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Sustainability Photos of the Year

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Contenders for the 2011 Prix Pictet, the world's leading prize for environmental photography, to exhibit in Paris next month.

In three short years, the Prix Pictet has become the global prize for excellence in environmental photography, assembling some of the most powerful images of sustainability (or lack thereof) from around the world. The theme for this year's competition is Growth, which organizers call "one of the great conundrums facing humanity in the early decades of the 21st century." True enough. The winner......read more

Chris Jordan: Gyre

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Historic woodcut recreated using plastic trash from the ocean

Seattle artist Chris Jordan is well known for creating large-scale works depicting mass consumption and waste. Like most people, we first heard about him via "Midway, Message From The Gyre," his Prix Pictet-nominated photo series showing the deadly effects of oceanic plastic pollution on baby albatrosses. We're new to his ongoing "Running the Numbers" series, in which he recreates historic......read more

Gorgonzola Grape Toast

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SHFT Lessons in organic appetizers

Anna Getty, sustainable local organic chef, prepares a delicious appetizer for us. Once again our friend Brendan Hines is a handy sous chef and plays straight man to Anna - or is it the other way around? SecondSHFT holiday cheer recipe from Anna's cookbook, I'M DREAMING OF A GREEN CHRISTMAS....read more

The New Christmas Tree Economy

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A green shift is underway this holiday season. Sustainable evergreens are changing the way we buy Christmas trees.

Great piece in Design Observer from a couple months ago exploring the new economy of the Christmas tree, which is being redefined by growing environmental consciousness and recession frugality. Highlighting some of the tensions that exist in the Christmas ritual - pagan vs. Christian, natural vs. artifical - the essay goes on to underline some of the welcome trends in Christmas tree production......read more

Succulent Ornament by Flora Grubb

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Live succulents make for beautiful Christmas tree decorations $22.00

With this succulent ornament, SHFT friend and garden genius extraordinaire Flora Grubb has created the most meta Christmas decoration of the season.  Mounted on 3.5-inch handcrafted ornamental hooks, the live aeonium or echeveria cuttings look a bit like dangling earrings.  "We got the idea for these ornaments when we noticed that succulent cuttings remain vibrant for months here......read more

Wrapping Paper and the Recycling Bin

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Eco-friendly ideas to wrap up the holiday season

If you're anything like us, Christmas present wrapping gets done on Christmas eve or, if we're lucky, the day before. For all us last-minuters out there, MNN has outlined some simple instructions for wrapping things in an eco-friendly manner. Here's the low-down on keeping your gifts gorgeous but green, from MNN correspondent Cy Tottleben: If you love the game of creating a beautiful mystery......read more

The Chinese Town That Recycles Your Old Christmas Lights

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Every year, 20 million pounds of discarded holiday lights make their way to Shijiao, where they're recycled into slippers and more

A single strand of burnt-out Christmas lights weighs almost nothing in the hand. But a bale of burnt-out Christmas tree lights the size of a love seat? That weighs around 2200 pounds, according to Raymond Li, the general manager of Yong Chang Processing, a scrap metal processor in the southern Chinese town of Shijiao. He would know: on a recent Saturday morning I stood between him and three such......read more

Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, "Christmas Eve Can Kill You"

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Holiday-themed Everly Brothers cover gets a down-home video that has nothing to do with Christmas

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, everyone's favorite Will Oldham alias, has teamed with frequent collaborator Dawn McCarthy (of Faun Fables) on a holiday-themed 7″ featuring a pair of Everly Brothers covers. The video for “Christmas Eve Can Kill You” eschews typical holiday symbols -- snow, presents, lights -- in favor of the good vibes that come with......read more

Christmas Morning Kit by New York Mouth

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This collection of artisanal treats from NYC will make for a perfect Christmas morn $50.00

New York Mouth, online purveyors of artisanal "indie" food from the five boroughs, has assembled what may be the perfect kit for Christmas morning. For parents, there is Bloody Mary Mix from McClure's. Just add some pickled okra (included) and a few fingers of vodka and feel the holiday stress fade away. For the kids, there is delicious Nunu's hot chocolate and a cheery Brooklyn Hard......read more

Circle Squared

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Todd St. John's NYT-commissioned animation explores the theme of giving

Here's an old but great holiday-themed animation by HunterGatherer (aka Brooklyn-based artist/designer Todd St. John). "Circle Squared," originally released in 2007, was commissioned by T Magazine for the Christmas season. The story is told through stop-motion animation, using toy-like hand-made wooden forms, which interact similarly to the way Russian dolls nest. These cube-animal shapes......read more

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