Easy & Eco-friendly ‘Experience’ Gift Ideas

December 9, 2019 by  
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Easy & Eco-friendly ‘Experience’ Gift Ideas

New e-snowmobiles bring eco tourism to the northern lights

November 11, 2019 by  
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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

This sustainable luxury smartwatch monitors climate change

November 7, 2019 by  
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Just in time for your conscious holiday shopping, Veldt, Inc. is unveiling its newest luxury smartwatch, the LUXTURE AARDE, designed with sustainability and wellness in mind. Possibly its most interesting feature, the Climate Action Reminder is a tool that shows how global warming has quickly increased temperatures compared to just 10 years ago along with other climate-related notifications. Aimed at giving the user the ideal level of alerts at the appropriate times, this luxury watch is not designed to bombard the wearer with too much information or to groom an over-reliance on technology. Unlike other modern smartwatches, the LUXTURE AARDE watch uses a combination of LED lights embedded into the watch face, vibrations and colors to convey messages rather than words, providing a less-intrusive, more subtle approach. Related: 14 apps to help you live a more sustainable lifestyle The watch comes with alerts connected to typical apps like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp as well as notifications for emails and calls. It also includes the ability to connect up to three different calendars and customize up to five VIP contacts. Yellow lights around the perimeter of the analog indicate moon phases, and the Pomodoro timer reminds you to take breaks during your workday. Additionally, LUXTURE AARDE takes data from your smartphone to help track health indicators such as activity level and steps on the connecting app. The Veldt LUXTURE AARDE watch comes in three styles: rose gold-toned with the “Birch” strap, stainless steel with the “Stone” strap and black with the “Calf” strap. Wearers will enjoy a wireless charging dock and an estimated battery life of three days. The watch connects to Bluetooth and is water-resistant as well. The collection ranges from $650 to $1,150 depending on the watch style. Perhaps the most alluring feature of the Veldt LUXTURE AARDE watch is its Climate Action Reminder. Aimed at promoting the personal well-being of the wearer, the feature offers information on UV radiation exposure, ocean wave levels and weather. The Climate Action Reminder calculates the daily average temperatures of the specific countries under the Paris Agreement. It also compares the temperature of your current location against the temperature a decade ago. This original function created by VELDT developers is directed at bringing awareness to the impact of climate change , hopefully providing the wearer with daily reminders to do their part in protecting the planet. + Veldt Images via Veldt

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This sustainable luxury smartwatch monitors climate change

Bee kind to bees, celebrate National Honey Bee Day

August 16, 2019 by  
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Give hard-working honey bees the respect they deserve on National Honey Bee Day. The holiday on Saturday, August 17 is a good time to show extra support for these winged creatures, as these fast-flying insects are responsible for pollinating 30 percent of the world’s food crops and 90 percent of the globe’s wild plants. Here are some tips on how to save the bees on National Honey Bee Day. Use this fun holiday to educate family and friends about the crucial role honey bees play, especially in light of their recent struggles. The number of honey bee colonies fell by 16 percent in the winter of 2017-18, according to an international study led by the University of Strathclyde. As bee populations decline, food security, the economy and healthy ecosystems are all threatened. Related: Native bees are going extinct without much buzz “But the exciting thing is that there are so many tiny actions all of us can do to play a part in protecting bees,” said Cedar Anderson, co-creator of Flow Hive . “Protecting bees is not just the job of beekeepers — we all have a role, and it can start in our own backyards.” If you want to join in and celebrate National Bee Day, think about creating thriving habitats for “these essential little pollinators ,” Anderson said. He suggests these simple tips to help bees thrive. Stop using sprays Don’t reach for the pesticides or sprays, as they are considered one of the leading threats to pollinators worldwide. Instead, garden pesticides can be replaced with natural alternatives such as garlic; onion or salt spray; soap and orange citrus oil; or a chili or pepper spray. Keep in mind that natural sprays can also harm pollinators; use them only outside of foraging hours. Add bee-friendly plants to your garden Maybe you don’t keep bees, but planting a bee-friendly garden at home is easy. Buy plants that bloom at various times to support different pollinators throughout the seasons. Trees and shrubs produce higher quantities of pollen and nectar; however, smaller plants produce forage more regularly. Try to have a combination of different sizes of native plants. Let your garden grow wild Allow veggie and herb plants to flower and dandelions to bloom. This way, the bees get to forage, and you don’t have to worry about gardening for a while. Related: It might be time to let your garden grow wild Teach kids about bees and other pollinators One of the most effective ways to teach children about pollinators is to take them outdoors and get them involved with planting flowers or building hummingbird feeders. Talk to them about the importance of bees to help them appreciate these important creatures. Take it to the next level by becoming a beekeeper Why not delve into becoming a beekeeper and caring for your own colony? It can help you connect with your local environment and keep the bee populations from disappearing. + Flow Hive Image via Christiane

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Escape to the Bavarian Alps in a charming A-frame that produces surplus energy

