Robyn Griggs Lawrence
There can be no greater happiness, the Japanese say, than to live a life that follows the natural order of things.
Once a barren wasteland destroyed-like much of Costa Rica's land--by decades of cattle ranching, Rancho Margot is now a verdant and productive paradise. Find out how the Sostheim family has accomplished this in just seven years.
Over the past 15 years the noise level in cities has increased sixfold; urban noise doubles every eight to ten years. Even in the country, we can't escape the sound of airplanes and engines. What can you do?
Architecture students designed and built an airy, light-filled Chicken Chapel in Vermont that's light on the land and glows like a Japanese lantern at night.
Rancho Margot in Costa Rica is completely off the grid and constantly closing the circle. Nothing is wasted on this self-sufficient ranch, where everything is considered a resource--including methane from the compost ovens.
Chef Gordon Hamersley's Vegetable Tian makes use of tomatoes, squash and eggplant--all in their prime right now.
Not quite ready to get rid of family heirlooms and art that you don’t have space to display? The Japanese practice of rotating precious items through a special alcove, or tokonoma, on a seasonal basis is less painful than giving away or selling them.
A Berkeley, California, artist has outfitted a dumpster with all the amenities--including granite countertops and hardwood floors--in his mission to "break down what a house should be."
Late summer's hot days give way to cool nights--perfect for sleeping under the stars. Spend a few nights outside, before it's too late.
In a wabi-sabi house, space and light are the most desirable ornaments. Follow these steps to clear the clutter so they can shine through.
Going meatless is a breeze when corn is at its late-summer best and the garden is bursting with squashes. Southwestern calabacitas is a delicious, hearty summer stew that makes the most of this bountiful season.
When we stayed on an organic farm in Costa Rica, my kids and I experienced the beauty of self-sufficiency and saw how truly sustainable development benefits the local community as well as the global one. Mostly, we miss the homemade butter.
Giving yourself a quiet space for retreat and reflection helps nurture quiet, calm and peace.
Meditating has never come naturally to me, probably because of my goal-oriented approach. Wabi-sabi helped me see find peace in simple solitude (and long dog walks) instead.
With its newest offering, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company gives homebuyers the flexibility of a kit house with the fine craftsmanship they expect from the flagship small home builder.
Wabi-sabi is never slobby, but we can allow ourselves to stop trying so hard and just appreciate our warm bed at the end of the day—whether it’s made or not.
From a home built into a cliff to a home built out from laundry soap boxes, these homes prove how fun and satisfying it is to push the conventional edge. It's your house. Create whatever you want.
“For anyone considering downsizing, or considering a small starter home, we say just do it!” Linda Bolton says. “We promise you won’t miss a thing living in a thousand square feet or less. You’ll just have smaller headaches.”
Quick pickles--which don't require turning your kitchen into a sauna--are a fast, fun way to preserve abundant cucumbers (or even green beans). Simply soak vegetables in saltwater and vinegar solutions and let the flavors develop in the fridge.
From the boxy ranch house to the superfluous McMansion, suburban housing has never been particularly inspired. These three homes show what you can do with that raw material, with a little ingenuity and a willingness to work with what's there.
Alma Hecht's renovated century-old cottage is artistic and beautiful--and it inspires her to create wonderful watercolor paintings. Her home is both an outlet and a source for her creativity.
Finally! Design experts and contractors say granite and marble have lost their luster. Find beautiful, natural alternatives to that and solutions to other common design mistakes, including dull color pallettes and overused water features.
Forced to extremes by illness, these homeowners built sacred, beautiful homes completely free of toxic chemicals, petrochemical fumes and other poisons. For all three, better housing has meant better health.
While photographing homes from California to Maine, I’ve found much wabi-sabi brilliance. My favorite shots of all time capture the magic of simplicity, the beauty found in age and the good instincts that wabi-sabi encourages.
Natural beauty is priceless. We can take in and appreciate a great view because we don’t have any hope of owning it, and we can’t manipulate it. With our egos out of the way, we can learn to simply observe.
Sue McKay Miller divested herself of nearly everything she owned and moved into a yurt in the wilderness to determine how much she really needs to live a satisfying life. Turns out, she really doesn't need much.
Katie and Martin Clemons share how they make super-efficient use of every inch in their 36-square-foot kitchen. How much appliance do you really need?
