8 thoughtful Mother’s Day gift ideas for the eco mama in your life

May 9, 2017 by  
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Finding the perfect gift for the eco-conscious Mama in your life is a little more labor intensive than just running out for generic cards or super-market flowers at the last second. You want to find something that shows you really care – about her and about the planet. We’ve made your life a bit easier this year with a roundup of eight thoughtful gift ideas we think will appeal to the earth-loving mama in your world. 1. Ladies-only outdoor adventure Adventurous outdoor Moms will love REI/Outessa’s three-day retreats , where they can dabble in rock climbing, yoga , paddle boarding, and more while being treated to chef-prepared and locally-sourced meals. After a weekend spent with other nature -loving women, Mom will come back ready to tackle parenting and life with feeling connected and rejuvenated. 2. Jewelry Andrea Bonelli ’s gorgeous handmade jewelry (like the above pink sapphire necklace ) incorporates recycled and ethically mined stones and metals. Bonelli is also a member of Ethical Metalsmiths and gives back through the Toolbox Initiative, which provides jewelers in West Africa with tools and supplies to encourage their ability to work autonomously. If the sky’s the limit for the Earth Mama in your life, gift her with a premium piece from Monique Pean , beloved among the eco-celeb set for her sustainable and unique pieces, who counts former First Lady Michelle Obama as a fan. 3. Books Whether purchasing a physical book or the e-version, you have plenty of choices that will expand Mom’s reading horizons. A few of our hot picks: Phenomenal , which has readers join a new mother as she traipses across the planet in search of migrating butterflies in Mexico and lightening storms in Venezuela and  Lab Girl , the bestselling and intriguing memoir of geo-biologist Hope Jahren. Others may enjoy How To Read Water , which provides insightful instructions for forecasting the weather by looking at waves or using puddles to figure out directions. If the Mom you’re gifting these books to has little ones, earn bonus points by also gifting her some time and a quiet space to actually read them. RELATED: 11 Eco-tastic gifts for Mother’s Day 4. Ceramic breakfast bowl These hand-painted and hand-thrown Moroccan bowls  from Raven & Lily are wonderful mood boosters for Mom when she’s throwing down a bowl of cereal amidst the before school morning chaos or snacking on some dried fruits and nuts for a midday break. It’s no coincidence they are also perfectly sized for use as a chai or latte “mug”; the bowls also come in a mini size  and are pretty enough to corral rings, change, keys, or perhaps chocolate chips. 10 percent of sales goes towards an after-school program in Morocco that provides academic support, life skills mentoring, and leadership coaching. 5. S’Well water bottle We probably all have a reusable water bottle (or five) at home, but somehow they manage to migrate to kids’ backpacks or end up on spouse’s desks. S’Well ’s sleek BPA-free stainless steel water bottles are triple wall insulated to keep beverages cold for 24 hours or hot for 12. The limited edition Terra bottle is decorated with lush flora and fauna; we’re also loving the Elements collection, inspired by natural beauties such as pearls and marbled stone. A portion of S’Well’s sales go towards supporting clean and safe water supplies in vulnerable communities. Staying hydrated, whether Mom’s adventures take her on a hike or to the carpool line, never looked so pretty. 6. Flowers No sad, tired, on-their-last-stem arrangements here: Bouqs partners with local artisan florists around the country and sustainable farmers around the world to provide vibrant custom bouquets. In certain areas of the country, a “bouq” can even be delivered on demand within hours, a lifesaver for spouses and children who perhaps procrastinated a bit too long. All the vendors in this “farm to table” arrangement approach practice sustainable farming that minimizes waste. Want to give Mom the gift that keeps on giving? Consider gifting a living plant that can provide beauty (and clean air) to her space for years. Any potted plant will do nicely, but if you’re looking for an easy, low-maintenance gift idea, moth orchids (phalaenopsis) , in particular, are beautiful, usually easy to find at your local market, extremely low-maintenance (you barely need to water them), and great indoor-air cleaners . RELATED: 7 indoor plants that purify the air naturally 7. Edible goodies INNA Jam ’s jams , shrubs, pickles, and salts are next-level delicious. With a focus on organically grown produce from a 150-mile radius of the company’s California kitchen and a strict seasonal sensibility, Moms and anyone who gives these treats a try will fall in love with the flavorful, jewel-toned, single-origin jams as well as the game-changing shrubs (basically a fruit/vinegar/sugar syrup). Other ideas? Try hand-crafted, non-GMO pickles in flavors including Maple Bourbon Whiskey Sour from Brooklyn Brine  or a 111-year-old dehydrated sourdough starter . 8. Art Adjusting to life with kids often means mamas have to modify their travel and adventure expectations. If she can’t lay her eyes on a far-flung island or peak in real life for the time being, playful and cheerful wall art that brings to mind her love of nature may be a temporary salve. Printed on FSC-certified or recycled paper,  options from Graphic Anthology  include abstract geometric trees or mountains , Scandinavian design-inspired fish , and a sweet reminder to all to Go Outside and Play  and would make also great additions to a nursery, kitchen, or family room. You can even pick up a gorgeous Mother’s Day card while you are browsing the site. Lead image © REI/Outessa

