Earth Day

Today is Earth Day—and it’s no joke. Proposed by peace activists and sanctioned at the United Nations in 1970, it was the idea that spawned the modern-day environmentalism movement as we know it. Now purportedly the largest secular holiday in the world, Earth Day gives hundreds of millions of people around the globe a good reason to take a moment and assess how they interact with their surroundings.

In honor of this momentous occasion, we pulled five eco-friendly items that will help you do your part year-round—and juxtaposed them with photos taken over the weekend in and around Olympic National Forest, one of North America’s largest temperate rain forests and just a stone’s throw from our hometown of Seattle.

Keep reading to learn about recycled-bottle board shorts, headphones that actually improve hearing, and more.

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Given the coffee/commute/office/home/sleep routine we’re susceptible to as men living in the modern age, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there’s a wild, delicate and extremely precious world out there. This Earth Day, we encourage you to take a step back (or more specifically, 600 miles, however many steps that is) and ponder these surreal images created by NASA’s Landsat program, which has been gathering satellite imagery of Earth since 1972.

[Ghostly Grease Ice. “Ethereal swirls of grease ice appear turquoise against the midnight blue of the northern Baltic Sea near the Aland Islands (red) between Finland and Sweden. An early stage of sea ice formation, grease ice consists of a viscous mix of tiny ice crystals and resembles an oil slick on the ocean’s surface. Wind and currents constantly shape and reshape grease ice into surreal, ghostly patterns.”]

[Jordan. “Meandering wadis combine to form dense, branching networks across the stark, arid landscape of southeastern Jordan. The Arabic word ‘wadi’ means a gully or streambed that typically remains dry except after drenching, seasonal rains.”]

[Delta Region, Netherlands. “Along the southern coast of the Netherlands, sediment-laden rivers have created a massive delta of islands and waterways in the gaps between coastal dunes. After unusually severe spring tides devastated this region in 1953, the Dutch built an elaborate system of dikes, canals, dams, bridges, and locks to hold back the North Sea.”]

[The Syrian Desert. “Between the fertile Euphrates River valley and the cultivated lands of the eastern Mediterranean coast, the Syrian Desert covers parts of modern Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.”]

[Mayn River. “The Mayn River, seen here with what is thought to be a portion of the Anadyr River, flows through the far northeastern corner of Siberia.”

[Kamchatka Peninsula. “The eastern side of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula juts into the Pacific Ocean west of Alaska. In this winter image, a volcanic terrain is hidden under snow-covered peaks, and valley glaciers feed blue ice into coastal waters.”]

[Meandering Mississippi. “Small, blocky shapes of towns, fields, and pastures surround the graceful swirls and whorls of the Mississippi River. Countless oxbow lakes and cutoffs accompany the meandering river south of Memphis, Tennessee, on the border between Arkansas and Mississippi, USA. The ‘mighty Mississippi’ is the largest river system in North America.”]

—  —  —

These swirling snapshots of Earth’s diverse and complex surfaces (compiled by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey in a series called Earth as Art) are intended to prompt viewers to ask, “How did the earth do that?” And, though enhanced and colorized by infrared and other light spectrums not visible to the naked eye, the insane patterns of land, ocean and ice are true to life.

Ready to do your part to preserve the planet’s rare beauty? We are. Here are a few eco-friendly Editor’s Picks to help keep us all on the path to leaving a smaller footprint:

From left:
– Patagonia jacket, made with recycled materials
– Aveda shampoo & conditioner with Gold-level Cradle to Cradle certification
– Obey recycled-cotton T-shirt
– Michael Rodger sketchbook made of up-cycled vintage records (each is one of a kind)

From left:
– The North Face backpack, made with recycled, water-resistant fabric
– Hurley ‘Phantom 60’ recycled swim trunks
– Sprout compostable watch made with corn resin and tree bark
– R44 Rogan Standard Issue sweatshirt made with recycled and organic fibers

From left:
The North Face jacket, made with recycled materials
Kikkerland Design bike bell, hand-painted using eco-friendly paints
Threads for Thought hoodie, made with organic and recycled content
Areaware MP3-compatible radio, handcrafted with sustainably harvested pine and mahogany

From left:
WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie dopp kit, made with recycled cotton
Alternative tank top, made with organic and recycled materials
Timberland Earthkeepers boot, with recycled materials in the lining, footbed and sole
Quiksilver Waterman Collection board shorts, made with recycled materials


Nordstrom has always followed a simple philosophy: “Leave it better than you found it.”
See how we apply this to environmental efforts at our social-responsibility site:
Nordstrom Cares


[Images and descriptions courtesy of NASA and the USGS. Purchase Earth as Art prints here, and download a free e-book and iPad app of the series here.]