Have you ever thought of creating a beautiful haven outdoors that can be used for rest and relaxation, entertaining family and friends or for alfresco meals with the family? Such a place will add great value to your property and help to keep you healthy by offering a way to reduce your stress levels. We don’t usually consider sustainability when thinking of such a project, but in fact, having an outdoor haven with relaxing outdoor furniture from drovers furniture can be considered eco-friendly. How?
When you make an outdoor place to enjoy, it needs to have some kind of floor to replace the grass. This is because grass would soon wear away if the place was used much, through feet trampling on it. It is also quite wet after rain or dew and people often don’t want to walk on it and get their good shoes wet. Or their toes, if they are wearing sandals.
Mark your calendars – it’s that time of year again, when the best chefs and food producers in our local communities come together to put on the delectable Feast of Fields event.
Held at various locales in British Columbia, this year is FarmFolk CityFolk’s 15th annual food celebration and fundraiser, with the Feast of Fields Vancouver Island event to be hosted at Alderlea Farm in Duncan on Sunday, Sept. 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. This is the seventh Feast of Fields to be held in the Cowichan Valley, and will showcase another delicious gourmet harvest. The culinary extravaganza has been hosted at numerous stunning Vancouver Island farms since 1998.
It’s week one of my internship at Farm Sanctuary in Orland, California, and, I have to say, I am already having the most incredible experience.
There are many animal welfare organizations that I admire, but Farm Sanctuary has always been at the top of my list. In addition to their advocacy and making great strides in improving legislation for farm animals, Farm Sanctuary has a reputation for a successful hands-on approach to rehabilitation, healing, and providing refuge for injured farm animals. And seeing it happen firsthand — and being part of it — is a phenomenal experience.
There are plenty of ways to make your wedding eco friendly, reduce the carbon footprint it creates and generally give Mother Earth a helping hand. You can always hire a photo booth to save on the cost of a photographer and on the harsh chemicals some use in developing non-digital prints. However, one area of the wedding is really easy to go green with and that is the wedding favours that each guest takes home at the end of the reception.
Much of the time these favours are just rubbish that people don’t want. But you can make yours count in a way you may not expect and neither will your wedding guests. Here are some ways to make wedding favours not enjoyable, but also eco friendly.
The Doggie Fountain is great way to provide cool, fresh water for your dog companion, especially as summer approaches.
Your faithful dog companions, and perhaps the occasional raccoon, fox or other intelligent four-legged friends, might also learn to get their own fresh and safe drinking water using the Doggie Fountain. It is way better than a dog bowl that gets too hot during the day, gets knocked over, or gummed up with all sorts of garden muck.
The Yes Men have been up to their tricks again, staging a faux ShellArctic drilling launch party called ‘Let’s Go!’ in the Seattle Space Needle. During the event, an alcohol-spouting oilrig replica failed and leaked over the guest of honor.
As part of the Yes Men’s hilarious spoof, a fake Shell website was also created, called Arctic Ready, and it brings together images and materials that mock Shell’s real Arctic exploration program in Alaska.
Canada has been suffering unusually high losses of bees each winter since 2006. That’s the year when a new and unexplained set of symptoms called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) began to be recognized. The impact to the hive colony was the large-scale disappearance of the worker bees.
Very high commercial honeybee losses have continued since then, with 30.9% of hives lost in Canada in 2010/11. This doesn’t include the serious decline of wild bees or other pollinators. Various infectious organisms, including two species of fungus from the genus Nosema, have received most of the blame; but taken alone they do not account for the symptoms of CCD.
Exile’ is Cuban artist José Ángel Vincench’s current art installation at the 11th Havana Biennial Art Exhibition which is held every two years in Cuba, and is aimed at promoting “Third World” contemporary art, giving voice to unheard and ignored artists.
Vincench’s five mobile homes spell out the word ‘exile’, and the empty trailers symbolically represent individuals who live outside of their own country either due to politics, censorship, or just for personal reasons such as income to support families left behind in their home country.
Renowned sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has a series of limited edition prints, sculptures and films on display in an exhibition at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York June 30 to July 28, 2012.
Some of his underwater sculptures are true masterpieces. Using high strength pH-neutral cement and tensile stainless steel coral anchoring points; The Phoenix is the first kinetic sculpture in the MUSA Cancun collection. Based on a female form, her wings are propagated with living purple fan coral that continuously moves back and forth underwater, filtering nutrients from the water column. The fan coral is often naturally uprooted and dislodged during strong storms and this coral was from rescued fragments found on nearby sand bars. The sculpture is orientated into the prevailing current and the wings of the Phoenix appears to beat with the natural cycle of the waves.
Shadowlands is a Greenpeace presentation of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the displaced people, and the human cost of a serious nuclear accident and features the work of award-winning photographer Robert Knoth and documentary maker Antoinette de Jong.
