September 25, 2009
Personally, I like the forest and don’t go often enough. The US Forest Service and the Ad Council have a Public Service Announcement campaign about rediscovering the forest. The amount of time U.S. children spend outdoors has declined 50% in the past 20 years, according to the Ad Council. The Forest Service is hoping to change this startling statistic through a PSA project entitled “Where the Other You Lives” that encourages tweens and their parents to re-connect with the great outdoors.
The Forest Service and the Ad Council created a pretty cool microsite for the campaign where you can find local parks and pick up ideas on what to do on an outdoor adventure (leaf rubs, tracking animals, learning to use a compass). Take a look at Discover The Forest here.
April 14, 2009
At the end of January I went away to see the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond and to breathe some fresh clean Highland air.
Step 1 Book your train tickets – I travelled from London to Edinburgh via the east coast trainline and tickets booked in advance with National Express are very reasonable. It takes around 4 hours from London King’s Cross station to Edinburgh Waverley station. Plenty of time to sit back, relax, read or just enjoy the scenery.
Step 2 Book your accommodation -There is a selection of organic bed and breakfast available at Organic Holidays although on this occasion I stayed in a city centre hotel which did offer you the opportunity to reuse your towels and also allowed you to control the temperature in the room so you could turn it down when you went out in the morning and turn it back up on your return.
Step 3 Explore Edinburgh and take a trip into the Highlands - I chose to explore the Highlands and Loch Ness and to visit Loch Lomond and it was well worth the effort as Scotland is beautiful whichever season you visit.
I travelled with Rabbies Tours who are Scotland’s first first bus tour company to achieve a gold award for the Green Tourism Award, a world leading green accreditation scheme, demonstrating Rabbie’s high level of commitment to protecting the environment and to sustainable tourism practices. Eric regaled us with stories as we drove a full mini bus up to Loch Ness and back via Pitlochory. It was a great feeling to know that we had reduced the number of vehicles touring through this beautiful countryside. We had plenty of stops to see castles and also spotted red deer. You can easily book online or ask at the Tourist Information centre.
Edinburgh is a lovely city to walk around with the castle, Holyroodhouse or climb Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park. It provides one of the best vantage points over the city to the countryside beyond. And after your walk check out the Urban Angel cafe and deli which had a delicious selection of organic produce to tempt you with. There is a large seating area at the back of the cafe so do not be put off if when you arrive the seats at the entrance are all taken!
So next time you fancy a break to why not consider Edinburgh and treat yourself to a green trip north of the border.
September 2, 2008
I’m not going to get into the whole debate of the “green-ness” of McDonalds, but this has been doing the rounds on green websites. McDonalds have created an outdoor advertising billboard that grows over time. Created by Leo Burnett ad agency in Chicago, the advert grows lettuce to advertise their fresh salads. No news if they’re organic or not…
April 3, 2008
Where did the idea come from – turning hubcaps into art?
That particular raw material came from my acquisitive nature regarding all abandoned things aesthetic to my eye, regardless of their origin. I’m not averse to picking up a bit of rubbish from the side of the road if I think it has potential. That’s what happened with the hubcaps, and I collected quite a few before I finally got around to making something out of them.
Was it an environmental decision or is that just a happy by-product?
I feel very strongly about our cultures lack of understanding regarding the nature of value. (See my website). Creating something out of supposed rubbish I hope has a positive effect on anyone open enough to absorb that concept. This sense of value was focussed by a long trip to India in the early nineties, which opened my eyes to real poverty and also to true initiative in dealing with that. When I find a particularly choice item discarded it fills me not only with pleasure at the finding but also disgust at the waste.
Do you literally just pick up any hubcap you find or have you got people scouring the streets?
They’re all side-of-the-road-finds. I used to pick up a lot going about my daily business, but with friends and family all getting into the habit I’ve been accumulating quite a hoard. It gives me a big buzz when people bother to stop and pick up a piece of rubbish to help me out and to contribute to something I feel strongly about. It’s a great compliment and a signal that I’m doing something worthwhile. I’ve had many donations from strangers who have seen me in a magazine or on TV, which makes it all very encouraging
I see a few hubcaps around – are they really that common?
Once you start looking they’re all over the place: central reservations; roundabouts; junctions; even hedges.
