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We're Working to Save the Craft

      The traditional Khmu bag, known today as Nature Bag, Earth’s Greenest Bag™ is endangered.  The craft of making it rapidly is disappearing from large areas in Laos’ north. A traditional bag can take days to make.  But only a couple of hours, scissors, a needle and some thread are needed to make a bag from non-woven polypropylene.  Markets in Northern Laos offer thousands of large bags made of that earth-damaging material.  China, sometimes only an hour walk away, sends many products into Laos packed in these harmful bags.  It's easier for the Khmu to use that cheaply-acquired material rather than Jungle Vine® to make a carry bag, even if it lasts only a few weeks rather than...

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Watch Where You Step: Understanding Your Carbon Footprint

While making visits to national parks or forest preserves, you'll often be told to leave nothing but footprints. This is always a good policy in these types of situations. However, we often forget, or simply do not know that wherever we go, we actually leave two sets of footprints. Your physical footprint is, for the most part, a harmless indentation left behind wherever you step. Your other footprint is what is known as your carbon footprint, essentially the level of greenhouse gases your lifestyle and activity emit into the environment. We'd like to help you understand not only what your carbon footprint is, but also how to measure it and identify some simple ways to reduce it and to save...

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Nature Bag Sponsors Natural Dye Workshop

  The early morning Northern Laos sky was a brilliant blue as an European, an American and 10 Laotians gathered on a point of land at the base of the massive Kuang Si waterfall for a workshop on using nearby forest products to add color to Earth’s Greenest Bag™. After exchanging greetings and sharing fresh organic coffee grown 500 km south in the landlocked Southeast Asian nation, the group moved into the surrounding jungle to find the bark of a special tree that would be the source of the color for the first natural dye.  The temperature was comfortable thanks to a thunderstorm an hour earlier.  The smell was sweet from a multitude of Laotian jungle flowers. As the roar...

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Nature Bag Crafter's New Experiences with Natural Colors

  The Netherlands Senior Expert Ineke Poort-Van Eljk, Bag Crafter Pa Sa, Consultant/Volunteer Vandara, Bag Crafter Som confer before a workshop session.   For Nature Bag crafters Pa Sa and Som, the 5 day trip to learn about using natural colors in the stain-resistant JungleVine® fiber of their bags was a major life experience.  Although the journey from their rural villages to near UNESCO World Heritage Luang Prabang took only a day, neither had ever been so far away from home or away from home for so long. Pa Sa had traveled 80 km (64 mile) to a Khmu village near her provincial capital of Oudomxai 6 years ago to be a bag crafting trainer for a United Nations Industrial...

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Crafter Pia's Daughter Helps Her Create Bags

  Each month, we post a different Nature Bag Crafter interview so our readers can see how beneficial the Nature Bag Khmu/Laos Poverty Reduction Project is and learn more about the Khmu crafters of the eco-friendly tote.   Ounkahm: How old are you? Pia: I am 48 years old. Ounkahm: How many children do you have Pia: I have 5 children. Ounkahm: How many in your family help you make Earth’s Greenest bag? Pia: Only two, myself and my oldest daughter. Ounkahm: What do you do with the finished bag? Pia: hmm… I sell, trade for clothes, blankets, bed sheets or anything that is needed for my family. Ounkahm: How long have you been creating Nature Bags? Pia: I have...

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