“The Fukushima nuclear disaster is having a dramatic impact on the environment and the lives of the people from a wide area around the nuclear plant,” explained Knoth. “We sought to document this through landscape and portrait photography, as well as interviews with people from the affected region – some of whom may never be able to return to their homes. What we found was a profound sense of loss.”
Propaganda, brainwashing and child abuse!” Who knew that children’s books could provoke such charges? My first book, That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, was internationally well-received, but also caused some controversy—garnering attacks in online parenting forums, animal agriculture trade magazines, and even from Farm Bureau CEOs.
My latest picture book Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action is on the same track…and I do admit, I revel in the public discussion. I have always been interested in the underbelly of things, and each case of opposition to my books provides me the opportunity to study the invisible forces that shape public thinking about children, food, health, and animals. Where do these concerns come from? Why the outcry over a book about veganism and not the USDA’s food pyramid?
The Spherovelo Bicycle is a funky, fun, pre-school first bike for kids (one to three year olds) that is a safe approach to teaching children to ride and comes with removable internal stabilizers.
The Spherovelo is designed by a British company called Early Rider, based in Henley on Thames, England, but has a distinctly west coast style aesthetic.
With a simple design, and using stabilizing balls for first time learners, it can move in any direction, and the stabilizer balls can be removed, so it becomes unstable and the child learner then develops motor skills to balance themselves and keep it upright.
New York designers Brooklyn Industries and GreenAid have a new weapon to sow wild plants everywhere with their Seed Bomb Bracelets.
Using eco-friendly twine and three clay/compost beads loaded with wildflowers, when you throw your bracelet onto some urban earthy land, you might just be spreading some happiness along with some wild urban flowers.
Most people keep politics out of the bedroom, but how about the bathroom? People For The Ethical Treatment (PETA) have come up with a rather unusual way to grab people’s attention when they are sitting on the toilet. The often controversial animal rights’ organization has created an anti-meat toilet paper designed to raise awareness about the reality of meat production.
“Because of the filthy conditions on factory farms and the fact that slaughterhouse floors and fishing boats are often contaminated with feces, blood, and vomit, a great deal of meat is tainted with dangerous intestinal bacteria by the time it reaches the family dinner table,” explains PETA of their toilet paper.
PETA donates the toilet paper to communities and even government offices that are running low on paper and/or maybe they neglected to adequately budget for toilet paper in their yearly finances.
The Rainbow, a creation by artist and professor Michael Jones McKean, literally bathes The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, in Omaha, Nebraska in a shower of natural color.
In an exhibit entitled The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between FormsProject. The human made rainbow illuminates the Bemis Center twice per day for 20 minutes, using rainwater harvested using expertise and hardware provided by Lindsay Corporation and Watertronics. McKean’s work emphasizes “….the placeless, celebratory, seductive and elusive qualities of Mother Nature’s spectacular rainbow”.
The rainbow is created using captured stormwater that is filtered and stored in six above-ground, 10,500 gallon (39,750 liter) water tanks. A 60hp (45kW) pump, powered by renewable energy, pressurizes the water in nine nozzles mounted to the 20,000sq.ft. (1,860sq.m) roof. The rainbow itself, dependent upon the angle of the sun and the weather conditions, can be seen from over 1000ft (330m) away, or from very close up.
German artist and designer Heike Bottcher turned an old blue farmhouse into a hydro-driven symphony.
Dubbed the Court of Water, and located on the Dresden’s Kunsthof Passage farm collective, the innovative art installation uses water to turn the building, complete with a series of funnels, pipes and tubes, into a living hydro-powered concert. With no two performances ever the same.
American artist Ellen Jantzen has created a series of stunning images that move beyond the cliché of documenting the legendary road trip.
“Think of all of those Route 66 photos; abandoned gas stations, derelict cars at the side of the road, ordinary “folks” sipping malts through a straw at the local drugstore. American flags everywhere, a few Confederate ones in certain locales. BBQ stands with folks lined up, spilling out onto the street, old movie marquees displaying “Easy Rider”,” explains the artist of her latest work.
Her haunting photos depict the newly evolving American landscape, one dotted with wind turbines and appropriately dubbed Point & Shoot @ 70MPH as Ellen takes her images from a moving car.
“The freeways/Interstates transverse spectacular scenery, much of it void of towns and car dealerships. There are farmhouses and barns, often at quite a distance and cows, but mostly open, native America to be glimpsed between the billboards announcing the next exit’s offerings,” she explains.
Is there anything worse than a stale baguette? Only when it ends up in the garbage! Polish designers Gosia and Tomek Rygalik (Studio Rygalik) upcycled old baguettes to create tables dubbed the Bread Experience. The unusual table were made for the Vienna Design Week Laboratory.
