Sarah Backhouse

Sarah Backhouse

Ethnically ambiguous with the accent to prove it, I’m thrilled to be on the cutting edge of this brave, new green world.

Indonesian Frog Breeds Out its Useless Lungs

barbourula kalimantanensis indonesian frog breeds out lungs1 Indonesian Frog Breeds Out its Useless Lungs

Evolution is a fascinating thing. It’s amazing to think that animals can physically breed out organs their bodies deem unnecessary, while some “scarred for life” humans can’t even seem to shake traumatic events from their lives. Granted, the evolution of animals happens over a much longer period of time, but it’s still an amazing concept. And it makes you wonder if there’s something we could learn from the smaller creatures that share our planet.

Clearly, we couldn’t survive without lungs. But a frog called the Barbourula kalimantanensis that can was recently found in a cold-water stream on the island of Borneo in Indonesia. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Cabbage Chair | Issey Miyake Inspired

cabbage chair tokyo 01 Cabbage Chair | Issey Miyake Inspired

Don’t you just hate it when you buy a piece of flat pack furniture from a certain Swedish home product empire and you schlep it all the way home only to discover a key piece of wood has been drilled incorrectly, or that there’s a bolt missing, preventing you from constructing said piece of furniture? BTW, this isn’t a hypothetical… sadly, this was my weekend.

But proud owners of the über aesthetic Nendo Cabbage Chair can say sayonara to that particular dilemma Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Greening the City of Angels

green la1 Greening the City of Angels

Los Angeles is city of smog and silicone, strips malls and SUVs. While there are some gems like Griffith Park and the Malibu shoreline, the general consensus is that LA is about as natural as Nicole Kidman’s brow line. But don’t get depressed, organizations like Green LA are ensuring that the city gets the environmental TLC it deserves.

75 environmental leaders from Green LA met with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in late ‘07 to discuss eleven pressing issues, or “asks” — ranging from water to transportation, energy to the port. Here are the highlights:

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Stuart Haygarth | Blinded By The Light

stuart haygarth Stuart Haygarth | Blinded By The Light

Chandeliers usually conjure up images of opulence and excess. Perhaps a little distasteful in our age of melting ice caps? Well, not necessarily. British designer Stuart Haygarth re-interprets the chandelier for his latest project, Optical Chandelier. This stunning high-end light, launched at Liberty of London’s Trash Luxe exhibition earlier this year, is 150 cm wide and consists of 3,000 lenses from unwanted eyeglasses.

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Blokart | Totally Sweet G Ride, Dude

blokart wind powered new zealand three wheeler Blokart | Totally Sweet G Ride, Dude

New Zealand is famous for three things: hobbits, sheep and adrenaline sports. With regards to the latter, Kiwis rule all things heart-pounding, from bungy jumping and white water rafting, to heli-skiing and zorbing. In fact, Queenstown in New Zealand’s south island has become a global mecca for those looking to scare themselves senseless. So, it comes as no surprise that a New Zealander is behind the Blokart, which some scientifically describe as “wind-powered awesomeness”.

Paul Beckett is the brains behind the Blokart, a three-wheeled cart with front wheel steering attached to a windsurf sail. Since its launch in 2001, the Blokart has gained in popularity with Blokart clubs and schools springing up all over the world. Dudes who ride the ‘kart describe the experience as “sweet”.

blokart wind powered new zealand three wheeler 01 Blokart | Totally Sweet G Ride, Dude Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Ladybird Tub | Old News in Japan

ladybird tub Ladybird Tub | Old News in Japan

Projections for a massive increase in global population – from 6.6 billion in 2008 to roughly 9 billion by 2050 – are already making an impact in the world of design. I’ve noticed recently that each new green item crossing my desk seems progressively smaller, obviously in preparation for a future where space is at a premium.

Luckily for me, having resided in a one-room apartment in Tokyo, I’m not phased by the prospect of ablutions in designer Coco Reynold’s Ladybird bath and vanity unit. The bath itself is actually Japanese style insofar as you sit rather than lie in it — which is far preferable, if you ask me. Also much more environmentally sound, given that it requires far less water to fill. What it lacks in size it makes up for in style. The modular design certainly appeals to my aesthetics, with its clean and colorful look.

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Filed Under G Living

Yangtze River Porpoise Falls Prey To 800 Million Tons of Waste Per Year

yangtze river porpoise 011 Yangtze River Porpoise Falls Prey To 800 Million Tons of Waste Per Year

Not sure what concerns me more: the sad, seemingly hopeless plight of the Yangtze River Porpose or the fact that in China, this beautiful animal is referred to as the “river pig”.

Obviously, I’m more concerned about the former. Especially after reading a study published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, which reveals that “the Yangtze River Porpoise, the only freshwater finless porpoise in existence, is in danger of becoming extinct”. The porpoise, which lives in the mid to lower reaches of the Yangtze and in the Poyang and Dongting lakes, is feared to soon suffer the same fate as the “baiji” or Yangtze River Dolphin. The cause of the encroaching extinction can be attributed to high concentrations of man-made chemicals found in the tissue samples of this aquatic mammal.

