Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide: Kids Edition

December 1, 2020 by  
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Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide: Kids Edition

SoKind Gift Registry: Another Way To Give … and Receive

December 1, 2020 by  
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The SoKind registry from The Center for a New American Dream allows users to make lists of experiences they’d like to have or handmade gifts they’d like to receive. The post SoKind Gift Registry: Another Way To Give … and Receive appeared…

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SoKind Gift Registry: Another Way To Give … and Receive

The best eco-friendly gifts for your grandparents

November 30, 2020 by  
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There’s no denying the holiday season is upon us. Whether that makes you ripple with excitement or reluctance, we have help for at least one of your holiday woes — what to buy the grandparents. Grandparents are notoriously difficult to buy for, but keep in mind that many of our loved ones enjoy useful household goods and homemade goodies. As a bonus, these ideas are even good for the Earth! Homemade bread There are endless variations of homemade bread, from cinnamon rolls to a pumpkin loaf. Make it with wheat flour or cater to gluten-free needs. Add seeds or nuts. Mix in some flax, chia or hemp — and don’t forget to add love! Make your homemade gift pretty with a beeswax or cloth food wrap, either of which can be reused again and again. Alternately, place it into a reusable produce bag that they can take to the grocery store later. Related: 9 sustainable living tips to take from our grandparents Aprons At the grill or over the stove, aprons take a beating. Supply grandma or grandpa with a new linen apron from Son de Flor . Linen is made from flax, a plant that is gentle to the environment. In addition to enriching the soil , flax requires less energy and water to manufacture into material than cotton. Even better, linen is completely biodegradable. Earth Polo For a classic polo that honors the planet, lean into the Ralph Lauren Earth Polo . Give grandpa one of 13 color options, all manufactured using an innovative fabric made entirely from plastic bottles. In addition, the rich colors are achieved using a waterless process . Organic handmade pasta Even if you haven’t mastered the art of making handmade pasta yourself, you can give the gift of organic food. Semolina Pasta uses semolina milled from organic durum wheat and makes its pastas in Los Angeles. Organic semolina is non-GMO and is grown sans pesticides or fertilizers. The mill sells by-products to the dairy industry, and there is nearly zero waste in the Semolina Pasta kitchen. For $25, you can put together a gift box filled with three pasta shapes of your choosing. Upcycled cribbage board For the grandparent who enjoys classic game time, give the gift of cribbage with the added benefit of reusing materials off the street. The Upcycled Cribbage Board from Art of Play is made from maple and other hardwoods. The unique inlay in the top is created using upcycled skateboards . Eliminating plastic in the design, the pegs are made of metal and can be neatly stored in a compartment on the bottom of the game board. Eco-friendly cookbooks Chelsea Green publishing not only provides a variety of unique cookbooks, but it is a leading publisher of books on all topics related to sustainable living. All books and catalogs are printed on chlorine-free recycled paper , using soy-based inks whenever possible. They are also printed in partnership with North American printing shops. Plus, Chelsea Green is 100% employee-owned. Here are a few of the popular book options that the grandparents in your life might appreciate. The Fruit Forager’s Companion provides insight for making use of fruit often left hanging on the branch. The art of fermentation has perhaps never been more in the spotlight, for the simple fact that fermented foods are good for your gut. Check out Koji Alchemy for recipes and processes related to koji. Also take a look at Wildcrafted Fermentation , a guide to lacto-fermentation using wild edibles. For grandparents committed to a restrictive diet for health or other reasons, consider The Grain-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free Family Cookbook , which is loaded with recipes that might even get the grandkids excited to roll up their sleeves and start cooking. Buckwheat pillow If your grandparents have the common issue of neck pain and trouble sleeping, a buckwheat pillow may be the solution. The heavy, firm Slumbr Ara Buckwheat Pillow offers personalized support with a design that is shaped by pushing around the buckwheat hulls. Once situated, the pillow retains its shape for consistent support through the night. Laundry kit Laundry is a fact of life, so a gift that makes the process more efficient is thoughtful for your recipient and the planet. LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls Gift Set includes three all-natural dryer balls that help dry clothes faster, and more economically, by saving energy. Wool is locally sourced near the business location in Maine. The gift set also includes a package of SoulShine Soap Company’s all-natural laundry soap, which comes without any wasteful plastic jugs. In addition, there is an equally Earth-friendly stain stick. The entire bundle comes in a box made from recycled cardboard and is plastic-free. Mason Bee Barrel Animal and nature enthusiasts will love this adorable Mason bee barrel via The Grommet . Not only is it visually appealing, but it provides a home for mason bees, which are crucial to planetary health. In return for a safe home, the bees will pollinate nearby flowers and gardens. Frog/toad house for garden If your grandparents enjoy their pond, this Ceramic Frog & Toad House is the perfect complementary item. The ceramic is made from natural materials and is 100% recyclable, giving a home to frogs and toads without damaging the ecosystem in which they thrive. Knitting needle system Keep those hand-knitted sweaters coming with this Adjustable Straight Knitting Needle System . The repetitive action of knitting can be hard on hands, especially when the yarn continuously slips down the needle. This rosewood knitting needle system uses a stopper and spring-loaded slider to keep the stitches at the top of the needle for easier, more enjoyable knitting. Images via Pixabay, Unsplash, Son de Flor, Ralph Lauren, Semolina Pasta, Art of Play, Slumbr, LooHoo and The Grommet

