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Author Archives: Maria
Would you describe yourself as a modern parent trying to lead a sustainable lifestyle for your family? If your answer is a resounding “yes”, then boil the kettle and put your feet up as there’s a new magazine that is sure to help steer you in the right direction. USA based Natural Child World (NCW) magazine features innovative and modern product design for your children along with articles and tips from a variety of experts on child rearing – in a modern and sustainable way. No tie dye or hippies in sight – promise!
NCW first launched in L.A in early 2011, and quickly attracted a national readership across the USA via outlets such as Barnes and Noble and Wholefoods USA. To celebrate its first birthday, the magazine has just launched worldwide via online subscription, making it an easy and accessible read from your ipad, laptop or desktop computer!
Barbara Manconi, Managing Editor of NCW is no newcomer to the sustainability scene. With a background in “green” marketing, teaching and consultancy work she brings many years experience to NCW. She generously gave us her time to answer a few questions, plus provide us with a quick peek at what to expect in next month’s mag.
1. Where did the idea for Natural Child World stem from?
First and foremost from the love for children and the love for beautiful design. NCW was born with aspiration to promote the attractive side of sustainability to modern parents with a conscience and a taste for life. I wanted to defeat a stereotype: green means sacrifices. I wanted to prove that is possible to live a healthier and a more sustainable life without sacrificing style, taste or performance.
NCW is the result of many years of experience as a marketing professional consulting for international clients and teaching at major American Universities Sustainability and Green Strategies. I couldn’t find for my clients an outlet that would feature exceptional design, great photography and sustainable principles. The sad choice was simply between traditional parenting magazines full of redundant information and far from sustainable content or “tree hugger/granola” type of publication that would alienate the majority of people not willing to “commit” to that extent.
2. What are the main features readers can expect to find in the magazine?
The magazine has a heavy focus on design and style. Simply because giant leaps have been achieved in these industries and amazing companies are producing beautiful products using sustainable principles as tools for innovation. For this reason many of our readers compare us to Dwell magazine. For our clean and minimalistic design and content we have been compared to Wallpaper magazine. The most important thing that also sets us apart I think is the fact that we feature international and global content. From the Fashion Summit in Copenhagen to the small design studio in Melbourne, we bring to our readers the latest trends in modern parenting and modern sustainability with no boundaries and borders. So that parents can feel inspired and more connected.
3. What do you see as the important issues for raising children in today’s climate?
Education is key. At different levels. A) Parents need to educate themselves more than ever to be able to make informed decisions for their families and be able to navigate through often misleading claims. B) Parents need to understand the responsibility of being role models for their children and start shifting to healthier and more sustainable behavior that can be emulated by the little ones.
4. What do you see as important features in designing new products for children?
Leaving aside safety standards that are obviously key, a successful product nowdays is a product that can “grow” with the child. Children grow so fast and get bored so easily, a product that can follow and adapt to multiple life stages will last longer, will meet parents’ (and wallets’) favor as well as create less waste. Another key element is also the opportunity to spur children’s imagination. A new generation of children are growing up oversaturated with technology, and parents are increasingly concerned that imagination and active play are at risk. This is an amazing opportunity for companies to come up with creative ideas.
5. What were your top 3 children’s design products for 2011?
- Kalon Studios Hut Hut Kids, a modern reinterpretation of the rocking horse, created with innovative non-toxic resins (kalonstudios.com);
- 5 Phases 1st hybrid baby bottle internal glass bottle + covered by a shell of plastic; and
- Ubabub pod cribs, ultra stylish and safe, and…Australian!!
6. Can you give us a sneak peek into what’s in store for Natural Child World 2012?
We will be expanding online, launching our online shop and affiliate program, and we are looking at international distribution in Europe, Australia and Asia.
7. Where can Australian readers find your magazine?
The print edition can be purchased online at www.naturalchildworld.com and we are launching our digital edition for computers and iPad in March 2012. This will be available on our website as well and on zinio.com. Currently we are looking into physical distribution into Australia and New Zealand.
++ GIVEAWAY DETAILS ++
To celebrate the worldwide launch, we have 3 online subscriptions to giveaway!
