Canadas largest net-zero energy college building opens in Ontario

building with solar powered wings on the roof

The Canadian port city of Hamilton in Ontario has recently welcomed its first net-zero energy institutional building — the new Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation at Mohawk College’s Fennel Campus. Architecture and engineering firm mcCallumSather collaborated with B+H Architects to design the striking solar-powered building, which has also been billed as the largest net-zero energy institutional building in Canada. Conceived as a living lab on sustainability, the Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation will also be the future home to the Centre for Climate Change Management.

gray building with glass walls

Spanning an area of 96,000 square feet, the $54 million Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation boasts state-of-the-art research, learning and lab facilities all powered by solar energy. To minimize reliance on artificial lighting, the architects organized the building around a large, light-filled atrium that also doubles as a social activator and central hub. The classrooms, co-working spaces and laboratories that branch off of the atrium are modular for flexible environments. All materials used in the contemporary interiors — from the steel and concrete to the timber and stone tile — were locally sourced.

room with tall ceilings and several tables and chairs

room with orange walls and long white and black tables

The building is also the first out of 16 selected buildings in Canada completed under the Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) new net-zero carbon pilot program. Students will also be trained on best energy practices and learn how to interpret the building’s real-time energy performance data to help the Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation meet its net-zero energy targets.

Related: Perkins + Will’s KTTC building blends beauty and sustainability in Ontario

students sitting in white chairs near wall of glass

solar panels on a roof

The building is powered with 2,000 solar panels installed on a set of “wings” elevated above the four-story structure with dramatic overhangs that give the Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation its signature shape. The overhangs also provide shade and protection to the outdoor terraces. In addition to the solar panels and optimized building envelope, the net-zero energy building is also equipped with 28 geothermal wells, a rainwater harvesting system capable of storing up to 342,000 liters as well as occupancy sensor-controlled heating, cooling and LED lighting.

+ mcCallumSather

+ B+H Architects

Photography by Ema Peters via B+H Architects

glass building with solar panels at night

Bamboo community center empowers the local Brazilian community

brick and bamboo structure of the community center

The beautiful beach town of Camburi, Brazil, has gained a new community center that not only serves as a communal gathering space, but is also an inspiring social development project that was built for and by the local low-income community. Belgium and Brazil-based design practice CRU! architects provided the design as well as technical assistance and financial support, however, it was the community that decided all of the programming. The project started in 2004 and its first completed building is the community center, a low-impact building primarily built of bamboo and rammed earth.

interior of bamboo community center filled with plenty of natural light

bamboo structure during the evening with light inside of the building

Located on the Brazilian coast not far from Sao Paulo, the community center at Camburi is a multi-phase project that includes a computer room, library, preschool, office space, assorted storage space and a bakery that is currently undergoing construction. CRU! architects was careful not to interfere in all of the decision making behind the programming and scope of the project beyond the design and technical details. The firm’s final design was shaped by the local association of Camburi’s brief for a centrally located communal space with space for classrooms and storage that would be visually integrated with the surrounding landscape and the neighboring school.

bamboo and brick community building with palm trees

children playing inside the community bamboo buidling

“The entire Bamboostic project was foreseen as an educative training for this cooperative to perfect their techniques, whilst building community infrastructure,” explains the firm of the project, which spans 175 square meters. “The community decided all of the content and program of the building and its different parts built in different times over the last 10 years.”

palm trees peek over the back fo the bamboo center with small walkways in between buildings

bamboo and brick storage centers for surfboards and instruments for locals

Related: Community hub built of recycled materials spotlights exploitation of nature in Vietnam

Set 50 meters in land from the beach, the community center is oriented towards the sea to take advantage of cooling cross breezes that flow unimpeded through the building thanks to the raised roof and minimized perpendicular walls. The rammed earth bricks provide natural insulation and thermal mass, while bamboo was used for the structural frame and on the exterior doors and windows to help shield the interiors from harsh sunlight.

+ CRU! architects

Images by Nelson Kon

women leaves the bamboo building through doorway

Solar-powered cabin is designed for ultimate flexibility and mobility

gray modular building with large windows

Buenos Aires-based firm IR Arquitectura has created a brilliant modular cabin designed to offer not only exceptional flexibility, but also stellar energy efficiency. The cabin is made up of five distinct prefab modules that can be configured in various shapes. Equipped with a solar heating water system, a solar kitchen, a trombe wall and solar lamps, the sustainable cabin can operate completely off-grid in virtually any location.

gray and light wood cabin

The cabin is built out of prefabricated modules that are manufactured off site and transported to the desired location. The cabin can be configured in a variety of shapes. Various sections of transparent cladding in the roof and on the walls allow natural light into the interior. Additionally, the cabin’s wide swinging doors provide a strong connection between the cabin and its surroundings.

