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Let’s Restore our Earth! Ecosystem Restoration Camps @ The Green Living Lab

It was a pleasure to host Ecosystem Restoration Camps members at The Green Living Lab yesterday!

We heard from John Dennis Liu, Pieter Van Der Gaag, & Rik Armando Ridder from the Ecosystem Restoration Camps team why we need to come together now to use our collective resources & talents to restore degraded ecosystems for the survival of future generations. We know how to restore our world, so let’s do it! There is no more time to waste to ensure our children’s future & the survival of our species. The stakes cannot be any higher. Nature will be OK, however, humans are threatening their own extinction by destroying the only home they have to live in.

Luckily, we have the knowledge & skills to change this for the benefit of future generations, but we have to act now.

If you would like to act to make a greener, healthier & more sustainable world a reality, become a member of Ecosystem Restoration Camps today. Every individual contribution counts.

For information on how to become a member, please contact: pieter@ecosystemrestorationcamps.org & check out the website here: https://www.ecosystemrestorationcamps.org/

John Liu will return to The Green Living Lab on Wednesday 11 July, from 19.00 – 21.00, to discuss the value of living systems vs non-living systems.

Please see this link for information on John’s work to restore ecosystems worldwide, & the event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/395739337500840/

We have just 5 more places available for this event. To book your place, please send your full name by email: info@greenlivinglab.org

We look forward to seeing you there! ?

 

Wormenhotel Workshop bij het Green Love festival, zaterdag 23 juni, 15.00 – 15.45 uur! ?

Wormhotel Workshop GSBC 2018
Please see English below.
 
Composteren in de stad is gelukkig niet moeilijk! Rowin zal je leren hoe je makkelijk je eigen #wormenhotel kunt bouwen en je alles vertellen over hoe simpel je zelf gft-afval kan verwerken tot rijke #vermicompost. Kom onze kronkelende compostwormen vergezellen en verras je huisgenoten door deze fascinerende wezens een uniek plekje thuis te geven! 

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Reservatie vereist: Plaatsen moeten op voorhand geboekt worden via email: info@greenlivinglab.org
Taal: Nederlands & Engels
 
Workshops en activiteiten bij het Green Love festival zijn gratis met een WeMakethe.City festivalpas, anders op donatie basis. Koop je festival pas hier:
 
 
Voor het volledige programma zie: https://www.facebook.com/events/202557530556904/
 
**Reserveer je plaats voor activiteiten na 18.00 uur per mail: info@greenlivinglab.org
 
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Worm Hotel Workshop at The Green Love festival, Saturday 23 June, 15.00 – 15.45.
 
Luckily composting in the city is not difficult! Rowin will tell you how easy it is to build your own worm hotel and will tell you how you can process your organic waste into rich worm #compost. Come meet our wriggly compost worms and surprise your housemates by giving these fascinating creatures a place in your home!

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Reservation required: Places to be booked in advance by email: info@greenlivinglab.org
Language: Dutch and English
 
Workshops and activities at the Green Love festival are free with a WeMakethe.City festival pass, otherwise on a donation basis. Buy your festival pass here:
 
 
For info on the full programme, see: https://www.facebook.com/events/202557530556904/
 
**Reserve your place for activities after 18.00 by email: info@greenlivinglab.org

Why We Like Swapping Better Than Shopping

On Sunday the 3rd of December we’re hosting the third Green Fashion Fair at the Green Living Lab. If you’ve been at the previous ones, you’ll know how fun it is to find that an old sweater from someone’s grandpa is actually a perfect addition to your hipster look, or that someone is happily taking home your bad buys. But the reason we started Clothes Swaps at the Green Living Lab has more to it. Time to share the story of how we got inspired to contribute to the fashion revolution.

Each year in April on social media, thousands of people showed their labels and asked the brands #whomademyclothes. Farmers, producers, and factory workers responded with pictures of their working process, proudly holding the #imadeyourclothes-sign. Each year this Fashion Revolution Week sparks up many conversations about  human rights and the environmental aspects of the fashion industry.

This ‘Fashion Revolution‘, as the organisation is called, was born on April 24, 2013. This was the day that the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. 1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. This tragedy was only part of a growing dissatisfaction about the treatment of the people and the planet in all layers of the clothing industry. But the tremendous anger and despair of Rana Plaza set the true revolution on fire and people all over the world joined forces to demand change.

Now, slowly the world is starting to realise that, however complicated the issue is, something’s off with the way we produce, sell, and buy our clothes. Simply put, change is necessary for:

1. The People. Human rights are being abused in the garment industry. Minimum wage is rarely enough to live off. Workers are being mistreated for demanding better conditions. Buildings have often collapsed or caught fire.

2. The Planet. To grow, dye, launder and treat our clothes, we use chemicals that end up polluting rivers. Also, a huge amount of water is used to produce clothing by growing cotton and wet processing, such as dyeing and laundering. Not only the clothes we produce, also the enormous amounts of clothes we throw away pollute the environment. Charities cannot keep up with all the donated clothes and only a small part of it is being resold in developing countries. All the others end up in landfills, releasing toxic chemicals into the air, water, and soil.

