Category: Earth Week

Student Presentation: Opening Day at the Los Angeles Zoo

Our Wild Art Sculpture concluded its 5-week exhibition at the Los Angeles Zoo yesterday, after celebrating Endangered Species Day for the Zoo’s Wild for the Planet event. It was a perfect ending to a wonderful month, during which we met many awesome Angelinos who care about our planet, its creatures and the arts! The sculpture is moving to its new home in Highland Park, where the students who built it will be able to enjoy it for years to come. 

Until then, enjoy this video, which shows our students presenting their piece on opening day at the Los Angeles Zoo, as well as artist mentor Nino Alicea sharing his thoughts on the power of collaborative arts to improve communities & change lives. 

Interview with a Highland Park Innovator

     Many believe the first step towards change begins with one’s self; this belief has proven to be more than just an idea to an extraordinary Highland Park resident. Chan Wing Lam has proven himself much more than just a loving husband and father, but also an innovator who has recently acted upon his lifelong interest in electrical engineering and the world of eco-friendly living.

     Born and raised in Hong Kong, China, Lam first found his interest in electrical maintenance when in high school. Moving to America in 1984, he began working long hours in a seafood restaurant and later as a BBQ chef. It was not too long ago that he began putting his time into solar powered apparatuses to help cut back the cost of his electricity bill.

     In 2013 he started his first solar panel project with broken glass windows and pieces acquired via eBay. Today he has several panels installed over the roof of his home and is even attempting to build a windmill. Each panel produces around 130 watts that go into one of his 3 inverters he has set up around his home. We got a chance to take a look inside his home and workshop to see for ourselves his mechanical endeavors.

     Within a day and a half, and given the right materials, Lam can build one of his solar-powered automatons all by himself. He has given no thought to passing on his knowledge of mechanical money-savers down to a new generation, but did seem intrigued when posed with the question. Although his legacy may end with him, it has influenced the way Highland Park residents think about conservation. With the sight of his home just across the street from Franklin High School, hundreds of students pass by noticing not only his solar panels, but also his front yard garden full of vegetation he grows for his family.


Mend your ‘un-green routine!’

Wait! Don't throw it away just uses for old things!

While we at RuckusRoots believe in the old adage “Earth Day is every day!” We know that isn’t always the case. But fear not, there are plenty of every day things you can do to mend your ‘un-green routine.’ And with 2012’s Earth week fast approaching, what better time to promote awareness and appreciation for our Earth’s environment, sustainable living and awareness of overall green living. Below is a list of everyday household items that can be turned into something useful, instead of being sent to the overstocked landfills.

1.) Old paper towel rolls or TP rolls, great for sorting cables and wires or any other tangly cords.

2.) Corks from wine bottles, perfect to use as a cork board for pictures, name plates at weddings or dinner parties, or use the cork and bottle as a recycled wine bottle torch.

3.) Turning plastic bottles or aluminum cans into small herb gardens or window planters.

4.)Another use for those old TP rolls, store your bobby pins, hair clips and elastic bands on them. Much better than scouring the floor or an old purse for that ever elusive bobby pin

5.) Turn an old matchbox or Altoids canister into an instant sewing kit or jewelry container.

6.) Turn your 6 pack carrier into the perfect condiment carrier. Just add ketchup, S&P, some silverware and napkins and you’re ready for the next backyard BBQ.

7.) Use an empty kleenex box to store plastic bags. Easy to access when you’re ready to reuse the plastic bag, of course!

8.) Turn a wine box into your newest shoe storage. As an extra bonus, reuse old newspaper to cover the box to make it more presentable. Comics and crosswords preferred.


Thanks to Real Simple for the images 


At RuckusRoots, Spring has Sprung!

RuckusRoots at the Joshua Tree Music Festival in 2011 with The Caravan Project

Spring is upon us in Los Angeles. And therefore, so is festival season. Lightning in a Bottle, Coachella, Maker Faire, Joshua Tree Music Festival and Earth Week at the University of Wisconsin, oh my! Spring has sprung…and we’ll be at most, if not all, of these events…stay tuned for details!

Coachella                                                                             April 13-15, April 20-22

Earth Week at the University of Wisconsin           April 16-22

Joshua Tree Music Festival                                           May 18-20

Maker Faire                                                                        May 19-20

Lightning in a Bottle                                                        May 24-28


Wisconsin TRASHformation Recap

WOW! What an incredible time was had at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh over Earth Week 2010! I’m ecstatic to report that our newest project, TRASH-formation, which the kind folks at UWOSH hosted and to helped to fund, exceeded our expectations.

In case you don’t remember from previous posts, TRASH-formation is an interactive art experience that converts University garbage into an aesthetically stunning and sustainably built sculpture. Since this was our first attempt at the idea, we didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we were hoping that students would get involved, help us build the piece, become inspired and have fun. Without question, all of those goals were met! 

With the help of Art Customs artists Robin Banks and Jon Patty, along with some great music from DJ Ryan Nelli, we were able to create a welcoming creative environment—over the course of three days, hundreds of students came to learn how to build, paint, weld, and use a plasma cutter for the first time. For materials, OWOSH Facilities Management donated some surplus pieces to us, which included filing cabinets, computer parts, old furniture. We used these, as well as recyclable bottles and cans, paper waste, scrap metal to create the structural bases and decorative elements of our creations. 

Robin, the main artist behind TRASH-formation, wanted to emphasize functionality as well as aesthetics in his design, and so the final product is something that students can both enjoy looking at as well as use. We made a “TRASH-form” stage using filing cabinets, complete with an amphitheater style arch built out of computer panels. Filing cabinets were also used to construct a seating area with beautiful, large metal flowers emerging from “planters” (recycling bins) on either side. A 20-foot tall palm tree in the middle (trash barrels, computer components, scrap metal, etc.) provides shade and visual interest (and a little reminder of California for all you Wisconsin peeps)! We hope both sculptures, which took 2.5 days to build, will serve as student gathering spots for a long time to come.

An extra-special highlight occurred when the Chancellor of the University gave a speech from our stage, using his own UWOSH podium. After his speech, we conducted “TRASH-talk” from the stage, where Robin and I, along with UWOSH Sustainability Board representatives Stephanie Spehar and Jim Feldman and some environmental studies students led a discussion on improving waste management, reducing consumption and sustainable living.My heartfelt thanks go out to all who helped us complete this project, including UWOSH Facilities Management, Jim Feldman, Stephanie Spehar, and of course the UWOSH students, teachers and administrators who made it all possible! And a big thank you to the Student Environmental Action Coalition, Pepsi Fund, American Democracy Project, Reeve Union Board, Anthropology Club, Religious Studies & Anthropology Department, 18 Chairs Sculpture Club, Steinhilber Art Gallery, Campus Sustainability Office for helping to fund TRASH-formation.