Tech-free hobbies that benefit you and the planet

November 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Technology has become an integral part of our everyday life. From smartphones to smart appliances, the advancements continue to make our lives easier while simultaneous distracting us from traditional hobbies and interests. How we spend our time has changed so much over the past few decades that those seeking to reconnect with non-techy hobbies sometimes struggle to think of ways to spend their time that doesn’t involve a screen of some sort. So we’ve put together a list of eco-friendly hobbies that don’t require electricity and produce little to no waste.  Art Art takes many forms and all of them make great hobbies. Take a class to learn the basics of painting, ceramics or photography. You can even start with a paint by number kit to create your own wall art. Crafting There’s something innately satisfying about creating something creative, and crafting offers the opportunity to make gifts, cozy items for the home or products to sell. Take up sewing, jewelry making or needlework such as crocheting, knitting, counted cross-stitch or embroidery. For papercrafts, gather up the family photos and study your genealogy. Then organize your history through scrapbooking. Related: Light your pumpkins the EEK-o-friendly way this Halloween Puzzles Working puzzles snuggled next to the fire is a mind-expanding pleasure. If you’re looking for more physical activity, you can make your own puzzles from the print to the cutout or complete puzzles and frame them for decor. Reading and Writing Pen and paper bring the opportunity for endless hours of creativity. Practice poetry, jot down life lessons, produce creative pieces of fiction, start an autobiography or complete a manuscript. Sharpen the charcoal pencils and take up drawing — whether it be in the human form of portraits or natural landscapes . Keep the craft of calligraphy alive for the next generation with traditional feather and ink. Of course, reading is a fabulous non-tech activity that offers stress release, the ability to virtual travel to other lands and endless opportunities for deeper knowledge. Just be sure to put the e-reader and audio books aside and pick up a real, old-fashioned paper book. Gardening Gardening provides fresh air, fresh food and fresh flowers. How can that not be a winning combination? Growing your own produce is good for you and the environment. Add in oxygen-producing trees, root systems that filter and absorb water and plants that naturally provide shade to your home and you’ve got a perfectly-contoured hobby. Remember to opt for natural insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers, and skip the lawn tools that require gas or electricity whenever possible. Woodworking Hands on activities are therapeutic for the mind and healthy for the body. Woodworking allows you to express creativity and acquire skills in a variety of ways. Create yard decor with bird/bat/butterfly houses, arbors, lattices and garden boxes . Or accent the inside of the home with furniture and shelves. Further use your skills in combination with crafting by making wooden picture frames, signs and wood-cutouts for wreath-making. Music Take up an instrument or join the choir. Music brings joy to your soul and the spirit of others so experiment. For a unique experience take up an uncommon instrument like an alphorn or hydrolauphone. Heck, you can even make your own instruments from just about anything including fruits and vegetables, household items and jars of water. Knife making Another age-old art that you can master is knife making. Create hunting knives or kitchen knives. Build a small forge and use propane to fire the metal once you grind it into shape. Select, contour, sand and finish wood for handles and personalize with wood burning or carving techniques. Baking and Cooking Baking and cooking might be the ultimately satisfying hobby experience. Not only do you get to enjoy the fruits of your labors, but you can create endless combinations of yumminess. Enhance your craft with a class on cake decorating or expand into beer/wine/cider making. Models Set up a classic train set and give it battery or solar power. Build miniature replicas or paint unfinished buildings, railcars and landscaping. Similarly, you can take up model building in the form of cars, motorcycles or boats. Sports and games There is a nearly endless list of ways to spend time exercising that require no electronics, produce nearly zero waste and are good for you. Here are some ideas to get you started: Mountain or street biking, running, hiking, training for a marathon, Ironman competition, swimming, tennis, racquetball, basketball, golf, dance, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, scuba diving, kayaking and baseball/softball. If you want to include lawn games, master croquet, cornhole or horseshoes. Bring the games inside with bowling, pool, ping pong and darts. Metal working Working with metal gives you opportunities to make and repair myriad gifts, decor and household items. Learning how to weld also allows you to repair cars and broken items around home. Another fun craft is making colorful designs by grinding layers off of sheet metals. Enjoy nature From day hikes to the vagabond lifestyle, nature provides endless opportunities to improve your health through activity, breathe in the fresh air and imprint images of Earth’s beauty. Take up backpacking, camping or even bird watching and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.  Images via AndreasGramer , LubosHouska , Foundry , rawpixel , Skitterphoto , naive_eye , Pexels, Skitterphoto

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Tech-free hobbies that benefit you and the planet

Better batteries are fueling a surge of electric scooters in India and China

November 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

But for electric vehicles to become mass market products, batteries need to improve.

