Thursday, March 31, 2011

Raising eco-friendly kids: Five tips to get them involved

There's been something of a learning curve for adults who want to go green - but as being environmentally friendly becomes more and more necessary, it's even more important to teach young children how to incorporate being green into their everyday lives.

With so much complex language surrounding the green movement, it might seem like too much for young kids to handle. However, children's favorites, like the curriculum-based "Sid the Science Kid" series from The Jim Henson Company, make the concept of going green easier, thanks to a relatable cast, humor and music that are used as teaching tools.

To get your kids excited about being gentler to the environment and caring for our precious resources, make the conversation more accessible and fun. Sid the Science Kid offers these tips that young audiences can embrace:

*Don't waste water
You can save water by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, telling an adult if the faucet is leaking and not filling the bath tub to the very top.We can only use a teeny part of the water that's in the world, so we have to try to not waste it.

*Reduce air pollution
Engines create dirty air which is also known as air pollution. You can reduce air pollution by riding bikes and walking instead of using a car. If we stop our air from getting dirty in the first place, we won't have to worry about cleaning it later.

*Plant a tree
Trees are beautiful and they are useful in so many ways. One of the most important things they do is clean the air we breathe. You can do your part to help by planting a tree, and watering trees and plants to help them grow.

Objects made of glass, paper and plastic should be recycled because they can be made into something new. Help mom and dad separate all recyclable products from the trash and take them to a recycling center.

* Preserve animal habitats
Animal habitats are all around us. A habitat is a place outdoors where animals live and find food and shelter. Be careful not to disrupt habitats when you share their space. If we interfere with a habitat, the animals' homes could be destroyed.

While it's important to instill eco-consciousness in kids year round, events like Earth Day can provide extra excitement about caring for the earth. Getting kids in a green state of mind will lead to lifelong earth-friendliness, so it's never too early to encourage awareness.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Filipino Architect Takes Living Green to New Heights

MANILA, Philippines - “80 percent of green design is common sense,” says Aya Maceda, a Filipino architect based in Australia. As a senior associate at Popov Bass architects, one of the most prestigious architectural practices in Australia, Aya constantly works on finding green solutions as well as coming up with elegant designs.

“My job deals with working on the design in the early stages, conceptualizing,” she says. Aya heads the interiors division of the office as well. She describes the Popov Bass aesthetic as “Modernist, but with warmth, with good quality light coming into the building.” She adds, “Our buildings have a light and airy feel and are known for fine details.”

Architect Aya Maceda describes the Popov Bass aesthetic as modernist, but with warmth, finished with fine details. Sensitivity to the environment is essential to their design philosophy.

Aya grew up in Manila, with a love for travel. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in Architecture at the University of the Philippines. “I was on my way to take my masters in the States,” she shares, but fate had a different plan. When Aya received the Philip Recto design award for her thesis, she earned a scholarship in Singapore. “I just went with it,” she says. “I worked there for two years.” Eventually finding her way to Australia, Aya worked with FJMT Architects, winning awards for her work. She then decided to shift focus to concentrate on residential work and applied for Popov Bass.

“I’ve grown with the company,” Aya says. “Now I’m part of those spearheading the company, bringing it into the future.

At Popov Bass, Aya explains, “We always examine what the site is, what the challenges are and we design from there. It is important to assess where you are, especially in the extreme harsh Australian coastal environment.”

Along with their green design philosophy, Popov Bass uses predominantly recycled materials, incorporates provisions for rainwater collection, cross-flow ventilation, and automatic sunshades to create environmentally-sensitive designs.

“We use water efficient fixtures and energy efficient lighting,” says Aya on some of the environment-friendly interior details. “We make sure that our design blends in harmony and is not imposing to the landscape.”

“I want to reconnect with my roots,” says Aya. “I’m doing a lot of great work in Australia and I’m really hoping that I can come back and participate in the design culture in the Philippines.”

