The Friday 5: Out & About Edition

The best of the week at EcoSalon, hand-picked for your clicking pleasure.

Think river towns are on the wane? You could be right – but only in the popular media. With their new competition and partnership with American Rivers, Outside magazine wants to remind people that river towns haven’t gone anywhere, and they’re just as charming (and environmentally conscious) as ever.

Mark Twain is credited as saying golf is “a good walk spoiled.” In fact he probably didn’t say it at all, but for critics of the sport, it has remained a rallying cry. How many of them have the environmental cost uppermost in their minds? As Allison Ford discovers, golf remains a water-guzzling monster, and it’s getting thirstier each year…

Anyone who is anyone has an embarrassing pair of flares in the closet, kept for sentimental value but utterly unsuitable for the light of day. But lo! Are they due for a comeback, as this history of flared pants gently suggests? Should I jump the fashion gun and strut proudly down the street in those tan bell-bottoms that lurk in my wardrobe? Will I? Not a chance.

Lazy, warm evenings are upon us, complete with the tantalizing smells coming from next door’s barbecue. So fight back! Practice your July 4th outdoor entertaining skills with these 11 essentials for a bash to drive your neighbours crazy.

Finally, know the name Natalie Coughlin? Yes, she was the swimmer decorated so handsomely with medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. What you might not know is that’s she’s a keen urban farmer – check out our interview with her on the subject.

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.