How did you get started?
I accumulate junk being a bit of a magpie. If you see a skip with a pair of legs sticking out of it they’re probably mine. I pick up old stereos, vacuum cleaners, lights etc. All with a view to either repairing them or passing them on, or to taking them to bits and making something else out of them. I started collecting hubcaps with the intention of making a suit of armour but haven’t got round to that yet as the fish got in the way.
How long does it take you to make a piece? I imagine the huge dragon now at a car dealership took a while!
My working days vary depending on my mood, and circumstance of course, but an average fish sculpture made from hubcaps can take about a working week to complete. Obviously this depends on how well it proceeds, and how complex or large it ends up becoming. I’ve spent over a month on one piece before, and a simple sculpture can take only a couple of days.
What’s your favourite shape to make?
The sharks I reckon…
Apart from your commissions, a lot of your sculptures are fish-based. Is that something to do with living near the sea or does the shape of your materials immediately lend itself to fish?
The fish mostly look the best as far as I’m concerned-shiny and silver, and I really enjoy myself when making them. I am foraging into other fields though, but I keep drifting back to marine creatures because I find such an enormous and interesting range. The insect world has been drawing my attention of late but I’m reluctant to make a real start so far because there doesn’t seem to be an end to the possibilities, and once I plunge in with a vengeance I’ll probably be overwhelmed.
How important is the environment in your work and outside of it?
I try to do all the usual stuff: sort out my recycling; take a bag instead of getting a plastic carrier bag; attend occasional demonstrations; shop with a conscience; use my van only for long, necessary journeys etc. But to be honest I could do a lot more. Trouble is I’m not motivated enough to take on saving the planet as my main occupation. This goes back to enjoying myself. I’m happiest when I’m creating my work so that’s where I want to be. The other things take a back seat. But I try I guess….
Is there a move towards making art out of used materials in the UK?
Not a movement as such but there’s plenty of people doing it. They’re mostly the kind that fit into the category of ‘craft’ if you’re into putting people into boxes.
You’re appearing at UK Aware in May. Apart from to sell your pieces, is that in part to show a wider audience a different side of recycling/reusing?
I don’t do a lot of self promotion and I’m often absorbed in my work so it’s good to go out occasionally to remind people that my stuff available, but mainly it’s to say that art isn’t necessarily a high brow thing. Anyone can do it, and the big benefit of eco art is the raw materials are plentiful, and usually free. That’s a big help when it comes to encouraging people to have a go. I think everybody has some sort of a creative bud inside them and it should be given plenty of water…
March 27, 2008
All contents are copyright © 2007, Rudis Muiznieks.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.]
March 25, 2008
Nothing really environmental about this, but I thought it was great. A group called Improv Everywhere like to make a scene. 207 people “frozen” in New York’s Grand Central Station counts as a scene.
They also participate in No Pants! day – now in several countries around the world. By pants they mean trousers and not underwear for all you English folk
[Via: Intelligent Travel]
December 4, 2007
We receive a lot of emails asking us to promote products for free. We take a look at each of them and sometimes they look good enough to pass on to our readers. Recently we received an email from Dave at Xeko which I thought some readers might be interested in.
Xeko is an eco-adventure game for kids, and for parents who are interested in teaching their kids about sustainability in general and “green” products for kids in particular. If you’re not familiar with the game already, Xeko combines two things kids love – animals and trading cards. Each card collection is based on one of Earth’s “hotspots,” beginning with the critically-endangered habitat of Madagascar. The collectible cards include facts about the species from that ecosystem in addition to illustrations that kids really love. Other collections include Mission: Costa Rica and Mission: Indonesia – the latter just debuted recently. There is a free online demo of Xeko the game available.
4% of Xeko net sales are donated to Conservation International, and the game is printed on recycled materials. While Xeko (according to them) is first and foremost entertaining, parents can feel good with their kids spending hours learning about Earth’s diverse species and unique cultures.
Xeko, as a company, produces products that foster sustainability, and hopes to inspire the next generation of eco-leaders. The website is excellent and has a list of online and brick-and-mortar stores that you can buy the game from, including diverse stores like Amazon, Whole Foods and even zoo shops!
I would be interested to hear from you if you’ve played the game, or have any suggestions for others? It looks like a great game for Christmas