Green Living

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe, According to the Woman Who Invented It

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe, According to the Woman Who Invented It

Fast fashion is costing us dearly.

Worldwide, fashion is a $2.5 trillion industry that is one of the biggest consumers of water. People go through 80 billion pieces of clothing every year, and the average American produces 82 pounds of textile waste annually. Far from previous generations, when clothes were made to last, mended, and invested in, our cheap clothes today are seen as disposable. So we dump them, en masse, into landfills every single day.

Nature Preschools Offer an Education That Classrooms Can't

Nature Preschools Offer an Education That Classrooms Can't

Children today spend just half the time outside that their parents’ generation did. The consequences of our nature-deficit disorder are still largely anecdotal, but obvious: shorter attention spans. Diminished cognition. Lowered creative-thinking skills. Childhood obesity.

Experts Weigh In On Taking Your Kitchen From Wasteful To Waste-Free

Experts Weigh In On Taking Your Kitchen From Wasteful To Waste-Free

It’s easy to succumb to the greenwashing of eco-friendly packaging. 

Buzzwords like recycled, organic, compostable and recyclable convince us to buy additional products just because they say they’re better for the environment. But the central ethos of reducing our impacts and waste have to start with buying high-quality and long-lasting items, and end with nothing getting tossed out (even if it’s being thrown into a recycle bin).

Nowhere in our lives is this process more difficult than in the kitchen. From the excessive packaging on food to the wastefulness of food storage methods, the kitchen ends up being one of the most wasteful zones of the home. Composting is simply not enough to counteract the onslaught of garbage that comes with virtually every meal. So we talked to three heavyweights in the zero-waste movement about how to turn a kitchen from wasteful to waste-free.

This Detroit Non-Profit Created A Shipping Container Farm To Feed Their Community

This Detroit Non-Profit Created A Shipping Container Farm To Feed Their Community

A charitable grant from the Ford Motor Co. has made possible a "mobile farm" partnership between the automaker and a Detroit charity that promises to educate children on healthy eating, provide food for the hungry, and teach people to be more self-sufficient by growing their own food.

Two essential (if unlikely) pieces required to make this project happen? A 40-foot-long shipping container and an F-150 pickup truck. 

Plated: The high price we pay for meal delivery services

Plated: The high price we pay for meal delivery services

At-home meal delivery services have brought convenient, home-cooked meals to the masses.

   But what we’re earning in reduced food waste and controlled cooking experiments come at a huge deficit to the environment through excessive packaging and ice packs—and too often cost us our relationship to the food we eat.

Grub Tubs Turns Restaurant Waste Into Nutrient-Dense Animal Feed

Grub Tubs Turns Restaurant Waste Into Nutrient-Dense Animal Feed

Green Matters has teamed up with WeWork for the month of April to celebrate Earth Day 2018 with a #workgreen challenge and Q&A series spotlighting sustainability-minded WeWork member companies. In this installment, we’re sitting down with Robert Olivier, founder and CEO of Grub Tubs. Olivier has spent the last 17 years developing insect-based technologies; and Grub Hub stands to be his pinnacle achievement. 

This Company Plans To Feed And Power The World With CO2

This Company Plans To Feed And Power The World With CO2

Green Matters teamed up with WeWork for the month of April to celebrate Earth Day 2018 with a #workgreen challenge and Q&A series spotlighting sustainability-minded WeWork member companies. In this installment, we’re sitting down with Dr. Lisa Dyson, CEO of Kiverdi.

Redwood Happenings: April 4, 2018

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By Nicole Caldwell for the Thousand Islands Sun

I was outside checking on our beehive this morning when the drumming started.

Somewhere ahead of me, through the feathered edge of young forest running along the east property line at Better Farm, came the unmistakable thud-thud-thud of a lawnmower or small motorcycle starting up somewhere in the woods.

It took me a second to realize what the noise actually was. Every winter, I forget some of the sounds from the seasons before. I had a small laugh at my expense when I realized what I was actually listening to.

The source of this steady rhythm was a chubby, round creature barely bigger than a pigeon who suffices to beat his wings together for a few seconds at a time, over and over, in order to find a girlfriend. All the while this little cherub is thumping his feathered arms together, his bird-brained friends bother with the silly nonsense of calling in their mates with song.

