Newlyweds forgo pricey wedding to embark on an incredible tiny home adventure

July 9, 2019 by  
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When Alexandra Steltzer and her partner Jon were planning their wedding, they decided to spend the money they would have spent on a lavish, one-day ceremony on a three-month adventure traveling around the U.S. in a 19-foot-long renovated camper instead. After their wonderful trip, their love of tiny homes on wheels was sealed, and the crafty couple went on to renovate their own permanent tiny home, converting the old RV into a bohemian oasis. After Alexandra and Jon returned from their three-month adventure traveling around the United States, they felt pressured to put down roots and buy a “conventional” home. But soon after moving into a four-bedroom house, the adventurous couple began to feel trapped in the large space. They they decided to make a change, opting instead to downsize to a minimalist lifestyle . Related: Young couple build their own tiny home to avoid sky-high housing prices in the Bay Area The daring duo decided to rent their house out and move into a tiny home on wheels. After purchasing the old camper on Craigslist for just $3,000, Alexandra and Jon went to work doing much of the renovation themselves . The camper is just 240-square-feet of living space , but the savvy interior design makes it feel much larger. In the living room, a cozy L-shaped sofa sits next to the dining/working table that can be pulled away from the wall to make room for dinner guests. The kitchen is also a modern space, with a few vibrant, retro touches, such as the black and white backsplash. The kitchen comes with all of the basic amenities, such as a butcher block countertops and storage. There is also a four-burner stove. The rest of the home is just the right size for the couple, with a small bedroom tucked into the back end of the renovated camper . As for the interior design, Alexandra says that she and Jon have sourced most of the home’s decorations and furnishings secondhand. + Alexandra Steltzer Via Apartment Therapy Images via Alexandra Steltzer

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Newlyweds forgo pricey wedding to embark on an incredible tiny home adventure

Shake it up: A Q&A with Sarah Pool, co-founder of upcycled spent grain protein shake company

June 21, 2019 by  
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How this entrepreneur is combining her love of nutrition and the environment.

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Shake it up: A Q&A with Sarah Pool, co-founder of upcycled spent grain protein shake company

