It was a landfill- the recipient of refuse from Barcelona and the surrounding area for over 30 years, piled over 100 meters deep in some places. According to WorldArchitectureNews.com the goal is that the adjacent Parc del Garraf absorb the dump by using the local forest tissue and supporting the establishment of primary ecosystems. They have engineered terraces, drainage systems, tapping bio gas for electricity and an underground filtration system for the contaminated water that drains through creating water for the irrigation system of the park. 20(49.42 acres) of the 60 hectares have been completed at this time.

This idea has just won the Energy, Waste and Recycling category at the 2008 World Architecture Festival held last week in Barcelona, Spain. The project has been underway since 2000 and is not yet complete. The judges of the competition have described the reclamation project, “a perfect example of bringing dead nature back to life by converting rubbish into a beautiful piece of landscape architecture…using few and humble means”.

The great news is that this system and others presented at the festival offer some simple and low cost solutions for waste. For example, the Community Cooker, a Kenyan group, has a UN- sponsored project in Kibera — a sprawling shantytown in Nairobi. There are millions of people there and no waste collection. People literally walk through garbage all day. Now they can recycle waste to fuel a giant cooker in this poor neighborhood where many never have a hot meal or warm water to bathe in. Youth are being paid to gather the garbage and residents can use the heat to boil water and cook hot meals.

These kinds of creative solutions can have a powerful social impact. I look forward to sharing more ideas like these.

Via: CNN , Hat tip to William

Santa Monica, think “the pier”, think beach, beautiful and hip Californians with dogs, on bikes, shorts and flipflops, healthy foods; then visit the local coop! Co-opportunity has been providing natural and organic foods to Santa Monica and the surrounding area since 1974. They have one of the largest, freshest selections of certified organic produce, & a wide variety of products & foods. Beautiful, everyone benefits.

New Labels

October 24, 2008

 

Watch for this seal on your personal care products! According to Nutrition Business Journal, the organic beauty and personal care industry has been at 15% for the past 15 years. At the end of 2007, US sales of organic personal care products approached $9 billion, 15% of the personal care market.

As more and more products claim to be ‘organic’, the potential for consumer confusion also rises. This is compounded by the existence of disparate regulatory seals in the marketplace.

OASIS is an industry consensus standard, the result of a deeply committed group of people – suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, etc. – working to set standards and clarity in the dynamic and fast-growing field of organic beauty and personal care products. Its members range from large, global brands and private label manufactures to smaller, specialty brands and raw ingredient suppliers.

The standards are high and will get higher over time! At present there are 2 standards; one is called organic and is anything with 85% until January 2010, when it moves to 90%, then 95% in 2012. The second standard is made with organic and will have to have at least 70% with special criteria for the other 30%.

OASIS is a nonprofit mutual benefit organization, aka, a Trade Association. The by-laws require that the members participate, vote and direct the goals of the group. This means that you can become a member, participate in the member forum,have your voice be heard and your vote counted! You can be a member from$100, there are also levels of membership for companies scaled to the size of the company. 

Via: Oasis

Start Wearing Purple

October 22, 2008


For me, life is about creativity, authenticity and courage to self-express. So here are some self-expressed folks- including my son, Josh!

via: Yahoo

   

My son, Jonah, is an actor and acrobat, trapeze artist and was a member of the Streb company for several years. Looking back it’s not necessarily the kind of thing a mother would encourage – fearless leaps into space, death-defying moves, slamming into walls. At home we would fondly refer to the work as Cirque de Soleil meets Evil Knievel. Yet the envelope-pushing, Elizabeth Streb shows us the exciting beauty and surprising possibility of the human body in action through the works she co-creates with her dancer-athletes. The teamwork, heartwork, care and purpose involved  is extraordinary. Watch a video of some clips from the past few years. See Wild Blue Yonder and observe the “age-old human dream to stretch the body into space and to venture into unknown territory where gravity just might lapse”.  Jonah is in there somewhere! Check out the adult and kids classes and performance schedule at their space on North 1st St in Brooklyn. Jonah is now the staff trainer for the Espana Streb Trapeze Academy in the Streb space.

