Magical Wooden Classroom Helps Children Bond with Nature

The past decade has probably seen the worst environmental damage humans have ever caused in history. However, it is also probably witness to the best human efforts in reversing the tragic situation and working towards accountability. Chile will create five new national parks in a preservation effort, China will reforest an entire area as big as Ireland (6.6 million hectares!), and announced most recently, Australia will spend 500 million dollars to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

If we are to continue these attempts at environmental preservation, then financial support from the government has to be accompanied by cultural efforts.  By which I mean we need education. And who else can we educate more than those who will inherit this earth? To continue our environmental progress, it is children who foremost need to understand how nature works.

That’s exactly the objective of this magical wooden classroom designed by Studio Weave for Belvue School.

[T]he building was created to help reconnect students with nature and it opens up to an adjacent woodland recently acquired by the school to serve as an educational nature reserve . . . Constructed from a low budget originally allocated for a cargotecture school expansion, the 1,600-square-foot Wooden Classroom comprises a “cozy lounge” informal teaching space and a “sociable kitchen” student-run school cafe next to the woods.

With curved ceilings and clerestory windows, the wooden classroom is entirely provided with natural lighting and ventilation. Students may appreciate the neighbouring woodland through large window walls. To constantly check in with the nature aspect, a forest management specialist was consulted by Studio Weave throughout the construction process for Belvue School.

“We identified that the boundary between the playground and woods marks the border between familiar school territory and the magical, mysterious world of trees,” said Studio Weave. “This very important threshold, symbolising the entrance to another world, like the gate to the secret garden, or the cupboard to Narnia became a focal point and we consequently designed the woodland classrooms to act as a gatehouse between one world and another.”

If that doesn’t sound magical, I’m not sure what does. It makes me want to be a child and rediscover the earth with fresh eyes again. Maybe that’s what we all need to really care for nature. Then again, bringing back the past is totally impossible. So here’s to hoping the children retain the wonder and magic they experience in this gorgeous wooden classroom to the bigger world once they themselves grow bigger in the future.

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Ørsted Wind Turbine Fleet To Power Millions Of Homes

Renewable wind energy has long ago proven its worth, powering 70% of Australian homes just last year. With its maximum potential still undiscovered, Danish company Ørsted is building a 174-fleet wind farm in the UK. The sustainable solution will power a plentiful million homes.

“After years of planning it is fantastic to see the initial stages of offshore construction begin… These wind farms will not only greatly contribute to the UK’s goal of decarbonising our energy system, they are also bringing jobs and investment to Grimsby and the North East.” [said program director Duncan Clark.]

The 800-ton turbines will make their official debut in 2020, with allowance for transport limitations. On the whole, Ørsted is determined to transition as much of society as it can into green energy users. Still, the group is managing its expectations.

“The government has to change the trajectory or we are going to fail. We need to learn our lessons from where things have gone wrong so far,”

With great ambition comes extreme patience — but I do hope I’m around to see our planet change for the better.

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Britain Opens First Zero-Waste Packaging-Free Store

A Norway supermarket is selling expired food to alleviate food waste, and now Britain wants in on the action. Former Manchester United star Richard Eckersley runs Earth.Food.Love, a zero-waste packaging-free store. It’s the first of its kind in Britain.

It’s the first zero waste store in the UK, retailing a range of up to 200 pesticide-free products – but to shop there, you’ll have to come along with your own pots, jars and sandwich bags.

The store also uses eco-energy and is completely organic, so milk and alcohol are off the menu. Totnes is home to the charming boutique, as Eckersley claims it wouldn’t have fared as well in Manchester.

“We just didn’t think Manchester was ready for this kind of shop, but we hope the idea will spread and more people will follow the idea in future.”

Having played alongside Ronaldo and Rooney, Eckersley ought to give himself some credit for the store’s popularity. However, he and wife Nicola focus on being “ethical, wholesome, and organic.” But there is no denying the rewarding boost of fame.

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U.K. Launches Self-Driving Grocery Delivery Van

Seeing a steady increase in our busybody tendencies, everything is now available in the palms of our hands. You want it? An online app has got it. You may even be able to throw it onto the back of your electric cargo bike. But with no time on your hands, perhaps you’d prefer a delivery. Lucky for our fellow Brits, U.K. supermarket Ocado recently launched a self-driving grocery delivery van for all essential needs.

Orders are loaded into the CargoPod at a nearby depot. There are eight containers on the back which can hold up to 128KG of groceries and allow the vehicle to stop at multiple destinations during the same trip. Once the goods are onboard, a driver manually steers the van to a starting location, where it’s then flipped into autonomous mode.

If you were concerned about a loaded van running completely on autopilot, you can now rest easy. Manufacturers of self-driving vehicles do, in fact, take precaution. Strategically places cameras make the van autonomous. Even more impressive, the van doesn’t require GPS.

The CargoPod is powered by Selenium, an autonomous operating system developed by Oxbotica. It handles minute-to-minute visualization and decision-making: where the vehicle is, what’s nearby and what it should do next.

The vehicle is still on a trial mode, but if it passes a battery of tests, should be permanently hitting the road in no time.

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