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.

The Hotel For The Real Treehuggers Amongst Us, Welcome To The Dasparkhotel

dasparkhotel pipe hotel 01 The Hotel For The Real Treehuggers Amongst Us, Welcome To The Dasparkhotel

Here’s a new definition of ghetto fabulous. Have you ever fantasized about sleeping in a park like a stowaway with no running water, electricity or a bathroom? Well, if you’re a visitor to the Austrian city of Linz, your dreams can come true. You can spend a night (or more) at Dasparkhotel, where you’ll sleep in a recycled concrete cylinder set in the middle of a beautiful flora-filled park on the banks of the Danube river.

Each individual hotel room pipe comes with a bed, linens, a light and a side table as well as an eye-catching mural by local artist Andreas Strauss, who helped transform these concrete pods into functional accommodations. A restaurant and communal bathrooms are nearby.

dasparkhotel pipe hotel 02 The Hotel For The Real Treehuggers Amongst Us, Welcome To The Dasparkhotel

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Let’s shift green from “Hype to Habit”

Okay, it’s been a couple years since The Inconvenient Truth, so I’m guessing by now we all know the ten green commandments by heart: 1. Carry reusable bags; 2. Hummers (even hydrogen-powered ones) are a joke; 3. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs; 4. Use organic skincare; 5. Don’t badmouth polar bears; 6. Conserve water; 7. Eat less meat; 8. Skinny Bitches no longer refers to bad tempered anorexic models 9. Opt for paperless bills; 10. It’s okay to splurge on that Stella McCartney bag. Or something like that.

The point is, while we all know what we should be doing to save the planet….how many of us are actually doing it? Hmmm, thought so.

So this is why Creative Citizen (the green wiki peeps) and Causecast (the one stop philanthropy shop), decided to join forces to create Hype to Habit — a new weekly web series. Each week, we’ll deliver three eye-popping environmental stories paired with actionable solutions, so you won’t be left feeling overwhelmed and under-prepared. We believe that together our actions can move the green needle.

In this episode of Hype to Habit we’ll cast our (pink) eye over Los Angeles beaches, give you the lowdown on mountaintop removal and give you a taste of our favorite new font. Check it out.

Filed Under G/Videos

Eva Mendes Fails To Excite In Divided We Fail PSA

eva mendes nude psa 01 Eva Mendes Fails To Excite In Divided We Fail PSA

Which visual would you remember? Eva Mendes in Vogue Magazine Nude Wrapped In Plastic or sitting in a cafe stirring a coffee? If you had a PSA to make and Hollywood tossed you a few stars, such as Eva Mendes, Ben Affleck, Reese Witherspoon, and Garth Brooks, what would you do with them. Well if you are Divided We Fall, you would take these stars and make the most boring video possible.

Take Garth Brooks and have him act like he is fixing a chandelier. But Eva Mendes in a cafe and have her stir some coffee. Or Ben Affleck building itsy bitsy furniture for a doll’s house? (Yes, a doll’s house). Or Reese Witherspoon window shopping for shoes? These are the inexplicable visuals for a new PSA for Divided We Fail. We think they should have gone with Vogues idea, and let Eva’s real talents shine. Face it she is good at looking hot with an attitude, which would sell me on just about anything.

Divide We Fail PSA

eva mendes nude psa 03 Eva Mendes Fails To Excite In Divided We Fail PSA

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Hemp Is The New / Old Perfect Food

living harvest hemp products 01 Hemp Is The New / Old Perfect FoodPhotographer: G Monkie (CC)

Milk is for calves. Soy is for losers. So, what’s the alternative? Hemp.

Hemp is the oldest food known to mankind, but only lately has it been receiving massive buzz as the next must-incorporate-into-your-diet super food. The reasons are clear. With its nutty creamy taste, hemp has a lot going for it. It’s got all ten essential amino acids, it’s a great source of protein, it has good fats in the form of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and it has naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and enzymes.

