Recycling: Island Created from Plastic Bottles

British artist Richart Sowa has created a man-made island from over 100,000 plastic bottles, where he lives with his wife and dog in a three-story house.

Joyxee Island sits 30 yards off the coast of Isla Mujeres, a Mexican island in the Caribbean.

In an extraordinary example of recycling, Sowa began building Joyxee Island in late 2007. He finished it by the end of 2008, and has now opened the 8,000-square-foot island for tours.

The base of the man-made island is made up of nets filled with plastic bottles. The extraordinary home is solar-powered, and even has a washing machine powered by waves, two swimming ponds, a waterfall, and internet connection. His goal is for the island to be entirely self sufficient; he is already growing vegetables and herbs.

Beginning with Spiral Island

Joyxee Island is actually the second bottle island built by Sowa.  The first — Spiral Island —  was located in a lagoon near Puerto Aventuras, on the Caribbean coast of Mexico south of Cancún; Sowa began constructing it in 1998.

He filled nets with empty discarded plastic bottles to support a structure of plywood and bamboo, on which he poured sand and planted numerous plants, including mangroves. The island featured a two-story house, a solar oven, a self-composting toilet, and three beaches. He used some 250,000 bottles for the 66-by-54-foot (20 m × 16 m) structure. The mangroves were planted to help keep the island cool, and some of them rose up to 15 feet (4.6 m) high.

 

Almost all of the sand Sowa used for Spiral Island I was taken from the end of the beach, where it came up against the man-made rock pier on the edge of the canal system where the Island was tied.

The island was destroyed by Hurricane Emily in 2005. The island was washed completely onto the beach in one piece, and a small proportion of the bags of bottles washed up on the beach away from where it landed. The roots of the 7-year old, 7-metre (23 ft) tall mangroves were intertwined through the island’s base and the strong net that was wrapped totally under the whole island helped to keep it together.

Joyxee Island

Sowa started to rebuild his floating environment island in the waters of Isla Mujeres, located near Cancun. Joyxee Island contains about 100,000 PET bottles and measures a size of 82 feet in diameter. Rishi’s new floating green island has also three beaches, a beautiful house, even a solar-powered waterfall and a small river, a wave-powered washing machine and solar panels.   It opened for tours in August, 2008.

Plants like Mangroves actually provide stability to the island. Their growing roots wind through the mesh bags – tying everything together. Sowa continuously adds more bags of plastic bottles – growing and expanding the island.  He grows numerous plants on the island including; palm trees, sea grapes, mangroves, cactus, spinach, tomatoes, melons, lemons, herbs and flowering shrubs. Sowa keeps building day by day, so Joyxee will always be a work of art in progress.

Richart firmly believes we can reverse the adverse effects our modern lifestyle is having on the Earth’s ecological balance. By creating islands, which become self-sustainable as corals – marine life grows on the underside, and mangroves, fruit and vegetables are grown on the topside.

This gives oxygen back to an otherwise ever decreasing atmosphere. And creates a root integrated, flexible and resilient habitable Island – which can grow big enough to be able to eventually survive, and flourish on the ocean.

 


For futher information: 

An in-depth article is available at:
http://greentravelife.com/richart-sowa-a-green-island-made-of-plasti-bottles/

Also see “Plastic Bottle Floating Island – The Richart Sowa Story” that includes a description of a tour to the island.
http://worldwideadventurers.com/plastic-bottle-floating-island-richart-sowa-mexico/

Dutch trains now running on 100% Wind Power

All of the electric passenger trains running in the Netherlands are now powered entirely by wind. One year ahead of schedule, Dutch railway company NS announced its entire electric train fleet is running on 100-percent wind power as of January 1, 2017, ushering in a new era of green transportation.

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In late 2015, the Netherlands announced its plan to have all of its trains operating entirely with wind power by 2018 – but it has achieved that goal one year ahead of schedule. As of the first of January, all public transport trains are powered by wind turbines!

The electricity used to power the Dutch trains comes from wind farms in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Finland, many of which were just recently built. And because some of those farms opened ahead of schedule, it was possible to move up the time-line. When the country achieved 75 % wind power for the trains by 2016, the initiative made a final push and reached 100 percent by January 1, 2017.

One of the Netherlands’ largest railway companies, known as NS, partnered with the Eneco energy company in 2015 to funnel renewable energy into its fleet of electric trains, which carry 600,000 people a day.

According to DutchNews.nl, there’s currently a total of 2,200 wind turbines across the country. These windmills generate enough power to sustain the equivalent of 2.4 million homes. The trains alone consume about 1.2 billion kWh of electricity a year, which is roughly the total power consumption of every home in the country’s largest city, Amsterdam. Changing to a renewable source for the transportation will make a huge dent in the nation’s carbon footprint, which has already been shrinking over the years as a result of investments in renewable energy projects.