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8 thoughtful Mother’s Day gift ideas for the eco mama in your life

Worlds largest offshore wind farm opens in The Netherlands

May 9, 2017 by  
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Dutch officials have increased the country’s clean energy repertoire with the world’s largest offshore wind farm . Opened on Monday, Gemini wind park has 150 wind turbines spinning approximately 53 miles (85 kilometers) off the northern coast of The Netherlands ; the project is capable of generating about 600 megawatts at full winds – enough to power 785,000 Dutch households. The wind park, which was conceived in 2010 and cost $3 billion (2.8-billion-euro), comprises a collaboration between Canadian renewable energy company Northland Power, wind turbine producer Siemens Wind Power, Dutch maritime contractor Van Oord and the waste processing company HVC. “We are now officially in the operational stage,” said Matthias Haag, the company’s managing director, in a press release.” This been “quite a complex” operation, Haag added, “particularly as this wind park lies relatively far offshore… so it took quite a lot of logistics.” Over the next 15 years, the Gemini wind park will be able to generate about 13 percent of the country’s total renewable energy supply or about 25 percent of its wind power . This, in turn, will meet the energy requirements of about 1.5 million people. Related: Scotland’s latest wind farm will help fund 500 new affordable homes Phys.org estimates that the wind park will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.25 billion tons. Fossil fuels continue to make up approximately 95 percent of The Netherland’s energy supply, according to a 2016 report from the ministry of economics affairs. However, by sourcing 14 percent of its energy from clean sources – including wind and solar – by 2025, the Dutch country will be en route to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Hopefully, the example The Netherlands has set will inspire other countries to follow suit in an effort to curb climate change . Via Phys

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Worlds largest offshore wind farm opens in The Netherlands

Explore incredible worlds inside these landscapes carved into books

May 2, 2017 by  
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Laramée, who has an extensive background in the arts, is best known for his topographical literary sculptures that take anywhere between days to months to complete. His sculptures have depicted breathtaking landscapes from iconic Petra in Jordan to China’s emerald karst mountains. In an interview with yatzer, Laramée say that these works of art aren’t so much about nature as they are about capturing and evoking the feeling of the sublime and spirituality inspired by extraordinary landscapes. The sculptures are all made by hand without computer modeling. Laramée uses a vast array of tools from band saws and chain saws to flexible shaft rotary tools and sand blasters to carve small magical worlds from tightly bound book pages. Mountainous landscapes, icy glaciers, canyons, and underground caverns are all masterfully represented in his prolific series. Laramée applies oil paints, inks, dry pastels, crayon, adhesives, and beeswax to bring the landscapes to life. “My work, in 3D as well as in painting, originates from the very idea that ultimate knowledge could very well be an erosion instead of an accumulation,” writes Laramée. “So I carve landscapes out of books and I paint romantic landscapes. Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS. Fogs and clouds erase everything we know, everything we think we are.” + Guy Laramée Via Colossal

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Explore incredible worlds inside these landscapes carved into books

Ai Weiwei and Shepard Fairey launch skateboard protest art for Trump’s 100th day

April 27, 2017 by  
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Artist-activists Ai Weiwei and Shepard Fairey have teamed up to launch a new series of artwork today in response to the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency. The pieces are printed on an intriguing medium: limited-edition skateboards. The collection is debuting at The Skateroom , a social entrepreneurship initiative that uses funds from its custom, fine-art skateboard decks to support at-risk youth. This is the second time The Skateroom has worked with Ai Weiwei , a contemporary artist and political activist whose work has drawn the ire of Chinese government on more than one occasion. His Study of Perspective collection showcases a series of photos shot between 1995 and 2003, with the artist flipping the finger at iconic landmarks and symbols of authority across the globe. Though it’s not a new series, the spirit of ideological opposition is one that remains especially relevant in today’s political climate – and the piece The Skateroom has chosen to highlight takes aim directly at the White House. LA-based street artist Shepard Fairey , perhaps best known for his iconic and controversial Obama “HOPE” posters , has also adapted one of his existing political works for The Skateroom. No Future is a simple, black and white stenciled image that denounces hate speech and propaganda – two subjects that have become disturbingly urgent in this new era of fake news and “alternative facts.” Related: Creepy Skull Sculptures Rise from the Remains of Dead Skateboards The collaboration with both artists makes perfect sense – Weiwei and Fairey have both attempted throughout their careers to use art as a force for positive social change, so The Skateroom’s mission is a clear match. These politically-charged works will debut at Art Market San Francisco from April 27th-29th, and will be available to purchase at The Skateroom online store. The Ai Weiwei print is available in a limited edition run of 666 hand screen-printed 7-ply Canadian maple skateboards, the first 66 of which will be signed by the artist and priced at $3,000 each. The Shepard Fairy edition will be slightly more limited, with only 450 skateboards available, priced at $450 a piece. + The Skateroom Images courtesy of The Skateroom