A sustainable meal plan filled with recipes for Earth Day

April 19, 2019 by  
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Not all food is created equal, and not all foods are healthy for the planet. You’ve seen the headlines. Manufacturing plants suck up water, pollute with chemicals and damage the surrounding landscape. Raising cattle and other livestock is also associated with earth-damaging consequences. Most environmentalists agree that plant-based products offer the best balance of nutrition and sustainability. Earth Day is right around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to focus on foods that show our love for the planet. If you’d like to curate a meal plan incorporating plant-based ingredients, seasonal goods and limited waste, here are some recipes to inspire you. Breakfast Spring offerings make for a delightfully fresh breakfast. Eggs with asparagus and spinach 1. Broil a thick slice of rustic or sourdough bread on both sides. 2. Create an indent in the center of the bread. If applicable to your diet, add prosciutto around the edges of the bread. Fill the indent with a layer of cheese (your choice) and a generous layer of spinach . Arrange small, tender pieces of asparagus around the center. Then, gently break an egg into the spinach nest. 3. Cook at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the eggs are set and the vegetables are tender. Add a side of sliced apricot or avocado . Related: 12 delicious and crowd-pleasing vegan brunch ideas Lunch Vegetable-waste bowl Well that doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it? Maybe we should call it, “Keep from Wasting Vegetables Bowl” instead. The goal here is to use up whatever is in the fridge , so dig deep. 1. Roast whatever veggies you have. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, peppers, turnip, parsnip, asparagus, beans … all of them! Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake in the oven until tender. 2. In the meantime, make a cup of your favorite grain. Quinoa, brown rice, white rice, buckwheat, barley, farrow or amaranth are great options. 3. Mix it all together, and stir in your choice of beans : pinto, kidney, garbanzo, black, etc. Top with cheese, a squirt of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil or your preferred dressing. Dinner Salad starter Spring is a great time to enjoy young greens and cool-weather lettuce along with other seasonal fruits and vegetables. There are so many combinations to try, so feel free to mix it up any way you like! 1. Start with a base of arugula, green and red lettuce, romaine and/or spinach. 2. With your leafy greens in place, choose your veggies. Many of your favorites are likely in season right now. Consider beets (shredded), carrots of all colors (shredded or sliced), radishes (thinly sliced), peas (snow, snap and garden) and broccoli florets. 3. Add some fruit. Many people forget to consider fruit when putting together a salad , but early-season strawberries and spring apricots add the perfect zing to the mix. 4. For dressing, go with a vinaigrette. They are plant-based and easy to whip up, plus there are many flavor options to create. For example, a soy/mustard combination includes: 1/4 cup tamari 1/4 cup balsamic or red wine vinegar 2 tsp Dijon mustard While a traditional berry vinaigrette is made up of: 4 large strawberries or 1/3 cup raspberries or other berry of choice 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 2 tbsp agave syrup Pinch of freshly ground black pepper 5. Top with nuts. The options are endless here too. Shaved almonds, cashews, roasted filberts, pine nuts and sunflower seeds are all excellent choices. Related: How to make a meal out of leftover veggies Easy homemade dinner pizza If you are avoiding grains, create a cauliflower-crust instead of the one here. Choose any toppings that make you happy, but this recipe focuses on light spring eats. Note: The dough performs better if made the day before. Crust: 2 tbsp agave 3 cups warm water 2 packages dry active yeast 7 cups of flour 1/4 cup olive oil 3 tbsp kosher salt 1. Combine agave, yeast and water in a bowl, and allow it to sit until it becomes foamy, about five to 10 minutes. 2. Stir in the flour, olive oil and salt. 3. Knead the mixture until smooth. 4. Coat the dough with oil, place in a bowl and cover, allowing it to rise until it doubles, about one hour. 5. Divide the dough into four balls and lay these on a sheet with space between them. Cover and refrigerate overnight. You can still use the dough without this rest period with pretty good results. 6. Warm your grill. You will be using indirect heat, so heat it up and then turn off half the flames on a gas grill or move coals to one side for charcoal. 7. Roll out one ball of dough and transfer it to the grill. Make sure your toppings are prepared and nearby. Stay close to your pizza while it cooks. Transfer the stretched-out dough to the grill. Don’t worry if it is not perfectly rounded; the handmade look adds a rustic appeal. Cook the dough for one or two minutes, then flip. Move it to indirect heat for an additional one to two minutes. Continue moving it back and forth, flipping frequently until it is bubbled and cooked through. 8. Add your favorite cheese and other toppings, and continue to cook the pizza until the cheese melts, keeping it off of direct high heat. The options for toppings are endless, but our favorite combination is toasted pine nuts, spinach, fresh basil, garlic and olives. Fresh spring flavors include arugula, fennel bulbs, peas, artichoke hearts and asparagus. Dessert Vegan strawberry ice cream No meal is complete without dessert, especially when you’re honoring the Earth. We’ll give credit to our friends over at Loving it Vegan for this sweet, plant-based option. Enjoy! 1 14oz (400ml) can coconut cream 1 14oz (400ml) can coconut milk 1/2 cup (100g) white granulated sugar 1/4 cup (60ml) maple syrup 1 cup (232g) strawberry puree 1 tbsp strawberry extract 1/2 tsp salt 1. Add a can of coconut milk , a can of coconut cream, sugar and maple syrup to a pot. 2. Bring that to a simmer, stirring constantly. 3. As soon as it simmers, remove the pot from the heat and add in strawberries puree, salt and strawberry extract. 4. Blend everything until smooth. 5. Next, put the mixture into a storage container and place into the fridge to chill overnight. If you are in a hurry, place the mixture in the freezer for an hour or so. 6. Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker until it reaches your desired consistency. This can take about 20 minutes to 45 minutes. The best way to celebrate the planet is through your stomach. With the right ingredients, that’s a win-win! Images via Shutterstock

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A sustainable meal plan filled with recipes for Earth Day

