Heroes

See 8 photos of the floating house that could save lives someday.

The world's sea levels are rising, so this architect built a floating house.

See 8 photos of the floating house that could save lives someday.

News flash: Our sea levels are rising at an unprecedented rate, and low-lying cities are already ankle-deep in the effects.

Case in point: Venice, Italy.


Photo by Chris Chabot/Flickr.

While levees and drainage channels may help in the short term, a long-term solution will likely involve some major changes to our habitats.

Thankfully, there are architects like Matthew Butcher who have been thinking about this issue for years.

Unlike other architects, most of whom are looking for ways to combat rising sea levels, Butcher has taken a different approach: working with the rising seas.

He believes that adapting to our changing environment is perhaps the only way we’ll survive.

That's why he built a floating house.

Photo by Brotherton-Lock, used with permission.

Pretty cool, right? Here’s how he came up with the idea:

“For the last 10 years, I have been exploring architectures that might exist within a flood-prone environment. At the core of this is an exploration around the relationship our buildings form to the environment and how they negotiate the differential between an inside and outside condition,” Butcher told Upworthy.

Butcher is a professor at the University College London's Bartlett School of Architecture and co-founder of the architecture practice Post-Works.

He’s been exploring architectural concepts on paper that respond to flooding landscapes for years, but thanks to a commission from Radical Essex, a year-long architecture program, one of his text-based projects became a reality.

This is what his floating house idea originally looked like in its infancy:

Photo via Matthew Butcher, used with permission.

And here's a more advanced version:

Photo via Matthew Butcher, used with permission.

Since April 18, 2016, locals have seen the Flood House, as it was appropriately christened, bobbing along in the Thames Estuary.

While the design is quite modern, Butcher took a great deal of his inspiration from the surrounding water-based community.

“The house references the fishing huts, concrete bunkers, the marine infrastructures and the industrial structures along the East Essex coastline. I have come to understand these structures as a kind of Estuary Vernacular, of which I have tried to make the Flood House respond,” he told Upworthy.

Photo via Brotherton-Lock, used with permission.

But don’t let the fancy exterior fool you. Inside, the house is stark.

That, too, is purposeful. The interior is basically a shelter from the elements, and nothing more. The house is not meant to help us live the comfortable lives to which we’ve become accustomed, but rather to survive if continuous flooding forces us to become completely nomadic.

And you thought "Waterworld" was just a movie.

Photo via Brotherton-Lock, used with permission.

“Life in the Flood House would have to be very simple, almost primitive. There is no access to electricity or running water,” Butcher explained.

And yes, these utilities might be implemented if this prototype were to ever become a real, functional house. But for now, Butcher said, it’s simply meant to demonstrate how architecture could cater more to an environment that’s literally ebbing and flowing.

The house does, however, possess one fancy ornament.

It's a weather vane with the word "Level" written on it, commissioned for the house by artist Ruth Ewan.

Photo via Brotherton-Lock, used with permission.

According to a press release, the title of the work was taken from a speech by the 14th-century priest and political activist John Ball and refers to the concept of social equality as well as the rise and fall of the tides.

Butcher hopes the Flood House will help other architects realize that the way they're currently building isn't about working with our surroundings, but against them.

“We continue to construct buildings to be these things that are at great cost to the environment. We seal our houses up from the weather, heating and cooling them mechanically," Butcher said.

"This puts massive pressure on natural resources used in supplying the energy for these operations. The Flood House instead presents the idea of a nomadic architecture that is subservient to the environment in which it exists. It rises and falls with the tide and travels with the currents.”

He says this isn't meant to be seen as a solution, but rather a warning that it could be our future if we don’t start reevaluating the way we live and adapt.

Photo via Brotherton-Lock, used with permission.

Rising sea levels are our reality now.

So considerable changes in how we interact with the seas must be made as we sail further into the uncharted waters of the 21st century.

Photo via Brotherton-Lock, used with permission.

Thanks to innovative thinkers like Butcher, constructive conversations about how we'll survive are already underway.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Katie Schieffer is a mom of a 9-year-old who was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after spending some time in the ICU. Diabetes is a nuisance of a disease on its own, requiring blood sugar checks and injections of insulin several times a day. It can also be expensive to maintain—especially as the cost of insulin (which is actually quite inexpensive to make) has risen exponentially.

Schieffer shared an emotional video on TikTok after she'd gone to the pharmacy to pick up her son's insulin and was smacked with a bill for $1000. "I couldn't pay for it," she says through tears in the video. "I now have to go in and tell my 9-year-old son I couldn't pay for it."

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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Kristen Wilson/Twitter, Ian Bremmer/Twitter (Photo by Ashley Gilbertson)

As more footage from last week's attack on the U.S. Capitol comes out, we're getting a fuller picture of what took place that day. And frankly, it's terrifying.

We've now seen the gallows erected outside of the Capitol and the rioters shouting "Hang Mike Pence!" We've seen reports of insurrectionists carrying zip tie restraints and now know how close we were to possibly witnessing lawmakers being taken hostage—or worse—live on TV. We've seen journalists attacked, a policeman dragged down steps and beaten with an American flag, and feces and urine left in the hallways and offices of the U.S. Capitol.

One piece of footage that has emerged shows how one Capitol Police officer's bravery may have saved members of the U.S. Senate. Officer Eugene Goodman found himself alone and confronted with a mob forcing him backwards up a stairway within the Capitol. Video from HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic shows Goodman attempting to hold back the rioters, but he is clearly outnumbered. They keep pushing him farther and farther up the stairs, toward the floor where the Senate chambers are.

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Nearly a year into the deadliest pandemic in a century, the U.S. is still battling not only the virus, but Americans living in denial of reality as well.

Take this video of a group of anti-maskers who stood in front of a Trader Joe's entrance and tried to argue that they had every right to shop there without masks. The woman narrating the video states that they have "a right to commerce" (they don't—there's literally no such right), that Trader Joe's doesn't have the right to require masks (they do—it's their store), that the mandate to wear masks in public places can't be enforced because it's not a real law (it can—), and that they were not there to demonstrate, but just to buy groceries (umm, right).

The manager, to his credit, did what he could to calmly talk with these people while also making it clear that they were not going to enter the store without a mask.

"The point you're trying to make isn't going to be made with us," he said. "It can be made with your government...I am not here to debate policy. I totally respect for you to think anything you want to think...my job, as manager of the store is to enforce the mandate, whether you believe in it or not."


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