October 30, 2007

Sustainability vs. Luxury: Are They Really At Odds?

Whatever you personal feelings about Al Gore, he must be doing something right (you don’t win the Nobel Peace Prize, after all, for failing miserably). Thanks in no small part to Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, the American public’s awareness of environmental concerns has grown considerably in recent years. This increased awareness brings with it a fascinating process of learning, questioning, justifying, arguing and, sometimes, changing. Since our industrial revolution, America has been a society of consumers, embracing values of luxury and carefree (careless?) spending. With the advent of the climate crisis, this consumerism is being challenged. But is luxury truly anathema to sustainability? Must we really choose between consumption and abstinence?

Ask the average citizen what it takes to be sustainable, or green, and you’ll likely hear something along the lines of, “Give up the fun stuff.” This model is perpetuated by the environmental movement itself, whose primary motto is “reduce, reuse, recycle,” implying we must reduce our indulgences before anything can be done to save us. Charlotte McGuinn Freeman, of the Living Small blog recently summed up this pervasive attitude rather bluntly in a recent entry for The Ethicurian: “I hate to be the one to point it out, but luxury and sustainability are contradictory values.” Clearly, this belief runs deep, regardless of which side of the fence you shop on.

Is it true, though?

Is it possible to live in extravagance without damaging the environment? Is it possible to thoughtlessly consume without essentially shitting your waste all over the place? Right now, the answer is no. Thanks to an unchecked economic system that has never once factored environmental resources into the cost of doing business, we now have a world of goods made from toxins, that produce toxins, and end up as toxins in landfill.

Just imagine if companies— the building blocks of our current economy—assigned a real dollar value to the cost of natural resources. I’m not even talking about the expense of strip mining, for example, with all its OSHA regulations and heavy machinery. I’m talking about costs like the lost productivity of worker-drones who don’t have access to sunlight and fresh air, or the long-term cost of depleting oil reserves without a sufficient energy source to replace them. These are real costs to businesses of all sizes, but when was the last time you took a hard look at the “waste disposal” line item on your P&L?

The truth is that the products we make and sell and buy are damaging us even as they make our lives easier in the short term. Pesticides that help us produce more food faster actually leach into water sources, for example, then leach into the fish swimming in those water sources, then leach into those of us who eat that fish. Or, on a simpler level, take your latest purchase at OfficeMax: how much of what you just paid for is actually for plastic packaging that you sent to a landfill as soon as it passed through your business’ doors?

It’s not doomsday yet, though.

As I write this, R&D departments throughout the world are racing to find new, better alternatives. At one time, recycled paper was a crappy alternative to virgin pulp paper but thanks to technological development, we now have gorgeous, affordable recycled paper options at our disposal. The Prius is another, if imperfect, example. A process once hidden from the public’s gaze is now snowballing into the limelight. Companies are recognizing that the up-front R&D costs generally pale in comparison to the ROI to be seen down the road. And we small businesses get to piggyback on their innovation.

What they’re working on is really incredible, and incredibly sexy. Cars that run on air (they exist!); treatment plants that clean wastewater using the gas from their own processes (okay, that last one's not so sexy, but it's really cool). These advances have already been made, and now it’s a matter of applying our technological capabilities to their mass production so they become the norm and not the exception. Quickly. And that happens through publicity (cue Al Gore) and the build-up of demand.

It’s a beautiful cycle, isn’t it? And it’s why I believe that luxury and sustainability are not contradictory values in and of themselves. With our current production framework, no, of course they can’t coexist. But our current framework is changing. If regenerative products become the norm—products that add to the health of our environment rather than detract from it—it could conceivably mean that carefree consumption can actually be an environmentally friendly action.

One has to happen first for the other to be true, of course. But the change is happening. So as we continue to demand that the end-user change their habits, we need to also demand—even more strenuously—that the producers change theirs.

[Cross-posted to Blog!]

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July 26, 2007

Quick Plug: Texas Gold

Texas Gold logo by Roughstock StudiosNow that Big Business, and even Big Chemical, is singing a different public tune when it comes to corporate social responsibility, it might be easy to forget that there was a time not long ago when these companies were actively destroying our planet (and, by default, our population).

Some might argue they're still doing so, but under the guise of greening up. Diane Wilson is an activist who has been fighting Big Chemical for a long time now. A few years ago, I created a logo and designed the DVD cover (and water bottle label) for a film about her called Texas Gold. The movie traces her fight to save her hometown, a fishing village in Texas suffering from massive pollution and rising cancer rates.

