One of this project’s most significant characteristics is its full integration into environment – we sufficed in keeping existing trees on construction site, and minimally noticeable building does not surpass the landscape, becoming its organic extension, by courtesy of the green roof.
Cruelty-free, plant-based milk is becoming increasingly popular and booming in the food industry, with products popping up on shelves made from almonds, oats, cashews, coconuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, barley, rice – and the list goes on. However, some of these crops, like oats, can be tricky to harvest and resource-intensive....
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but going to thrift stores and buying all the usable sheets and t-shirts and jeans and then cutting them up to make rag rugs or yarn or whatever for your shabby chic/cottagecore aesthetic isn’t solar punk.
You are taking resources away from people who need them so that you can pretend to live a less consumptive lifestyle. You are cosplaying sustainability.
The whole fucking point of rag rugs etc. was that you made use of textiles you already had that could no longer be used for their intended purpose, and you extended the lifecycle of the item by turning it into something else useful instead of throwing it in the garbage. When you buy clothing that still has use *as clothing* just to cut it into rags to make a rug, you’re *speeding up* the consumption of materials. You’re shortening the lifecycle. You are consuming MORE.
And you’re doing it by buying up resources that marginalized people need. Those thrift store sheets would look so much better on somebody’s fucking bed, but since you wanted that Little House on the Prairie vibe, someone is sleeping on a bare mattress now whilst trying to save their pennies to go to fucking Wal-Mart for bedsheets. And that denim throw pillow probably looks adorable on your sofa, but somebody needed a pair of sturdy jeans for that job they’re trying to get, and now there’s nothing available.
But sure, your house looks cute. I guess that’s important.
Okay also I’ve been driving electric cars long enough now to be really emphatic that the fact that they’re not all automatically built with solar panels in the roofs is a scandal.
And somehow almost every time I tell anyone this they roll their eyes and attempt to explain to me that this would not create a perpetual motion machine because of the limitations of the area relative to the power draw of the motor, which is incredibly annoying because that’s not the point.
Yes it’s possible that driving in the sunshine with a solar collector dripping into the battery would net you a little more mileage on that trip before needing recharge, but the usefulness of a solar-topped electric car is that if you drive it someplace--say, to work--and leave it outside in the sun all day, you’ll definitely have more range available by the time you’re ready to head home.
Also if you fuck up your calculations because of the inefficiency induced by cold weather or something and get yourself stranded without anywhere to charge, like halfway up a mountain or, more likely, six miles from home, you can call for rescue or walk away, come back later, and it’ll be able to move again.
This is important because unlike running out of gas you can’t really go get some electricity.
One thing that I think a lot of Environmentalists in America really overlook is that humans are supposed to be part of an ecosystem. Humans are part of the food web; we fill an environmental niche, just as much as beavers and wolves do.
We are SUPPOSED to interact with the environment- the problem arises when we begin interacting with the environment in UNSUSTAINABLE ways. This idea that we should try to “return” the environment to the way it was “before” humans so so so often ignores the way that Indigenous people all over the world were (and are) an important part of their environments- and trying to “preserve” those places without people filling their ecological niche can cause harm in super weird ways.
You know how its shitty for deer populations if you take out all of the wolves? It’s just as bad if you stop all human hunting too. Humans hunting deer has been an important part of the food web for thousands and thousands of years! Deer populations NEED hunters- human, wolf, cougar- to stay healthy.
Yes- massive clear cutting of forests and strip mining is bad. HOWEVER, not allowing Indigenous people to practice traditional controlled burns of grass lands? Not only makes wildfires worse, but ALSO fucks up the bio-diversity of those grasslands. Totally unmanaged “pristine” grasslands without humans are actually less healthy than grasslands that are sustainably managed by people.
Mono-crop super farms are not good- but humans have been farming for thousands of years- tending for plants and increasing their yield, monitoring the soil, in ways that benefit those plants and the other animals that eat them, and the other plants that use that soil, and the insects that make their home there. Sustainable, diversified farming isn’t bad.
Laying out acres and acres of asphalt and oil pipelines? Bad. But digging natural cisterns in the dessert that catches rainwater for grazing animals to use? Benefits the entire ecosystem and all the animals in it.
We are part of the environment. We belong here. And the ecosystems that human beings evolved in and lived in need us just as much as we need them. We aren’t parasites on the planet, we are a part of it. It’s just that global capitalism has thrown us terribly out of balance. Colonialism and profit-seeking are the problem- not human beings existing.
The goal of environmentalism should not be to protect nature by keeping humans totally separate from it, but rather to restore balance with our interactions with nature, for sustainable practices that help us coexist with the ecosystems that we are part of. That we have been a part of forever. And that is hard with billions of people on the planet, yes, and we will need to be clever and resourceful and thoughtful to find ways of restoring that balance, it will take a lot of people working together to find those answers- but humans’ greatest trait has always been our cleverness and our ability to work together.
