Difference Makers

What an honor to be included in this wonderful new book.  Portraits by the fantastic artist Isaac Hernandez and words by the super talented Nancy Black.  If you are looking for some happy inspiration, this book offers it up beautifully.

Get a copy for yourself and a friend! 

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This series of portraits by Isaac Hernández honors social, cultural and sustainability leaders, ranging from community activists to internationally known figures. They share a universal drive to make a difference, with unique expressions. These portraits, an ongoing passion project spanning more than a decade, were taken to accompany published interviews with these fascinating champions. This collection of inspiring leaders is an open and expanding investigation of contribution, an offering to acknowledge the possibly infinite. Ordinary people accomplish the extraordinary, including those who formed an integral core for the birth of a global movement: Selma Rubin, Paul Rellis, Marc McGinnes, and Bud Bottoms, who participated to launch Earth Day in Santa Barbara, protect the last stretch of empty coastline in California (the Gaviota Coast), develop the concept and study of environmental law, and create a host of nonprofits. These sustainability pioneers share pages with leaders like Andy Lipkis (TreePeople), Michael Pollan (author, Food Rules), Sylvia Earle (oceanographer), Paul Erlich (author The Dominant Animal), Roberta Salazar (Birds and Rivers), and Harold Powell (Telios Environmental), as well as better known personalities, like authors Amy Tan, Isabel Allende, and Gore Vidal, actors Javier Bardem, Antonio Banderas and Will Smith, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
                                                   Available now at Amazon.com

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Back to School Shopping- Steer clear of toxic school supplies

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Remember the excitement and promise of a new binder and Pee Chee folder ready to be filled and decorated at the start of a new school term?  When back to school shopping this year, be careful that the new binder is not the source of harmful toxic exposure to your child.  The heavy paper, cardboard and fabrics traditionally used for backpacks and school supplies are now often replaced with toxic plastics, such as polyvinyl chloride, (PVC), commonly know as vinyl- that are extremely detrimental to our youth.  According to the Center for Health Environment and Justice (CHEJ):

From production to use and disposal, vinyl releases a toxic cocktail of chemicals including dioxins, phthalates, mercury, PCBs, vinyl chloride, chlorine gas and numerous other substances harmful to our health, some of which are building up in our children’s bodies and food supply.  Scientists have found find certain vinyl chemicals linked to asthma, cancer, birth defects, learning and developmental disabilities, obesity, diabetes and other preventable chronic diseases on the rise.

Last year, independent laboratory testing commissioned by CHEJ and the Empire State Consumer Project found toxic chemicals linked to asthma and birth defects widespread in children’s vinyl back-to-school supplies. Seventy-five percent of children’s “back-to-school” supplies tested in a laboratory had elevated levels of toxic phthalates, including popular Disney branded school supplies, such as vinyl lunch boxes, backpacks, 3-ring binders, raincoats, and rainboots. The levels of phthalates found in children’s school supplies would be illegal if these products were toys. 

So what do we do?

First, we need to educate ourselves about what we are buying to steer clear of companies that are negligently (and unnecessarily) using harmful toxins in their products.  PVC is now ubiquitous. It can be found in the most unsuspecting products.  Lucky for us, the good people at CHEJ have compiled a guide for PVC- free supplies.  They cover a wide range of products, including art supplies, backpacks, lunch boxes, food wrap,  clothing and electronics. There are lots of alternatives available and quite a few small companies working to produce quality products that respect consumers and the environment.                                                

Image Click here to get the guide.

Secondly,  we need to press for changes at the policy level and fix the broken federal toxic substances law. Industry must be required to show that the chemicals they use in their products do not pose a threat to health and the environment. Groups like the Environmental Working Group are working to reform the laws regarding the use of chemicals. Do your part and tell Congress that you support a stand for public health.

Here’s to a happy healthy school year!!

