Paintings from recycled plastic

Artnova, artworks from recycled plastic

While in the ancient Roman port of Caesaria we came across Artnova. Artnova make green art, soft paintings  from recycled plastics. I was amazed at how soft the fabric was – and of course how beautiful the artworks.

Artnova soft paintings

Eco-kibbutzim: bringing biblical animals back to life

two Addax near sunset

During my trip to Israel I’ve found a kibbutz where rare animals mentioned in the Bible are being reintroduced into their natural environment.

cotton fields of Kibbutz Shamir c.1958

 

The original kibbutzim were highly regarded in the West and have long attracted idealistic young volunteers from all over the world. The new eco-kibbutzim offer an opportunity to work on the land, but also to learn how farming is gradually changing as new environmentally-friendly techniques are created and old ones rediscovered. I also discovered some very futuristic sustainability projects.

Last year Sue and I visited one of these, Kibbutz Lotan to the south of the country, close to Eilat and Jordan. Fortunately for us it was winter so the temperature was a cool thirty degrees or so, rather than the 40-degree plus summer desert heat Lotan dwellers are more used to.

Three kibbutzim with fascinating environmental initiatives:

houses, kibbutz Lotan

1. Kibbutz Lotan
As well as offering eco-tourism in its low energy mud-brick rooms Lotan hosts a permaculture centre offering a four week Sustainable Development & Permaculture Design Certification, a one week eco-experience work immersion and practical workshops in  local food production, natural building, sustainable community and alternative technologies.

2. Kibbutz Yotvata
On Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve endangered and locally extinct animals mentioned in the Bible are bred for possible reintroduction to the Negev desert.

Species bred include:
▪ Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx)
▪ Scimitar oryx (Oryx dammah)
▪ Red-necked ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus)
▪ Addax (Addax nasomaculatus)
▪ Asian wild ass (hybrids of Equus hemionus kulan and Equus hemionus onager)
▪ Somali wild ass (Equus africanus somaliensis)
▪ Caracal (Caracal caracal schmitzi)
▪ Arabian sand cat (Felis margarita harrisoni)
▪ Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr)
▪ South African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus)
▪ Arabian wolf (Canis lupus arabs)
▪ Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas)
▪ Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus)
▪ Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana)
▪ Persian leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica)
▪ Striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena)

algae production at Kibbutz Ketura

3. Kibbutz Ketura
Apart from the massive Arava solar farm Kibbutz Ketura houses Alga Technologies, which produces sustainable antioxidants using solar energy and purified water from local boreholes, 80% of which is recycled.

 

 

An Israeli solar farm keeps a 3000-year-old biblical law

Ketura solar farm

Being 60% desert Israel has a lot of solar energy to share. There is no doubt that having few natural “fossil fuel” energy resources encouraged Israel to develop solar technologies and has led to Israel’s current position as one of the world’s solar technology superpowers. Did you know that: Continue reading “An Israeli solar farm keeps a 3000-year-old biblical law”

8 Great eco-blogs too good to miss

Today I’ve decided to do a round-up of some eco-blogs I love the look of, and a few I just couldn’t leave out.

  1. treading my own path

    Treading my own path – names like this appeal to me. Various great ideas from Perth, Australia. I liked the look of this one:

 

2. The zero-waste chef We all love food. He’s just blogged on how to make your own tahini, mind you I didn’t know tahini was still ‘in’. Beautiful photos alone worth a look. Here’s an intriguing one: Continue reading “8 Great eco-blogs too good to miss”

I’m zero-wasting my life! Why fruit & veg should go naked

How sustainable is my life #3 – veggie wrapping

Veggies don’t need plastic either.

Here our journey starts. This is what our purple sprouting broccoli and green beans came in, delivered by our local Tesco supermarket. Gasp! More plastic! Something must be done.

I search for signs of recyclability, but there are none. Even if it is recyclable our local council has given up on these items. I need to find out why … Continue reading “I’m zero-wasting my life! Why fruit & veg should go naked”

I’m zero-wasting my life! Why I’m getting a milkman

How sustainable is my life #2 – milk bottles

found this in the recycling

I awake at 2am to find myself sitting bolt upright in bed. The plastic bottles in which I get my milk might not be as eco-friendly as I had thought!

“How green are my milk bottles?” I think. “I’m going to have a closer look.”

The bottles are light, the plastic thin. Underneath is the marking “2 – HDPE”. So what’s HDPE? Continue reading “I’m zero-wasting my life! Why I’m getting a milkman”

9 reasons to be positive about the plastic crisis

I want to help you feel good about the environment.

First of all, let’s be honest. There is a plastic crisis. When you’re on an idyllic remote island no one even lives on and you can’t move for plastic rubbish. This is Henderson Island.

 

turtle tangled up in nylon fishing net

My second point: wild animals digesting plastic or getting tangled up in it. So we all agree there’s a crisis?

But … I also found it surprisingly easy to find good news about the plastic crisis.

So here’s the good news. Continue reading “9 reasons to be positive about the plastic crisis”

I’m zero-wasting my life! Kicking the plastic bottle habit

a few soaks and I’m on the scrap heap – what a life!

How sustainable is my life? #1
This is where I start looking at my own life and making those small but vital changes towards sustainability. Let’s see what effect a few small changes can make. I’m going to start with plastic waste.

The large plastic bottle in the image, left, is what my herbal bath soak came in. More plastic on the recycling heap? OK, it’s better than chucking it out but there must be a better way. Continue reading “I’m zero-wasting my life! Kicking the plastic bottle habit”

Electric cars – why the doomsayers were wrong

The Tesla Roadster. Did I covet one? Yes

Today I’m going to talk about two “bugbears” of environmental campaigners, plastic & motor cars.

1. Plastic
Beauty product retailer Lush take back their plastic gift vouchers and melt them down to make other goods.

They maybe only take a few pounds of plastic a year. But the point is, they are leading the way. In commercial terms it’s great PR. Get a few more to follow – maybe Marks & Spencer in the UK or Walmart – and you’ve got a worldwide movement. Change happens. Continue reading “Electric cars – why the doomsayers were wrong”