Although Earth Day has come and gone, this current homebound era of slowing down has allowed us to truly plug into all the riches of our natural world. It’s no secret that time in nature proves beneficial for our body, mind and soul; we’ve also found ways to access that zen by using our laptops and phones as a backup when we can’t get outside.
Here are several ways to connect with our beautiful world:
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and creative agency Republica Havas recently launched Earth Unplugged, an organic ambisonic album starring Mother Nature. The album was created for listeners to relax as they’re transported to the heart of tranquil, tropical ecosystems. The soothing content series can be enjoyed via Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, IGTV and YouTube (with accompanying visuals).
Julián Ruiz Sáez, a nature and forest therapy guide living in Uruguay, offers a guided nature connection practice that takes 20 minutes and requires only that you hold something natural in your hand. He suggests that during lockdown, these “green pauses” (read his blog post here) may help us to connect with our essence (without fear or anxiety) and to connect better with those who surround us.
We also learned about Field Recordings, a podcast in which audio-makers stand silently in fields or other open spaces.
Wanting to foster newfound birding skills? Check out the Peregrine Falcon Nest Box Video Stream. In partnership with the Missouri Department of Conservation and Ameren Missouri, the World Bird Sanctuary streams a live video (daily from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Central Time, during falcon season) that follows a pair as they nest and hatch their chicks.
Use National Travel & Tourism Week (May 3-9) as an excuse to dream up future adventures to destinations like Whidbey and Camano islands, known for its rugged outdoor beauty among other alluring draws. The islands’ new experiential virtual vacation series allows you to shuck oysters with an expert, explore an outdoor gallery, take a virtual whale-watching tour or simply find calm on a soothing beach. New topics will be added twice a week; access digital tours, recipes and other treats at this link.
In addition to all these virtual adventures, we’ve discovered several local companies that we’re thrilled to support. Take Cloud Paper, which produces “100% ultra-soft bamboo” toilet paper. The company’s mission? “To end deforestation caused by traditional paper products. Right now, 20% of deforestation globally is due to tree-based toilet paper and paper towels. We’re working to change that.” This sustainable, subscription-based service (which can be stopped at any time) features deliveries that each include 24 rolls of 3-ply, bamboo toilet paper, with zero trees harmed along the way.
Right now there are countless ways to enjoy healthy, local food, while simultaneously supporting small business owners struggling in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. For example, help save the vendors and farmers of Pike Place Market by ordering Iconic Market Boxes from Savor Seattle. Their boxes (available for curbside pickup or delivery) include fresh goodies from Frank’s Quality Produce, a vibrant bouquet of flowers, delicious coffee plus tasty fare from Market vendors that rotate each week. ($5 goes toward the Market Safety Net Fund.)
And this year, Pike Place Market is celebrating its 12th annual Flower Festival on May 9th with four pop-up drive-thru locations, found throughout Seattle and Renton (just in time for Mother’s Day). Customers have the chance to order Market bouquets ranging from $16 to $41; pre-ordering is required. Also, for $15, shoppers can take home a taste of the Market with a Pike Box full of seasonal produce to add to any celebratory meal. Families with children also receive free activity packs with handmade Mother’s Day cards to color, designed by Market artists.
Salmonberry Goods, started by Seattle natives David Rothstein and Alex Johnstone, has a wonderful mission too. Their website says, “Seattle’s favorite independent farm-to-table bakery is hand-delivering to your door.” The inspirational founders: “believe in buying from Northwest farmers who honor the land; creating fun, delish and beautiful food; and inspiring joy and excitement to lessen agricultural impact on the climate, increase biodiversity, and promote equality amongst humans.” Order from them to enjoy treasures ranging from farm-to-table pastries and sourdough focaccia to handmade pasta, CSA farm box subscriptions, house-roasted coffee and more.
Maven Meals not only delivers delicious, seasonal food directly to your home, but its staff has also been working around the clock to feed local healthcare workers. To date, they have delivered 4,120-plus meals (sponsored by generous customers) to seven local hospitals and healthcare facilities. Maven’s nutritious options rotate regularly and fit your needs for every meal—for breakfast: try date & walnut paleo muffins, fruit salad, morning glory oatmeal; for lunch: grilled chicken and sweet potato salad, roasted mushroom & French lentil salad, New England-style clam chowder; for dinner: creamy cauliflower soup, lentil & quinoa veggie patties, lemon parsley orzo. The list goes on.
When it comes to skincare products that are good for your body and the planet, we were thrilled to learn about Aú Natural Skinfood. This clean line out of New Zealand features superfoods (like star ingredient manuka honey) that offer deep hydration and many other skin health benefits. You’ll also find other natural ingredients native to pristine New Zealand, like kiwi fruit. In even better news, the company has done away with single-use plastic bottles, instead creating a line that provides refillable aluminum bottles designed to be purchased once and then refilled with packs that are completely compostable and biodegradable. We love all of their products, but especially the Skinfood Discovery Kit, a 14-day supply of four travel-sized product essentials ($19.94).
As we head out on our quarantined, distanced walks for fresh air and doses of nature, we’re relying on MyCHELLE Dermaceutials products to repair and protect our skin from UV rays and sun damage. These reef-friendly, mineral-based, SPF sun care products come enriched with antioxidant fortified ingredients. (They’re now also available at Ulta.com.) This line is the only sun care brand named with the prestigious Clean Label Project(R) Certification this year, putting MyCHELLE at the forefront of scientific innovation and environmental advocacy. Not only are the products free of parabens, petroleum, phthalates, silicones, sulfates, ureas and artificial fragrances and colors, but the entire sun care line was tested for 150+ contaminants that are not regulated by the FDA.
Lastly, as we look ahead to warmer months and natural ways of cooling off at home, we’re happy to learn about the WOOZOO fan from IRIS USA. This sleek, powerful and portable fan (stationary, remote controlled or oscillating) helps open up airflow, as we all adapt to makeshift home offices. We’re breezing into a new month with as much optimism and hope as we can muster—and we hope you are too!