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“Zero Waste” Town Opens Brewery Built From Completely Recycled Materials


The small Japanese town of Kamikatsu is known for its complete and successful commitment to zero waste living. According to Business Insider, residents separate their waste products into 34 categories at the town’s waste center, a pretty tedious task that took some time to adjust to.  As shown in this video, the community uses it as a bonding experience

The town, which already promotes sustainable living practices, took to building a brewery based on the idea that “nothing should go to waste.” The brewery is called the Rise & Win Brewing Co., and the building is the Kamikatz Public House

The Kamikatz Public House, which is one of many community-oriented buildings in the small town, was built by architecture firm Hiroshi Hakamura and NAP.  The brewery is also a bar which sells general supplies and food to locals. It’s built from recycled materials, including its facade, which is made from reclaimed double-pane windows.

The company made an effort to reclaim pieces of the town itself to create the building, including lining the walls with newspapers, using tiles from other buildings, and creating a custom chandelier from bottles salvaged from the area. In a statement, they refer to the declining population of Kamikatsu, but also its enduring values:

“We gathered windows that illuminated the town in the past and dedicated our wish that they would serve as a lantern of hope to shine upon the town struggling with a declining population. The space is full of improvisation and discoveries with this creative combination of waste material for this architecture. The locals who gather at this pub are beginning to truly realize that their actions are fun and creative.”


If you don’t think microbrew beer when you think of Japan, you’re not the only one, but Rise & Win Brewing is just one of the latest to join the craft beer boom in Japan. Though craft breweries have taken the U.S. by storm,  Japan’s has just recently taken interest in the industry over the past few years. Although they’re relatively new at it, they’re experiencing growing success. Osaka’s Minoh Brewery won the World’s Best Imperial IPA award in 2013. The Coedo Brewery in Kawagoe won a silver in the “American-style amber lager” category at the 2014 World Beer Cup. 

Hopefully, Rise & Win’s beer is as good as its environmental business practices and creates a tourism boom that the town so desperately needs.


Local Gun Owner Stopped the Texas Church Massacre


A church shooting in Sutherland Texas was stopped after a local gun owner grabbed his rifle and began returning fire at the shooter, police announced Sunday.

(DC) Police say the shooter, who has been identified as 26-year-old Devin P. Kelley of New Braunfels, Texas, walked inside the church and opened fire just before 11:30 a.m. local time. Kelly killed at least 26 people before an unidentified gun owner forced him to flee by grabbing his own rifle and returning fire, Texas Rangers announced Sunday.

“At approximately 11:20 this morning a suspect was seen at a Valero gas station in Sutherland Springs, Texas,” Police Maj. Freeman Martin told reporters. “He was dressed in all black. That suspect crossed the street to the church, exited his vehicle and began firing at the church.”

“That suspect then moved to the right side of the church and then continued to fire,” he continued. “That suspect entered the church and continued to fire. As he exited the church, a local resident grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect. The suspect dropped his rifle, which was a Ruger AR assault-type rifle and fled from the church.”

“Our local citizen pursued the suspect at that time,” Freeman said. “A short time later law enforcement responded that [the] suspect [was] right at the Wilson/Guadalupe County line … and was found deceased in his vehicle. At this time we don’t know if it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound or if he was shot by the local resident. We know he’s deceased in the vehicle. ”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, confirmed that 26 people were killed and as many as 30 other wounded in the shooting. The death toll makes the attack the deadliest shooting at a place of worship in American history.

“We all know what happened here today. It’s something we all say does not happen in small communities,” Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said at a Sunday evening press conference. “Today we found out that it does.”

The victims ranged from five to 72 years old, officials said. First responders found 23 dead bodies inside the church, two more outside, and one person who was transported to a hospital but later died.

Solar Panels of the Future Will Be Invisible And Will Power Your Home


Gaining our power from the sun to remove our reliance on fossil fuels is turning from a pipe dream into a reality as the technology continues to get better. Solar panels, though, still have a  number of issues- they are large, expensive, aesthetically egregious and due to their stationary nature, they can only power homes and buildings.

Innovation to deal with these issues is coming from a variety of companies. Build Solar is producing solar power units encased inside glass blocks, which can be used like windows and integrate into a building’s facade; Audi is working on solar panels that integrate into the roof of a car; and Tesla is creating panels that look just like the shingles on a roof. Now, in the latest innovation, researchers at Michigan State University have had a breakthrough in solar technology. They have created completely transparent solar material, which could turn your windows—or even your smartphone—into energy-producing, emissions-cutting devices. 