Related: This series of modular wood cabins form a rustic retreat in the Catskills

interior space with wood paneling and transparent roof

wood-lined interior with transparent roof

The modules are each clad in a thermal and waterproof coating to add a strong resilience to the design, which can be installed in nearly any environment. For example, after recently serving as a central building in an outdoor summer camp in Hungary, the cabin’s modules were dismantled and loaded onto a truck to be used in its next location.

wood-lined interior of a cabin with transparent ceiling

gray and light wood cabin with gabled roof

According to the architects, the cabin was inspired by the need to provide inhabitants with the basic functions of storing, dressing, cooking, heating and resting. Clad in natural wood paneling and framework, the interior space is light and airy, with a notable minimalist appearance. Behind the simple design is an intricate, sustainable profile. The modules are installed with multiple clean energy features such as a solar heating water system, a solar kitchen, a trombe wall and Moser solar lamps.

+ IR Arquitectura

Via Archdaily

Photography by Bujnovsky Tamás via IR Arquitectura

gabled cabin with transparent walls at night

This calculator tracks the carbon emissions of your travels

rendering of hand holding phone with screen showing carbon footprint of a trip

The global community has become increasingly smaller in recent decades thanks to affordable travel. But just because distance is no longer a major barrier, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a negative side of traveling — the environmental impact. Now, thanks to Mission Emission by Oblik Studio, there is a new “emission-free travel calculator” that can calculate the emissions a vehicle will produce when commuting to specific destinations, and it also suggests sustainable, alternative ways to reach your destination.

In addition to providing information on the emissions of a specific trip, the calculator will also tell you the carbon footprint of your trip and the damage your trip can cause to you and the environment. Users can find out the amount of time a tree will need to absorb the CO2 emissions from a specified trip.

Related: How to use a carbon footprint calculator to maximize energy savings

For example, when using the calculator, you will discover that the 120-mile drive from Los Angeles to San Diego in a small car that uses gasoline has a fuel consumption of 23.1 miles per gallon and CO2 emissions of 13.9 ounces per mile. Plus, it takes a tree 2.17 years to absorb the amount of CO2 emitted during the trip.

rendering of computer screen showing carbon footprint of a trip

The website comes from the Mission Emission project, which has a goal to raise awareness of the global pollution problem and the environmental impact of travel while helping users learn how to reduce their environmental waste.

Recently, concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide have reached their highest level in 800,000 years. CO2 emissions rose a startling 60 percent between 1990 and 2014 before leveling off for three years. However, in 2017, they started to rise again.

Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, heads of state and other world leaders have committed to fight climate change through policy. However, individuals still need to do their part in the fight, and the Mission Emission Project is hoping that the travel calculator will help people do just that.

+ Mission Emission

Images via Mission Emission

A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for family

red and white present boxes on wood background

When it comes to family, we want to offer the best of the best. The smartest way to gift high-quality gifts to your loved ones is by shopping sustainably. Eco-friendly products (and experiences) are made with love and care for people and the planet. Here are some of our top picks for everyone in your family.

For mom:

Cork yoga mat by the beach and near a plant

Eco-friendly yoga mats

Mom deserves some ‘me’ time. Whether she is an avid yogi or is just getting started, this plant-based yoga mat is made with cork. It’s also free of harsh chemicals, antibacterial and odor-free. The cork is sustainable and helps provide a stronger grip.

paint brush and paints near canvas

Hobby classes

Does your mom love to cook? Maybe she could spend hours making pottery, or perhaps she enjoys painting. No matter her preferences, buy a pass or certificate for classes that interest her. This is a thoughtful gift of experience, which will leave her with lovely memories for years to come.

close-up of teal knit sweater


Who doesn’t love a snuggly sweater? We love the various options from Patagonia — the company is a champion for the environment, plus their products are built to last whether Mom likes to sit on the couch in her sweater or explore the great outdoors.

colorful beaded necklaces hanging from display

Sustainable jewelry

Add a little extra bling to your mom’s envy-inducing jewelry box with eco-friendly, ethical accessories. There are many beautiful, unique options from 31Bits, which works with women artisans in Uganda, Indonesia and the U.S. to provide fair working conditions and wages as well as healthcare, mentorship, counseling and more.