May 23, 2019 by  
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An A-frame house from the 1970s has been converted into the Solarferienhaus S3 (Solar Holiday Home S3) , an energy-positive holiday home located in a former holiday village in the hilly Chiemgau landscape of Upper Bavaria. Redesigned last year by German architect Thomas Ziesel , the innovative modern home is primarily powered by large photovoltaic panels mounted on both sides of the steeply sloped roof. Natural light floods the interior, which follows a minimalist design to keep the focus on the outdoors. Designed to house a maximum of four guests, the Solar Holiday Home S3 is suitable for short and long-term stays for vacationers seeking an eco-friendly getaway with easy access to outdoor activities. The holiday home’s close proximity to Chiemsee Lake and Salzburg makes it a prime location for hiking, cycling and swimming in the summer. In winter, opportunities for cross-country skiing and ice-skating are also available nearby. To reach these outdoor activities, the holiday home gives guests the chance to rent an electric car or drive a solar-powered catamaran on the Chiemsee Lake. The electric-powered vehicles can be charged using the energy surplus generated by the home’s solar panels mounted on the roof. To maximize the energy surplus, architect Thomas Ziesel designed the home for energy efficiency. The clay building boards that line the interior walls offer added insulation while the south facade is fully glazed to let in plenty of natural light. Related: Contemporary A-frame home soaks up lakeside views in Mexico The energy-positive  A-frame house features a spacious ground floor with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining area and a double-height living room that opens up to the outdoor deck on the south side. A loft, accessible via ladder, contains a second sleeping area and a workspace. Views of the Bavarian Alps can be enjoyed throughout the home. The Solar Holiday Home S3 can be booked online at UrlaubsArchitektur Holiday Architecture . + Solar Holiday Home S3 + Architektur Ziesel Images via Thomas Ziesel

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Escape to the Bavarian Alps in a charming A-frame that produces surplus energy

Simple DIY upcycled holiday decor

December 7, 2018 by  
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Traditional Christmas decorations can quickly get expensive and extremely wasteful. But you can change that in your home this Christmas season by turning everyday household items into holiday decor. All you have to do is take a shopping trip through your house and upcycle old stuff into Christmas decorations. With just a little time and creativity, you can create these holiday decorations for just pennies, and keep the waste at a minimum. Pasta Christmas tree All you need for this project is some raw bowtie pasta, cardboard plates, a hot glue gun, and spray paint. Choose a color of paint that will match your holiday decor, like silver, gold, or green, and paint your pasta before gluing the pieces together to make a tree. This is just the beginning. You can also use penne rigate, fusilli, rotelle, radiatori, ditali lisci, or pasta shells to make a variety of different ornaments. When you watch the video tutorial for this craft, it will give you a creative spark. And, the surprising thing is, the holiday decorations and ornaments don’t even look like pasta when you are done. Toilet paper Santas This is a craft idea that you can do with the kids. All you need is some toilet paper rolls, colored paper, a marker, glue, scissors and string. First, measure and cut a piece of red paper that will fit around the toilet paper roll, then use your marker to draw bricks. Glue the red bricks to your toilet paper roll, then use the red paper again to cut out Santa’s legs and part of his hat. You will need white paper for the “fur trim” of Santa’s hat and pants, and black paper for the toy bag, feet and mittens. Sock monkey ornaments If you have some old sock monkeys hiding in the bottom of the closet, or have some sewing skills, you can create some cute sock monkey ornaments to put on the tree. All you need to make your own sock monkey is a pair of socks, two buttons, cotton stuffing or polyester fiber, scissors and some needle and thread. Wine bottle cork Christmas tree Another super easy idea for upcycled holiday decor is a Christmas tree made from wine bottle corks. You can paint the corks or decorate them with buttons, glitter, and textiles before tying them in red ribbon. Or, you can keep it simple and arrange plain corks (possibly with some red wine stains) into the shape of a tree. Then glue them together and add a decorative ribbon. Bottle light tree With some rebar, wine and/or liquor bottles, and a few strings of Christmas lights, you can create your own bottle light tree to light up your front yard. The possibilities are endless with this project, and the bonus is you have to drink some booze to make it happen. Cinnamon stick candle holder All you need for this idea is some cinnamon sticks, hot glue, some ribbon or lace, and a few holiday embellishments that you can find in your yard, like pine cones. And, in just a few short minutes you will have custom candle holders that will make your house smell amazing throughout the holiday season. Recycled Christmas village You can take this idea and run with it any way you like. You can use plastic containers or mason jars to house trees you can make from paper. And, you can use cereal and snack boxes like BettiJo at Paging Super Mom to create your village . Tech lover wreath Do you have some old computer parts, cell phones, and cords taking up space in your home? Well, stop letting them collect dust and turn them into a holiday wreath. All you need is a wreath form and some old tech to create this cute, geeky decoration. Light bulb garland and ornaments This upcycled holiday decor idea uses old light bulbs, paint, and some ornament hangers. You can add them to some garland or hang them on your tree. And, if you want to take this idea to another level  — and you have some art skills — you can turn the light bulbs into reindeer, snowmen, Santas, or even a grinch with the right paint and crafty accessories. Lanterns It doesn’t get much easier (or cheaper) than this. You will want to start by creating a holiday image with vintage angels and stars, or any other Christmas-inspired thing you can think of. Then, print out your design and cut out a piece that will fit around a soup can and another that will fit a box of matches.  Finally, glue or tape the pieces to the can and matchbox, just don’t cover the striking surface on the box! Images via Personal Creations , Elin B , Diana_rajchel , Shutterstock

