Nature never ceases to amaze and this is one of those things that remind us how utterly awesome it is. These pictures are real photos of a place called Caño Cristales located in La Macarena, one of Colombia's Nature Reserve National Parks. According to Atlas Obscura, for most of the year, this river looks just like any other river. During the wet season, the water currents are so rapid that not enough sunlight penetrates through to allow for growth, and during the dry season, there isn't enough water. In between the seasons during a short period of time is when the magic happens. At the time when the water level is just right, the many varieties of algae and moss bloom in thousands of shades of red, blue, green, and yellow, transforming a typical looking river into a technicolor destination. Recently reopened to tourists last year, this surreal scene can now be experienced by everyone. We're hoping for an adventurous film crew to document the transition or a little field trip to Colombia. We'll take whatever comes first!

Read more about it at Atlas Obscura.

Image from Reap What You Sew.

Nicole Mackinlay-Hahn, the filmmaker behind the Christie's Green Auction PSA, is better known for her work connecting the consumer to the product sources, the people who create these products and their lives, through video documentation. Her Mirror/Africa project, an interactive art installation that was featured at Barneys in 2008, told stories of the lives of people along the production line in short video clips, all of which help paint a larger picture of where we get our goods from and the lives affected by the process of constant consumption of clothing and fashion. Not only is her client list filled with organizations with sustainability in mind, like Edun and yours truly, her own documentation process is low impact, preferring to not travel with a crew, hiring locals to help her navigate the area, and creating personal relationships with the subjects of her videos. Check out this video of reactions from shoppers at Barneys interacting with her installation here and Eco Salon's most recent Q&A with her here!
Image from the NYT.

Loomstate co-founder Scott Mackinlay-Hahn, and designer Timo Rissanen, will be teaching the new zero-waste course at Parsons this fall, a first of its kind in the industry. Timo, previously owner of the label Usvsu, is one of the pioneers behind zero-waste and will be teaching students to use denim to create a piece that is as close to zero waste as possible, but that will still sell well. It'll require figuring out ways to make patterns more efficiently, and innovative thinking to get around traditional cutting techniques. One way to prove that zero-waste design could be great, marketable fashion? A winning design will be chosen, the student behind it will intern with our production team to get it made in our factory in California or New York, and it'll be sold at Barneys NY! Read the full NYT Sunday Styles article here.

Image from Terracycle.

Speaking of zero waste, our friend Tom Szaky at Terracycle has been working to turn what would typically be garbage into functional items, from pencils made of old newspapers to juice pouches upcycled into a garden fence. A fence! No wonder Tom and Terracycle are getting some major media shout-outs.

Images from Nylon.

And talking about denim and upcycling - Loomstate's other co-founder Rogan Gregory created a fun DIY project for Nylon's current denim issue, turning your old abandoned jeans into a bag dress. That is, a bag that can also be a dress. Get started here!

We'll leave you with an animated video called "The Story of Stuff" that illustrates in simple terms the creation of all this stuff we have. We all still have a long way to go with minimizing waste production, but here's to a great start with zero-waste!

The good people over at The Discerning Brute just uncovered one of the deadliest things to hit Williamsburg - a new, full-service vegan bakery called Champs Family Bakery. And by deadly, we meant amazing. Not only is the large selection of cookies, scones, muffins, cakes, and other baked goods  100% vegan, they're also made with non-hydrogenated oils and mostly organic ingredients (about 85% of all used is organic). Word is that gluten-free and sugar-free options are to come soon.

Champs will also be serving Gimme! Coffee, and, here's the best part, the city's first and only vegan croissant! Brad and Meghan, co-owners of Boneshakers, a vegan cafe in Greenpoint, are behind this much-anticipated storefront. [Side note: Brad was actually in Christie's Green Auction PSA!]

It's hard to believe that there isn't already an all-vegan bakery in Williamsburg. A lot of us at Loomstate live in Brooklyn, and some of us are vegetarians, vegans, allergic to gluten, or simply refuse to settle for standard overly sugary pastries, so this might just become our new favorite.

Champs Family Bakery is at 176 Ainslie x Leonard. 718.599.2743. L train to Graham Stop.

All images taken from The Discerning Brute.

--- Viv

It looks like San Francisco and the state of California are considering a ban on retailers using plastic bags. San Francisco, ever the city of going greener, has required supermarkets and pharmacies to offer compostable plastic bags, recyclable paper bags or reusable bags since passing the law in 2007. The city has estimated that the use of 100 million plastic bags have been avoided because of the law, and if the new law, which would expand to all retailers, passes, that number would dramatically increase. Now, if NYC would get on that...

Read more at Planet Green.

Images are stills from Werner Herzog's short film Plastic Bag.

--- Viv

Slovakian artist Matej Krén built a giant installation inside the MAMbo in Bologna. Made entirely out of old books, Scanner is overwhelmingly tall with uncomfortably narrow interior spaces and mirrors that make it seem like an impossible maze. All art talk of this being a literal rendition of knowledge as foundation etc. aside, this would be a pretty intimidating and powerful sight. 

Images from MAMbo.

The Strokes with the Chicago skyline as the backdrop!

What an amazing weekend! Lollapalooza was one wild ride. Seeing so much talent and sharing great musical experiences with thousands of others in a three day span was incredible. We've always loved this Chicago festival for bringing a true mix of performers - this year's lineup ranged from Lady Gaga, The Strokes, and Erykah Badu to Gogol Bordello, Kaskade, and Mumford & Sons. What made it even better this year was that the organizers, C3 Presents, took advantage of the size of this festival to promote greener living and reducing our impact like never before.

A pleasant surprise - Producers from C3 Presents were rocking Loomstate all weekend! 
Soft organic cotton is really the best for sweaty day-long festivals.

