Weekly Theme on THE GREEN: BUILD

To build is in many ways to be human. This demiurgical impulse has inspired humans to create pyramids in the desert and paper from papyrus. It is at the heart of who we are and how our civilization has progressed, but the original meaning behind that impulse has in many ways been lost. We now create ad nauseam. We build strip malls, big box stores and manufacture plastic containers for every morsel of food. And then there’s urban and suburban sprawl, which is naming just a few of our more ignominious recent creations…

According to Merriam Webster the demiurge, or creator of material things, “fashions the sensible world in the light of eternal ideas.” So unless our “eternal idea” is to create a great big pile of garbage and a slew of soon-to-be derelict buildings then we need to rethink how and what we build. This week on THE GREEN Sundance Channel does just that.


This week on BIG IDEAS FOR A SMALL PLANET [www.sundance.tv] we meet visionary architect Michelle Kaufmann [www.mkd-arc.com] as he builds a Glidehouse, [www.glidehouse.com] an ultra-sustainable modular prefab dream home, for a couple looking to enjoy life off the grid; architect Carlton Brown [fullspectrumny.com] defies all odds and builds a low-income sustainable housing project in Harlem [www.kalahari-harlem.com]; and MIT genius Mitchell Joachim [www.archinode.com] demonstrates his Fab Tree Hab [www.archinode.com] living house made from intertwined trees, creating a spectacular living space of the future.

Eco-Documentaries: WASTE=FOOD

This week we are introduced to Bill McDonough [en.wikipedia.org] the author of Cradle to Cradle [www.amazon.com], a book that finally settles the paper vs. plastic debate, but not in the way one might expect. His answer, “Neither!”

In the documentary Waste = Food [www.sundance.tv], McDonough explains that he is not interested in “reducing” waste products but rather in rethinking our idea of what waste is. His solution to the growing mounds of garbage and toxic byproducts of industry is to totally rethink the way we produce. Instead of creating products designed to be thrown away, McDonough proposes that designers take their cue from the environment itself, or in his words, “the intelligence of natural systems.” [www.mcdonough.com] Recycling isn’t something that nature has to think about, or get off its lazy butt and actually do, instead it’s built into the system. From the water cycle to photosynthesis nature’s “wastes” are used as “food” by ecologically connected species and processes. If we stopped thinking about waste as dirty, something you throw away, and started thinking about it as “food” for another product or system then we’re starting to understand what cradle to cradle design is all about, and we might even save our earth and its natural resources along the way.

View Simran’s Webisode [www.sundance.tv].


Josh Lucas is very concerned about our excessive use of fossil fuel and the effect its use has on the planet. He hopes to promote the use of alternative fuel sources.

Go to ECOIST [www.sundance.tv]



Emmy Award-winning Alison Stewart hosts ECOBIZ. This week we meet the CEO of Interface Carpets, Ray

 Anderson. [www.interfaceinc.com] You may know Ray from his appearance in the documentary THE CORPORATION [www.sundance.tv] which airs April 30 at 2:15 e/p on Sundance Channel.

Go To ECO BIZ [www.sundance.tv]

and don’t forget to buy Ray’s Book! [www.amazon.com]

Ideas and Debates

Join our discussions [www.sundance.tv] to share your BIG IDEAS, or submit your BIG IDEA [www.sundance.tv] to our What’s the Big Idea? Contest.

Explore Further
Simran’s Blog Entry about Social Justice and the Environmental Movement [www.treehugger.com]

Definition of Environmental Justice [en.wikipedia.org]

The Environmental Justice organization Sustainable South Bronx (Majora Carter, Founder & Executive Director) [www.ssbx.org]