THIS PLANT INITIATED education and job creation for Tibetans-in-exile. 
Faced with challenges of traditional agricultural methods depleting soil and making it more and more difficult for Tibetan refugee farmers to sustain themselves, the Himalayan Institute has partnered with the Tibetan government-in-exile to introduce Energy Farming.
Energy Farming, explains Himalayan Institute, “promotes a vision of organic crop diversification and environmental regeneration. With improved soil quality and a greater range of crops, farmers are able to feed their families, grow their own medicine, and diversify their cash crops for more financial stability.”
The Pongamia tree has been introduced to revitalize depleted soil and produce bio-fuel; a valuable cash crop. The Himalayan Institute provides seedlings on a large scale to the farmers and community groups to plant on their own land after learning hands-on at the demonstration plots and nurseries showcasing the concept from seed to tree. It is expected that as these trees begin to grow and bear fruit, they will put life back into the soil and create jobs for the Tibetan farmers.
[I have reached out to Ishan Tigunait, Director of Strategic Development at Himalayan Institute and spearheads the expansion of the Institute’s humanitarian projects around the world, for further updates on the Energy Farming initiative.]
(Photo credit: Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants)

THIS PLANT INITIATED education and job creation for Tibetans-in-exile. 

Faced with challenges of traditional agricultural methods depleting soil and making it more and more difficult for Tibetan refugee farmers to sustain themselves, the Himalayan Institute has partnered with the Tibetan government-in-exile to introduce Energy Farming.

Energy Farming, explains Himalayan Institute, “promotes a vision of organic crop diversification and environmental regeneration. With improved soil quality and a greater range of crops, farmers are able to feed their families, grow their own medicine, and diversify their cash crops for more financial stability.”

The Pongamia tree has been introduced to revitalize depleted soil and produce bio-fuel; a valuable cash crop. The Himalayan Institute provides seedlings on a large scale to the farmers and community groups to plant on their own land after learning hands-on at the demonstration plots and nurseries showcasing the concept from seed to tree. It is expected that as these trees begin to grow and bear fruit, they will put life back into the soil and create jobs for the Tibetan farmers.

[I have reached out to Ishan Tigunait, Director of Strategic Development at Himalayan Institute and spearheads the expansion of the Institute’s humanitarian projects around the world, for further updates on the Energy Farming initiative.]

(Photo credit: Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants)

Two ordinary guys cycling across 10,000 km of sub-Saharan Africa with a goal to raise $15,000 = extraordinary!
Early this year in February, Alex Antrobus and Murray Beaumont, two young South Africans, cycled through rural Africa to experience a different type of life being lived by so many on the continent. The route took them from South Africa through Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya before flying back home. They travelled on highway and remote byways to reach communities impacted by development NGOs that provide funding and management for clean water and to visit the not-so-fortunate communities that suffer needlessly without this basic necessity. The goal was to provide impetus for change and raise $15,000 for The Water Project to cover costs for two wells.
Alex & Murray, great job and thanks for the inspiration! Read more about their journey.
Motivate your local school or community to provide water to rural Africa: Take the Water Challenge.

Two ordinary guys cycling across 10,000 km of sub-Saharan Africa with a goal to raise $15,000 = extraordinary!

Early this year in February, Alex Antrobus and Murray Beaumont, two young South Africans, cycled through rural Africa to experience a different type of life being lived by so many on the continent. The route took them from South Africa through Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya before flying back home. They travelled on highway and remote byways to reach communities impacted by development NGOs that provide funding and management for clean water and to visit the not-so-fortunate communities that suffer needlessly without this basic necessity. The goal was to provide impetus for change and raise $15,000 for The Water Project to cover costs for two wells.

Alex & Murray, great job and thanks for the inspiration! Read more about their journey.

Motivate your local school or community to provide water to rural Africa: Take the Water Challenge.

A Library of Materials: Translucent wood, Security wallpaper, Aluminum foam

These are not your usual list of books and files found in a library. Companies worldwide have abundant resources at their disposals to help with their sustainable initiatives from manufacturing to packaging design. However, companies need to take more than just the aesthetics of an eco-friendly product into consideration. It’s not simply the materials going into the product, it is how the product is packaged, shipped, and ultimately what happens to it when the consumer is finished with it that truly makes a product sustainable. Final designs need to address all of these elements successfully.

With technology changing so rapidly, organizations such as Material ConneXion keep track of and make information on innovative sustainable materials and design practices more readily available to designers and corporations worldwide. 

Recognized as “Top Eco-Innovator” by The New York Times, Material ConneXion provides a central place for designers to explore new cutting-edge materials with immediate access to the growing physical libraries around the globe and online database of over 6,500 materials.

What is considered sustainable? 

"The philosophy essentially is to create a product via a waste-free production process, using only reusable, biodegradable or consumable materials."

In order to understand what products are considered sustainable, it is helpful to understand how a product is made. Learn more about the “stuff” in your life with this informative animated video, The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard. “If you don’t know your stuff and their secret lives, you don’t know your world.”