I don’t engage with posts that wear me out so I’m making my own post to say that if you’re middle class and you go to a thrift store to get clothes to cut up for your crafts and sewing or support your purse collecting habit that’s fine.
You’re not a gentrifier. You’re not taking resources away from less fortunate people who need them more because thrift stores are businesses, not services, so the more you patronize them the more they expand. I used to work at a thrift store and my boss told me we threw away about half of our donations from the street because they were too damaged or dirty and we threw away another half of the merchandise on the floor that didn’t sell. And that was before Marie Kondo got popular.
So yeah those sheets would look better on somebody’s bed than as a tablecloth you made but they look better as your craft project than getting thrown away. You don’t know. And you’re paying the store to stay open and put another set of sheets out tomorrow. So feel free to shop at thrift stores especially if you donate to them.
Salt to Stars: The Environmental and Community Impacts of Lithium Mining.
A comic by the Center for Interdisciplinary Environmental Justice with art by Sophie Wang, text under the cut. This is part of a toolkit to challenge greenwashing in the climate movement. Please share to support Indigenous water protectors and non-extractive decolonial solutions to climate change!
In the highlands of the Andes, Indigenous peoples have used lagoons of ancient brine to interpret the night sky since time immemorial. These lagoons are sacred cultural sites and home to their ancestors, some of the earliest forms of microbial life.
This region is one of the driest deserts in the world. (The Salar de Atacama receives ~80 mm/3 inches of rain per year. Sahara desert 100 mm.)
Even so, ecosystems--including people--have adapted to the hyperarid, hypersaline environment. Organisms include stromatolites, extremophile bacteria, flamingos, llamas and vincuña, brine shrimp, and halophyte grasses. People living in the salar regions are agro-pastoral farmers, meaning they integrate crop and livestock cultivation. They have always managed the existing water systems to grow food crops and to sustain their animals and families.
The extremely salty water is called brine. The brines formed millions of years ago when the climate was wetter, as rain and snow carrying dissolved minerals collected in closed basins. Strong sunshine and dry conditions have concentrated this water over thousands of years. Brine rich in lithium and other minerals is part of a complex interconnected groundwater system, that supports Indigenous peoples and their traditional ways of life.
Mining companies, see this sacred landscape only as profitable resources. Lithium mining is expanding here to make electric vehicle batteries and other so-called “renewable” energy storage infrastructure.
In fact, investors and prospectors call lithium “white gold.” But to Indigenous peoples around the world, gold rushes have meant genocide and ecocide.
To mine lithium, brine is pumped into shallow pools where the water is evaporated and the minerals are collected. Lithium mining is groundwater mining, and the groundwater in the Atacama desert is nonrenewable. Lithium brine used to make “renewable” energy storage is a nonrenewable resource. 1 olympic size swimming pool of water = 23 Tesla vehicles. Tesla’s production goals = 20 million vehicles per year by 2030 (that’s 869,500 olympic size swimming pools per year).
Indigenous communities are resisting the destruction of their sacred waters and traditional homelands. Many say “No” to lithium mining. Communities the Salinas Grandes and Laguna de Guayatayoc, Argentina, blockaded the highway in February, 2019 to protest violation of consultation rights.
Many fear the destruction of ecological, cultural, and spiritual life cycles and further displacement of indigenous communities, forcing people off their homelands and into the cities where they become the racialized urban poor. Farmers are already noticing a sharp decline in their crops.
Electric vehicles and lithium batteries are not sustainable nor climate change solutions.. They only shift exploitation and extraction to differerent non-renewable resources and people.
True solutions to climate change require radical re-imagining of our extractivist practices. Like our Andean Indigenous compas, we must see ourselves as part of the same interconnected world, human and ecology, from salt to stars.
Most people don’t realize that conventional dairy already has been focused on sustainability, we just don’t advertise
- We sequester carbon with the crops growing for the cows
- We use organic fertilizer from the cows instead on relying on synthetic fertilizers
- We recycle all our water to grow crops for the cows
- Cows up-cycle food byproducts into usable nutrition that would otherwise go to a landfill
Cows are a valuable part of the earths ecology and ecosystems. Many dairy farms today are installing methane digesters- that take cow manure, capture the emissions, and make renewable power. Installing these systems make dairies carbon negative meaning they are taking out more emissions than they are creating.
If you're new to fibre crafts, you may find the enormous choice in yarn types overwhelming. Let's try to demystify some of the more common yarn types and fibres so you know where to get started!
This guide does not encompass all types of yarns, just some of the more common ones. Also note that I'm a knitter and not a crocheter, so this guide is written from a knitting perspective.
