Charity Water has come up with a concept I love, donations for your birthday! A pretty simple concept, but Charity Water allows you to create your own custom birthday donation page with goals to share with friends called the Birthday Donation Project. Wonderful!
What is this Charity Water you may be asking? Their mission is to bring clean water to the world, particularly developing countries where they need it the most. This can mean anything from drilling wells to water treatment.
90% of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are in children under five years old.
-World Health Organization
Walking and Trekking place to place has long been a pastime for many Europeans. It is embedded in their culture. Germans and Brits especially enjoy getting out the walking stick(s) and ambling in nature with friends and family. Multi-day long distance trips are now popular with active people in many countries. Today you can choose a wide range of comfort – from self-serve huts to one room guest houses, to luxury Inns. The most popular and established Inn to inn walks are in Europe, but some are sprouting up in the Americas. There are now walks in Vermont and walks in California.
While I was working as a naturalist in the Marin Headlands (the wild protected land just north of the golden gate bridge in the San Francisco Bay Area, California), my father and his new wife started to fall in love over their walking vacations. Their honeymoon was a 2 week Coast to Coast walk in England. The following year, they headed to Ireland for the 7 day Kerry Way combined with 7 day Dingle Peninsula walk. Then they trekked for 14 days on and near Mount Blanc in France, Switzerland and Italy. Fully enamored, they decided to explore Scotland’s Great Glen Way and West Highland Way. This followed by England’s Southwest Coast Walk, Offa’s Dyke in Wales and Cotswold Way. For their next trek, I’d like them to pilot our next new offering – 12-14 days walking the coast from Monterey to › Continue reading
This past Friday was World Water Day, and I was lucky to attend Whole World Water’s launch party in San Francisco. A perfect venue to showcase an innovative new way to look at bottled water in a ‘green’ way.
Whole World Water‘s premise is simple. Provide high quality onsite filtered water in reusable glass bottles to those who would otherwise choose bottled water. The target market for this product is primarily hotels, restaurants, and the hospitality and tourism industry, but could really be expanded to any number of businesses who normally provide bottled water.
Today nearly 1 billion people don’t have access to clean and safe water. WHOLE WORLD Water is a Campaign designed to unite the Hospitality and Tourism Industry on a non-competitive platform to eradicate this issue.
I love the idea of re-purposing discarded trash into art and functional pieces, just as Oxyd Factory has done with junked automobiles. The idea of repurposing and upcycling is a common topic here on The Chic Ecologist, primarily because I love the creativity and reduced environmental impact born out of the transformation. You may have seen other recycled automobile tables and even recycled aircraft furniture here, but I was really drawn to the uniqueness of Oxyd Factory designs.
The factory is up and running, albeit very inefficiently laments a native Keralan turned fortune 500 CEO turned self-help writer (who happened to be touring around with us, viewing the facilities). He ran Phillips, the appliance/TV company and quit after working to outsource production of Phillips products – and seeing the negative effects his work was having locally and globally. He explained to me the Indian mindset that he came from: “Indians are not thinking of the future -besides marriage and home construction. The mindset in village is: let’s pay off today, lets enjoy today, then we will worry about tomorrow.” He offered his consultant services to URAVU on his visit home next year, to help increase productivity in the factory.
Uravu sells bamboo crafts within India and demand is high for the quality handmade products. This is only one aspect of the Bamboo Village. The next phase is a large guesthouse (Completion Goal: Dec 2013)- being built with – you guessed it – bamboo. This will house tourists – primarily groups and families, however dorms may be available for backpackers. Currently there is a home stay program that Romarie and I enjoyed. We stayed comfortably in Mary’s families house, experiencing the day to day – even the early morning noises from the chickens (one of which we ate for dinner), and even the family scuffles. Half of the cost went to Mary (money is given to the woman of the household, who runs the homestay), and half is reinvested into the community through › Continue reading
The mission at Bamboo Village is to preserve a way of life (agriculture-based) in the face of a changing world where local village economies are subject to global economic changes. Much more than that – it is to create something for this area to live sustainably and healthily and to prevent brain drain; to keep young people there, rather than running off to the city to work as a tech customer service representative. URAVU meaning “Spring” or “source of life”, was started in 1996 by a group of Indians who had met in college and were politically active who wanted to help make a change (fun fact Kerala is the only state in India that democratically voted a Communist Government). When I pressed, Sivaraaj pin pointed the two main reasons for starting this work here – to break the caste system and to address environmental concerns that were coming about at the time. I asked him what changes he has seen since starting, and he said that “we have gotten women out of the home, and we have been a pacifier for the religious tension that boiled over a few years ago.” He indicates that the organization has gained a lot of respect for hiring all types of people (all religions) especially tribal people and women, and helping the community in an › Continue reading
Not long ago, my sister embarked on an extended traveling adventure with the goal of experiencing science in a variety of cultures to develop new educational curriculum in sustainability. This 3 part article series is about her experiences in India. Enjoy!
I had been in India 3 weeks before I discovered Bamboo Village. Prior to leaving, I had read in the Sivananda Ashram copy of the Lonely Planet that the Wayanad wildlife area is the most beautiful place for wildlife sighting, in Southern India – even “ask an Indian!” I had 16 days left so decided to start heading for a town nearby named Sultanbatheri – a place from which a jeep or trek into the forest, one can experience a variety of wildlife and – possibly (gasp) Tigers! I set off via train then local bus. We went winding through the mountains and brisk hill stations of Coonoor and Ooty, monkeys watching and eating on the side lines like the road were a parade route. To my delight these places were breathtaking – and the routes afforded wonderful views. Also, I started to see something I had never seen so far in my travels in Kerala and the south – environmental propaganda signs. I was wishful that they would have a solid law backing the “no plastic in Nilgiri Hills” proclamation, but soon found that they did not. The gorgeous rolling tea and coffee fields were lined with the usual plastic bags and bottles. India has an issue – the tap water is perceived to be unsafe to drink therefore, bottled water is sold everywhere – even in restaurants. Containers are discarded and can be seen everywhere you go. Just as in my Kerala backwaters boat tour – floating plastic debris among lily pads and invasive plants – and there doesn’t seem to be › Continue reading
Corn plastic, otherwise known as polylactic acid (PLA), is rapidly replacing traditional petroleum based plastics for food containers, utensils, disposable cups and more, but how do you dispose of it? It is common to find a recycle symbol printed or molded into the container, and many also promote that the item is compostable or biodegradable. So what is the most eco-friendly way to dispose of this new generation bio plastic? The answer may depend on which does less harm and very well could be the trash can.
Composting Bio Plastic
There are few facilities equipped to fully compost PLA down to carbon and water. The process to breakdown PLA cups is approximately 30–45 days in a commercial compost facility with a sustained temperature of 140 degrees for 10 days. Most people have had mixed results with backyard composters, some taking months, others even years, much related to sustained heat. › Continue reading
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