If you’re an artist seeking to experience a wide variety of great works, you may feel a lot of pressure to travel internationally, a habit with a less than sustainable carbon footprint. One alternative to traveling to see great art is to visit artists’ studios from the comfort of your own home through video studio visits. Or you might explore local neighborhood galleries and meet some rising talents.
Another green alternative to hopping the next flight to Europe to take in fine arts is to explore the eco-art scene. Eco-art is a rising art form that emphasizes sustainable art practices and the role of the environment in art. So pack your bags for some slow speed travel and get ready to encounter art in the environment.
Paint On The Water
Head on down to Galveston Bay and avail yourself of the kayak/art tours available there this spring. Run through an organization called Artist Boat, participants hit the water in individual kayaks and participate in an art lesson – then you get to paint, but you’re not getting out of your boat just yet. On Artist Boat tours, tourist-artists get the experience of painting on the water. It’s a challenging task, but something of a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Beauty In The City
When you think of New York City, eco-art – or even eco-art friendly spaces – are not the first thing to come to mind. At best you might summon images of the High Line, a park built on abandoned elevated train tracks. But now artist Eve Mosher is working to change the less than green perception of New York City through her work.
In 2012, Mosher launched a project called Seeding The City. The project featured 1000 small rooftop gardens filled with native plants throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. More recently Mosher has been working on HighWaterLine, a project about climate change. HighWaterLine also highlights New York City, though you can also see parts of the project in Miami, Philadelphia, and several other cities.
In The Soup
We’ve all been to the beach and seen less than pristine waters marred by floating trash. Taking on one especially high pollution area in the North Pacific, Mandy Barker’s SOUP captures the impact of discarded plastic and other detritus on the waters of the region. The area in Barker’s work is so heavily polluted that it’s known as The Garbage Patch, as though garbage just springs up their like plants. Barker hopes that her work can impact local practices that harm the environment – no one wants to be part of that soup.
Flash Trash Floods
Computer and other electronic waste is one of the largest contemporary contributors to the build-up of trash in the United States today. Because the technological revolutions that resulted in this, however, are so recent, all of this waste has surged in like a flood. Susan Stockwell captures this in her installation piece, Flood on display at the American Art League in Houston. Running from ceiling to floor, when will this flood of trash end?
Eco-art is part material and part message, hoping to capture our eyes and minds at a moment in time when our little planet is increasingly polluted. So slow down your travel and pay attention – eco-art or the potential for it is all around you.
Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness
Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.
How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature
Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.
While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.
When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness. Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.
4 Practical Ways to Disconnect
If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:
1. Switch to a New Phone Plan
It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.
One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.
2. Get Rid of Social Media
Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).
If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.
3. Create Quiet Hours
If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.
4. Build Community
Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.
As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.
Untether Your Life
If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.
6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move
Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.
6 Tips for a Greener Move
Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.
1. Maximize Each Trip
When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.
If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.
2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep
The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.
3. Reuse Moving Boxes
Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.
4. Get Creative With Packing
Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.
5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies
Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.
6. Forward Your Mail ASAP
Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.
Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful
Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.
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