Residents protest zipline on iconic Rio mountain

Some 200 protesters gathered beneath Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous Sugarloaf Mountain to protest the ongoing construction of ziplines aimed at boosting tourism, alleging it will cause unacceptable impacts.

The four steel lines will run 755 metres (almost 2,500 feet) over the forest between Sugarloaf and Urca Hill, and riders will reach speeds of 100 kph (62 mph). Inauguration is scheduled for the second half of this year, and an online petition to halt work has been signed by almost 11,000 people.

Sugarloaf — known in Portuguese as Pao de Acucar — juts out of the earth at the entrance to Rio’s bay. The United Nations heritage center named it a World Heritage Site in 2012 along with Rio’s other marquee mountains and, years earlier, Brazil’s heritage institute designated it a national monument.

The cable cars to its summit draw hundreds of thousands of Brazilian and international tourists each year, all eager to take in the panoramic views of the sprawling city’s beaches and forested mountains.

It is also a popular spot for sport climbing and birdwatching with preserved Atlantic Forest in a conservation unit, which towers over the sleepy Urca neighborhood. As such, the prospect of riders buzzing down wires while screaming wildly has united mountaineers, environmental activists and residents in opposition. They caution UNESCO could withdraw its heritage status. One protester on Sunday held a sign reading, “S.O.S. UNESCO,” and the group often broke out into chants of “Zipline out!”

“We are completely opposed to the transformation — which in truth has been happening for some time — of the summits of Urca Hill and Sugarloaf into an entertainment hub,” said Andre Ilha, a former director of biodiversity and protected areas of Rio state’s environment institute and founder of environmental nonprofit Ecological Action Group.

“This is inducing people to go there for reasons that aren’t why the cable car was conceived: To appreciate the landscape,” he said.

Many residents of Urca are likewise displeased.

“We live in a small, peaceful neighborhood. There will be visual and audible impact; no one goes down a zipline in silence,” said Aurimar dos Prazeres, president of a residents association. “And it isn’t one zipline. It’s four of them. One hundred people going down each hour. That’s craziness, and very big impact.”

Parque Bondinho Pao de Acucar, which operates the cable cars and is behind the 50-million reais (US$9.5-million) project, said in a statement that sound tests indicate noise from riders will not be perceptible from below, nor will it affect climbing routes. It says it has obtained all the necessary authorizations and licenses for the project from the national heritage institute and municipal authorities, and it touts the ability to drive tourism.

“In addition to the great integration with nature, the intention is to improve the experience of our visitors and make the visit to the Parque Bondinho Pao de Acucar Park even more pleasant and unforgettable,” the company says on the zipline’s website.

The company also says it consulted the community ahead of time. Residents, at least, say that’s not true.

Prazeres told The Associated Press her association wasn’t approached until after work was already underway, and amid complaints. Juliana Freire, president of another residents association, told the AP the company brought up its intention to develop the zipline during a 2022 meeting about another subject, but never made any formal presentation.

Freire says the national heritage institute that gave its OK to the zipline had recently barred construction of a lifeguard tower on the beach below Sugarloaf.

Ilha told the AP that the project was presented to the natural monuments council, comprised of government and civil society, but that members had been awaiting presentation of an additional sound study. The company said in its statement that further studies on sound and traffic are underway.

Activists on Sunday also expressed concern the zipline is a harbinger of future interventions. The company that administers the cable cars is studying a project that would modify the structure atop Sugarloaf’s summit.

Opponents have nicknamed it “the castle of horrors” and warn of all sorts of potential constructions — almost none of which appear in the company’s proposal. The company says the future project wouldn’t entail expansion of its current footprint nor the opening of new stores, and is meant to facilitate observation of the landscape, improve accessibility for disabled people and separate the flow of tourists, workers and cargo.

Taking breaks at work? New study shows they boost your productivity

If your workload is piling up, youmay opt to tackle it all without taking any breaks, in order to manage it quicker.

But a new study from the University of Waterloo suggests that heavy workloads that discourage employees from taking breaks could disrupt general performance, causing high levels of stress and fatigue that stand in the way of productivity.

“Our research provides a comprehensive account of the processes involved in the decision to take a break and provides insights into how employees and managers can make more effective use of breaks at work, potentially improving both well-being and performance,” James Beck, professor of industrial and organizational psychology at Waterloo, said in a press release.

Researchers surveyed 10 employees about their rationales for taking breaks or not taking them during workdays. They also questioned 287 workers twice daily over five days about performance concerns tied to sleep, fatigue, and the general workload that might be preventing them from taking more breaks.

Despite the fact that prior research has shown breaks benefit employee performance and general well-being, a large factor comes down to supervision. When workers feel like supervisors “discourage breaks in their workplace” they become less likely to take them.

