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Posts Tagged ‘holland’

green-bus-stop

Photo: The Independent
Holland is welcoming bees to bus-stop roofs with plants that also clean dust from the air.

Here is a cool idea for nourishing our valuable pollinators — as long as you’re not allergic to bee stings.

Sophie Hirsh at Green Matters has the story. “Waiting for the bus is typically pretty uneventful — unless you live in one Dutch city. Utrecht, a city in Holland, the Netherlands, recently gave makeovers to 316 bus stops, outfitting them with ‘green roofs,’ The Independent reports. The roofs are covered with sedum flowers and other plants, which act as an oasis for bees. …

“As explained by BrightVibes, the plants will also help absorb rainwater, capture dust or pollutants from the air, and regulate temperatures. …

“In addition to the green roofs, the bus stops also feature bamboo benches and LED lights, which are much more efficient than fluorescent and incandescent lights. And to keep the maintenance of the green bus stops as eco-friendly as possible, Utrecht’s municipal employees who service the bus stops travel from station to station using electric vehicles.

“If Utrecht citizens find themselves inspired when waiting for their daily bus ride, the city is encouraging residents to install green roofs on their houses. In fact, Utrecht residents can actually apply for a subsidy to cover the costs of planting greenery on their roofs, according to BrightVibes. …

“According to the USDA, bee pollination assists in producing one out of every three bites of food we take in the U.S. Many foods we regularly enjoy would not be possible without bees. According to the NRDC, 42 percent of U.S. bee colonies collapsed in 2015, putting our nation’s food supply in jeopardy.

“But over the past few years, there have been a few other local projects to protect bees around the world. For example, in 2010, a German couple began installing bee hives on buildings around Berlin, with the goal of helping bees, as well as creating awareness for the importance of protecting pollinator insects. …

“If you have a garden at your home, there are plenty of ways to use your outdoor space to help bees and other pollinators. For example, you can plant flowers that will attract bees, such as alyssum, echinacea, geranium, and clover, preferably in bright colors like blue, purple, and yellow, according to Gardeners Supply Company. You can also stop weeding your garden and mowing your lawn. As explained by the New York Bee Sanctuary, dandelions and other weeds are great food sources for bees.”

More here.

Photo: GreenMatters.com
Pollinator gardens on bus-stop roofs offer numerous environmental benefits.

bus-stop-bees-1562873127347

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2048

Photo: Gemeente Zwolle
The plastic bicycle path in Zwolle, the Netherlands, is a test for building roads from plastic waste in the future.

I don’t know if it’s because, historically, they’ve had to protect their land from the encroaching sea, but the Dutch seem to be repeat innovators. This blog has covered a lot of new ideas from the Netherlands. (3-D printed houses, anyone? Wind power for trains?) Today’s post is on a possible use for discarded plastic bottles.

Daniel Boffey writes at the Guardian, “The world’s first plastic bicycle path made of recycled bottles, cups and packaging has opened in the Netherlands, as part of a pilot that could see similar roads open up across the country.

“The 30-metre path, made of recycled plastic equivalent to more than 218,000 plastic cups, is expected to be three times as durable as an asphalt alternative. It also contains sensors to monitor the road’s performance, including its temperature, the number of bikes that pass over it and its ability to cope with the traffic.

“The prefabricated sections of cycle path are light and hollow making them easy to transport and 70% quicker to install. Cables and utility pipes are able to be easily fitted inside, and the path is designed to drain off rainwater. … It is believed that many of the benefits of the paths will apply to plastic roads.

“The path’s inventors, Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma, said: ‘This first pilot is a big step towards a sustainable and future-proof road made of recycled plastic waste. When we invented the concept, we didn’t know how to build a plastic road, now we know.’

“Asphalt concrete is responsible for 1.5m tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, equivalent to 2% of global road transport emissions. …

“Earlier this year the EU [European Union] launched an urgent plan to clean up Europe’s act on plastic waste and ensure that every piece of packaging on the continent is reusable or recyclable by 2030. … Each year, 25m tonnes of plastic waste is generated by Europeans, but less than 30% is collected for recycling.”