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The best eco-friendly gifts for your grandparents

DIY Thanksgiving Decor Made by Upcycling

November 18, 2020 by  
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If you’re looking to reduce waste and save some money … The post DIY Thanksgiving Decor Made by Upcycling appeared first on Earth 911.

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This Oaxacan oasis uses low-maintenance local materials

November 6, 2020 by  
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On a paradisal plot between the Pacific Ocean and the Oaxacan mountain range, Mexican architecture firm  anonimous  has completed Casa Cova, a two-family vacation home with spectacular views of the ocean. Located in the tourist destination of Puerto Escondido, Mexico, the holiday home comprises two linear compounds — one for each family — that flank a shared swimming pool, communal living area, dining space and bar in the center. A system of parallel concrete walls enclose the compounds and help frame views of the water, while a palette of locally-sourced natural materials helps tie the architecture to the landscape.  Casa Cova features a U-shaped layout, with the private bedrooms located in the “arms” of the home. Each arm comprises three pavilions: a master suite with framed views of the  Pacific Ocean , two kids’ bedrooms with private bathrooms, and a hammock area. Wooden shutters divided into three parts fold back to completely open up the interior to the outdoors. The indoor/outdoor connection is further enhanced with a series of interlocking open courtyards and breaks in the parallel concrete walls that promote natural ventilation from the ocean.  The two private wings flank a large volume in the center that contains a multipurpose area and a linear  swimming pool . The central volume also contains service spaces such as the kitchen, laundry room and a machine room that are all strategically tucked away so as not to detract from views of the Pacific Ocean. Also, the building is elevated five feet off the ground to mitigate flooding.  Related: This glamping hideout in Bali is made entirely out of bamboo To integrate the building into the landscape, the architects lined the walls and ceilings with  locally-sourced  dried palm tree leaves, used Parota wood for furnishings and chose regional low-maintenance vegetation for landscaping. Long ‘palapa’ — a regional cover made from dried palm tree leaves — tops the roofs to provide shade and natural cooling. + anonimous Images via anonimous

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This Oaxacan oasis uses low-maintenance local materials

Denmark to cull millions of minks to prevent spread of mutant coronavirus

November 6, 2020 by  
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The Danish government has announced plans to cull all of the minks in the country’s mink farms to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus to humans. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that the minks are transmitting a new form of the coronavirus to humans, a situation that could spiral out of control. According to Frederiksen, a coronavirus-mapping agency has detected a mutated virus in several patients. Twelve individuals in the northern part of the country were diagnosed with a mutant form of the coronavirus, which is believed to have been contracted from the minks. Related: 1 million minks culled in Spain, the Netherlands Denmark is among the leading countries in mink farming. Its minks are used to produce fur , which is supplied to other parts of the world. These animals have been found to be a cause for concern relating to the transmission of the virus. According to Health Minister Magnus Heunicke, about half of the 783 humans infected with the coronavirus in northern Denmark have links to the mink farms. “It is very, very serious,” Frederiksen said. “Thus, the mutated virus in minks can have devastating consequences worldwide.” The government is now estimating that about $785 million will be required to cull the 15 million minks in the country. According to Mogens Gensen, Denmark’s minister for food, 207 mink farms are now infected. This number is alarming, considering that by this time last month, 41 farms were infected . Further, the virus has began spreading throughout the western peninsula. To date, Denmark has registered 50,530 confirmed coronavirus cases and 729 deaths. It is feared that if the situation is not contained, the numbers may get worse. To avoid this, Denmark started culling millions of minks last month, and the same is expected to continue for some time. Via Huffington Post Image via Jo-Anne McArthur

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DIY Halloween costumes for this year’s virtual parties