The design solutions that Popov Bass applies in Australia are definitely possible as well in the Philippines, Aya says, noting that the country is similar in climate as Northern Australia. “If you know how to address a site, you can design pretty much anywhere.”

The technology for green architecture is available in the Philippines, she readily points out. “It’s just a matter of getting the client to commit to using these technologies.”

It is also important, she adds, for the government to back green architecture with legislation.

This commitment to employ green architecture design solutions, both from the government as well as the private sector, is what is needed today. “It should be, because we have no choice,” says Aya. “We’re facing so many global environment issues. Being environmentally conscious is a necessity.”

Aya Maceda is only one of many people in various fields who have begun the trek towards saving what is left of our environment. Living green is going global – don’t get left behind!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Eco – Friendly Easter Baskets created by Moms for the family to enjoy!

New York, NY - When two best friends decided to join forces to create simple yet fun family-friendly activity kits in 2009, they would never have dreamed how popular their creations would become.

Alison Zajac and Ailis Martin conceptualized packaging some of their family-fun projects for retail when they noticed how many other parents commented on the unique crafts and hobbies that the two moms did with the neighborhood children.

"We would bring our children to the beach when they were little, and make plaster molds of their feet in the sand," Alison commented, "It never failed that other parents would come up and ask if they could join us and do the same. That's how Sandy Feet, our first kit, came to be. We realized if we could make these hobbies easier for parents to do with their own kids, they would be more likely to get their family to participate in these activities. Family activities are not only fun and educational, but they create priceless memories that last forever."

This Easter season Spots and Ladybugs introduces the original Easter Grass-kit™, where kids can grow real grass in their Easter baskets, creating beautiful springtime decorations, wonderful memories, and leaving a fresh treat for a certain hungry bunny on Easter morning, not unlike leaving milk and cookies out for Santa! This earth-friendly alternative to wasteful plastic "grass" also provides children an educational experience as they track the seed growth daily, watching it sprout into lush green blades growing to clipping length in only 7 short days.

Parents nowadays are just so consumed by taxing routines at work and even the daily grind at home. Activities that are prepared and ready to enjoy make it easier for families to come together and spend quality time being creative with crafts that are good for the environment as well.

About Spots and Ladybug, LLC:
Spots and Ladybugs, LLC is a burgeoning manufacturer of innovative fun-time activity products. Designed with family fun in mind, Spots and Ladybugs designs and develops a growing collection of project and hobby kits that are easy to use for all ages. Spots and Ladybugs offers a unique selection of activity kits that are designed to inspire children's creativity and self-confidence while creating memorable moments between parents and children alike.

For more information visit:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bottle School Projects Take Learning to New Levels

If discarded plastic bottles can be turned into countertops, bedding, graduation gowns, and athletic apparel, then why not use them to build something greater – like a school?

There have been numerous accounts of schools that have been constructed from recycled bottles, in countries including the Philippines and Guatemala. Reportedly the first of its kind in Asia, the school in San Pablo which is a province in the Philippines, is made out of 1.5 and 2-litre bottles filled with adobe. Conceived and constructed by social entrepreneur Illac Diaz and nonprofit MyShelter Foundation, the new school was donated by the local government of San Pablo, built with the help of volunteers. Not only were the bottles donated costing nothing; studies showed that the adobe filling used is cheaper than concrete and about three times stronger than cement.

There are also the bottle school projects in Guatemala, six of which are already up and running, with four more in progress. The first was built in Granados in 2009 using a construction method pioneered by Pura Vida — filling plastic bottles with inorganic trash, before stacking them between chicken wire and covering them in cement. In the Granados project over 5,000 plastic bottles were used to construct two classrooms, containing 2053lbs of trash and using 9720lbs of cement. 297 children are currently attending the school, which, like the others, was built for around USD 10,000.

Similar in many ways to the Save the Beach Hotel, bottle schools are not just a clever way to turn waste into something useful, they also serve as a reminder of all the waste that's being generated in the first place. One to be inspired by!

Websites: and