The glass-like solar material is made with proprietary molecules developed by the MSU researchers. The molecules absorb invisible wavelengths of light but still allow visible light to pass through. This generates power via near-infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths while providing an unsuspecting window or screen.

“Highly transparent solar cells represent the wave of the future for new solar applications,” lead researcher and associate professor at MSU Richard Lunt said in a press release. “We analyzed their potential and show that by harvesting only invisible light, these devices can provide a similar electricity-generation potential as rooftop solar while providing additional functionality to enhance the efficiency of buildings, automobiles, and mobile electronics.”

The researchers estimate there is as much as 7 billion square meters of glass surface in the United States alone. If they can take over even a fraction of that surface area, our fossil fuel consumption could take a massive hit. 

Right now, solar overall only provides a little over 1 percent of US power, and if we’re ever going to truly kick fossil fuels to the curb, our use of solar technology, like the technology itself, needs to step up.

“That is what we are working towards,” Lunt says.

“Traditional solar applications have been actively researched for over five decades, yet we have only been working on these highly transparent solar cells for about five years. Ultimately, this technology offers a promising route to inexpensive, widespread solar adoption on small and large surfaces that were previously inaccessible.”

The glass blocks are similar in philosophy to the Tesla solar roof tiles, which look like regular roof tiles and integrate seamlessly into the facade of a home. But the Tesla tiles are pricier than the regular panels perched atop homes. Plus, unlike Tesla’s roof tiles, the Solar Squared blocks are built to power an entire high-rise.

The blocks are in the prototype stage now, and the Build Solar team is currently fine-tuning the design in order to test the technology at pilot sites, which it is currently seeking. They hope to take the blocks to market sometime in 2018.

Yes, Barney’s is selling a $375 “Antifa” jacket


When most people think “antifa”, they don’t imagine overpriced jackets being sold by corporate suit manufactures. In general, they think anti-fascist, anti-capitalist bottle chucking hooligans with a hatred for anything that stinks of neo-liberalism.  So, of course, Barneys is selling an ‘anarchy jacket’ for $375. The military-style field jacket is adorned with an anarchist symbol and various on-brand statements.

The front says “REVOLUTION” across the chest with a couple of backwards letters to evoke just the right amount of edge, and the back says “Seek Truth” and “The Devil Made Me Do it,” complete with a small illustration of a devil’s tail. The jacket looks like something that teens have been making themselves for years with sharpies and patches.

After photos of the jacket surfaced online, people began ridiculing it on Twitter.

Alpha Industries, the manufacturer of the jacket, started off as a contractor for the U.S. military and has a long history of making field jackets and bomber jackets. Angelyn Fernandez, VP of Product at Alpha Industries, said in an e-mailed statement to the Daily Dot said that the inspiration behind the jacket is “self-expression.”

“We have seen resistance to power and authority become a trend in our current pop culture and society, often expressed through fashion,” she said. “Since 1965 the M65 field jackets have been a favored method to graphically express one’s opinion. We developed the Barneys M65 anarchy jacket to encompass the artistic and graphic expressions of individuality.”

Anyone Can Build This Instant Garden!


This amazing video shows that you can practice Permaculture farming anywhere with readily available materials and there is no better time than now to start.



Geoff Lawton is a permaculture designer, teacher and speaker – he is as an advocate for changing the way we see farming. Since the mid 90’s he has specialized in permaculture education, design, implementation, system establishment, administration and community development. Lawton’s aim is to establish self-replicating educational demonstration sites. He has currently educated over 15,000 students in Permaculture worldwide, and his work is changing the world. b627787897ff0e8e316d5d0ff9e7d915


Living Off-Grid: These Floating Homes Are Hurricane Proof & Zero-Emission


A Dutch architect named Koen Olthuis has upped the houseboat game by creating zero-emission living quarters and boats, according to Inhabitat.  His firm, Waterstudio, paired with Arkup to make luxury living out on the sea sustainable. As they put it, they are creating a “unique avant-garde concept of life on the water.”

Arkup’s background is building luxury yachts which are fully solar-powered and sustainable. Though houseboat living isn’t new, pairing that lifestyle with consideration for the environment and comfort, brings new opportunities. Olthuis brings his experience with exploring “living, working and recreational space on water.” Through their combined effort, they’ve created a house with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and a hydraulic system to power you from marina to marina whenever you get bored.

