Giving is good. But giving green is better.
Buying something that is new, whether for yourself or someone else, comes at a cost- the energy consumed in making it, transporting it, and delivering it. Why not have a net zero holiday this year? Shop vintage, antique, second-hand, and give an existing item a new life. Alternatively, make something. Grow something. Donate something. You’ll be giving from the heart, and using items you already have on hand. Check out the article below for many handy, thoughtful tips to kicking off your holiday shopping season in a sustainable way. Green your Black Friday.
Courtesy SF Environment:
Black Friday kicks off the season of giving. As you check off your list, here are a few tips you can keep in mind to make your Black Friday (and the rest of the holiday season) a little greener.
Before you head out, consider taking public transportation.
Why sit in traffic and worry about parking when you can take public transit? You can treat yourself with the money and time saved from driving and parking. Plan your trip with 511 Transit>
Remember to bring your own bag.
In San Francisco, you will save ten cents every time you swap a reusable bag for a disposable one. Find out more about the new checkout bag ordinance>
Not all gifts need to come in a box; give your loved ones an experience.
Avoid extra packaging and give a gift that will be remembered forever. Some of our favorite gift ideas include: concert tickets, art or dance classes, a car sharing membership, or even a gift to charity. For low budget experiences you can gift your own time by making dinner, babysitting, washing a car, or cleaning out a garage or attic. Visit RecycleWhere to find out how and where to recycle, reuse, or dispose of anything, anywhere>
The perfect gift can be found in an unexpected place. You can find something unique at an antique store or a flea market, or even a nursery.
Avoid the hustle and bustle of the mall and peruse antique stores, consignment shops, and flea markets for one of a kind gifts. Seeds and potted plants are gifts that last all year, and help clean our air.
When it’s time to wrap your gifts, look for paper that is made from post-consumer recycled content, or better yet look around the house for even more unique options.
Why buy new wrapping paper when you can make your own? Kids’ drawings, old maps, newspaper comics, and even cloth can make your gift stand out. Stop by a creative reuse store like SCRAP to get even more creative. An SF Environment favorite is to make one gift into two by wrapping your gift in a reusable bag!
via Green Your Black Friday! | sfenvironment.org – Our Home. Our City. Our Planet.
“Providing a further endorsement to the Thames Estuary as the preferred location for London’s new airport, Gensler have designed a unique solution creating an entirely new approach to modern airport design and construction with a clear focus on convenience and accessibility.
The proposals also envisage a new future for Heathrow as the largest urban expansion project in Europe with the development of an eco city – Heathrow Gardens – on the former airfield that can utilise the existing infrastructure to provide additional homes for 300,000 people and employment for over 200,000.”
via Floating London airport proposal by Gensler.
press conference at the Blue Greenway, Hunters Point, San Francsico
The community turned out to show their support for the Hunters Point community and the Blue Greenway project. The EPA presented two grants at a press conference held at India Basin Shoreline Park. $400,000 was awarded to SF Environment for Site Assessments and the Hunters Point Family received $200,000 in grant funding for job training.
Starting with my discovery of gardening and cooking a few years ago, hobbies which quickly have become my new passions, I began to learn more about farming and the importance of implementing sustainable practices in order to keep our environment clean and our food supply safe. As a natural consequence, my interest and curiosity expanded beyond my own back yard; now I’m passionate about learning more about environmentalism and sustainable practice as it impacts every aspect of our lives. I’m passionate about living green! And in that spirit, I’ve resolved this year to deepen my involvement in the green community and to meet others with similar passions.
That’s why I joined EcoTuesday as a member, and I look forward to becoming a regular participant in their events.
What is EcoTuesday? Put simply, it’s a monthly networking event for professionals of any field with an interest in sustainability and living green. You can find out more by following this link. I love that while everyone shares this abiding passion for the environment, the group encompasses people of all walks of life, approaching green issues from any and all angles. From chemists to venture capitalists, from marketers to construction workers (and graphic designers like me) you could meet anyone at these events, and the synergy that erupts from that is an exciting thing. When people create and build bridges, good things happen. And there are lots of good people at these events.