Eneco is using specially built wind farms for the project to avoid putting existing plants under unnecessary pressure and to keep prices down. The railway operators, meanwhile, are making energy efficiency savings in other areas (through train design and driving techniques) in order to keep demand as low as possible – this in turn ensures that the extra price of wind power isn’t passed on to customers.

According to Eneco account manager Michel Kerkhof, “This partnership ensures that new investments can be made in even newer wind farms, which will increase the share of renewable energy. In this way, the Dutch railways aim to reduce the greatest negative environmental impact caused by CO2 in such a way that its demand actually contributes to the sustainable power generation in the Netherlands and Europe.”

Wind energy is rapidly taking over in the Netherlands, while other nations also work toward increasing their renewable energy production. Scotland’s plans are to be 100 percent zero-carbon by 2020. They are also investing in tidal power generation to help achieve that goal.

The use of wind power is growing around the world. The Netherlands has been the latest country to set the pace for adopting alternative energy sources. China is now producing more energy from wind than the US is from nuclear, while Denmark now has enough wind farms to exceed the country’s total energy needs at certain points. As more plants come online, the risk of outages due to calm, still days becomes much lower.

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“Light and Nature” Sustainability in Singapore

 

Photo © 2017  CHOI+SHINE

This year’s iLight Marina Bay Festival in Singapore, featured a spectacular interactive work of art, The Urchins,  created by Choi+Shine Architects. The event’s theme is sustainability, and the three 56-foot-tall artworks symbolized the beauty and diversity of nature.

In a totally immersive experience, each of the suspended sculptures moved when touched by the wind or even visitors, who were invited to handle the polyester cords and panels that composed it.  At night, the works were  spotlit by artificial lighting, and during the day, The Urchins relied on  natural light to cast ephemeral, ever-changing shadows.

Photo © 2017 CHOI+SHINE

 

The iLight Marina Bay Festival in Singapore has been held since 2010, and showcases light art installations created by artists from Singapore and around the world. Installed around the Marina Bay waterfront, the light art installations are designed with energy-saving lighting or environmentally-friendly materials to reinforce Marina Bay’s position as a sustainable precinct, and to encourage people to adopt sustainable habits in their lives.

This year’s festival featured light art installations from nine countries, including Indonesia, France, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, and for the first time, the festival collaborated with overseas light art festivals – Amsterdam Light Festival in The Netherlands, Bella Skyway Festival in Poland and Scottsdale Canal Convergence in the United States – through the cross-sharing of four local and international light art installations.

Emphasizing the message of sustainability were 20 light art installations with the theme “Light & Nature”, demonstrating the relationship of light with nature and the city, and how light reconciles the push and pull between the constructed and the natural.

 

Photo © 2017 CHOI+SHINE

 

Choi+Shine, the creator of The Urchins,  is a nationally and internationally awarded architecture and design studio run by two principals, Jin Choi and Thomas Shine.

Ms. Choi received her first Master’s Degree in Architectural Art, while running her own design studio in Seoul, Korea. She was recently selected as one of Korea’s Global Young Architects by the Korean Institute of Architects, and she is an adjunct faculty at Suffolk University teaching design studio and thesis studio to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Mr. Shine is a registered architect in both US and UK and received his undergraduate and Master’s Degree in architecture from Yale University’s School of Architecture. Mr. Shine was a teaching fellow at Yale, teaching architectural structures to both graduate and undergraduate students.

At night, the mysteriously hovering and glowing large Urchins created a sense of magic as if time had stopped.  Entering into the Urchins, the viewers were surrounded by a single layer of glowing, lacy surface, where they could enoy the detail and texture of the Urchins and see the city, water and the sky through this visual filter.  With its  large size, creating the artwork was a challenge. Hand-crafting the shells required nearly 3 months to create, by a team of 50 artists.

Choi+Shine was also one of the participants in the Amsterdam Light Festival last year, their installation was Lace,

Photo © 2016 CHOI+SHINE

 This year, the Singapore festival featured five light art installations designed by students from National University of Singapore, Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore University of Technology and Design, LASALLE College of the Arts and Raffles College of Higher Education – the highest participation from local educational institutions to date.

One of the festival hubs, The Fantastical World of eco.me organised by The Rice Company Ltd, promoted sustainable living in Singapore with highlights such as a recycling and upcycling marketplace, a kinetic energy playground and an urban farming showcase

 

More images and information on the project is available at:

http://choishine.com/urchins.html

 

Photo © 2017 CHOI+SHINE

Additional Information about The Urchins:

Design: Jin Choi and Thomas Shine

Steel Fabrication : Modern Metal Solutions 

Assembly Crew in Boston: Thomas Shine, Susie Kim , Myungsu Ko, Yeseul Choi, Isabelle Lippincott, Hyokyung Lee

Installation Crew in Singapore: Thomas Shine, Jin Choi, Young-eun Choi, Jaekyu Lee, SoYeung Ko, XiaoMin, Hyosoo Lee

Structural Consultant:  Árni Björn Jónasson, ARA Engineering

Installation Support: iLight Marina Bay

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