Launch Slideshow

Architect Presents: A Gift Guide for Environmentalists

Architect Presents: A Gift Guide for Environmentalists

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    There’s no better way to commune with nature than via this American classic, a bird call invented in 1947 by Connecticut farmer and politician Roger Eddy. • $6.50, birdcall.com

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    A bike so green you can practically eat it. The frame is made of smoked and heated bamboo with hemp lugs, and can be configured for use as a road, mountain, or cyclocross bike. • $2,995, calfeedesign.com

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    Fill them with leaves and let them sit for a year. You’ll be left with a pile of rich compost. Two bags per order. • $10, ancientindustries.com

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    While not the thing for a vegan, this simple card case is nonetheless made with the environment in mind, using leather upcycled from vintage sofas. The inside and outside are different colors. • $38, poketo.com

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    A scented candle in a compostable holder that is literally grown, using agriculture waste and the reproductive process of a mushroom. • $32, lliteandcycle.com

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    Guerilla gardeners will love this six-pack of environmental “weapons,” each made of compost, clay, and 500 annual and perennial seeds. Comes in 6 regionally appropriate mixes, for tossing into a vacant lot near you. • $7.90, kaufmann-mercantile.com

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    A 1997 landmark of green industrial design, by Tord Boontje and Emma Woffenden, this carafe is part of the Transglass series of vases and barware made from repurposed wine bottles. • $40-45, re-modern.com

Are the holidays sustainable? Not really, are they? Chopping down firs for Christmas trees, running all those holiday lights (LEDs? Perish the thought), manufacturing so many candy canes: Holidaying is energy-intensive business. And apparently Santa Claus is feeling the strain of trying to work sustainably from the North Pole. (The rising costs of insuring against rising waters are too much for St. Nick.)

The environmentalist in your life may not want to hear that gifts just aren't appropriate for him. So focus on gifts that do what sustainable design does best: re-use and recycle. The Transglass series by Tord Boontje and Emma Woffenden is a perfect example of sustainable design, and a vintage example at that. Consider this 1997 upcycled glass carafe. Leather isn't everyone's thing, but upcycled vintage-sofa leather can be used to make products, like a leather card case, that are more sustainable than most.

Then there are gifts that keep on giving. Jute leaf sacks turn raking leaves into a more productive chore. The bags turn piles of leaves into compost after a year. Designers who favor biomorphic work and vegetation in design may appreciate a sustainable candle, by Lite + Cycle, that is grown in a compostable holder, just like a mushroom. Still other gifts can get your loved one close to nature, like a classic 1947 Audubon bird call designed by Roger Eddy, or straight-up seed bombs

Perhaps all a sustainable holiday requires is the right carbon offset—like a bamboo bicycle frame.