10 ways to celebrate Mothers Day virtually in 2020

May 7, 2020 by  
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With the majority of the country continuing to observe social distancing and shelter-in-place laws, families are beginning to face a new normal of interacting for the holidays. Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, and while most of us won’t be able to see our moms in person this year, there are still ways to celebrate! A silver-lining? Choosing to celebrate from home, social distance-style, can be a win for the environment, too. 1. Have flowers planted in Central Park In New York’s Central Park, hundreds of thousands of tulips and daffodils bloom every year just in time for Mother’s Day. The city is offering a tax-deductible $1-per-bulb donation so that you can plant flowers in the park in someone’s name. After you’ve made your contribution, New York City will mail a certificate or e-card to your recipient letting them know about the donation. It is an inventive way to give your mom flowers this year that will continue to grow and thrive in a natural setting, rather than cut flowers. Related: Mother’s Day bouquet and other fun DIY ideas 2. Virtual 5K Although nearly all organized group runs this spring and summer have been cancelled, many of them have made the switch to become virtual runs instead. The All Community Events Mother’s Day Run Walk is a virtual 5K, 10K or half-marathon race that you can complete wherever you’d like. If you’re social distancing from your mom, it is a great way to stay connected while getting some exercise . You and Mom can choose your own routes in your own neighborhoods or an alternative favorite running route and log the miles together. 3. Virtual wine tasting Make a list of some organic or biodynamic wines, and send a few to your mom to try (don’t forget to buy some for yourself, as well). Start a video call and taste the wines together, making notes of which ones you like the most. Once you can visit each other in person again, it will be fun to bring your new favorite bottle to enjoy together! 4. Virtual brunch Get the whole family together (virtually, of course) by organizing a Mother’s Day brunch via Zoom, Facetime or Skype. Choose a simple, healthy recipe that everyone can make themselves at home, or have each person make something unique. 5. Take an online course together Choose an online cooking, art or gardening class that interests both of you. Learn a new skill while spending time with Mom, and you might even end up with a new hobby to appreciate together once social distancing rules ease up. Udemy has 100,000 online courses and is running Mother’s Day specials through May 14, or you can browse Skillshare for classes in everything from floral decoration to interior design. 6. Meal delivery kit Make sure that Mom is eating well during the pandemic with a subscription to a meal delivery service. The food will be delivered right to her door, eliminating at least a couple of trips to the grocery store. Daily Harvest offers delicious smoothie and bowl selections that you can give through a gift card or send as a nine-item gift box. Some other popular plant-based subscriptions include Purple Carrot and Sun Basket . 7. Decorate Mom’s front door Surprise Mom and brighten her day by decorating her front door for Mother’s Day with a festive wreath or handmade decorations . You won’t have to interact in person, but it will make you feel connected all the same! 8. Online yoga subscription Everyone is looking for ways to stay in shape from the comfort of their own homes these days, and online yoga provides the perfect combination of exercise and self care. Some of the more popular subscription options that incorporate meditation as well as yoga and Pilates are Glo and Gaia , although you can always check Groupon for online specials, too. 9. Tree planting donation Give an environmentally friendly gift that grows by planting a tree in Mom’s name for Mother’s Day. Check out the Earth Day Canopy Project and help in the fight against deforestation with one tree planted for each $1 donated; the network set a goal of planting 7.8 billion trees (one for every person on the planet) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020. Tree People is offering beautiful, specially designed and sustainably made Mother’s Day cards with custom messages with tree planting donations of $25 or more. 10. Host a Netflix Party Netflix’s new Party feature allows groups to synchronize video playback and chat while watching Netflix together, even from far away. Choose something inspiring like a Planet Earth nature documentary to get excited for when the world opens back up again. Images via Lum3n , Saramatos , Sofia Morin , Petra , Emily Austin and Aiokr Chen

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5 Wellness trends that are bad for the environment

