sustainability

Plastiki + Earthship = Landlord Independent

Plastiki + Earthship = Landlord Independent

David de Rothschild’s Plastiki is a seaworthy boat made from reclaimed plastic bottles. Michael Reynolds’ Earthships (the subject of the documentary GARBAGE WARRIOR) are homes built from reclaimed materials, and designed to provide basic needs for the homeowner: energy, food, water, and waste disposal. Put the two together, and you get the Landlord Independent, a…

Can prison life be greener? The Sustainable Prisons Project thinks so…

Can prison life be greener? The Sustainable Prisons Project thinks so…

You probably don’t use the words “sustainability” and “prison” in the same sentence very often. The housing and feeding of inmates requires huge amounts of water and energy, though, and generates tons of waste. The Sustainable Prisons Project, a partnership between the Washington State Department of Corrections and the Evergreen State College, works to make prisons more efficient… and perhaps even reduce recidivism rates by providing “green collar” training to inmates.

ASU Art Museum explores sustainability definitions in Fall exhibitions

ASU Art Museum explores sustainability definitions in Fall exhibitions

Artist Carrie Marill’s “Fucking Liberal Life”

In 1987, the United Nations’ Bruntland Commission defined the concept of sustainable development as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs…” Is this an accurate definition? Certainly. Does it capture the imagination, and prod people to action? Probably not…

This Fall, Arizona State University’s Art Museum is going to take another, and very different, stab at formulating a definition for sustainability. A series of projects gathered under the title Defining Sustainability will not only display artistic renderings of the concept (or specific examples of it, such as greener transportation or recycled shade structures), but also bring together “artists and designers, faculty and students [to] engage the greater Phoenix community in their creative processes and in conversations about sustainability.”

Pope Benedict calls for sustainable business, development models

Pope Benedict calls for sustainable business, development models

Pope Benedict XVI added to his growing reputation as the “green Pope” yesterday (July 7) with the release of a new encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth). A call for sustainable development in the broadest sense, the Pope’s letter addressed the human and environmental costs of “business as usual,” and established “doing well by doing good” as the business philosophy most consistent with Church doctrine and Biblical teaching.

The coolest colleges are going green

The coolest colleges are going green

Think this whole “green” thing is just a fad? Maybe some elements of it, but if trends in higher education are any indicator of larger patterns, sustainability will continue to play a role in how we live, work, and play. In late June, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) released its annual Digest, a collection and analysis of stories from the previous year’s weekly newsletter. Just the size of the publication should give us hope: according to Acting Executive Director Judy Walton’s “Introduction,” the 2008 Digest is 50% larger than the previous edition.

Chilean wines going green

Chilean wines going green

The next time you’re at the wine shop trying to figure out which wineries produce vintages that fit your palate and green values, you may want to consider a bottle from Chile: according to wine writer Tim Pawsey, the country “already practices significant sustainable viticulture, and is a leader in biodynamic farming.” Currently, thirty-two wineries in the country use organic production methods, and about 2% of wine-growing land is devoted to organic agriculture.

Sustainable design: Nature Conservancy launches Design for a Living World

Sustainable design: Nature Conservancy launches Design for a Living World

Uttering the phrase “green design” can evoke images of mud-plastered huts and clothes that just scream “itchy”… all bathed in a faint whiff of patchouli. A new project from the Nature Conservancy attempts to banish such sensations, and demonstrate that beauty and function can exist hand-in-hand with sustainability.

Story of Stuff called "anti-capitalist"

Story of Stuff called "anti-capitalist"

In internet time, Annie Leonard’s The Story Of Stuff is relatively old. But the 2007 web video, produced by Free Range Studios and funded by the Tides Foundation and Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption (among others) has attained cult status in American classrooms. According to the New York Times, teachers around the country use the video to supplement environmental education textbooks that often lack information on recent scientific discoveries.

Creative teaching, right? Not in Missoula County, Montana, where the school board responded to a parent’s complaint about the video’s “anti-capitalist” message with a decision that use of The Story of Stuff “violated its standards on bias.”

10 futuristic green corporate buildings

10 futuristic green corporate buildings

Some of these buildings exist only on paper (or rather a computer hard drive), but this is a list of 10 large office buildings “that are not only bold, beautiful and futuristic, but ‘green’ too.” I’m especially impressed by the “Cactus Building,” a new government building in Doha, Qatar. As the name suggests, it “draws…

Michigan universities launch online tools for planners, activists, citizens

Michigan universities launch online tools for planners, activists, citizens

Are you looking for information on lightening your neighborhood’s or town’s environmental footprint? Want to figure out how to reduce your own energy and material consumption? Or, just need facts on hand for that annoying climate-change denying brother-in-law? Michigan’s largest universities have released new online tools that may have you covered in all of these…

Green Home Assistance

Green Home Assistance

Looking for a way to transform your home into a green paradise? There are people and organizations out there who want to help you find your own unique way of joining the green revolution. Whether you have a fancy contractor or you want to do-it-yourself, you can find great information on many websites. There are…

LEED Certified: What does it mean?

LEED Certified: What does it mean?

Often times, people talk about buildings as being LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. Generally speaking, the term is used to convey a standard of sustainability in a building. Buildings made out of post-consumer waste products or using non-toxic insulations, or that involve conservation strategies for energy, heat, water and waste can be…