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A Mural in East L.A. Paints History of Water in California

A new mural recently completed in Boyle Heights is part of a global campaign to empower young people in the preservation of water.

While the debate about graffiti and vandalism explodes around the Art in the Streets exhibition at MOCA, a few miles away, a new mural that taps the talent of local street artists hopes to send a different message. "Cuidela" (or "care for it" in Spanish) is the name of a 25-foot by 100-foot mural recently completed in Boyle Heights, one of ten public art projects launched by the Estria Foundation worldwide as part of a campaign called "Water Writes" to empower young people in the preservation of water.


With vibrant colors and incredible detail, the mural depicts various stories—real and fictional—about California's water. Figures from Aztec culture like the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue, whose jade skirts represented her protection of lakes and streams, and river god Tlaloc, or "He Who Makes Things Sprout," are intertwined with the visualization of contemporary issues like the privatization and corporate control of our most precious resource. A map studded with X's represents the few remaining free sources of local water.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ButIF7veiSs

Using this eye-catching narrative, the artists hope to instill a sense of responsibility and encourage action when it comes to saving and protecting water, especially in young people. Students from the KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory School, which hosts the mural outside one of their buildings, participated in a series of environmental workshops and helped to paint the mural, as well.

You can see more gorgeous photos of the mural, which you can find in person at 2810 Whittier Boulevard in Boyle Heights. A few blocks away, La Mascota Bakery makes some of the best tamales in town—perfect for a mural-viewing snack, along with a big glass of water, of course.

Photo by Christine Kim

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via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

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Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

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Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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