Inhabitat Interview with Beth Cosmos, owner of Billygoats & Raincoats

April 5, 2019 by  
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In 2016, Beth Cosmos was fresh out of design school at the University of South Wales and volunteering at several music festivals. Eager to see the hundreds of thousands of displaced tents left after music festivals in her native U.K., Cosmos decided to combine her love of sustainability and fashion . The lightbulb moment came when she woke up to what seemed like an endless ocean of abandoned tents left behind by festival-goers at a venue. The tents were made of a good material: sturdy, waterproof and sadly destined for a landfill where it would never fully decompose. Armed with an idea, she took a few of the tents home to turn into clothes. Fast forward to 2019, and Billygoats & Raincoats is now Cosmos’ full-time job. We talked to Cosmos about her passion project and what’s next for the brand. Inhabitat: “Have you always been passionate about sustainability?” Cosmos: “Most definitely, I was that uni housemate who reinforced what exactly could be recycled or not and in which bags … super fun housemate, right?” Inhabitat: “You initially got the idea for Billygoats & Raincoats after noticing leftover tents at a festival. Were you looking for a project at the time?” Cosmos: “It’s an incredibly wasteful and upsetting sight to see. I was already designing children’s raincoats and seeking out the most sustainable options fabric -wise. The realization of the scale of waste and need for an alternative to using new fabrics came together perfectly, really.” Related: Housing pods made of recycled plastic offer an alternative to festival tent waste Inhabitat: “Tell us about your company’s zero-waste initiative. How do you use each part of the tent?” Cosmos: “All the best parts, nicest weight and condition fabrics are used for the kids coats. I tend to use all the primary colors first, smaller panels of the good stuff go to the tote bags. If there are any pieces with marks, I use them in reverse for the linings of the bags. Blacks, grays and darker colors are being saved for my big kid, AKA adult’s wear, range. I have designed the range and will be launching a Kickstarter very soon to help fund that collection, so keep a look out on our Instagram for a heads up on when that’s going to be launched. There will be opportunities to win lots of goodies, like kids coats, one-offs and custom adult coats. I use all the fly nets for pouches on bags and lining on pockets, and they will be used as a large part of the lining in the big kid range. Guy lines have a few uses, namely pocket hooks and ties on packaging and will be getting used a lot more in the future as handy hooks. I use the ground sheets for packaging , and everything else gets cleaned and stored until I think of something to do with it. There is a lot of hauling going on.” Inhabitat: “Any plans for repurposing the coats once children grow out of them?” Cosmos: “The coats are made to a very high standard and designed to fit children for more than a year; once one cool kid grows out of the coat, it would be great to see the coat handed down. The coats can be sent back to us at the end of their life. We will offer 50 percent off the next purchase, and we will reuse the salvageable fabric.” Inhabitat: “How do you make the coats breathable with such a notoriously durable material? Do the coats get ‘muggy’ or ‘clammy’ at all?” Cosmos: “The coats are a very loose fitting, boxy shape that allows children to move freely in, and they are designed to be worn layered up.” Inhabitat: “Are you working with any festival companies directly?” Cosmos: “We will be working with and recovering tents from Glastonbury, Boomtown and Camp Bestival this year. We hope to be working very closely with them this time next year. We’re planning very exciting collaborations.” Inhabitat: “What’s next for Billygoats and Raincoats?” Cosmos: “To take over the world of rainwear, of course!” To check out Billygoats & Raincoats, head to its  website or Instagram page . + Billygoats & Raincoats Images via Billygoats & Raincoats

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Inhabitat Interview with Beth Cosmos, owner of Billygoats & Raincoats