March 12, 2020 by  
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Wellness is an ongoing pursuit that involves diet, exercise, mental health and many other factors. But the activities that make us feel good might be causing  harm to the planet  without us even knowing. Here’s how.  Crystals For those who feel a connection with Mother Earth, crystals are said to offer healing qualities, protection and the ability to calm the mind, among other benefits. While crystals are natural resources from the Earth, problems arise from how they are sourced. Many reports claim anything but safe working conditions for those harvesting the gems, with lax labor laws and many poverty-stricken areas being ruled by brutal military groups. In many countries, the industry is completely unregulated, which means in addition to the human cost, the planet is paying the price. Without oversight, mines can destroy animal habitats and cause extensive water pollution. In tropical areas, abandoned pits fill with stagnant water and create an inviting habitat for malaria-ridden mosquitos that contribute to the spread of disease. Although many retailers do their best to buy from reputable dealers, the supply chain is questionable at best with no transparency to truly know the path of the crystal you hold. Related: Ice rink alternatives and their environmental impact Essential oils For thousands of years, people have used plant oils to treat ailments, anxiety, headaches and much more. As the industry enjoys a resurgence, we wanted to peek into the production and waste components of essential oils, and what we found isn’t great news for the environment. Essential oils are naturally available from plants , some producing the oils on the outside and others storing it in pockets inside the plant. Regardless of the type of oil, it takes a lot of plants to source a single pound of oil. Many of these plants are grown on commercial farms with the same pesticide and water consumption concerns as other crops. Plus, if they are not native to the area, it can take more resources to keep them productive. For example, it takes 10,000 pounds of rose petals to garner one pound of rose essential oil. An even bigger issue is the  post-consumer waste  from essential oils. If thrown into the garbage, it contributes to overflowing landfills, and down the drain, it can create toxic water for fish and other wildlife. Additionally, many municipalities don’t allow recycling of the glass bottles because essential oils are classified as a flammable substance. In short, that means there is no great waste solution for millions of bottles of essential oils that should responsibly be recycled through toxic-waste collection events. To try cleaning up your act, look for native plants rather than those forced to grow in an area outside their normal habitat. Also, look for companies that offer a return program to recycle bottles. Alternately, source your own plants, being sure to check local regulations for your area. Sheet masks Face masks hydrate and exfoliate, leaving your skin looking vibrant and healthy. However, the common practice of using sheet masks may not leave the planet so healthy in its wake . Starting with the production of millions of sheet masks, the carbon footprint begins to unfold. Plus, transport around the world further contributes to pollution and resource consumption. Then there is the post-consumer waste to consider. Most sheet mask packaging contains a combination of aluminum and plastic, making it unrecyclable, so it ends up in the trash. The thin plastic sheet that often accompanies the mask follows close behind. Finally, the sheet mask itself typically ends up in the landfill as well. Even bamboo and cotton options are often treated in a way that keeps them from being composted so they get tossed. Let’s be honest, sheet masks are marketed as single-use products and as such will continue to produce waste. But before you cut out your sheet mask treatment, consider purchasing brands with packaging made from recycled materials, composting or recycling options, or significantly reduced packaging waste as your first choice. You can also select 100% biodegradable masks. Keto diet There seems to be a diet plan for every week of the year and Keto has made more than a few headlines with its low carb, high protein layout. But all that steak and butter comes at a cost to the planet . Meat is a high-polluting industry, consuming high quantities of drinking water as well as water for feed crops. Plus, it contributes to  methane gas in the air. Even if livestock is not being raised for meat, the same problems occur when it comes to milk animals used for cream, butter and other fats. While many oils come from plants, the increase in livestock production equally contributes to greenhouse emissions. Put simply, raising plants is much better for the planet than raising cattle. Hot yoga While it might be good for your body, hot yoga’s ramifications on the planet are less appealing. Classes take place in a studio, heated excessively by natural gas, electrical heat, propane or other sources. This alone contributes significantly to the studio’s carbon footprint. Additionally, lighting the studio, washing towels, cleaning and showers eat up additional resources. If you travel for your yoga class or retreat, the plane or car contributes to air pollution. To minimize your impact, look into mass transit and carpooling options or simply take your yoga class online. As another option, invest in carbon offsetting programs. Also be aware of the fabrics you wear to the gym, selecting organic fibers and options that will last for many years. Plus, invest in a quality yoga mat for long-term use. Images via Pexels and Pixabay 