Here’s a list of 10 Little and Big Things You Can Do

(Source: The Economist, The Story of Stuff Project) 

Ugandan Artist Turns Recycled Plastic Bottles Into Playground For Kids
Eco-artist and teacher Ruganzu “Bruno” Tusingwire, a 29-year-old from Uganda, has become the first TED Prize (City 2.0 Award) recipient of 2012 in Doha, Qatar at the TEDxSummit.
Tusingwire stopped making art for museums and used the City 2.0 Award to grow his local TEDx community, grow a woman eco-artist loan program supporting 15 women to develop their business ideas, and expand the amusement park from a single plane-shaped sculpture made of recycled plastic bottles into a permanent park.
Click on the above photo for more details.

"Art is unifying," Tunsingwire explains. "We can use what is around us to create treasure, employment opportunities, and make the environment better. There is a wonderful world of possibilities before us."  

(Source: The City 2.0 Organization)

Ugandan Artist Turns Recycled Plastic Bottles Into Playground For Kids

Eco-artist and teacher Ruganzu “Bruno” Tusingwire, a 29-year-old from Uganda, has become the first TED Prize (City 2.0 Award) recipient of 2012 in Doha, Qatar at the TEDxSummit.

Tusingwire stopped making art for museums and used the City 2.0 Award to grow his local TEDx community, grow a woman eco-artist loan program supporting 15 women to develop their business ideas, and expand the amusement park from a single plane-shaped sculpture made of recycled plastic bottles into a permanent park.

Click on the above photo for more details.

"Art is unifying," Tunsingwire explains. "We can use what is around us to create treasure, employment opportunities, and make the environment better. There is a wonderful world of possibilities before us."  

(Source: The City 2.0 Organization)

Randomness
1914 American film serial, The Perils of Pauline, featured legendary characterplay Pearl White as female lead whose often been cited as a famous example of damsel in distress.
Wiki The Perils of Pauline
This film was noted in Brain Picking’s review of the book “100 Ideas that Changed Film” by Oxford Times film reviewer David Parkinson. 

Over 470 serials were produced in the United States between 1912 and 1956. In telling continuous stories in 10-15 weekly episodes of 15-25 minutes each, chapterplays, as they were also known, helped turn moviegoing into a habit.

Randomness

1914 American film serial, The Perils of Pauline, featured legendary characterplay Pearl White as female lead whose often been cited as a famous example of damsel in distress.

Wiki The Perils of Pauline

This film was noted in Brain Picking’s review of the book “100 Ideas that Changed Film” by Oxford Times film reviewer David Parkinson. 

Over 470 serials were produced in the United States between 1912 and 1956. In telling continuous stories in 10-15 weekly episodes of 15-25 minutes each, chapterplays, as they were also known, helped turn moviegoing into a habit.

It’s been awhile!
Busy as a bee, I have been looking for nonprofit grassroot projects I could work with while I’m in Peru next month. I came across a handful of water conservation, management and filtration projects, reports and statistics that awakened the curious cat within asking questions such as: What is the state of the world’s freshwater today? What will happen in the future? How can we prepare today?
Fortunately, and not so for my eyes, I came across the United Nations World Water Development Report, a flagship UN-Water report published by UNESCO. It touches upon the need to sustainably manage the world’s finite resources.
According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), here are the facts about the world’s precious resource, water: 
The total volume of water on Earth is about 1.4 billion km3
The volume of freshwater resources is around 35 million km3 (2.5% of total volume) 
The total usable freshwater supply for ecosystems and humans is about 200,000 km3 of water - less than 1 percent of all freshwater resources
The conclusion, even if you skip the 867 page report, is: we are not using our water wisely. Water scarcity is everywhere, even in large, wealthy nations such as the USA. Increased stress on water means this scarcity will increase, unless we do something about it. Take a look at countries that are already dealing with these problems and the technologies and policies they have put in place.
Do you know how much water you use? Calculate your water footprint at www.waterfootprint.org and try to optimize your clean water use by, for example, using rainwater to water the garden.
TAKE ACTION! Here is 100 Ways to Conserve Water.
(Image Source: Abstract Macro Photography by Andrew @CubaGallery. Statistics & Content Sources: www.water.org, www.unwater.org, www.unesco.org, www.wateruseitwisely.com)

It’s been awhile!

Busy as a bee, I have been looking for nonprofit grassroot projects I could work with while I’m in Peru next month. I came across a handful of water conservation, management and filtration projects, reports and statistics that awakened the curious cat within asking questions such as: What is the state of the world’s freshwater today? What will happen in the future? How can we prepare today?

Fortunately, and not so for my eyes, I came across the United Nations World Water Development Report, a flagship UN-Water report published by UNESCO. It touches upon the need to sustainably manage the world’s finite resources.

According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), here are the facts about the world’s precious resource, water: 

  • The total volume of water on Earth is about 1.4 billion km3
  • The volume of freshwater resources is around 35 million km3 (2.5% of total volume) 
  • The total usable freshwater supply for ecosystems and humans is about 200,000 km3 of water - less than 1 percent of all freshwater resources

The conclusion, even if you skip the 867 page report, is: we are not using our water wisely. Water scarcity is everywhere, even in large, wealthy nations such as the USA. Increased stress on water means this scarcity will increase, unless we do something about it. Take a look at countries that are already dealing with these problems and the technologies and policies they have put in place.