If you're more interested in sewing rather than knitting/crochet, please check out my fabric guide.
Yarns have varying thickness: this is called yarn weight. The weight of your yarn will influence your knitting gauge, so it's important to pick the right weight for the right project. Each yarn weight requires a different needle size, too: the thinner your yarn, the thinner your needles.
Yarn weights can go by different names, but these are some of the most common ones:
Lace: lace yarn is one of the thinnest yarns out there. It's commonly used for delicate projects such as intricate summer scarves or doilies, or to knit lace trims.
Fingering: fingering yarn is a bit thicker than lace yarn, but still very thin. This yarn weight is used for light-weight projects such as baby garments, delicate socks, or thin garments.
Sport: sport yarn is twice as thick a fingering yarn and is often used for socks, accessories, shawls, and thin sweaters.
DK: DK is slightly thicker than sport yarn and is used for the same purposes.
Worsted: worsted yarn is one of the most common yarn types you'll find. It's a mid-range yarn weight that's great for a wide variety of projects, ranging from clothes to scarves, accessories, sweaters, and amigurumi.
Chunky: chunky yarn is thick and bulky, which makes it great for quick, thick projects such as blankets and rugs, or bulky scarves and sweaters.
(Image source) [ID: six yarn weights: lace, fingering, sport, DK, worsted, and chunky.]
(Image source) [ID: standard yarn weight system: categories of yarn, gauge ranges, and recommended needle and hook sizes.]
Just like fabric, yarn can be made from a variety of fibres, among which animal fibres, plant fibres, and synthetic fibres.
You'll also find blended yarns, which combine different types of fibres into one yarn, and novelty yarns, which are usually synthetic and used to create special effects such as fake fur or a metallic sheen, for example.
Let's take a look at some of the most commonly used fibres:
Animal fibres are made from the fleece/hair of certain animals. These fibres are long-lasting and will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. When done properly and in an ethical manner, harvesting the fibres needed to make these yarns will not hurt the animal (with the exception of silk, unless you use peace silk).
Wool is prone to shrinking and felting if not washed correctly.
Sheep: the most common woollen yarn type, and therefore also the cheapest. Very soft and absorbent, great for winter. Some people find it itchy, and it can trigger allergic reactions.
Alpaca: very warm, and softer than sheep wool. Hypoallergenic, so a great choice if you're allergic to sheep's wool.
Cashmere: warm, soft, smooth, and much lighter than sheep's wool.
Mohair: light, warm, very fluffy. Has a nice sheen to it. Can be tricky to knit due to its fluffiness.
Angora: light, soft, fuzzy, and incredibly warm.
Silk: smooth, breathable, strong, soft, and shiny. Unlike the other fibres on this list, silk is not made from hair or fleece, but from the cocoons of silk worms.
Plant fibres are made from cellulose, a plant component. They're known to breath well which makes them great for knitting clothes, but often lack elasticity.
Cotton: light, absorbent, and durable, though not very elastic. Great for beginners. Can become a little rough after washing, so make sure to take proper care of it.
Linen: strong and durable, but can be a bit stiff. Very breathable. Will keep you cool in summer. Prone to wrinkling.
Bamboo: drapes well, and is very soft! If other plant fibres cause sensory issues for you, give bamboo a try.
Synthetic fibres are oil-based fibres which means they won't biodegrade and don't breathe well. However, they're cheap and durable, which makes them handy for beginner's projects.
Acrylic: doesn't breathe well, but is warm, machine-washable, and probably the cheapest available yarn option. Comes in varying qualities, ranging from horribly itchy to "I can't believe this is acrylic".
Rayon: a semi-synthetic fibre, as it's made from plant cellulose but then turned into insoluble fibres. Very soft, but needs extra care when washed.
Nylon: very strong and stretchy, which is why it's often mixed into sock yarn blends and such.
Polyester: a type of plastic fibre that's often blended in with other yarns to make them stronger and less likely to shrink.
There are many options available when you're looking for the perfect yarn for your next project. Getting acquainted with different types of yarn will ensure you pick the right material for whatever you're making.
If you've got a specific yarn in mind but want more info before you buy it, or if you've found a mystery skein that's gone out of production years ago while thrifting, get yourself a Ravelry account. You'll find reviews of pretty much any yarn brand you can imagine in their yarn section.
New to knitting? Check out my Knitting 101 guide.
Looking for cheap and preferably sustainable yarn? Check out my guide on crafting on the cheap.
Lissoni Casal Ribeiro for Skyhive 2020 skycraper Challenge
Inspired by nature, the concept proposes a complete, self-sufficient ecosystem. the multi-use tower collects rainwater and gathers energy from the sun and the wind, transforming it from its tensioned cables into electricity to be used by inhabitants.