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Ai Weiwei and Shepard Fairey launch skateboard protest art for Trump’s 100th day

Street artist constructs gigantic geometric portraits with reclaimed wood

April 14, 2017 by  
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Belgian street artist Stefaan De Croock (a.k.a. Strook ) just unveiled a gigantic portrait made entirely out of reclaimed wood . Working with wood fragments of various shapes, sizes and colors, the artist created the enormous 30-foot-high portrait on the side of a high-rise for the Crystal Ship Arts Festival in Ostend, Belgium. The large art piece was created with reclaimed wood pieces sourced from old homes, studios, boats, and even a shipwreck. Using the wood’s original color palette and natural textures as a guide, the artist painstakingly created a beautiful female form. Related: Italian artist creates extraordinary sculptures out of reclaimed driftwood The artist and graphic designer is well-known for his creative street art and was commissioned this year by the arts festival to create a large-scale piece. Strook’s portrait is one of many art pieces on display by some 20 international and local artists who were invited to attend the festival. + Strook Via This is Colossal Photography by Sasha Bogojev for Arrested Motion

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Street artist constructs gigantic geometric portraits with reclaimed wood

Senate Republicans could save methane rules from Trump

April 14, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump is facing opposition to his rolling back of environmental regulations. Of course climate activists and Democrats are fighting back against the administration’s attempts to undermine Obama-era rules on everything from fuel efficiency standards to preventing coal ash from being dumped in rivers. On at least one Trump action however, it is Republicans in the Senate who are pushing back — a bill to overturn a methane regulation for public lands has stalled in the Senate (it passed the GOP-controlled House in February) because, according to reporting from Mother Jones , “a number of moderate and Western state Republican senators have worried about the implications of permanently restricting the Interior Department’s ability to regulate methane emissions.” Methane is a powerful, although short-lived, greenhouse gas with at least 86 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide over a time span of 20 years in the atmosphere and 34 times the strength of CO2 over a 100-year time scale. The Interior Department’s methane and natural gas rule limits the release of methane from oil and gas operations on public lands. The natural gas is wasted through leaks, intentional venting, or burning off the gas — a process known as flaring. Related: House Republicans move to make methane pollution great again Some Senate Republicans are hedging on repealing the methane rules because of the permanency of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that allows for Congress to overturn federal rulemaking with a simple majority vote. In other words, the CRA blocks federal agencies from putting forward similar rules at any point in the future, meaning the Bureau of Land Management might not ever be able to regulate methane pollution on public lands no matter who sits in the White House or what party controls Congress. A recent survey by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions found strong support for current federal methane regulations aimed at reducing natural gas emissions. “The idea that conservatives would be attacking a waste reduction measure is kind of bizarre,” the Wilderness Society’s deputy director of energy and climate, Josh Mantell, told Mother Jones. Via Mother Jones Images via Flickr 1 , 2

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Senate Republicans could save methane rules from Trump

Glowing cardboard pavilion pops up in a Gothic courtyard in Valencia

April 11, 2017 by  
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Spanish art collective Pink Intruder just installed a glowing cardboard building called Renaixement inside a beautiful Gothic cloister in Valencia. The golden cube features a mosaic facade made out of an intricate cardboard latticework , and it’s illuminated from within by lighting studio RADIANTE. The ornate structure made its debut at the 2016 Burning Man , but it was such a hit that the artists decided to bring it back home and rebuild it in the Gothic cloister of Valencia’s Centre del Carmen Museum. The location is fitting since the pavilion design was inspired by the creative geometric and sculptural techniques used in the city’s famed Fallas festival . Related: Pink Intruder Unveils Gorgeous Pixelated Cardboard Pavilion in Valencia, Spain The structure’s medieval-style facade is made out of cardboard pieces and molds used by a traditional Fallas guild. The structure was built over a wooden mosaic floor made up of more than 25,000 pieces assembled by social collectives, making the artwork a communal effort. The glowing tubes integrated into the cardboard frame give the ornate cube an intimate and spiritual atmosphere at night. + Pink Intruder Photography by Noel Arraiz