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Better batteries are fueling a surge of electric scooters in India and China

What it will take for micromobility to have real, sustained impact

November 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Shared bikes and scooters can contribute to lowering transportation emissions, but they can also have a more immediate impact on cities: equity.

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What it will take for micromobility to have real, sustained impact

New e-snowmobiles bring eco tourism to the northern lights

November 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Between Norway and the North Pole is Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago and one of the most rugged and northern inhabited areas. With an average January high of 9 degrees and 24 hours of darkness, you might not expect this to be a tourist hot-spot. But the northern lights are drawing bigger and bigger crowds through Svalbard’s dark winter. The trick is making sure that the roughly 75,000 annual visitors don’t overwhelm the environment and culture of the archipelago’s 2,583 year-round residents. One strategy has been to spread tourism out over the entire year, and a new tactic is using electric snowmobiles to explore the area in a more sustainable way. Off the Map Travel, based in England, specializes in Northern Lights travel. Its “Truly Green Aurora Holiday” package has developed the lowest impact Arctic northern lights adventure yet. The team has harnessed Arctic winds to power e-snowmobiles. Off the Map Travel offers the new activity out of Longyearbyen, the Svalbard town where the majority of the population lives. The company recommends this activity from November to January, when the skies over the islands are almost permanently black. Related: Sleep beneath the northern lights in this unique Iceland bubble “Although the northern lights are a natural phenomenon and are never guaranteed, you need clear, dark skies to optimize your chances to see them,” noted Jonny Cooper, Arctic travel expert and founder of Off the Map Travel. “Svalbard’s dark skies and extended aurora viewing are due to the sun’s being at least six degrees below the horizon. This means it can be dark all day, so the northern lights can appear at any time. In effect, the sun never rises.” In addition to the more eco-friendly nature of the e-snowmobiles, they are also much quieter. Unlike the roar of an average snowmobile , the electric variety allows visitors a peaceful and silent experience. “The quiet engine allows for gentle searching of the northern lights, reindeer , ptarmigans and polar foxes,” Cooper said. “Exploring some of the most uncharted areas of our planet has never been more eco-friendly.” + Off the Map Travel Image via Off the Map Travel

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New e-snowmobiles bring eco tourism to the northern lights

Carney Logan Burke thoughtfully inserts a modernist jewel in Jackson Hole

November 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

After over twenty years of working with a family on their 180-acre Jackson Hole property, Montana architectural firm Carney Logan Burke has capped their fruitful relationship with the Queens Lane Pavilion, a modernist two-bedroom retreat with spectacular landscape views. Topped with a flat roof and surrounded by walls of glass, the minimalist pavilion was crafted as“art piece” that seamlessly blends into the landscape and the fifth project completed in the wildlife-rich riverine ecosystem. Architect Eric Logan designed all five buildings on the property; a Parkitecture-influenced stone-and-timber lodge that anchors the property; a transitional-style office/ shop; a sculptural weathered steel -clad wine silo that mimics classic agrarian forms; a covered bridge; and finally, the Queens Lane Pavilion, a modernist glass building. Built to replace an existing structure, the newest addition follows the exact footprint of its predecessor to meet the minimum setback requirements. The architects worked with Teton County in a two-year planning process to ensure the new-build would minimize disturbance to wildlife, waterways and trees. “The structure relates to its neighbors, yet inhabits its own micro-ecosystem on the property; the owners’ two decades of habitat enhancement projects has created a thriving fishery and miniature wildlife refuge frequented by elk, eagles, moose, deer and coyotes,” explain the architects in a project statement. “The influence of the water, the protection of the cottonwoods, and the simplicity of the building (from a distance, it is perceived as one line in the landscape) align in a special moment on the property. This serene glass pavilion — modernist wildlife viewing blind during the day, luminous lantern amidst the trees at night, comfortable retreat at all hours — is a fitting tribute to that moment.” Related: Wyoming architects convert former hayloft into light-filled guest home While the lodge houses necessities such as laundry, the pavilion serves purely as a retreat for enjoying nature. The L-shaped building contains a garage on the shorter end and has a long section with two bedrooms and a spacious open-plan living area, kitchen, and dining room. A natural material palette and walls of glass blur the distinction between indoors and out. Perforated metal sheets inspired by the surrounding cottonwood grove modulate views and provide protection from the sun, as do the deep protective roof overhangs. + Carney Logan Burke Photography: Matthew Millman

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Carney Logan Burke thoughtfully inserts a modernist jewel in Jackson Hole