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5 Wellness trends that are bad for the environment

A zero-waste, self-sustaining home of the future

March 12, 2020 by  
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Designed by Shanghai-based firm YANG Design , the Green Concept House is a futuristic concept that envisions a residence where sustainable technologies are embedded into the living spaces to create a zero-waste, 100% self-sustaining home. The design features several high-tech systems that use spare household energy to provide water, lighting and energy for growing plants throughout the home, essentially becoming a living greenhouse. House Vision is an annual event that invites architects to create futuristic residential designs that incorporate innovative technologies. This year, against the backdrop of the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing’s Olympic Park, 10 dwellings were unveiled, one of which was the incredible Green Concept House by Yang Design. Related: A greenhouse is transformed into an experimental living space in Taiwan Like the other full-scale home prototypes, the Green Concept House was a collaboration between architects and leading global companies that specialize in the various fields of technology, such as energy, vehicles, logistics and artificial intelligence. The 1,600-square-foot structure is a powerhouse of futuristic tech that merges organic food production into the house in order to create a living space that is 100% self-sustaining. Several compact garden pockets in every corner of the layout would allow homeowners to care for almost any type of plant using spare household energy (from solar and wind power generation ) to provide water and light for the gardens. The setup would permit residents to closely monitor their home gardens, including fruits, vegetables and herbs, via an app on their phones. For example, the app would sound an alarm when one of the plants is in need of specific care. Another notification would alert homeowners when a specific fruit or veggie is ready to be picked. Using this full-circle system, homeowners will not only be able to grow their own organic fare but will also be able to lead zero-waste lifestyles . + YANG Design Via ArchDaily Images via YANG Design

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A zero-waste, self-sustaining home of the future

A zero-waste, self-sustaining home of the future

March 12, 2020 by  
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Designed by Shanghai-based firm YANG Design , the Green Concept House is a futuristic concept that envisions a residence where sustainable technologies are embedded into the living spaces to create a zero-waste, 100% self-sustaining home. The design features several high-tech systems that use spare household energy to provide water, lighting and energy for growing plants throughout the home, essentially becoming a living greenhouse. House Vision is an annual event that invites architects to create futuristic residential designs that incorporate innovative technologies. This year, against the backdrop of the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing’s Olympic Park, 10 dwellings were unveiled, one of which was the incredible Green Concept House by Yang Design. Related: A greenhouse is transformed into an experimental living space in Taiwan Like the other full-scale home prototypes, the Green Concept House was a collaboration between architects and leading global companies that specialize in the various fields of technology, such as energy, vehicles, logistics and artificial intelligence. The 1,600-square-foot structure is a powerhouse of futuristic tech that merges organic food production into the house in order to create a living space that is 100% self-sustaining. Several compact garden pockets in every corner of the layout would allow homeowners to care for almost any type of plant using spare household energy (from solar and wind power generation ) to provide water and light for the gardens. The setup would permit residents to closely monitor their home gardens, including fruits, vegetables and herbs, via an app on their phones. For example, the app would sound an alarm when one of the plants is in need of specific care. Another notification would alert homeowners when a specific fruit or veggie is ready to be picked. Using this full-circle system, homeowners will not only be able to grow their own organic fare but will also be able to lead zero-waste lifestyles . + YANG Design Via ArchDaily Images via YANG Design

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A zero-waste, self-sustaining home of the future