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Space Time Transformation | Heroic Design

timespace bridge 02 Space Time Transformation | Heroic Design

Although it may sound like something from a futuristic episode of “Heroes”, crossing this bridge won’t transport you to 17th century Japan or post-apocalyptic New York. The Space/Time Transformation is a stunning footbridge to be crafted from steel and glass. While aimed at pedestrians, the structure is anything but. The brainchild of internationally renowned artist and designer Michael Jantzen, the bridge is as functional as it is beautiful.

The first thing you’ll notice about this design concept is that it would be made of clear glass, allowing those on the walkway to see the terrain below. The outer shell would be made of “glass impregnated with translucent solar cells that form a graphic grid around its circumference”, which will not only provide shade but has the ability to convert sunlight to electricity. This energy will be used to illuminate the walkway at night as well as power movement of the outer shell, which responds to motion.

timespace bridge 01 Space Time Transformation | Heroic Design

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Green Tip Of The Day, Cash In! Ideal Bite Sales To Disney

ideal bite sales to disney 20million11 Green Tip Of The Day, Cash In! Ideal Bite Sales To Disney

Want to make a fast buck? Come up with a fabulous green website idea, get come serious traffic flowing through it and in couple of years flip it. When I interviewed Heather Stephenson at UCLA’s Opportunity Green conference last year I had no idea she was soon going have $20 million in her bank courtesy of Disney. Lucky girl — that’s a lot pairs of non-leather shoes and bags.

Based in San Francisco, Ideal Bite was founded in 2005 by Heather Stephenson and Jennifer Boulden. The site is dedicated to “making lives a little greener through simple and practical ‘bite’-size tips” and covers everything from ecological washing detergents to non toxic pool filters, green music festival to best charities. Disney is currently on a shopping spree, snapping up smaller acquisitions in the online space that will remain separate from Disney digital media group. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Pollution And Destruction Become Art In The Heart Of Paris

iceberg disko bay greenland lynn davis Pollution And Destruction Become Art In The Heart Of Paris

I’ve come to Paris to get my fix: my cafe fix; my fashion fix; and most importantly, my culture fix. Art is everywhere in this glorious city. From the Louvre to the Musee d’Orsay, the Pompidou Center to the Musee d’art Modern, the galleries are overflowing with works of art to suit every aesthetic and era, from the masters to the modernists. And you wouldn’t you know it, there’s also an exhibition celebrating the environment. In my honor? You shouldn’t have.

Running May 17th through July 12th at the Karsten Greve Gallery in central Paris, the Echo Wanted exhibition showcases the works of artists preoccupied with “themes of pollution and the degradation of our environment”. According to the website: “as international concern for environment grows (as with all major changes throughout history), art accompanies this evolution”. The result is works by artists who have grappled with these issues and creatively interpreted them in all in an effort to stimulate our collective consciousness. Bon. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Sir Paul McCartney Gets Express Air Delivered Lexus LS Hybrid

paul mccartney lexus ls hybrid Sir Paul McCartney Gets Express Air Delivered Lexus LS Hybrid

Poor Lexus. In what will surely become the stuff of legend, the luxury carmaker recently gifted Sir Paul McCartney the prestigious Lexus LS. That this 5 liter, V8 ‘hybrid’ only gets 19 mpg, is by the by. It’s the method Lexus delivered the car to the former Beatle that’s raising eyebrows.

Flying the Lexus LS the 5,966 miles from Tokyo to London via cargo plane led one enterprising journalist (and certified math freak) at gas2.org to calculate the car’s mpg whilst en route to Sir Paul’s garage. The result? An abysmal 4mpg. And that’s before the car even hits the open road. Obviously this wasn’t a malicious ploy by Lexus to screw the environment, rather a PR snafu almost as behemoth as the car itself. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

You Can Tela Girl By Her Hair

tela hair product 01 You Can Tela Girl By Her Hair

“Your hair is the only accessory you wear everyday,” so says the man behind the new organic hair care line, Tela Beauty Organics. Prompting the question: how’s your accessory hanging? Like a beautifully structured designer handbag? Or more like a shapeless beat-up rucksack? If it’s the latter, you better yourself get an organic fix. And fast.

The Tela Organic Beauty range launched in April this year and is available exclusively at Barney’s — purveyor of all fabulous accessories. The brains behind the hair is stylist, designer and philanthropist, Philip Pelusi, a man with over 40 years in the industry. Tela is heads and shoulders above the rest with its signature “skin care approach” to hair. “Healthy hair starts with a healthy hydrated scalp. Hair more than an inch long has already suffered damage,” says Pelusi. “I designed these products specifically to endure the daily stresses of styling, sun exposure and environmental changes.” Speaking of environmental changes, users of Tela Beauty Organics can rest assured they won’t be contributing to them. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

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