An eco-friendly gift guide for Fathers Day

June 12, 2019 by  
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This Father’s Day, give your dad a gift he will not only love, but one that also won’t hurt the planet nor gather dust on his shelf: quality time together! Here are a few ideas of ways to get outside and celebrate with the father figure in your life as well as some eco-friendly gadgets he will enjoy when you aren’t together. Visit a national park together June is one of the best times to visit one of the country’s national parks . Whether your dad is a serious hiker or more of a couch potato, he will love getting some fresh air and seeing a beautiful new landscape together. Most parks have options for easy day trips, walking tours and more intense hikes. Some have visitors centers, museums and cafes, and many have short paved trails that are accessible for a wider variety of ability levels . Related: How National Parks benefit the environment Here are a few popular parks for Father’s Day: Acadia National Park, Maine This park has miles of rugged coastline that can be too cold for most people during the rest of the year but are beautiful during the summer. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming Located near Yellowstone National Park, this park has gorgeous mountain vistas and overlook sites. It is popular in the summertime for mountaineering, climbing, hiking and walking. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia Only a few hours from Washington D.C., this park is gorgeous even from a car. There are a number of hikes and waterfall spots for different ability levels, plus you and your dad can brag about hiking part of the Appalachian Trail together. For more ideas, check out the National Parks Service’s Father’s Day Guide . Pick your own strawberries June is peak strawberry season in much of the U.S., and it’s a fun group activity with sweet treats along the way. Bring the loot home and make fresh strawberry shortcake for a Father’s Day dessert! Here is a guide to where you can go strawberry picking in different states. Make sure to call ahead to confirm that the farm is open, has strawberries left and is still offering a pick-your-own program this year. Give the gift of knowledge This year, take your father to a movie about the environment or nature, like The Biggest Little Farm . Not only will it allow you to spend quality time together, but you will learn something new about our planet. If your dad is interested, check out local events or talks about climate change and participate in local activism together! Sign up for a road race If you and your dad have a goal to be more active, exercise is a great way to spend quality time together while staying healthy . Research races in your area and pick one that works with your schedule and abilities. The entrance fee typically goes to help charities or medical research. Stick with a 5K or less if you’re a beginner — that is about 3.2 miles. If you’re more advanced, you can look for a 10K or higher. Related: 8 tips to make your exercise routine more eco-friendly Buy a bike tune-up Does your dad like to bike? Maybe he bikes to work, just on the weekends or very little at all, but we’ll bet his bike could use a tune-up to make sure it’s in the best and safest shape possible. Rent canoes or kayaks Now that the weather is nice, spend some time together as a family and rent canoes, kayaks or paddle boats. Many lakes and rivers have rental companies where you can pay by the hour or by the day. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, you could look at places where you can fish, too. Snag tickets to a sports game or concert Spend your money on an experience instead of an item. Do some research to find out if your dad’s favorite sports team or band is in town, and buy tickets to go with him. Plan a customized rainwater harvesting system If your dad loves to garden, get him a customized rainwater harvesting system. Many companies will take the time to learn about your dad’s space and needs and send an easy, customized kit to set it up. You can also try the DIY route . Get environmental gadgets for Dad Before buying more stuff for your dad, ask him what he wants. A good way to cut down on waste is by buying only something that he would really use. Otherwise, here are some good ideas: App-controlled light bulbs Does anyone else have a dad who is constantly reminding you to turn off the lights when you leave a room? Get your tech-savvy dad this app-controlled light bulb that lasts up to 27 years and uses just 10 percent of the energy needed for a conventional bulb. He can set timers for his schedule and say goodbye to the days of following the kids around and turning off lights after them. Swim shorts that save the sea These swimming shorts are made from 100 percent recycled plastic and are SPF 45+. Each design tells a story about ocean pollution , and they are available in matching Father + Son sizes. Grill tools made from recycled hockey sticks Is your dad a grill master and a sports fan? This California-based company recycles used hockey sticks to make unique grill utensils. According to the website: “We all know somebody (perhaps ourself) whose burgers always come off the grill looking like hockey pucks. They just don’t have the right tools.” Stainless steel coffee mug If your dad is like mine, he drinks a lot of coffee . Get him a sophisticated stainless steel coffee mug that he can take with him on the go or bring to coffee shops. Most shops offer a small discount for bringing your own mug, and some cities like Berkeley, California are piloting a program to start charging customers for using disposable coffee cups, just like plastic bags. Related: The problem with coffee pods and the eco-friendly alternatives to use instead Sustainable socks Put a twist on the typical gift for dad and buy him something from a sustainable brand. Check out the sock choices at Organic Basics . Organic wine Research the vineyards near you or your dad and find out which ones use organic, sustainable or biodynamic methods on their vineyard. After confirming its environmental impact, gift Dad with an eco-friendly bottle of wine. Via Earth 911 Images via Shutterstock