Tonight was no exception. It was the 5-Year anniversary party for EcoTuesday and the event was held at the Bently Reserve in the Financial District of San Francisco. And I met some cool people. Among them:
- An entrepreneur and foodie, in the process of getting investors for a business incubator. Her goal, a commercial kitchen that could be shared by any number of home cooks who want to make a business of their passion but don’t have a lot of start-up capital. It’s a dream of building an economy of scale and sharing resources so that talented people can make a start in a challenging economy with minimal risk.
- A chemist, ready to start researching ways to use chemistry to improve consumer products by finding replacements for toxins used in the manufacturing process, and finding ways to reuse waste and trash by transforming it chemically.
- The makers of Mamma Chia, an organic beverage made from the chia seed.
- Organizers of the Green Film Festival, the Bay Area’s only festival dedicated to films and new forms of media that explore green issues and sustainable living.
- My buddy T who represents Dharma, a green credit card processing company during the week and farms on the weekend, in Petaluma!
It was a great night, with a great speaker, Brian Back, of Sustainable Industries Magazine who provided great insight as to how the playing field is changing for corporations and small businesses, encouraging us to find new approaches to innovation through creative partnerships with one another. I look forward to going to more of these events, learning more about sustainability and environmentalism and above all, I look forward to making new, green friends.
Green Civil Engineer Timothy Smith had a story to tell.
Having worked as an engineer for several years, Tim decided to start his own consulting firm, one that would specialize in providing the green approach.
The name engutopia was inspired by his abiding passion, the desire to make the world a better place coupled with the staunch belief that this can be accomplished without compromising environmental concerns.
engineering + utopia = engutopia
logo by Mark Nicholas Design for green civil engineering firm, Engutopia
Building this logo I wanted to preserve the duality inherent in the business name. Hence the gray of engineering meeting the green found in utopia.
The symbol floating above not only contains a stylized leaf in the shape of a stylized “e”, it is meant to evoke the image of a planet, floating in the air. Our planet, made better through smart planning coupled with stewardship of the environment.
Here are the business cards that I created for the company.
business card design by Mark Nicholas for green civil engineering firm, engutopia
Business card design by Mark Nicholas for green civil engineering firm, engutopia
On my friend's farm in Petaluma. . .
Moving to San Francisco some 10 years ago changed my life. More to the point, it opened-up my life. I blossomed here.
My dad was a gardener by vocation, and avocation. Green was in my genes but I’d never tried gardening as a kid. . . I just didn’t know it yet. I loved to draw, though. . .
Moving to San Francisco, I discovered truly great food. Great ingredients. Now, I wanted to find out more about the source of my food. I wanted to make it myself. I became selective about the food I chose. I started going to farmers markets.
I also moved into an apartment with unused space in the lot behind. I took it over, with the blessing of the neighbors. I had the idea I’d start an ornamental garden. I taught myself to garden by digging in the dirt every day. I grew to understand the plants by watching them, season to season, year by year.
Understanding plants and developing an appreciation for food have become essential parts of my life. It’s only natural that I would want to explore the area in which they overlap and, that’s farming. Enter my dear friend T-.
We’re on a similar trajectory, T- and I. Having never had much experience either, he’s developed his passion for farming only within the past few years, and how quickly and easily he’s succumbed to it. A fellow San Francisco resident, he’s found a way to rent a plot in distant Petaluma, which he tends as often as he can get away, getting his plant-starts established in his kitchen growing station. He’s graciously invited me to help him in his grand endeavor, and now I have a new home away from home.
Stay tuned for more posts from the farm. This is the start of something. . .
Here’s a video I find inspiring. It neatly sums up the lure of the farm, and suggests why it is that so many people nowadays are going back to their roots, by learning how to grow their own food.
the Petaluma farm
Perhaps you, like me, are concerned about the high levels of toxicity in our environment. And perhaps you, like me, have no idea what one person can do in the face of such an omnipresent problem. The article below, from Dharma Talks, provides some useful advice in this regard and reinforces the idea that if each one of us starts by (gradually) making simple changes at home, the long-term effect will be great, and you’ll have detoxified your life. Don’t forget to leave your own tips in the comments section at the bottom of the blog post!
Winning Green America’s “Green Business Leader of the Year” award in 2009 set us on a mission to constantly try to expand the ways in which we learn to reduce our footprint and support our community.
FOLLOW THIS LINK FOR THE FULL ARTICLE:
via dharma talks | Insights, inspiration and information from your friends at Dharma Merchant Services.