Archive for April, 2013

Introducing Indigenous

Indigenous Melange Cardigan

Style, quality, comfort and craftsmanship are just a few of the reasons why we have chosen clothing from Indigenous. The company designs versatile, stylish knits that can easily become foundational pieces in a thoughtfully chosen wardrobe. The artisanal qualities of this clothing line are rooted in the company’s fair-trade business practices and dedication to an ecological consciousness that spans the globe.

Materials

The first step in the journey from the designer’s drawing board to your favorite go-to piece is fiber: alpaca, organic cotton, sustainable silk and merino wool are sourced from South America. These natural fibers are strong, warm, absorbent and comfortable to the touch. Dyes are chosen that will not harm the planet and require the mills that finish the fibers to meet environmental standards that protect the workforce and their families and communities, as well as the local and global ecosystem.

Garment construction

A Peruvian network of over 30 cooperatives and knitting groups are contracted using fair-trade standards and provide fair wages for artisans from some of the poorest regions of the world while helping to preserve traditional knitting skills. Organic fibers are matched with specific skills of the artisan cooperatives: hand-knitting with needles, hand-held knitting looms or hand-weaving with foot looms. Each hand-knit garment is made completely by one artisan as a part of a small hand-knitting group in their community. Hand-held knitting looms are more time and labor intensive but results in a garment that is often of higher quality, fashion detail and care. Foot looms are often found in the artisan’s home where they hand weave organic cotton materials. These materials are taken to the Indigenous factory where they are hand cut. An expert tailor or seamstress then sews together the entire piece. Nothing is produced on an assembly line. This process results in a woven garment of the highest quality and fit.

The fair-trade model

Indigenous does not consider itself a charity. The company values its partnerships within the community and pays a fair wage for the artisans’ masterful work. They partner directly with organizations that provide training, educational materials, financing and equipment for the cooperatives and knitting groups that they might not otherwise be able to afford. For every garment purchased, more money is going to directly support the communities that produce Indigenous’ clothes.

Global citizenship

Indigenous also values their community of customers. They believe you should never have to sacrifice fashion and style to be a good global citizen. Their commitment to fair trade practices, knitting traditions and the use of natural fibers is a forward thinking approach for a clothing line. To create a link between the wearer and the creator, Indigenous has created the Trace Tool, which allows shoppers to scan a QR code to find out where the garment originated, who made it, how the fibers were raised, and the garment’s social impact.

Whole Earth Provision Co. is pleased to be your source for Indigenous clothing.

Indigenous Logo

What We’re Reading April 26, 2013

This week, much to our surprise, stacking, repetition and series seem to be a common thread running through our favorite finds of the week.

Texans keep their eyes on the sky and so does Matt Molloy. He uses hundreds of time-lapse images to create his timestack photos of the sky.

No plans for the weekend? Here’s some inspiration! Why not create your very own art work demonstrating linear cause and effect? Toast is only one of many unusual items used in this video to demonstrate the domino effect.

18bis uses stacking and time-lapse animation to create a beautiful visual interpretation of Pablo Neruda’s poem “The Me Bird.” Click ‘Read More’ on the video page to read the poem.

We end with birds: “A list of birds seen on a given day is also a form of prayer, a thanksgiving for being alive at a certain time and place. Posting that list online is a 21st-century form of a votive offering. It’s unclear what deity presides…. “

This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

Come to Our Dansko Trunk Show and See What’s New!

Come to Our Dansko Trunk Show and See What's New!

The signs of Spring are all around us: wildflowers, festivals, warm days and… trunk shows! Yes, it’s that time of year when Dansko comes to Whole Earth Provision Co. to show off their latest designs and colors for summer living. They describe this season’s offerings as being a balance between style and ease inspired by ideas gathered from around the world and close to home. We’re pleased to host Dansko trunk shows in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Come visit us, see the new shoes and, if you make a Dansko purchase, you’ll receive a free gift!

Here’s the schedule:

Dansko Trunk Shows at Whole Earth Provision Co.

Come on in, try on some new Dansko shoes!
SAN ANTONIO
at Our Quarry Market Store –

Sunday, April 28th,
from Noon to 4 pm

HOUSTON
at Our Shepherd Store –

Saturday May 4th,
from 10 am to 3 pm

AUSTIN
at Our Westgate Store –

Sunday, May 5th,
from 11 am to 4 pm

DALLAS
at Our Mockingbird Store –

Saturday, May 11th,
from 10 am to 3 pm


Get Outside This Spring in Some New Dansko Shoes!