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An eco-friendly gift guide for Fathers Day

A Dutch village inspired the design of this solar-powered home

May 16, 2019 by  
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Within a cluster of traditional Dutch homes in The Hague, local firm Global Architects  designed a single-family home that stands out from its neighbors with its contemporary design, yet relates to the surroundings with a layout that references the concept of a village. Aptly named the Hidden Village, the modern home also distinguishes itself with its use of energy efficient technologies that span passive solar principles to the use of solar panels and an air-heat pump. As a potential forever home, the all-electric home emphasizes adaptability so that the rooms can be easily changed to fit different needs over time. With an area of 1,830 square feet, the Hidden Village offers a spacious environment for a family of four— two adults and two children— across two floors. To give each family member a sense of privacy while allowing them to have direct contact with one another, the architects organized the house around a central technical core that’s surrounded by living rooms, which have access to the outdoors. The upper floor consists of three bedrooms, a bathroom and a play space; the flex room on the ground floor can be used as a bedroom for visiting grandparents. The home features views of the outdoors and carries a strong theme of indoor/ outdoor living emphasized not only with outdoor decks and large walls of glass, but also with internal windows that frame views from room to room, as well as a balcony on the mezzanine. “Hidden Village has been designed by Global Architects as a total concept in which the design of the exterior, interior and outdoor space are fully aligned and reinforce each other,” the architects explain in their press release. “The entire design is a relationship between an open space, characterized by a playful composition of skylights, and the different functional rooms that enter it.” Related: Fabulous multigenerational home allows owners to comfortably age in place Hidden Village also prioritizes energy efficiency. In addition to ample natural lighting, the house is built with passive building blocks with insulation RC values of 9. Eco-friendly spray cladding is used on the facade and combined with dark gray aluminum frames, triple glazing  and Western Red Cedar slats for a contemporary appearance. Solar rooftop panels, a heat recovery system and an air-heat pump power the home. + Global Architects Images via Global Architects

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8 tips to make your exercise routine more eco-friendly