They’re off the grid and feature their own waste management systems for all those bathrooms, plus mechanics for harvesting rainwater purifying it.

The 4,350-square-foot homes have their own self-elevating systems, which means that when there’s a flood or hurricane, they monitor their own level and raise themselves if necessary.

The entire home is stabilized by 40-foot-long hydraulic legs, which is also what lifts them out of the water, and you can look out onto the terrace through shock-resistant glass panels.

Safe, luxurious, and gorgeous. Now we just need a high rise version.

Hospital Constructs Biggest Organic Rooftop Farm In Boston


In an effort to make healthcare more holistic, hospitals are now sprouting up farms and gardens on hospital grounds. Health Care Without Harm’s Healthy Food in Health Care, a program focused on helping hospitals offer their patients healthy foods, is helping make this practice take root across the country. 

The director of the program, Stacia Clinton, states that offering local produce is a logical step for hospitals, “There is an increasing trend in hospital farms. There’s a greater demand now for people to know where their food is coming from, and hospitals are looking for ways to connect people to their food more directly.” 

One New England hospital, Boston Medical Center (BMC), is one of the biggest proponents and has set up the largest rooftop farm in Boston on top of their building.  The sky-high project is also the first hospital-based rooftop farm in Massachusetts. 

The 7,000 square foot farm will generate an estimated 15,000 pounds of food every season. They’ve already produced 1,800 pounds since June. Harvested items include kale, bok choy, arugula, tomatoes, carrots, eggplants, cucumbers, and peppers. The rooftop also has a set of two new beehives that will produce honey for the hospital. 

The fresh produce will go to the hospital’s patients, but the BMC has also found other uses for the farm as well. There’s a Demonstration Kitchen using the fresh ingredients at the hospital, which allows people to visit the rooftop and learn about cooking with seasonal and healthy ingredients. This allows people who normally live on microwaved and fast food to get hands-on experience to learn how to grow and cook food. The farm also benefits BMC’s preventative food pantry which gives low-income patients access to fresh food.

BMC senior director of support services, David Maffeo, explains why the hospital decided to take on this project, “The goal with our rooftop farm is to provide fresh, local produce to as many of our patients, employees, and community members as possible. This initiative supports our mission to address social determinants of health by improving access to healthy fruits and vegetables, and it is a perfect example of BMC’s dedication to sustainability and green efforts.”

As doctors and nurses may not make the best farmers, BMC teamed up with experts Lindsay Allen and John Stoddard from Higher Ground Farm (HGF). They specialize in designing and installing organic rooftop farms in the Boston area. BMC works with a farm manager to oversee the crops.

The hospital’s attempts at sustainability do not stop there, as they’re planning to use solar power in hopes of becoming the first carbon-neutral hospital in New England by 2018. Several environmental groups have already acknowledged the hospital’s green efforts, and BMC was named one of the 50 greenest hospitals in America by Becker’s Hospital Review.

What are your thoughts?

The New Tiny Home: Firm Builds Sustainable Micro-Apartments That Fit Into A Parking Spot


A design firm called Casagrande Laboratory is discovering inventive approaches to make housing in urban areas with limited land, beginning with Helsinki. Fast Company reports that the organization has been attempting to make a unit that will fit into smaller and smaller spaces. Specifically, a parking area. The association’s founder, Marco Casagrande, revealed to FC that automobiles have been ruling city designs for too long.

“The city is not designed because of humans–it’s designed because of cars,” he explained. “All the streets in cityscapes are based on car dimensions. This I found a little bit strange. We have all this talk about the density of cars getting less and less in cities, and at the same time, we are talking about people moving into cities . . . but we don’t have space to build. Nobody has been questioning car parking spaces. They are everywhere. So this talk about no land to build in cities is nonsense: It’s everywhere, but it’s just for cars.”

Their first attempt is Tikku, a prototype created for Helsinki Design Week that measures 8 feet by 16 feet, yet has three livable floors.

A strong type of engineered timber, according to Casagrande, was the key to easily building the prototype.  

“I would like to emphasize how easy it was,” he said. “It’s almost ridiculous. Usually, building a house is really a pain in the ass, and it takes so much effort . . . In this case, it just popped up.”