October 21, 2020 by  
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Halloween 2020 will likely look a bit different than past years, considering we’re in the middle of a pandemic. But even if your shindig is a virtual Halloween party, the costumes are still at the heart of the fun. When planning the perfect outfit for your socially distanced event, remember to consider the impact on the planet. It’s easy to bring the ‘wow’ factor that will keep party-goers talking for weeks to come while still avoiding plastic and using materials that are natural and recyclable or compostable. Happy Halloween! Use what you have The easiest way to create DIY Halloween costumes with little to no additional environmental impact is to use what you already have. Dig through the closet and the holiday totes in the garage. You might be surprised what you find that could make for a fun, unique costume. Related: Have an eco-friendly Halloween and aim for zero-waste this October Scarecrow A plaid shirt alongside a straw hat will help you pull off a scarecrow costume sure to keep the birds at bay. Add some non-toxic face paint to complete the look. Farmer Some overalls and a bandana with that same flannel shirt and straw hat will spin your look into a farmer instead. Put the scarecrow and the farmer together for a cute couples’ costume idea. Skeleton Much of the skeleton look relies on the face paint. But for clothing, adorn all-black shirts and pants with white paint or fabric to create the appearance of bones. Cat A black cat, leopard or cheetah are always popular for Halloween. Dress in all black or pull out the printed onesie for starters. Then add some easy ears, a tail and face paint for the finishing touches. If you don’t have fabric around, look to old linens or clothing you can cut. Attach triangular ears to a headband. For the tail, sew two long strips of fabric together and stuff with additional material, cotton, packing paper or another natural material . Elephant Similarly, you can don gray clothing head to toe, and add an empty gift wrap tube or paper towel roll for your trunk. Create some floppy ears from fabric-covered or painted cardboard. Robber A robber costume is quick and easy. Throw on a black-and-white striped top, some black pants and a black beanie. Pair with a pillowcase to hold your spoils. Ladybug Children and adults alike can pull this look off with a bit of black paint, fabric or stickers and a pair of red pajamas you may already have around the house. Leggings and a long-sleeve shirt will do the job, too. Simple apply black circles randomly around the red fabric. Put together a simple matching mask or rely on face paint for the final touch. Turn to the recycling bin Save those boxes for your 2020 Halloween costumes and choose from this variety of quick, DIY costume options. Robot For the upper body of a robot costume, cut holes in a box for your head, lower body and arms. You can make it slide on over your head or attach in two pieces so it wraps around your body before securing with tape or ties. For your helmet, create another square box with a face cutout. No plastic required! Dress in gray with a long sleeve shirt and pants. Complete the look by painting the cardboard gray and attaching or painting knobs and a display on the front. Tip: recycled plastic or metal bottle caps make great knobs. Dice Roll the dice for a win with a simple cardboard box painted to look like a die. Remember, an accurate die adds up to seven on all opposite sides, so five dots are across from two dots, four across from three, and one across from six. Rubix Cube For a more colorful look, use the same cardboard box idea as the die, but paint it to resemble a Rubix Cube instead with various colorful squares. Knight Be a knight in shining armor for the planet with a cardboard shield, helmet and body armor. Embellish with paint if you like. Remember the cardboard or wood sword for your defense in battle! Mummy It’s a classic costume for a reason — it’s so easy. Head out to the paint supply cupboard or linen closet for an old white sheet , rip or cut it into shreds and wrap yourself head to toe. You’ll be ready for your next virtual Halloween bash in no time! Images via Adobe Stock

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DIY Halloween costumes for this year’s virtual parties

This luxe, solar-powered, prefab home was completed in 6 months

April 24, 2020 by  
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High-end luxury meets energy efficiency in the Jesolo Lido Pool Villa, a 320-square-meter Venetian villa in the Italian seaside resort of Jesolo. Designed by Milan-based architecture firm JMA , the holiday home was prefabricated, installed and furnished in just six months. The high-performance building envelope has been engineered to guarantee near net-zero energy usage throughout the year. Located on a compact plot, the Jesolo Lido Pool Villa makes the most of its small property size by emphasizing indoor-outdoor living and a sense of openness with long sight lines. The open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen are flanked by floor-to-ceiling glass that open up the home to outdoor terraces on either side. The larger of the two spaces, located on the west side, features a long swimming pool that takes up the entire length of the terrace as well as two square planting beds and an olive tree next to the basement stairs. The smaller terrace on the east side includes two planters and another olive tree.  Related: Prefab Danish home was built from CLT and weathered steel in just 3 days Despite extensive glazing, the Jesolo Lido Pool Villa manages to minimize energy loss thanks to the use of argon-gas insulated glass and 31-centimeter perimeter insulation. The prefabricated timber structure also avoids thermal bridges and boasts flexible and anti-seismic benefits. The interior is bathed in natural light during the day — a 4-meter roof overhang protects against solar gain — and is illuminated with LED fixtures at night. A 10 kW rooftop solar array powers the home’s electricity needs. While the house is designed for indoor-outdoor living, the architects made sure the villa could be comfortably used in the cold winter months. A radiant floor heating system installed throughout is powered with an electric heat pump that draws energy from the photovoltaic panels. The luxurious interiors were also designed by JMA and include seamless audio/visual walls, a custom-designed, solid-surface kitchen and motorized roller shades that disappear into the dropped ceiling to maintain a sleek, streamlined appearance. + JMA Images via Jacopo Mascheroni