Ned Fritz – Nature’s Advocate

Ned Fritz in the East Texas wilderness

Ned Fritz and a champion tree in an East Texas wilderness preserves he helped to create. Photo courtesy of Genie Fritz

Ned Fritz – Nature’s Advocate

Over the years at Whole Earth, we have had a wall of remembrance at the office where we post photos and obituaries of our heroes. Residents of the wall have included Sir Edmund Hillary, Colin Fletcher, and one particularly close to our heart, Ned Fritz. Ned’s granddaughter Molly is a Whole Earthling and we are proud to claim a member of the Fritz’ family as one of our own. Observing that Ned Fritz’ contributions to the preservation of Texas wilderness are not as well known as they should be, we’ve decided to honor him on Earth Day and spread the word about this amazing man and his work.

Ned Fritz, called by some the father of Texas wilderness, is best remembered as the founder of the Texas Land Conservancy , an organization devoted to preserving wilderness areas in Texas. For most of us, this would be the accomplishment of a lifetime. But it was just one of many accomplishments for Ned Fritz. He was present at the creation of several important Texas environmental organizations: the Texas Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the Texas Committee on Natural Resources, Natural Areas Preservation Association, and on the national stage, the League of Conservation Voters. Fritz led the fight to preserve Texas wilderness areas both in courtrooms and in the halls of Congress and the Texas Legislature. He battled clear cutting in national forests in Texas and was instrumental in the creation of the Big Thicket National Preserve and other wilderness areas in East Texas. By all accounts he was not only a force for nature but a force of nature. His energy and enthusiasm were irresistible: a request for help could not be denied. His passion was to “represent a normally unrepresented class, and that is Nature itself, which cannot speak verbally and has no ability to hire lawyers.”1 (hover over the number to see notes)

Big Thicket National Preserve

Big Thicket National Preserve NPCA Photos / Flickr

Ned Fritz was born on February 8, 1916 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When he was seven, the family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he had his “first sight of nature.”
“I could walk down the hill a couple of blocks and be in the woods. It was also on the edge of Osage County, where the Osage Hills… were wild, rugged, post oak cross timbers.” I “…would walk into the woods, and learn the trees and plants, for my Boy Scout Merit Badges. I was a “…lover of Nature from an early age. It just–sank in and felt right and it’s part of our human heritage if our mind is open to it.”2

Fritz earned a BA from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. During the Second World War, he served as a U.S. Naval aviator and flight instructor in Corpus Christi. Among his students was a cadet named George H.W. Bush. After the war Fritz worked as a trial lawyer primarily in the field of consumer credit, representing “borrowers who were overcharged in interest and who were harassed by the lender to pay exorbitant interest rates.”3 He also worked to remove the poll tax, for equal housing opportunities, and, in a hint of things to come, in 1957, he lobbied the Texas Legislature to maintain the protected status of the Harris Hawk. He also served as an advisor on consumer affairs during the Johnson Administration. He “retired” in 1974 to become a fulltime volunteer in the cause of environmental preservation.

Reading Ned Fritz’ books and studying his environmental work, several underlying principles become clear. The first seems obvious for many of us today, but was less so in the early years of the environmental movement: humanity is not separate from or above Nature. As Fritz was fond of pointing out, human beings are just another part of the ecosystem. Realizing that human impacts on the natural world were immense, he believed that development and the harvesting of natural resources should be cautiously undertaken with the full understanding that the effects of these actions cannot always be known beforehand and can last for generations, if not longer. As ecosystems are degraded or destroyed, he believed that we often have no idea of what we may be losing or the role they might play in larger natural systems and even in human survival. He worked unrelentingly for the preservation of intact ecosystems. Fritz was particularly opposed to clear cutting forests and replanting with only one or two commercial species. He preferred selective harvesting where all native species were allowed to survive. He also believed that human beings need to learn to live within natural limitations. He was a proponent of non-structural floodplain management: rather than building dams and levees in the name of flood control, flood plains should simply not be developed, therefore saving vast sums of money on construction costs and on the inevitable losses due to floods beyond the control of manmade structures.