For dad:

white skincare bottle in the sand

Organic skincare

There is no better way to show your love for someone than by giving them the gift of healthy skin. Whether it is something to moisturize the rough patches under a beard, something to soothe cracked knuckles or a myriad of products, gift Dad with organic skincare that will allow him to pamper himself daily. We love this line, which is made from recycled coffee grounds and only uses plant-based packaging.

Wrist adorned with wooden watch


Adorn Dad’s wrist with a new watch that will keep him punctual and stylish. Be sure to choose a brand with the environment in mind, like WeWood. WeWood offers wood watches free of toxic, artificial materials. Plus, WeWood plants a tree for each watch sold, and these wooden watches are sure to stand out among a sea of their metallic counterparts.

Related: Inhabitat test drives a gorgeous WeWood watch

a blue wool shirt and a gray wool shirt on a white background

Wool shirts

Wool is incredibly durable with the ability to withstand the coldest of temperatures and wick away moisture with ease. Add a sleek wool shirt to Dad’s closet with options like Ramblers Way, a family-owned business in the U.S. that is dedicated to respecting the sheep, the environment and the people. The company uses 100 percent wool and donates time and money to local causes ranging from environmental conservation to human need to arts and education.

rack of used leather jackets

Vegan or recycled leather jackets

The jokes might be lame, but Dad can at least look cool in an environmentally responsible leather jacket. There are many vegan options on the market, or you can embrace reuse with a jacked from Better World Fashion. These jackets are made from recycled leather and the buttons are made with recycled metal. The certified B corp also relies on responsible production methods, uses zero water or chemicals and creates zero waste.

For siblings:

handmade bracelet and skincare with lights and holiday decor in background

Eco-friendly subscription boxes

Subscription boxes are the gift that keeps on giving, but it is important to find ones that advocate for the environment. Surprise your siblings month after month with a subscription to companies like the Bloomin’ Bin, Feeling Fab, KloverBox, MightyFix and more.

person wearing blue coat and blue sweater

Everlane clothing

With a commitment to ethical, sustainable fashion, Everlane offers eco-friendly unisex clothing, shoes and accessories that are sure to please. Be sure to browse the ReNew collection, which offers puffer coats, pullover sweaters and parkas all made from recycled water bottles.

line of glass jars on a wood ledge

Zero-waste kit

Help your siblings lower their carbon footprints (truly the best gift of all) by gifting them a zero-waste kit. Specifically, we recommend the {Zero} Waste Kit, which includes a glass jar with a leak-proof, organic bamboo lid; a sustainable cork sleeve for mugs; a reusable, ethically-sourced bamboo dual utensil; a stainless steel straw with an eco-friendly cleaner; a napkin made from upcycled fabric scraps; a knife with a ceramic blade and a bamboo handle; and organic cotton produce bags. Whew! That’s a lot of bang for your buck, and everything your loved ones could need to really embrace the zero-waste lifestyle.

small white indoor garden on a kitchen counter

Indoor garden

With a snappy indoor garden, your siblings can grow their very own food for weeks, months and years to come. We love Click + Grow, which is energy-efficient, small space-friendly and easy to use. In our own tests, we had sprouts from seed in just two days! It’s a great gift for those who would love to grow their own food, but might not have a lot of time or space to do so.

For grandparents:

candle in tin container near pinecones

Natural candles

Nothing beats visiting your grandparents and taking in the comforting scents that fill their home (especially if they love to bake!). Add to the aroma with natural candles. Standard, store-bought candles can be toxic, so be sure to find sustainable candles made from responsibly sourced soy, coconut or palm wax. Also, ensure the wick is lead-free and made with cotton. Check Etsy for a wide range of handmade, eco-friendly candles.

Related: Making soy candles for the holidays

quirky birdhouses lined up against a shed


We all get a bit of joy from hearing birds chirp and watching as they soar above us. Gift this joy to Grandma and Grandpa by giving them a beautiful, handcrafted birdhouse that will spruce up their yard and bring cheerful birds around each day.

close-up side view of open book

Reading subscriptions

Another gift that continues long after the holidays are over, a subscription for books, magazines or newspapers are an excellent present for grandparents who love to read. If they are open to going digital, it’ll save paper — otherwise, encourage them to recycle or upcycle the products when they have finished them! Choose their favorite media and topics, or introduce them to some reading that focuses on sustainability.

varied framed photos on a white wall

Family photos

Most grandparents would love to receive pictures of their family to place around their homes. Have your images printed with eco-friendly ink on sustainable paper, and then frame it in reclaimed wood or recycled materials. If you really want to go all out, organize a photoshoot with the whole family, and then frame those photos for a sweet sentiment.

