Archive for September 2013 | Monthly archive page

San Luis Obispites, your neighbors to the south need your help! Oil and gas interests are planning to exploit the Monterey Shale deposits in Santa Barbara county. Dubbed the “Santa Maria Energy Project”, the scheme would create 136 drilling wells. If passed, the industry estimates that they will be able to extract 15.4 million barrels of oil, as much as would be pumped through the Keystone XL Pipeline over a 40 year period. In addition to wreaking havoc on the climate by pumping 88,000 tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere each year, the extraction processes would waste and pollute already stressed water supplies. The Santa Maria Energy Project would inject 300,000 gallons of water into the earth each day, taking resources away from farmers and infrastructure.

Take the time to sign a petition through 350.org to be presented to the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission and County Supervisors this month!

Luffa sponge

 

For a lovely lather, nothing beats a luffa. Whether you are washing yourself, your car, or a sink full of dishes, the dried plant makes a fantastic sponge. Organic and free of any synthetic material, the luffa is a great alternative to scrubbers made from foamed plastic polymers (and makes a perfect companion to your trusty bamboo washcloth!) If you have ever wondered how and where these household items are raised, take a trip down to Nipomo’s Luffa Farm. There, you can take a tour of the greenhouse where the plants are grown, view the production process, and meander through the gardens where the herbs for the farm’s bath products are cultivated.

The Luffa Farm began as an informal hobby of the owner who would establish the vines on small plots of land everywhere from Northern California to Missouri. In 1999, she moved down to the Central Coast along with a collection of heirloom luffa seeds. Thinking that she could grow enough to display her luffas at a local drugstore, she began raising luffas in a greenhouse on her property. Once word spread about the quality of her products, curious locals and tourists began to drop in to her farm. She began to offer tours of her operation, and visitors are welcome to learn a little about the luffa two days a week.

The Nipomo Luffa Farm currently grows and harvests over 6,000 luffas every year. The owner promises the softest and most luxurious sponges you have ever felt. The luffas are machine-washable, durable and biodegradable. The Luffa Farm is open to the public Wednesdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm and located at 1457 Willow Rd. in Nipomo. Products are available for sale at the farm or online.

 

Travelers to San Luis Obispo come to the area to relax, take in the scenery, and engage with the community. While there will always be the sort who prefer a hotel or spa, many tourists are choosing to stay in unique, rented spaces provided by residents of their destination. Visitors get to sample a little local flavor at rates significantly less than many large establishments or chains, and property owners can find a use for old rooms, boats, apartments, or cottages. Sites such as Airbnb help parties find one another and list their accommodations. However, many cities have laws that restrict this kind of transaction, and San Luis Obispo citizens are asking to be able to lease their living rooms.

Change.org is hosting a petition to amend San Luis Obispo’s housing code to allow for short term rentals. The backers of the petition to City Council estimate that the county could see a $7.6 million annual increase in revenue as well as attract a wider demographic than just the wine drinking set. Homeowners are able to supplement the high cost of living in the county, and get to share their love of the region with others. Would you rent out your space?

 

In the Hindu pantheon, goddesses represent strengths, beauty, compassion, good fortune and creativity. While the female figures elicit great respect from worshipers, their earthly counterparts sadly do not receive the same degree of respect. In India, gender is a major determinate for mobility, social status and personal safety.

According to Save the Children India, over 68 percent of women who live in  the country are subject to domestic violence. To draw attention to their plight, the organization created a media campaign called “Save Our Sisters”. The anti-trafficking series of images aims to shed light on the exploitation that many young women and girls face. Pictures of traditional goddess representations are altered to show the figures as subject to abuse, reminding society that no one is safe from aggression and discrimination.

The pictures are intended to resemble old oil paintings in the tradition of hand-crafted devotional illustrations. Models were photographed and digitally manipulated to create the striking images. The normally serene, dignified expressions of the goddesses are replaced by tears and wounds, connecting the actions of human beings to the divine. Far from just a problem in India, the ads allow the global community to take note and consider their own relationships with trafficking and violence against women.

Incense from Bambu Batu

 

Scent is a sense that is intimately connected with human memory. The olfactory nerve is situated close to the amygdala, the area of the brain associated with emotion and emotional memory. Some biologists believe that olfactory memory evolved as an early form of communication. Surrounding yourself with comforting smells is not just a way to bring back pleasant experiences, but to also calm the nervous system and aid in meditation. At Bambu Batu, we carry a host of Indian, Nepali, and Tibetan incense. We are now proud to being offering Shoyedio Japanese incense in six individual blends and in variety packs of eight assorted scents.

As the legend goes, a piece of fragrant wood washed up on the shores of the Japanese island of Awaji 1,400 years ago. Recognizing its special fragrance, the locals preserved the treasure and offered it as a gift to Empress Suiko. In the early 18th century, Rokubei Moritsune Hata began to refine incense production techniques and introducing his creations to royalty and the general public. Twelve generations later, the Hata family is still crafting scents using the best natural ingredients. They are certified by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry, and the US Fish & Wildlife Department, ensuring that their recipes use materials that are sustainably harvested and use no animal products.

Each box of Shoyeido Incense contains a bundle of 35 sticks, each with a burn time of 45 minutes. Most of the recipes are sandalwood based and include premium woods, herbs and spices, and all products are made in their factory in Kyoto, Japan. No accelerants are use, ensuring a long burn time and a pure, headache-free smoke. Bambu Batu’s Shoyeido collection ranges in price from $2.95 to $5.95 depending on variety. Come take a whiff and find your favorite!

Bamboo utensil set

Summer is over, and the kids are finally headed back to school. Whether they are just beginning their academic careers or heading off to the world of higher education, every student could use some cool new bamboo gear to start the year off in style!

Rise and shine!  Getting the children out the door in the morning is more a work of art and skill than a simple ritual. Feel comfortable that they will at least be kind on the planet if not on your nerves as they get dressed in their sustainable, organic bamboo clothing. How about a Kale shirt available in brown or green? Make sure they brush their pearly whites with a bamboo toothbrush from Smile Squared. Each purchase donates a toothbrush to another child in the developing world, spreading gorgeous grins around the world!

Lunch time!  No need to worry about wasting plastic or paper bags during lunch when your children are packing their meals in a glass and stainless steel tiffin set. Available in two and three tiers, the non-toxic container fits snugly inside a cloth insulated bag. Instead of wasting plastic cutlery, opt for a bamboo spork or To-Go ware bamboo utensil set. Easily thrown in a backpack, the bamboo is eco-friendly, sturdy, and easy to clean.

School’s out! All that learning during the day deserves a little time to play and burn off steam. Soak up the sweat from a good sports game or dance class with an amazingly soft bamboo towel. A good night’s rest means an alert and prepared mind in the morning. Take advantage of a set of bamboo sheets for the entire family.

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