May 9, 2019 by  
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For most people, getting in a good workout on a daily basis is hard enough, let alone making sure it is also beneficial to the environment. While combining the best of both worlds seems difficult, there are ways you can create an eco-friendly exercise program without too much trouble. From working out at home to enjoying the splendor of the outdoors, here are eight ways you can improve the environment and your health. Go Outdoors Taking your workout to the great outdoors is one of the best ways to go green with your fitness. There are plenty of ways to get in a good eco-friendly workout under the sun such as walking, running and cycling. Walking is a good option if you do not want to put a lot of stress on your joints, while running a mile everyday will keep you in top shape. Whenever you exercise outdoors , remember to keep hydrated and always bring along some water. You can also explore various outdoor trails in your area if you want to mix things up. Related: 7 Ways to live an eco-friendly life while staying healthy Yoga Yoga is a total body workout that improves your mind, strength and flexibility. If you have never meditated before, yoga is a great way to introduce yourself to the practice of focusing your thoughts. You can do yoga in the comfort of your home or take your mat outdoors to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature. When it comes to buying a good yoga mat, consider purchasing one that is eco-friendly . There are a few companies that sell mats that are completely biodegradable and made from recycled materials. These products, which are usually made out of TPE, are also easy on your wallet. Home Fitness If you live in an area that is not conducive to outdoor activities or if the weather is bad, you can always move your eco-friendly workout indoors. All you need is a little space to stretch out and a good plan. If you do not know where to start, there are plenty of exercise programs online that are tailored to every experience level. Apart from keeping you in shape, working out at home has several benefits. For starters, your home workouts will save you from paying a monthly gym membership. You also use much less electricity at your home than you would at the gym. Recycling Workout Gear Recycling is one of the easiest ways you can improve the environment. If you work out on a regular basis, you will likely burn through several shoes over the course of a year. Instead of throwing away those old sneakers, consider donating them to a local charitable organization. For instance, Nike have their own recycling programs that turn old shoes into playground materials. You can also consider purchasing worn workout gear, such as shorts, t-shirts and other accessories. Ditch The Plastic Plastic waste is a growing concern around the world and plastic bottles are a big part of the problem. Three-quarters of plastic water bottles are thrown away in landfills every year instead of being placed in recycling facilities. You can help curb this waste by investing in some reusable water bottles. Not only will this help cut down on plastic waste , but it will also save you from buying bottled water every week. Gym Tips Sometimes, going to the gym is your only option. If you have to go to the gym or prefer it to a home workout, there are still plenty of ways you can be more eco-friendly. For starters, try and stay away from machines that use electricity. If you need to get some cardio in, for example, run on the track or do routines that combine lifting and cardio. If you have to run on a treadmill , incline the machine so that it using less electricity. You should also consider looking in your area for gyms that promote eco-friendly workouts. These establishments usually rely less on electricity and even have machines that generate energy as you work out. Change Your Commute Switching up your commute to work can give you a great workout while helping the environment. If it is feasible, consider walking or biking to your place of employment instead of driving. This will help cut down on air pollution, even if you only do it a few times per week. It will also get your fitness routine out of the way so that you can focus on other things throughout the day. Eater Greener Working out, of course, is only part of living a healthy life. While it is tempting to refuel with a post-workout protein bar or drink, consider opting for a more sustainable option. Eating organic fruits and veggies is a great way to replenish the body and give you all the nutrients you need to recover in time for your next workout. If you need to infuse more protein into your diet, consider investing in a good protein powder. You can find organically produced powders at your local supplement store, which are great for morning smoothies. For example, hemp powder is packed full of protein, has a delicious nutty flavor and requires less water than other sources of protein. Via Best Health Magazine.   Greener Ideal Images via Shutterstock

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20 Eco-Friendly Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

May 6, 2019 by  
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Mother’s Day is a wonderful time to celebrate the special … The post 20 Eco-Friendly Mother’s Day Gift Ideas appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Ontario cancels plans to reduce its carbon footprint

April 26, 2019 by  
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Ontario just cut plans to reduce its carbon footprint as Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario, Canada decided to cancel an initiative that would have planted 50 million trees across the province and would have absorbed a considerable amount of carbon dioxide . This is not the first eco-friendly plan Ford has sidelined as he previously got rid of a carbon cap that was expected to bring in billions of dollars to the government. Ford also ditched a plan to test cars for harmful emissions and is having a bit of trouble with Toronto’s subways, but his latest move could have much wider implications. Related: Washington becomes the first state to allow human composting Planting trees is one of the best ways to naturally absorb carbon and cut down on air pollution. Trees act as a filter and soak up carbon in the atmosphere , storing it for later use. The millions of trees that were supposed to be planted in Ontario would have made a big impact in cutting carbon in the province and surrounding region. That opportunity, however, was squashed by Ford’s latest decision. Instead of planting trees , Ford is banking the money that would have been used for the project and using it to fund another initiative related to beer. Rob Keen, the leader of a group called Forests Ontario, says that the cancellation could affect the forests in the region, which need at least 40 percent coverage to survive. Keen added that not planting the trees will increase erosion in areas of Ontario that are prone to flooding. Bodies of water in the region, including lakes and rivers, will also get warmer with the lack of shade from trees. Lastly, water and air quality will also go down as a result of the canceled program. Ford has not commented on the backlash his administration has received, but we can only hope that lawmakers realize the mistake and do their best to reduce their carbon footprint in the near future. Via Tree Hugger Image via  Daniel Joseph Petty