A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for family

December 11, 2018 by  
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When it comes to family, we want to offer the best of the best. The smartest way to gift high-quality gifts to your loved ones is by shopping sustainably. Eco-friendly products (and experiences) are made with love and care for people and the planet. Here are some of our top picks for everyone in your family. For mom: Eco-friendly yoga mats Mom deserves some ‘me’ time. Whether she is an avid yogi or is just getting started, this plant-based yoga mat is made with cork . It’s also free of harsh chemicals, antibacterial and odor-free. The cork is sustainable and helps provide a stronger grip. Hobby classes Does your mom love to cook? Maybe she could spend hours making pottery , or perhaps she enjoys painting. No matter her preferences, buy a pass or certificate for classes that interest her. This is a thoughtful gift of experience, which will leave her with lovely memories for years to come. Sweaters Who doesn’t love a snuggly sweater? We love the various options from Patagonia — the company is a champion for the environment, plus their products are built to last whether Mom likes to sit on the couch in her sweater or explore the great outdoors. Sustainable jewelry Add a little extra bling to your mom’s envy-inducing jewelry box with eco-friendly, ethical accessories. There are many beautiful, unique options from 31Bits , which works with women artisans in Uganda, Indonesia and the U.S. to provide fair working conditions and wages as well as healthcare, mentorship, counseling and more. For dad: Organic skincare There is no better way to show your love for someone than by giving them the gift of healthy skin. Whether it is something to moisturize the rough patches under a beard, something to soothe cracked knuckles or a myriad of products, gift Dad with organic skincare that will allow him to pamper himself daily. We love this line , which is made from recycled coffee grounds and only uses plant-based packaging. Watches Adorn Dad’s wrist with a new watch that will keep him punctual and stylish. Be sure to choose a brand with the environment in mind, like WeWood . WeWood offers wood watches free of toxic, artificial materials. Plus, WeWood plants a tree for each watch sold, and these wooden watches are sure to stand out among a sea of their metallic counterparts. Related: Inhabitat test drives a gorgeous WeWood watch Wool shirts Wool is incredibly durable with the ability to withstand the coldest of temperatures and wick away moisture with ease. Add a sleek wool shirt to Dad’s closet with options like Ramblers Way , a family-owned business in the U.S. that is dedicated to respecting the sheep, the environment and the people. The company uses 100 percent wool and donates time and money to local causes ranging from environmental conservation to human need to arts and education. Vegan or recycled leather jackets The jokes might be lame, but Dad can at least look cool in an environmentally responsible leather jacket. There are many vegan options on the market, or you can embrace reuse with a jacked from Better World Fashion . These jackets are made from recycled leather and the buttons are made with recycled metal. The certified B corp also relies on responsible production methods, uses zero water or chemicals and creates zero waste. For siblings: Eco-friendly subscription boxes Subscription boxes are the gift that keeps on giving, but it is important to find ones that advocate for the environment. Surprise your siblings month after month with a subscription to companies like the Bloomin’ Bin , Feeling Fab , KloverBox , MightyFix  and more. Everlane clothing With a commitment to ethical, sustainable fashion, Everlane offers eco-friendly unisex clothing, shoes and accessories that are sure to please. Be sure to browse the ReNew collection , which offers puffer coats, pullover sweaters and parkas all made from recycled water bottles. Zero-waste kit Help your siblings lower their carbon footprints (truly the best gift of all) by gifting them a zero-waste kit. Specifically, we recommend the {Zero} Waste Kit , which includes a glass jar with a leak-proof, organic bamboo lid; a sustainable cork sleeve for mugs; a reusable, ethically-sourced bamboo dual utensil; a stainless steel straw with an eco-friendly cleaner; a napkin made from upcycled fabric scraps; a knife with a ceramic blade and a bamboo handle; and organic cotton produce bags. Whew! That’s a lot of bang for your buck, and everything your loved ones could need to really embrace the zero-waste lifestyle. Indoor garden With a snappy indoor garden , your siblings can grow their very own food for weeks, months and years to come. We love Click + Grow , which is energy-efficient, small space-friendly and easy to use. In our own tests, we had sprouts from seed in just two days! It’s a great gift for those who would love to grow their own food, but might not have a lot of time or space to do so. For grandparents: Natural candles Nothing beats visiting your grandparents and taking in the comforting scents that fill their home (especially if they love to bake!). Add to the aroma with natural candles. Standard, store-bought candles can be toxic, so be sure to find sustainable candles made from responsibly sourced soy, coconut or palm wax. Also, ensure the wick is lead-free and made with cotton. Check Etsy for a wide range of handmade, eco-friendly candles. Related: Making soy candles for the holidays Birdhouses We all get a bit of joy from hearing birds chirp and watching as they soar above us. Gift this joy to Grandma and Grandpa by giving them a beautiful, handcrafted birdhouse that will spruce up their yard and bring cheerful birds around each day. Reading subscriptions Another gift that continues long after the holidays are over, a subscription for books, magazines or newspapers are an excellent present for grandparents who love to read. If they are open to going digital, it’ll save paper — otherwise, encourage them to recycle or upcycle the products when they have finished them! Choose their favorite media and topics, or introduce them to some reading that focuses on sustainability. Family photos Most grandparents would love to receive pictures of their family to place around their homes. Have your images printed with eco-friendly ink on sustainable paper , and then frame it in reclaimed wood or recycled materials. If you really want to go all out, organize a photoshoot with the whole family, and then frame those photos for a sweet sentiment. Images via George Dolgikh , Urbivore , Cally Lawson , Rocknwool , Artem Bali , Grums Aarhus , Ramblers Way , Franklin Heijnen , Kloverbox , Everlane , Alex Mortensen / {Zero} Waste Kit , Click + Grow , Joanna Kosinska , Nora Vellinga , Jonas Jacobsson , Shutterstock and Inhabitat

