Ecological urbanism is critical to the future of the city and its design: it provides a framework for addressing challenges that threaten humanity, such as global warming, rising sea level, declining oil reserves, rising energy demands, and environmental justice, while fulfilling human needs for health, safety, and welfare, meaning and delight.
—  Anne Spirn

Milan 2011: Designers Peter Bottazziand Denish Bonapace presented this exhibition of recycled furniture used as planters, in Milan. Called Da Morto A Orto meaning ‘from redundant to abundant’ the furniture has been turned into hybrids by connecting them with other pieces.The pieces are intended to be for indoor kitchen gardens and for classroom horticultural lessons.

“Da morto a orto” isn’t just a collection of one-off pieces; it is a critical, ironic reinterpretation of everyday objects that we no longer recognise or that are on their last legs: objects and furniture around the house that are destined to disappear, to be “destroyed”, are here resuscitated with a new look.
The project is intended to be the first step in a series of initiatives designed for Milan, in which culture and horticulture are blended together to create “cultivation seasons” during which people can develop and explore issues related to the education and conservation of the individual, the home, the city and the planet.

Disposable Plastic. When will we stop using them? Disposable paper is bad too though.

For the average person facing a busy life and balancing a hectic schedule, convenience is king. It’s no surprise that consumer’s turn to whatever is fastest, easiest or cheapest. We all know that some of these choices are having a significant and immediate impact on our environment, which will lead to even greater problems in the future, unless we start changing.

Take for example, the commonly used item, the plastic cup. The human body needs a fairly continuous level of hydration to function at an optimum rate, so we need to drink a lot. Plastic cups are a staple at restaurants, coffee shops, the workplace kitchen, picnics, parties- it’s hard to think of an everyday or social setting where you wouldn’t find a plastic product. However, here’s the scary part- research shows that almost every piece of plastic ever made exists today. With the prevalence of the green movement, we might assume that almost everyone is recycling, but of the nearly 30 MILLION TONS of plastic waste that’s generated per year, only 6.8% of it is recycled.[i] Unfortunately, plastic is not compostable. A plastic cup can take hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill, so that picnic cup your grandfather may have left at the park in the litterbug happy fifties is probably still there.


For me it’s the big one - the prospect of positive behaviour change at scale is on the horizon for 2012. Why now? Because the many pressures facing our society such as austerity and resource constraint will continue to intensify throughout this year and bring into ever sharper focus that behaviour change is sustainability in action…
—  Amanda Long

coachman asked:

No ask, just a few comments related to the ocean extinction post.

It seems so simple. I grow as much as I can, I catch fish if I want to eat them, I forage for quite a few menu items. I don't take shortcuts--ie fertilizers or big nets. The process puts limits on me. How many fish can I catch in an afternoon? How much can I grow in my half acre garden? How many wild berries can I pick or wild onions, etc. etc? I also place limits upon myself. If I remove every wapato (Duck potato) from a swamp, how will the plant sustain itself AND continue to feed me? If I keep too many fish, it is going to be more and more difficult to gain a meal.

I realize I am preaching to the choir, but we have become lazy in all aspects of food collection. We find an easy way to exploit a resource until it is gone. We put fillers in our food to make up for increasing poor quality or simply to stretch the most out of our resource (shelf life, nutritional deficiencies, inferior quality).

After we exploit the resource , we then lament it's demise, before moving on to the next species. When are we going to "get it"?

Totally agree with you on all counts, but here I’m forced to start writing randomly, because I have thoughts on the issue.  So pardon me while I bang on my keyboard in my current semi-ADD fugue.

First, I do believe that when corporations fish the oceans to feed product into the global market, it’s a business.  By definition, businesses must grow to appease shareholders and management and to strive towards profitability.  It’s capitalism.  And capitalism, by definition, is myopic: growth is king, contraction is evil.  If we noted all the horrible behaviors we have foisted upon each other, the land and ourselves in the name of endless economic growth, we’d barf.

And then there’s the fact that here in the first world, we really don’t feel pain. We walk into stores replete with dozens of isles of perfectly-stocked food, thousands of brands, and so much choice that it’s literally paralyzing to many.  We stroll in, take our iPod buds out of our ears, get our food, our craft beer, our ostrich jerky, and pay via credit card.  One week later, we walk back in to the same store, resplendent colors and garish fluorescent haze and all, and do it all over again.

Food is just…well, there.  All the time.  Magically.  We don’t recognize food sourcing issues because there’s no impetus to.  We come, we go, and never have we even faced so much as a hint of food being short, let alone on the brink of categorical elimination.

I feel that we won’t ‘get it’ until we feel some pain, until something gives us a collective wake-up call.  Tears For Fears once quipped, 'Nothing ever changes unless there some pain’, and I firmly believe it.