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Ontario cancels plans to reduce its carbon footprint

These bamboo socks by Flyte are anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic

April 26, 2019 by  
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An environmentally-conscious customer base has more than supported the Flyte Socks cause, launching it into a business after humble beginnings as a Kickstarter campaign just hoping to fund a new style of sustainable socks . Partners Hung Jean and Jeffrey Trinh of Toronto set out to provide quality socks made out of sustainable materials with the goal to donate to causes close to their hearts. They had instant support with the first round of Flyte Socks, funding the campaign at 850 percent of the goal and shipping over 10,000 socks. Now, they’re back with a second round and meeting equal support for a product deemed Flyte Socks X: Bamboo Socks Re-Engineered. The Kickstarter campaign for this second design closes on April 17 and has already received over $80,000 in pledges to exceed the original $10,000 goal. Related: How to: knit a pair of smart socks that pause Netflix when you doze off Made from bamboo, the Flyte Socks X offer an end product sourced from a material that requires a third less water than cotton, regrows quickly and has a low environmental impact without the use of herbicides, pesticides or fungicides. Plus, bamboo is kind of the superfood of the forest — absorbing five times more carbon dioxide (that’s bad stuff) and outputting 35% more oxygen (that’s good stuff) than other trees. In addition to responsible materials sourcing, the products are earning strong reviews. They are anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic and naturally odor resistant due to the breathability of the fabric . The soft material is reinforced at the toe and heel to reduce wear in those areas and the elastic is re-engineered to guarantee they don’t fall down as you walk. The socks come in a variety of material options that are treated to keep colors from fading. Jean and Trinh have also vowed to use the success of the campaign to give back to the those in need. The social initiative pilot program states that for each pair of socks backed during the campaign, one pair will be donated . Proving their dedication to worker safety, the team is also certified by the Business Social Compliance Initiative. + Flyte Socks Images via Flyte Socks

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These bamboo socks by Flyte are anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic

Washington becomes the first state to allow human composting

April 26, 2019 by  
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Washington is officially the first state to offer human composting as a substitute for cremation or burial. The state’s legislature just passed a bill that makes it legal for companies to offer composting of human remains. Lawmakers hope the new initiative will cut down on waste and carbon emissions typically associated with traditional burials . Funeral homes in the United States have few options when it comes to burials. Traditional burials use steel and wood, which often leaches harmful chemicals into the soil. There is also cremation, which results in carbon emissions and is not energy efficient. The bill is currently being reviewed by Governor Jay Inslee, who has yet to sign it. Related: Bios launches modern funerary urns that grow plants with loved ones’ remains Inslee, who plans to run for president in 2020, has been touting himself as an advocate for the environment , so not signing the initiative would go against his platform. If everything goes to plan, the new bill will become law on May 1 of 2020. Although it may sound strange, human composting could be a viable alternative to traditional burials in cities across the United States where grave spaces are limited. People have been practicing human composting, also known as natural organic reduction, for a long time. There are also a few states that currently allow aquamation, which uses water to swiftly decompose the body. Some businesses are starting to offer more eco-friendly caskets as well, most of which are made from bamboo. Farmers, of course, have been composting bodies of dead animals for years. Recompose, who supports the state bill, is a human composting company based in Washington that offers results in as little as one month. Once a body is turned into soil, the families of the deceased can use the remains however they please. If Inslee signs the bill, lawmakers hope other states will follow suit and pass similar legislation related to human composting . Via Grist Image via Shutterstock

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Washington becomes the first state to allow human composting

Taichung Discovery Pavilion champions biodiversity in new "Half Earth" multimedia art installation