In a world where food wastage is so high in many countries, taking a little of that food garbage and upcycling it is a great idea for repurpousing uneaten food.
Companion pets are becoming increasingly obese with busy pet owners not taking enough time to ensure their animal companions get enough exercise or eat properly. A new dog stairlift, dubbed the Stair of the Dog 2022, helps transport overweight animals up the stairs so they can sleep with their owners.
So, if you want to indulge your pet (and their extra poundage), buy them the stairlift and, at the touch of a doggie button that perhaps your pet could get to operate themselves, they get an easy ride up and down the stairs.
The UK device, costs around £5,000 (US$7,935 or €6060), and is designed by a UK insurance company in response to the prediction that dog obesity will rise from 33% at present with 52% of UK dogs expected to be dangerously overweight by 2022.
Though, the rise in obesity may not be all inflicted from overindulgent pet owners, with many human studies linking phthalates, found in shampoos, soaps, lotions, paint and pesticides, as well as soft plastics (maybe your doggie friends favorite chew toy) with absorption into the body can act as a endocrine disruptor that interrupts correct function of glands and hormones. So it may not be a surprise to find your pet companion suffering from some of the same household chemical products that are affecting their metabolism too.
While Stair of the Dog 2022 might be a good idea for injured pets, it surely can’t be a great idea for obese ones – more exercise, a natural diet, and not too many snacks nor treats would be a better place to time, energy and money.
French biochemist Pierre Calleja has created large-scale algae powered street lamps that can potentially absorb more than one ton of CO2 a year.
Algae lamps can charge up batteries during the day through their photosynthesis process that is driven by the sun and nutrients. This stored power is then used at night to power lights. Calleja’s lamps can also be illuminated artificially, such as in dark underground parking lots, where the algae go to work absorbing all the CO2 emissions from the cars. Above ground or in homes, they use natural daylight.
Maybe a forest of these algae lamps in every city might go a long way to replace all the CO2 absorbing trees that got cut down to make way for urban sprawl.
Canada-based design firm Bocci has created these super funky living chandeliers.
Comprised of blown glass, designer Omer Arbel created the ’38 Series’ using a random mixing of forms and shapes, with the addition of different plant species to produce an innovative light sculpture that brings greenery into every room.
The E-Scape Personal Workspace is US-based architect Michael Jantzen’s creative solution for a lightweight, modular and prefabricated office space that can be reconfigured for added privacy.
The E-Scape modular components are made from sustainably grown wood products, and eco-friendly fabrics. Curved wood support frames are prefabricated into different lengths and shapes. Bolted together, these support frames can form many different shapes and sizes depending on workspace availability and how office colleagues want to interact – privately or via a more open plan design.
Jazzing up today’s boring (beige or grey) open plan offices, is made easy with the innovative E-Scape design, using different colored, textured, and/or patterned fabrics, sewn together and attached to the support frame sections. The fabric can also be woven through the support frames, easily changing the color, texture, pattern, and/or opacity of the structure.
The fabric can also be dyed using eco-friendly products and the entire structure can be easily remodeled and added to, or transported to another location. The versatility of E-Scape will prolong its use in a workspace, recycling office furniture and keeping precious resources out of landfills.
As of today, you are most likely eating GMOs, and you probably don’t know it. As we forge ahead on this film, I keep coming back to a really basic question for us here in North America – how is it possible that we are eating GMOs everyday, but we don’t know about it? Many people don’t even know what a GMO is! (FYI: GMOs are genetically modified organisms.)
GMOs are about industry for industry’s sake. It’s not for us, our health, increased yield, feeding the poor….those are all lies. GMOs exist so chemical companies can sell more chemicals. That’s what this film we are making wants to awaken people to. It’s about crops modified for resistance to chemicals that are made by the same companies that are peddling the GMO seeds.
It’s about big, big money. It’s about us being lied to and experimented on. It’s about massive corporations in bed with the government, and our government betraying its own people to line various corporate pockets.
Japanese artist and illustrator Takanori Aiba, creates incredibly detailed miniature worlds, combining miniature bonsai sculptures with a vivid imagination and dedication to detail.
With a lifelong love of the miniature and detail, and from playing with bonsai and railway models as a child, Aiba created mini-stories set in imaginary worlds which he sculpted as an adult by applying his experience in illustrating 3D mazes and learning about civil construction. Much of his inspiration came from watching ants build their colonies and from Disney fantasy story-telling.
Aiba creates multiple drawings to visualize his sculptures and his technician Kazuya Murakami makes them using clay, plastic, wood, steel, resin and plaster. Each work takes months to a year to make depending on their complexity.
In a public relations stunt by a local taxi firm, a car appears to have fallen into a monster-sized pothole in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The PR campaign is to advertise a new Canadian iPhone app called ‘Pothole Season’ where you can find out where all the major potholes might be, so you can avoid them and save damaging your car’s suspension.
