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Chile Tsunami Relief

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Our friends and collaborators at Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge are leading a relief effort for the small (and easily overlooked) Juan Fernandez Islands, off the coast of Chile. This chain of islands, where Oikonos conducts an ongoing habitat restoration project, was recently devastated by the tsunami that followed the utterly enormous Chile earthquake.

Yes, despite the prevailing presentation of events, there was a tsunami.

Isla Alejandro Selkirk, one of the Juan Fernandez chain

Isla Alejandro Selkirk, one of the Juan Fernandez chain

Robinson Crusoe Island experienced particularly intense and deadly devastation. A group of journalism students from Chile and the U.S., who visited that remote island, have produced a video that gives a window into the culture of the island and the destruction visited by the recent tsunami. You can watch the video below.

Oikonos has set up a relief fund for the Juan Fernandez Islands.You can donate by clicking here.

100% of donations go directly to on the ground island relief efforts.

Tsunami Relief for Robinson Crusoe Island from Más a Tierra on Vimeo.

And here is the post from the journalists:

“In the spring of 2006, as a combined group of American and Chilean journalism students, we traveled together to Robinson Crusoe Island, four hundred miles off the coast of Santiago, Chile, to document life on this small and isolated island.

In the ten days we spent recording and photographing the people of the island, each and every one of us was struck by their unique way of life and the resolve with which they carve out their existence in such a remote place, rich with history but severely lacking in resources that we often take for granted.

And so it was with great sorrow and shock – in the days following the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that shook the Chilean mainland in February 2010 – that we began to hear news trickle in about Robinson Crusoe Island.

According to reports, the island’s emergency warning system failed, and a giant tsunami took the residents by surprise, covering nearly two miles of the island and reaching 300 meters up from the natural coastline. When the ocean retreated, it took with it nearly all of San Juan Bautista, the coastal settlement that the island’s 650 residents call home.

What few community resources that served the people of Robinson Crusoe Island before the tsunami hit are now completely wiped away: the school, community center, fishing boats, supply stores… and many, many homes.

As you can tell from the stories and lives highlighted on this site, the fragile yet resilient community of Robinson Crusoe Island is a special place in this world, and its people need our help in rebuilding their lives. Anything you can give to help these families would be a tremendous help. Oikonos, a 501 c 3 non-profit, has set up a donation fund to directly support the people of Robinson Crusoe Island. All of the money they receive will go specifically to the people of the island, to rebuild their homes, their school and their livelihoods.

Please take a moment to do what you can, and explore this site to learn about the unique and wonderful lives you are helping to rebuild.

We thank you for your open hearts”

Relief Efforts

1. Donate to the cause. Please give what you can. Go straight to and send some tax deductible dollars. 100% of your donation goes to the island.

2. Spread the word. Email your friends, colleagues and family members. Twitter and Facebook the story. Many of you work at major news organizations. Use your connections to get this written about, blogged about and talked about. A little effort goes a long way.

Written by Matthew

March 6th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Gifts that give back

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It’s not generally our habit to recommend products or put together holiday gift guides. Rebar’s art and design practice is rooted in creative re-purpose and re-use, waste stream reduction, and the development of urban and social abundance through sustainable, ecologically-sensitive means. That often means looking for ways around the consumer culture this season so encourages.

That said, it seems this year the recession has got more than a few people looking for creative, non-traditional gifts. We figure, why not play along? Here are a few fun ideas that fit our ethos.

The gift that breathes

Kamal Meattle on TED: How to grow your own air

This TED Talk explains how with proper maintenance a few particular plants can vastly improve the air quality of an enclosed space. Sure, seven or eight plants per person sounds like a lot, but most people don’t have a need for completely fabricated air in a sealed-up bubble, just better air in homes and offices that increasingly house more chemical and airborne particulates. Even a few plants will help clear the air, brighten a space, and live well beyond the holiday season.

If you were wondering what to get us as a housewarming gift for our new Rebar studio space, bring on the Money Plants!

The gift that feeds

California CSA Fall Bounty

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is super-trendy right now, and with good reason. Not only does subscribing to a local farm’s yield on a weekly or monthly basis get you a wide range of delicious, interesting fruits and vegetables (or even meats!), it connects you to the land and food supply, and gets you moving in the kitchen. Tough economic times mean more eating at home, but that doesn’t have to mean a return to Ramen and frozen dinners.

Locate a participating farm in your area using Local Harvest‘s finder tool.

If you’re intimidated by the task of cooking, consider splitting the box or preparing meals as a group. In other words, build a community around food. It’s one of civilization’s great traditions.

The gift that grows

Charitable gifts are always popular and especially satisfying when you can see your donation make a direct impact in your community. San Francisco’s Friends of the Urban Forest offer just such an opportunity with their Tree Tributes: a $25 donation goes directly toward planting a new street tree in the City, commemorated with a lovely dedicated card.

The fun part is how the City transforms after such a gift, every tree in sight becoming a new friend and inspiring the thought, “Could that be my tree?” And why not? Nothing better than having a friend on every block.

Season’s Greetings!

Written by Rebar

December 18th, 2009 at 3:45 pm