Inhabitat's Top 10 Most Inspiring Stories of 2013

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The media tends to feed on negativity – but if you dig a little deeper you’ll find a wealth of uplifting and inspiring stories just below the surface. Sometimes they’re about brilliant teenagers who came up with innovative solutions to the world’s problems – like this 16-year-old who created bioplastic from bananas and the student who developed a phone charger that can fill your cell in 20 seconds. Other times they’re about visionaries like the man who is planting a second forest entirely by hand, the African inventor who built a working 3D printer from e-waste, and the Empowerment Plan to provide Detroit’s homeless with coats that turn into sleeping bags. These bright minds are building a more sustainable tomorrow – check out their stories below and vote for the most inspiring!

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Fisher & Paykel and Cuipo Launch Rainforest Preservation Initiative

Fisher & Paykel, Cuipo, Saving the Rainforest, save the rainforest, rainforest conservation, protect the rainforest

Every second, over 43,000 square feet of rainforest are destroyed – that’s the equivalent of 4,000 football fields of rainforest decimated every hour. When these forests are cut down, the plants, animals, and insects that inhabit them are threatened and often driven to extinction. More critically, rainforests provide the planet with oxygen, they maintain the water cycle, they are a source for medicines and foods, and they help to regulate the earth’s climate by storing nearly 300 billion tons of carbon—that’s 40 times the annual greenhouse gas emissions we produce from fossil fuels! Rainforests are essential to sustaining life on earth. So why is so little done to protect this most precious resource from deforestation? While political powers can do a great deal, industries and consumers also have the power to make a difference. That’s why Fisher & Paykel has teamed up with Cuipo to save our rainforests 20 square meters at a time. Read on to learn more.

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Top 6 Most Disturbing Inhabitat Stories of 2013

by , 12/28/13

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2013 saw a number of uplifting stories, but unfortunately, we also saw the dark side of humanity rearing its ugly head too many times. From the extinction of this majestic rhino off the face of the Earth to horrifying images of the Rana Plaza building collapse, read on to see which articles horrified us the most and reminded us how important it is to speak out against atrocities and injustice.

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The Empowerment Plan Provides Detroit's Homeless with Warm Coats That Double as Sleeping Bags

Veronika Scott, empowerment plan, passion project, coats for the homeless, detroit homeless, detroit unemployment, green design, eco design, sustainable design, employment detroit, coats that double as sleeping bags, sleeping bag coats, eco fashion, double duty design

They say that if you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime – and social entrepreneur Veronika Scott is proving that the old adage rings just as true for women and coats. As a long-time Detroit resident, Scott was compelled to do something about the unemployment and homelessness she saw plaguing her city. In 2011, she started the Empowerment Plan, a non-profit that not only gives coats to Detroit’s homeless, but also employs homeless women to make them. The weather-resistant outerwear was specially designed to do double duty as a sleeping bag, as well as doing triple duty to help unemployed women get back on their feet.

American Express is sharing Veronika and the Empowerment Plan‘s story through its PassionProject. Check out the powerful video below to see the impact the Empowerment Plan is having on Detroit, and see more inspiring PassionProject videos here.

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Top 6 Exercise and Standing Desks to Get You in Shape While You Work

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How to Reuse, Recycle and Green Your After Christmas Waste

What to do with your post holiday waste

Want to get a P.H.D. in what to do with your P.H.W.? (That’s short for post-holiday waste in case you didn’t know.) While you may not have heard of the term (we kind of just made it up), we’re pretty sure you know what we’re talking about – the crumpled wads of giftwrap, the withering tree, that sweater from Aunt Mabel that was so fugly that it made a baby cry. Don’t worry if you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, however – P.H.W isn’t contagious, and there’s a quick cure – read on to check out our 5 easy tips for what to do with all that stuff after Christmas!

