7 Bad-Ass Trees You’ll Probably Never Climb

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I remember reading an article on Environmental Graffiti, a few months ago, about the thorniest trees on Earth. The photos were really impressive, considering I had no idea such trees even existed, but I felt there wasn’t really enough information about these amazing species of trees. So I took it upon myself to do some research and came up with seven bad-ass trees you couldn’t even hope to climb without some serious protective gear.

Silk Floss Tree (Ceiba Speciosa)

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Chinese Car Enthusiast Build’s World’s Cheapest Electric Car

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Zhang Haiting, a 58-year-old car buff, from Shanghai, China, has built a mini electric vehicle, all by himself.

But we’ve seen people build their own cars before, the thing that makes Zhang Haiting so special, is that his particular creation is environment-friendly. The resourceful Chinese inventor and machinery veteran designed and put together his electric vehicle, by himself, using all kinds of salvaged parts and materials.

Zhang has been using his zero-carbon emissions electric car, on his daily commute, for about a year, and Shanghai locals have begun noticing. They regularly get close and curiously check out the weird looking buggy that looks more like a bumper car than a real vehicle, and never miss the chance to get behind the wheel.

The home-made vehicle, built by Zhang Hiating, reaches a top speed of 30 km/h and runs for 50 km, with a fully charged battery. Seeing the reactions of passers-by, its creator is now thinking of commercializing his invention, for the price of just 5,600 yuan ($820).

via ImagineChina

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Trash Artist Builds the World’s First Garbage Hotel

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H.A. Schult, the designer behind the famous Trash People, has teamed up with beer-make Corona to create the world’s first hotel made of garbage.

The initiative to build the “Save the Beach” garbage hotel was started by Corona, in order to raise awareness to the huge amount of waste being washed up on our shores, every day. And who better that H.A. Schult, a designer who has used trash as art medium since 1969, to build a hotel out of the trash collected from various European beaches?

The doors of this bizarre hotel, made of garbage, have opened to the public, last week, in Rome and has already received the support of various celebrities, like Helena Christensen, the famous model, who agreed to spend a night in the Save the Beach Hotel.

H.A. Schult, the creator of the trash hotel said “The philosophy of this hotel is to expose the damage we are causing to the sea and the coastline. We live in the era of trash and we are running the risk of becoming trash ourselves. Do we really want this world?”

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Womble Truck – A Recycled Environment Friendly Art Car

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British sculptor and active environmentalist, Buzz Knapp-Fisher, has spent the last six years working on the Womble Truck, an odd looking vehicle that has almost no impact on the environment.

Buzz bought the truck, six years ago, for a little over $400, and thought it was perfect for his environment art car. Named after popular TV show, “The Wombies”, who recycled all kinds of junk, in ingenious ways, the Womble Truck was modified to tun only on chip fat and biodiesel. One of the most amazing things about this weird looking truck, is that it was put together using parts from 21 different cars.

The Womble Truck had its original engine replaced with a biodiesel engine,and in the last year, the British inventor managed to make some adjustments that allow it to run on chip fat alone. If temperature is high enough, the truck will start and run on fat, if not, it will start on biodiesel and then switch to chip fat. And, believe it or not, this baby reaches top speeds of 110 mph, so it can hold its own, on the road.

Considering it only cost a little over $400, and the car parts were also pretty cheap, the Womble Truck is indeed a worthy technological achievement.

via Daily Mail

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Home Design Doesn’t Get Much Greener than Living Plant Curtains

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Greenpeace activists are going to fall in love with the genius invention of Li Fan : curtains made of living plants.

Chinese inventor, Li Fan, has come up with a brilliant way to support the environment, and help people say “adios” to cleaning and washing curtains. Her living curtains are actually self-sufficient plants, on a supporting mesh.

Li Fan’s curtains filter light, like regular curtains, but also suck all the impurities out of the air, and smell fresh all the time. Living plants curtains are the hottest thing in Beijing home-design, right now, and Li Fan says business is booming.