Nature-inspired home uses passive design to stay cool in Taiwan

March 12, 2020 by  
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Just outside Kaohsiung’s city center, Taiwanese architecture firm Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute has completed Comfort in Context, a contemporary new home nestled in a lush hillside. Crafted as a respite in nature, the building is set far back from the road and is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glazing to take in mountain views. Nature also informed the design and orientation of the home, which relies on cross breezes and strategically located roof eaves to stay naturally cool while minimizing the use of electricity. Though strikingly contemporary in appearance, the design of Comfort in Context relies on age-old passive design principles for providing a comfortable living environment year-round. Oriented east to west, the home features a facade that mitigates unwanted solar gain at all times of the day while taking advantage of southwesterly winds to combat Taiwan’s hot and humid summers. In winter, the neighboring hills protect the building from cold winds. Related: Modular materials make up an eco-friendly restaurant in Taiwan “Nature doesn’t have to be the second thought for an architect in 2020, it must always be his or her first,” the firm explained. “The earth isn’t getting any better and everyone needs to do everything they can to reduce the emissions of their projects.” To further reduce the carbon footprint of the home, the architects planted a number of Taiwanese beech trees around the property. Environmentally friendly recycled materials were also used for the building structure, facade, finishes and interior. By building with the existing landscape to minimize site impact, the architects were able to reduce construction costs. As a result, more resources were diverted to the clients’ most important space in the house: the open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen that occupy a large part of the ground floor. The upper floor contains a spacious master bedroom, secondary bedroom, two atriums and five balconies. + Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute Photography by Moooten Studio / Qimin Wu via Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute

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A long weekend in nature at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

February 17, 2020 by  
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Twenty-five people walk through the hemlock forest on snowshoes. We’re close together, but move quietly in a line, going fast enough that we’re sweating on a 32-degree January morning. Eventually, we come to a brook, and Katie Hagel, an outdoor leader for the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, tells us to find our own quiet contemplation spot. We disperse, leaning against trees, sitting on logs or sprawling in patches of snow, snowshoes splayed at ungainly angles. We breathe the cold air and listen to water moving beneath the brook’s layer of ice. After a few minutes, Hagel gently hoots like an owl to let us know it’s time to reassemble. Our mindful time in nature is part of a snowshoeing and yoga program at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Kripalu sits on ancestral Stockbridge Munsee Mohican land overlooking Lake Mahkeenac, with views stretching across the southern Berkshires. Black bears, eastern coyotes, fishers, deer, porcupines, bobcats and bald eagles all call this land home. Related: Truly get away from it all at this gorgeous eco-resort and yoga retreat In 1893, banker Anson Phelps Stokes built Shadowbrook, his 100-room mansion, on this land. Later, it was home to a Jesuit monastery. But in 1983, the property’s purpose turned to yoga . Devotees of Swami Kripalu, an Indian yoga master who spent the last years of his life in the U.S., bought the property as an ashram. Since then, it’s evolved into one of the country’s largest yoga centers, with more than 40,000 guests per year and nearly 500 workers on staff. People come for professional training in yoga and Ayurveda as well as for short programs, like my snowshoeing and yoga weekend, and personal retreats. A weekend at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health When I arrived at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health at 10 p.m. on a Friday, I wasn’t expecting to have to wait in line to check into my room. But such is people’s desire for retreat from big city life. Many of the folks I met were from New York City , although some came as far as Texas or Arizona and others lived within 50 miles of the