Four Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Homes

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Earth Day is here and I’m wondering about all of the new options popping up around the world to create something sustainable with a low carbon footprint. Here are some homes that fit that criteria.

1. Bamboo Living

In Vietnam these bamboo homes have been designed by H&P architects to be sold to individuals on a low income. They cost an approximate of $2,500!

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2. Earth Ships

These homes can be built anywhere in the world. They are intended to provide food, solar heating/cooling, solar wind and electricity. Each one is built from recycled and natural materials.

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3. The WorldFLEXHome

This is the first prefabricated home. It is made with recycled shipping containers.

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4. Honduras based Eco Tech

Take some plastic bottles, fill them with mud and bind them together and bam! You have one of these beautiful homes!

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Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature.

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Four Eco-Friendly Fitness Clothing Companies

Did you know that in the U.S. 1,500 water bottles are used every second? Did you know that plastic is not biodegradable? It’s estimated that plastic thrown into the ocean could last hundreds and hundreds of years.
Did you know that conventional cotton is one of the most destructive crops? That it’s grown with pesticides that are extremely harmful to the agricultural world?

An active lifestyle often inspires awareness to social and environmental conflicts. The yogi who believes in the tree of life, the runner who is hoping the weather is just right, the man on the mountain, the hiker leaning on a newfound walking stick and the swimmer dipping into clean water all connect with the environment on a personal level. It’s only natural to care about nature!

Many companies are focusing on their responsibilities outside of simply selling and looking at how to reduce their carbon footprints allowing their athletes to make eco-friendly footprints instead.

Here are Five Eco-Friendly Fitness Clothing Lines:

1. Patagonia’s mission statement is, “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” They believe it is our responsibility to be as eco-conscious as possible. Read the incredible story of how in the spring of 1988, this company’s employees were effected by air pollution in their new facility. The problem inspired a movement towards organic clothing that would be safe for employees and the environment.

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2. Teeki is a company that creates athletic attire by collecting plastic containers from community recycling centers, cleaning, melting, extruding that to make into fiber, that fiber is then baled and created into fabric. The founder is passionate about our oceans and began with swimwear before expanding to other pieces of clothing.

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3. If you’ve heard of Teeki, you may also have heard of ZuVi, a very similar company created by a mother and daughter passionate about fashion, nature and yoga. They also use recycled plastic but practice a different technique to recycle it into cotton and create their clothing. They mix their yarn, which is made from recycled plastic bottles, with spandex, making them 84% recycled PET and 16% spandex. Hopefully, that clears up an skepticism against the fit and flexibility these clothes provide! ZuVi is worn by tons of incredible athletes causing them to be proven to work. Get yourself a pair of these colorful and creative yoga pants!

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4. Atayne founded by Jeremy Litchfield thanks to one red t-shirt. The dye stained his body, shoes and running shorts. What Jeremy felt in reaction was a sense of disappointment that while he was aspiring to exercise to become healthier, harmful chemicals were being absorbed into his body. The reason why was outdated technologies still in use to create performance wear when newer procedures with less harmful consequences and better performance quality were available. Litchfield is determined to inspire others to care for themselves and their environment. Atayne was created in 2007.

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Yes, this is exactly what Relephant Matters is talking about with the “Minds of Matter” section. Great minds that make moves toward changes that will benefit the world. What can we do when we find something we are passionate about changing? Well, change it of course!

Forest Schools Support Learning Outside of the Educational Norm

Forest Schools have been popping up all over the world since their discovery in 1927 and as we continue on understanding the power and effects of our technologies, we see that the lessons taught in Forest School can ensure an ideal future by inhibiting a relationship with nature and other valuable ethics.

Often, Public schools pack about 25 kids into a classroom, sitting young people down for hours on end with a desk and a crammed curriculum until lunchtime. Every person has a different way of thinking and thus why we often see these lessons fall short of their expectations.

Forest Schools have been avoiding the normal conduct of a classroom so much that they strip themselves entirely of the four walls and desks. Teachers take students into a woodland environment where they give them free range to create and discover, which allows learners to not only achieve social and technical skills but also personal understanding. These unique educational standards may change the pass/fail rates, graduation successes and careers of future students.

In a normal classroom a teacher is restricted to an often overloaded schedule assigned to them. The time constraints they face do not allow teachers to set aside time to focus on one child. These teachers work so hard to see a difference but are forced to abide by a system that does not work for every student.

At a young and impressionable age, while struggling with problems, these kids often feel that they are just a number; amount of attendance, test scores and assignments. They cling to phones and tablets that make them feel like they have their own identity by gaining personal achievements on Facebook, Twitter and so on. What’s worse is that research has shown that the more human beings distance themselves from nature the more inclined they are to suffer from depression or other illnesses.

“Already, some research has shown that too much artificial stimulation and an existence spent in purely human environments may cause exhaustion and produce a loss of vitality and health (Katcher and Beck, 1987Stilgoe, 2001). Modern society, by its very essence, insulates people from outdoor environmental stimuli (Stilgoe, 2001) and regular contact with nature (Katcher and Beck, 1987).”
An excerpt from, “Healthy Nature, Healthy People

The dynamics of Forest Schools were created by early pioneers of the 20th Century. Of course spending time with nature was the beginning of our existence, but humans built on the platform that the earth created and distanced themselves from it by doing so. The actual establishment of Forest Schools were said to be in Forest County, Wisconsin by H.L. Russell, the Dean of The College of Agriculture at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

These schools teach not only names and classifications of species but also communication, team work and problem solving. Students gain confidence in their ability to manage the tasks at hand and resolve conflicts. Frequently, problems may be solved with mathematics. Forest Schools can cover all of the same subjects as the average classroom while also building discipline, patience, creativity, and more valuable skills that often get lost inside of an average school. We see all the time that budget cuts always threaten art and music classes first. These are classes that assess individuality and teach children to express themselves.

As we face risks of destroyed habitats, extinct species and global warming, it’s vital to raise younger generations to appreciate the great gift that our natural world is. Not only can they potentially save our future with a passion to see nature thrive but they may grow up happier and healthier as well.