To enter simply follow instructions below.
(i) LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW telling us why you’d like to win a subscription to Natural Child World; AND for an extra entry
(ii) By midnight on Friday 24th Feb (Australian EST), “Like” Natural Child World on facebook with comment “I’d love to read Natural Child World in Australia”.
The winners will be drawn at random on Saturday 25th February 2012 (Australian EST). The winners will be notified by email. GOODLUCK!
When most of us think of Far North Queensland (FNQ) in Australia, we think rainforest, reef, beaches, gorges, humid days and balmy nights. It is all that …and a LOT more. I was lucky enough to live in Cairns in the early 1990’s and discovered many treasures off the beaten track, and am delighted to find there’s another reason to go back. Late last year, EcoTourism Australia awarded Paronella Park the coveted Gecko Award, that recognizes outstanding excellence in sustainable tourism.
Situated just over an hour’s drive South of Cairns, Paronella Park is like discovering a hidden oasis in the desert..except that it’s more hidden castle in delightful lush rainforest.
The story behind Paronella is as captivating as the concrete moss covered buildings themselves. Put VERY briefly, a Spaniard named Jose Paronella purchased the 13 acres of scrub in Mene Creek in 1929 whilst on his honeymoon. Just six years later, it was opened to the public featuring grand open air staircases, reception centre buildings complete with dance hall (with giant mirrored ball of course), a theatre and refreshment rooms. Over subsequent years 7,000 trees were planted, a hydro electric generating plant installed, natural swimming pool tennis courts and children’s playground. All however has not been beer and skittles. Over the past 70 years, various natural disasters have struck – flood, fire, and three cyclones have proved challenging, but somehow Paronella with its’ old and now present owners Mark and Judy Evans, has faced those disasters, picked up the pieces and soldiered on.
Mark and Judy Evans have made Paronella Park their home for the past 9 years, and have embraced the legacy of founder, Jose Paronella in continuing to provide a special place for the public to visit. Since 2009 they have injected an impressive $450,000 into bringing the hydro-electric pump back to life which again provides all electricity to the park. Here, they share with us a little insight into their life at Paronella Park:
1. Tell us about how you first came across Paronella Park in the early 1990’s. We came across Paronella Park almost by chance. As a family, we had been travelling around Australia in a caravan for 18 months. We arrived in Cairns in late 1993 and were told about a “Castle for sale down the road”. It seemed interesting enough to at least drive down and take a look! What we found was very run down and overgrown, but we could see enormous potential. We purchased the Park just before Christmas that year and were greeted by a flood just a few weeks later – this was our introduction to life at Paronella Park, in the tropics.
2. What sustainable features have been implemented into Paronella Park since 1993? Initially, it was more about uncovering and repairing some of the sustainable features that the Park’s founder, José Paronella,had put in place back in the 1930s. José was a pioneer in Ecotourism – he planted over 7000 trees and plants, he used recycled materials in his building, he harnessed the waterfall to create hydroelectricity, and he used gravity to feed the fountains. Amazingly, things like José’s gravity fed fountain was almost still operational. We unblocked some piping and the fountains sprang back to life! Initially, the most significant project was clearing away many of the weeds that had taken hold throughout the gardens. This was a gradual task and remains an important part of our maintenance program.
3. What can visitors expect to experience whilst staying at Paronella Park? Visitors to Paronella Park can expect to experience a remarkable place, and to hear an amazing story. The wonderful thing about Paronella Park is that the majority of our visitors arrive not really sure what to expect, but always leave amazed and delighted at having discovered something special. We always encourage our guests to make the most of what Paronella Park has to offer. The day tour, the night tour, a 2 year return pass, and a night in our caravan and camping grounds are all included in the admission fee. If possible, it’s great to be able to take advantage of everything – it’s better value, and a better experience.
