It’s officially back to school time for many of you and I wish you and yours a fantastic new school year!
My end of the summer hit a very special high note, following my book reading of LOLA at Book Soup in Los Angeles, where it became a best selling book. I couldn’t be prouder. You can follow all the news about LOLA at blog site, where I publish resource-filled newsletters every month.
A dear friend of mine has an incredible eye, and I especially appreciate what he creates with natural resources, so I published a blog about him called A Gentleman Caterer and Naturalist, and I really enjoyed being given the opportunity to share my thoughts with Mom’s Clean Air Force’s Ronnie Citron-Fink, which was featured on Huffington Post Green and as well with Sarah Lonsdale of REMODELISTA.
I came across this bit of wonderful news: that France has passed a law where all new buildings that are built in commercial zones must be partially covered in either plants or solar panels. Hope that other cities do the same.
Are you concerned about fluoride? Then you really should read this, as further studies have found it has serious health risks, so much so that 97% of western Europe has rejected fluoridated water.
News about the Pacific Garbage Patch, Boyan Slat of Ocean Cleanup (profiled previously here in sustainable design and as a gamechanger) is part of a group of scientists and volunteers who have been gathering data this past month, which will be more extensive than what has been collected in the past 40 years. It also will give a better estimate of the how much plastic waste is in the Pacific Ocean. I do look forward to reading the report, as I have no doubt will be very enlightening,
While we are the topic of plastic, which is not only the featured story in Sustainable Design in this issue, but I also offer 3 of my favorite tips on ways you can reduce your exposure to plastic, and ultimately the planet’s as well. Treehugger posted their list of the 10 worst plastic offenders. Let’s all strive for as much as a plastic free life as we can!
I shared this fabulous story on my Facebook page but in case you missed it, here it is again. What is so great about it is that something is actively being done to make things better (not just talking about it). The National Seed Strategy for Rehabilitation and Restoration are bringing together a dozen federal agencies to restore landscapes altered by natural disasters or global warming, through a network of native seed collectors, who will supply seedlings to restoration ecologists who know how to put the right seed in the right place at the right time, and replant as soon as possible with the right species. Yes!
Have you heard about the Cornucopia Institute? They published a piece about why organically grown and produced Maple Syrup is healthier for you, the maple trees, and the environment. Need some organic maple syrup now? It's available here.
And since we are on the subject of food, I just got an app from Forks Over Knives, which offers step-by-step directions for 180 plant-based recipes from 20 “leading” chefs. I can’t wait to try some out!
And for something completely different, I’m also fascinated with bird’s eggs, and particular their diversity of color, so it’s not surprising that I found the story,
Cracking the Code on Egg Coloration, particularly interesting.
Some dates of note coming up:
- September 19th is International Coastal Cleanup, where 16 million pounds of trash was collected at last year’s event. Click here to learn how you can participate.
- October 4th is World Animal Day. Support organizations that are dedicated to protecting and preserving precious wildlife around the world: wwf.org, nature.org, janegoodall.org and oceana.org
- October 18th is when the Clean Water Act was enacted in 1972 over President Nixon’s veto.
- The fall marks the worldwide migration of fish where sturgeon flow from the Selenga River into Siberia’s Lake Baikal, striped bass move into the Chesapeake Bay’s tributaries, and cownose rays glide in formations called fevers from Florida’s Atlantic Coast into the Gulf of Mexico.
- Find out information for the October #FOODJUSTICEMARCH happening around the world, here march-against-monsanto.com.
- November 1st is Daylight savings time. Set your clocks back one hour.
- November 15th is America Recycles Day. Find out where you can participate americarecyclesday.org.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful fall, including Halloween and Thanksgiving!
All the best
Three years ago, I featured a story about in.gredients, America’s first zero-waste, package-free micro grocery store, which sells local food and fresh ingredients. Since plastic waste from food packaging is an issue close to my heart, I’m so happy that a zero-waste grocery store has opened in Berlin, Germany. Called Original Unverpackt, it’s a German concept store selling groceries without the packaging.
It works like this. You bring your own containers and have those weighed. Berlin-based supermarket Original Unverpackt labels your containers. You shop. When you get to the till, the weight of your containers is subtracted and you pay for the net weight of your groceries. The label is designed to survive a few washings so you can come back and skip the weighing process for a while.
Founders Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovski say there’s a rising demand for products and services that deal with sustainability and that people demand alternatives to the “lavish” handling of our resources.
“Here, the customer only takes what they need,” says Wolf and Glimbovski ahead of the launch of their Berlin-Kreuzberg shop. “We’d like to offer an alternative way of shopping - one where we offer everything you need but you won’t find hundreds of different types of body lotion or olive oil.”
Salt of The Earth
Salt of The Earth by Wim Wenders and Juliano Salgado
For the last 40 years, the photographer Sebastiao Salgado has been traveling through the continents, in the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity. He had witnessed some of the major events of our recent history: international conflicts, starvation and exodus. He is now embarking on the discovery of pristine territories, of wild fauna and flora, and of grandiose landscapes as part of a huge photographic project, which is a tribute to the planet's beauty.