The idea has real possibilities, but the concerns of groups hoping to end the use of plastics altogether need to be addressed. “Plastic Soup has warned that small particles of the plastic could find their way into the living environment due to heat, wear and run-off.” More at the Guardian, here.

I’m just glad people are trying to find solutions to some of the damage that human activity has done to the planet. The issues are in the news right now as both great powers and small, climate-impacted countries are meeting in Katowice, Poland, to improve on the Paris Agreement.

By the way, if you are on twitter, do follow Sweden’s 15-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg), who is speaking truth to power in Poland: “I will not beg the world leaders to care for our future. I will instead let them know change is coming whether they like it or not.” I just read that Venice is likely to succumb of sea-level rise. Greta’s urgency is warranted. Young people give me hope.

And read a wonderful, inspiring book by former president of Ireland Mary Robinson called Climate Justice, which connects human rights and poverty to the effects of global warming and offers hope in the shape of brave, ordinary people.

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Could this be real? It’s a bike path above the traffic.

Well, why not? If Minneapolis can build a complex system of second-floor skyways that allowed me to walk to work without a coat in deep winter 1997, why not?

Ben Schiller at FastCoExist explains.

“In most cities, cycling infrastructure isn’t much more than a few dotted lines on the road. But that’s not how it is in the Netherlands, one of the world’s most cycle-friendly nations. Dutch cities have dedicated lanes that separate cars and bikes, making cycling an activity for young and old, female and male–not just the adventurous few.

“A good example is [an] elegant circular bridge in Eindhoven, in southern Holland. Called the Hovenring, it lets cyclists completely avoid other road users and cross the busy A2 highway with minimal fuss. It also makes for better road flow, according to Gerhard Nijenhuis, an employee at IPV Delft, the firm that designed it.” Read more.

Photo: FastCoExist
In the Netherlands, bikers ride on top of this rotary.

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You may get a kick out of this BBC story on the intersection of art and engineering.

“Artist Daan Roosegaarde has teamed up with Hans Goris, a manager at a Dutch civil engineering firm with hopes of reinventing highways all over the world.

“They are working on designs that will change with the weather — telling drivers if it’s icy or wet by using high-tech paint that lights up in different temperatures.

“Another of their ideas is to create a road that charges up electric cars as they drive along it.

“Daan Roosegarde said: ‘I was completely amazed that we somehow spend billions on the design of cars but somehow the roads … are still stuck in the Middle Ages.’

“In the past he has designed a dance floor with built-in disco lights powered by dancers’ foot movements.

“They plan to trial their specially designed glow-in-the-dark paint on a strip of road at Brabant, which is near the Dutch border with Belgium, later this year.”

Read more.

Photo of a glow-in-the-dark road: Roosegarde

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Dutch artist Peter Gentenaar makes stunning paper sculptures that Nathaniel Ross at Inhabitat (“design will save the world”) describes as “soaring through the air like flying jellyfish. …

“Peter Gentenaar’s art was born out of the limitations of what he could (or couldn’t) create with store-bought paper. So with the help of the Royal Dutch Paper Factory, he built his own paper factory and devised a custom beater that processes and mills long-fiber paper pulp into the material you see in his artwork. He saw the potential that wet paper had when reinforced with very fine bamboo ribs, and he learned to form the material into anything his imagination would allow.”

Check out the machine Gentenaar uses to create his paper. You can buy one. He describes it thus:

“A machine suitable for beating long fibers, flax, hemp or sisal, as well as for beating soft and short fibers like cotton linters. The machine is built in stainless steel and has a bronze bedplate. The bronze bedplate has the same curve as the knife roll, this gives effective grinding/beating over a surface of: ± 20 x 10 cm. The distance between the roll and the bedplate can be finely adjusted. Also the weight under which the fibers are beaten can be varied from 0 to 60 kilo’s. This means you can use the beater on very delicate fibers and on very strong and rough fibers as well. I never have to cook my fibers. There is a factory guarantee on the beater of one year. At present I’m getting a CE mark, which ensures certain safety standards. There are over 70 beaters of this type sold over the last 12 years and they are all still working.”

Art: Peter Gentenaar

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