No word on whether these living plant curtains are available outside China, but I’m sure there are people out there willing to pay top dollar to green-up there homes.

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The Cyborg Plant of Gilberto Espaza

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Nomadic Plants is a quirky project of Mexican artist, Gilberto Espaza, that possible symbiosis between vegetation and technology.

This is not Gilberto Espaza’s first such project. Last year, he unleashed his Urban Parasites on Mexico City. The small machines, made from recycled consumer goods, roamed the urban area in search of power sources they could feed on.

This year, the Mexican artist has an even more interesting project prepared. His Nomadic Plants installation focuses on the symbiosis between plants, micro-organisms and technology. A few river plants and bacteria live inside the Nomadic Plants robot, and whenever the life-forms inside it need nourishment, the machine searches the nearest polluted water-source and “drinks” from it.

A microbial fuel cell process decomposes the water’s elements and turns them into energy for the robot, and the rest is used to feed the plants and organisms inside. Gilberto Espaza said he was inspired to create this cyborg plant after reading about the microbial fuel cell that inspired him to take on the theme of environment pollution.

The Nomadic Plants installation is on display at Laboral Art and Industrial Creation Center, in Gijon, Spain, until June 2010.

via We Make Money Not Art

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Willow Is the New Wood of the Coffin Business

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A 200-year old willow processing company has recently targeted the coffin business, and apparently had great success.

P H Coate & Son’s English Willow Coffins, from Somerset, England,  has started offering dead people an alternative to traditional wooden coffins. Some individuals are just bored by the same old wooden coffins, as if they died and have been buried in them too many times. Anyway, John Parfitt and company say willow is the more popular pick these days, because of it alluring aesthetics (cough!) and environmental reasons.

Willow coffins are hand-crafted by skilled willow basket masters (that explains why they look more like coffin-shaped baskets), using a traditional method, and clients have a selection to pick from. Environmentalist are going to go mad for these babies, but what about those artistic wooden coffins from Ghana, what happens to them?

Photos by Matt Cardy/Getty Images Europe via Zimbio

willow-coffins

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Coca Cola-Powered Cellphone

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Chinese designer Daizhi Zheng has created a mobile phone that uses sweet drinks like Coca Cola instead of lithium batteries.

Zheng has been working on this revolutionary device for Finnish cellphone giant Nokia, and claims he has come up with a way of using sugar-based drinks to power mobiles. Any sweet drink, even sugar-sweetened water would be enough to keep the phone running much longer than lithium batteries.

The bio-battery invented by Daishi Zheng generates electricity from carbohydrates, using special enzymes as catalysts. In the process, the device generates oxygen and water. The designer claims his sugar-based bio-battery lasts up to four times longer than a fully charged lithium battery and is much easier to recharge: just pour some more sweet fuel.

Lithium batteries are very expensive and harmful for the environment, so if Zheng’s Coke-powered cellphone turns out to be real, it would be a significant breakthrough.

via Dezeen

Coke-cellphone

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Post Yule Pyre 2010

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The yearly event organized by the “Friends of the Rootless Forest” is just a nice way of parting with the evergreens that were once adored Christmas trees.

But you know how we humans are, we like things just as long as they serve a a purpose. Same thing with Christmas trees, once the holiday season has passed, most of us just abandon them on the street corners. The Friends of the Rootless Forest patrol the streets of San Francisco, gather all the trees they can find and give them a proper “burial” by setting them aflame.

The tradition of the Post Yule Pyre began in 1990 and more and more people have joined the ranks of the Friends of the Rootless Forest, since then. Every year, after the holiday season, they stack the evergreens on Ocean Beach and watch them burn. But what’s even more impressive is these guys actually clean the ashes off the beach, after the event is over, and plant a number of trees to compensate for the gases released during the Post Yule Pyre. How commendable is that!

post-yule-pyre

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Artist Turns Caravan into a Mobile Garden

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Kevin van Braak, a young artist from the Netherlands, has transformed his common caravan into an extensible garden he can take anywhere.

