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 Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
If you’ve been following my columns (I won’t mention you three by name here), you’re aware of the roadblocks I’ve faced in my effort to embrace a completely “G” Lifestyle. In the realm of fashion, my frustration can be summed up in two words and a particle: bags and shoes. To speak frankly, giving up leather in exchange for PVC just isn’t an attractive proposition.
I want to want these new green creations in the same way I covet a Gary Harvey dress or Elsom jeans or an Arcona oxygen therapy facial.
Done. Finito. Owari. I’ve successfully completed 30 days on an exclusively plant-based diet. The timing was fortuitous, as that day I was invited to brunch and dinner at the homes of some friends. Both menus offered healthy, organic, sumptuous food — but little that would have easily accompanied my experiment. Brunch consisted of a vegetable omelet, bagels with smoked salmon with (tofutti) cream cheese and a fruit salad. Dinner was baked ham, roast potatoes, crab and avocado salad, mixed greens with gorgonzola, dried cranberries and pecans, steamed carrots and Brussels sprouts.
For dessert, there were brownies and cream.
I ate the fruit salad and a little of the omelet in the AM, but couldn’t do the lox for some reason (even though I usually love it). In the evening, the mixed green salad with all the calorific goodies atop was a lovely treat, which I tried to balance out with some steamed veggies.
The Hallelujah diet is “biblically-based, scientifically-validated and personally-evidenced” by 73-year-old Reverend George Malkmus. According to the internet intelligence gathering service Hitwise, it’s currently enjoying its status as the most searched-for diet in America. Promoted as God’s way to health, Malkmus who apparently cured himself of colon cancer on the diet, asks his followers: “What did God tell man in Genesis 1:29? That your food shall be all of those plants that are in that garden”.
Of Eden, that is.
So, what exactly is this diet? Well, for a start it’s not a “diet”, it’s a “lifestyle”, consisting of mostly raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains; minimal consumption of steamed or cooked vegetables; natural fats; and no animal products, refined or processed foods, additives or preservatives.
Who would have imagined that hair pins, toothpicks, phone cards or even PET bottles could become the focal point for that most sought after of female adornments – jewelry? Certainly not me. Luckily for the rest of the world, Brazilian born designer, poet and visual artist Mana Bernardes did… and she executes her vision with aplomb. Her imaginative designs have received international acclaim and have been featured in cutting edge design magazines like Dwell, ID and Wallpaper.
Bernardes’ brilliance lies in her ability to transform everyday objects — some of them with a negative value (i.e. trash) — into objects of value, not to mention exceptional beauty. The “Intimate Immensity” necklace made from Acetate is reminiscent of modern day Ivory Coast coral necklace, minus the need to harvest a precious natural resource. The “Clasp” necklace could pass for something Cleopatra once owned, were it not made from black and light gold hairpins. Finally, the exquisite “Manda La Ca Pet” necklace may look like a Hawaiian lei, but required no water, sunlight or land to cultivate.
It’s all in the numbers: the price of zinc has doubled over the past five years; the price of copper has tripled; sugar went up 104% in 2007; wheat and soy went up 70%; and the “future prices of crude oil, gold, silver, lead, uranium, cattle, cocoa and corn are all at or near records”.
The reasons behind the sharp ascent in commodity prices have been attributed to many factors, including growth in India, the economies of oil rich Russia and Saudi Arabia, energy, speculators, the weak dollar and a Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Unless you’ve just woken up from a coma, it shouldn’t come as news that the music industry is going through some tough times. The major labels are all suffering as records sales are being replaced by digital downloads, legal or otherwise. Last year, album sales dropped 15% from 2006, a trend that’s been going on for eight consecutive years. This prompted cutbacks across the board, the biggest of which came from EMI who plans to “cut up to 2000 jobs and axe hundreds of artists”.
One artist they’ll be keeping is English singer-songwriter, Robbie Williams, who famously signed a $160 million deal with the label. Williams is the most successful British solo artist ever: he’s sold more albums in the UK than any other British solo artist and has album sales of over $70 million worldwide.