Rock & Recycle - free merch for collecting a bag full of recyclables. 
Participating concert-goers were around every corner. Last year, over 35 tons were collected. We wonder how much was collected this year!
Image by Jack Edinger.

Attendees refilling their water with some serious pumps. 
If you forgot your bottle, they had a large selection for sale.
Image by Matt Taplinger.

Green Street was the first thing attendees saw walking through the main entrance. Accessibility is key!

Green Mountain Energy provides an option to "offset" your carbon footprint from traveling to the festival. Proceeds go towards building a wind farm in Iowa and $3 makes up for 1,375 miles of plane travel - just about a roundtrip between NYC and Chicago.

Global Inheritance, the people behind the fun recycling bins at Coachella, brought energy-making See-Saws and bikes for attendees to create their own snow cones to beat the heat.

A fresh Blueberry-Raspberry dairy-free smoothie from the farmer's market. 
A great way to keep hydrated throughout the day.

This eco-conscious message was as strong front-of-house as it was behind the scenes. Plastic bags were banned, only biodegradable ones were used if necessary, composting bins were placed behind all food booths and for all backstage catering, and organic options for food and merchandise were available. A biodiesel mix is used in all generators, and some are even powered by solar energy. They've partnered up with bike rental and bike valet companies to promote cycling as a transportation alternative. Business operations and travels on behalf of the organizers were calculated and offset through Green Mountain Energy, and these are only some of the green initiatives at the festival. This all didn't end on Sunday - they're keeping tabs on artist travels and transportation for this year's event to get a more accurate idea of its carbon footprint and how to make it lighter next year. Other large-scale events, take note!

With recycling bins everywhere and constant encouragement, minimizing waste was effortless for those who already lead a green lifestyle and those who are new to it alike. Making it easy is really the most important part in motivating large crowds, and hopefully concertgoers left the festival with a greener perspective than going in.

Read more on the festival here and a NYT profile on the organizers. 

Rise Against at Lollapalooza 2009. Image by Matt Taplinger from Lollapalooza.

Music festivals are one of the best things about the summer. In cities like New York and Chicago, where being outside for longer than an hour in the middle of winter is painful, being able to go to a multiple-day outdoors anything is a great treat. It's even better when there are hundreds of musical talent playing back to back all day and into the night. 

Recognizing the scale and potential impact of this event, Lollapalooza has made a conscious effort to make it as green as ever! Like Coachella, the organizers of Lolla have put in place several programs to make the festival a more eco-friendly experience. They're encouraging concert goers to bring their own reusable bottles (like Sigg, Nalgene, Kleen Kanteen's) and refill them at free water stations throughout the park. If you have to buy some, they've partnered up with water sponsor h2O, which sells water in paper packaging that you can flatten and recycle after. They've brought back and expanded Green Street, where attendees can get fresh locally-grown produce and goods from businesses in the area. There are Rock & Recycle Centers where anyone can pick up a bag to fill up with empty plastic bottles and get a festival tee or even a bike in return. 

We'll be live tweeting all weekend and reporting next week when we get back. Stay tuned!

--- Viv

It's that simple - just give us your best piece of eco-conscious advice on our Facebook wall, and we'll randomly select a fan to get 2 tickets to a private live performance by Blonde Redhead! In anticipation of the release of their new album, Penny Sparkle, on Sept. 14th, Blonde Redhead will be performing in an invite-only show in NYC next Tuesday. Get their new single "Here Sometimes" at their site.

We can't wait to see the tips. We'll announce the winner on Monday, so check back with us!
Yep, that's a tiny shark. See the video here.

A shark on Georgia Aquarium's Live Shark Cam in Atlanta!

IT'S SHARK WEEK!!! Sharks often get a bad rap for being human-preying monsters, but there's a lot more to this fish than what the media has depicted. The truth is there are hundreds of different species of sharks, most of them avoid humans and aren't looking to kill us (see the Discovery Channel's video where the host tickles a shark's belly!), and they play a huge role, especially the large, overfished ones, in our ecosystems. To celebrate, here are a few types of sharks and their unique characteristics. Click on the related links to read more.

A Pacific Angel Shark. Looks like a sting ray, but it's not. Image from Oceana.

The Whale Shark - the biggest fish in the ocean! 
For a sense of its size, those are people to the right.
Image from Oceana.

A Tawny Nurse Shark. It's a nocturnal bottom-feeder. Image from Oceana.

A Basking Shark - the second largest fish! 
It swims with its mouth open to collect plankton and tiny creatures, and filters out the water. 
Image from Oceana.

Read about the common misconceptions and fascinating characteristics about this marvelous fish, get facts about shark attacks that put them into perspective, learn about shark conservation, and see how to help end shark hunting. And for your daily distraction, here's a quiz to find out what kind of shark you are.

See this video of surfer Holly Beck swimming with the harmless Whale Shark and the most feared Great White!

Happy Shark Week!

---Viv's mission is simple: to make it easier for the public to find environmental information. And boy, is it easy on that site! Clicking on any of the main categories like Recycling, Energy, Water will lead you to a search engine for local and national programs, recent news, and efficient products relevant to each corresponding subject. Under the Education tab, you'll find news about what schools around the country are doing to better the environment, green advice and tips, and a directory for hundreds of colleges and universities to see what green programs they've created for their students.

A search for my alma mater turned up recent news about students growing a sustainable garden on campus, undergrad and grad programs related to the environment, green student groups and resources, and even videos of fuel cell research! The Events tab will keep track of upcoming conferences, and News gives a broader look at eco-happenings around the world. An ever-changing list of recommended internet videos, including this one we posted about last week, keep the site interactive. We're always trying to educate ourselves about the environment, the industry, and all that comes with it, and this site is making it that much easier.

Check it out here!