property. Many were repeat visitors seeking a tranquil getaway. Despite there being so many people onsite, Kripalu does a good job of letting people be sociable or quiet, as needed. The meals are all served buffet-style in the enormous dining room. Breakfast is a silent meal, but lunch and dinner can get raucous. Fortunately, a separate, small, silent dining room provides refuge for those seeking quiet. While Kripalu’s rooms are comfortable, this is not a luxury resort. My top-of-the-line private room included two single beds, good reading lights and a lovely bathtub. It was overwhelmingly plain; only two pillows decorated with hot pink flowers perked up the interior. No art on the wall underlined the contemplation-over-decoration philosophy. My room was in the Annex , an award-winning green building designed by Peter Rose + Partners. The Annex features hydronic radiant heating and cooling, a green roof and an overall smaller footprint due to clever design. Kripalu helps people take a break from technology by banning electronics in most areas. There’s an area for silent use and a Wi-Fi Lounge for those talking on the phone or otherwise making noise. You can also use electronics in your room — but only if you have a private room. Many people of all ages take advantage of the more affordable option of sharing a dorm. Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health connects nature and wellness Kripalu makes the most of its location by offering programs that combine yoga with hiking, kayaking , snowshoeing and wilderness survival. A yoga summer camp for adults includes paddling, hiking, nature observation and art. Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership In 2018, Kripalu founded the School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership to train guides to incorporate mindfulness techniques into outdoor activities. People who want to become mindful outdoor leaders can take two nine-day training modules combining yoga, Ayurveda, forest bathing , outdoor skills and the study of nature’s benefits for health. Level one focuses on basics, including leading a storytelling and sharing circle called Council. Level two delves deeper into survival skills, building fires and studying geology, flora, fauna and navigation with Mass Audubon. Participants also forage for wild teas. Related: Doctor’s orders — 2 hours in nature boosts mental health, study says As my snowshoeing leader Hagel explained, “Students in the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership spend the entirety of the training immersed in nature, deepening their connection with land, place and the more-than-human world. My hope is that graduates of this program will return home with a personal practice of deep nature connection and the skills necessary to safely guide others to get outside, receive the many healing benefits of nature and support the health of the planet through mindful engagement with the living earth.” If people feel more connected to nature, she said, they are likelier to act as caretakers of the Earth. Guides learn to share the natural world with guests while inviting group reflection and participation through open-ended questions. “An effective mindful outdoor guide is someone who has a practice of paying close attention to their surroundings and is able to share their own curiosity and passion for life with others,” said Micah Mortali , founder of Kripalu’s outdoor leadership program and author of Rewilding: Meditations, Practices and Skills for Awakening in Nature.  “This means that while remaining present, they are able to manage time, safety and group process while out in the field.” During my visit, we had a snowstorm and below-freezing temperatures. So we bundled up when leaving the building but practiced yoga inside. In warmer months, leaders like to take yoga outside. “Yoga was traditionally an outdoor activity,” Mortali said. “It is only in recent decades that yoga has become an indoor pursuit. Like most aspects of modern society, yoga has migrated indoors as modern people have become divorced from the life forces moving on their local lands.” He pointed out that yoga shapes depict animal forms, trees and mountains, things we see in nature. “The Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership seeks to find the source of yoga, the place where the original inspiration came from, and we have found that to be out there.” + Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health Photography by Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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A long weekend in nature at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