It is a well-known fact that the roads in Montreal are riddled with potholes – and some of the real ones could be big enough to damage your car. So this iPhone app may prove to be very popular. You can get to see a Google map of the potholes at Pothole Season.
Most Canadian winters are usually quite severe, and Quebec roads get a severe beating from the snow and ice. So, in the spring, a favorite Canadian pastime is to count how many new potholes have appeared over the winter and are visible when the snow melts.
Rob Ives has created a fully functional paper safe which is a great DIY project for you and your kids. You can lock and open the secret drawer with your own private combination that is entered with the small numbered dial.
Ives designs paper animations and you can buy a CD with easy to follow instructions, lots of images to show you what to do and the print patterns for the parts. It costs only £2.50 (US$4, €3), which is great value for lots of eco-friendly entertainment and you also get something useful.
After printing onto thin card, use a sharp art knife (adults only for this) to cut out the card patterns. Using glue to keep the parts together, you can part all the separate parts and then assemble them to make the safe. Afterwards, you could customize it with bright colors and keep your valuables hidden from view.
Hopefully there are fewer and fewer people in the industrialized world who are non-believers of anthropogenic (human) induced climate change. Maybe there are some who will never be convinced, especially those who have a vested interest in not believing it, or perhaps they are anti-leftist thinking, or just plainly anti-everything.
If you are one of those – please read the following intently, and if you are a believer then please read knowing that yet more evidence (if we need it) is going to come down the technical pipeline.
Over the last decade or more, NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites have monitored the clouds, oceans, vegetation, ice, land and atmosphere, but the latest satellites promise even better information.
What happens if a hard-driving advertising professional from the year 2012 fell forward seventy years into a green future? That’s the premise of Falling Through Time, the new eco-thriller from novelist Patrica Comroe Frank. Narrated in the first-person voice of the advertising executive, the book leads the reader on the adventures and misadventures of when worlds collide: the day a marketer of mass consumerism meets deep ecology.
After an accident in Alaska, Summer Holbrook, the narrator, wakes to a new world. It’s a rocky awakening for her. The future these urban refugees have carved out of the remote wilderness in California’s Siskiyou Mountains is the polar opposite of the high consumption world she’s left behind. Accustomed to creature comforts and luxury, she despises this new world of greatly reduced population, absent technology, and the return to basics.
Mimicry is the ultimate form of flattery. The Fibrous Tower from Austrian SOMA Architects, won second place in the Taiwan Tower International Competition by applying biomimicry to their entry and advanced design techniques.
The Austrian architecture firm, with offices in Vienna and Salzburg, modeled their creation on a plant-like, zero-emissions design that responds to its surroundings like a living plant. The building also generates its own electrical power with piezo-electric mechanisms to generate voltage from structural movement plus a building façade-mounted flexible photovoltaic skin, and high efficiency rigid solar panels on flat surfaces. The total available area is an incredible 25,000sq.m (269,000sq.ft) for solar power generation.
The building has a museum, tower lobby, green spaces and a network of paths that intertwine with the building lower levels that mimic tree roots. The towers reach skyward like flower stamens with elevators and public observatories. SOMA Architects used genetic algorithms to optimize the design, evaluating over 2,500,000 design alternatives, before finalizing their concept design and performing a structural analysis.
Designed to explore the potentials of a large winery but also function as a solar electric generation power plant, the Solar Vineyard Winery, from designer Michael Jantzen, utilizes solar electricity produced through a large bank of curved photovoltaic solar cells that are elevated above the winery roof.
The solar electricity powers the entire winery and the excess is sold to the local utility. The cells also shade the structure below, and symbolically refer to giant rows of grape vines planted on a hillside. Shaded space beneath the solar panels is used by visitors for picnics and special events.
Rainwater is also collected off of the curved roof and stored for use in and around the winery. All of the water used at the winery is recycled and is used to water the grape vines.
Most of the utilitarian portion of the Solar Vineyard Winery is placed under the main structure, which references the surrounding rolling hills of the wine country in which the structure is situated. The above ground portion of the winery is used for the retail part of the business, which includes wine tasting and sales, a shop, a cafe, rest rooms, etc.
Large glass windows are recessed into the south side of the structure to shade the interior in the summer, and provide passive solar space heating in the winter. Natural ventilation is used throughout the winery for cooling, along with an extensive system of earth pipes that cool the air as it is drawn into the structure.
“My hope with this design is to demonstrate ways in which alternative energy gathering systems like solar cells, can be integrated into the built environment without appearing to be an afterthought,” explains the designer. “In this case, the solar cells become an integral part of the esthetics of the design in addition to having the potential of producing a large amount of solar electrical energy for many years.”