The crazy thing is, all of our hemp is currently imported from Europe and Canada, as the U.S. is the only industrialized nation that bans hemp production. Something to do with its fun-time relative, marijuana.

living harvest hemp products 02 Hemp Is The New / Old Perfect Food

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Child Labor | The High Cost of Cotton

child slave labor cotton industry 01 Child Labor | The High Cost of Cotton

Just in case you thought it was okay to buy non-organic cotton, here’s a wakeup call: the workers sowing, picking, weeding, hoeing, cross-pollinating and carrying the heavy bundles of cotton are often… children. And I’m not talking about kids working their way through college. A report published by the Environmental Justice Foundation estimates that one million children are working 12-hour days earning $2 per day, if anything, to satiate demand for a global industry worth $40 billion.

“China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Uzbekistan and Turkey – six of world’s top seven producers – have been reported to use child labor in cotton fields,” stated a recent press release. These children forgo their education and health to carry out the backbreaking work in extremes of temperature, many suffering physical, verbal and sexual abuse.

child slave labor cotton industry 02 Child Labor | The High Cost of Cotton

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The Best Green Fashion Online Shopping 2009

green fashion shopping 01 The Best Green Fashion Online Shopping 2009

This year shopping for green fashion is a mixed bag. Yes there are way more shops online and in your local neighborhoods, but the actual brand choices seem to be pretty limited still. Some of the brands, which tried to come out big, ended up failing and other brands have had to stay small as the economy takes a downward turn.

One of the big hopeful brands was NAU. Twenty some million later, the company all but closed down, as it ran out of capital to keep the doors open. Lucky for us and them, the brand quickly re-emerged as a small lighter company with a full online store. Since they have closed all physical locations, the best place to find NAU at the best price is on their site, The NAU style fits the urban athletic type, who is looking for clothing which performs and will look at home on the streets of New York. Colors are classic and the cuts are all modern.

Big NAU shopping tip. Get on their mailing list, since they email out sale announcements directly to existing customers first. You can really score great deals, up to 50% if you get in there fast.

green fashion shopping 02 The Best Green Fashion Online Shopping 2009 | My next favorite green fashion store has to be Stewar+Browns own online store at Stewart+Brown are one of those small fashion labels, who care about every aspect of the business. They spend a lot of time and care in sourcing and designing the fabrics which they use in their designs. Also, Stewart+Browns designs are just so pretty and well made. The only real issue, is finding their full line of clothing in any single store. This is why going direct to their own store is your best bet, if you really want to find exactly what you want. The down side is less sells. But you can always shop around.

green fashion shopping 04 The Best Green Fashion Online Shopping 2009 | The best part of BTC Elements has to be the founder herself, Summer Bowen. Summer has been a friend to G Living from day one. You can see her in many of our early shows and the Elizabeth Kucinich Eco-Make-over show. Summer loves green fashion and has a great eye. Her online store is a fresh place to find the hot upcoming designers.

Here is what Summer has to say about BTC Elements: Modern, eye-catching, uniquely crafted, BTC Elements combines smart style with sustainability. We hand-select each item in our boutique collection of fashion, gifts, and accessories with an eye to the environment and social justice. The result: Fresh, inspiring designs that are both earth friendly and ethically sourced.

Because we work closely with small designers and artists who share our passion, our online boutique carries many one-of-a-kind items you won’t find anywhere else. Our goal is to delight you with our distinctive collection of mindful products while providing value and excellent service.

green fashion shopping 03 The Best Green Fashion Online Shopping 2009 | As ethical clothing gains popularity and visibility, the all important question is where can you buy them? The internet is a great option for those who don’t live in urban centers, as well as those of us who are too lazy to leave our laptops. So, here are some suggestions on where to make some socially conscious sartorial purchases:

Greenloop offers the most complete selection of progressive, sustainable apparel as well as accessories, footwear and beauty products. Owner Aysia Wright constantly scans the market for new innovations and creative talent. From EDUN to Loomstate to Perfectly Imperfect, the result is a mix of big names and new designers, and the no nonsense layout is easy to navigate. What’s more, Greenloop gives 1% of profits to environmental causes and is striving to become ‘carbon neutral’ by offsetting shipping generated carbon.

green fashion shopping 06 The Best Green Fashion Online Shopping 2009 | Beklina has a sweet, graphic layout that is instantly appealing. I like that the brand isn’t immediately evident. It’s not until you the click thru that you find out which designer you’ve been drawn to. On top of apparel and accessories, paper products and other “nest” items like ceramics are available. I especially like the supercute jewelry by Malin.

