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Earth Day 2011: What Will You Be Doing?
HAPPY EARTH DAY INHABITAT READERS!
From the foothills of the Colorado Rockies to the tip of South America to the sandy beaches of Australia, Inhabitat’s growing team spans all corners of the world. To provide some insight into the state of the environment through a global perspective, this year we’re asking all our writers and editors to tell us what they are doing for this spectacular day of green. A unique team that delivers an inimitable view to readers and one another alike day after day, they are the driving force behind Inhabitat’s mission of environmental stewardship. So what is the Inhabiteam doing for Earth Day? Read on for all the exciting details, and feel free to share your own plans in the comments below!
Jill Fehrenbacher – Founder and Editor-In-Chief – New York, New York
I am a big believer in the idea that every day should be Earth Day. I think that having just one day per year dedicated ‘Earth Day’ often makes us complacent about our environmental footprint the other 364 days of the year, when really our environmental problems are so much bigger and more complex than something that can be tackled in 24 hour period with eco tote bags and green events. So, for me this day is like pretty much any other; I’ll start my day with a jog along the East River in the morning, eat a tasty vegan lunch, walk everywhere I need to go, and spend a lot of time stand-working at my laptop, blogging about green innovation and design. I’ll wrap it all up at a green fashion event at recycled clothing store Second Time Around this evening. Fun!
I think the best thing that we can do with Earth Day is to keep it as a day for reflection on about how to best tackle the most pressing environmental challenges we face (ahem – climate change). This year I think a big challenge is public interest and political will. People have become tired of green marketing, and it is hard to motivate people to get excited about environmental sustainability when economic times are tough and ‘green’ feels like sacrifice. At inhabitat, we’ll try to do our part to inspire interest in environmental sustainability by examining it through the lens that gets us passionate and fired up: design and innovation.
Mike Chino – Managing Editor – San Francisco, California
This Earth Day I’ll make my daily commute across to carpet to log in to Inhabitat, where I’ll work with our incredible team of writers and editors to bring you the most exciting designs and developments that are ushering in a more sustainable world. I’ll ride my bike to the organic market down the street to pick up lunch and grab some veggies for dinner — I’ve been trying to cook more often and I’m currently obsessed with homemade chimichurri sauce, so I’m going to try working it into a pizza! This weekend I’m looking forward to spending time in the garden, cycling around San Francisco, and heading down to the beach for some surfing.
Yuka Yoneda – Senior Editor – Queens, New York
I’m really hoping to treat today just like any other day. During the day, I’ll be working on populating Inhabitat with the most exciting developments in green design and after that, I’ll be sewing up a storm, deconstructing preloved garments and transforming them into cool new clothes to sell on my site Clossette. Right now, 100% of the proceeds are going to disaster relief in Japan, so check it out! I guess the only thing I’ll really be doing differently is that when dinnertime rolls around, I’ll be excusing myself from any burgers, meatloaf and any other meats. I think I’m pretty good about recycling, using public transportation and keeping down my energy usage, but I’m an omnivore through and through so I’m hoping to keep it vegetarian today even if it’s just for one day. Hey, it’s a start!
Diane Pham – Architecture and Design Editor – Brooklyn, New York
Last year I was lucky enough to spend Earth Day volunteering on an eco-village in the Michoacán Mountains of Mexico, this year is a little bit more low key, spent in my hilly hometown in Southern California. To celebrate Earth Day I plan on taking a personal bike tour of the city I grew up, which thankfully even after 20 years of considerable commercial development (well delegated to one area of the city near the freeway), still maintains the rising hills, lush farmland, quiet streets, green parks, stunning mountain views, unaffected wildlife and clear skies I remember from my childhood. (This picture however, was taken in Mendoza, Argentina!)
Kestrel Jenkins – Operations Assistant – New York, New York
Exactly one year ago – Earth Day 2010 – I made a conscious oath on my blog MakeFashionFair: “In honor of mother earth and her global citizens, I vow to no longer purchase ANY clothing that has been made unethically, or blatantly harmed people or the environment in its making, for the next 365 days. If the available ethical and fair trade labels cannot serve my tastes and desires (as fashion is my passion) — I pledge to only purchase apparel which is re-made or re-cycled – vintage or re-worked.”
Considering my fashion-obsessed soul, this past year has been a definite examination of how creative and resourceful I could be to reduce my social and environmental impact on the globe. On Earth Day 2011, I will be celebrating the inspiring designers out there that continue to be mindful and innovative in their designs, while surrounding myself with some of these creations at the event, “Fashioning Self and The Environment”. With an evolved fashion consumption style, I’ll be reflecting on the past year’s lessons and pondering my next personal steps for the year ahead.