Well, I just got word that Texas Gold will be airing on the Sundance Channel as part of their program, The Green, and on PBS' Natural Heroes series. According to the filmmakers, the scheduling is as follows:
Sundance Channel
9/11 @ 10:35 pm EST/PST
9/13 @ 1:35 am EST/PST
9/14 @ 11:35 am EST/PST
9/16 @ 4:35 pm EST/PST
This is an important story, made even more so by the rise of a greener public consciousness and the greenwashing carried out by some companies like BP. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the film once it airs.



July 07, 2007

What's Your Foodometer Read?

What a great little vid that reveals a whole lot of depth in a wonderful way:

[Via the wonderful Ethicurian]

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July 03, 2007

They Found Us: Link Love

Small Failures' readership has been growing steadily over the months, and many of you discover us through other blogs and sites, some which have a green theme and some which don't. I've decided to start mentioning these blogs on a semi-regular basis as a way of saying thank you to those folks who feel we're worth linking to.

Cider Press Hill: A thoughtful, personal blog from Kate (I believe), who offers a quiet look into her own life as well as those around her. Some great links on this blog.

The Worsted Witch: Clearly this really is "the malformed love-child of [Jasmine's] indecorous passions for knitting, sustainability, gothic horror, and illustration." A sense of humor, an elegant design aesthetic and a cat named Chekhov makes Jasmine worth a long read.

Simply Green Living: This fairly new blog covers the writer's journey to simplify her life, although she's been living green for fifteen years.

And thank you, readers, for continuing to support Small Failures! I've got some cool ideas coming up for the site, and eventually I'll be hitting you up for some feedback. Stay tuned!

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June 18, 2007

Terrorism vs. Climate Change: Americans Reconsider

I just discovered some good news today: Americans are not as ignorant as some make us out to be. How do I know this? Because a full 63% of survey respondents believe that the U.S. "is in as much danger from environmental hazards, such as air pollution and global warming, as it is from terrorists." This is according to a recent survey from the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy.

It's just further proof that public discourse helps to advance critical issues—and that people really don't mind thinking about things in shades beyond black and white. These numbers, however, are set against another set of very telling statistics: Only 50% of respondents say they trust television news and 45% trust newspapers when it comes to environmental coverage. This tells me that a lot of folks out there rely on other means for their environmental information. This isn't just about blogs spreading the word, though; it's about other facets of American culture stepping up and covering this topic. The vast majority of survey respondents trust universities and their scientists aove all others (like industry scientists) for environmental information. Once again, we see the fundamental impact of America's educational insitutions.

Perhaps the most reassuring statistic, though, is that 81% of respondents also agreed they have a "responsibility to help reduce the impacts of global warming." So not only are we thinking more critically about the issues, we're actually starting to recognize that we each have a key role to play in making change.

Download the survey's key findings.

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May 22, 2007

HOW You Doin'?

Just a quick "howdy!" to all you HOW magazine readers who've found us via their update and/or blog. I've noticed quite a jump in visitors since we were mentioned recently. Although Small Failures isn't geared toward any any specific profession, we all head home at the end of the day; my hope is that you'll find something here worth bringing with you.

And if you're looking for more design-related tips, be sure to check out my recent installment of The Sustainable Studio, in which I deconstruct the myths of sustainability for designers (you will find the column's archives here).

More link love...
I would be remiss if I didn't also give a shout out back to Eric at ReNourish, the lovely folks at TreeHugger, Vanessa at Green as a Thistle, and all the other bloggers and organizations who have taken the time to visit us, read us and link to us (and their loyal readers, of course).

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May 01, 2007

Help Green New Orleans and Win Big!

A tragedy, a city of opportunity, and a whole lot of green prizes!

Christal and Kaden White would like to go home. But Christal's story is not your typical post-Katrina plight of a mother and her newborn son struggling to make it back to New Orleans amid a broken and neglected system. Sure, Hurricane Katrina destroyed Christal's childhood home. And yes, Katrina also took the home Christal had just purchased and renovated—her first—only two weeks before mother and son were to move in. But Christal's quest to return home is marked by a different struggle: the struggle to not just rebuild her own home but to rebuild her entire city, and to rebuild it sustainably.