 

 

 

Dispatch from Dwell on Design 2013

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This past weekend Telios was pleased to participate in the Dwell on Design Show at the LA Convention Center.Image

 Working with Architecture for Humanity,  Harold Powell provided consultations and expert design advice to attendees for their “The Architect is In” presentation.Image

Building a more sustainable future using the power of design through a global network of building professionals, Architecture for Humanity brings design, construction, and development services to communities in need. This was a natural organization for Telios to collaborate with!

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Dwell on Design is America’s largest modern design event and there was a lot to see. Here are a few of our favorites:

ImageThis year Dwell on Design hosted an artist-in-residence Tanya Aguiniga. An LA based furniture designer/maker and activist, Aguiniga created and ran an audience-interactive atelier for creating move-in kits for the formerly homeless and recently housed people of downtown LA.

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Trying my hand at the knitting machine.

Attendees were encouraged to participate in knitting blankets, making tables, stools and artwork for these kits which will be donated to People Assisting the Homeless (PATH).  It was a great project and we enjoyed participating.

We couldn’t resist the eco-amp from Eco-Made.  It is a passive amplifier that slides onto the end of an iphone to increase sound without any external power.  Made in LA with green electricity, from 100% recycled fibers, no toxic adhesives andprinted with soy based ink, it is smart simple design and works great!

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The eco-amp at work in the studio.

Modern-Fabrics has a great line of reclaimed designer textiles. Great for use in your next upholstery project.

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Schumacher Chiang Mai Dragon: Aquamarine from Modern Fabric

Orta’s self-watering seed-starters are an easy way to start a kitchen garden. 

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We were especially delighted to see so many presentations on sustainable design at the event. Great job Dwell!

America Recycles Day: Santa Barbara Style

Santa Barbara already diverts over 70% of its waste from the landfill, but that still leaves over 170,000 tons going into it each year.  On Tuesday, November 13, just in time for America Recycles Day, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors gave the approval to begin the environmental review of the Resource Recovery Project.   The project looks at the 170,000 tons of waste as an opportunity. Its objective is to reclaim resources currently being buried, increase recycling, provide compost, generate energy, extend the life of the landfill and decrease the generation of greenhouse gas.  After extensive review of  proposals from four different companies, Mustang Renewable Power Ventures was initially chosen by the County to construct and operate a project that includes 3 facilities:

  •  Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) – this facility would sort the waste into three streams:  recyclables, organics and residue
  • Anaerobic Digestion Facility (ADF) – this facility would convert all organics recovered from the waste into digestate (compost) and biogas.
  •  Power Plant – this facility would use the biogas generated by the ADF for fuel to generate electricity.

Recently, local waste management company Marborg Industries asked that they be allowed to submit their own proposal for the Resource Recovery Project and, according to Nick Welsh’s piece for the SB Independent, “MarBorg’s proposal will be considered in the alternatives section of the environmental impact report for the Tajiguas extension plan.”   The battle for the garbage begins.

John Hill / Foter / CC BY-SA

                I say three cheers for Santa Barbara. Hip Hip Hooray!

In the words of Supervisor Salud Carbajal, “This is another case of our community being a leader in sustainability by recycling even more than we do now and getting even closer to zero waste. This is a financially responsible local solution to managing our communities’ waste that places us back into a leadership position in environmental action.”

 Here are 4 more ways that we can increase our recycling…beyond the bin:

1) Recycle or Donate Electronics – Doing so conserves many valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass.  It saves energy and avoids air and water pollution caused by the mining and manufacturing of virgin materials. For example:  For every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

2) Recycle Clothes–   Every year Santa Barbara County throws away more than 11 million pounds of usable clothing and household textiles into its very limited local landfill space. Textile waste makes up approximately 8% of the total waste in California. The EPA estimates that about 97% of post-consumer textile waste is recyclable. Textile recycling requires less energy than any other type of recycling and does not create any new hazardous waste or harmful by-products. Compare that to growing conventional cotton which alone uses approximately 25% of the world’s insecticides and more than 10% of the pesticides. Most communities do not have systems in place to address the fabric component of the waste stream but Textile Waste Solutions in Santa Barbara County offers an environmentally and economically friendly alternative. They make regular pick ups from local thrift stores giving clothing, bedding, belts, shoes, and soft toys – virtually anything made from fabric – a second lease on life. So even if your old t-shirt is stained and ratty..drop it off at the thrift store. If it is unwearable, Textile Waste Solutions will recycle it.