The tiny apartment runs on solar panels, and the wood was designed specifically with insulation in mind. They’re still working on implementing running water, but changes are coming soon.  The logic behind the project, as it is missing some “essentials of everyday living,” is that these apartments would go up in urban areas with proximity to gyms, laundromats and take out. 


The hope is to create interchangeable units which allow people to design a tiny house to their own needs. The version about features a work floor, a sleeping floor as well as a greenhouse on top. Casagrande is asking for people to expand their minds about where houses can go.

“Out of these Tikkus I could build 10,000 homes behind any Ikea,” he suggested. “Or if you have parking spots on top of your supermarket, these things are so light, you can easily build a city there.”

The firm is already getting orders, and if you’re wondering, it costs about $40,000 to create a three story unit. That’s about the cost of a car. Now you just have to pay for the parking space.

“Out of these Tikkus I could build 10,000 homes behind any Ikea,” he suggested. “Or if you have parking spots on top of your supermarket, these things are so light, you can easily build a city there.”

The company is already getting orders, and if you’re wondering like we were, it costs about $40,000 to create a three-story unit. That’s about the cost of a car. Now you just have to pay for the parking space.

73 Million Trees Are Getting Planted To Bring Back Brazil’s Tropical Forests


20 percent of rainforests in the Amazon have been chopped down in the last 40 years. Solutions to the issue of have been hard to come by. The decrease in supply has been followed by an increase in demand, which has raised the price of rarer woods, giving loggers a big reason to keep chopping. Connect that with the inability to replant trees quickly enough to compensate for the loses (planting saplings is resource intensive) and you have a major problem. Thankfully, a new planting process is looking to completely overall the existing system in order to resurrect Brazil’s tropical forest.


How will this happen? First, we need some background. The “muvuca” process was created a few years back, and the Portuguese phrase translates to “unruly crowd.” A wide assortment of seeds from more than 200 unique species will be provided by the Xingu Seed Network.  Many volunteers collected these seeds from around the world and they’ll be dumped onto deforested land that has been damaged and burned, in order to replenish growth.

From there, it’s up to the Amazon’s nature to determine the next step. Up to 90 percent of the seeds will collect enough nutrients to grow into trees. This provides more opportunity for plants and trees to flourish when compared to raising saplings. Not only do they require more labor, but many wouldn’t be able to thrive in the harsher climate.

“With plant-by-plant reforestation techniques, you get a typical density of about 160 plants per hectare,” Rodrigo Medeiros, Vice President of Conservation International, said to Fast Company. “With muvuca, the initial outcome is 2,500 species per hectare. And after 10 years, you can reach 5,000 trees per hectare. It’s much more diverse, much more dense, and less expensive than traditional techniques.”

Conservation International, an agricultural group, worked with local farmers in Brazil to test the method out. Not only did they find an increase in economic growth, but an immediate decline in carbon emissions. 

Luckily, deforestation has gone down over recent years. Back in 2015, Brazil pledged to restore roughly 30 acres of deforested Amazon and to increase renewable energy usage by 2030. In that time frame, they also wanted hydropower to factor in up to one-third of their total energy generation. This new project will open up 2,000 temporary jobs for locals and families can gain up to $700 per hectare (equivalent to 2.47 acres).

Conservation International believes that approximately 73 million trees will be sprouting up after their efforts are over in the Amazon. They’re hoping to restore over 70,000 acres and to clean up the mess that deforestation has left behind.

Study: Over Half of Americans Have Less Than $1,000 to Their Name


In a recent survey, 56 percent of Americans stated that they have less than $1,000 in their checking and savings accounts combined,  according to a Forbes report. Around a quarter (24.8 percent) have less than $100 to their name. Meanwhile, 38 percent said they would pay less than their full credit card balance this month, and 11 percent said they would make the minimum payment—meaning they will be plagued by debt for years and pay more in interest than they originally borrowed. It paints a daunting picture of the average American coming into the spend-heavy holiday season: steeped in credit card debt, living paycheck-to-paycheck, at serious risk of financial ruin if the slightest thing goes wrong.

It’s a reminder that, while the larger economy has steadily recovered from the Great Recession, the gains have not yet surfaced at the local level. 

Another study
 reports that only 65 of the 3,069 counties in the U.S. have fully recovered from the near-collapse in 2008. This also speaks to the enduring effect of decades of wage stagnation, when many Americans’ pay has not kept up with inflation and they have been left further and further behind.