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A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for family

A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for travelers

December 10, 2018 by  
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For those who will be traveling far and wide in the new year, make sure their journeys are eco-friendly with an array of green gifts that will take them to the beaches, the forests or the mountaintops. Here are some of our favorite picks for those who enjoy living a nomadic lifestyle. Transit tickets to a nearby destination It’s no secret that air travel has a massive carbon footprint . To scratch the travel bug itch, gift loved ones with tickets for more sustainable forms of transportation to local destinations. Check out bike-shares, trains, buses or other public transit options to an exciting or interesting place. Airbnb stays The sharing economy has been thrust into the spotlight thanks to services like Airbnb . With thousands of incredible homestays, this makes a great gift for the explorers in your life. Check out cabins, tiny homes and more . Hammocks Give your favorite explorer a hammock, so they can relax or nap wherever the road takes them! These Yellow Leaf Hammocks are handcrafted by artisan weavers, so your purchase supports these workers and their families. There are 100 percent cotton options available, and all of these hammocks are weather-proof and resistant to fading. Solar-powered charger Even if your gift recipient loves to go off the grid, cellphones can be important to have on hand in times of emergencies. A solar-powered charger is great for camping, hiking or traveling, and this option even has a built-in LED flashlight. Journals Whether they want to write about or sketch their adventures, your loved ones will adore this handmade journal to accompany and record their journeys. The journal is ethically crafted from Lokta paper (a tree-free, renewable resource) and protected with a durable felt cover and a leather belt or cloth tie. Explore Local Box Created by a kindred traveling spirit, the Explore Local Box is an excellent subscription service for the adventurers in your life. Each month, the company chooses a city (one that the team has explored previously) and fills a box with locally made goods from that area. You’ll find art, household items, food and more each month. It’s a gift that keeps on giving! Backpacks Hiking, camping and, of course, backpacking are nearly impossible to do without a sturdy, reliable backpack to carry one’s necessities. Osprey offers backpacks for every type of explorer, and each bag has plenty of storage space and functional features to make them comfortable and efficient. Plus, these backpacks are built to last (the company will gladly repair any of its products, no matter the purchase date) — a feature we love. Hydro Flask Staying hydrated is crucial to a successful journey, which is why a Hydro Flask is the perfect gift for globetrotters. The company offers a variety of drink receptacles, from water bottles that attach to backpacks to coffee mugs, wine carriers and more. Each container comes in a variety of colors, or customize one for an extra special present. Related: Get ready for an adventure with this ultimate checklist of backpacking essentials Boots A trusty pair of boots can take you through miles and miles of mountains, hills, deserts, forests and more. Whether your recipient is scaling a mountain or shuffling through the snow in the driveway, these boots by KEEN will take them far. Plus, KEEN loves to give back and is on a mission to hit zero-waste at its headquarters. Tree tents Take an explorer to new heights with a tent that lets them sleep among the treetops. We’ve mentioned our love for Tentsile’s tree tents time and time again , and we also appreciate that the company plants trees to promote healthy forests. You can also check out Tree Tents , a U.K.-based company that offers prefab glamping pods that are locally and responsibly sourced. This company also proudly partners with communities to plant trees. Visit.org experiences For a gift that takes travelers off the beaten path, check out Visit.org . This website offers a wide array of experiences around the world that range from yoga classes in NYC to artisan workshops in Peru to community tree planting events in South Africa. Each experience aids an important cause, and you can even search by location or type of cause. Images via Simon Migaj , Jack Anstey , Airbnb , Yellow Leaf Hammocks , Etsy , Explore Local Box , Adrian , KEEN , Tentsile , Lukas Budimaier  and Shutterstock