Your eco-friendly travel guide for New York City

January 9, 2020 by  
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It’s easy to get caught up in New York’s frenetic energy. If you’re there as a tourist, the checklist of must-see attractions is exciting, but long and tiring: Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Broadway shows, amazing museums. If you’re there for business, it’s easy to go from hotel to conference room to bar, repeat. But there are plenty of opportunities to find some beauty and tranquility within NYC’s nonstop style. Take some time to get outside, do something healthy, and take a few deep breaths. NYC outdoors Yes, there is nature within New York City’s urban jungle. The most obvious place to get outside is Manhattan’s massive, iconic Central Park. Within this 843-acre green space, you can visit the formal Conservatory Garden, pay your respects at the Strawberry Fields John Lennon memorial, rent a boat and paddle around the lake, and check out the Literary Walk, which is lined by statues of authors. For a very New York walk, stroll the 1.45-mile High Line. Manhattan’s elevated linear park, created from an old New York Central Railroad spur, has attracted a constant stream of locals and tourists since opening in 2009. Come as you are; you’ll see jogging shorts, haute couture, and everything in between. The 250-acre New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is gorgeous in every season. Peacefully wander through water lilies, lilacs and roses, or take advantage of the ambitious schedule of programming. The NYBG is on a serious sustainability mission, providing research to support government policy and protecting the world’s flora and biodiversity . Manhattan Kayak Company offers guided expeditions on the Hudson River, including its popular Skyline and NY After Dark tours. They also have many excursions for more experienced paddlers. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse has a free kayaking program during the summer. You’ll need to stay within a supervised area to participate. On Sundays, you can join them for kayak polo. Only the bravest visiting cyclists will want to take on Manhattan. But NYC has 300 miles of bike trails. Study this map and see if a bike rental might fit into your New York City plans. Wellness in NYC You can find any type of yoga you like in New York. But if you want to try something new and different, you’re in luck. Are cats your cup of tea ? You can enjoy both cats and tea during a Yoga & Kitties session at Meow Parlour . Like to let it all hang out? Bold & Naked might be the yoga class for you. If you want to get even bolder, one-on-one tantric yogassage is also available. During summer, consider joining a yoga class in a park or on a rooftop farm at sunset in the Brooklyn Navy Yard . Two of NYC’s most popular water therapy options are the old-fashioned Russian & Turkish Baths , serving New Yorkers since 1892, and the modern Great Jones Spa . At the Russian & Turkish Baths, you can get a platza oak leaf treatment, which involves being beaten with a broom made from fresh oak leaves dripping with olive oil soap. At Great Jones, the water circuit atmosphere is peaceful if a bit sterile. NYC appeals to spiritual seekers across the spectrum. Stop into Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, opened in 1879, for a few minutes of quiet or prayer. Visit the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art on Staten Island for tai chi, meditation, and a look at one of the biggest collections of Himalayan artifacts in the US. Join devotees of The Path for a nondenominational meditation, followed by relaxing in the Montauk Salt Cave. Or experience the power of spending time with ancient art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Dining out in NYC Just as you might want to try an unusual yoga class while visiting NYC, this is a chance to eat vegan food that’s hard to find elsewhere. For example, vegans are out of luck in your average dim sum restaurant. But at Bodhi Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant in Chinatown, vegans can safely grab anything off the dim sum cart. When’s the last time you had gluten-free veg shark fin congee? Vegan star Beyond Sushi has six locations, including in the Chelsea Market food hall, ironically situated in the Meatpacking District. Their sushi rolls are creative and ambitious. For example, the smoky jack contains black rice, pickled cabbage, mango, hickory-smoked jackfruit , watercress, mint, dehydrated olives and tomato guajillo sauce. Cinnamon Snail , in Pennsy Food Hall right by Madison Square Garden, specializes in “vegan kosher food made by a gaggle of wild ponies who live in a magical tree.” Start the day here by raiding their case of vegan donuts and baked goods, or get a hearty serving of mac ‘n’ cheese at lunch or dinner. For dessert, try some matcha cream crunch or lemon ginger cream pie at Rawsome Treats . Founder, head chef and Muay Thai fighter Watt Sriboonruang makes everything raw, vegan and gluten-free . Public transit While a Pew Research Center survey found that about 88 percent of Americans own cars, only about 22 percent of Manhattan households are auto owners. This is good news for tourists, as it means lots of public transportation. Trains serve all three of NYC’s airports , connecting to buses and the subway system to get you wherever you want to go. That said, NY public transit can be overwhelming, and New Yorkers tend to move fast. If you’re unfamiliar with public transit, New Yorker Minh Nguyen kindly put together this website for newbies. Commuter rail lines serve outlying areas. You can also ferry around town. NYC Ferry operates six routes spanning more than 60 nautical miles of waterways, and service is still growing. You can even charge your phone and get a snack while cruising. CitiBike offers a bike share program if you’re planning on short rides. Or hire a pedicab and take a rest while somebody else does the work . Eco-hotels The Benjamin Hotel was one of New York’s first hotel to focus on both sustainability and luxury, partnering with students from the New York Institute of Technology to help them revamp and earn a Green Key Eco-Rating. The hotel’s wellness offerings include the Rest & Renew program that helps guests improve their sleep . The Element New York Times Square West incorporated recycled material into its furnishings, such as carpets made from recycled plastic bottles. This Marriott hotel features loaner bikes for guests and a free breakfast bar with fresh fruit. For budget travelers who value a hotel’s gym over in-room amenities, consider staying at one of NYC’s YMCAs . Your room will resemble a monk’s cell, but you’ll wake up in a huge gym with spin class, weights and a pool. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat and New York Botanical Garden