"In the wake of Katrina," says Christal, "I was blown away. I walked into the remains of my home with a breathing apparatus on to take inventory of what was left. And to say goodbye. It was heartbreaking." But rather than lose hope, or walk away, or even concentrate on rebuilding her own home, Christal had an altogether different response: "In that moment, it all clicked. Everything that I had been doing was good but it wasn't good enough; more had to be done. And if ever there was a time to change things, this was it."

So Christal has organized a fundraising raffle to benefit the Green Project, a New Orleans nonprofit that reclaims building materials, recycles them and resells them at below-market cost to help the New Orleans rebuilding efforts. The Green Project is more than just a demo company: it also incorporates a recycling center, a community garden, and an interactive community space that uses salvaged material to create art. Christal champions the Green Project and all they have done for the city: "The Green Project is an amazing organization that helps to deconstruct piece by piece and salvage everything that they can from buildings to preserve history and architecture. The Recycle for the Arts portion of the program takes anything seemingly unusable and puts into use in art projects that capture the local culture and flavor of my unique city. They were the eco-logical choice."

If you're starting to get the sense that Christal has a thing for being green, you might be right. When she temporarily relocated after Hurricane Katrina, she did so with the help of her employer, the Kimpton Hotel Group. Christal, in fact, is working as an eco-concierge in one of their hotels until she can move back home (perhaps she can convince them to donate a hotel stay to her raffle...hint, hint).

Christal's unique job seems to be serving her well; she's organized a series of prize drawings in which she'll be giving away bags stuffed with green goods from the likes of Big Dipper Wax Works, Terrapass, Ikea, Method Home, Greenfield Paper, Simply Organic, Envirosax, Greenfeet and more. All it takes is a small—and we do mean small—donation. Just $10 will enter you (but we'd suggest buying a few tickets to increase your odds; heck, why not buy an entry for your best buddy?). All of the proceeds go to the New Orleans Green Project, who will use the money to supplement the organization's operating expenses.

And boy, do they need the money. According to the Green Project's director, aptly named Angie Green, "People are forgetting that we still need help. Right now, The Green Project is focusing our efforts on directing the building materials from damaged homes back into reuse, instead of the landfill. " You can help their efforts by purchasing a raffle ticket through Christal's fundraising blog, where you'll find additional details including drawing dates and a prize list. If we play our cards right, this just might be a situation where everybody wins!

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April 23, 2007

Discover Planet Earth From the Comfort of Your Own Home

Earth Day has come and gone—ours was marked by a massive spring cleaning, which brought many new green housecleaning discoveries. But that icon of edutainment, the Discovery Channel, celebrated differently, by airing a marathon of their new series, Planet Earth. If your officemates are more interested in discussing the Sopranos over the bubbler every Monday, you might not realize that this documentary series is one of the most striking nature shows ever filmed.

Producers and their crew sometimes spent months on a given shot, creeping and hiding to capture many scenes that have never actually been recorded for broadcast. You'll meet animals you've never seen before, view arial shots that make your heartbeat skip and, hopefully, be truly moved by the interconnected nature of the plant and animal species that keep this ball breathing.

My only criticism of the series is the writing. Powerfully narrated by Sigourney Weaver, even she can't elevate the typical, often trite text to anything that comes close to matching the images on screen. That said, the focus is clearly those images: the intense blues and greens and fiery oranges; the textures of sand, sea and scales; the bizarre and yet familiar behavior of species we may never have seen before. I can't even imagine what this program looks like viewed on HDTV.

The final episode, featuring the filmmakers' story, will air this Sunday, April 29. But Discovery will most likely air reruns, and you can purchase the entire series on DVD.

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April 13, 2007

Designers Know Green Is the New Black

I confess: as a graphic designer, I am part of an industry that encourages paper consumption. And as a writer, nothing pleases me more than seeing my words scrolling across the printed page. Is it wrong of me, hypocritical of me, to promote sustainability when I earn my bread and butter in an industry so responsible for waste, energy and water consumptiom, and climate change? Probably.

But I also believe that American business can be one of the most important change-makers we have. Which is why I've just begun a monthly column for the Business of Design Online (BoDo) called "The Sustainable Studio." The column is aimed at design professionals, and explores both the underpinnings and the practicalities of sustainability as it pertains to our offices, our work, our clients and our communities.

My goal is to cut through the standard green rhetoric and make this issue more accessible to my colleagues. Designers are problem solvers by nature, and this is one area that desperately needs our attention.