Playdough

October 20, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made this recipe with and for my kids when they were little. Do you remember the smell and taste of store bought playdough? This will bring back memories… and if there is enough salt, kids won’t eat it. Making playdough is the only use I had for food coloring!

 

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

2 tablespoons cream of tarter

2 cups of water

1 tablespoons oil

Food coloring

Mix all ingredients in pan. Stir over medium heat until it forms a ball, it will get stiff, keep going as long as you can and then let cool enough to knead to playdough consistency. Store in zip-lock bags. Use often, make often! There are many recipes-you can try a few of the many recipes featured at Naturemoms– like peanut butter playdough


Check out this traffic video video and though it speaks for itself, let me speak for it as well: Why are we in such a rush when we drive in traffic? Why do we need to “close the gap”? Why do we not let others in front of us? Do you know how it actually slows down the flow when you sneak ahead when merging? The time saved is negligible, so the question becomes whether or not we can relax and create more flow when congestion is visible ahead of us. This guy has a workable, and zenlike, solution. Consciously driving with as little braking as possible can also facilitate the traffic behind you- because when you brake, so do the 3-4 cars behind you! Changing lanes without causing the person behind you to brake is also something to think about. You can read insightful comments about this video and Trafficwaves.org is a site with great visuals for understanding the flow and waves of traffic patterns. Hat tip to Steve Cooperman!

Via: Meta Cafe

Getting into Hot Water

October 18, 2008

Whilst doing some dishes in my sink, my friend Teresa was commenting about how hot my hot water was and that in her house she can’t get her bath hot enough. How hot should our water be? This brings up questions we’ll need to consider. In my house, I love to take a hot bath and do not want to run out of hot water or deprive someone else of a hot shower, either, so we keep our setting high. 

According to Wisegeek.com there are a few important issues to consider: Setting a lower temperature can help avoid serious burns. Temperatures above 125 degrees can seriously burn a child. The suggested safe temperature for hot water setting is 120 degrees. Dropping the water temperature setting by ten degrees typically saves approximately 4% on one’s cost to heat water each year.

It seems that the factory setting for water heaters is 120 degrees. Asktooltalk.com says: “120 degrees seems low for a family of four, so I recommend setting the temperature between 130 and 140 degrees. This will make the water hot enough so you are forced to mix it with cold water to achieve a comfortable temperature. Mixing it with cold water will also help make the hot water last longer.”

Natural Handyman.com has some interesting ideas on energy saving, including turning off your water heater when you go away and yet points out that to really disinfect with your dishwasher you’ll want the water to be as hot as 140 degrees. “Lowering the temperature too much can have unintended consequences as you will need to use more heated water to obtain the same temperature at the faucet or shower.  Thus, if your tank currently gives your family three showers in the morning, you might find the last person screaming!!” This site does give good step by step directions to determine your tap temperature and how to adjust your gas, oil or electric water heater.

Tankless water heaters are a wonderful energy saver as are solar panels-and that is another post as is water conservation and the therapeutic nature of hot baths for women.

 

Best Flights, Right Price

October 18, 2008

Do you know that the average flight price fluctuates 400%?  It’s crazy work trying to find the lowest prices-what to do? If the price of your ticket dropped after you bought it wouldn’t you want to know about it? Yapta is a cool site that was created to make it easy for you to find the best flight at the right price. Yapta will track prices on your trips, and alert you when prices drop so that you can purchase tickets when they’re most affordable. Yapta also will track the ticket price and if the price drops below what you paid, and you’re eligible for a refund or travel credit from the airline, Yapta can help you claim it. My friend Arthur says he has saved hundreds of dollars this way and has accumulated credits with airlines.

Via: Arthur Greenwald, savvy friend

Breast Health

October 16, 2008

Here is a link to a short and sweet article from Jeannette, who has put tremendous thought into what is healthy eating for breast health.