Jessica Dailey – New York Editor – Brooklyn, New York
Since Earth Day falls on a workday, I’m moving my celebrations of Mother Earth to the weekend! Saturday morning, I’m volunteering with my neighborhood CSA to help plant a rooftop garden at Georgia’s Place, a local supportive housing complex. Two weeks ago, we created the structure and hauled up 40 pound bags of compost, and this week, we’re finishing the early season planting with an abundance of delicious green delights — spinach, lettuce, beets, beans, tomatoes, herbs — that will feed the residents of Georgia’s Place. After that I’ll head over to my local Greenmarket for some fresh produce. Two of my favorite vegetables are in season, asparagus and spinach, and I plan on whipping up an Earth Day-approved meal for dinner: my favorite spinach pesto potatoes and a light asparagus salad. Bon appétit!
Brit Liggett – New York Editor – Brooklyn, New York
This Earth Day I’ll be celebrating in style at the EcoLux Pop-Up Shop at Bloomingdales in SOHO. The pop-up features nine incredible eco-designers that are practicing their craft while keeping the Earth in mind. I’ve been involved with making some video installations about the show and it has been amazing to see Bloomingdales, such a large department store, fully embrace these small sustainable designers. After my fashion foray, I’ll be spending my Saturday-after-Earth Day planting window gardens — a task which is now becoming an Earth Day tradition — then I’ll sit back and watch as my urban tomatoes and city herbs grow through the summer.
Jasmin Malik Chua – Managing Editor, Ecouterre – New York, New York
Every day is Earth Day at the Malik-Chua household, even more so at Ecouterre. Our motto: Live large but leave a small footprint. And get some fresh air every so often.
Beth Shea – Senior Editor – Portland, Oregon
With two children in our house, I do my best to preserve the planet year-round to help secure their future. We will continue to reuse recyclables for craft projects, I happily cloth diaper and breastfeed our baby, purchase only sustainably made personal care products, and we enjoy our vegetarian diet so our furry friends suffer no harm. To celebrate on actual Earth Day, we will soak up all the outdoor fun we can muster: play at the park, explore nature, build a fairy house, with the unbridled enthusiasm so beautifully inherent in kids.
Julie Knapp – Managing Editor Inhabitots – Brooklyn, New York
Every Earth Day I like to start my container garden so I have fresh veggies throughout the summer. This year I’ll plant tomatoes, spinach, and bell peppers — all the makings of my favorite daily salad. Of course my dog and I will also head to our local park and marvel at the way spring is blooming right before our eyes (or more so nose for my pup) with lots of gorgeous pink flowering cherry trees. I’ve also been meaning to donate money to the parks I recently visited with my dad in Africa, so Earth Day will be the day to give the Maasai Mara and the black rhinos some donation love.
Andrew Michler – Green Building Writer – Off-grid in the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains
Is it earth day all ready? I’ll be helping shoot a video of interviews with alternative energy experts in Colorado for a film to be unveiled at the Colorado Renewable Energy Conference in June. The conference is hosted by a group I have been a part of for awhile, the Northern Colorado Renewable Energy Society, and one of the privileges is our monthly meetings are at a local micro-brewery that has 60kw of solar on its roof and some excellent wares inside. Cheers fellow Earthlings.
Timon Singh – Tech and News Writer – Brighton, United Kingdom
As Good Friday happens to be the same day as Earth Day, we here in the U.K. get a bank holiday. Essentially, we don’t go to work. So, I’m going to do my part for the environment by not turning on an electrical device (namely my work computer), not driving to work and not making six cups of large black coffee (which is about my usual), and instead head to Cornwall for a four day week.
There I will bask in the sunshine, visit Tintagel Castle, live out my childhood dreams by pretending to be a Knight of the Round Table and then I’ll probably toast the Earth with a selection of fine ales. It’s the least I can do….
Lori Zimmer – Contributing Writer – New York, New York
My mom is coming to town in time for Earth Day this year. We plan to have a completely transportation-free day, starting by walking over the Williamsburg Bridge and around the city, with a stop off at Walter De Maria’s Earth Room in Soho, then ending with dinner at Bell, Book & Candle, who sources its veggies from their rooftop garden.
Evelyn Lee – Los Angeles Editor – Los Angeles, California
I’m excited to see more momentum behind Earth Day this year. I’m not sure what forces came together to make it all happen, but it seems to me that the business world is truly beginning to understand at least part of message. I’m happy to say that this Earth Day I’m planning on getting out from behind my computer to enjoy the natural surroundings gorgeous Souther California has to offer, and making plans to get to my destination via bike. I’m also planning on celebrating by continuing my New Year’s resolution to eat healthy, eat local, and cook for friends and family more often. The more the merrier.
