While I was away, I had a fascinating conversation with an old friend who isn't familiar with the slow movement. She is unconvinced that it isn't just another hippy new-age guilt-trip. She's unwilling to really listen when its ideas are described, because she has preconceptions that it's about depriving yourself (it doesn't help that her first exposure to it was one of my posts about fashion diets, and that I have yet to refine my elevator pitch about what I am doing, sigh.). But she made an excellent point, that part of her gut reaction to the slow movement is its' name (which originally was chosen in another language): she asked, "Who wants to be called slow?" Huh. Something to think about.
To create the Gradient Mashirabiya table, Mischer'traxler collaborated with a Lebanese carpenter using techniques traditionally used to make decorative architectural window screens. Via Inhabitat.
Castor Design's work in this photo via Remodelista of their restaurant, Parts & Labour: limestone Castor stools inspired by beaver-chewed tree stumps, a giant light fixture created by plastering and applying gold leaf to a satellite dish, and Tank Pendants created from empty fire extinguishers.
On Slow Design, Slow Home, and Eco-Products:
- Irene Turner explored the links between Wabi-Sabi and Slow Home.
- Debra Prinzing announced her new book, Slow Flowers. Yes, darlings, of course there is a slow flower movement.
- Slow Home Studio (aka Housebrand) and the slow home movement got some great coverage from Natural Home & Garden and Proud Green Home.
- "In fact, the only way the tiny house movement is going to succeed is if people get together and build intentional communities of tiny houses, which will solve the land, loans and laws problem and eliminate the fear and social pressures ones." - Treehugger's Lloyd Alter on the challenges facing those interested in building tiny homes.
- The bad news: cracks in the phosphor coating of CFLs can increase your UV exposure. The good news: you need to be less than a foot away to see significant skin damage, most bulbs are used with glass diffusers that block most UV, and new products like Philips AmbientLED bulbs are making CFLs obsolete as they come down in price (I'm now using AmbientLED bulbs in several places in my home and I'm thrilled with their brightness and near-incandescent colour rendition.).
- Have you signed up for Brooke's SlowHome Bootcamp yet? It's brilliant. Whatchawaitinfor?
- GOOD drew our attention to the use of Pop-Up Shops to revitalize neighborhoods, while Co.Exist profiled a mapping project to find accurate information for community planners and activists, and NPR described the Neighborland app and the use of stickers, posters, and phone numbers to text as ways to get crowdsourced citizen input into what neighborhoods need.
The Sea Chair Project proposes converting retired fishing trawlers into platforms for collecting plastic pollution from the ocean (thus helping to restore marine ecosystems) and using simple molds to create furniture onboard. The designers created this prototype stool using a sluice-like device (dubbed the Nurdler) to collect plastic washed up on a beach; a hydraulic press was used to create briquettes from organic material collected, which was then used as biofuel for the molding process. Admittedly it looks a bit rough, but it definitely follows the slow design principle of the material's prior life shining through and informing the user's reaction to the object (and in this case, the plastic pollution concentrated in maritime gyres worldwide). The designers suggest that small 'floating factories' on converted boats could employ fishermen who would otherwise be without work due to depleted fish stocks. I think there are technical challenges to overcome - such as the difficulty of harvesting plastic that has broken down into microscopic particles in the parts of gyres where 'plastic soup' has been found, or harvesting plastic without harvesting living creatures - but this is a thoughtfully conceived bit of slow design. Via Treehugger.
On Slow Food:
- Consumer Media Network posted a great article on adopting the ideas of the slow food movement on a budget.
- Grist list 8 great books on sustainable food that make perfect summer reading.
- The Atlantic describe a public-health food labelling trial that helps users choose healthier diets without the need for ridiculous food bans.
- "It’s very difficult once people develop habits. Americans have been educated by the fast food industry. And they adopt the values of fast, cheap and easy." Alice Waters on the importance of food education in schools.
- The Wall Street Journal reported that municipal legislators are caught in the middle between the interests of food trucks and brick-and-mortar restaurants.
- The Washington Post described the slow food inspired athletes' dining room at the Olympics.
- Carol Neuman wrote a great piece for Edmonton group NextGen's blog on slow food and community building.
- Raw milk advocacy has made the news on both the CBC and Transition Voice. Meanwhile, Mark Bittman wrote a thought-provoking article and followup for the NYT on dairy-free diets, supported by a handful of anecdotes and some (ahem) surprising expert quotes. The cheesemakers from Culture magazine, in turn, helpfully pointed out that anecdotal evidence is problematic and that Bittman's experts were spouting pseudoscience, not facts. Lots to think about when it comes to dairy!
- Lincolnshire's Abbey Parks Farm are providing an interactive twist on the usual organic CSA business model with their iGrow program, which allows their clients to manage their real-life allotment online while the farmers do all the work of planting, weeding, harvesting, and shipping. So clever!