Maybe this is the pain: when reports that entire regions of the oceans are depleted – not just thin, but bone dry, which means the sockeye salmon you love so much is up-and-gone – maybe we start thinking about sustainability beyond its marketing appeal.

Hi! I’m Paul, the Sustainability Intern for Sodexo Dining at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. I’m currently a junior and a sociology major interested in using photography to positively impact the world. I feel strongly that we all have an obligation to leave this world a better place than we found it and it all starts with where you are. Through working to make Muhlenberg Dining’s practices more sustainable, I am able to do this. I’m also a vegetarian as I find this is one way to better our environment and world on a small scale.

Aside from my position as Sustainability Intern, I am also the President of Muhlenberg Activities Council and Muhlenberg Outdoors Club, a Resident Liaison with the Office of Residential Services, a Photographer for Humans of Muhlenberg, and a member of the Seegers Union Advisory Board.

I’m really excited to continue my involvement with Muhlenberg Dining Services this semester as there are a ton sustainability-related programs and events happening this Spring. We have our annual Earth Day celebration and our Weigh the Waste program, among a number of other awesome activities and programs.

I feel really lucky to go to a school that values the student’s dining experience so highly and, beyond that, a dining service that is conscious of ands concerned with sustainability and the environment in which we live.

I look forward to sharing my dining experiences as well as what I do and experience as Sustainability Intern this Spring and beyond!


#papercraft by Kidsonroof

Back to the source of life! Kidsonroof wishes to re-connect modern life with nature, rediscovering basic values. Kidsonroof offers an ecological approach to the act of playing. Stimulating creativity and imagination lies at the heart of Kidsonroofs products.

Kidsonroof was established in 2005 by Romy Boesveldt and Ilya Yashkin. Together with their 3 kids and their little friends they manage a permanent testlab where new ideas keep coming up. A few weeks per year they go back to an oldfashioned simplicity when spending time in their little shed in the southern French mountains without electricity or running water.

Ilya has been trained as an architural designer and Marchi studied in Moscow and at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. His designs are ingeniously three dimensional and very associative. Romy takes care of the conceptual development and styling.

If you are around in Amsterdam visit their #ROOFspace which is a new space in Amsterdam where design, art and creativity collaborate. A place for the big and small. A place which breathes  basic esthetics. A place where we exhibit our new furniture range in the mix with Kidsonroof toys and objects.

A place to look around for a unique piece of art or design from befriended designers and artists. A place to participate in a workshop or to find out what customized design can do for you.

Step by and see the great works of Roof Collection, Guido Pera, Elisabeth Vidal, Ontwerpduo, Floris Hovers, Alex Hellum, Marion Vidal, Niki Mens and many others!

All details and infos can be found on their website and on facebook.

Moorten Botanical Garden is a funky little cactus garden in Palm Springs that’s been around since the late 1930s – the Moorten family have called its acreage home for almost a century. "Slim" Moorten and his family traveled around the world collecting specimens then came to the desert and opened Moorten’s, where you can see these fine samples on display, arranged along a meandering path, some of which are over 70 years old and several feet tall. Read all about it above (a local article about Moorten’s from 1969), and come meet Clark, Slim’s son, this evening at Ace – we’re celebrating our sustainability efforts including a new food waste system, and guests will get a potted cactus from Moortens, a bag of locally made, organic granola from Earthling Organics in Palm Springs, plus special treats from King’s Highway and Chef Craig Mattox with friends from County Line Harvest Farm.

See you tonight.

“When I moved into the Renfrew Collingwood Neighbourhood 15 years ago I was amazed that Renfrew Ravine and Still Creek existed in a Vancouver that I thought had completely lost all its old streams. When I went to ravine clean ups I was shocked at all the garbage. I wondered if there was anything I could do an an artist to change the way people thought about the ravine so they wouldn’t want to throw their garbage there in the first place. I worked with community members to create art benches,  mosaic walkways, a labyrinth and native plant gardens as a way to mark the ravine as place of sanctuary for nature and for us. I also partnered with the community to create the first Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival in 2003. The community was so excited to come together to celebrate our varied cultures, our community and the richness of nature, that the Moon Festival has become a beloved signature event of the community ever since. We will celebrate our 13th Moon Festival this September 26. Over the years the amount of new garbage being thrown in the ravine has dropped dramatically and we now work more on stewardship such as water quality testing, removing invasive species and planting native plants. We also continue to develop and run creative art projects that also inform neighbours of the importance of how we treat our Watershed. I am excited by our collaboration with Sharon Kallis so we can now do something creative with the ivy and other invasives we pull out of the ravine. The most exciting thing that has happened to our community on the Greenest City front, is the return of the Chum Salmon to spawn in the Vancouver portion of Still Creek in 2012. The fish have now returned three years in row, inspiring us to keep on working to improve the habitat for everyone.” - Carmen Rosen, Still Moon Arts Society