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Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

The great stone house of Portugal

5 November, 2010 1 comment

Photo by Feliciano Guimarães

On the hillside of the Fafe Mountains in Portugal stands A Casa do Penedo, or “the House of Stone”. This amazing home is constructed among four large boulders with walls made of a concrete mix, created to melt the actual house into the flanking boulders. The windows overlook the mountains of Marão.

Although the home is built to blend into its natural surroundings, it still has the basic characteristics of a traditional home, with windows, doors, and a shingled roof, as well as creature comforts such as a fireplace and swimming pool, carved out of the side of a boulder.

Photo by Feliciano Guimarães

Apparently, the home was built in 1974 as a family retreat. However, with the overwhelming interest it has attracted due to its unusual design, the current owner, Vitor Rodrigues, has had to move to seek greater privacy. Also, as a result of problems with frequent break-ins, the home is now reinforced with bullet-proof windows, steel doors, and window grates. However, it apparently still contains a rather cozy interior, as shown by this video.

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It’s not easy being green

29 September, 2010 Leave a comment

Some of you may remember Kermit the Frog singing the 1970s song by Joe Raposo, “Bein’ green”. In this song, Kermit laments the fact that green is such a boring color because he blends in with leaves, so no one notices him. Interestingly, an article published today in the New York Times (Green, but Still Feeling Guilty) revives this concern, but in a different context. In fact, the article shows that indeed, it really isn’t easy to be green, especially by the modern-day definition of green.

Each of the wonderful vignettes in this article profiles an individual with a particular connection to the Green Revolution: authors, architects, a random dude who lives in a geodesic dome… yet each of these people are doing something or embracing something in their daily lives that is distinctly not green. [Just a note: the guy in the geodesic dome is practically a saint for what extremes he has gone to to be green.]

So this brings up an interesting conundrum: is it impossible, with all the technology we depend on now for anyone to be fully green? Or, approaching it from a different direction, can being green be a bit like a weight-loss program? Is there a point when we can say that we are being “green enough” so that we can have that little slice of non-green pie to keep the motivation — and our creature comforts — up?

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Janine Benyus at TED conference

28 September, 2010 Leave a comment

OK, so I know that some of you are a bit irked by Janine Benyus because her idealism is sometimes a bit too much (e.g., contrary to Benyus, nature really does generate waste, it is not in reality completely waste-free!). However, this TED talk still has a beautiful message that I wanted to share with you all.

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