- The NYT also had a cutesy article on chicken-coop tours that treads the fine line between humour and condescension, and a thoughtful piece on how slow food and slow money are changing the business models of small farms.
On Slow Fashion:
- Slow Fashion explained and some good tips on getting started from Renee Naturally.
- Elizabeth Cline wrote a great article on the cost of cheap fashion for GOOD, was interviewed by Bitch Magazine and Grist, and her book Overdressed was reviewed by the Philadelphia Enquirer, the Genteel, Green Bibliophile, and the Winnipeg Free Press.
- Foxtail + Fern shared some really great tips for thrift shopping for clothing.
- Komai profiled Antiform's fashion workshop Remade In Leeds, where the designers source all their materials within 20 miles radius of the studio. They also do repairs, teach sewing classes, and hold clothing swaps - brilliant.
- The Working Closet described how to do a wardrobe purge then shop your closet to create a curated wardrobe.
- DesignMom explained how to perfectly polish your shoes.
- Starre Vartan gave us a sneak peek at her slow fashion feature on label Adie+George in Whole Living's September issue.
- Ecouterre wrote about the impressive success of Fashioning Change, the challenges facing New York's Garment District and the Garment Center itself, a recipe for blackberry dye, and a mechanical loom made of Lego.
- As always, loads of brilliant articles from EcoSalon since my last update, including an examination of the diamond industry, fall fashion trends to thrift, ways to care for delicates, and series that profile fibre types and style histories. Lots of fantastic long reads there for your time in the hammock.
Naughty Shorts blog.
On Slow Travel:
- From BootsNAll, Travel Is Not A Contest, a list of reasons to embrace slow travel. I love the wonderful reminder about, "going deep instead of wide."
- Tsh from SimpleMom has great tips for travelling internationally with kids.
- Margaret from SlowMama wrote about how a little planning improves a slow vacation.
- FamilyOnBikes hosted a guest post on slow travel with children by Molly from South America Living.
- From EcoSalon, lists of ways travel can improve your love life (ooh la la!) and strategies for long-term travel on a budget (mostly working-while-travelling).
- Two bits I missed from The Art of Slow Travel: they had a wonderful guest post by Sarah Shaw on slow travel in Cucso, Peru with tips that apply to anywhere you're aiming to spend time, and shared a brilliant post from The Road Forks on working as a digital nomad. Aaand added to the blogroll, thanks Denise!
- Martin from The Winding Way took a delightful slow campervan trip to France from the UK, and fretted about having to do 200 miles of the trip on a freeway then taking time at their destination, instead of going by slower roads en route. This really brought home to me the importance of geographical context when we talk about slow travel - to me, living in the vastness of Canada, 200 miles on a highway sounds like a relaxing daytrip, and having to spend a day in airports to get to most travel destinations (even in my own country) is a given. So, for me, by necessity 'slow travel' applies to how I approach my time at my destination, not how I get there. In contrast, for those living in Europe, slow travel is often equated with train trips, bicycle trips, and walking (hiking) trips - which for me, would be part of my activities at my destination - and some writers get a bit dogmatic about that definition.
On Sustainability and Environment:
- The New York Times report that the worst drought in nearly 50 years is expected to raise food prices for the next year - but at least it shrunk the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
- The Guardian report that Arctic sea ice coverage is shrinking faster than predicted. Meanwhile, the NYT explain that low tundra shrubs are turning into pop-up forests in some parts of the Arctic as the planet warms.
- Fertilizing the ocean with iron to stimulate the growth of phytoplankton is showing some promise as a way of reducing atmospheric carbon, with the most recent experiments demonstrating that the carbon does get sequestered in the deep ocean - but questions about the effects of such activity on marine ecosystems remain unanswered.
On Slow Living:
- Slow Family Online's Suz Lipman has a new book on slow parenting, Fed Up With Frenzy, that Slow Family Living, Time, and Parents have reviewed. Looks like a must-read to me!
- FastCompany explained why millennials don't want to buy stuff, and Zoe from SlowMama explored the problem of overabundance, and the NYT talked about The 'Busy' Trap. I think these things are related somehow, don't you?
- Brooke from Slow Your Home talked about the ways we sabotage ourselves in our search for happiness. I am so guilty of number three!
- Ethical Nippon on Free Money Day (Sept 15th), the slow movement, and Japan's Sloth Club.
- Slow Money got a mention in an NYT article on opting out of the traditional financial system.
- Here's a list of 32 slow-living-inspired ways to enjoy the rest of the summer.
- Annie Leonard is brilliant. You've already seen The Story of Stuff (right??), now go watch the Story of Change, and get inspired to make a better world.
- Further to that goal, Yes! Magazine have posted 10 ways to build community in your neighborhood and steps we can take now to build a "new economy" that values people, place, and planet over the interests of corporations.