The coloring of ruffed grouse makes them blend seamlessly into their surroundings. The birds are all shades of neutral browns, greys and tans, with a spiky little hairdo that makes them appear permanently alert—if you can find them, that is. Their elusiveness is part of their charming, notorious drumming. These guys seem to come from nowhere, even though ruffed grouse often select the same stump or log upon which to stand while thundering their wings together year after year, for upwards of a decade. They live in New York State throughout the seasons, waiting (mostly) quietly for the freeze to break, savoring winter for its still silence.

Spring is for singing. Chirping. And drumming to one’s heart’s content.

I have no ambivalence about my love of spring sounds, not the least of which being bird calls. I’m a terrible birder, but have through the years acquired the unimpressive ability to discern between an owl and whip-poor-will, chickadee and golden-winged warbler. Generally, I just enjoy hearing the symphony outside. But there’s something about that drumming that evokes a sense of restlessness. The sound, once you hear it, surpasses all other sounds of nature in my backyard.

Neuroscience research confirms that talented drummers have clear, anatomical differences from the rest of the herd; namely, an intuitive understanding of rhythms and patterns happening all around us. That intuition gives human drummers a leg up when it comes to analytical thinking, perception, and logic.

The purpose of drumming, at its essence, is communication. That’s true whether you’re a ruffed grouse or part of a marching band. The drum has been central for all time to dance, sporting events, ceremonies and religious rites, and even as a lead-up to war. Each of these is a method for communication, necessary or frivolous. Their universal use has allowed drums to firmly plant their flags in every culture on earth. All this is to say, you can’t separate the drum from our experience as human beings—or as animals.

In nature, we’re designed to seek out rhythms. The noises you hear on a warm night outside might collectively present as a disorganized jumble of high and low notes. But as you suss out the separate sounds therein, you find unmistakable rhythms and measures. Bird songs, frog croaks, bat calls, and those lovable cicadas. We’re hardwired to appreciate the repetition of a steady beat.

Which must be why I lingered in that chilly morning air, looking out toward the woods and waiting for the next lick of buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-buh to sound.

It did. I smiled.

Until next time, better be.

Nicole Caldwell is an author, journalist and editor in Redwood. She is also co-founder and CEO of Better Farm, a sustainability campus, artist colony, animal sanctuary and organic farm. Learn more about Caldwell at www.nicolecaldwellwrites.com.

Tesla's Tiny House Tour Hits The Road In Australia

Tesla's Tiny House Tour Hits The Road In Australia

The Tesla Tiny House is hitting the road in order to offer a public view of how anyone can create, store and use renewable energy at home. For the tour, which will wind through all of Australia’s major cities, Tesla put together a state-of-the-art, tiny home wrapped in locally sourced, sustainable timber and hooked to a 2,000-watt solar system and Tesla Powerwall. In addition to alternative energy offerings, the Tesla Tiny House also boasts a mobile design studio and configurator that allows people to calculate their own at-home energy needs and customize a system that works for them.   

These Are the Best Houseplants for Filtering Air in Your Home

These Are the Best Houseplants for Filtering Air in Your Home

People spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors. But our dwellings are subject to all kinds of air pollutants, from pollen and pet dander to molds and bacteria. Even upholstery, furniture, cleaning products and synthetic building materials can off-gas toxic compounds. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency ranked indoor air pollutants among the top-five environmental risks to public health.

Zero Waste Challenge: How to Go Garbage-Free This Month

By Nicole Caldwell for Green Matters

In nature, there is no such thing as waste. In terms of the whole of history, until very recently all organic matter on the planet was consumed by something else, broke down until it became dirt, nourished the soil and plant life, grew into something else, and the whole process repeated itself.

Then people came along who built an economy on the concept of planned obsolescence. We are the only living creatures who make stuff that doesn’t give back to the earth. Too many of the things we make end up in landfills, where they can sit for thousands of years leeching toxins into the soil. A whopping 99% of everything we use ends up in a landfill within six months.

But, it’s possible to live waste-free… or awfully close to it. Here’s how to start.