3) Recycle Food–  Food waste when buried in a landfill creates potentially wastefull greenhouse gases. Alternatively when food waste is composted, it becomes a wonderful resource to build the soil and grow more food. Instead of tossing your food scraps into the trash, start composting. Don’t know how? Go to lessismore.org to learn about local workshops, discounted composter bins and more.
4) Close the Loop-  Don’t stop at the bin!  After materials are processed and back on the shelf as new items, it is up to you to buy them.  Look for products and packaging with the highest recycled content.
Finally, if you ever have wondered where you can take those used batteries, or what to do with the little bit of leftover paint, Santa Barbara County Recycling Resource Guide  is a fantastic and very thorough guide to help you reduce, reuse and recycle just about anything. Happy Recycling!!

 

photo credit: Pete Prodoehl via photopin cc

7 tips to Green your Halloween

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There is a lot to love about Halloween.  What other time of year do people open up their homes to strangers just to give something away?  The smell of roasting pumpkin seeds and images of fairy princesses and dinosaurs roaming the neighborhood are powerfully happy, but nowadays there is a mostly scary story behind the way we are celebrating. Our traditions have been largely stolen by big business who have some truly frightening skeletons in their closet. How to conjure up some real magic?  Reclaim the holiday and bring some of the happy back to Halloween. Here are some ways to do it:

  1. Buy organic pumpkins…even for your Jack-o-Lanterns.
  2. Give Fair-trade and organic candy,  home-made treats (gasp), or non-edible  treats…get creative
  3. Host a costume swap, Create a costume from finds at a local thrift or second-hand store, or use things you have around the house. If you must buy new, support a small ethical company
  4. Use non-toxic make-up
  5. Use decorations that can be re-used year to year, recycled, or composted. Use soy based or beeswax candles or LED lights.
  6. Have the kids carry a re-usable, washable, cloth bag or pillow-case to gather treats
  7. Use washable plates, cutlery and napkins for your parties. If you must use disposable, make it compostable and actually compost it.

                                                                                                        Why? and How?

Organic Pumpkins:

Twilight Greenaway wrote a funny piece for grist.com where she describes her inner dialogue about buying pumpkins:

“Voice of hedonism: Buying lots of pumpkins and cutting them up so they’ll eventually rot in front of your house is your right as an American. Plus, it’s fun!

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Voice of conscience: But they’re food. And you are really careful about food. All the winter squash in your kitchen came from local farmers. So why should you get a free pass just because you’re planning to waste these ones?

Voice of hedonism: Look, they have big ol’ giant ones, classy white ones, and teenie tiny ones. Clearly you need one of each!

Voice of conscience: You’re right. Is anybody looking?”

I have definitely been there…but here is the thing:  Pumpkins are big business and we are always voting with our dollars. Even if we are not going to eat them, those pumpkins grown conventionally used up a whole lot of toxic chemicals and when we buy them we support those practices.  When you buy organic you are voting for better health for farmers and farm workers, less polluted streams and rivers, healthier soil and cleaner air.  So buy organic and support the local farmers who are doing it right.

