Quite a few of my loved ones hate this idea but this is important to me. This is ‘思危’ – crisis consciousness – my motto and the name of my future child. Baby Sam asked why arm – because I have to see it in the mirror to remind myself I am not entitled to sloth, ignorance and extravagance.
幾位愛的都反對，但對人來說很重要。這是「思危」，是畢生座名銘，是將來兒女之名。親愛的 Sam 問為甚麼要在手臂 — 那是因為要在鏡裡看得清，然後自我提醒：人根本沒有資格怠惰無知與逸樂。
THIS IS A…
No cooking this time. Last night to celebrate my boyfriend’s new job we ate out as a date (I don’t even remember when was the last time we sat down for a fancy dinner). We chose Shelter. The place is really nice, and nicer is the menu offering a great variety of vegetarian choices, so I really was able to choose, whilst most restaurants usually just offer one vegetarian choice in the menu, like we herbivores don’t have the right for variety. So we had this cheese platter with honey, nuts and a loaf with dried fruits. I had this tortellini stuffed with eggplant puree. Last but not least is the vegan cake! Yes raw cake made of cashew and lots of coconut (i think), topped with blueberries :)
I am enjoying this video by Summer Rayne Oakes about installing an indoor vertical garden! The idea may not sound new given we have heard a lot about vertical gardens thanks to Patrick Blanc. But a vertical garden AT HOME! I like the idea of freshening indoor air and hence went on to do a bit of research on why and its feasibility. The more I studied the firmer I am that indoor plants don’t just make a great haven for tree huggers; they are in fact very important to all urbanites.
WHAT GOOD DOES A VERTICAL GARDEN DO?
That indoor plants freshen up the air is a no-brainer. Back to the late 1980s, NASA already released a study on houseplants being a great air purifier because they filter out common VOCs (oh, google it by yourself if you live with them but don’t know what they are). In case you don’t realise – ‘indoor air quality’ is now an oft-cited term by the government, and in fact there is a dedicated department for raising awareness. According to the IAQ (indoor air quality) Information Centre it is important because:
We spend more than 70% of our time at homes, in offices and other indoor environment. Poor indoor air quality can lead to discomfort, ill health (e.g. headache, itchy eyes, respiratory difficulties, skin irritation, nausea and fatigue), and in workplace, absenteeism and lower productivity. Children, elderly and those with existing respiratory or heart disease are more susceptible to the effects of poor indoor air quality. Good indoor air quality safeguards the health of the building occupants and contributes to their comfort and well being.
Of course it is important – because most of our spaces are now air-conditioned and by ‘condition’ it doesn’t mean the air is conditioned to be healthful to breathe. Unfortunately IAQIC only offers entry-level measures like paying attention to ventilation and cleaning. Words associating to green are nowhere in sight. So here is a strong recommendation – to grow a vertical garden!
I particularly stress on vertical garden because it doesn’t take up much living space to have one; which is practical because living in an overcrowded city we haven’t got enough space to live, not to mention to plant. And if you watch the video, it is really not that difficult to make your own vertical garden of air-purifiying plants or even food.
OPTIONS OF VERTICAL GARDENS
Patrick Blanc’s massive installations are impossible for tiny homes. Here are some options I have stumbled upon over the years and I think these ideas are great for Hong Kongese (and yes you probably need a guy to help).
1. Upcycled Wood panes and jars
Inhabitat posted this step-to-step gallery tutorial of how to make a vertical garden using a piece of old wood and used jars. Materials needed include wood panes, and our streets have a lot to offer, and used jars – your home has myriads in store. The only new thing you need is fire hose clamps – which you could find at hardware shops.
2. Plant pockets
I read about SquAir Spaces and Ecopolis on SCMP; they caught my attention because they are easy and cheap to install (HKD880 and HKD265 per pouch respectively, according to SCMP). SquAir Spaces’ Living Wall Planters feature breathable felt, built-in moisture barrier, respectively containing 100% and 65% recycled plastic bottles. Their Nature Series offers ready-made pockets with plants. Now selling at HKD210, Ecopolis pockets can be mounted to the wall and offer several colour options.
Already mesmerised when I first learned about them from their Kickstarter campaign. A Windowsfarm, or several, is something you can hang next to your kitchen window to grow herbs and food. According to their website several veggies do grow well, including kale, chamomile, basil, cress, basil, sage, strawberry, and dill! The design is chic, minimal and very nice to go with any interior deco. A bad news is – you have to get someone in the US to buy for you because it is yet to open up sales and distributions to other countries. But I signed up already :)
4. Living art
And I remember seeing something like this at Ecols.
Common sense - not all plants are good for indoor environments. How much light plants will get, the depth of plant roots and what kind of living conditions they favour are some of the key points to note. I compared the list provided by NASA and plants recommended by Canadian Gardening and these are the plants that are ideal for our homes. Because you probably won’t remember the names, I am putting here their photos instead.
I recently keep going back to Herbivores for the pumpkin steak, which I really love. Whilst steak to you may mean a thick layer of grease, chewy meat and an iceberg of seasonings; steak to me means a meaty layer of flavours, and pumpkin is perfect to be one. But I didn’t really have time to make a fancy steak, hence this stew!
What’s in it? Thick slices of butternut squash, canned red kidney…
居然獲 Ethisphere 選為 2014 年最 ethical 的品牌之一，搞到人要查字典重新理解道德兩字的定義為何。哲學人會話你知，世界上沒有學問要有絕對的答案，就如我今年選修的環境及發展道德科一樣，每每只提出更多充滿矛盾的問題。但人始終相信真理是只有一方，對錯的界線分明，所以唯有選擇能夠將對錯最科學化地呈現出來的指標。Rank a Brand 的 Feel Good Fashion 是也。
在可持續和環保方面，歐盟從來都是定訂定國際標準的先驅。Rank a Brand 是歐洲貨，主要活躍於德國和荷蘭，研究質素較為獲得公認。它跟之前講過的 Good Guide 相似，輸入品牌名稱就可以得知其評級。可能係因為來自走在時尚尖啄的歐洲，而 Good Guide 畢竟來自孤芳自賞且品味美學難為國際所理解的美國，品牌範圍有過之而無不及。Acne、H&M、Cheap…
問題六：奶盒不是全部都可以回收的，即使有幸買到有 FSC 認證可回收紙包裝，還是老遠從澳洲入口，而且始終製造一件要回收的垃圾。
What? Natural Fleece-Flower Root Shampoo 天然首烏洗髮水
Why? It’s a BYOB item successfully adopting the vision of Be Unpackaged - one of the very few zero-waste options in town. To support local, ethical businesses. Taking soap mile into account and local, small production totally wins. Natural ingredients such as olive, coconut, canola and grape seed oil; Chinese herbal medicine extracts including…
Recently my attention goes to how to eliminate all waste, hoping to get closer to the divine achievement of Zero Waste Home. I will share more of my experience. And the first to start this challenge with is this disposable pepper grinder. It’s just a usual one from the supermarket. Very well made to be short-lived. As the pepper ran out, I went to a local grocery store Heng Dong Dong in the wet…