Many people mistake tiny homes for delicate structures that provide a minimal amount of space for simple living. But these modern tiny homes are proving that they can be just as resilient as any traditional home twice their size. Check out eight tiny homes that are built to withstand brutal climates and rugged landscapes while still offering residents the sustainable option of off-grid living.

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It seems that most news concerning Antarctica’s ice sheets is bad news, with two of the world’s fastest melting glaciers shrinking away in the continent’s western region. Fortunately, this same region is also home to an unusual geological feature that may provide some relief to the effects of climate change. In a new study published in the journal Science, researchers examined how the Earth’s surface seems to expand when heavy objects, such as glaciers, are no longer present and pushing down on the ground. According to data gathered from GPS sensors, the land beneath the Amundsen Sea Embayment in western Antarctica is rising at a rate of about two inches per year, one of the fastest rising rates ever recorded.

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Researchers have identified the first recognized giant manta ray nursery in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico, about 70 miles offshore from Galveston, Texas. Graduate student and executive director of Manta Trust Josh Stewart first made this discovery while studying adult mantas in the area for the first time. “I was there trying to get a genetic sample from a full grown manta, and that’s when I saw it. It was a juvenile male manta, which is a very rare,” Stewart told NPR. After expressing his excitement to local researchers, he was informed that young manta sightings were quite common there. He said, “And that’s when I knew that this was a really special, unique place.”

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Like in many places across the U.S., the real estate market is booming in Aspen, Colorado. And, as companies move in to replenish the dwindling housing inventory, one real estate developer hopes to provide a more sustainable alternative to the inevitable onslaught of cookie-cutter homes. Working in collaboration with San Francisco-based Aidlin Darling Design, the developer has completed a solar-powered dwelling that serves as a new energy-efficient prototype for speculative real estate in Aspen.

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The popularity of micro-apartments has really taken off over the years as cities continue to seek affordable solutions for growing populations. However, one particular renovation of a Victorian-era townhouse by design firm BicBloc is proving that micro-living can also help cities repurpose older properties into viable options that cater to the housing needs of today’s society.

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Over 15,000 plastic bottles were temporarily given a new lease on life as a glowing labyrinth in Vatican Square, one of Buenos Aires’ most celebrated public spaces. Designed by environmental art collective Luzinterruptus, the Plastic Waste Labyrinth calls attention to the staggering amount of waste generated everyday in a thought-provoking installation. Commissioned by the Department of Environmental and Public Areas of Buenos Aires City Government, Ciudad Verde, the immersive artwork was installed for one week and open 24 hours a day as part of Global Recycling Day.

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After buying a gutted 1998 Thomas Vista 3600 on Craigslist, couple Nicholas and Heather spent the next year renovating it into their dream tiny home on wheels, lovingly named the Vicaribus. Doing all of the work themselves, the ambitious DIY-ers managed to create ample living space, a dining room, an office, a guest bed and storage in just 120 square feet of space, which runs on solar power.

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A small group of African wild dogs have returned to Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, heralding a potential upswing in a diverse ecosystem that has suffered severe damage in recent decades. In the almost two decades of civil war that plagued the country beginning in the 1970s, more than a million people were killed by violence or famine while much of the wildlife at Gorongosa was also eradicated. Now, thanks to a collaborative effort between a non-profit group founded by American philanthropist Greg Carr and the Mozambican government, the wild dogs have come home. Still, so much has changed and is continuing to change. “We can’t go back to what exactly it was,” Gorongosa science director Marc Stalmans told Phys.org. “Has the environment changed over the last 50 years in a way that certain previous states can no longer be attained?”

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In a new study published in the journal Science, scientists detail the identification of a new species of gibbon, one that had gone extinct at some point over the past two millennia. The remains of Junzi imperialis were first discovered in 2004, when archaeologists at Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology in Xi’an discovered a mausoleum nearby the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, China‘s first emperor, which is famously guarded by thousands of terracotta soldiers. In addition to the partial skull of the gibbon, the mausoleum contained bones from numerous animals, such as panthers, lynxes, black bears and cranes. The gibbon likely would have belonged to the emperor’s grandmother, Lady Xia. “Having gibbons as pets appears to have been common among Chinese royals during ancient times,” study co-author Alejandra Ortiz told NPR.

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