Designer or not, I'd love to know what you think the first installment of my column. You can also download a press release to use for pimping it out and spreading the word.

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April 03, 2007

New York Politicoes Recognize a Poverty-Diet Connection

A recent blurb in New York Magazine announced the formation of New York's first ever Food Policy Council. If that sounds boring to you, take a closer look: the Council has been assigned the task of getting local and organic foods into low income NY neighborhoods.

Take a walk around any low income urban neighborhood and you're likely to find a liquor store on nearly every corner. Large grocery stores, which tend to carry foods at a cheaper cost than specialty or convenience stores, are hard to find—and those that do exist often feature a dismal selection of fresh produce. Good luck finding affordable organics or locally-produced options. The problem isn't just one of convenience or deliciousness; studies have shown that lower income communities have higher rates of obesity, diabetes and other diet-related conditions.

This is where food policy councils come in. Although your state or community may already have one, chances are you don't know about it (see this list for your local council). These councils tend to operate in the background, with small budgets and little attention. That's what happens when your focus is something as mundane as how food gets from point A to point B.

Luckily, however, the tide is starting to turn. Thanks to a huge burst of press, not least of which includes Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, people are paying more attention to their food supply. As farmers scramble to plant more corn (no, not for consumption—for fuel, instead), and children continue to go hungry right here in the U.S., how we handle our food becomes extremely important. Call me crazy, but I can't help thinking we're in for a massive cultural shift when it comes to feeding ourselves. Hopefully.

Further reading:
"Transportation, Food Supplies and Local Economies" at Worldchanging.com
"Healthy Foods, Strong Communities" report by the National Housing Insitute
People's Grocery, a mobile grocery store based in Oakland, CA
State and local food policy councils FAQ

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February 23, 2007

A Hug From Treehugger

Small Failures is honored to be chosen as one of Treehugger's green blogs of the week! We're certainly in good company, and it's great to get the nod from one of the leading online green magazines. Check out the other mentions as well:

Ivan Enviroman
Greener Magazine
It's Getting Hot In Here
Jen's green Journal

If you're curious as to what piqued Treehuggers interest, it was our recent post about teaching kids to eat sustainably.

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January 18, 2007

Five Minutes to Midnight

Could we be facing immanent nuclear warfare? Last week I mentioned that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, a group that includes numerous Nobel winners, were to make a "very important announcement" and yesterday they did. The conclusion: that we have awoken to the dawn of a new nuclear era.

This seemingly dire announcement has been punctuated by the Bulletin's decision to move the Doomsday Clock forward by two minutes, to five minutes to midnight. Contrary to popular assumption, though, the clock is not a gauge of how close we are to nuclear war waged by our world's politicians.

In fact, the clock reflects “basic changes in the level of continuous danger in which mankind lives in the nuclear age, and will continue living, until society adjusts its basic attitudes and institutions.” This subtle difference is an important one, as it stresses the need for a fundamental shift in our way of approaching the way we live in the world. Is it not suprising, then, that the Bulletin also concludes that "the dangers posed by climate change are nearly as dire as those posed by nuclear weapons."

The full statement is well worth reading. Most fascinating to me is the report's description of how our nation's administration has relaxed its attitudes towards nuclear weapons, embracing this technology to a degree unheard of since WWII, and the direct influence this has had on today's nuclear proliferation.

But it's not all dire doomsday warnings. Even more important than the current "threat level," to borrow the language of the current administration, are the Bulletin's recommendations. Among the very specific steps that can be taken to reduce the nuclear threat are some obvious ones—begin dismantling the 20,000+ nuclear warheads we've got stored everywhere—and some less obvious ones. These include beginning an international discussion about the ramifications of nuclear energy (particularly salient as nuclear becomes more and more attractive as an alternative energy source), and securing current nuclear materials that are, as of now, dangerously insecure.

All of this nuclear talk can seem so distant to those of us who've never had to duck under a desk. But North Korea's recent testing should start bringing these dangers home to us—hopefully not directly, but at least by impacting our actions. So what can you and I do to influence our nation's approach to nuclear weapons?

We can start by educating ourselves (read the news, dispel the myths) and forming an opinion. Then share that opinion with those whose fingers dangle limply over the Big Red Button. Vote, send emails, start conversations with friends and neighbors. Whatever you choose to do, choose something, please. Don't you think it's time to stop letting others make our decisions for us?

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January 12, 2007

Doomsday Draws Near?

