Category: Intersections

Turn your plastic waste into Eco-Bricks!

ECO-BRICKS: ThE “WHY” AND THE “HOW” 

Did you know that only 9% of plastics created ever get recycled? Statistics abound on the overwhelming amount of plastic pollution across the globe – and how that same waste is negatively affecting the environment. But in addition to cutting down on your personal plastic use and supporting businesses that are #plasticfree, what else can YOU do to help solve this problem? 

At RuckusRoots, we’re big on bridging the gap between sustainability and creativity. It’s what we do best! We took on the plastic problem in Los Angeles with our most recent Wild Art program by repurposing plastic bags into paintable canvases with elementary students, but here’s another fun way to creatively utilize your plastic waste – with virtually infinite possibilities! 

“Eco-bricks” are, in essence, just plastic bottles filled with all types of plastic waste we can’t recycle (of which there are many!) By turning your bottles and soft plastics into eco-bricks, you’ll be 1) taking waste out of landfills 2) creating with what you already have and 3) keeping plastics away from harming wildlife! Eco-bricks can be used to build all sorts of things like benches, walls, stools, etc., Just think of them like stackable legos! Check out this great link with examples of eco-brick projects if you need inspiration. 

Now on to the tutorial…

SUPPLIES:

  • plastic bottles
  • pressing rod (wooden spoon or chopsticks)
  • scissors 
  • table or working surface
  • soft plastic waste (see suggested list below)

DIRECTIONS:

✔️ Gather your materials and cut up plastic waste into strips if you prefer (makes for easier stuffing!)

✔️ Press plastic scraps into the bottle and compress as you go with your pressing rod.

✔️ Fill the bottle as tightly as you can – the more compact, the better!

✔️ Choose how you’d like to utilize your eco-brick(s). There are many places that collect eco-bricks for large projects, or you could start collecting your own stash of eco-bricks for a personal project!

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF THE TYPES OF MATERIAL YOU CAN PUT IN YOUR BRICKS: 

  • fruit baskets 
  • laminated paper
  • photos
  • chip bags
  • candy wrappers
  • soy sauce packets
  • wax paper
  • dog food bags
  • any soft plastics that can be cleaned and dried!

Check out our IG Reels for a short demo on making these if you need more help. Don’t forget to tag us in your DIYs – we’d love to see what you build with your eco-bricks! 

Eco-ARTivity Project for March!

Plastic Bottle Planters

Here’s what you’ll need to make this super easy and eco-friendly planter at home: 

  • plastic bottles
  • acrylic paint
  • paintbrush
  • utility knife or scissors
  • glue
  • googly eyes/feathers/any other decorations you choose
  • plants or seeds to sprout
  • soil

DIRECTIONS:

✔️Start by cutting an empty bottle in half, or about 1/3 of the way from the bottom. Parents: you might need to help your little ones with this! 

✔️Grab some paint and brush on a few layers to make sure your plastic bottle is fully coated. Let each coat fully dry between layers. 

✔️Add googly eyes, feathers, or anything else you’d like to add to your planter with glue. Let it dry. 

✔️Once the paint is completely dry, carefully add soil to your new planter and plant your seedling! Add some water – careful not to flood the planter. 

✔️Place your planter somewhere sunny, watch your plant grow – and know you helped to give a second life to a piece of plastic! 

Check out our IG Reels for a full demo on making these little guys if you need more help! And tag us in your DIYs – we’d love to see what you upcycle!

 

 

Onwards and upwards, 2021!

We just want to take a moment to reflect on the past year, in all of its challenging, chaotic, and confusing lessons and glory. We’ve learned a lot, had some moments of doubt, ultimately pulled through and finished the year on a strong and promising note! That said – we won’t be sad to see 2020 fade into the past and we are overjoyed to ring in 2021 and all that it holds for RuckusRoots and the world at large! 

From pivoting in the face of the pandemic to provide online programming to folks across the globe, to looking deeply at our organization and making internal changes to better reflect our core values and mission – we did a lot to be proud of this year.

✔️We expanded our digital offerings to include live, on-demand, and fully downloadable content.

✔️We wrapped up a Wild Art in-school program and successfully installed its culminating project – a mural with over 2,000 repurposed plastic bags on campus.

✔️We filmed our first-ever TV series with Hawthorne Community Television. 

✔️We delivered more than 60 bags stocked with sustainable art supplies to families in need this summer and provided online art workshops to accompany these free supplies.

✔️We worked hard to support, employ and learn from artists of color all over the world and give these underrepresented and valuable voices a platform through our channels.

We’re certainly pleased to welcome a new year – don’t get us wrong. There’s A LOT we want to leave behind in 2020. But as always, we are so blessed by all of the support we received this year, and are able to go into 2021 feeling both inspired and awed by the resilience and innovation of the Angelenos we meet through our work this year. Onwards and upwards, as we like to say! 

Here’s to a new year of empowering communities, deepening connections and making sustainable creative experiences accessible to all! 

