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recycled flip flops

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2009-02-05 14:08

I didn’t know this, but apparently thousands of flip flops, discarded by their former owners, wash up on the African shoreline – an environmental disaster for the marine ecosystem, as well as an eyesore on the beaches, many of which are sites of natural beauty. Hatching turtles find their already precarious journey into the sea littered with flip flops that prevent their reaching their destination.

An organisation called UniqEco chose to see the flotsam as a resource for the coastal communities of Kenya, and is working with the locals to collect and recycle discarded waste on the beaches. From this, they make an incredible range of unique accessories and jewellery. The jewellery alone is worth taking a look at – some beautiful stuff (but available online for dollars, I’m afraid). Take a closer look via [greatgreengoods]

how many batteries did it take...

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2008-02-29 11:06

This picture depicts 170 000 disposable Energizer batteries, equal to fifteen minutes of Energizer battery production!

If 170 000 batteries were depicted at their real size, the print would need to be 26x43 feet, as shown here. To depict one year of Energizer disposable battery production (six billion batteries) would require a print 26 feet high by 146 miles long.

A series of pictures by Chris Jordan, looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics.

The underlying desire is to emphasize the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.

Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminium cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. Seeing them is boggling to the mind...

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make art not war

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2007-10-22 18:49

I recently stumbled across the retired weapons art project and thought it looked like a cool idea. It's a great example of how socially conscious designers can bring important ideas into public spaces. The Japanese duo of Yuji Tokuda and Junya Ishikawa launched their project for peace back in 2005. The iconic images have an international appeal and indeed the aim of the project is to reach all 6.7 billion people living on the planet. Their life-size inflatible "retired tank" with pink flowers sprouting from it's upturned barrel is a sight not easily ignored, but they're also using mobile movies, e-cards, wallpapers and screensavers to spread their message around the globe. From small beginnings in Japan they've been invited to Italy, Berlin and most recently London's TENT

retired weapons reminds me of the vividly painted cows that took to the streets of South Africa a few years back. Remember CowZuluNatal, da Mudder City and Cowteng? Actually CowParade is still going strong and is still a great concept eight years down the line. Bringing together local artists, the public, and benefitting charities by auctioning off the cows to local businesses and individuals.

So I wonder whether large-scale art installations could be used to get the green message across to more members of the SA public. Perhaps a huge inflatible wave placed on the M5 to warn motorists that the Cape Flats may be underwater by 2080 if climate change continues unabated? A giant mushroom cloud to showcase the folly of pursuing a nuclear powered economy in a politically and environmentally unstable world? Or an oversized scorched protea to show that the Fynbos Floral Kingdom is struggling against habitat loss?

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sa's future architecture is green

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-08-07 11:29

VISI magazine’s annual architecture survey this year focuses on green architecture and buildings and invites you to select your favourite from 12 showcased buildings [click here to vote]

The selected buildings include the Africa Centre in KZN, the BP head office in CT, Karoolkie Kelder in the Karoo - inspired by organic principles - and the Lyndoch Community Centre in Stellenbosch, which used recycled and renewable materials and passive climate design principles.

Interesting is the Trace Gas Monitoring Lab at Cape Point, where an unobtrusive laboratory that harmed the environment as little as possible was created, and Woolies new distribution centre in Midrand, with an emphasis on sustainability.

Green building are safer, healthier, have a low impact on the environment and are sustainable.

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encounters of an environmental kind

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-07-23 09:40

If you’ve not been able to catch the 9th edition of the Encounters SA International docie festival in Jo’burg, which ran between 13th and 23rd July, then get down to Cape Town where you can still catch the Jameson Environment Focus aspect of the festival – four films that focus on the environment and the health of the planet - Nu Metro V&A, 20 July - 5 August.

The four films with an environment focus include: Everything’s Cool, which deals with global warming that explores the gap between what scientists knew, and what the general public was allowed to know; Manufactured Landscapes, which unfortunately you won’t be able to see in CT for some inexplicable reason(?). It follows travels of the globe from a photographer’s perspective viewing the physical, chemical and biological changes wrought upon landscapes due to man’s relentless misuse and abuse of the planet; The Planet is a meditation on

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design indaba: ethical design

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-02-27 10:15

What really impressed me about Design Indaba was the number of designers, artists and crafters that are involved in social upliftment, job creation, social justice and environmental issues. Where else but SA will you find such a melting pot of conscience and profit?

It inspires me that there are small businesses out there that are pouring much of themselves into helping others. There are some sussed caring companies out that are aligning themselves with the ethical shopping trend by promoting charitable and green causes. And those that are supporting NGO's directly with a percentage of their sales.

aloeafrica is one such endeavour. They produce handcrafted ceramic pots, clearly inspired by the shape and form of the aloe. Sue Symonds and Nandipha Qamarana aim to raise public awareness of NGO's out there that are making a difference to peoples lives through plants. To this end they support Abalimi Bezekhaya, a Cape Town greening organisation, by donating a percentage of their turnover.

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design indaba: more recycled design

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2007-02-26 17:24

I mean that in a nice way. Heath Nash was not alone in the inspiring use of discarded objects otherwise destined to be trash. This is what else I tracked down in the recycle-me design dept at last weeks Design Indaba.

As mentioned before, there were the carry-bags made from previously functional billboards. I didn't realise billboards were printed on a type of plasticized canvas. The material is obviously vast and before the Tswelopele Project came along it would end up in landfill. Phanuel, one of the Tswelopele project workers was at the expo and he went to great lengths to inform me all about the project. Each item is unique, handmade and pretty cool. There was also a couch covered in billboard fabric and bags of different designs.

Noko Designs by Bethuel Mapheto continued the recycled bottle tops theme with his funky bottle cap clocks, fridge magnets, broches and wall hangings. He did let on, though, that he now buys his bottle tops new (20c each) instead of saving old ones from the trash as his customers demand pristine looking objects. Kind of defeats the whole purpose, don't ya think?

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design indaba: heath nash

Submitted by turbosprout on Sat, 2007-02-24 15:44

heath nash lightheath nash lightThe canvas of this year's Design Indaba was not green, but if you looked carefully you would make out a subtle green pattern woven into the fabric. From the Toyota Prius displayed at the ticket sales queue to the rubbish bins that proclaimed "this waste will be recycled for you, Design Indaba Expo cares for the planet" there were underlying green and caring themes to pick up on.

I really enjoyed my visit yesterday. I was there for just over three hours with a mission to identify designs that fit with the urban sprout ethos.

I'd read about Heath Nash, winner of SA Elle Decoration's Designer of the Year Award for 2006, and knew about his light fittings from plastic containers, but to see them in the flesh was awesome. If you think you've seen cool recycled functional items for the home think again. This tops what you've seen before and for the intricate design, I think they're very reasonably priced at R250+ for a white, organic, leafy light fitting. I had a chat with Richard Madongwe, one of the 5 workers in the studio in Woodstock. He was a proud ambassador for the brand and was enthusiastic about elaborating on the designs.

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