Ned Fritz worked to preserve ecosystems large and small. The small end of the scale is represented by his fight with the city of Dallas over his yard. “I let my already questionable lawn go wild and it immediately sprouted a meadow of Dandelions, Blue-Eyed Grass, Flax, Venus’s Looking Glass and myriad other wild flowers.“4 The neighbors were not amused and eventually took him to court for violating the Dallas Weed Ordinance. He beat the charge two or three times on technicalities but finally decided to go to trial and “try it on the facts and get it over with. So we got a jury, and my fellow lawyers in the firm represented me, and we won the case. They, the jury, agreed with us that these natural [native] plants growing here are not weeds.”5 By the early 1990s Fritz’ three acres were described as “a riot of hardwood vegetation thriving under 40 years of selection management directed by one of the toughest tree huggers around. Cedar Elm dominates, along with Shumard Red Oak, Chinkapin, Osage-Orange, and the Texas state champion Green Hawthorne.”6 The yard was a magnet for birds and wildlife in an otherwise urban area.

Ned Fritz’ work to preserve large areas of wilderness bore fruit in the creation of the Big Thicket National Preserve and a series of five East Texas Wilderness areas: Big Slough, Turkey Hill, Indian Mounds, Upland Island and Scenic Bend. His book on the five preserves, Realms of Beauty – A Guide to the Wilderness Areas of East Texas, describes each in loving detail. His enthusiasm is contagious and by the end of the book you’ll be planning visits to these very special places.

The Case Against Clearcutting
Realms of Beauty image

Fritz was the author of two other books: Sterile Forest – The Case Against Clearcutting and Clear cutting – A Crime Against Nature. In 1976, he led the fight against clearcutting and conversion of public lands to timber plantations in Texas. He won a permanent injunction on all clearcutting on 600,000 acres of national forests in Texas. Sterile Forest and Clearcutting are his lively, readable accounts of the fight and the need for public engagement to ban the practice in national forests across the country.

Ned Fritz was a believer in the power of grassroots organizations to bring together groups and individuals who could act together to bring about change. “The environment is up against entrenched profit-making interests as well as longstanding cultural myths, and so to save the environment requires great cunning, skill, breadth of appeal, and therefore, diversity. So I’m in favor of everybody joining the environmental movement or participating in it as much or as little as they see fit and as they get the enjoyment out of it or as they can afford to do it. …We need the hard-liners. We need real cutting edges. …We need the type who are very milquetoasty and merely express themselves softly about it. But we need people who will do something, take action from one extreme to the other. Where I draw the line of demarcation, beyond which I don’t need anybody, is violating the law.“7

As Fritz saw it, the living heart of environmental protection was citizen participation – citizen input. “It depends upon the citizens to do this, and only in a democracy can the citizens fully exploit their talents and …the government fully benefit from that utilization of the talents of the individual human beings working together.”8 The dangers he foresaw to citizen participation were the use of administrative regulations to reduce citizen input and the reduction in funding used to educate the public on the issues and their implications. “We, the citizens, with this type of education and a few tips as to what was going to take place at various meetings and public hearings, stood up against the entrenched profit-making interests of the industries involved, and we got good laws and regulations.”9

Catahoula Forest Preserve image

Ned Fritz at the Catahoula Forest Preserve managed by the Texas Land Conservancy. Photo courtesy of Texas Land Conservancy

But Fritz’ experiences with governmental agencies led him to believe that “they are ultimately induced by the people that they regulate to soften or dull their view of their role”10 to the detriment of the public lands and resources they have been tasked to protect. Fritz believed that land trusts like The Nature Conservancy and the Texas Land Conservancy were superior ways to protect the land forever in a natural state. “It’s better for private groups to do it than government groups because, although government groups are necessary to do the vast acreages on a quick basis, private groups are not subject to a subsequent raid from profit-making groups as government groups are.”11

Ned Fritz died on December 19, 2008, in Dallas, at the age of 92. The obituaries and tributes celebrated his extraordinarily full life and his legacy of Texas wilderness preservation. David Todd in his 1997 interview with Fritz asked him if he had a message he’d like to pass on. Fritz replied: “The basic message that comes to me at this moment would be that all the time that you can spend working for good projects to help your fellow human beings and your environment is the most valuable contribution that you can make to humankind, and [is] also the most satisfying and fulfilling function that you can carry out in your life. One of the best things that you can do is to get with fellow public servants, citizens, and particularly, I think, those in the environmental field, and devote a part of your time and your money to strengthening the environmental movement and to saving as much as possible of our native species forever.”12


Want to learn more about Ned Fritz? Here are a few places to begin:

“Larger than Life: The Inimitable Edward ‘Ned’ Fritz changed the face of Texas Conservation” by Wendee Holtcamp in Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine August 2009

“Fritz vs. the Feds” by Tom Wolf, American Forests November – December, 1991 (Your local library may be able to help you access this article.)