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This luxe, solar-powered, prefab home was completed in 6 months

Kiss Me, I’m Eco-Friendly! 5 Tips for a Truly Green St. Patrick’s Day

March 12, 2020 by  
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Plants to give your loved one this Valentine’s Day

February 7, 2020 by  
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Valentine’s Day is a time to shower your loved ones with thoughtful gifts to let them know how much they mean to you. While jewelry, chocolate and roses have traditionally been associated with the holiday, that special person will surely appreciate a gift that lasts longer — a houseplant. There are so many options of colorful plants that give the gift of fresh air and reminders of your love for years to come. Plus, houseplants are a sustainable, zero-waste option the planet will appreciate, too. Here are some ideas that could make this Valentine’s Day romantic and also thoughtful for both your partner and the planet. Heartleaf Philodendron When you decide to give a living plant for Valentine’s Day, it makes sense to choose one with heart-shaped leaves. There are around 200 varieties of philodendron, so look for one labeled ‘Heartleaf’ or ‘Sweetheart’. Not only does it fit the theme of the holiday, but it’s very easy to care for and keep happy. The heartleaf philodendron requires low to medium light and is forgiving if you forget to water it occasionally. Related: How to make an enchanting terrarium necklace to keep or give as a gift Cyclamen While the heartleaf philodendron does not produce a bloom, the cyclamen produces an attractive display of papery flowers with a heart-like shape. Standard colors are pink, red, burgundy or white, but there are many hybrids available. The flowering cyclamen blooms in the winter, which is perfect for Valentine’s Day, and it will re-bloom year after year with proper care. It is a bit of a fussy plant, preferring controlled temperatures and precise watering. Hoya Kerrii This ‘sweetheart’ plant is the perfect gift with distinctively heart-shaped leaves. Although the Hoya kerrii is often sold as a single-potted leaf, you can obtain this as a plant, too. Like most succulents , it has low-maintenance requirements in low light and moderate temperatures. Green Nephthytis Another evergreen, heart-leaved option is the Green Nephthytis. Fortunately for your recipient, it is easy to care for, and this vine works well in a pot on a bookcase or in a hanging basket. Anthurium In addition to heart-shaped leaves, the ‘flowers’ are also heart-shaped, so this plant offers double the love. Plus, it’s a striking plant known for its almost fake-looking waxy leaves and vibrant blooms. Provide anthurium with a bright space outside of direct sunlight in a humid environment, and you’ll get a cycle of blooms each year. Related: Valentine’s Day flower deliveries come at a huge cost to the environment Phalaenopsis This type of orchid brings a “wow” factor to your gift, with unique, long-lasting blooms that are available in a variety of colors. Because they typically bloom from late winter well into spring , Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to get a phalaenopsis settled into place. They prefer filtered light and consistent water. Golden Pothos Another “hearty” (or hardy) plant to grow, the Golden Pothos is likely to be around for decades. As a trailing vine, it will thrive on the top of a cabinet or in a hanging basket. Although it prefers bright, indirect light, it will likely adapt in a darker environment or accept fluorescent lighting as its light source. The golden pothos is also forgiving if the watering schedule isn’t quite followed. Succulents Succulents make a great gift, especially on Valentine’s Day. They have the ability to provide tropical appeal without asking for much in the way of care, and they bring a feeling of zen to any space. Succulents make a statement, so giving one as a gift offers an experience for your sweetheart that will last long after the rosebuds would have faded. Seeds or Bulbs If you require a smaller gift, your love interest is in the middle of a move or you’re shipping something across the country, why not consider seeds or bulbs? Especially for those who enjoy gardening, seeds or bulbs will likely deepen a connection between your sweetheart and you based on your thoughtfulness. You can also plant the seeds or bulbs and allow your gift to grow with the seasons. For example, tulips likely won’t be above the soil level for several more weeks, but your loved one will think of you when those plants finally bloom. Daffodils and crocus are two options that might be blooming as the holiday arrives, depending on where you live. As you shop for plants this Valentine’s Day, check with your local nurseries for advice about what plants to purchase and how to care for them. One benefit of shopping locally is that many selections will already be potted, eliminating the plastic packaging and pots. Of course, there are many online merchants who ship plants and aim to minimize waste, so do your research and email companies if you have any questions. Images via Shutterstock

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Plants to give your loved one this Valentine’s Day

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