Katie and Martin Clemons are resetting their priorities as they settle happily into a 480-square-foot apartment in Berlin. “Living smaller has taught us to live more simply,” Katie says. They bike more, shower less and enjoy their good life.
Make homegrown tomatoes the star of tonight’s dinner by whipping up Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion. Made with just three ingredients, this sweet, rich sauce is a classic.
Bring back bottle-cutting! This contemporary candelabra, which gives new life to beautiful blue mineral water bottles, will make you rethink that old '70s craft.
Ed and Joan Kobrinski left a large family home for a smaller, simpler cottage—and they’ve never looked back. Their tips for downsizing and living in smaller spaces could help make your transition easier.
Empty nesters Ed and Joan Kobrinski downsized their lifestyle and moved to a smaller home where they could grow more vegetables. "We've learned to enjoy and appreciate living comfortably and contentedly with less," Ed says.
Karen and Tony Tipsword's rehabbed 720-square-foot cabin allows them the freedom and independence to live their dream of running a campground. "Being happy does not mean a large home filled with things," Karen says.
We no longer have to make what we need to get by day by day, but for many the desire lingers—and even surges as a strong cultural movement from time to time. Making and growing things yourself is a gentle rebellion against a mass-produced world.
This mojito recipe from a surprising source--a Teahouse--is light, refreshing and not too sweet--perfect for a warm summer evening.
Taking into account production, processing, consumption and disposal, the Environmental Working Group found that if everyone in the U.S. gave up meat or cheese one day a week for a year, it would be equivalent to taking 7.6 million cars off the road.
Delicious, nutritious quinoa gives nutty goodness to this summer dish that takes advantage of tomatoes, corn and eggplants--summer vegetables at their best.
One small brown bat can eat several thousand insects each night. Install a bat house and invite them to feast in your yard.
Connect together inexpensive mending plates to make these top-shelf candleholders--perfect for patio and porch dining. This simple project takes minutes and costs next to nothing.
Victoria Gazely lives in a 650-square-foot homesteader's cabin built by a man who didn't need closets. She's found five great ways to stash her stuff without renovating--and her solutions work for anyone who needs to hide a few things.
Victoria Gazely considers her revitalized 650-square-foot homesteader’s cabin on 7 acres of fertile earth--purchased for $150--a blessing. “I absolutely love living here,” she says.
Wabi-sabi is wildflowers, not roses; weathered wood, not plastic laminate; native landscaping, not Kentucky bluegrass. Pictures tell a thousand words.
In the kitchen, we can cultivate our sense of aesthetics and function. Tools can be beautiful. Food can be art. Cooking can be meditation.
In a Boulder, Colorado, neighborhood, residents are getting off the grass. They're donating their front yards to a community organization that grows enough fruits and vegetable on the former lawns to feed 50 families. Now, that's local food.
In Oak Park, Michigan, a mother of six faces 93 days in jail for planting vegetables in her front yard. People across the country are rallying to her defense.
Ryan Mitchell, founder of TheTinyLife.com, is saving up to pay cash for a 130-square-foot home on wheels in North Carolina. He’s seeking perspective, clarity—and a girlfriend who gets it.
Fusion Bread Salad makes use of the cherry tomatoes and basil that are prime right now--and you don't have to heat up the kitchen to make this hearty, nutritious main dish.
To satisfy today's home buyer, a developer of million-dollar luxury homes in New York is offering smaller, more affordable houses--more anecdotal evidence that the McMansion is dying.
Give your bathroom a little flair--and have fun doing it--by creating a backsplash from pebbles, pennies or whatever's rattling around in the bottom of the toolbox. This fun, simple project is perfect for everyone--whether you're a DIYer or not.
Diana and Tony Varnes are the happiest they’ve ever been, and they attribute their well being to living in a small home. They have more time for reading, talking and enjoying the outdoors—and their relationship is better than ever.
Wabi-sabi is sinewy, flecked browns and yellowed greens, the myriad stone and moss shades, a slate-gray cloud’s washed violet underside. Like nature, wabi-sabi paints in multidimensional swatches that are never what they appear to be.
As the economy improves, the trend toward smaller homes is reversing.
This simple, chilled Spanish soup featuring fresh summer herbs--basil, cilantro and parsley--in a cool, tangy tomato base is sure to be a hit at your Fourth of July picnic.
Use an old aluminum can and branch trimmings to make a rustic and beautiful vase. This simple project using humble materials costs nearly nothing and looks like a million bucks.