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Your eco-friendly travel guide for New York City

Impossible Foods debuts plant-based pork at CES

January 9, 2020 by  
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Impossible Foods has unveiled its newest meatless product, Impossible Pork. The Silicon Valley-based company continues to break ground since launching the Impossible Burger in 2016 to help minimize the use of animals as a food source. The Impossible Pork debuted at the recent Las Vegas CES 2020 event, renowned as the largest digital technology show worldwide. The Impossible Pork is gluten-free with reduced fat and no cholesterol. Even better for eco-minded consumers is the Impossible Pork’s smaller carbon footprint . According to the Impossible Foods website, “Animal agriculture uses a tremendous amount of the world’s natural resources,” particularly land, water and energy. By comparison, creating a plant-based pork substitute is a more sustainable process. It reduces not only the deforestation associated with animal agriculture but also minimizes carbon emissions and water usage. Related: Impossible Burger is now available in grocery stores Venturing into pork was a natural decision for the company. As CEO Pat Brown explained on an Impossible Pork promotional video, “Beef is popular around the world. But in many cultures, the most popular and familiar and common dishes use pork as the main source of meat. So, for us to have an impact in those markets, pork was a necessity.” Brown elaborated further, “Our mission is to completely replace animals in the food system by 2035, and expanding our impact globally is a critical part of that. Impossible Pork is also an amazingly delicious product that consumers around the world, who love dishes that are traditionally made with pork, will finally be able to serve to their families without the catastrophic environmental impact.” The Impossible Pork aims to reach new consumers, particularly in China, according to the New York Times and Grist . The meatless product is also halal and kosher, meaning it can be enjoyed by many people worldwide. “Pork is delicious and ubiquitous — but problematic for billions of people and the planet at large,” said Laura Kliman , senior flavor scientist at Impossible Foods. “By contrast, everyone will be able to enjoy Impossible Pork, without compromise to deliciousness, ethics or Earth.” On the Impossible Pork’s heels will be the Impossible Sausage’s launch at Burger King in late January. The Impossible Sausage will be featured in the BK Croissan’wich. + Impossible Foods Image via Impossible Foods

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Impossible Foods debuts plant-based pork at CES