3. The Mindset. Fashion used to have four seasons, each bringing in new lines. Now, fashion has 52 seasons, and 150 billion items of clothing are delivered out of factories annually. Fashion is fast, cheap, and we like it. As we buy more and more of them, we lose our love for the quality of clothes and all the people and resources that brought them to us. Appreciation of our clothes is the first step towards a more humane and fair situation.

Without depressing you any further, I’ll refer those interested in the full story to the documentary The True Cost (to be found on Netflix & beyond). Honestly, I watch a lot of documentaries, but this is one of the two that have changed the way I think (the other is Cowspiracy, which made me go vegan in a day).

Now, on to the action! What can we do?15128819_1635957166704015_2505552897505938247_o

1. Swap! Knock yourself out at the Green Fashion Fair on Sunday or at the ones to come (keep an eye on our Facebook page for the next event). Will all this swapping have any effect? Yes! The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that, in terms of carbon emissions, the amount of textiles recycled each year is equivalent to taking one million cars off the road.

2. Shop – Be a critical consumer. Every time we buy clothes that cost less than we think it should, we are implicitly imposing the cost on someone or something else. Avoid bad buys. Myself, I’m lucky to have very stylish sisters who’ve been my personal shoppers since I can remember. But I’m sure you have some friends to ask for advice as well.

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3. Join the Fashion Revolution! See what you can do on the Fashion Revolution website. Ask your brands #whomademyclothes and mingle in the conversation on social media.

Have you ever wondered who made your clothes? Let us know what you think about the issue, and see you at the swap!

Smells like Team Spirit! Fantastic Team Building Day with Gemeente Velsen

We loved hosting Gemeente Velsen’s Urban Development team at the Green Living Lab for a team building day!

Not knowing what to expect on arrival at this little piece of green in the middle of the Zuidas, the team from Velsen soon made themselves at home in the dome, rolled up their sleeves & got started with activities led by the Green Living Lab team.

First, Green Living Lab project manager Aveen Colgan led the group in making colourful pots of zuurkool using produce from the GLL garden. Our co-ordinator Roos van der Deijl then led the group on a tour of the GLL, explaining the story behind our project & the multiple functions of each element of our facilities. Afterwards the group were introduced to their new worm pets by Rowin Snijder from the GLL team, who designs & builds beautiful worm hotels as Le Compostier, which make community composting in the city possible. Rowin explained that vermicomposting with worm hotels provide a solution for turning organic urban waste into valuable compost in a fast, odourless & fun way. The group then made their own worm hotels to bring home & start composting.

The afternoon was brought to a close with drinks & vegetarian snacks in the dome, served by GLL facilities co-ordinator Lea Grosse (who is also a whizz in the kitchen!) It was a joy to see all of the Gemeente Velsen team having fun being creative & working together!

The Green Living Lab offers diverse seasonal workshops that involve working together & are always lots of fun! We also design our team building experiences according to the specific interests of the group.

If you would like to organise a team building day with your colleagues at the Green Living Lab in 2017 we’d love to hear from you here: info@greenlivinglab.org

Week 3, The Community Compost School, The Amsterdam Urban Compost Bike Tour

During last week’ s Community Compost School Le Compostier took us on a tour of community composting projects in neighbourhoods and to innovative urban farms in the city.

During the first stop we heard from community composting pioneer Christien how she took the initiative to bring a worm hotel to her street in the Pijp neighbourhood. She told us how composting on the street with her neighbours is both easy and fun.

Next stop, the beautiful green oasis in Amsterdam Oost, Oost Indisch Groen, where volunteers Elco & Sameena showed us how they compost there.

After a cup of tea (thanks Sameena!) we were off to visit the community garden at Zeeburgereiland, where they have a worm hotel for composting used by over that holds 1400 litres of organic waste, making a lot of compost to grow food there.

Wouter Hassing then welcomed us to his urban farm Mycophilia located in Amsterdam Noord, where we saw his state of the art mushroom farm. We also got to check out his biomeiler which provides heat for the containers the mushrooms are grown in.

StadsOogst, a new urban farming cooperative in Amsterdam, are currently making Amsterdam’s first locally produced (& vegan!) garden soil using the substrate of Wouter’s mushroom production.

Last stop of the day, the urban faming complex Noordoogst, home to Metabolic, Beelease, STROOP & the unique No Chateau – Amsterdamse stadswijngaard city vineyard.

Thank you to all of the bikers who rode along & a special thanks to Le Compostier for organising such a special afternoon!

#communitycompostschool #urbancompost #greenlivinglab #stadsoogst

Week 2, The Community Compost School: the Soil Food Web & the Mighty Mushroom

Thank you to Marc Siepman & Wouter Hassing for wonderfully informative & engaging lectures on week 2 of the Green Living Lab’s Community Compost School!

 Marc Siepman introduced us to the diversity of organisms that make up the Soil Food Web & explained how this interdependent web is responsible for healthy plant life. From bacteria, algae, fungi & protozoa, to nematodes, earthworms, insects & plants, these organisms decompose organic matter, cycle nutrients, enhance soil structure & control populations of crop pests.

