Photojournalist Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado

Bringing Brazil’s Forest Back to Life

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

Renowned Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado has used his camera and his artistry to document in black & white some of the world’s most dangerous and desolate spots.

 

After a lifetime of traveling, he was inspired to create something totally different and life-affirming: a living landscape in brilliant color – a forest in the heart of Brazil.

Located in Minas Gerais, some 300 miles Northwest of Rio de Janeiro, on 1,750-acres that belonged to his family, the land was barren from over-farming and ranching.

But, Salgado saw a different image. He remembered the vibrant landscape of trees and foliage teeming with wildlife that had once been there when he was growing up.

 

And, in 1994 he and his wife Lélia set out on an enormous task –

to reforest the land and bring it back to life.

 

Since then the couple has planted over 2 million trees…

and established the Instituto Terra foundation to oversee the work.

And now the land is rejuvenated and filled with the sights and sounds of life.

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Catch the Sustainable Fashion Wave!

Surfwear that Protects the Planet

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

There’s a new design wave in the surfwear industry – “sustainable fashion.”

European designer Anne Prahl, who works with major clothing brands and specializes in sustainable fashions, says we can expect to see, “a new generation of bio-based materials that are lab-grown and engineered, as well as 100% recyclable and biodegradable textiles.”

Prahl believes that “we need to embed sustainability right into our design concepts” from the very start and train new designers to think of how their fashions can be reused and repurposed after their initial use is over.

Adidas is putting recycling in the forefront and partnering with environmental nonprofit Parley for the Oceans. Together they’ve introduced sneakers made from abandoned gill-nets and turned recycled plastics that were polluting the ocean into fancy footwear. Along with this, Adidas uses color technology that employs less chemicals, water and energy in the dyeing process.

Active sportswear brand Volcom’s PASS (product and social safety) program emphasizes the ethical sourcing of fibers around the world. Volcom’s sustainability expert Derek Sabori told SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel that its Farm to Yarn system tracks fibers each step of the way from their origin to destination.

Quiksilver has started using Repreve sustainable recycled fabrics in its Highline collection of boardshorts and is looking for better ways to eco-design its products.

Nike (and subsidiary Hurley) recently announced its commitment to sustainability. New chief operating officer Erick Sprunk says, “There’s no innovation without sustainability.” Nike’s 2019 shoe collection utilizes recycled fibers and plant-based dyes to reduce its carbon footprint.

Outdoor company Patagonia has been a leader in sustainability for over two decades. It’s using recycled wool, down, nylon and polyester in its new line.

Eleven-time World Surfing Champion Kelly Slater, who’s always at the vanguard of change, got on board the sustainable fashion wave last year with his own surf brand Outerknown. “We launched Outerknown to change the game and create clothing that not only reflects our style, but also our values,” said Slater.

Just as the first rule of design has always been that form follows function, now there’s another rule: style follows sustainability.

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Birds Inspire Artists

Color and Movement Take Wing

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With their aerial acrobatics and colorful plumage, birds are a welcome sight to sailors and surfers looking out to the horizon. They’re also an inspiration to artists.

Surf and beach artists Heather Brown, William R. Beebe and Ron Croci often include birds in their seascapes.

Depicted in a variety of styles, artists from Vincent Van Gogh to Pablo Picasso have made birds the subjects of their paintings.

Marc Chagall, Frida Kahlo, Hiroge…

Andrew Wyeth and Andy Warhol have all succumbed to their spell.

One of Claude Monet’s most famous paintings The Magpie makes the tiny bird perched on a gate in a snowy landscape the focal point and helped to launch the Impressionist period.

The most well-known bird artist of all, John James Audubon (1785-1851), brought attention to the vast number of bird species in America. His detailed, lifelike paintings of birds in their natural habitats showed viewers birds they had never seen before.

Sometimes even the birds themselves are inspired to paint – like Zeppy this salmon-crested cockatoo at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

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Lacoste Crocodile Takes Vacation

Promotes Save Our Species Campaign

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

French polo shirt maker Lacoste is giving up its iconic crocodile logo temporarily to save endangered animals. Its new Save Our Species campaign is the start of a three-year partnership between Lacoste and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 

Swapping the well-known crocodile logo that’s adorned its shirts for 85 years, Lacoste is spotlighting the plight of 10 endangered species by featuring each one as the logo on a line of limited-edition polo shirts.