Thanks to the folks at Development Crossing, I am now officially scared sh--less.™ They've pointed out a recent Reuters article announcing that the hands of The Doomsday Clock (cue Jaws music) will be moving for the 18th time since 1947. The clock was created by those in the know in response to the (still) rising threat of nuclear proliferation: the idea is that when it hits midnight, you can kiss your ass goodbye.

But the question remains to be answered: when they adjust the clock next Wednesday, will it be moving back or forth, and what time will it be when they're done?

The answer of course, is wait and see. A visit to the clock's creators, the
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, warns simply: "On January 17, at 14:30 GMT (9:30 ET), the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists will launch a new website and make a major announcement."

Who knew scientists could be so...thrilling? Actually, a little digging reveals that the clock is currently set at seven minutes to midnight. You can read a bit more about its current status at their old site, including how North Korea's recent nuclear tests have affected nuclear Doomsday.

Stay tuned for the future of humanity...

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January 11, 2007

Earth & Sky

I don't generally post simply to point you to a particular site, but this one is good: Earth & Sky is a radio series, a website and a blog that "are committed to describing humanity’s work to understand itself and its relationship to the Earth."

It may sound high-minded, but the articles are all peer-reviewed and the blog has some really fascinating entries. Like this one, titled "Nature Provides 'Ecosystem Services':"
Scientists are beginning to focus on the consequences of environmental degradation to human wellbeing. It’s the idea that nature provides goods and services we humans need – like clean water and fertile soil...So the service concept is really important because it links people to these concerns, which have been sort of remote in the past. If you say, “well we’re losing biodiversity,” a lot of people say 'well so what?'"

So what? We'll be singing a different tune when our services get shut off for failure to pay the rent.

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January 09, 2007

New Feeds for Sustainable Fans

As readership continues to grow, however modestly, I've slowly been making some improvements to both the usability and aesthetics of Small Failures. My most recent move has been to make it easier for you to subscribe to the blog via either a feed or email.

A feed is simply a way for you to get all the latest updates to your favorite blogs in one place, instead of bouncing from blog to blog (here's a quick explanation). But if you're not feeling the feed, you can always get the same updates via email instead.

Either way, you'll find the necessary sign-ups to your right (at the top of the right sidebar). Go ahead and sign up—you can always unsubscribe later if you don't like it!

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January 08, 2007

Trend Watchers Jump on the Eco Bandwagon

It's official—green is now extremely trendy. Independent consumer trend watching firm Trendwatching has listed "Eco-Lifestyles" on their Status Lifestyles to look out for in 2007:
"With the environment finally on the agenda of most powers that be, and millions of consumers now actively trying to greenify their lives, status from leading an eco-responsible lifestyle is both more readily available, and increasing in value."
And while "trendy" might seem to mean "fad" to some, the ultimate result is that that marketers are going to be paying close attention to eco-consumers and investing heavily in greening up their message. That means more green choices in the marketplace, making it easier to adapt a more eco-aware lifestyle.

Of course, true sustainability can only be reached by a reduction in consumption, which no marketer can get behind.

Further Reading:
Read the full Trendwatching report.
Springwise's Top 10 Eco Business Ideas.

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January 03, 2007

Urban Rivers

Work, in Plain English pointed out a remarkable scene recently: a river running through a congested city that actually looks healthy. Penina points out how important it is that an urban river actually engage passers by and should rely on naturally occurring elements to keep it healthy and flowing safely.

City planning in the U.S. should be so good.

Further reading:
More on rivers than you probably want to know.
The abstracted article that inspired Penina's post.

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December 26, 2006

The Path to Recovery is Paved with Fresh and Local Vegetables

The year is winding down and reflections are inevitable. Small Failures is still very young and I am still feeling it out, choosing new directions, and generally learning about what makes sense for both Small Failures and my readers.

I received a wonderful Christmas gift yesterday: The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. This book has been getting a lot of press, much like Fast Food Nation did when it came out, and for good reason. The book traces several food chains that we all live with nowadays: industrial agriculture (factory farms, etc.), alternative agriculture (organics et al.), and hunter-gatherer agriculture (few of us ever participate, of course). Pollan's writing and use of language is remarkable, and I look forward to devouring the entire book.