4. What do you see as your best achievement over the past 8 years at Paronella? To have suffered through a devastating Cyclone (Cyclone Larry) in March 2006 and to not only recover and reopen, but also to improve and enhance the Paronella Park experience as a result. The cyclone was a major setback but it also acted as a catalyst for a number of changes in how we operate our business. In the years that followed, we picked up several Queensland Tourism Awards, were voted the “Number 1 Must Do” in RACQ’s 150 must do’s campaign, restored the original 1930s era hydro electric system, re-built major infrastructure at the Park (including 6 new cabins and new amenities) and won the Ecotourism Australia GECKO Award for Ecotourism. We also had some of our busiest years ever.
5. What do you see as key issues for ecotourism in Australia? Lack of interpretation. So many ecotourism businesses have some great innovations in place, but don’t do enough to share their story with their guests. Interpretation and education is such an important element of ecotourism and is very often overlooked.
6. Can you give us a sneak peek into what’s planned for the rest of 2012? As always, we have plenty going on. Most importantly, there will be a continuation of major structural work following Cyclone Yasi (February 2011). This work is crucial as it ensures José’s work remains safe and structurally sound. We also have an exciting new project on the horizon. At this stage we can announce that it will include accommodation, food service, and a whole new visitor experience. More news on this soon!
7. Can you share with our readers a local MUST DO tip whilst visiting Cairns? A visit to Cairns isn’t complete without a trip down through the Atherton Tablelands, and to Paronella Park of course! Many visitors to Cairns, particularly returning visitors, are looking to do something different from the usual (the reef, the beach and the rainforest). There’s plenty of unique and interesting things to see and do for visitors willing to get out and explore a little.
Are you looking for a relaxing start to the New Year? Well I have a quick getaway for you! Tucked away in the rolling hills of Fingal (Rye) is the body re-charging Peninsula Hot Springs – and I was lucky to indulge in the experience on New Years Eve.
Attending the natural mineral rich thermal springs with 9 other family and friends in tow may not sound like the ultimate indulgence, but it truly offered something for everyone. With over 20 (!) different mineral bathing experiences on offer, plus a spa dreaming centre for those wanting a more personal pamper, the springs offer a wonderfully relaxing experience for young and old.
Following a quick cleansing shower in the modern well maintained change rooms, we wallowed in the warm waters of large outdoor communal pools, massaged our shoulders and aching backs in shallow bubbling spas, squeezed into small Japanese bathing tubs, walked (ok hobbled) down the pebbled reflexology walk, and even captured a few quiet moments contemplating the year gone by in the tranquil cave pool.
Whilst all the outdoor pools are public, a meandering path up the hillside leads to an “adults only” (16yr +) retreat – dotted with numerous hot and cold spring pools which offer an even quieter experience under the shade of the silvery Moonah gums.
The pool at the peak however, provides the most magnificent view across rolling hills that stretch into the distance and out to the bay. Stunning. But you may have to line up to literally soak in the view.
Each of the thermal pools display their temperature ranging from cold plunge pools up to a cooking 43 degrees. A quick dip in an icy plunge pool certainly got my blood pumping, before sliding back into the tranquil warm depths of the pool opposite. Ahhh…serenity now.
Xmas for many does not just mean a day of family and celebration, but also at least a few days off from the daily grind of work. So how will YOU get away from it all this year?
An “eco holiday” can conjure up a range of images or words. It can include anything from basic camping down the coast with family; Glamping in eco luxe style in the desert; roughing it out bush with the bare necessities; or staying in eco lodges complete with calendula oil bodyrubs in secluded rainforests with the tranquil sounds of a river bubbling past (ok that one was taking artistic licence …. or was it?). Last year we spent a great week over New Year’s Eve at Bimbi Park on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road with friends, family and lots of koalas. This year, we’re renting a holiday house on the Mornington Peninsula with extended family where we hope to replace the normal daily grind with walks down the beach, visits to local farmers markets, lunch and tastings at organic wineries & providers, lolling around at the Peninsula Hot Springs and definitely some rest…can’t wait!