In a world where real gardens, with trees and grass are still available, Kevin’s creation can seem a bit odd, but in a few years, it might be the closest many of us will come to real nature.  It looks just like any other caravan, from the outside, but the artist cut it in two, so it would reveal the lavish garden inside, when open.

Kevin van Braak’s mobile garden comes with fake trees, silk grass,  stuffed animals, an electric barbecue and even bird-songs coming through the van’s speakers. It sounds fake, but the young Dutch says many people prefer his garden over the real thing. His caravan garden is for sale, he just hasn’t fixed a price yet.

via Daily Mail

garden-caravan

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China’s Most Graceful Ballet Dancers

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Sure, they’re not exactly members of the Balsoi ballet, but you have to admit fat guys never looked better in a tutu.

In an effort to raise awareness to the protection of Pinglu Wetlands, five Chinese members of the workers’ union dressed in ballet costumes and danced gracefully in front of the cameras. I have to say they picked a wacky way to protest against pollution, but hey, whatever gets people’s attention to the environment issue, right?

Here are the chubby performers:

fat-ballet-dancers

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World’s Largest Solar-Power Hotel Opens in China

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Using thousands of permanent solar panels to harvest energy, the Solar Valley Micro-E Hotel is the largest solar-power hotel on Earth.

Built by Himin Group, China’s leading solar products manufacturer, the Solar Valley Micro-E Hotel opened its gates Dezhou City, eastern China. It covers 75,000 square-meters and features thousands of solar panels and solar heat pipe collectors that harvest and store enough energy to sustain 70% of the hotel’s needs.

The solar energy is used for a variety of functions, including air-conditioning and water heating.

via ImagineChina

Solar-Valley-Micro-E-Hotel0

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Melting Polar Bear Sends Grim Message

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A polar bear statue, carved out of a nine-ton block of ice and placed outside Copenhagen climate change conference center, sends a frightening environmental message.

Mark Coreth, the artist behind the Ice Bear Project created the sculpture in the hope of raising awareness to the melting of arctic ice due to increasing temperatures. A huge pool of water and the bronze skeleton of a polar bear is all that will remain as the ice statue gradually melts, revealing the fate of all real life polar bears, unless the global warming issue is addressed.

Coreth is urging all passers-by not only to look at the bear-sculpture, but also to touch it and help it melt, in the hope that more people understand how mankind “contributes” to the melting of the Arctic. Asked when his ice polar bear is going to completely melt, the artists said it is impossible to tell, just like nobody knows how long the Arctic will last.

Photos by XINHUA/ZHANG YUWEI

via People.com.cn

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Log Radio – A Wooden Radio That Works

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Created by Solene le Goff and Christophe Gouache, out of an oak log, Log radio might just be the world’s “greenest” radio.

The Log Radio features a long, thin solar panel that charges it with energy, and if there’s no sunlight available, it also has a built-in dynamo, that will keep it running with minimum energy. The bottom left button, the one with the finger hole in it,handles the dynamo, the top left one turns the radio on and controls the volume, while the top right button is used as a tuner.

This amazing radio needs no wires or batteries and was conceived as a statement against the use of plastic and metals. Incredibly enough, 80% of the Log Radio is made of wood, while the other 20% is made up of basic radio components.

via designboom

wooden-radio

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The Trash Temple of Rotterdam

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Judging by the amount of trash we generate every day, it’s no wonder people are beginning to build structures using it.

100 tons of PET bottles, pressed into bales, were used to create the Temple of Trash, presented at the 2007 Follydock Festival, in Rotterdam. The idea behind this project by Salzig Design is future generations might actually end up believing human kind worships the trash it produces and dumps into landfills.

The Temple of Trash was a temporary installation, but, although it’s not standing anymore, it can still be admired on the official site of Salzig Design

via Treehugger

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