The film also shows him on the farm where he grew up in Brazil, reunited with his family (including his filmmaker son, and Salt co-director, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado). Wenders observes his subject’s restoration to something like hope, a spiritual reboot rooted in the effort of bringing life back to a dead land. With his wife Leila, Saldago starts a massive project of environmental restoration on the farm.
In a sense, it’s as happy an ending of any movie you’re likely to see this year, a stirring suggestion that not only can the Earth be saved from disaster, but life can appear where death once prevailed and a shattered heart put back together again.
Chris Drury is an environmental artist, who creates site-specific nature based sculpture, often referred to as Land Art. His body of work includes ephemeral assemblies of natural materials that he finds around him, as well as more-permanent landscape art, works on paper, and indoor installations. On paper, he uses a variety of unusual media---notably mushroom spore prints, dung, and peat---as a source of color and patterns, which he might overlay with text or fingerprints, or underlay with maps or other geographic images.
Drury’s work is an excellent example of artworks that promote green awareness by connecting nature and people. “Chris Drury concentrates on the interaction between nature and people, fungus and the human body” (Gooding & Furlong, 2002).
In Drury’s Portrayal of Poison Pie (featured here), he has created a hidden meaning. When you look at the artwork from a distance, it looks like the underside of a mushroom with carefully drawn lines in white ink. However when you look closely, the radiating lines in white ink are in fact a handwritten list of all the poisonous fungi in Britain and their effect on the human body. The fungi names are written in Latin and their biologically correct names. Drury says himself that, “mushrooms are the great recyclers of our ecosystems” (Gooding & Furlong, 2002). Poison Pie is about promoting mushrooms and their ability to recycle and clean the environment that humans have degraded, and about how humans and nature are connected.
Drury says “there is nowhere you can go that hasn’t been touched by man, and I think you shouldn’t start from the premise of cutting man out because we are nature, and that’s what interests me” (Gooding & Furlong, 2002).
Chris Drury talks about the process of making the piece Time Capsule, where nature will complete his creation as time continues. Watch the project from start to finish as students help create a natural masterpiece.
Previously Profiled Artists in the news:
Giuseppe Penone to have first U.S. museum exhibition in over 30 years, highlights the career of one of the founders of the Arte Povera movement at the Nasher Sculpture Center,from September 19th till January 10th, 2016
George Monbiot is a British writer known for his environmental activism. In summer 2013, he published Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea and Human Life. Part personal journal, part essay on natural science and wildlife (and on our own wild side), the book follows Monbiot's efforts to re-engage with nature. He shows how, by restoring and rewilding our damaged ecosystems on land and at sea, we can bring wonder back into our lives, and lays out a new, positive environmental vision, in which nature is allowed to find its own way.
Please take 15 minutes and watch his inspiring and fascinating TED talk from September 2013.
If you haven’t seen the short film he made in 2014, How Wolves Change Rivers, which he wrote, directed and narrated, this should not be missed! It’s so wonderful.
It shows how wolves, which are top predators, have far-reaching beneficial effects upon entire ecosystems -- including the structure of rivers.
Recently, he published a piece titled Falling in Love Again, Rebuilding our relationship with the natural world can re-animate our own lives, as well as the ecosystem.
|Grow delicious potatoes anywhere!|
Did you know that there is a connection between the Moon and the tides, and planting and gardening? Planting according to the phases of the Moon is the oldest form of gardening known to man. When planting your garden, the Moon’s position has an impact on how well your seeds will germinate, grow and develop based on how much moisture is in the soil.
Understanding this and timing your gardening chores according to the phases of the Moon is the basis of Moon gardening. Calendars are available here for September, October and November, including what to buy in season at your local farmer’s market and suggested vegetables to plant.
Eco Books - Fall 2015
Roots: The Definitive Compendium With More Than 225 Recipes by Diane Morgan
From the author of more than 14 cookbooks comes this comprehensive guide and collection of recipes using root vegetables. Discover the fascinating history and lore of 29 major roots, their nutritional content, how to buy and store them, and much more, from the familiar (beets, carrots, potatoes) to the unfamiliar (jicama, salsify, malanga) to the practically unheard of (cassava, galangal, crosnes). The best part? More than 225 recipes--salads, soups, side dishes, main courses, drinks, and desserts--that bring out the earthy goodness of each and every one of these intriguing vegetables. From Andean tubers and burdock to yams and yuca, this essential culinary encyclopedia lets dedicated home cooks achieve a new level of taste and sophistication in their everyday cooking.
Nocturne: Creatures Of The Night by Traer Scott
Whether fierce, cuddly, startling, mysterious, or some indefinable combination of all of the above, nocturnal animals never fail to fascinate. In Nocturne: Creatures of the Night, celebrated animal photographer Traer Scott takes the viewer on a journey through nighttime in the animal kingdom, revealing some of nature's most elusive creatures. Bats, big cats, flying squirrels, tarantula, owls, kangaroo mice, giant moths, sloth, several species of snakes, and a Madagascar hissing cockroach are only a few of the animals illuminated in these lushly detailed portraits. Seventy-five full-color photographs of forty different species are accompanied by informed but accessible descriptions of each animal's habits and habitats, and an introduction provides personal insight into how Scott captures her astonishing images. Nocturne is a compelling view of the rarely seen darkness dwellers who populate the night.