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The Great Green Fate of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree After the Holidays Are Over

45 Rockefeller Plaza, affordable housing, Chris Clarke, christmas tree, decent housing, green building materials, green homes, habitat for humanity, Humanity Plaza, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Katrina Victim Homes, Louisiana, low cost housing, low-income housing, mayor bloomberg, Mississippi, nbc, Norway Spruce, NYC Christmas Tree, NYC Christmas tree from Connecticut, NYC Christmas tree from Shelton, recycled wood, rockefeller center, Rockefeller Christmas lighting, Rockefeller Christmas Tree, Rockefeller Christmas Tree 2013, Rockefeller Christmas Tree has 45000 led lights, Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting, Swarovski crystal tree star, Tishman Speyer, transform Rockefeller Plaza into the Humanity Plaza, Warner Music

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is the star of holidays in NYC, but what happens to it when the festivities are over? The awesome answer might surprise you. Read on to find out what it is.



Happy Holidays from All of Us at Inhabitat!

by , 12/25/13

inhabitat christmas, inhabitat holidays, inhabitat writers, inhabitat 2013


It’s hard to believe how quickly we whipped through 2013, and here we are again getting jolly over another round of holidays! Inhabitat’s team has grown to span the globe, and this year we wanted to share how we plan on spending our holiday break. From hot and sweaty Buenos Aires to the snowy corners of Quebec, keep reading for all the fun festivities our team will find themsleves ho ho ho-ing! over this year. And don’t forget to share your own plans with us in the comments below—we want to hear from  you too!

inhabitat christmas, inhabitat holidays, inhabitat writers, inhabitat 2013

Jill Fehrenbacher, Founder and Editor in Chief

Happy Holidays Inhabireaders!

This year, per usual, I will be laying low in NYC, doing the Santa thing and baking with my kids. This year we have two mischief-makers instead of one, so it’s double-trouble for me. We’re hoping it snows so we can go outside and build snowmen. Thanks to the Inhabiteam for a great year and thanks to our readers for reading.

Merry Christmas!

inhabitat christmas, inhabitat holidays, inhabitat writers, inhabitat 2013

Mike Chino, Managing Editor

Celebrating the holidays is pretty straightforward in my family – it’s all about the food! This year I’m whipping up an adaptation of one of favorite salads served up by at the fantastic Linea Caffe, which just opened on my block in San Francisco. It’s a kale winter salad with a guacamole twist that pairs well with a wide range of dishes. Here’s how you make it:

  • 2 bunches fresh baby kale
  • 2 medium avocados
  • 1 lime
  • 4-6 clementines
  • 1 cup pecans
  • Grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash the baby kale, dry it, and then chop it into fine shreds. (If you’re working with fully grown kale you may need to “massage” it a bit.)

2. Mash the avocados in a big bowl then add the juice of 1/2 lime and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Toast the pecans in a skillet over low heat until they are aromatic. Peel the clementines and chop the sections into halves.

4. Combine everything and adjust seasoning to taste – you may need more lime juice, salt and/or pepper. Top with a bit of grated parmesan and enjoy!

inhabitat christmas, inhabitat holidays, inhabitat writers, inhabitat 2013

Yuka Yoneda, Managing Editor, Inhabitat NYC

All of my family members live in tiny apartments, so this year, we decided to cut the crap (literally) by not buying presents. Instead, we’ll be feasting on a potluck dinner and donating what we would have spent on gifts to Typhoon Haiyan relief. Click here if you’d like to do the same (it also makes a really meaningful last minute gift).

Diane Pham, Senior Editor

This year I will be spending the holidays with my family in my hometown of Chino Hills, CA. I plan on feasting, watching movies, and cross-stitching between sips of wine. It’s nothing too crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Merry Christmas, Inhabitat readers!

inhabitat christmas, inhabitat holidays, inhabitat writers, inhabitat 2013

Timon Singh, News Writer

Merry Christmas from the UK! I hope all our Inhabitat readers enjoy the festive break and will eat, drink and be merry as much as I hope to do! See you in 2014!

inhabitat christmas, inhabitat holidays, inhabitat writers, inhabitat 2013

Ana Lisa Alperovich, Design and Architecture Writer

This X-mas I am staying in looking after kitten G@tita, as she won’t love the pyrotechnics. Two close mates are coming over for dinner and we’ll probably make something quick and raw, over some bubbles (It’s super hot over here in Buenos Aires). Then I am off with some friends for a week. We rented some cabins on the beach at Pepe Mujica’s wonderland. I can’t wait!