Images via George Dolgikh, Urbivore, Cally Lawson, Rocknwool, Artem Bali, Grums Aarhus, Ramblers Way, Franklin Heijnen, Kloverbox, Everlane, Alex Mortensen / {Zero} Waste Kit, Click + Grow, Joanna Kosinska, Nora Vellinga, Jonas Jacobsson, Shutterstock and Inhabitat

Shipping container food halls slated to revitalize Southern California neighborhoods

shipping container restaurant surrounded by greenery

Californian firm Studio One Eleven has unveiled a massive new project that includes using various shipping containers to install modern versions of traditional food halls throughout various neighborhoods in Southern California. The food hall project will see a number of shipping containers being converted into vibrant social areas, where locals can enjoy a variety of small-scale food venues, breweries, organic gardens, playgrounds and entertainment spaces.

shipping container restaurant with several plants

In Orange County, Studio One Eleven — in collaboration with developer Howard CDM — is just about to complete the SteelCraft Garden Grove. Slated to open in 2019, the Garden Grove will be a multi-use complex built out of 10 shipping containers that will house various food and beverage options with ample seating located on a second level. Within the 20,000-square-foot space, a working organic farm will provide fresh produce for the chefs on site.

Related: A sustainable campus is built from 22 recycled shipping containers

shipping container building with outdoor tables

shipping container building with people sitting at outdoor tables

Another project, Leisuretown, is also slated to open next year in Anaheim. In collaboration with developer LAB Holding, the architects are currently building a 32,000-square-foot complex comprised of two levels of shipping containers that will house a Modern Times craft brewery, a coffee roaster and a vegan Mexican food restaurant. LAB Holding Founder Shaheen Sadeghi explained that one of the project’s main goals is to preserve local structures while breathing new life through community-driven urban design. “When communities tear down history and build all new products, it takes away the soul and the heartbeat of the city,” Sadeghi said. “By preserving as many of these buildings as possible and blending with new products built in the area, we hope to create an even better-balanced neighborhood.”

shipping container building with outdoor tables and string lights

people sitting at bar inside a shipping container

Last but not least, downtown Santa Ana will also be getting a vibrant new community area. The Roost is an existing complex made up of several renovated pre-war buildings. By adding shipping containers to the development, the Roost will have a new central beer garden and outdoor dining space. As one of Orange County’s first shipping container complexes, the food hall will serve as a new social center for the area.

+ Studio One Eleven

Images via Studio One Eleven

Luxembourg will be the first country to offer all public transportation for free

blue train on a bridge above a river

Luxembourg — a small, landlocked European country that borders Belgium, Germany and France — is going to be the first country on Earth to have completely free public transportation. The newly re-elected Xavier Bettel and a coalition government will lift the fares on all of the public trains, trams and buses starting in Summer 2019.

The country’s capital, Luxembourg City, is small but has some of the worst traffic congestion in the world. It has a population of about 110,000, but more than 400,000 additional commuters from neighboring countries travel into the city each day for work.

Related: Estonia will soon offer free public transportation

The traffic jams aren’t just in the capital. The entire country (which is only 999 square miles) is home to approximately 600,000 people, but another 200,000 people cross the Luxembourg border every day to get to work.

Free public transportation will begin next summer, and it will continue Luxembourg’s progressive approach to transport. This year, it started offering free transportation to everyone under the age of 20. Secondary school students can also ride free shuttles between school and home.

Currently, all other commuters pay a little over two dollars for up to two hours of travel. Since the country is small, that fare covers just about every commute. But by 2020, all tickets will be abolished. There is still some work to do on the policy, because the government has yet to figure out a plan for the first- and second-class train compartments. Still, it is a step in the right direction to reduce the country’s carbon footprint.