Tafline Laylin – Architecture and Design Writer – South Africa
Next week I’ll be traveling to the United Arab Emirates. There I will join local environmental activists, educators, and reporters to discuss the documentary “The End of the Line” – a powerful look at overfishing and what we can do to combat it. After that, I’ll spend the next few months traveling throughout the Middle East – Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon in particular – in order to research and write about a variety of environmental issues.
So, because my plate is pretty full with prepping for the trip, I don’t have any Earth Day plans. But I can say how I keep my trips as sustainable as possible. First of all, I don’t own a car, anywhere. And never plan to again. I love driving, but the idea of being tied to the environmental and financial costs of owning a car when I can just as easily bus and bike doesn’t appeal to me at all. Unless I absolutely have to fly (like from South Africa to Dubai), I take buses. Usually the roach coach! That might not always be so fun, but at this stage it doesn’t bother me because it also gives me a sense of the way everyday people live in each of the countries I visit.
And then, apart from a storage unit in Colorado, where I keep my books and artwork, and a small “winter” case that I’ll leave in South Africa, all of my belongings weigh about 12.5kg. This is sometimes hard, especially as I have to be presentable at business meetings, but mostly it gives me enormous freedom from the impulse to buy. I have chosen my clothing very carefully so that I can mix and match a lot and so that I will be comfortable in almost any season (save northern climates.) To avoid having to buy plastic bottles when I travel, the bane of my existence, I have my super duper non-BPA Laken water bottle, and tablets that I use to filter potentially unclean water. I also carry a coffee thermos and a reusable shopping bag.
I have a lot of friends throughout the Middle East because of my work through www.greenprophet.com and through www.couchsurfing.org. But it’s nice to be independent, so I often stay in low-budget hostels. Last year, while researching stories in Kenya, I camped out in a tent for a couple of months along the shore of Lake Naivasha. The hippos and monkeys made a racket, but for me, nothing beats that real connectedness to nature.
Of course, I can’t deny that flights pretty much wipe out all of my year round hard work to keep a low carbon footprint, so I really do try to keep them to an absolute minimum. This is why I stay places for extended periods. This doesn’t work for everyone, but at the moment I’m lucky to be flexible enough to live this way. For me, every day is Earth Day, though I do think that mobilizing people’s attention a few times a year is very valuable.
Moe Beitiks – Contributing Writer – San Francisco, California
This Earth Day, I will be making bee frames. That is, I will be nailing bits of wood and sheets of beeswax into rectangles, and those rectangles will hang inside hives and many honey-gathering easier. This spring has been busy for the biodiesel station and urban farming supply store where I occasionally work. The weather has been hot, and bees have been swarming like crazy. People need frames faster than we can build them. There’s a constant influx of new people with new hives and new questions. What kind of super boxes do I need? How often should I check on the bees? Should I feed them? The answers lead to more questions and conversations. I’m still learning about the whole process myself. While the pressure can get intense sometimes, it’s kind of interesting to feel a rush that’s unique, seasonal, and directly tied to nature. It is like the bees are knocking on our door, and they have opinions on green hive construction.
Lea Bogdan – Contributing Writer – Chicago, Illinois
This year, Earth Day will be all about DIY! Because this Earth Day is also a holiday from the office, I will be traveling back to my native land of Philadelphia to work on house repairs with my dad, and to visit a friend who left the fashion world in Manhattan to sow greener pastures (literally) in Reading, PA.
My dad is a master of home repair and has been working with me on a total bath remodel in a Philly row home that I left when moving to Chicago last year. Even though the house will be put on the market after the remodel, it was still important to use sustainable products. We were able to find some unqiue and eco-friendly materials, like my dad’s suggestion to use Mohawk’s Concreto laminate, that uses 74% recycled content and is really easy to install. I selected WaterSense certified fixtures from Delta Faucet. I’m also scoping out EcoUrban, a Chicago based manufacturer of light-weight sustainable concrete countertops.
Later on I’ll be carpooling an hour west of Philadelphia, where my good friend and her fiancee have been spending the past year living and working to help restore a farm. They are also getting ready for their wedding on the farm this summer, and have been tackling many creative DIY projects in preparation. I’ve missed out on some of their recent punch tin making parties, where friends gather to make repurposed tin can lanterns for holding LED candles during their reception, so I’m excited to lend a hand this weekend!