Hannah Franco and Nancy Taylor celebrate sustainable fashion with poque volution

June 25, 2019 by  
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Friends Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco were traveling together in Morocco when they got the idea. Nancy couldn’t help but notice that Hannah could fit everything she needed into one backpack, whether they were traveling, trekking or going out to dinner. The result was époque evolution , a sustainable fashion company focused on creating eco-friendly, versatile clothes made from organic, upcycled, deadstock and post-consumer waste recycled fibers. They work with mills and factories that are committed to ethical practices and a smaller collective carbon footprint. To top it all off, the clothes are beautifully low-maintenance (goodbye, dry cleaning and toxic chemicals ). A review of the époque évolution clothing I got a chance to try the best-selling Orion Leggings and the Go To Tank for myself, and let me say I have found my new wardrobe staples. These pants have the power to turn the humble legging from what was previously a simple, lazy solution to a dependable companion for really any activity ( yoga class , traveling, grabbing some dinner and so on). The slit on the bottom gives it an added fashion appeal as well as the ability to show off your footwear in a trendy way. The Go To Tank has a slight opening in the back, which isn’t totally noticeable but provides some much-needed breathability if you’re wearing it to hike or work out. You could easily dress it up, as the merino wool fabric is antimicrobial and thermo-regulating (meaning going straight from the gym to anywhere else is completely doable). Even better, it’s made from deadstock material, meaning the fabric would have otherwise ended up in the landfill . Related: The sustainable wardrobe — it’s more accessible than you think The leggings are crafted from econyl®, a 100 percent recycled nylon fiber made from old fishnets and carpets, and the tank is made from a deadstock wool blend of 80 percent wool merino and 20 percent polyester. Both are machine washable and quick-drying. What’s more, my Orion Leggings and Go To Tank came packaged in a biodegradable mailer from The Better Packaging Co . At $98 and $68 respectively, the leggings and tank may take a chunk out of your paycheck, but once you consider the quality, eco-consciousness and ethical ramifications, you’ll be happy you’ve made the investment. They go with practically everything, so you’ll spend less time choosing what to wear and more time living your life, enjoying the outdoors or exploring. An interview with the founders Check out our interview with the founding members, Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco, below. Inhabitat: What was the inspiration behind creating a line of clothes using sustainable fabrics? Nancy Taylor: I am incredibly passionate about changing the fashion industry and disrupting its outdated practices. After spending years of my career working in the corporate fashion world and traveling overseas to visit factories, I was hopeful that there was a different model for doing business. Since then, I’ve been focused on trying to be part of the solution, rather than contributing to an already toxic industry. Hannah Franco: It’s time. The industry needs a change, and we wanted to offer a unique take on sustainability. We believe eco can be chic, easy-care and impressively functional. Incorporating these elements, we set out to create products that make shopping sustainably an obvious choice for customers. Inhabitat: What are some of your favorite fabrics that the company works with? Taylor: I’m a huge fan of merino wool in general and am particularly obsessed with our perennial wool fabrication. It’s blended with a recycled poly and it’s also machine washable, which means no dry cleaning! Franco: Nancy took the words out of my mouth — I’m addicted to merino wool. It’s quick-drying and antimicrobial — in other words, it doesn’t stink — and anything that makes my life easier is considered a win in my book. Our new organic cotton is creeping up as a favorite now, as well. Our Oeko-Tex certified Standard 1000-certified finish keeps the cotton looking perfectly crisp all day, and I do love a breezy white shirt. Inhabitat: Fashion is one of the most environmentally damaging industries. Can you talk about the sustainable practices, factories and ethical treatment of workers you implement in your production process? Taylor: It was a big topic of discussion when we first launched — identifying and implementing our parameters for what we have called “responsible” production. This encompasses our raw materials, the factories and the people that produce our clothes, all the way down to our packaging . The hard part was that these choices weren’t always black and white. For example, our evolve soft fabric is not a recycled raw material, but the production mill’s best practices are really amazing and include using state-of-the-art, eco-compatible technologies in a fully solar-powered facility. In the end, it was a better choice than working with a large mill using only recycled raw materials without carefully taking into account their entire environmental footprint. We aim to look at the complete picture and tell that story, educating the customer on why her choices matter. Inhabitat: With fast fashion , another practice negatively impacting the environment, what is the importance of investing in high-quality clothes like your products and moving away from the cheap stuff? Taylor: Investment pieces that last and key staples that women will wear again and again are the focus of our brand. You don’t need more clothes, just the right clothing that functions well. We share this narrative with our customers and show them how to style a piece season after season. Franco: There are already enough clothes out there. We wanted to contribute in an area where we felt the industry could be moved forward — clothing produced more sustainably and offering greater function. When you invest in quality pieces that you wear season after season, you have more time to live your life and focus on better things (e.g., spending time with family and friends, pursuing boss lady career goals) than stressing over a wardrobe. Plus, packing for travel is a breeze when you rock minimalist style. Inhabitat: What is the significance of your clothes being low-maintenance as well? Taylor: We all live incredibly busy lives, and a woman’s clothing should never slow her down. The easier a wardrobe is to care for, the more time this gives her back in her day. Franco: The low-maintenance and versatility of our products go hand in hand. For example, our jet set trouser is a perfect work pant, but it’s also ideal for any travel destination, and you can even hop on the yoga mat in them. Just because a piece of clothing is low-maintenance doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. You can have both! + époque évolution Images via époque évolution

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Hannah Franco and Nancy Taylor celebrate sustainable fashion with poque volution

8 tips to make your exercise routine more eco-friendly

May 9, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

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

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8 tips to make your exercise routine more eco-friendly

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