Farm Fountains and Aquariums
How about a self contained living river ecosystem in your living room? I love the idea of combining art into something practical, useful and also great for the environment, so this really fits the bill. This French designer, Mathieu Lehanneur created a fish hatchery and hydroponic growing system for plants. The water is chilled for the fresh water fish, then the plants get their nutrients from the fish water. They then clean the water for the fish. Brilliant! Of course, Mother Nature came up with the idea first, but hey, it's still a great idea. Found at Inhabitat.
So, it's very cool, but I don't think it would fit into my budget. But I have another idea for you, which I also found at Inhabitat. The Farm Fountain!
Two artists, Amy Youngs and Ken Rinaldo, came up with this clever design. It uses aquaponics to create an ecosystem in your house. The water starts in the fish pond down below. Then the waste water is pumped up to the soda bottle planters and bubbles down through the soilless medium from one level to the next, until it gets back down to the fish. LED growing lights from an inexpensive floor lamp finish the ecosystem. Amy and Ken are really cool, because they give step by step instructions to make your own. Clever stuff! This one is right up my alley and I might have to see if my dear husband would mind having me create this in our home.
I have an Aerogarden which I got recently. I've grown some fantastic herbs in it, and will start some tomato plants when they're finished, but this is even better, because it's a complete ecosystem.