green fashion shopping 05 The Best Green Fashion Online Shopping 2009 | Coco’s may resemble a more traditional on-line boutique, but closer examination reveals cutting-edge ethical brands like Bahar Shapar and Spring and Clifton. They also carry items like innovative hemp and silk lingerie by Enamore. What sets Coco’s apart, however, are their organic beauty products like ginger soymilk wash by Hamadi and exquisitely packaged cosmetics by Rosie Jane.

green fashion shopping 08 The Best Green Fashion Online Shopping 2009 | Modify is “founded upon a lifestyle that has proven one does not have to sacrifice great style and exquisite taste to go green”. Which is welcome news to any socially aware fashionista, especially one looking to drop $2,950 on a turquoise Beverlywood Regency Chair made from organic cotton and FSC certified wood. The site also features a vintage section with some breathtaking handbags.

green fashion shopping 07 The Best Green Fashion Online Shopping 2009 | Green with Glamour is founded by two Chicago-bred friends, Kathleen Rowan and Deana Bracken. GWG looks more magazine than website, featuring quotes from Walt Whitman and Coco Chanel as well as a personal shopper service. The sustainable clothing range is small but selective and is complemented by a beautiful homewares and gift ideas, which you can wrap up in recycled wrapping paper. And I definitely approve of glamour spelt with a u.

Happy shopping!

The LED Shattered Lights Flexible Goo Lamp

shattered light lamp led 01 The LED Shattered Lights Flexible Goo Lamp

Ever fancied yourself as an amateur interior designer? Been dying to create some pretty amazing lighting effects that also double as a conversation piece?

You might want to check out the shattered light lamp, so called because it’s made from shattered glass, coated with a silicone and lined with white LED lights. The silicone gives it flexibility for you to bend and shape as you please – some have likened it to Play-Doh in terms of its pliability – while the shattered glass makes for some pretty interesting light effects.

shattered light lamp led 02 The LED Shattered Lights Flexible Goo Lamp

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Katherine Hamnett Queen Of Disaster Message

katherine hamnett isback 01 Katherine Hamnett Queen Of Disaster Message

It’s always easy to identify fashion crimes. At least, in retrospect. Take for example the 1980s. Offenses were flowing thick and fast in the era of scrunchies, bubble skirts and ubiquitous shoulder pads. But one ‘80s item you definitely don’t need to be ashamed of is the Choose Life T-shirt. Made famous by the boys from Wham!, these tees are still so highly sought after that designer Katherine Hamnett decided to relaunch them, along with a host of other socially conscious slogans.

Only this time, they’re organic.

Choose Life was launched back in 1983, in the midst of a Thatcher-ite government and a Europe-wide proliferation of cruise and Pershing missiles. Choose Life encouraged us to choose life over war, extinction, and so on. Inspired by Buddhism, the slogan was not related to the anti-abortion lobby, who later appropriated the phrase.

katherine hamnett isback 02 Katherine Hamnett Queen Of Disaster Message

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Blake Hamster | A Socially Conscious Collective

blake hamster 011 Blake Hamster | A Socially Conscious Collective

Who is Blake Hamster? Is he a) a suave and sophisticated urban rodent; b) a B-movie star with an unusual skill set; or c) a creative collaboration by a group of designers, artists, musicians, authors and journalists from around the world.

If you guessed anything other than c) you’re probably on the wrong site.

Guided by firm set of aesthetics and ethics, this socially conscious collective produces, well, whatever they want. This time it’s shirts, but next time they say it could be “a collection of household wares with a twist to a magazine or an art-show”. Blake Hamster’s current release consists of the aforementioned shirts featuring eight designs/motives, four for each gender. The men’s shirts are made from 100% organic cotton whilst the women’s are further evolved by blending 78% organic cotton with 22% seacell, an innovative yarn with moisturizing and anti-inflammatory agents.

And yes, the dying process is all sustainable too.

blake hamster 041 Blake Hamster | A Socially Conscious Collective

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The 411 on the Humanitarian Crisis in Darfur

411 darfur 02 The 411 on the Humanitarian Crisis in Darfur

We are all aware of the humanitarian crisis taking place in Darfur. We know it began in back 2003 after Africans rebel groups The Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attacked the Arab dominated government after years of marginalization and oppression. We also know that the government responded by backing an Arab militia, the Janjaweed, to burn down entire villages and commit atrocities on its African inhabitants. And we know the horrifying statistics: 2.5 million plus displaced; over 450,000 killed.