Fiji’s Cousteau Resort launches a new botanical program for guests

November 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

For travelers who want to learn more about the environment they are visiting, the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort , a leading eco-luxe property in Fiji, is helping guests do just that with a recently expanded program for botanical education. Guests to the resort can take new tours, where they learn about medicinal and edible plants as well as rare palms. The initiative is part of a larger goal to protect the island’s natural environment. “At our resort, we’ve felt firsthand the great impact nature can have on the mind and the body, so we’re trying to preserve the traditional knowledge of this area, and, in turn, preserve culture,” said Bartholomew Simpson, general manager of the resort. Related: Jean-Michel Cousteau eco resort showcases traditional building Billy Railala, the resort’s expert on traditional herbal medicine , leads the Fijian Medicine Walk. The resort has offered this walk for several years, but recently expanded it to feature more than 120 species of Fijian medicinal flora and fauna. For example, the bark and stems from Fagraea berteriana flowers, or “bua ni viti,” are pressed into liquid and used to treat asthma and other respiratory problems. Fijians dry and burn a feathery bamboo called “bitu,” then mix the ashes with coconut oil to treat burns. Liquid from the small tropical tree Syzygium gracilipes , or “leba,” is used to increase fertility. Edible plants like papaya, guava, taro and avocado flourish in the resort’s two-acre organic garden. Kids can participate in an organic farming program and dress up in chefs’ uniforms to help prepare their own meals. The resort has also been collecting rare palm trees endemic to Fiji. Most are threatened, critically endangered or even extinct in the wild. Horticulture expert and nursery manager Jim Valentine is working with the resort to propagate these rare palms and repopulate Fiji with them. Simpson said, “This initiative not only serves to pay homage to Fijian culture, which is a key mandate of the resort concept, but also serves to remind the younger generation of Fijians of the important uses of these plants and how the elders used them in centuries past; preserving the fragile Fijian culture , which is eroding quickly in the modern age.” + Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Images via Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort

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Fiji’s Cousteau Resort launches a new botanical program for guests

These glass vases let you grow your own avocado tree no toothpicks required

November 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

While most home gardens tend to conceal the roots within decorated pots, Ilex Studio ‘s new collection of glass vases displays one of the most underrated parts of a plant — the roots. The studio’s transparent glass vases, which can be used to grow avocado and oak trees, feature minimalist silhouettes with spherical bases that showcase the plant’s incredible root systems. Recently unveiled at the London Design Festival , Ilex Studio’s collection was designed to let people skip the prickly process of using toothpicks to grow avocado trees. Additionally, the vases can be used to turn a humble acorn into a magnificent oak tree. Related: AvoSeedo makes growing avocado trees easier than ever Unlike most home gardens , where the plants’ roots are buried deep in the soil, these glass vases let you watch the magical powers of sprouting seeds. The hourglass shape has a small neck, where the avocado seed or acorn sits. The strategic shape lets the seed or avocado stay nice and dry up top while the roots begin to sprout below. Did we mention that there’s no need to stick anything with toothpicks? Over time, the roots begin to spread out into the water. Letting the roots hang freely allows them to become stronger until they are eventually ready to be planted in soil . The bulbous shapes of the vases actually magnify what is going on inside, giving you an up-close view of the roots as they grow. The Avocado Vase is slightly larger than the Acorn Vase, but according to the studio, the growing pattern is similar for the acorn and the avocado tree. The oakling can be left in the vase for up to one year, but growing an avocado tree is a bit more complicated. They both come with instruction booklets to guide you through the process of growing your own trees, straight from the seeds. These playful growing vases cost between £22 and £35 (about $28 to $45), with the larger avocado vase costing a bit more and the vases sans acorns costing less. Each order comes with a 20-page handbook of helpful instructions. + Ilex Studio Via Design Milk Images via Ilex Studio

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These glass vases let you grow your own avocado tree no toothpicks required

Episode 196: A conversation with journalist Andrew Revkin, Engie’s hybrid PPA scheme

November 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Plus, how critics become allies.

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Episode 196: A conversation with journalist Andrew Revkin, Engie’s hybrid PPA scheme

How Apple and Ahold Delhaize are ensuring the new materials economy is safe

November 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

We need a circular economy — but we can’t keep chemicals of concern and danger in our products and systems.

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How Apple and Ahold Delhaize are ensuring the new materials economy is safe

Plant Based Products Council’s new executive director takes on a biobased vision of the future

November 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

A Q&A with the bioeconomy expert stepping in to lead the organization that’s advocating for alternatives to plastics.

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Plant Based Products Council’s new executive director takes on a biobased vision of the future

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