All of Ned Fritz’ books are out of print but copies may be found in used bookstores and on Amazon and other used books websites:

Sterile Forest – The Case Against Clearcutting, Eakin Press, 1983

Realms of Beauty – A Guide to the Wilderness Areas of East Texas, University of Texas Press, 1986, revised edition 1993.

Clearcutting – A Crime Against Nature, Eakin Press, 1989

The Texas Legacy Project website, an online archive devoted to preserving the memory of Texans who have “shaped and continue to influence the protection of Texas natural resources” includes transcripts of four interviews with Fritz from 1983, 1997, 1999 and 2000.

What We’re Reading April 19, 2013

This week we seem to be focused on the sky – lenticular clouds, meteor showers and …
Star Trek? Here’s what we’ve been reading!

Leonid meteor 2009 Navicore / flickr

Are you ready for the Lyrid Meteor Shower? The Eta-Aquarids? You’ll be prepared with EarthSky’s Meteor Shower Guide for 2013.

A lenticular cloud courtesy of exp.lore.com

We’re still waiting for our first lenticular cloud sighting. Have you been lucky enough to see one?

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Google has a single towering obsession: it wants to build the Star Trek computer!

This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

What We’re Reading April 12, 2013

Reflections on nature’s ability to reset our minds and bodies, exploded flowers and a Tacography are just a few of the stories we shared at the office this week:

Why does nature have such power to restore and refresh us? Natural environments have a unique constellation of features that sets them apart from those made by man. Do you have a favorite place that restores your soul?

Fong Qi Wei’s exploded flowers are not only visually pleasing but show just how many or how few elements are needed to create some of our favorite blossoms.

Frank Jacobs of Strange Maps found this fabulous Tacography of Mexico. Here’s the large version of the map. So who’s going to do a Taco map of Texas?

This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

Texas State Parks & Wildlife Channel on YouTube

Back in 2009, Texas Parks & Wildlife posted their first video on YouTube. Now almost every week, new videos are uploaded to their official channel, which has had over 5 million views. Why? Because there’s so much to see! Currently, there are 685 videos to choose from.

Want a quick introduction to a State Park or Historical Site? There’s a playlist for that. Want to know more about bears, bugs, butterflies, ducks, endangered species, jellyfish, bison or other Texas creatures? How about fishing for gargantuan Gar? Not ready for Gar but you’d like to learn how to fish? Check out Fishing 101. Interested in creepy creatures? There’s a playlist for that too. Want to learn about Dutch oven cooking, camping, biking, geocaching, birding, invasive species and wildfires? You’ll find all these topics and many, many more.

Click “Browse videos” and you’ll get a list of the most recent uploads including news and excerpts from Texas State Parks’ programs on PBS. As part of the 50th anniversary, they’ve been searching through the archives for fun films to show us how much the Parks have changed and yet remained the same. So let’s take some time to explore the offerings of Texas State Parks & Wildlife’s YouTube channel. Here’s one to get you started: the hunt for the Ivory Billed Woodpecker: Chasing a Ghost.

Where You’ll Find Whole Earth on Earth Day 2013

While Earth Day is traditionally dated April 22, you’ll need a calendar to keep up with the different dates and times for events in Texas. Here’s our handy guide to the celebrations in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. We hope you’ll stop by our booth and visit with us no matter which city’s event you attend.

Jump to:   Austin  ⋅  Dallas  ⋅  Houston  ⋅  San Antonio

Austin

Saturday April 20th 12-7 pm at The Hangar at Mueller (4550 Mueller Central Drive) Earth Day Austin website

Austin is pulling out all the stops for this year’s Earth Day celebration. There will be speakers, including Christy Pipkin of the Nobelity Project and Jim Hightower; workshops and presentations such as “How to Lose 5000 Pounds of Your Carbon Diet”, “A Crash Course on Composting” and, from our friends at Recycled Reads, “You’re Doing What to that Book?” Be assured there will be lots of music and drumming. It wouldn’t be an Austin event without them. In the Kids’ Zone you’ll find a petting zoo, magicians, music and theater for all ages, face painting, Ranger Rick and Whole Earth’s booth. Some of Austin’s favorite food trailers will be on hand serving up food and drinks and exhibitors will include green businesses, local non-profits, local government agencies and community groups.