The number of shirts produced – 1,775 in all – represents the total number of animals left in the 10 species, with a shirt for each animal. So, there are just 30 Vaquita shirts in the line – one for each of the world’s remaining Vaquitas, a small porpoise that inhabits the Gulf of California.

 

Other animals in the lineup include the Burmese Roofed Turtle, Northern Sportive Lemur, Javan Rhino, Cao-vit Gibbon, Kakapoo, California Condor, Saola, Sumatran Tiger, and Anagada Ground Iguana.

Lacoste hopes that these new animal logos will draw the world’s attention to the need to protect endangered species.

 

The crocodile itself is an homage to the company’s founder 1920s/30s tennis player René Lacoste, who was called “The Crocodile” because of his competitiveness on the tennis court, winning seven Grand Slam titles.

Designed by Lacoste himself, the green embroidered crocodile was the first brand label to appear on the outside of clothing.

To find out more about the Vaquita, the world’s most rare marine animal, see SurfWriter Girls story. Just click on Vaquita

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Deborah Koehn Hawaiian Yoga Adventure

Famed Instructor Opens Island Retreat!

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Famed yoga instructor Deborah Koehn is opening her Hawaiian oceanfront retreat center to train and certify yoga instructors May 13th – June 3rd.

The mother of adventurer Alison Teal, Koehn has traveled the world studying and developing her yoga techniques.

Using an immersion approach to training that puts students in a holistic island paradise setting, Koehn provides 200- and 300-hour teacher credits and ongoing mentorship.

Located on Hawaii’s Big Island, yoga students at the retreat stay in rustic sustainable bungalows and enjoy the natural island beauty and local food.

For over 35-years Koehn has trained many of the world’s top yoga teachers and has studied with prominent yogis, shamans, medical doctors and others, including Indra Devi (known as The Mother of Yoga in the Western world). Koehn has been featured on ESPN TV and yoga and fitness magazines, such as Yoga Journal and Outside Magazine.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel always enjoy going to Hawaii – Patti and her husband Greg even set their adventure novel Kona Heat on the Big Island – so we were excited to hear from Alison about this special yoga retreat.

More than a training program, this is an exotic, life-changing adventure!

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Puerto Rican Parrots Endangered

Hurricane Maria’s Devastation Still Felt

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Scientists are working hard to save the remaining Puerto Rican Parrots after Hurricane Maria decimated most of their jungle habitat in the island’s tropical forest of El Yunque.

Only two out of 56 wild parrots survived the massive hurricane that struck the US island territory in September 2017.

In the 1800s there were more than 1 million wild parrots in Puerto Rico. But, over a century of forest clearing and development virtually extinguished them, leaving only 13 birds in the wild in the 1970s until a breeding program increased the population to 56. Then came the hurricane.

Now, in addition to the two parrots in the wild, there are just over 450 birds in breeding centers in the El Yunque and Rio Abajo forests awaiting release into the jungle. Before that can happen, though, scientists need to make sure that there is sufficient habitat and food to support them.

With many of the tall trees where the parrots would nest gone and the protective forest canopy of leaves and branches still thinned, it’s important to find safe places for the parrots.

Marisel ­Lopez, who’s in charge of Puerto Rico’s parrot recovery program, says of the birds in captivity, “the priority now is to start releasing them.” It’s hoped that in 2019 the first group of 20 parrots will be able to venture out.

Parrot Love Haiku

by SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti

Vibrant wild parrots

of Puerto Rico still sing.

Two against the storm.

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Wabi-Sabi

The Beauty of Imperfection

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

The Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi celebrates the beauty of imperfection and of things that are impermanent and incomplete.

It is the beauty of things both humble and modest. It is the beauty of things that are raw, unrefined and unconventional.

Old Levi’s jeans, a comfortable chair, a weathered fence, a tree that’s been in your yard forever, your favorite surfboard, classic cars, watches that wind by hand, the neighborhood diner.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel have been learning about Wabi-Sabi, which dates back 5,000 years, and its emphasis on self-acceptance and finding joy in everyday things as they are.

We learned that in Japan cracked vases or bowls are often repaired with gold, highlighting the flaw and turning it into a mark of beauty that represents part of the object’s history.

Originally derived from Buddhist teachings, the word Wabi refers to rustic simplicity, freshness, and understated elegance – both in nature and in man-made works.