Do you know how much water you use? Calculate your water footprint at www.waterfootprint.org and try to optimize your clean water use by, for example, using rainwater to water the garden.

TAKE ACTION! Here is 100 Ways to Conserve Water.

(Image Source: Abstract Macro Photography by Andrew @CubaGallery. Statistics & Content Sources: www.water.org, www.unwater.org, www.unesco.org, www.wateruseitwisely.com)

80% Ocean Debris Comes From These Top 10 Trash Items
The beautiful pristine sandy smooth beaches we so enjoy will soon be non-existant if we continue to pollute our oceans, our water sources and our country. With the unresolved problem of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and with recent news of possible Japanese tsunami debris spotted off the Canadian coast, ocean pollution is no longer a problem countries can tackle on their own.
Last year, the Ocean Conservancy conducted a large scale international experiment to raise awareness of the massively growing marine debris problem. World shorelines were trolled to collect trash and keep tally of the most common items that washed up shore.
Dare to think? Consider this…
50% to 70% of our oxygen comes from the ocean. That’s more than all rainforests combined.
The Ocean is the #1 source of protein for $1 billion people.
The Ocean regulates our climate by absorbing carbon dioxide.
The problem is…
90% of big fish are gone (including tuna, swordfish and sharks).
Overfishing is changing the size of fish (tuna is now half their normal size).
The U.N. estimates 6.4 million metric tons of plastic debris pollutes the world’s oceans.
The plastic is ingested by marine life causing illness and killing thousands each year.
The plastic also ends up in your diet too.
Only 2% of the Ocean is protected legally (compared to 12% of our lands).
There’s more, but I’ll spare you.
So what?
Seafood population could be wiped out in 40 years or less.
The next 10 years will define the next 10,000 years.
Climate will be unregulated and even more extreme.
Fisherman will be out of jobs.
And more…
Can we solve the problem? The answer lies with you.
Trash Free Seas Alliance | One World One Ocean | Surfrider Foundation
(Infographic from Ocean Conservancy at oceanconservancy.org)

80% Ocean Debris Comes From These Top 10 Trash Items

The beautiful pristine sandy smooth beaches we so enjoy will soon be non-existant if we continue to pollute our oceans, our water sources and our country. With the unresolved problem of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and with recent news of possible Japanese tsunami debris spotted off the Canadian coast, ocean pollution is no longer a problem countries can tackle on their own.

Last year, the Ocean Conservancy conducted a large scale international experiment to raise awareness of the massively growing marine debris problem. World shorelines were trolled to collect trash and keep tally of the most common items that washed up shore.

Dare to think? Consider this…

  • 50% to 70% of our oxygen comes from the ocean. That’s more than all rainforests combined.
  • The Ocean is the #1 source of protein for $1 billion people.
  • The Ocean regulates our climate by absorbing carbon dioxide.

The problem is…

  • 90% of big fish are gone (including tuna, swordfish and sharks).
  • Overfishing is changing the size of fish (tuna is now half their normal size).
  • The U.N. estimates 6.4 million metric tons of plastic debris pollutes the world’s oceans.
  • The plastic is ingested by marine life causing illness and killing thousands each year.
  • The plastic also ends up in your diet too.
  • Only 2% of the Ocean is protected legally (compared to 12% of our lands).
  • There’s more, but I’ll spare you.

So what?

  • Seafood population could be wiped out in 40 years or less.
  • The next 10 years will define the next 10,000 years.
  • Climate will be unregulated and even more extreme.
  • Fisherman will be out of jobs.
  • And more…

Can we solve the problem? The answer lies with you.

Trash Free Seas Alliance | One World One Ocean | Surfrider Foundation

(Infographic from Ocean Conservancy at oceanconservancy.org)

Run-down 19th Century Victorian Chapel turned Tin-roof Green Home - both literally and figuratively green! 

Craftsman Nick Kenny converted a run-down Victorian corrugated-iron chapel in Faversham, on the Kent coast of England, into a home. Using only recycled and salvaged materials, Nick had to be extremely resourceful.

"Nick’s approach to refurbishing the amazing space using entirely recycled items and materials is not only creative and budget conscious, but as a happy by-product is also eco-friendly and impossible to imitate — akin to a giant work of art." - Home Building & Renovating

The best part of it all, it’s one of a kind. 

(Original Article Author: Greg Cook Photographer: Richard Parsons Chapel Issue: March 2011)

Judith Braun used her bare hands to finger-paint this spectacular landscape painting! She used her signature style of finger-painting (which basically involves covering her fingers in grounded charcoal) for the latest addition to her Fingerings series. The New York-based artist has produced yet another remarkable wall mural displayed at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virgina through the summer until July 1, 2012.. The piece, titled Diamond Dust, is 12 feet by 48 feet, making it Braun’s largest site-specific project to date.

Remarkable!! Makes me want to try my fingers at it.