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How do you measure time?

28 Oct

There’s an inflection on the ‘you’ in that question. Is it by the watch on your wrist, your smartphone or a computerclock? Imagine if you would mark your local time by

“the movement of toads and the fluttering of moths, by the scent of oranges and coconut, by bear births, eagle marriages, and salmon deaths”.

That is a breathtaking sensual assault; distilled from the writings of Jay Griffiths on her experiences among peoples native to perhaps wilder and remoter regions of our world – and – described by Lewis H. Lapham in his article Captain Clock in Lapham’s Quarterly current issue TIME (Vol. 7, Nr. 4, fall 2014).

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Blue Morpho butterfly (Morpho peleides) Image credit: Ricardo Jimenez

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caterpillar of the Blue Morpho – Image credit: Ingmar Gerckens

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caterpillar of the Atlas moth – Image credit: John Horstmann

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Atlas moth (Attacus atlas) – Image credit: Andrew Cooper

 More fabulous butterflies and moths pre- and post-pupate here

Maybe also take a meander by The Dark Mountain Project here and read the 8 Principles of Uncivilisation here.

Something extraordinary

24 Oct

I used to have a saying stuck up on my wall:

‘Live an ordinary life extraordinarily.’

Graphic designer Jessica Ettridge must have connected with that too for her project Extraordinary. She selected a few products that we use every day: soap, a toothbrush, scourers; products where we perhaps do not give much thought to the way they were made or our use and consumption of them. Jessica explains that her project is about enhancing our appreciation of everyday projects. That’s a sentiment that sits well with sustainability. Imagine if we gave the same appreciation to everything we use, to every object we touch. Imagine if we re-invested them all with the extra-ordinary.

 

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More modern mobile tableware

17 Jul

Mobile tableware has been a central subject of this blog for a number of entries. The meal packagings that we looked at included the meal carrier variety: tiffins, rantangs, tingkats, pintos, sage jubakos, gamelles, henkelmänner and something that might be known as a mohinga but also picnic hampers, including travelling tea sets and travelling bars. Last year, in 2013, designer See Yew Siang received Honorable Mention at the Red Dot Design Awards for the pop-up tableware concept. It looks like a folder but opens out into a bowl-plate with a knife and fork that you can use, wash, dry and fold away to be re-used another day.  How’s that for an unusual item to carry with your tablet?

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Nudging towards saving water

16 Jul

Heard of KOREFE – Kolle Rebbe Form und Entwicklung? That’s the Hamburg-based Design and Innovation Agency that created the brand Stop The Water While Using Me for which it received the Red Dot 2010 Best of the Best award (and quite a few more too). Where best to grab us and nudge us to stop using so much water? In the bathroom! And that’s where the range of products by this company are typically used, as are yesterday’s soap and the-day-before-yesterday’s soap.

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Nudging towards sustainable palm oil

15 Jul

Nutella has it, so do many, many biscuits, snacks, breads, cakes, confectionery fillings, ice cream, processed cheeses, and more. And that’s just the food applications of palm oil. It’s also a typical ingredient in the production of soaps, detergents, pharmaceutical products, cosmetics and more. The Big Ecological Issue is the grand scale of the plantations necessary to produce all this palm oil for global consumption and the concomitant destruction of wild habitats. You can read up more in dossiers and campaigns run by the major NGOs such as WWF, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network and also the Orangutan Project and on the Say No To Palm Oil site.

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Publicity and pressure around this issue have given rise to a roundtable on more responsible palm oil production, the RSPO, though the issue stays highly controversial. There is now a small supply of alternatively produced palm oil, which is used, for example, by the manufacturer of the soap we are presenting in today’s entry: Sustain. Whereas yesterday’s soap showed you melting glaciers and icebergs, today’s soap shows and tells you about the critically endangered animals you help save by using it – clean hands + cleaner conscience?sustain-06_klein05_01_11_sustain6_klein

Sustain is a soap made with 100% sustainable palm oil. Simon and the Treasure Studio in Harrogate, UK, developed three characters based on redlisted animals (Bornean orangutan, Malayan Tiger, Papuan Monitor Lizard). Copywriter Chris Miller created some lovely copy that gave each animal real personality and also highlighted their plight. More beautiful soaps in more beautiful packaging here.

Products designed to nudge us

14 Jul

There is a growing palette of products designed with a double brief – besides fulfilling their usual product  requisites, they should also nudge us towards more sustainable behaviour. The personal hygiene products category seems to be a popular one for these designs, no doubt because of their frequent, if not daily use. Here’s an example of hand-crafted soap, inspired by melting glaciers and icebergs.

a_glacier_adrift_soap_william_lee a_glacier_adrift_soap_william_lee_4b-thumb-468x310-68793The soaps were designed by William Lee, you can see more of his stuff over at Industrial Strength while the soaps are sold over at Young Stellar Object. About the glacier soaps Lee is quoted as saying, “I wanted to create something that was unattainable to many. To transport a piece of iceberg straight from the Arctic to your hands. When you hold it, it looks and feels like a precious jewel. Something you want to guard and protect.”

When buying clothing

1 Jul

SimplyRainer and I have this little household rule that we devised for the Kitchen Kingdom: If we wish to buy a new, electric kitchen appliance, we must give up of an old one. That way we try to curb increasing energy needs in the home galley. So, last time, instead of getting an electric meat-cheese-bread-whathaveyou cutter, we got a manual one. That means, instead of plug-and-play, you have to master the art of the manual slicer … at least a little bit. Actually, we also apply that rule to cookbooks, but more to curb our rapacious recipebook hunger (and, more to the point, our limited space for the books in the kitchen). Anyway, I had to think of our Little Rules when I saw this ragbag idea today: It s a shopping bag which you get with new clothing purchases, turn it inside out and put old, unneeded clothing in, close and send by pre-paid post to a charity of your choice.

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Uniforms for the Dedicated , which is where this initiative comes from, started off as a Swedish artsy collective and is now or includes a fashion label under the same name and a store in Stockholm. Currently their 2014 collection runs with silver fox (or Smoking Fox, as UftD calls it) Aiden Shaw. My, what an interesting character…

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