It can describe a uniqueness or elegance, too. Sabi represents the beauty and serenity that come from age…with visible flaws and worn patina adding to its charm.

Drawing from nature, Wabi-Sabi reminds us of the simple reality that things don’t stay the same, changing from day-to-day and season-to-season with different shapes and colors unfolding through the passing of time.

Putting aside the quest for air-brushed perfection in our lives, selves and surroundings, Wabi-Sabi is a way to de-stress. To relax and slow down, to embrace each moment, the people we love and the things we have.

Rather than searching for the next new thing to buy or do, we can find something much more valuable – an inner calm and the happiness that comes from being ourselves.

Wabi-Sabi is the perfect gift to give yourself – the gift to be imperfect.

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Sharks Saving the Planet!

Predators As Protectors

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Who would have guessed that sharks – the bad guys in movies and nightmare of surfers – are actually heroes for our planet?

These fearsome, apex predators at the top of the ocean food chain keep the world’s marine populations stable. This helps to protect our oxygen supply by reducing the sea life that consume underwater vegetation that generates oxygen.

By keeping sea populations in check sharks also help to eliminate harmful algae that damages coral reefs.

Still, it’s understandable that sharks – that have rows of sharp, replaceable teeth and can be up to 60-feet or more – aren’t animals most people want to encounter up close.

But, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel know someone who has done just that.

To meet a real shark expert and find out what makes sharks so intriguing, we are excited to introduce you to marine scientist Apryl Boyle, CEO of El Porto Shark, which gathers and analyzes shark population data for conservation purposes.

 

Boyle, a National Geographic and Discovery Channel Shark Week contributor and former Aquarium Operations Associate Director for Santa Monica’s Heal the Bay Aquarium, has quite a story to tell.

To check it out, just click on: Shark Love 

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Year of the Sloth

Life in Slo-Mo

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Move over unicorns and flamingos! Make way for the sloths!

Trend-spotters have anointed this reclusive creature that lives in the tops of tall trees as this year’s soon to-be pop culture favorite.

Native to Central and South America, sloths have the distinction of being the world’s slowest mammal. It can take them a minute or more just to climb 6 feet.

And talk about laid back, sloths spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping. So, it’s a rare sight when you see one on the ground.

 

SurfWriter Girl Patti & hubby Greg spotted some sloths in Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park near Jacó, a beach town on the Pacific known for surfing, when they were on a trip there.

“You had to look really closely because they blended into the trees,” says Patti.

Sloths eat a diet mainly of leaves and have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years. Plus some sloths have two toes and some have three.

 

Why does everyone like them so much? Maybe it’s because in today’s fast-paced, always on-the-go world sloths dance to a different tune.

 

Movies like Zootopia and Ice Age have helped to give them star power, too. So, get ready to channel your inner sloth.

But, take your time. There’s no rush.

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Ansel Adams – Photographer, Environmentalist

Nature Brought to Life in Black-and-White

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

Winter – when tourist crowds are gone – is the perfect time to enjoy California’s natural beauty.

California’s raw coastlines and majestic forests are not only breathtaking to see, but through the lens of master photographer Ansel Adams, they are immortalized for all to enjoy.

Working primarily in black-and-white, Adams’ use of light and shadow and his fine eye for composition and detail turned nature’s landscapes into unsurpassed works of beauty.

Growing up, one of his favorite spots to wander was in San Francisco’s still-wild Golden Gate area and the nearby sand dunes along Lobos Creek. As a teenager, armed with a Kodak Brownie camera, he first discovered the wonders of Yosemite in 1916 and would spend a lifetime capturing all the facets of its beauty on photographic plates.

Starting in 1927, with his portfolio of photographs of the High Sierras, Adams launched a career that would encompass creating iconic images of Yosemite, San Francisco, Monterey, and other points throughout the Northwest, including Glacier National Park, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon.

Though he preferred black-and-white photography because it gave him more control over the finished picture than the limited options of the emerging color photography of his day, Adams did experiment with the new color medium – and got some amazing results.

A son of the West, who was born in San Francisco in 1902 and died in Monterey in 1984, Adams was an avid environmentalist and used his photographs to help build awareness and support for preserving natural landscapes. He also served as director of the Sierra Club from 1934 to 1971.

Once destroyed, nature’s beauty cannot be repurchased at any price.

– Ansel Adams.

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