Whilst many Australians are travelling abroad at present due to a strong Australian dollar, don’t overlook the fabulous finds right on your doorstep. .. and save yourself some airmiles too. In 2012 at State of Green we plan to bring to our readers 12 features – yes one a month – of great Australian holidays breaks that leave a smaller footprint and a lasting impression. Whether it’s a great holiday house, destination or activity – we’ll do our best to find out more, and get you at least one step closer in 2012. So, what’s on your eco holiday wish list? If you know of a special place send in your ideas in the comments field below and stay tuned…
For all nature lovers, we have a very special giveaway today. Thanks to the team over at Hopscotch Films we have 15 double passes to giveaway to the limited release of ecological drama documentary “Oceans” by Disneynature.
Just a quick look at some of the shorts from the movie does give a taste of the stunning and dramatic cinematography on offer – birds dive into the ocean from amazing heights to partake in a feeding frenzy, penguins fly out of the ocean onto ice at incredible speed and everything from tiny to huge sea creatures perform amazing aquatic acrobatics.
Directed by Jacques Ferrin and Jacques Cluzaud, Oceans offers “an astonishing look at the world of the oceans, with never-seen-before imagery captured by the latest underwater technology….Shot over four years, it reveals inspiring wildlife, including endangered marine species”. Already grossing over $100million, Oceans is one of the most successful documentaries to date.
To go in the running to win a double movie pass to see a preview screening (Valid May 20-22nd), simply leave a comment below (click on link if you are a subscriber!) and tell us in 20 words or less what your favourite ocean creature is and why.
15 lucky people will be randomly drawn on Wednesday 11 May 2011, and tickets sent to you in the mail. Please note, due to the limited release of Oceans, it is only showing in the following selection of city cinemas around Australia:
Sydney: Cinema Paris & Palace Norton
Melbourne: Nova & Palace Como
Canberra: GU Manuka
Brisbane: Palace Barracks
Perth: Cinema Paradiso
Hobart: State Hobart
..and if you a budding movie show reviewer we’d love to hear your review if you’re one of the lucky winners!
SUBSCRIBE to the State of Green blog for all our latest news, reviews and interviews! Just pop your email address into the box in the top right corner of this blog, and you will receive our blogs hot off the press.
Most of us are familiar with eBay, however how many of you have heard of eBay Green Team? I must admit I’ve been meaning to find out more about this for a while now and am glad have finally got there! At first I wasn’t clear how “Green eBay” was different from regular eBay – Aren’t most things second hand or vintage on eBay? Well, it always helps to dig a little deeper.
Green eBay was launched in 2007 by a small group of eBay employees who wanted to make buying and selling on eBay as green as possible . Their mission was “to inspire the world to buy, sell and think green every day.” Fast forward to 2011 and green eBay now has more than 2400 employees and has attracted close to 300,000 green members.
You won’t find any plastic toys, nylon sheets or the latest Nintendo on Green Ebay. Instead, you can happily shop knowing your purchase will be either upcycled, recycled, made from natural ingredients or save energy and other resources. A quick glance at the site reveals items ranging from energy efficient TV’s and light bulbs, vintage clothing and organic duvet covers.
Whilst Green ebay is very much American focused, it does provide some good ideas on how to sell and buy products that helps to conserve our resources. Their reusable and recyclable box program aims to get at least 5 re-uses out of the one box. By simply reusing the box a number of times, it is estimated 4000 trees are protected, 2.4 million gallons of water saved and energy to at least 69 homes a year conserved!
It is worthwhile to head on over to the website for a peak – if not just to see the initiatives being undertaken by the ebay Green Team with other organisations (such as recycling electronic goods) or to read green activist Anna Getty’s Top ten tips for living in style!. So head on over to Green ebay and let us know what you think!
Are you trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, but have difficulty sourcing products or obtaining the necessary information you need to help you tread a little lighter? Well for those of you in Sydney, you are in for a big treat from May 6-8, 2011. The inaugral Eco Expo will be playing host to a great range of eco minded businesses who will be showcasing their products and sharing with you valuable information that will help you live a more sustainable lifestyle.