Have a happy and healthy 2014!

inhabitat christmas, inhabitat holidays, inhabitat writers, inhabitat 2013

Lea Stewart, Design Writer

A very happy holiday to all of the Inhabitat readers, from the snowy Midwest. This will be my first winter season living in Michigan, as well as the first time living in a rural area of the US. So my family will be enjoying the perks—like having a yard and a gorgeous frozen lake front view. It can be a challenge this time of year to find down time, so here’s wishing that all our readers have the opportunity to pause and take in the beauty of nature around them!

inhabitat christmas, inhabitat holidays, inhabitat writers, inhabitat 2013

Lana Winter Herbert, DIY and Features Writer

My husband and I celebrated the Winter Solstice with an amazing vegan dinner, and we will be spending Christmas with our extended family. Great company, amazing traditional Quebecois food, deer-watching, and curling up by the fire are all on the menu for this year’s festivities, and if we’re feeling brave enough to venture out in -30C weather, maybe some cross-country skiing.

Happiest holiday wishes to all!



Santa and the 'Shrooms: The Real Story Behind the "Design" of Christmas

Most people think of Santa Claus and the cheery red and white we decorate with at Christmas as little more than lighthearted fun and pretty colors. But the real story behind that Christmas look that takes over the Western world at this time of year is a bit… shall we say, darker. Or at least way, way more tripped-out. Read on to find out about the psychedelic and mystical roots of the Santa Claus myth and the traditional Christmas decorating scheme!

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14 Last Minute Gifts for the Green Procrastinator

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6 Abandoned Churches That Have Been Transformed into Spectacular New Spaces

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'Twas the Night Before (a Green) Christmas...

Twas the night before a green Christmas, green christmas, green christmas poem, twas the night before christmas, green holiday, christmas eve

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the green house
“We’re not ready for Christmas yet!” the whole family groused
They’d all been too busy working and living
Seems like only a day had passed since Thanksgiving!
But they knew they still wanted a green holiday
So they prepared to celebrate thoughtfully – they could do it in just 1 day!

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11 No-Purchase-Necessary Gifts of Time

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Giving someone a great gift they’ll really treasure doesn’t mean dropping a ton of cash. Sometimes the best gift you can give a friend or loved one is something much less tangible: your time. This year skip the store-bought gifts and give your loved ones a little bit of your time instead. We’ve come up with 11 lovely ideas that are sure to yield plenty of love and memories this holiday season. From cooking them their favorite meal to hosting a movie night featuring all of their favorite flicks, read on for our favorite gifts of time.



14 Fun DIY Gifts to Make for Everyone on Your Holiday List

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Get crafty this holiday season and trade in bland, mass-made gifts for one-of-a-kind presents your friends and family will love. All you need is a little elbow grease and our easy DIY tutorials to create a homemade token of your affection for everyone on your list. From useful texting gloves to cute lip balms to personalized photo pillows, check out all of our DIY gift ideas here.



DIY: How to Make An Awesome Gingerbread Geodesic Dome House!

by , 12/23/13
filed under: DIY, Features, Green Holidays

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14 Heirloom Gifts That Will Stand the Test of Time

14 Heirloom Gifts That Will Stand the Test of Time

Presents don't always have to be recycled or made of sustainable materials to be green. Heirlooms can be just as eco-friendly if they are beautiful, well-made objects that your family…

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How Kitchen Design Has Evolved Over the Last Century

How Kitchen Design Has Evolved Over the Last Century

Over the last 50 years, cooking has very much become a social affair. Guests who once sat snacking and chatting away on the couch are now convening in the kitchen and helping hosts…

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