Laura Cowan – Transportation Editor – Ann Arbor, Michigan
Growing up across the street from a major Earth Day festival, I felt a little conflicted about the holiday. To me, Earth Day meant hippies dressed as ladybugs and hundreds of people driving to the event, tearing up the lawn, hugging a tree, and then driving away again in their gas guzzlers. It was when I had my daughter in 2009 that I realized how important Earth Day was. Not as an opportunity to paint faces and buy recycled toys, but as a day to talk about the ways we as a society can move toward sustainable living. For me, Earth Day has gone from a bizarre picnic that parks up my parents’ driveway to a day to mark progress in my journey toward living a gentler life.
This Earth Day, I will be helping to moderate the Great Cloth Diaper Change at my local green baby boutique The Little Seedling. This event aims to set a world record for most diapers changed simultaneously (eco-friendly ones that don’t clog up the landfills!) and will be hosted in many locations across the country. The Little Seedling will be raffling off several green prizes to attendees, including 3 copies of my book EcoFrugal Baby: How To Save 70% Off Baby’s First Year, a book all about how to raise a green baby on a budget. This Earth Day, I’m reflecting on the ways my life has changed and the ways it still needs to change in order to leave a green inheritance for my daughter—the earth itself.
Jenny Tranter – Contributing Writer – Melbourne, Australia
At my house in Melbourne, Australia we try and make Earth Day every day in the small efforts we take to tread a little lighter on our planet. But the day dedicated to celebrating Earth Day is the day we make that little extra special effort to show our appreciation. As the winter chill sets in Downunder and the leaves start to fall off the trees, my garden is an absolute mess and in much need of TLC ! So this year we will be spending the day in the garden – Hubby, 3 kids, the dog and I will all be tending to the weeds, picking up the leaves (some spared for art projects), freshening up the worm farm, and cleaning out our water tank filters ready to cope with the coming rain….and Easter Bunny. Bliss.
Ana Lisa Alperovich – Contributing Writer – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Earth Day is the day after my birthday and because I have a personal rule of not working on my day, this Earth Day I will be catching up with research and writing on the best sustainable designs I could find and share them with the world through this wonderful space called Inhabitat. I don’t believe on any of these one-day marketing imposed celebrations like Father’s Day, St. Valentines or even Earth Day. Nobody should tell us when to express our feelings and also clearly, one day is not enough. Off course is great to “have an excuse” and get more media attention to environmental issues on Earth Day or if the date inspire some people into adopting new healthier habits that is great. But I think at this stage, we are not doing enough. We ought to leave the world better than we found it. On Earth Day I am going to just be normal. I will try to have fruit for breakfast and eat a raw lunch, write some articles, ride my folding bike through some of Buenos Aires’ greenest places, do some micro-gardening and then late at night ride to a club and listen to some good music from DJ friends.
Helen Morgan – Contributing Writer – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Earth Day will be unexpectedly different to the average day for me as I am taking my Easter vacation in Mendoza, Argentina. With only a couple of days here I want to do something to appreciate the natural beauty of the mountainous region. I plan to rent a bike and cycle around some of the organic vineyards and olive groves, and try to learn a little about bio-dynamic wine making. A less-fancy but interesting alternative to exploring vineyards, I’m also going to have a tour around the acequias in the region – the community-operated irrigation system and waterways – which run across the city and surroundings. And to top it off I want to visit another spectacular place: the natural thermal springs in Cacheuta valley. Although we shouldn’t need to be reminded to appreciate the planet at least Earth Day provides a small nudge in the right direction.
Daniel Jones – Contributing Writer – London, United Kingdom
On the Earth Day eve I was invited to an editorial lunch hosted by sustainability software company, CloudApps in London’s Soho. The lunch was to mark the launch of their new product, SuMo, a cool piece of software that allows a company’s employees to monitor their own carbon footprint in real time in an effort to encourage employee engagement ‘from the bottom up’ when it comes to making businesses more sustainable. I walked to the meeting (obviously – as I do for as many of my journeys around London as possible) and as I write this I’m on the train back to Bristol (my home town). As well as writing about ways other people can reduce their impact on the environment I also make sure I keep my own carbon footprint in check! On Earth Day itself my girlfriend and I are trying out a vegan diet for 48 hours. Let’s see how the other half live! Happy Earth Day!
Krista Leahy – Inhabitat Intern – New York, New York
For Earth Day I’m going to take my niece and nephew down to the aquarium at Coney Island. I’ve never been before and my niece really wants to go. I figure it’ll be a great way to talk with them about sea creatures and how it’s important to keep our oceans clean so that kids everywhere can have the opportunity to see and learn about ocean inhabitants for years to come!
Malik Betton – Inhabitat Intern – New York, New York
For Earth Day 2011 I will be spending time at a few of the events New York City will be hosting. I hope to better educate my self on various ways I can do my part to help the environment, and I’ll definitely be at the concert in Times Square!
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