Stay sustainable in the dark.


The Picnic Principle

We can all admit that picnicking in the heart of summer seems like an invitation to dine in hell. But the allure of an evening picnic with friends (or alone, if you so desire) is a romantic one, with the promise of reflection and relaxation not so easily obtained in broad daylight. Read the rest of this page »

WGD Recap – Gathering of Angels in ATL

The sun was inviting and the souls were warm at Piedmont Park last Sunday. A sea of black rested upon the grass, and folks sang along to the howlings of Siouxsie Sioux, The Mission,  Clan of Xymox, Bauhaus, and more. It was a shining example that the Gothic community still thrives, despite known chatter that it is deteriorating across the nation.

Check out a few of the scenes at this lovely event. If you’re in the ATL area and want to be present for the next event, you might want to follow the Facebook page for easy access.


From the Grave…And Just In Time For Festivities!

Ooh, it’s almost like we’ve been dead the entire time! But FG’s semi-active again between agricultural duties (yippee!), and we’ll be covering lots of cool topics in the coming weeks!

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Scrypt: Grave Matters

A while back, FG did a quick snippet on some eco-friendly final resting options one might consider. But if you’re still leaning towards the conventional coffin-and-underground-burial ceremony, there’s one tell-all book that sheds light on the death industry and the environmental mayhem it leaves behind. Mark Harris’s Grave Matters follows modern families as they send off their loved ones in different ways, starting from the most common (and damaging) methods up to those with the least ecological footprint.

Capping off at just under 200 pages, Harris breaks down chapter-by-chapter the experiences each particular family goes through when arranging their dead’s ceremonies.

No detail is left untouched: ambiance and overall emotional feel of each burial, average costs of each burial method and ceremony, and a cheat-sheet at the end of each story summing up what you should’ve taken from the chapter.

Perhaps one of the first book-clenching moments was a detailed segment on embalming–a practice that was for a long time rejected in the American eye as unholy and pagan. Between reading the graphic details on how embalmers stuff cotton balls in orifices in order to prevent chemical leakage, and horror stories about the scents and sights of exploding caskets caused by anaerobic decomposition, one would definitely think twice about what’s deemed a “proper burial”.

Between these episodes lies environmental evaluation at every turn. Cemetery grounds are home to a myriad of toxic chemicals including formaldehyde, heavy metals, and (lesser in newer generations) arsenic. Harris states there’s no systematic procedure for testing groundwater pollution on or around burial grounds, nor is there a standard for the amount of formaldehyde available in potable water…which should raise even more of a concern to those who frequent graves and crypts.

Luckily, explanations of ecologically-sound burials are revealed in the later chapters. Cremation, water burials, and the simple-yet-intimate on-property burial all get analyzed in this expansive, exploratory work. Both a resource and an enjoyable read, Mark Harris brings to light processes deemed too dark for mainstream discussion about better ways to tend to our dead.

Hopefully you can snag a copy of Grave Matters at your local book swap/store. If that isn’t possible, expect to pay between $12 and $14 online for this fundamental read.

TTT: “New Year, New Tea”

Image: Nebojsa Mladjenovic, Flickr.




In case you weren’t aware, January marks itself as Hot Tea Month in the States. While a perfectly brewed pot of tea can be delightful, certain tea practices actually do the planet more harm than good. Here are a few tips and products you can snag to ensure minimal waste and maximum taste.

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Lurid Illustrations: Joe Buglewicz, Klaus Pichler

With nearly 1/3 of all edible food parts wasted around the world annually and roughly 40% of all food in the U.S. destined for the dump, the collective disconnect and unrealistic expectations of our food supplies does the planet a tremendous amount of harm.

How so? Well, unless there’s active trash sorting and composting, food waste get dropped off in a landfill.

There, the food suffocates, desperately trying to make itself useful by re-nourishing soils. But since it sits side by side with used diapers and exhausted AA batteries, it will only amount to highly potent methane gases–the major contributors to climate change.

So what can be done?  Reading journals and reports regarding food waste would be too consuming for many. However, if people could view the end game of leftover quinoa and uneaten grapes, perhaps the sights would fester in the mind and get people to think about their own food usage and consumption habits.

At least, that’s what artists Joe Buglewicz and  Klaus Pichler thought with their respective artistic endeavors exploring food decay and waste.

Back in 2012, Buglewicz photographed an array of foods in his refrigerator that were lost, forgotten, or otherwise non-existent until atrophy took hold. In an article, Buglewicz explained his intentions to raise food waste awareness, and his attempt to change the way people perceive rotten food. Although his intent to cut down food waste didn’t go as planned, he felt that a visual approach could better enlighten individuals about what true rot looks like.

Similarly, Klaus Pichler decided to photograph nature taking its course after learning the harrowing facts regarding global food wastes. During an interview, Pichler explained the complexity of this project, specifically speaking about the extra research required just to track the cradle-to-grave of each food item. After capturing the lives of 55 various edibles, he was moved to make more sustainably-sound food choices, including buying locally and joining a food co-op.

Pichler’s “One Third” photography book  is available for purchase here.


Relay: Mesquite’s Monster Fashion Show

Mesquite, Texas: Last Saturday at  Town East Mall, recycled couture fused with the spirit of Halloween at the Great Big Spooky-Wooky Recycled Costume Contest.

This was the 6th annual recycled fashion show Keep Mesquite Beautiful has hosted, and all were welcome to submit their festive upcycled garments.

Image: Becky Martinez

Image: Keep Mesquite Beautiful

Their main advert featured a Tim-Burton-inspired Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, (played by the mystical Helena Bonham Carter). Keep Mesquite Beautiful’s executive director Paige Swiney took the time to breakdown the process of creating the queen– a job far less taxing then you might have imagined.

Swiney and a few other board members worked together in parts, gathering and piecing together recyclables that people would come into contact with on a daily basis. The computer components were gathered at a local electronics equipment recycler, and the billboard wasn’t that much of a challenge to obtain.

“…They can hold [the billboards] for 90 days until the owner claims them. If they’re unclaimed…they will recycle them.” Keep that in mind, D.I.Y. or DIE crowd.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect about the costume was the actual construction. “We taped it onto the model,” Paige explained. “It probably took…only a few hours. The hardest part was doing the makeup.” The ease and flexibility of creating an affixed costume turned out excellent, and that approach is always easier for busy parties interested in upcycling old parts into works of wearable art.

Other costumes included this clockwork dolly and the awfully fierce cousin of Godzilla. About 4,000 people saw the show over different periods of time, which was a stellar turnout for this public event.

“There is a lot of imagination and creativity that goes into these costumes,” Paige stated. “If we created something for Halloween, or inspired people to think about their Halloween costumes differently…we can challenge people to think differently about trash.”

Sure, there’s eight days left until Halloween. But that’s more than enough time to gather materials to whip up your own recycled Halloween costume this year.


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