"Bartender, I'll have a soda. Hold the BPA please." This is easier said than done. Nearly all Americans have BPA in their bodies because of its widespread use, and while countries like Japan and Canada have taken steps to ban it, America has been lagging. Read more to find out what it is and how you can avoid it.
Last week I was in San Francisco for the annual West Coast Green conference, a heavy-hitting green building trade show with presentations from notable industry professionals and an expo featuring the latest in green building materials and products. For 2.5 days I threw myself into seminars and talks on everything from net zero energy homes to how oil has negatively affected our built environment. But the highlight of the whole weekend was undoubtedly the very first presentation I heard: a 3-hour (yes, 3 hours!) deep dive from Cradle-to-Cradle founder and design visionary William McDonough.
When I wrote this post about reusable chopsticks over at The Kitchn, I was really just thinking of using pretty, special utensils to dress up a meal. I hadn't much considered the impact disposable chopsticks have on the environment:
Fair trade takes a hard look into the economics and ethics of products, but what about the actual artistry? The organization Aid to Artisans (ATA) is an international non-profit organization that helps facilitate just that. Older than many Fair Trade organizations ATA was founded in 1976, and has helped facilitate the growth of artisan communities in over 110 countries. Perhaps more impressive are the 30,000 artisans they support annually to not only teach them new skills, but also to help create a marketplace for their unique talents. So what have the artists around the World created through the support of this program?
Molly Eagen, a student at the University of Minnesota working on her thesis for her Master of Science in Sustainable Design, has undertaken an ambitious project: Living 100 Days Without Oil. Find out more about her project below the jump.
If you're reading this site, you're probably well aware of the negative impacts of plastic bags, but here's a video that's so well done, it's really worth watching. In the tradition of BBC nature documentaries, the four-minute video – narrated by Jeremy Irons! – follows the life of "one the most clever and illustrious creatures – the plastic bag."
Over the past few months we've read a number of comments across blogs eviscerating products (and the people who own them) that are expensive or newly purchased on the grounds that 'true' green living means being, essentially, frugal. Even if the products in question have definable green qualities or aesthetic value (i.e. sustainably manufactured, locally produced, durable or iconic, etc), these comments communicate a No-Exceptions policy: don't spend money, buy only secondhand, and don't buy it if you can DIY it. But this dogmatic view is at odds with the following fact: most products, practices, and designs that are shaping our world and changing it for the better cost money. So how can we demand better products if we're not willing to pay for them?
Sustainability is more than just the environmental aspect; it also encompasses social and economical development. It is a philosophy that merges these three to a point where there is not only synergy but something very powerful and empowering. Many successful examples are non-profit organizations that work with underprivileged or impoverished communities to develop their ancient crafts made with local renewable materials and by selling items at a fair price, paying workers fairly, and providing a clean and safe work environment, thus building strong communities. See a few examples below:
Love to bike? Believe that communities should do more to encourage biking? Peopleforbikes.org is a movement initiated by the Bikes Belong Foundation, the national nonprofit focusing on bicycling safety and working to put more people on bicycles more often. They're working to get a million signatures from people who want to see bicycling made safer and more accessible. You can add your name to the list below:
A recent article in The New Yorker addresses the increasing public awareness into the effects of everyday chemicals on our health, and the inherent uncertainty in determining which substances are safe and which are not. The fact of the matter is that, according to the EPA, roughly 82,000 chemicals are currently registered for use in commerce in the United States, and about 700 new chemicals are introduced each year. Among that number, only 7 percent have undergone a full series of toxicity studies.