Via The Guardian

Image via Rubentje01

MVRDV completes massive, mountain-like vertical village for 5,000 residents in India

large white apartment buildings

A mountain-like residential development has risen in Pune — India’s eighth largest city and one of the fastest-growing cities in the country — and brought with it 1,068 apartments to house approximately 5,000 people in a single building. Completed as MVRDV’s first project in India, the Future Towers bucks the local standard for cookie-cutter freestanding buildings in favor of a singular mountainous structure with peaks and valleys. The mixture of unit types is meant to encourage interaction among the diverse residents who come from different backgrounds and income levels while keeping housing prices competitively low.

geometric white apartment complex

Created as part of Amanora Park Town on the outskirts of Pune, Future Towers consists of apartments that range from 45 square meters to 450 square meters. Despite its striking mountain-like appearance, the design of the enormous building was mainly informed by research into Indian housing standards and cultural expectations. For instance, the building floor plans incorporate the principles of Vastu Shastra, a traditional system of architecture that has been likened to Feng Shui. The natural ventilation system that helps extract air from kitchens and aids in natural cooling found in typical housing developments has also been used in Future Towers.

apartment with beige and white furnishings and glass walls

room with wall murals and views of city

“In Asia, cities are growing so fast, and uniform repetitive residential towers are the norm,” said Jacob van Rijs, principal and co-founder of MVRDV. “With our design, we are making an effort to offer more variety and bring people from more different backgrounds together. In the original master plan, 16 separate towers were planned, all of which would have more or less the same type of apartments. The MVRDV team thoroughly researched modern Indian housing and came up with a system to create a mix of different types of apartment inside one building. This project will attract residents with a variety of incomes, something that will benefit the diversity of Amanora Park Town. Thanks to the client’s willingness to try something new, the efficiency needed for mass housing has been achieved without cutting back on residents’ comfort.”

Related: Striking Heritage School with stone walls and curved roofs mimics the rolling green hills of India

blue room with wall murals and small put-put course

orange room with superhero murals and city views

Since construction costs are low in India, but elevators are comparatively expensive, Future Towers comprises just four circulation cores around which the nine wings — each ranging from 17 to 30 stories — are clustered. Large social spaces, known as ‘scoops,’ are scattered throughout the building and are designed for different activities or purposes, such as mini golf or child care. Each one is brightly painted to create a sense of a “neighborhood identity” in different parts of the building. Outdoor courtyards accessed via four-story-tall triangular gates provide additional gathering space.


Photography by © Ossip van Duivenbode via MVRDV

aerial view of white apartment complex

Energy-producing pavilion proposal for Expo 2020 mimics Brazil's biomes

rendering of pavilion made from tree branches

Architect Gabriel Kozlowski has proposed a stunning, energy-producing structure for the Brazilian pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Created in collaboration with Gringo Cardia, Bárbara Graeff and Tripper Arquitetura, the conceptual design showcases a variety of sustainable systems, from construction materials like rammed earth to passive solar design strategies. Although the competition entry was not ultimately chosen for the Expo, the design does offer an inspiring look at the integration of Brazilian identity into sustainably minded architecture.

rendering of wood pavilion with skylight and spiraling staircase

“Our pavilion is inspired by one of the greatest technological achievements of Brazil: the improvement of the Direct Planting System over straw,” Kozlowski explained in a project statement. “This agricultural technique protects the soil and maintains the ideal thermal conditions for cultivation. The pavilion conceptually mimics this scheme through its layered arrangement — soil, entanglement of protection, productivity — presenting itself as both a building and a symbolic image of one of our progresses.” In addition to its nature-inspired form, the pavilion proposal subtly references Brazil’s previous Expo pavilions including those of Paulo Mendes da Rocha at Osaka 1970 and from Sérgio Bernardes at Brussels 1958.

rendering of round amphitheater with bench seats

The building would have been built primarily of laminated timber as well as rammed earth mixed with reinforced concrete. The ground floor would serve primarily as exhibition space and is designed to host the ‘Together for Nature’ exhibition organized around six walls, each symbolic of Brazil’s six main terrestrial biomes: the Amazon Forest, the Cerrado, the Atlantic Forest, the Caatinga, the Pampa and the Pantanal. Each wall would be made from the soil of each biome and surrounded by totems housing the seeds of native species.

Related: RIBA crowns Children Village in Brazil as the world’s best new building

rendering of water features in a wood pavilion

A massive, nest-like structure made from woven tree branches would appear to float above the ground floor and is accessed via a spiral staircase. The upper level would house the ’Together for People’ exhibit with images showcasing Brazil’s ethnic diversity along with the ‘Together for Tomorrow’ exhibit that explores water-related, biotechnological advancements, such as desalination and aquaculture. The upper level would have also included an auditorium and gathering spaces as well as a landscaped rooftop with a lookout terrace and restaurant. The proposed pavilion would have been engineered to produce its own energy, recycle its own water and stay naturally cool without the need for air conditioning.