On Earth Day, Monday April 22nd, Whole Earth will donate 5% of the day’s Austin sales to the Give 5% to Mother Earth campaign. The funds will go towards the support of Hill Country Conservancy, Texas Land Conservancy, Austin Parks Foundation, Tree Folks, Friends of Barton Springs Pool, Urban Roots and the Clean Water Fund.

Dallas

Saturday and Sunday, April 20 and 21st 10 am to 6 pm at Fair Park Earth Day Dallas website

Dallas is home to the largest Earth Day celebration in Texas. Some of the highlights of this year’s festival include: Going Green with the Cast of Wicked!, Earth Day Dallas Tree Climbing experience, the DFW Truck Farm 5K (dress like a farmer!). Leilani Munter, the Discovery Channels #1 Eco Athlete, will be on hand, Anita N. Martinez’ Ballet Folklorico will be performing and Yogiños will be introducing Yoga for youth. Master Gardeners and Naturalists will be speaking on many topics, and you can learn about backyard chickens and coop building. The Earth Day Eco Expo will have hundreds of exhibitors including green businesses, local non-profits, representatives from educational and governmental organizations and community groups. Stop by the Whole Earth booth for a free balsa wood glider or a reusable handle bag.

Houston

Sunday April 14th 11am to 5 pm Discovery Green website

Houston is getting a jump on the other Earth Day celebrations this year. They’re celebrating on Sunday April 14th. The festival is divided into zones: Air, Land, Water, Sustainability, Wildlife Habitat, Healthy Living, and Kids. In each zone, you’ll find family friendly, hands-on activities and games focusing on how to take care of our environment and ourselves. New this year is the Artists’ Village powered by Texas Art Asylum and other eco-artists. The New Leaf Expo(formerly Green Expo), will feature consumer friendly products to help Houstonians go green.

On Saturday, April 20th, Whole Earth will donate 5% of the day’s Houston sales to the Give 5% to Conserve Houston Day campaign. The funds will go towards the support of Bayou Land Conservancy, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Galveston Bay Foundation, Houston Audubon and Katy Prairie Conservancy.

San Antonio

Saturday, April 20th 10am to 2 pm at Woodlawn Lake

Earth Day in San Antonio is a part of the official Fiesta San Antonio celebration. The day begins with a 5K run/family walk at 7:30 am. Starting at 10am you’ll find demonstrations, workshops and seminars on various energy and conservation ideas and techniques as well as a tree giveaway. Once again, by popular demand, the Alamo City Rivermen will be offering free canoe rides on Woodlawn Lake. There will also be music as well as food and beverage booths.

What We’re Reading April 5, 2013

The week got off to a great start with April Fools’ Day stories. We’re including two of our favorites. We also shared an interactive Scale of the Universe, and a story speculating that applause was an early form of mass media. Another story, on a subject near and dear to our hearts, reflects on nature’s ability to reset our minds and bodies.

Here are two of our favorite April Fools’ Day stories:

crdotx / flickr

Amazon Announces Purchase of English™

NASA

GoPro to Replace Nikon as NASA Camera Supplier

Here’s an interactive Scale of the Universe. It begins with quantum foam and ends with the whole shebang. See how much and how little of it all we can actually take in.

Niklas Bildhauer / flickr

Megan Garber asks if applause was an early form of mass media, connecting people to each other and to their leaders, instantly and visually and, of course, audibly.

Dr. Seuss show in Austin


If you had been invited to dinner at Dr. Seuss’s house, chances are good that you would’ve been presented with an elaborate hat to wear. “Believe me, when you get a dozen people seated at a fairly formal dinner party,” his widow, Audrey, said in an interview for an 1999 educational video, “and they’ve all got on perfectly ridiculous chapeaus, the evening takes care of itself.”

Dr. Seuss loved hats and collected hundreds of them and used them in his books and art. The collection began as research for his second book. And in honor of the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Five Hundred Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, hats from Seuss’s legendary hat closet are on tour. Hats Off to Dr. Seuss will be on view in Austin at the Art on 5th Gallery (which is now located at 3005 South Lamar in the Corners shopping center near Kirby Lane and Torchy Tacos) from April 6th through April 20th. This is the only stop in Texas. So come take a look and see how many hats you recognize!

For more information:

Art on Fifth Gallery website

“The Author Himself was the Cat in the Hat” from the New York Times