Salt glaze pottery, primitive colonial furnishings and pewter bring wabi-sabi into your home--while honoring our American traditions.
Wabi-sabi has infused Western design for centuries—though its advocates rarely knew it. It’s in the plain, efficient homes built by the Shakers, the unsentimental Arts and Crafts style, Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie houses and midcentury furniture.
Sayra and Dominic live with their 5-year-old daughter in a charming 550-square-foot home in rural Idaho. There are challenges, but they've found that less really is more. "It's like living in a fun clubhouse," Sayra says.
Follow these simple guidelines to make the most of your small space: contain clutter, find furnishings do double-duty, and make maximum use of color and light.
This Meatless Monday, whip up a batch of Julia Butterfly Hill's Top Anything Sauce, made with peanut or almond butter, and make a meal out of fresh veggies and quinoa.
This home in the Florida Keys captures prevailing breezes and takes advantage of passive cooling techniques such as open walls and a reflective roof to keep its occupants cool and comfortable without air conditioning.
Pick some pretty leaves, paint them and press their likenesses onto an inexpensive shower curtain liner to make a shower curtain much prettier than anything found in stores.
“Do you sometimes feel like your life is a microfield for everything that’s going on today?” scholar, philosopher and researcher Dr. Jean Houston, one of the foremost visionary thinkers and doers of our time and a founder of the Human Potential Movement, asked the crowd gathered this morning for the LOHAS Forum in Boulder, Colorado. That got my attention, especially when she went on to say that humans now face “the most profound task in human history—choosing whether we grow or whether we die.”
At this moment, Houston says, many of us are “encapsulated bags of skin carrying around dreary little egos,” caught up in “lives of serial monotony.” Still, she has hope. Humans, she said, have an opportunity to play a role in “the greatest transition the world has ever seen, the most far-reaching and rapid change in our history.”
“We are coded with potentials, few of which we ever learn to use,” Houston said. “We can no longer be half-life versions of ourselves, and something huge is beginning to happen as the world’s mind is discovering itself.”
Chris Kilham—founder of Medicine Hunter, TV personality and author of 14 books on natural health and plant-based medicines—speaks about three plants he's disovered that could make a profound difference in our health -- naturally.
On Wabi-Sabi Wednesdays, I feature excerpts from my book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House, which was released last month.
Wabi-sabi’s roots lie in Zen Buddhism, brought from China to Japan by 12th-century traveling monk Esai, who also picked up a few tea seeds while he was there. Zen, with its principles of “vast emptiness and nothing holy,” stresses austerity, communion with nature, and reverence for everyday life and everyday mind as the path to enlightenment. Zen monks lived ascetic, often isolated, lives and sat for long periods of concentrated meditation. To help his fellow monks stay awake during these sessions, Eisai taught them how to process tea leaves into a hot drink. Tea had arrived in Japan.
Once it left the monk's hands, tea took on a life of its own. Around the 14th century, the ruling classes developed elaborate rituals that took place in large tea rooms built in a gaudy style known as shoin, with imported hanging scrolls and formally arranged tables for vases and incense burners. Tea practitioners proved their wealth and status through their collections of elegant tea utensils and lacquered serving ware during three-day weekends where up to 100 cups of tea--as well as food and sake--were served. All of the day's revered Tea masters pushed the opulent style, to the delight of Chinese merchants and importers.
At the Healthy Homes Conference in Denver today, I heard Home Depot Foundation CEO Fred Wacker say that the nonprofit sector is so far ahead of the profit sector in addressing healthy homes that it’s embarrassing for the profit sector.
I heard Ellen Tohn of Tohn Environmental Strategies say that the government will fund energy-efficiency updates in 1 million homes in the next year, making it paramount that energy workers understand healthy home principles. Poorly done house tightening could trap residents inside with contaminants and create hazards.
And I was pleased to hear health care pioneer Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, put quality housing in the same arena as diet, exercise and public policy as a key to achieving individual health. “If you don’t have healthy housing, I don’t care how many times you push away from the table or how far you walk, you’re not going to be healthy,” he said.
Summer's here, but the solar panels that President Obama promised to install on the White House this spring aren't. Today the administration announced that it's still working out the details. We'll just have to wait.
Matt and Kelly Grocoff keep cool in Michigan by taking advantage of their 110-year-old home's natural ventilation strategies. It's as easy as opening a couple of strategically placed windows.
There’s plenty you can do to protect yourself—inside your home and out—from the potential risks of electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation.