Having only read through the introduction, I find myself wondering about my own ability to really affect change. The whole point of Small Failures is to begin with one, me (or you, the reader), and work on that. I do believe in the need for mass institutional change, but I also believe that successful social revolution begins at the individual level and ripples outward. (Geez, I promised myself I wouldn't get all polemic up in here.)

With all that said, I have discovered a blog that beautifully captures this idea: Eat Local Challenge. A group of folks scattered across North America is exploring what it's like to only eat food produced locally. This is a tough challenge, one many of us have a hard time with. But as Pollan's book and my own experiences both reveal, I don't believe I need to sacrifice anything but old habits in order to do so.

So onward into 2007. Small Failures wishes you well and encourages you to share your own Small Failures with us. Email me at jessie [at] smallfailures [dot] com or simply post a comment. It matters.

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December 11, 2006

Menu for Hope: Feed and be Fed

How can you go wrong with a $10 entry fee and prizes that include Paris chocolate tours, a candy-red Kitchenaid mixer, and any number of other fabulous books, art pieces, tours and food items?

The proceeds this year go to the U.N. World Food Programme (last year participating food bloggers raised $17,000 for UNICEF). The raffle ends December 22nd, so get your bids in now and you'll end up with an incredible Christmas present for someone you love (yourself, perhaps?).

Go for it: Menu for Hope III

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November 22, 2006

Buy Nothing Day!

Thanksgiving may be a day of mindfulness and gratitude in theory but we all know the bloated truth: it’s also a day of feasting that often leaves us over-satiated, overstuffed and overweight. But fear not! If you wake up on Friday morning with a still-full belly and a vague feeling of gluttony, there is a simple way to counteract such malaise: participate in Buy Nothing Day.

Now extending over Nov. 24th and 25th, Buy Nothing Days celebrate a withdrawal from the consumerist glut. There will be no clawing your way through bloodthirsty video game-seeking crowds, no waiting in two-hour lines only to be confronted by a bored, unfriendly cashier who’s had it with people like you, and definitely no throwing away your hard-earned paycheck on junk that your friends and family probably will just try to return anyway.

The upside to Buy Nothing Day is twofold: not only will we collectively refrain from consuming unnecessary stuff (thereby saving said stuff from eventually ending up in our landfills), we will also have some free time to sit around and digest our Thanksgiving meal. Or continue eating it, what with all the leftovers. Or, hell, do something productive (gasp). Here are a few more ideas for how to spend your Buy Nothing Day(s):

Have your own plans for Buy Nothing Day? Let us know! Email us or leave a comment below.

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November 16, 2006

Sony Bravia Ad Trades Brains for Beauty

What do you get when you combine 70,000 litres of paint, more pyrotechnics than were used in the first 15 minutes of Saving Private Ryan, and a corporate advertising agency? The answer is one of the most beautiful and most wasteful commercials ever filmed:
The 70-second spot features a building being doused in brilliantly colored paint. According to the commercial's makers, the paint used was non-toxic ("safe enough to drink") and was cleaned up over the span of five days.

I am torn by projects like this: on the one hand, the commercial is incredible to look at and demonstrates a level of ingenuity and originality that is uncommon these days. On the other hand, the sheer amount of resources used to produce a 70-second commercial for a TV screen is so wasteful it's embarrassing. 70 plastic containers were shipped to Scotland for the shoot and four massive cranes were used, all of which require serious amounts of crude oil.

I hate to pee on anyone's parade—even one as fun to watch as this—but it seems to me that this is exactly the kind of extravagance that leads to dwindling natural resources. Or maybe I'm just a curmudgeon.

Watch the commercial and enjoy.

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November 13, 2006

Green Begets Green

Green is big business these days. Whatever you think about the science of global warming, sustainable living has become a viable consumer issue. It's been receiving massive attention across media: nationally-released movies; articles in local weeklies and national magazines; best-selling books; and more and more green products released by both start-ups and major corporations. Some dismiss green as merely a trend, but I suspect otherwise.

The November issue of Inc. magazine proves my point: The Green 50 features companies that have successfully integrated sustainable practices into their business models. This capitalist-minded magazine describes 50 companies that are committed to either running their businesses sustainably, or offering sustainable products and/or services.

These business run the gamut, from breweries to skate shops to makers of industrial cleaning supplies. They are in it for the money because they are...businesses. And they are proving that real money can be made without sacrificing the world we live in. This article is one of the most inspiring I've read, because it indicates that business—those who conduct it and those who believe in it to their core—recognize the viability of sustainability. The more press, the better!

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