 Marc explained how soil organic matter is made up of humus & active organic matter. Soil organisms work to convert active organic matter into humus & humus can hold carbon in the soil in a stable way for decades or even centuries. If soil is continuousy disturbed this interrupts the natural process of active organic matter being converted into humus & triggers some soil organisms to convert active organic matter to CO2. This CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere causing pollution, instead of being captured in the soil. Looking after our soil by adding organic matter & proper soil management is essential for a healthy local environment & local food system.

The good news is that we can all make a difference by converting our organic waste into compost & return this compost to the soil for local food production.

For info on Marc’s upcoming courses & lectures, as well as information on his innovative moneyless farm project Meenderij see: www.marcsiepman.nl

Mark introduced us to the important role of fungi in creating & maintaining healthy soil. We heard how fungi like to break down complex organic compounds in the soil including wood, fibrous plant residues & humus. Then mycologist Wouter Hassing told us more about the functions & incredible intelligence of fungi & mycelium.

Wouter is the founder of Mycophilia, a bio-technology R & D organisation that researches how mycelium & fungi can be used for environmental controls against pollution & to make healthy soil for local food production. Wouter & his partner Marijke also grow delicious shiitake & oyster mushrooms & offer grow-kits to grow your own mushrooms at home!

For more info see: www.mycophilia.nl

Thanks to Wouter for sharing the animated short film, Underground Market with us, by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) researcher Toby Kiers. This film provides a fascinating insights into the interaction & trading between fungal hyphae & plant roots. Toby’s research focuses on how cooperation between species evolves & how cooperation is affected by a rapidly changing world. For more info on her research please see: www.tobykiers.com

Wouter shared expert tips on growing fungi at home & gave everyone a shiitake mushroom grow-kit to take home & get growing. Did you know that mushrooms are still alive after they are harvested? Therefore keeping them in their preferred conditions ensures they stay fresh for longer & retain more nutritional value. Prolong the freshness of mushrooms at home by wrapping them in a wet towel & keep them in the fridge at a temperature of 2 degrees.

There is still time to participate in our Community Compost School programme. Look out for your chance to take part in upcoming events & workshops including;

28 October: The Community Composting Bike Tour with Le Compostier. An action-packed tour of community composting projects throughout Amsterdam where you will meet community composting pioneers in their neighbourhoods or in community gardens & get the chance to ask them questions to learn from their experience. You’ll have the chance to visit some of the most beautiful urban gardens in the city & taste some delicious local organic produce. Advance registration is required: info@greenlivingab.org

11 November: The Circular Economy Hackathon! In collaboration with the circular economy consultancy Circle EconomyEnactus VU & local food waste initiative Taste Before You Waste, we invite you to ‘hack’ our local food system by thinking creatively about circular economy solutions.

More details coming soon!

Week 1, The Community Compost School: Vermicomposting & Worm Hotels for Composting in the City

With our education programme, The Community Compost School, we aim to inspire students, city residents & local businesses to think about how they too can convert their organic waste into value by composting.

On the 1st week of the Community Compost School programme we heard from Rowin Snijder of  Le Compostier on how important healthy living soil is for all life on earth.

We heard how healthy plant life & a healthy environment begin with a healthy soil & how important it is for us to look after our local soil, including the soil in the city.

Rowin told us about the growing phenomenon of Community Composting in Amsterdam, where city residents group together to place ‘worm hotels’ in their neighbourhoods or community gardens in order to convert their organic kitchen waste into compost. This compost can then be used to grow food locally. By turning waste into a useful, valuable product, the residents are not only adding value to their local soil & local economy, they are also preventing organic waste from being sent to landfill which can cause environmental pollution. By viewing organic waste as a resource for our urban food system, these circular economy pioneers are inspiring more community composting projects across the city.

Rowin informed us how vermicomposting, composting with worms, offers a fast, odourless & easy solution for composting in the city & he showed us how worm hotels work in practice. Course participants also got to make their own bucket worm hotels to bring home so they can start turning their kitchen waste into value.

We are looking forward to hearing how they get on living with their new worm housemates!

The Green Life! A Student Approach to Sustainability
by Esti Colomer, VU International Student

Green Student Bootcamp Challenge graduate Esti Colomer shares her experiences of learning about healthy and sustainable lifestyle choices at the Green Living Lab with fellow Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam – International Students:

“Since I moved to Amsterdam last year, I was extremely surprised by the importance of sustainability and all the green initiatives that this city offers. I decided that I wanted to become part of this sustainability movement and I joined the Green Student Bootcamp Challenge. This was a 12-week program aimed to promote healthier lifestyle choices, to help students live more sustainably and put theory into practice. The Bootcamp was organised by the Green Living Lab (GLL).”

 Read More


Students! There is still time to join our new education programme, the Community Compost SchoolThis applied learning programme explores how we can work together to turn our organic waste into compost to grow food locally, how we can prevent food waste in the city, how to make healthy vegan meals & how jobs for students could be created by turning waste into value.

Contact us today to book your place: info@greenlivinglab.org

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