James E. Churchill’s advice for finding and preparing chicory, mint, catnip and blackberries, found in a 1970 issue of Mother Earth News, is timeless—and very timely right now.
Ann Harvey Yonkers, founder of Washington, D.C.'s FreshFarm Markets co-op, nests eggs in a bed of wilted fresh greens for a delicious meatless summertime brunch or dinner.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems rely on the earth’s constant underground temperature of 45 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit to provide comfortable indoor climates. The technology works in any size or style home, in nearly any setting on earth.
Last October, President Obama filled us all with hope when he announced he would install solar panels on the White House by this spring. The panels haven't materialized, and the White House isn't talking. Call Obama and find out what's up.
Mother has always known best, and these tips for reusing what would otherwise be garbage are as relevant today as they were in 1970.
This small project could gain you big time savings. Simply screw a few hooks inside a pretty cigar box, give it a knob and hang it near the door. Never search for lost keys again!
Americans are being asked to turn up the thermostat 3 degrees on June 21. If you find you don't notice the difference, why not keep it up? You will notice the difference in your electric bill.
Housekeeping tips mined from the second issue of Mother Earth News--published in 1970--are surprisingly relevant today. Use these to make this task--which we all have to do sooner or later--more efficient and enjoyable.
Blume Distillation debuts appropriate-scale biofuel distillation equipment that will allow farmers, entrepreneurs, municipalities and communities to produce their own alcohol fuel from a variety of readily available fuel stock sources.
Cable set-top boxes in the United States consume 27 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity—equivalent to the annual output of nine coal-fired power plants. Cable providers have a lot of energy-efficient improvements to make.
The nation's largest community-owned solar array in Rifle, Colorado, will provide clean energy for up to 350 residents, who don't even need a roof to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy.
Outdoor kitchens, dining areas and living rooms are a great way to expand your home's living space. Designers offer advice on how to make the most of the great outdoors--in your own backyard.
In a wabi-sabi garden, plants are chosen because they belong in that garden and in that climate, and they’re allowed to strut their stuff if they’re considerate of the plants around them. Both plants and guests are encouraged to meander and explore.
Wabi-sabi is underplayed and understated, a quiet, undeclared beauty that waits patiently to be discovered. It’s a fragmentary glimpse: the branch representing the tree, shoji screens filtering the sun, the moon obscured behind a ribbon of cloud.
Barter markets--great big swap meets where you can trade what you don't want for things that you do--have become commonplace in Spain and are spreading throughout Europe. This video shows why we may want to start those over here.
Despite their widespread use, nanoparticles are not well classified, regulated or even understood. Fortunately, the FDA is signaling a turn toward more accurate classification and rules for their use.
After a wildfire destroyed their off-the-grid compound in Colorado, Betty and Rolland rebuilt—better than before—following Rolland’s creed: no plywood, no plastic and nothing that smells bad when it burns. The wildlife around their home approve.
When the dining table is laden down with mail, laptops and other clutter, the entire house feels messy. Follow these seven steps to keep your dining table free of detritus. (Set it for dinner right after breakfast, if you have to.)
Save money and keep harsh chemicals out of your kitchen by making your own dishwasher detergent. It takes just seconds to make a powdered or liquid version.
Kansas City's 18Broadway project is a superb example of how to capture and store rainwater to grow food in the heart of downtown.
After years of caving to the chemical industry, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has delcared formaldehyde—common in particleboard, plastics and textiles—a known human carcinogen.
Julia Butterfly Hill understands the need for extreme measures when it comes to environmental activism. In the late 1990s, she spent 738 days living in a redwood tree named Luna, to bring attention to the plight of the world’s ancient forests. Through her vigil, she negotiated to permanently protect the 1,000 year-old tree and a nearly three- acre buffer zone. She says that our forks are also powerful change agents.
“I love food!” Hill told Natural Home & Garden. “I love preparing meals that are both decadently delicious and happily healthy. I’m a joyous vegan, and I celebrate how fabulous this lifestyle is for my body, my world, my planet, and for the animals as well.”
Hill eats animal-free food that’s organic, local, in season, and free of added junk—food that she calls “a celebration of life.” Her recipe for delicious vegan lasagna takes about a half hour to prepare and provides plenty of opportunity for interpretation. If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, substitute 1 teaspoon each of the dried herbs or 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning.