+ Gabriel Kozlowski

Via ArchDaily

Images via Gabriel Kozlowski

A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for travelers

aerial view of map, camera, compass and notebook

For those who will be traveling far and wide in the new year, make sure their journeys are eco-friendly with an array of green gifts that will take them to the beaches, the forests or the mountaintops. Here are some of our favorite picks for those who enjoy living a nomadic lifestyle.

train traveling through rolling green hills

Transit tickets to a nearby destination

It’s no secret that air travel has a massive carbon footprint. To scratch the travel bug itch, gift loved ones with tickets for more sustainable forms of transportation to local destinations. Check out bike-shares, trains, buses or other public transit options to an exciting or interesting place.

glass pod building on green hill

Airbnb stays

The sharing economy has been thrust into the spotlight thanks to services like Airbnb. With thousands of incredible homestays, this makes a great gift for the explorers in your life. Check out cabins, tiny homes and more.

person hanging in orange hammock above a cliff


Give your favorite explorer a hammock, so they can relax or nap wherever the road takes them! These Yellow Leaf Hammocks are handcrafted by artisan weavers, so your purchase supports these workers and their families. There are 100 percent cotton options available, and all of these hammocks are weather-proof and resistant to fading.

phone and solar-powered phone charger on a log with mountains in background

Solar-powered charger

Even if your gift recipient loves to go off the grid, cellphones can be important to have on hand in times of emergencies. A solar-powered charger is great for camping, hiking or traveling, and this option even has a built-in LED flashlight.

close-up of felt-covered journal


Whether they want to write about or sketch their adventures, your loved ones will adore this handmade journal to accompany and record their journeys. The journal is ethically crafted from Lokta paper (a tree-free, renewable resource) and protected with a durable felt cover and a leather belt or cloth tie.

box opened to reveal a book, sea salt, a tea towel, caramels and chocolate

Explore Local Box

Created by a kindred traveling spirit, the Explore Local Box is an excellent subscription service for the adventurers in your life. Each month, the company chooses a city (one that the team has explored previously) and fills a box with locally made goods from that area. You’ll find art, household items, food and more each month. It’s a gift that keeps on giving!

person carrying backpack and hiking through the forest


Hiking, camping and, of course, backpacking are nearly impossible to do without a sturdy, reliable backpack to carry one’s necessities. Osprey offers backpacks for every type of explorer, and each bag has plenty of storage space and functional features to make them comfortable and efficient. Plus, these backpacks are built to last (the company will gladly repair any of its products, no matter the purchase date) — a feature we love.

two reusable water bottles on a rock in front of a waterfall

Hydro Flask

Staying hydrated is crucial to a successful journey, which is why a Hydro Flask is the perfect gift for globetrotters. The company offers a variety of drink receptacles, from water bottles that attach to backpacks to coffee mugs, wine carriers and more. Each container comes in a variety of colors, or customize one for an extra special present.

Related: Get ready for an adventure with this ultimate checklist of backpacking essentials

close-up of person wearing boots standing on a rock


A trusty pair of boots can take you through miles and miles of mountains, hills, deserts, forests and more. Whether your recipient is scaling a mountain or shuffling through the snow in the driveway, these boots by KEEN will take them far. Plus, KEEN loves to give back and is on a mission to hit zero-waste at its headquarters.

suspended tent tied around tree trunks

Tree tents

Take an explorer to new heights with a tent that lets them sleep among the treetops. We’ve mentioned our love for Tentsile’s tree tents time and time again, and we also appreciate that the company plants trees to promote healthy forests. You can also check out Tree Tents, a U.K.-based company that offers prefab glamping pods that are locally and responsibly sourced. This company also proudly partners with communities to plant trees.

landscape photo of city, beach, farmland and mountains experiences

For a gift that takes travelers off the beaten path, check out This website offers a wide array of experiences around the world that range from yoga classes in NYC to artisan workshops in Peru to community tree planting events in South Africa. Each experience aids an important cause, and you can even search by location or type of cause.

Images via Simon Migaj, Jack Anstey, Airbnb, Yellow Leaf Hammocks, Etsy, Explore Local Box, Adrian, KEEN, Tentsile, Lukas Budimaier and Shutterstock