April 26, 2019 by  
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In Taichung , Taiwan, the recently completed Discovery Pavilion at the Taichung World Flower Expo explores what life could be like if humans returned half of the Earth’s habitable surfaces to nature — a concept known as “Half Earth” proposed by the “Father of Biodiversity” Edward Wilson in 2016. Taipei-based Cogitoimage International Co., Ltd designed the pavilion to advocate such preservation with a large-scale exhibition that covers the ecology of the Taichung Dajia River as it flows from high to low altitudes. In keeping with the eco-friendly ethos of the project, the main materials used in the project include recycled glass and cork, sustainably sourced timber and other natural materials. Created with the theme of “Viewing Half-Earth through Taichung’s Ecology,” the Discovery Pavilion uses mixed multimedia — from poems and crafts to art installations and new media — to promote environmental stewardship  and biodiversity preservation. Spanning an area of 31,861 square feet, the exhibition covers the vertical ecology along the Dajia River, the main river in Taichung city, as it morphs from the low-lying estuary to the snow-topped mountains at 12,740 feet above sea level. Endemic species are highlighted in the exhibition, from native flora to the endangered leopard cat and the Formosan Landlocked Salmon. “With the theme of “Viewing Half-Earth through Taichung’s Ecology”, Discovery Pavilion advocates to preserve half of our planet for other species and reinterpret the ecology of Dajia River,” read the Discovery Pavilion press release. “Edward’s “Half-Earth” concept has two main points. On the one hand, we should be aware that human beings are not the only masters and inhabitants of the earth. On the other hand, we need to think about how to reserve more spaces for other inhabitants of the earth, i.e. flora and fauna in the ecosystem .” Related: A disused railway will become a sustainable green corridor in Taiwan The Discovery Pavilion consists of nine exhibition areas that are independently crafted with different styles that come together as a cohesive whole. To create a multi-sensory experience, the designers used a variety of materials and technologies to reproduce different landscapes, from the pyramidal glass and hand-woven rice straw roof that evokes the low-lying rural areas in Lishan to the use of imaging technology that creates the sensation of being underwater with the Formosan Landlocked Salmon and reproduce the overall biodiversity of Taiwan. + Cogitoimage Images by Te-Fan Wang

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Eco-friendly Toddler Pillows

April 18, 2019 by  
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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all babies be placed … The post Eco-friendly Toddler Pillows appeared first on Earth911.com.

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This off-grid retreat in Ohio was inspired by a treehouse

April 15, 2019 by  
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With features like a natural ventilation system to cool the home and rainwater collection to supply plumbing, The Hut is completely eco-friendly in addition to being off-grid . There is no access to main electricity or water, so the minimalist structure relies exclusively on solar power. Rather than constructing on top of the building site as most projects do, the architects built the home to harmonize with its surrounding environment. While the sustainable and eco-conscious design is worth commendation alone, The Hut was also born from a unique emotional place as well. Architect Greg Dutton of Midland Architecture wanted to build a quiet retreat in his family’s forested property on their Ohio cattle farm, within an area filled with happy childhood memories of hiking and exploration. The land, which he and his family have owned and operated for 40 years, holds a nostalgic value that helps connect the home with the building site. Related: Eco-friendly “treehouse” in French pine forest boasts surprisingly chic interiors Designed to appear as a treehouse , The Hut is elevated within the trees overlooking a lake through the use of concrete pillars at the edge of a small cliff. The position takes full advantage of exposure from the southern sun, helping to keep the home powered by solar energy. The floor-to-ceiling windows behind the wood-burning stove add to the lofted-in-the-trees effect. Though the natural cedar that tops the roof initially sticks out, with time and weather, the color will blend in perfectly with the surrounding forest. Inside, the floors are made of white pine and the wall/ceiling paneling of yellow pine, an homage to the Scandinavian and Danish architecture style that inspires a cozy atmosphere . The interior utilizes mostly organic light brown and white colors, with touches of black to add natural accents. There is a simple living space that connects to a kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area. The architect drew inspiration from the rustic and straightforward designs he grew up with in his farming background. + Midland Architecture Via Dezeen Photography by Lexi Ribar via Midland Architecture

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