The brains behind this event is Aymeric Maudous. He is the kind of man you could sit down with and listen to for hours and hours…and not just because of his gorgeous french accent! Holding a Masters degree in Environmental Management, Aymeric is passionate about sustainable living, and through the Eco Expo wants to share with others how they can reduce their environmental footprint, (or fingerprint! – read below) through making informed choices. The expo will showcase a whole range of products ranging from ethical investment options, organic beauty products, water saving solutions, natural babycare and (my favourite) organic champagne!
Aymeric was kind enough in his busy schedule to answer some questions for us:
1. What was the impetus to start the inaugural Eco Xpo in Sydney? Applying my Masters in Environmental Management, I began introducing Sydney-siders to more natural living through sustainable landscape design. I like seeing people change their habits and feel good about it. When I introduced people to rainwater tanks, planting more trees and growing their own organic vegies, I was rewarded with stories about the simple joys of seeing birds come into their gardens, how much better their food tasted and how much better they felt eating it… It inspired me to want to do more and more to reach people.
My aim is to empower all members of our community with the tools to reduce their eco-footprints to eco-fingerprints. I have had this indelible passion for the environment since I was a kid, I still remember my grandfather explaining to me the connection of everything on this Earth from his cows and chickens and plotted land to the nearby oak forest and the rainwater he collected in recycled wine barrels. The sustainable living way of doing things is now mainstream, that is why I want to inspire people to connect more with their natural environment by promoting truly sustainable businesses.
It is in this need for trust in the companies we buy from and use services of that we have created EcoXpo. All participating exhibitors have to have the same vision and values regarding sustainable living. Where better to live one’s values?
2. How will the Eco Xpo be different from last years Eco Baby Expo? Last year we had the inaugural Eco Baby Expo, which catered exclusively for babies, and Mums and Dads’ specific needs. This was to ensure that all the little ones and their carers have the right start to life in the best natural, organic and sustainable way. This year, we are going further, and creating the EcoXpo, where ALL companies and service providers who share the passion for sustainable living can interact with their customers, buyers and all interested to showcase their products, and to put a “face” to the great businesses they are in! We will have 7 distinct eco pavilions including green business & electronics, green home & eco building, sustainable transport & travel, health beauty & fashion, energy conservation & recycling, organic food & beverages, and kid zone & eco baby.
3. What are some of the key features of this event this year? Key features include:
- Over 200 green exhibitors will showcase the rapidly growing number of eco-friendly products and services available in their industry
- A huge collection of exhibitors will showcase wares dedicated to being in balance with nature
- Cooking demonstrations by celebrity Chefs
- Environmental films and various speakers addressing a wide range of green topics
- To help celebrate Mother’s Day all attendees are invited to nominate their mum for the ‘Eco Mum Award’ which will see the winner rewarded with a great range of prizes
- A dedicated Kid Zone featuring a baby animal park, art competitions and face painting to keep the little ones entertained and encourage the whole family to have fun whilst learning about sustainable living
- As with our first Expo and part of our commitment to the environment, the EcoXpo is a carbon neutral event and we will plant one tree for every paying visitor
4. What are your personal top 3 easy eco living tips for our readers?
A. One step at the time. Every area of our lives can be lived sustainably. I started with recycling, then buying solar energy for my apartment and office, then supported local farmers and organically grown food. My latest acquisition was to buy 200 new friends who live peacefully in their worm farm… I use their casting into my plants who look the best of all my building, no kidding!
B. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… and Repair. One question I always ask myself now when I go shopping is ‘do I really need this?’
C. Have fun living sustainably: it is not an enforced duty why I choose to live eco, but a joy to contribute to our next generation’s health and planet wellbeing. Every time I do something for the Planet, I feel good about it and I tell the people around me. It is important to inspire people around you as the cumulative impact of those little changes really add-up to make big differences.
5. What else (no pressure!) can we expect to see from Aymeric Maudous throughout 2011? A much smaller carbon footprint…ha ha! I will be there, fully participating in Bonjour Baby, and EcoXpo 2011 to live sustainably together. I have been talking with some friends back in the US where I used to live and I’m about to start an eco mob here in Sydney very soon… but shhh, Mum’s the word for now!
Businesses wanting to participate in the Eco Expo can apply direct on the Eco Expo Website. Everyone else – remember to note this event down in your diaries, and if you donate some pre-loved clothes, you will get $2 off your entry.