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A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for travelers

Help Kids Celebrate Earth Day: Organize a School Event

April 11, 2018 by  
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Do you want to share your love of nature with … The post Help Kids Celebrate Earth Day: Organize a School Event appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Help Kids Celebrate Earth Day: Organize a School Event

Green Valentine gifts for Earth-loving sweethearts

February 6, 2018 by  
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If you’re anything like us, you want to show your earth-loving sweetheart that you care about them on Valentine’s Day without perpetuating harmful consumerism. Luckily there are ways to show your love that are both environmentally and socially beneficial. We’ve collected some thoughtful gifts ranging from fair trade chocolate to jewelry made from recycled materials. Browse through our list of conscientious gifts that will make your special person feel even more so on Valentine’s Day . 11 Green Valentine Gifts for Earth-Loving Sweethearts HAND IN HAND SOAP If you have a sweetie who likes to smell sweeter than roses but hates the idea of applying harmful ingredients to their skin, then these Hand in Hand soaps might appeal to you. Made from all-natural ingredients that were responsibly harvested, a pack of three comes with three fragrances: White Tea, Orange Blossom and Lavender. 50 square feet of rainforest is spared with each bar bought. + $20 from Hand in Hand Soap PACT ORGANIC COTTON UNDERWEAR This year light your loved one’s fire with a pair of sexy sustainable underwear from PACT! These super-soft 100% organic cotton undies are sustainably manufactured in sweat-shop free facilities that are powered by wind power. + $19-$30 at PACT   MAKE YOUR OWN BEESWAX CANDLES Here’s another fun and sustainable twist on a must-have Valentine’s Day accessory: candles! This fun kit is made up of multi-colored, sustainably-sourced beeswax sheets and wicks. A sweet gift that is incredibly easy to put together, these candles are bound to add a little vibrancy and warmth to your romancing. + $35 from Amazon SEXY SUSTAINABLE SKIVVIES If you really want to turn up the heat this Valentine’s Day, consider picking up a pair of sexy sustainable skivvies – our green fashion site Ecouterre has rounded up two dozen eco-friendly Lingerie gifts that are sure to set the night ablaze come February 14th. From racy garter tanks to corsets and slips galore, read on for our top picks. + 14 Eco-Friendly Lingerie Gifts A HEART FOR LOVE ALUMINUM SCULPTURE So many gifts we give on Valentine’s Day are temporary, but sometimes it’s nice to give a gift that will last, such as a sculpture that memorializes enduring love. This wonderful Aluminum Heart for Love sculpture designed by a NOVICA artisan will squeeze your loved one’s heart while supporting quality indigenous craftsmanship. + $55.49 from NOVICA HALL ORGANIC WINE Wine and champagne are also favorites on Valentine’s Day, but who wants to give or drink wine that was grown using toxic pesticides? If you want to let your hair down and splurge on the beverage ordained by the gods, check out Hall’s award-winning organic wine, which is sulfur and pesticide-free. + $22 and up at Hall Wines   TWIG TERRARIUMS We have yet to come up with a holiday for which Twig Terrariums aren’t awesome gifts. So cute, green, long lasting and exciting to explore, a mini green world in a glass vessel is certain to inspire at least five thank you kisses! + $55 and up at Twig Terrariums   ADOPT AN ANIMAL For a new spin on the boring old chocolate hearts gift this Valentine’s Day, why not Adopt an animal from Endangered Species . Not only will you receive a gift bag of yummy fair trade chocolates, but 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the African Wildlife Foundation! + $30 from Endangered Species A CD FULL OF LOVE SONGS Sometimes going old school is the most heartwarming thing you can do for your loved ones, particularly if you put a lot of thought into it. If you’re really strapped for cash and have a blank CD or two lying around, why not make a mix of your favorite loved songs? Everyone has their own taste so you don’t have to choose sappy tearjerkers, just songs you know your partner will love. Add your own cover to personalize it if you like and if you don’t have a CD, make a Spotify playlist instead. + FREE lead image via Deposit Photos

