created and organized in the showroom of our founder, Gerry Cooklin, at High Point in October, 2006.

 

For years, Gerry had pursued sustainability as a personal passion. He had an awakening moment while camping in the Sierra Nevadas when he encountered a magnificent Juniper tree at an elevation of over 11,000 feet. He was humbled and, in an instant, recognized his duty to protect the rainforest, a prime source of wood for his furniture company, South Cone. He worked to “green up” his own manufacturing operations and to make a significant difference in his native Peru.  Further, he started to organize small meetings at the High Point Furniture Market, which eventually blossomed into the founding meeting of SFC with some 70 members present. The SFC has since grown to over 400 members, the largest organization of its kind in residential furnishings.

 

Our structure has been key to our success.  By reaching out to all constituencies in the industry, and including environmental heavyweights like Rainforest Alliance, World Wildlife Fund, a founder of the US Green Building Council as well as retailers, manufacturers, designers, and suppliers, we maintain a crucial balance in perspective. We welcome one and all to join us in doing our part for a healthy future!

 

Good Business That’s Good for Business

Importantly, we note that sustainability has become a mandate among the buying public. As consumers become more educated, they seek out acceptable choices that meet their needs for style, value, and eco-responsibility. Our organization is known for its rigorous compliance with established sustainability standards to ensure that all members are demonstrably committed to ongoing improvement.

 

In 2008, we launched a public advertising and in-store tagging program for consumers to identify retailers and products that exceed our threshold sustainability standards. Our Standards Committee reviews all legitimate, independent certification programs to establish eligibility requirements. All who joined in 2007, our debut year, are designated Founding Members and we appreciate what their commitment has made possible.

 

The time is now — the solution starts with you!

Read all about this inspiring foundation here…

 

Indigenous water activist to speak at UN as part of youth-led climate movement

Indigenous water activist to speak at UN as part of youth-led climate movement

Photo Source: Autumn Peltier, a teenage activist from Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Ont., addresses the United Nations General Assembly on March 22, 2018. She’ll return to the UN headquarters in New York on Saturday to advocate for water protection in Canada’s Indigenous communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-United Nations-Manuel Elias 

She’s not old enough to get her learner’s permit, but Autumn Peltier has been a driving force in the fight to protect water in Canada’s Indigenous communities for years.The teenage activist from Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario has been engaged in the issue since she first came across a boil-water advisory in a nearby Anishinaabe community when she was eight years old.

But Peltier said she’s had this connection since she was in the womb, where according to cultural teachings, one learns to love water as they love their mother. It traces back even further to her female ancestors, from whom she inherited her traditional role as a water carrier.

As she turns 15 on Friday, the same day students across Canada are expected to march in a massive strike intended to disrupt climate-change inaction, Peltier finds herself at the forefront of an environmental movement being led by youth like her and Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

 

 

This weekend, Peltier — the chief water commissioner for Anishinabek Nation, which advocates for 40 member First Nations in Ontario — will return to the United Nations to share her vision for a world in which everyone has access to clean water.

 

“I’m willing to do my best to represent Canada and the Indigenous people and have a strong voice for our future,” she said by phone from New York.

“I basically want to tell them about the importance of water from a cultural, spiritual level, and then try to tell them that it’s time for action.”

Peltier is set to address hundreds of international guests on Saturday at the Global Landscapes Forum, a platform on land use backed by UN Environment.

It’s her second time speaking at the UN headquarters in Manhattan, having urged the General Assembly to “warrior up” and take a stand for our planet last year.

Peltier, who is nominated for the 2019 International Children’s Peace Prize by the David Suzuki Foundation, has spread her message at hundreds of events around the world, her mother, Stephanie Peltier, said.

In 2015, Peltier attended the Children’s Climate Conference in Sweden, and a year later, confronted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his “broken promises” at a meeting of the Assembly of First Nations.

“She has taken Canada’s water crisis on Indigenous lands to the global stage,” Robert Nasi, executive director of the Global Landscapes Forum, said in a statement.

Peltier will help kick off the forum’s conference on ecosystem restoration with a speech drawing on her spiritual knowledge about Indigenous Peoples’ connection to land, water and Mother Earth.

The event comes on the heels of the UN’s Climate Action Summit, where earlier this week 16-year-old Thunberg delivered an impassioned plea and scolded world leaders for their inaction on climate change. Thunberg is expected to attend Friday’s climate protests in Montreal.

Peltier had hoped to meet up with Thunberg in New York, but said making plans proved to be difficult. She’s still excited to connect with other international youth activists, particularly those from Indigenous communities.

Peltier feels her generation is leading the charge on climate change, because while they may not have created the problem, they’re poised to suffer the most severe consequences.

“Will we even have a future to look forward to, for our future children, grandchildren?” she said. “This is our future we’re trying to protect and take care of, because it’s being basically destroyed.”

With youth-led climate strikes sprouting up across the globe, Peltier’s mother said there are signs that adults are finally catching up.

“Where I come from, the youth are our teachers. We learn from them, and so you have to listen to them,” Stephanie Peltier said. “Today, I think it’s just an eye-opener, and the youth are being empowered and they’re being allowed to share.”

She said her daughter’s Instagram audience has seen a tenfold increase this week from 5,500 followers to more than 55,000 as of Thursday afternoon.

She assumes that Thunberg’s moment in the global spotlight may be a factor in this exponential growth. She noted that young Indigenous activists have long been advocating for environmental issues, but are only now receiving recognition.

“We know first hand … that our people have been impacted for many years,” she said. “Now everybody’s saying, hey, what about the Indigenous people? They’ve been doing this work too.”

This report was published by The Canadian Press on Sept. 26, 2019.© 2019 Copyright Times Colonist

The couple who quit their high paid jobs to live off-grid

The couple who quit their high paid jobs to live off-grid

Charis and Matthew live a very different lifestyle to your average family

 

A family who escaped the “rat race” of the city to live completely off grid have revealed that their only bill left is council tax. Seven years ago, Essex vets Charis and Matthew Watkinson decided to drop everything and start afresh.

For the pair it was a big, and daunting idea – not least due to their lack of farming experience. But, now parents to Elsa, five, and 18-month-old Billy, the family of four have found a way to adapt to everything from their man-powered washing machine to their horse-poo powered cooking gas by using solely the land they live off.

Speaking from Beeview Farm in Pembrokeshire, Charis, 34, said: “We were in Essex when the London riots were going on and they got within a mile of us on the last night. “Then there was the Occupy London which was all about relying on consumerism and that affected us we did rely on shops. “We just figured we wanted to be able to look after ourselves and be a bit more self sufficient.” For the couple the idea continued to grow, prompted by some research into today’s climate crisis.

The Essex vet added: “Neither of us are from Wales but we knew about Newport as we had been camping here and loved the area. “I think by the time we handed in our notices I knew I needed to do it. As we were just locuming after we moved we didn’t have a job lined up so living without a stable plan was a big thing. But we were ready to get going. “Otherwise we would have bought [a house] – we almost had it that way with a mortgage and a job but we didn’t want to carry on with the rat race.
We almost did it without thinking about it.”

read more here…..

 

 

Images: Robert Melen

Images: Matthew and Charis Watkinson