Children's Book of the Season:
Hickory by Palmer Brown
A grandfather clock makes a lovely home for a family of mice -- if you don’t mind the occasional clang. And here Hickory lives with his parents, his brother, Dickory, and his sister, Dock. But Hickory is a restless, fearless mouse, and he longs to be on the move, to breathe the sweet air and nibble on the wild strawberries of the fields. So one day in early spring, with the smells of honeysuckle and clover guiding him, he strikes out on his own. Soon he discovers that a meadow can be a lonely place, even with all its beetles and caterpillars. It’s not until Hop the grasshopper comes around that Hickory finds a true companion. Hop warns him, though, that when the days get shorter and the goldenrod begins to fade, the “song she sings will soon be done.” How Hickory and Hop confront and eventually accept the end of summer forms the core of Palmer Brown’s poignant story.
Hickory is a story of friendship and love on par with Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree or E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. It is also a field guide to the common plants and flowers of spring, summer, and autumn, all beautifully rendered in Palmer Brown’s most colorful and joyous drawings.
Mesh Food Covers
I'm always so happy to share my latest eco finds, and one of them is a product that I use often: the Mesh Food Covers, which I have in several different sizes. They are brilliant at keeping insects away from any prepared dishes. They make great gifts too.
Ikarian Longevity Stew With Black Eyed Peas
This is a great recipe I found in the book The Blue Zones Solution. This is a savory dish that is full of rich flavor and health benefits. Make it on a rainy day (or any day). This protein-rich stew freezes well. It’s also perfect for anyone following the Mediterranean diet.
-makes 4 servings-
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 fennel bulb
- 1 cup (8 ounces) black eyed peas (with dried peas, bring to a boil, boil for 1 minute, remove from heat, cover and let sit for an hour. Drain, rinse, and use.)
- 1 large, firm ripe tomato, finely chopped
- 2 tsp tomato paste, diluted in ¼ cup water
- 2 bay leaves
- salt to taste
- 1 bunch dill, finely chopped
- Heat half the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion, garlic, and fennel bulb stirring occasionally, until soft (about 12 minutes). Add the black-eyed peas and toss to coat in the oil
- Add the tomato, tomato paste and enough water to cover the beans by about an inch. Add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the black-eyed peas are about half way cooked. (Check after 40 minutes, but it may take over an hour.)
- Add the chopped dill and season with salt.
- Continue cooking until the black-eyed peas are tender.
Remove, pour in remaining raw olive oil and serve.
Moroccan Spiced Chickpeas & Chard
This is a very easy recipe to make that also happens to be delicious! I have made it several times these past few months and it’s always a hit. It never fails to satisfy, plus it’s nutrient rich.
-All ingredients used are organic-
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 sweet onion, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup golden raisins (I have used brown raisins)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bunch chard (about 8 ounces), washed, center ribs removed and chopped
1 can chickpeas with liquid plus 1/2 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Add the olive oil, onion and garlic to a heavy bottomed Dutch oven or 3-4 quart pot, and turn the heat to medium. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, and then add the paprika, cumin, turmeric, thyme, salt, and cinnamon. Stir together and cook for a minute or two until fragrant.
- Add remaining ingredients, cover, and turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Be sure to stir every 3-5 minutes to ensure the bottom does not burn and that your ingredients are evenly combined.
- Remove from heat after 20 minutes.
- Serve with rice or quinoa.
Zucchini and Pistachio Cake
From Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood
I discovered this recipe in my friend Caroline Gladstone’s blog post for Out & About! This cake is delicious and easy to make, and as Caroline wrote, “Harry is a genius in the kitchen and transforms the humble vegetable into a mouthwatering (and healthy) cake, where the vegetable substitutes for the usual fat.” Yummm!
Zucchini and Pistachio Cake.
3 3/4 oz pistachios
10 1/2 oz zucchini
3 medium eggs
7 oz golden caster sugar
8 oz plain white flour
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 1/2 oz icing sugar, sifted
Roughly chopped pistachios
Preheat the oven to 350F
Grease and line an 8in cake tin with baking parchment.
- Put 3 3/4 oz pistachios into a coffee grinder and blitz them to a powder. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can use a food processor; it just won’t grind them as finely.
- Cut off the ends of the zucchini and grate them finely.
- Beat the eggs and sugar in an electric mixer until pale, light and creamy. (If you don’t have one, a wooden spoon and mixing bowl are fine.) Fold in the zucchini, ground pistachios, flour, lemon zest, baking powder and baking soda. Combine everything, scooping up the mixture from the bottom of the bowl, but be careful not to over-mix.
- Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. The cake is cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn the cake out onto a wire rack, carefully peel off the paper and turn the cake the right way up. Leave to cool completely.
To make the icing, simply mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice until it’s smooth. Put the icing mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to let it firm up, before spreading it over the cake with a small palette knife. Leave to set a little, then sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.