Welcome, 2021!

Summer Program Wrap

Summer of 2020 has come and gone; Fall is already upon us! We wrapped up our summer program last month – and before we jump into our autumn updates and upcoming projects – we wanted to share a little more about it.

Our work exists at the intersection of creativity and social justice, and as an organization, we felt it critical to acknowledge- especially during this time in history – that environmentalism, art and activism do not exist in a vacuum. We work very hard to develop programs that provide vulnerable populations free, artistic opportunities focused on improving their communities and amplifying their creative voices. And it was in this same spirit of allyship and solidarity that we launched a summer program to open a dialogue with voices long underrepresented in our line of work.

Intersections was designed to allow viewers a peek inside the lives and work of the people within the intersectional environmentalism movement via virtual studio tours and candid conversations with Executive Director, Chrissy Spehar. This entirely digital program (shoutout to the ease and accessibility of IGTV!)  directly addressed creativity, sustainability and social justice while providing less-visible voices in the eco-movement an opportunity to share their work with a broader audience.

We spoke with seven incredibly inspiring folks of color – from community organizers, visual artists, musicians, sustainable chefs, environmental educators and other professionals – and we took away so much from these conversations.  If you missed any of these Intersections live, go back and watch them on our IGTV page and enjoy this little sneak-peak of all our featured guests below! 

Isaias Hernandez, @queerbrownvegan (L.A native, environmental educator and zero-waste advocate) spoke to us about racial, social and eco-justice – and how we can all dig in deeper to the “why” behind movements like zero-waste living and #plasticfreejuly. Watch here.

Mahoganee Amiger, @mahoganeeamiger (South Carolina-based recording artist, activist and founder of @responsibleartistry) shared her wonderful music with us and spoke to us about her approach to artistry as a form of revolution. Watch here.

Aura Vasquez, @auravasquezofficial (Columbian-born immigrant, eco-advocate and community organizer) discussed the power of sharing our stories, the power of personal connection in creating real social change. Watch here.

Teresa Flores, @tereesafloores (interdisciplinary artist based in East LA) chatted with us about her work and how she explores ideas around culture, race, place and history. Watch here

NiNo Alicea, @leaveittonino (Puerto Rican artist, educator and set designer) shared with us about everything from his Burning Man Honoraria awards to Hurricane Maria and his latest public art project #Múcaro4PR. Watch here.

Rieetha Dhamne, @zanzaneet (Indian-born, indigenous cooking blogger and sustainability activist) gave us a kitchen tour and shared how traditional Indian practices can be used to enhance our connection to the precious planet. Watch here.

Kamilah Sanders, @kivanoir (Nashville-based female founder and marketing guru) dove deep into the importance of art for communicating our vision for social impact, her passion for sustainable fashion and more. Watch here. 

Thanks for joining us in a summer that was full of important growth and wonderful success in exploring the opportunities of online programming offers. We can’t wait to share our plans for the fall with you all soon! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTERSECTIONS: In conversation with Isaias Hernandez

“As someone who didn’t have support when navigating the environmental field, I asked myself who I wanted to be for others, and that’s an educator.” – Isaias Hernandez

Our online summer program is off to a wonderful start! We wanted to design a digital program that directly addressed creativity, sustainability and social justice, while also providing less-visible voices in the environmental movement an opportunity to share their work with a broader audience – enter: Intersections

We launched last week with our first guest speaker, Isaias Hernandez of Queer Brown Vegan! He joined our Executive Director, Chrissy Spehar in a live chat via Instagram for a really lively and engaging conversation on topics ranging from graphic design, virtual activism via social media and models for environmentalism that go beyond just a trendy “eco-friendly lifestyle.”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Isaias experienced environmentalism from a different angle as a low-income person of color, and explained that much of his activist roots stem from the frustrations and invisibility he experienced growing up. He recently gained his degree in Environmental Science at UC Berkeley, and has been doing diversity inclusion activism, academic research, and creative work in environmental spaces since then. Isaias talked with us about co-creating Alluvia Magazine, which highlights BIPOC environmentalists through visuals and storytelling about climate justice. Later, he started the Queer Brown Vegan page and blog intentionally as an educational resource and safe space for like-minded folks to learn terms and concepts from the environmental movement while empowering them to take action. 

He explained to Chrissy that back in college, he often struggled to connect complex terminologies and concepts together. Upon graduating, he realized how important it was to simplify and breakdown each term to help improve others’ understanding and knowledge of eco-justice. Isaias’ mission now is to amplify other voices and delve deeper into sustainability and environmentalism – especially where contextual histories have been oversimplified, white-washed, or even erased entirely.

You can access the whole interview with Isaias on our IGTV if you missed it, and be sure to follow Queer Brown Vegan for approachable information on topics like veganism, zero-waste, eco-justice for info on his upcoming projects.

P.S Make sure you’ve got your calendar set for 10am PST – every Wednesday in July we’re going to be hopping on Instagram and chatting with more amazing folks!