I had such a great time talking with attendees at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Washington, this past weekend about how to make green cleaners. As always, I learned a new trick or two, and I promised everyone I’d recap our conversation here for easy access. Today let’s talk about some of the unexpected food items—most of which you already have in your kitchen cupboards—that can be used to clean your home.
Use tea to remove old furniture polish and prepare wooden furniture for polishing. Simply soak a rag in room-temperature tea, then run it over the wood. The tea’s tannic acid makes your wood shine while removing all the dirt. Once that’s done, you can use mayonnaise to make the piece shine. Just rub the mayo into the wood, then follow with a damp rag and a few drops of vinegar to remove any residue. Olive oil is also a great natural furniture
Existing homes that are certified as “green” sold for 30 percent more than homes without such a designation, according to an analysis of the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan region released today by Earth Advantage Institute, a nonprofit green building resource. Newly constructed homes with a sustainability certification sold for 8 percent more than non-certified homes.
This result continues a four-year trend in which new homes with third-party certification for sustainable construction and energy performance have consistently sold for more than newly constructed homes that had not been certified. The term "certified home" includes homes that received an Earth Advantage New Homes, ENERGY STAR, or a LEED for Homes designation, or a combined Earth Advantage/ENERGY STAR certification.
After working four jobs to make payments on their larger home, Debra and Gary downsized--to 320 square feet. The family lacks for nothing, and guests are always welcome. "I've got everything I need," Debra says. And their $20K house is paid off.
I envision this chandelier—made entirely of items recovered from the recycling bin—hanging over a dining table on the patio. Making it is a pretty big project, though, and I would have to call in a friend with a jigsaw to help. (I don’t have the tools—or skills—that former Natural Home & Garden art director Susan Wasinger, who dreamed up this project, does.) Aside from the saw, the materials for this one are simple: used baby-food jars, a few yards of twisted wire, a couple repurposed barrel hoops and a length of rusty chain. And happily, I can make the “lite” version–pretty votive holders—which lets me stop before power tools are needed.
No party is complete without cake, and this delicious Sunshine Cake has been the crowning glory of every Summer Solstice party I’ve ever thrown. Sharon Kebschull Barrett, one of my favorite herbal chefs, developed this recipe for her 1999 book Desserts from an Herb Garden (one of my bibles). Lemony, with a surprising hint of rosemary, this cake just tastes like summer—and the bright yellow color celebrates the sun.
Sweet Iced Tea is a delicious Southern tradition, but store-bought concoctions are often full of high fructose corn syrup and other nasties. This recipe incorporates fresh herbs, which add natural sweetness and help knock down the sugar content.
Sangria is the perfect summertime libation for a thirsty crowd. Fresh fruits and herbs combine with wine and liqueur for a colorful, festive "punch" that packs a punch.
Noxious fumes aren’t conducive to happy cleaning. Give all your homemade cleaning solutions an invigorating and healthy boost by adding a few drops of pure plant essential oils such as lavender or lemon. Heavenly!
My old wabi-sabi home stood witness to celebration, sorrow, our children’s first words and fumbling first steps, dinners shared at the end of each day. It provided all that a home could and should, and now it's my lesson in non-attachment.
When my former boss suggested we photograph my annual summer solstice party, I quietly panicked and then got busy. Borrow some of our ideas and gather your tribe to celebrate the longest day of the year--lavishly or lazily, traditionally or not.
Let's quash, once and for all, the notion that only harmful chemicals can kill germs and bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract are natural antibacterials that keep your home clean--and safeguard your family's health.
There's only one rule for wabi-style flowers: strive for a natural look, with seasonal blooms and branches arranged as they are in the field. Don't worry about perfection. Your "arrangement" is a humble admission that we can't improve on nature.
Highlights from the "Make Your Own Green Cleaners--for Pennies" workshop at the Mother Earth News Fair: How to use vinegar and baking soda to clean just about everything.
Swamp Hut is a complex of four 8-by-12-foot huts surrounding a deck with a fireplace. This an off-the-grid, light-on-the-land summer getaway could easily be replicated in your favorite vacation spot.
A new study has found that biodegradable plastic's rapid rate of decomposition could cause the release of methane, a greenhouse gas. The study's authors suggest that petroleum-based products might be preferable. We need better alternatives than that.
These money- and waste-saving alternatives to paper and plastic products eliminate the temptation to resort to disposable for your summertime outdoor dining needs.
Food preservation expert Sherri Brooks Vinton makes food preservation look easy and shares helpful hints about equipment and technique during a standing-room-only workshop at the Fair.