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Green Valentine gifts for Earth-loving sweethearts

Jordanian repurposes old VW Beetle into ‘world’s smallest hotel’

November 14, 2017 by  
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One enterprising man deep in the Jordanian desert is proving that when it comes to hotel design , it’s the spirit that counts. Mohammed Al Malaheem, 64, has converted an old VW Beetle into a mini hotel for guests visiting his hometown of Al Jaya. Although it may not technically be the world’s smallest hotel, it certainly runs large when it comes to hospitality. A former tour guide for the area, Malaheem (who goes by the name Abu Ali) and his daughter revamped the tiny vehicle into a hotel room in 2011 after his retirement. The roadside hotel was designed to provide a nice place for visitors to the largely deserted village to feel comfortable. After working on the car’s design, Ali converted an adjacent cave into a reception area named “Baldwin’s Grotto”, complete with a bathroom, kitchen, and gift shop. Related: These campers made from 1970’s VW Bugs are the cutest things ever Ali told CNN that the mini hotel project was mainly inspired by his love of his hometown, “This village is my homeland, I was born here, I grew up here, I lived here. I wanted to start a project that improves its situation and places it on the tourism map, because it truly overlooks some of the most beautiful scenery in the region.” Although the village may not be on top of many travel bucket lists, Al Jaya does have its charms. The area is located near Al Shoubak, home to the 12th century castle called Montreal. What it lacks in fancy amenities, the hotel more than makes up for in off-grid relaxation, full of peace and quiet, and of course, Malaheem’s warm hospitality. The VW hotel – which charges 40 Jordanian Dinars (approx. $56) for an all-inclusive, one-night stay – can only accommodate two guests at a time, but from the looks of the many “thank you” notes left by previous visitors, the hotel is beloved by many. In fact, Ali’s place has received so many positive reviews that he’s planning to add several more VWs in the future. Via CNN Photography by Anas Al Rawashdeh/Mohammed Al Malaheem

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Jordanian repurposes old VW Beetle into ‘world’s smallest hotel’

Here’s what could happen if America went 100% vegan

November 14, 2017 by  
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What if America threw out its hot dogs and hamburgers in favor of vegan fare? You might say that would never happen, but two scientists – from Virginia Tech and the United States Department of Agriculture – decided to explore how such a choice would impact the country’s greenhouse gas emissions . Their study discovered that annual agricultural emissions would fall from 623 million tons to 446 million tons. Eating vegan wouldn’t solve all of America’s greenhouse gas problems. But it would definitely make an impact. Animals currently comprise 49 percent of the US’ agricultural emissions. In a vegan America, agricultural emissions could drop by 28 percent. But total US emissions would only fall by 2.6 percent, according to the study . Related: 10 vegan sources of protein you can grow at home The study authors also noted a plant-only system wouldn’t meet the American population’s dietary needs for calcium, a few fatty acids, and vitamins A and B. Lead author Robin White of Virginia Tech told Science Magazine , “With carefully balanced rations, you can meet all of your nutrient requirements with a vegetarian diet. But the types of foods that seem to do that, we don’t currently produce in sufficient quantities to make it a sustainable diet for the entire population.” The study did find that without animals, total food production could increase by 23 percent – mostly in grains, according to Gizmodo . Not every expert agrees with the study’s assumptions. Nutritionist Joan Sabate of Loma Linda University told Science Magazine, “[We] could yield a better nutrient profile if we do restructure the land use.” Agricultural researcher Mario Herrero of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization said America going vegan could impact other countries as well – if the United States ceased importing so much meat , greenhouse gas emissions of other countries could fall too. Even if going vegan doesn’t solve all of the US’ climate change woes, it is clear a diet with less meat and more plants could help the planet. Project Drawdown – a coalition of scientists, entrepreneurs, and advocates – ranked a plant-rich diet as the number four solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America published the study online yesterday. + PNAS Via Science Magazine and Gizmodo Images via Tim Wright on Unsplash , Brooke Cagle on Unsplash , and Alexandra Andersson on Unsplash

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