I usually associate Top 100 lists with things like Forbes’ Richest Over-Achievers Under 25 (I mean, Entrepreneurs); Maxim’s Hottest and Brightest Babes and Teeth — or if you watch brain-atrophying channels like E! Entertainment, Hollywood’s Most Shockingly-Awful and Shameful Celebrity Break-ups/Cellulite/Escapades of All Time.
Good stuff, but now for something completely different: The Zoological Society of London’s Top 100 Weirdest Amphibians. ZSL made the announcement as part of its EDGE program, which is short for Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered. Amphibians are “extraordinary survivors,” says the organization’s Helen Meredith. “Ninety percent of our top 100 amphibians survived the extinction of the dinosaurs.”
You know, Al Gore just might be on to something. A recent study reveals that “the rate of annual ice loss in the Antarctic has increased by almost 80 billion tons in a decade…and that rate of loss has sped up by 140 percent since 1996”. The Times reports that these findings challenge previous research that suggested overall ice quantities would increase due to greater snowfall.
West Antarctica was hit hardest, with an estimated 132 billion tons disappearing in 2006, pushing annual ice loss up 49 billion per year. The Antarctic Peninsula’s rate of ice loss was even faster – rising from 25 billion to 60 billion – despite lower overall quantities. East Antarctica was least affected.
Professor Jonathan Bamber from the University of Bristol, part of the international team of scientists studying changes in ice cover, says “This is another observation that confirms the trend in what’s happening around the world. We’ve seen the same thing in mountain glaciers, in Greenland, Patagonia and the same thing in Alaska.”
Worrying stuff. When pressed about the role global warming had to play in these trends, the Professor was ambivalent. Although the conceded changes in ice are due to warmer water temperatures, he states that “there are changes taking place now that are a result of what happened to the climate 12,000 years ago”.
Does this mean we’re off the hook? Absolutely not. Ice loss in Antarctica “has the potential to be biggest cause of rising sea levels in coming decades”. So, unless you want to live in Venice (Italy, not California), listen to Al. He’s definitely on to something.
If you’ve ever been curious about pre-fab housing, here’s your chance to get up close and personal with the latest and greatest in sustainable architecture. From July 20 to October 20, The Museum of Modern Art will showcase its “Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling” exhibition, where there will be an off-site installation on a scale you’ll have to see to believe.
Senior political officials, think tanks, industry experts and academics from Australia and the US congregated in Los Angeles last week for a symposium on climate change and energy. “The Road to Renewables” is a key event in this year’s Australia Week line-up. “It will focus on one of the most pressing issues facing Australia and the United States — the transition from fossil fuels to renewable technologies”, said Innes Willox, Australian Consul General to Los Angeles.
The forum explored the development of renewable technologies as well as the real-world applications, challenges and specific case studies in the areas of power generation, urban development, transportation and emissions trading. Far from the rhetoric that sometimes dominates symposiums such as these, The Road to Renewables offered a real exchange of information. Interesting questions were posed, like: what’s the one biggest game changer for the next 20 years? Responses varied from a complete move to renewables (for necessarily cutback CO2 emissions by 80%) to a reduction of energy usage (in the future, work would leave countries with low labor cost and flow to those with low energy costs) to putting a price tag on carbon.
Despite the writers strike having set the stage (of lack thereof) for this year’s dismal Golden Globes Awards, organizers still tried desperately to lure celebrities to the event using the biggest carrot in the biz — swag. And it worked — at least if your definition of celebrities is a handful of talentless D-listers like Lauren Conrad and Janice Dickinson.
The Grammys have taken an altogether different approach. Their Green with Music retreat will offer an array of products and services which are decadent yet ethical, luxurious yet socially conscious. The All Green Luxury Retreat will offer spa services, meditation/relaxation, green products and services as well as organic food, which will be made available to (so says the organization’s website) “Grammy presenters, Grammy award nominees, A-list celebrities from the worlds of film, television and music, top stylists, makeup artists, agents, publicists and executive level producers”.