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Simple DIY upcycled holiday decor

Holiday Tip: Don’t Recycle Gift Wrap

December 7, 2018 by  
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In the case of gift wrap, it’s better to reuse, or not use at all, than to try to recycle. The post Holiday Tip: Don’t Recycle Gift Wrap appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Holiday Tip: Don’t Recycle Gift Wrap

10 ideas for zero-waste gift wrapping

December 6, 2018 by  
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Wrapping beautiful presents for the holidays can create a lot of trash, thanks to all of the paper, bags, bows and ribbons. They may look amazing sitting under your tree for a few days, but within seconds of being opened, the garbage bags quickly fill up. Gift wrapping is one of the most wasteful parts of the holiday season, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can actually wrap beautiful presents without creating a ton of trash; you just have to use the right materials. If you look around your house, keep your eyes open at work, pull from the recycling bin, hit up a thrift shop and visit your local craft store, you can find the perfect items to wrap your presents in a zero-waste manner. Wrapping paper alternatives Newspaper The perfect idea for last-minute wrapping paper , newspaper is a material that you can easily find in the recycling bin at home or work. Use the comics section or advertising circulars to add a little color, or stick with the traditional black and white print. Either way, this option gives new life to a material that usually finds its way to the trash just as quickly as store-bought wrapping paper. You can also use magazines, old books, vintage maps or sheet music to wrap your gifts. Upcycling paper for gift wrapping is an idea that can’t go wrong. Paper grocery bags Another material that you will find in most recycling bins, paper grocery bags give a little texture to your gift wrapping, and this material can be easily dressed up with embellishments. Even if there is a logo on the bag, you can still use it. Simply take an old Christmas card and place it on the spot you want to cover. Fabric With some sewing scraps, old button-down shirts, cloth napkins or scarves from a thrift shop, you can make your gift wrapping zero-waste by using fabric . There is actually a Japanese fabric wrapping technique called furoshiki, which embraces an eco-friendly philosophy by folding and tying cloth in a unique way. Butcher paper White or brown butcher paper makes perfect wrapping paper because you can easily make it jazzy or keep it plain. Plus, it is never in short supply. You can find it in a recycling bin, or visit your local craft store and find rolls for cheap. Related: 3 easy, last-minute DIY gifts for nature lovers Mason jars Instead of filling up a gift bag, consider using glass jars to “wrap” your gift. You can dress up the jar with some old fabric or ribbon, and the recipient can reuse the jar instead of tossing a bag in the trash. Blankets Most people won’t object to getting two presents in one, especially when the bonus present is a soft, cuddly blanket. Place your gift on a flat blanket, then tie all of the corners together for a fun wrapping idea. Flower seed paper Try this unique alternative to traditional wrapping paper — plantable paper . This innovative gift wrap is made from post-consumer materials and is completely biodegradable. The paper is embedded with seeds, which sprout into flowers once the paper is planted. Ties and embellishments Twine/hemp Keep your tape use to a minimum by using twine or hemp to tie up your packages. With a simple spool of string, you can tie up all of your presents that you wrap in newspaper, paper grocery bags or butcher paper. Leather cord This strong material can easily tie up your gifts, and you can find rolls and rolls of it for just a few bucks. Leather cord also comes in a variety of colors, so it will easily dress up plain paper. Fabric scraps If you have pieces of fabric that aren’t large enough to wrap an entire gift, you can use those pieces to decorate a plain package or jar. Cutting up some long, narrow strips of fabric is an easy solution for jazzing up gifts, and it keeps your gift wrapping to zero-waste . Old jewelry Thrift stores are loaded with brooches and bracelets that you can buy with the change in the bottom of your purse. There are many beautiful jewelry options that you can use to add some sparkle to your gift wrapping when you tie them with fabric scraps or cloth napkins. Cinnamon sticks This option is beautiful, smells amazing and is also compostable. Simply tie some cinnamon sticks with string — and add a little greenery like pine needles or fresh herbs — to give your gifts an extra dose of holiday cheer. Natural elements Find fallen leafy branches from evergreen trees, pinecones, winter berries or twigs to adorn your packages. Simply tie them into place with twine, hemp, leather cords or fabric scraps for an impressive, thoughtful touch. Via Going Zero Waste and Trash is for Tossers Images via Leone Venter , Chang Duong and Kari Shea

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Earth911 Podcast, Dec. 3, 2018: Let’s Go Sustainable Holiday Shopping!

December 3, 2018 by  
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The Earth911 podcast, Sustainability in Your Ear, looks at holiday … The post Earth911 Podcast, Dec. 3, 2018: Let’s Go Sustainable Holiday Shopping! appeared first on Earth911.com.

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The Essence of Giving: 5 Essential DIY Holiday Gifts Made with Essential Oils

November 30, 2018 by  
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