Vincent Phan, one of the study’s authors, acknowledges certain work limitations can prevent employees from taking breaks that could benefit their well being and general performance, but said “if employers can promote employee well-being by addressing the conditions that can make work unpleasant, they may be able to reduce the number of breaks needed.”

With the varying demands of different work environments, the researchers with the University of Waterloo hope their findings will help promote employee well-being and change the demanding hustle that leads to burnout, fatigue, and dissatisfaction at work.   

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4 Decorating Tips Everyone Can Use

Even when you are lucky enough to start with an empty room, it can be overwhelming to design an interior that you can enjoy for years to come. Following some basic interior design principles, you can transform your space into a relaxing room you will be comfortable and happy with. Decide what your focal point will be and build out from there.  For best results, keep proportion and scale in mind as you decorate as well as these tips!

 Deciding on Your Focal Point
Do you have a magnificent bay window with an incredible view?  Is there an ornate mantle that is the reason you fell in love with your home? Or is there something you absolutely MUST HAVE in the room? Situate your furniture around your chosen focal point to create balance and equilibrium. If your room does not already have an existing focal point, create one with oversized art or add an accent point like a free-standing fireplace, they come in a variety of sizes and styles. Symmetrically balance the room evenly so that both sides mirror one another.  This will help your chosen focal point stand out all the more! Use matching accent tables to flank your sofa or use different pieces of furniture to create a copacetic visual impact, like two similar armchairs to balance a sofa.
Repetition for Rhythm
Rhythm creates a flow and helps direct the eye to the differing visual elements in your room. Just as the notes of a favorite song repeat to create the rhythm, repetition in decor will create a rhythm throughout a home. Establish visual interests with a rhythm throughout your space by placing similar colours or patterns at intervals and repeat in artwork, cushions or area rugs.

Perfect Proportion and Suitable Scaling
Who doesn’t love a large, overstuffed chair? But if your room is on the smaller size it may look out of place and make your room seem even smaller than it is. Keep proportion in perspective. Proportion is the ratio between a piece of furniture and the size of a room. Scale is the size of a piece of furniture in relation to the other pieces of furniture in the room. A super large chair will overpower an apartment of loft size sofa or loveseat and create a sense of unbalance in the room.

Have your room humming harmoniously
Creating harmony will enhance how much you will continue to love your finished. Pull the room with a subdued colour palette for a pleasing, harmonious vibe.   together for a pleasing, harmonious look with a subdued color palette. You can also use a single colour for elements that vary in size and shape. Check out our blog on Doing White on White Right! for more tips!

What is the focal point in your room?  What is your best tip to find harmony and balance through your home?

5 Tips to Magnificent Mirrors

Mirrors are a handy decor tool, but did you know they also serve clever purposes? From making your space feel larger and lighter to providing an opportunity for guests to check themselves; mirrors can be found in more than just the bathroom.

You know that feeling when you finally get a chance to move into your first apartment and have total control over how it looks? The only downside is there are so many design decisions. It can actually be overwhelming! Well, fear not because we’re here with some of our favourite tips for hanging mirrors in an easy way.

I’m always getting mixed up when it comes to how high I should hang my mirrors. It’s not like they’re wall art, right? Ha! No one knows what height is best for them because everyone has different needs and preferences in their space. For example, if you have a tall piece of furniture like the chest over there (points) then 4-6 inches below that will be perfect so people can still see themselves while they walk by or look at anything on top of the chest without feeling uncomfortably close to a mirror hanging too low above them – but keep in mind this may vary depending on where most people are sitting around your room; such as with an end table next to your couch or chair.

There are two easy ways to introduce more natural light into your living room or bedroom – strategically place mirrors. Consider the angle of the sun and hang a mirror opposite south-facing windows, east-facing windows, or on both walls if you want even more sunlight shining through!
Coming or going, guests are certain to check their reflection in your mirror when they enter. Add a well-placed console table with some seating for comfort and style without sacrificing space of the entryway!

Make sure you mount hardware properly to keep mirrors safe. There’s nothing as tempting as adding wire to the back of a mirror, but each D-hook or keyhole mount on the back should attach to its own hook for safety and stability.

Finding a mirror that fits your space’s aesthetic can help you achieve the perfect cohesive design style. Whether it’s windowpane pattern in your modern farmhouse bedroom, wood frames for spaces with rustic style and organic shapes for mid-century homes or even textured glass to match an industrial loft – each one will make sure everything feels like it belongs together.

If finding the right frame is difficult consider how important light reflection is when choosing which type of mirrors are best suited to be placed on top of furniture such as dressers or side tables: if you want all reflections visible choose mirrored ones; If displaying decorative items atop then opt instead for framed options so they don’t get blocked out by glare from any nearby windows.
You don’t have to limit the use of mirrors to indoors.  Using old mirrored shower doors or adding shutters to a wood framed mirror can enhance your outdoor spaces and make your garden appear bigger and more lush!

Have you gotten creative with mirrors?  Share your ideas below!

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