SUBSCRIBE to the State of Green blog for all our latest news, reviews and interviews! Just pop your email address into the box in the top right corner of this blog, and you will receive our blogs hot off the press!
My 7 year old daughter asked me yesterday what the word ‘ethical” meant. Admittedly it came out as ‘effical” with her two front teeth missing but I was still impressed she was asking a question I had no idea about at the same age. I used the egg purchasing decision as an example she might relate to – free range chickens versus battery hens. I think I got the message across but also checked my latest copy of “The guide to ethical supermarket shopping” compiled by Nick Ray and Clint Healy (produced by the Ethical Consumer Group) so I am better resourced with examples next time the topic arises!
Now in its 4th edition this practical, pocket sized guide provides information on the environmental and social record of companies behind the brand names of common supermarket products. For example, when I looked up Rev Milk, I learnt it was owned by Italian company Parmalat who was involved in one of the worlds biggest corporate scandals in 2004. Also, my beloved Vegemite is owned by USA Kraft Foods, a company that has been involved in product recalls over genetical engineering in food and poor human rights records. Food for thought.
You will be also glad to know the iphone app “Shop Ethical” (2nd edition) has just been launched this week at the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne! So next time you’re out at a supermarket buying bread, milk and cereal, be sure to make it an informed buy. Author Nick Ray was kind enough to answer a few questions AND offer State of Green readers 3 guides as giveaways.
1. What was the incentive to create the guide to ethical shopping? The guide came out of a lack of information on the wider impacts of our everyday purchases. We saw a T-shirt that said ‘Your Dollar is you Vote – who did you vote for today?” and realised we didn’t know. So began a personal pilgrimage to find out where my money was going – which companies, activities and systems behind the scenes was my money supporting. This has involved many years wandering the supermarket aisles reading labels and joining dots in the ‘who owns who’ mission of discovery.
2. How does the 2011 edition differ from the first edition? This is in fact our 4th edition, the first being in 2008. We’re pretty happy we’ve sold over 75,000 guides since that time, showing a growing awareness in people that they want their purchases to reflect their values and are seeing the difference that their buying choices can make. This 2011 edition has an expanded ‘Supermarkets in Australia’ section, a new section on global agribusiness (the hidden companies behind our food), and a new centrespread chart that summarises the major issues.
3. Does the iphone app offer the same content as the book? How much/when is planned release? The ShopEthical! iPhone app does have the same content as the book but also includes extra categories such as stationery and alcohol. It also allows you to go to the next level and find out the reasons for the ratings given. You can get this information from the website but it’s much easier when you’re in the aisle looking at the product. We have an update due out in time for Melbourne’s Sustainable Living Festival. It will sell for $3.99.
4. Are you planning supermarket tours for 2011? We are running two ‘Shopping with a Conscience‘ workshops in Melbourne in February as part of the Sustainable Living Festival local events program. The first is our regular introductory workshop which includes a supermarket tour, and the second is a train-the-trainer session for people interested in facilitating a workshop in their own area or with your own groups. You can find out more at www.ethical.org.au/swac.
5. Anything else planned for 2011 you’d like our readers to know? We run regular Meal and Movie nights, and are presently setting up a movie library to allow others to run similar sessions themselves, and an annual Household Action Challenge where we go hard on an area for a week, such as eating locally or going zero waste. Also we’re planning a clothing edition of the guide for later in the year. People can find out more on our website and sign up for our monthly ‘ethical update‘ e-bulletin.
Thanks again Nick and all for all of your hard work and research!
To be in the running to win one of three guidebooks, tell us why you would love to win this Guide – Just enter your comment in the “LEAVE A REPLY” box below (keep scrolling down and if you are a subscriber please click on title to access!). Entries to be submitted by 7pm Wednesday on 23 Feb 2011, and winners notified on Facebook and by email.
SUBSCRIBE to the State of Green blog for all our latest news, reviews and interviews! Just pop you email address into the box in the top right corner of this blog, and you will receive our blogs hot off the press !