Southern California environment news and trends

‘True Blood’ star producing anti-poaching documentary in Africa

As HBO’s sexy science-fantasy series “True Blood” fang-bangs through the fifth and most fantastical season yet, one of the show’s most popular characters has come out in opposition of animal poaching in Africa.

As reported by Ecorazzi, Kristin Bauer van Straten, who portrays vampire bar owner Pam on the show, is producing a documentary on the horrors of African poaching with her husband entitled “Out of Africa.” The actress has taken to crowdfunding website Kickstarter to help fund the project.

“I will be taking a camera crew to Kenya to ask Africans, the on the ground experts and heroes; what is happening, what the possible solutions are and, ‘How can we help you?’ They are living this crisis and working very hard to stop it, they know what can be done - they just need a larger voice,” van Straten said on her Kickstarter page. “Together is the only way elephants and rhino may make it and also the only way I will be able to do make this documentary. In the last six months 2 species of rhino have gone extinct and more are on the brink. I don’t think we can afford to wait to do something.”

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Fashion label recycles beer bottles into stylish jeans

Bill Chappell/ NPR

While there’s no shortage of environmentally-conscious fashion labels making more sustainable denim, Treehugger is reporting that New York designer Peter Heron and his I AM NOT A VIRGIN label have found a most unique method of creating jeans. Initially inspired by the “millions of tons” of denim scraps discarded in America alone, Heron began exploring making jeans from other recycled (hence non-virgin) materials. Using a process that breaks down glass into fine particle and eventually fiber, Heron makes a line of jeans that are 75 percent cotton, 25 percent brown beer bottles (the brown bottles create a sepia-tinged hue).

"A couple of facts,” Heron says on the company website. “It takes 1 million years for a single glass bottle to break down in landfill and if all jeans sold in the US alone were produced using our green technology, approximately 1,200,000 barrels of oil could be saved yearly.”

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Learning to live off the grid, one donation at a time

Crowdfunding is a relatively new term that has crashed the public vernacular in recent years. Defined on Wikipedia as “the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money and other resources together, usually via the internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organization,” crowdfunding’s growing popularity comes thanks to websites like Kickstarter, which recently announced that it has helped generated pledges of $261 million to a dizzying array of causes and projects (of the 60,786 projects launched on Kickstarter, 44% have been successfully funded).

For documentary filmmaker and author Nick Rosen, Kickstarter is where he’s raising money to create “Off the Grid and on the Cloud,” a proposed series of short films based on people successfully living “off the grid,” which means “supplying your own power and water, and managing your own waste,” Rosen explained on his Kickstarter page.

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