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Glowing cardboard pavilion pops up in a Gothic courtyard in Valencia

Nature-inspired gallery celebrates Taiwans aboriginal cultures with cargotecture

March 31, 2017 by  
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A shimmering wave-like roof mirroring the Pacific Ocean tops this stunning new structure that celebrates Taiwan’s aboriginal cultures with eco-friendly construction. Bio-architecture Formosana recently completed the Taitung Aboriginal Gallery, a 1,921-square-meter exhibition center that draws inspiration from nature just as the architects of Austronesian culture did for centuries. With Taitung’s rich and varied landscapes as well as its seven different aboriginal tribes, the architects drew on a wealth of cultural and environmental resources for their design. The Taitung Aboriginal Gallery was created to celebrate the artistic and nature-inspired architectural elements of Austronesian culture. Thus, the architects created a large steel-framed roof with an undulating shape that mimics the topography and ocean, and is decorated with diamond shapes that symbolize the eyes of the ancestral spirits. The shape allows for access to natural light and ventilation throughout the building while providing much needed shade and cooling from the tropical sun. The sloped sides also facilitate collection of rainwater , which is stored in five small ponds in the plaza. Related: Mecanoo wins competition to design the Tainan Public Library with natural materials As an island with several major ports, Taiwan collects approximately 10,000 shipping containers from the ocean every year. The architects recycled a number of the containers into rooms within the Taitung Aboriginal Gallery. The repurposed and repainted shipping containers are individually air-conditioned and serve as aboriginal handicraft shops. “In Taitung’s tropical climate, individualized air conditioning reduces the refrigerating ton by 50%, and the electricity use by 60%,” write the architects. + Bio-architecture Formosana Via ArchDaily Images by Lucas K. Doolan

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Nature-inspired gallery celebrates Taiwans aboriginal cultures with cargotecture

Cloud House makes it rain on demand with creative water harvesting system

March 23, 2017 by  
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You won’t have to do a rain dance to make it rain at the Cloud House—sitting in one of its rocking chairs should do the trick. Artist Matthew Mazzotta created the Cloud House, a gabled pavilion with a cloud-like sculpture that releases collected rainwater whenever someone sits inside the building. Crafted from reclaimed materials , the art installation was commissioned in Springfield, Missouri to bring attention to our dependence on natural systems, like the water cycle, that grow the food we eat. “Located at Springfield , MO’s largest farmers’ market, CLOUD HOUSE is a poetic counterpoint to the busy market, inviting visitors to a meditative space in which they can slow down, enjoy the fresh edible plants, and listen to rain on a tin roof,” writes Mazzotta. Topped with a cloud-shaped resin sculpture attached by a pipe, the gabled structure is built of barn wood and tin reclaimed from an abandoned Amish farm. Edible plants grow on the windowsills and the building’s two ends are left completely open to reveal a sparse interior decorated with two rocking chairs and a small table. https://vimeo.com/189592923 Related: Open House Renovates an Abandoned Building into a Transforming Open Air Theater Rainwater is collected with a gutter system that funnels the water into an underground storage tank. When someone sits on the rocking chair, a pump is triggered to bring the harvested rainwater up to the artificial cloud where it’s released as droplets onto the roof. The rainwater simulation waters the windowsill plants and creates a “warm pleasant sound of rain on a tin roof.” During periods of drought, however, the cloud will not rain to illustrate man’s dependence on the natural world. + Matthew Mazzotta Via Dezeen Images by Tim Hawley

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Cloud House makes it rain on demand with creative water harvesting system

Antique farm equipment reborn as delicate works of art

March 16, 2017 by  
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These stunning nature-inspired sculptures are so beautiful you might not notice at first glance what they’re carved from—old farm equipment. Self-taught artist Dan Rawlings recycles these discarded tools into canvases and sculptures . By giving these forgotten tools new life, he hopes to remind others to appreciate the value of our existing possessions and the environment rather than succumb to the never-ending excesses of commercialism. Based in Gloucestershire, UK, Rawlings is drawn to the fun challenge of working with old found objects that still have sentimental value even if they’re damaged beyond use. Using a variety of tools including a handheld plasma torch, welders , and scalpels, the artist reshapes and carves intricate nature-inspired scenes. He writes: “I try to create images that remind people of the moments when everything seems possible and free; times when climbing a tree, or sitting admiring the way its branches twist and curl means nothing, but means everything.” Related: Artist Nikki Ella Whitlock recycles wine bottle fragments into ethereal mosaics Although Rawlings works with many different materials, he’s most well known for metal carvings . His manipulation of metals can be seen in his reworking of old saws to the walls of vans. + Dan Rawlings

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Antique farm equipment reborn as delicate works of art

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