Alabama Chanin makes sumptuous fabrics from scraps, Mona Hoffman imagines the people she's crafting each lamp for as she makes it, and potter Shiho Kanzaki believes that attitude is everything. These are a few of my favorite wabi-sabi artists.
Sen no Rikyu's simple, unpretentious ceremony using rustic, local tools usurped the elaborate, ostentatious Tea ceremonies that were the norm in 16th-century Japan. His "aesthetic of the people" made Tea accessible to all--and endures to this day.
When a fire destroyed their home and office near San Luis Obispo, Ken Haggard and Polly Cooper seized the opportunity to build the off-the-grid straw bale home of their dreams. Their comfortable compound now houses two other families as well.
With no building experiment and only the information they found online as their guide, Kyle and Jeannie built a sweet little home on wheels. In this video, they share what they learned in the process and invite you inside.
A proper tea house is a luxury I believe in.
Since they built their solar- and wind-powered cordwood home in Desboro, Ontario, Lisa and Ray Racicot have never looked back. The only thing they'll do differently next time is install the renewable energy systems first, to power the construction.
Cut old milk jugs into the shape of your choice, rough them up with sandpaper and string them together to make surprisingly pretty window shades that offer privacy while letting the sun shine in.
After a tree crushed the back of their shotgun home (while 40 Hurricane Katrina refugees were camped out there), a Baton Rouge couple rebuilt a green, energy-efficient house that encourages connection with their neighborhood's "front porch" culture.
Ever wonder what, exactly, you're getting when you pay a little extra for Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood and paper products? This video offers a comprehensive look at the FSC's roots and branches.
Gardening can make a difference! Across the country, people are building rain gardens to filter contaminants and ease overburdened stormwater systems. Here's how to build a rain garden in 10 easy steps.
This 19th-century Creole cottage was disassembled, moved and meticulously reassembled and restored on a new site in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Built for its climate, the welcoming home is an excellent example of passive cooling and material reuse.
A flea market basket that called to me, my grandmother's hand-embroidered linens and a quilt made by a circle of women in Minnesota are among the wabi-sabi items that I wouldn't want to be without.
Learn to let go of associations with price, value, age and prestige and just appreciate beauty without judgment. Nature is the best muse for cultivating wabi-sabi.
"Green" cleaning products are awash with misleading labels and false claims. Always look for a third-party certification to assure you're buying the healthiest, most environmentally friendly cleaners.
The $300 House Project challenges student and professional designers to create housing that shelters the poorest of the poor with safety and dignity. Winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to see their $300 houses built and reproduced.
A good layer of environmentally friendly mulch such as eucalyptus, pine bark or cocoa hulls will discourage weeds, keep soil up to 10 degrees cooler and help prevent plant disease. What's your favorite green mulch?
Sauteed spring greens and mushrooms dress up polenta in this nutritious, satisfying main dish.
MIT students have developed an outdoor rocking lounge chair that doubles as a solar charging station, recasting power generation as an integrated and distributed public activity.
NXP's wifi light bulb would allow homeowners to turn LED and compact fluorescent lights on and off from anywhere, using any Internet-enabled device. Some say it's the first step toward building "smart" computer-controlled homes. Do we need this?
The Burning House website asks people to post lists and photos of everything they would take if their house were on fire. It's an interesting glimpse into what really matters--and a bittersweet reminder to love what we have.
Turn terra cotta planter pots into candle holders. This super simple project is an inexpensive way to bring a little romance to your garden.
Simone Swan built her off-the-grid domed and vaulted home in Presidio, Texas, as a model of how financially and thermally efficient adobe can be. For $50 a square foot, she built a masterpiece. She says you can, too.
Air conditioning accounts for as much as 20 percent of the average homeowner's utility bill. These simple tips can help you reduce your mechanical cooling needs, meaning more money for you and better-quality air for the world.
Take a lesson from Southerners, who know a thing or two about keeping cool naturally. These homes take advantage of old-fashioned and cutting-edge passive cooling techniques to stay temperate even during hot Southern summers.
Earth floors are a durable, versatile and attractive option for new homes and renovations alike.
In the first study of its kind, Duke University researchers found multiple toxic chemical flame retardants in car seats, breast-feeding pillows, changing pads, crib wedges and bassinet mattresses. Ask about flammability standards before you buy.