But what we may not know why this genocide is taking place.

Is it religious?

No. Of Sudan’s 40 million people, 70% are Sunni Muslim, 25% are Animist and 5% are Christian. However, both groups in the current conflict are black, indigenous and largely Muslim.

Is it political?

Yes. The factors behind the conflict are complex but political marginalization was a trigger. The Arab dominated government in Khartoum has long neglected its ethnic African population, which resulted in a lack of infrastructure such as schools, health services and roads.

Is there conflict over resources?

Yes. There has been a long tradition of rivalry between the African farmers to the South and Arab herders to the North. Environmental factors like drought and desertification has intensified this rivalry by placing more pressure on its inhabitants for land and water.

411 darfur 03 The 411 on the Humanitarian Crisis in Darfur

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Rachel Leigh Cook: She’s Really All That!

rachel leigh cook 01 Rachel Leigh Cook: She’s Really All That!

By Sarah Backhouse for Coco Eco Magazine, Photography by Rachel Schwarz, Styling by Michele Lianos, Make Up by Julianne Kaye, Hair by Tony at Photogenics

Young Hollywood is mostly synonymous with a bunch of vacuous brats who are “green” because Leo is or because their publicists told them to. So it was refreshing to meet actress Rachel Leigh Cook – a clever, candid and considered actress who had obviously given real thought to the threat of climate change. Fresh-faced, doe-eyed and skewing much younger than her almost 30 years, Rachel Leigh Cook reminded me of a young Winona Ryder. Eyes aside, what struck me most about Cook was her laid-back, unassuming attitude and oodles of patience, which unbeknownst to her, was soon to be tested.

Anyone who’s worked in production knows what it’s like when things don’t go according to plan. It’s annoying. As annoying as say a petroleum-fuelled blower within ear, nose and throat shot. The day of Rachel Leigh Cook’s cover shoot was just one of those days. Unforeseen construction on Malibu beach lead to a last minute change of location, which meant moving ten people, a ton of gear and what seemed like 75 cars, ten miles up the Pacific Coast Highway to stunningly remote beach location with zilch parking, zero restrooms and no cell phone reception. Add to that. mislaid gear, hell-ish school holiday traffic and some horribly lost crewmembers and you get the picture. Anyone with slightly diva-esque tendencies had already lost it. But this isn’t about me. To her credit, Cook remained calm and good-humored throughout. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Righteous, In Any Language | Exclusive Interview By Sarah Backhouse

righteous 09 exclusive interview 01 Righteous, In Any Language | Exclusive Interview By Sarah Backhouse

Exclusive Interview With Designers Kajsa Cappelen Holst and Paula Kermfors

The last time I wrote about this stand-out Scandinavian fashion label, I was lamenting the fact that their website was in Swedish. Righteous Fashion’s beta site had me in the throes of agony and ecstasy: the stunning ethical designs drawing me in; the Swedish lexicon causing flashbacks to numerous frustrating and unsuccessful attempts at assembling Ikea furniture. What was I to do? It all too much for an ethical fashionista with an aversion to plywood to bear.

Well like any good journalist (eh hem), I wrote to Kajsa and Paula to inform them of my predicament, and guess what? They created an English version. Just like that. It’s this can-do attitude, this desire to constantly improve and this patience with the linguistically-challenged that’s been the secret to their success. So without further ado, let’s meet the design duo whose clean lines and organic materials have created waves in the Scandinavian fashion world and beyond.

q question interview Righteous, In Any Language | Exclusive Interview By Sarah BackhouseSarah: When did the environmental bell toll for you?

a answer interview Righteous, In Any Language | Exclusive Interview By Sarah BackhouseKajsa / Paula: As a company our aim was to work with fair trade, but going to Uganda seeing the impact the production environment had on people, making our clothes ecological as well was a given. To be frank it was the only way.

righteous 09 exclusive interview 02 Righteous, In Any Language | Exclusive Interview By Sarah Backhouse

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