In her new book, Micro-Green: Tiny Houses in Nature, Mimi Zeiger profiles 36 creative, innovative small dwellings that represent a "new, rich architectural typology." Here are eight great examples to start fueling your fantasies.
Inspired by back-to-the-landers Scott and Helen Nearing, Kate NaDeau grows her own food and enjoys the simple pleasures of seasonal living in her handbuilt stone cottage in Maine. She is the epitome of good wabi-sabi living.
If we use high-quality items in our everyday lives, our lives become a sort of training. By using each item with care and careful consideration, the way we live becomes a tradition.
The original weeHouse prefabricated kit house is 435 efficiently designed square feet and comes with everything you need to live well. Need more space? You can snap together two or more of the modules to satisfy your needs.
Bird-X's new Bed Bug Alert is a business card-size device that can be slipped under a mattress or into any tight spot to attract and trap bed bugs--alerting you to a problem before it's too late.
Every good home needs a porch. From fireside chats to sleeping--and even hanging laundry--porches can accommodate every aspect of our lives. Here are five inspiring examples to put a fire under your porch-sitting fantasies.
Is your patio short on space? Check out the Hot Pot BBQ, a grill that doubles as an herb planter.
Just as libraries transformed society by giving everyone access to books, the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library is providing all citizens the opportunity to borrow seeds and grow their own food. Start a seed-lending library in your town!
Celebrate Meatless Monday with this sweet, tangy spring risotto.
The Joy of Green Cleaning is a fantastic resource with recipes to clean everything from grout to sheepskins.
Bring some spring into your life. Sprinkle some wheat grass seeds in an old apothecary jar and watch them grow.
BPA levels in families who ate fresh rather than canned and packaged food dropped by 60 percent, a study found. Cooking at home with fresh food is the best way to avoid this potentially dangerous chemical
"Organic farmers have the right to raise our organic crops without the threat of invasion by Monsanto's genetic contamination and without harassment by a reckless polluter. Beginning today, America asserts her right to justice and pure food."
Strongly influenced by wabi-sabi's principles, the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement railed against "the swinish luxury of the rich," ornamental excess and the poverty of people who lacked creativity.
As farmers markets open across the country, here are 10 good reasons to get out and support your local farmers. (The freshest seasonal food is just a part of it.)
Only 43 percent of Americans know what smart grid technology is, and of those, 70 percent don’t really understand how it works, according to a survey released today.
Made from natural minerals, sea salt, water, sand, recycled coal byproducts and natural fibers, CompoClay is a promising alternative to gypsum, engineered wood and resins.
Gina Luker of The Shabby Chic Cottage turns a flea market suitcase and baskets into a wonderful bedside table that doubles as valuable storage.
When Steve Sikora and Lynette Erickson-Sikora restored Frank Lloyd Wright's first small, affordable home, they discovered how green the iconic architect really was.
Alka-Seltzer can give your cleaning routine a little extra fizz. Try it for unclogging drains and cleaning toilets.
Our “needs” for the latest gadgets elevates our energy consumption, even with the onslaught of energy-efficient appliances and consumer electronics in recent years.
Perfect for spring, this pasta dish can be made with the spring herbs that are popping up in your garden or market and a little leftover wine (either red or white will do).
One of the nation's largest home developers announces it will offer solar arrays as standard features on new homes in California.
To build Finca Exotica, a sustainable resort on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, the owners took advantage of plentiful native bamboo, kept the footprint small and let buildings unfold organically.
Finca Exotica is ideal for travelers who want to immerse themselves in the Osa Peninsula's bounty and learn about permaculture and sustainable building.
Luna Lodge, on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, relies on hydro power.
The White Hawk Project aims to save an endangered stretch of primary virgin rainforest on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula.
At Luna Lodge, a quiet resort and spa on the Osa Peninsula, pampers and educates guests about living sustainably.
Green America offers savvy shoppers daily discounts--and reassurance that they're buying green--through GreenDeals.
NaturalNews readers overwhelmingly chose Monsanto as the world's Most Evil Corporation.
Evergreen Institute founder's Missouri home burns; wood furnace is suspected cause.
Bryan Welch's book, Beautiful and Abundant, provides a framework for understanding and evaluating ecotourism's impact on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula.
EcoSet consulting company helps Target and other corporations cut down on garbage and carbon during commercial production.
New investment in clean energy reached $243 billion last year, driven by soaring activity in China, offshore wind and European rooftop photovoltaics