Handing out Happy treats

There is nothing good or happy about candy that is made for our American children off the scarred backs of  children overseas, but the awful truth is that almost every snack-size candy bar available in stores this Halloween is tainted with child slavery. The connection between the major candy bar manufacturers (which includes Hershey, Mars, Nestle, and the U.S. division of Cadbury) and child slavery has been one of the world’s best-kept secrets until fairly recently.  So far government has not been able to do much. In 2001, after Congressman Eliot Engel (D) NY learned of these terrible practices, he slipped in an addendum to the FDA bill about to hit the Congressional floor requiring chocolate companies to mark their bars “No Slavery Here” if that was the case. When the candy lobby got wind of it, they hired George Mitchell and Bob Dole as their lobbying henchmen to thwart the bill before it went to the Senate.  They were successful. Instead of any new laws they got  The Harkin-Engel Protocol an unenforceable  promise from candy makers that they would voluntarily clean up the supply chain of the worst forms of child labor with remediation to be done by 2005.  How has that worked out?   Not so well.  According to Chris Bayer, a Tulane University researcher studying the problem, “We have seen very little implementation of the actual commitments. Industry did not live up to the Harkin-Engel Protocol.”  So if the politicians do not have the backbone to pass a law, we must once again vote with our dollars. In the past few years a few excellent documentaries including CNN’s “Chocolate’s Child Slaves” and “The Dark Side of Chocolate”  have helped to educate consumers about the issue. As a result, many consumers are being choosier about what they buy.  Perhaps this is why earlier this month Hershey pledged to end child slave labor in its cocoa production by 2020. ( 7 more years of child slaves is acceptable!?)  This is quite possibly another empty promise for the sake of marketing, but Hershey does seem to be feeling some market pressure.  Our voting dollars at work. So if you are not buying tiny Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups what can you get?   Quite a few local stores sell fair trade and organic Halloween candy now. Check the IV Co-op, Whole Foods and Lazy Acres. You can also buy them online here.

You could also just make some homemade treats.  I love Lenore Skenazy’s idea to “Occupy Halloween.”  She writes about the homemade treat phenomenon on her bog post:

“Start with the fact that there has NEVER been a case of children poisoned by a stranger’s candy on Halloween. That’s according to University of Delaware sociologist Joel Best, who has studied the urban myth since 1985. Nonetheless, the advice we ALWAYS hear is to “check your child’s candy for tampering,” and treat homemade goodies like radioactive waste. All of which is based on the belief that we are quite likely surrounded by psychopathic child killers  (who hold it in till Oct. 31st).

But that idea isn’t just wrong,  it’s corrosive. Start thinking of your nice neighbors as potential killers ONE day a year and how are you supposed to trust them the REST of the year?”

Going back to homemade treats is one small step to reclaim our communities and move away from the fearful society we have become.  I like the idea of including a little note explaining that your treat was made with wholesome ingredients (no high fructose corn syrup here) and a lot of love.

If you want to stay away from the sugar craze entirely, you can choose to get creative with non-edible treats. Here is a list of green treat ideas to get you started.

Costumes

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When you buy that cheap costume at the big box store you are supporting all kinds of bad…inorganic cotton that uses 25% of the worlds insecticides and 10% of its pesticides, petro-chemical fabrics that will never biodegrade, terrible conditions in polluting  factories…you get the picture. Here are some other options:  Join the  National Costume Swap or host your own.  Check out thrift stores like Alpha Thrift or one of the local children’s second-hand stores like Polar Bear or My Sweet Pineapple for costumes or clothing that can be made into a costume.  Get creative and use things from around your house.  You might just come up with a traffic stopping idea like this ;)  and recycle your cardboard while you are at it!  If you need to buy new, be sure to support a good company. Sarah’s Silks is a “Green America Approved Business” and a fun source for dress-ups.  Sites like ETSY also have a lot of eco-offerings.

Make-up

dnudson / Free Photos

Make-up can make your costume rock, but it can also be full of toxic chemicals. You clearly don’t want to be using lead filled lipstick,  especially if you using it on a child. It is always a good idea to check the ingredients of any cosmetics before you use them.  Environmental Working Group has a fantastic data base to check the safety of cosmetics. For the DIY types, here are some recipes for homemade Halloween make-up.

For decorations, parties, and moreGreen Halloween.org has lots of “eek-o-friendly” suggestions.

Holidays are a great time to reconnect to each other and our own core values.   We have to be brave enough to shine the light on those skeletons in the closet and then choose to cast our spell for love, creativity and a healthy planet for all. What’s in your spell book?

Are your cleaning products toxic?

jbcurio / Free Photos

When you look at the label on your jar of peanut butter or bag of chips, you will see all of the ingredients in the jar or bag listed. (You might not be able to tell if they used GMO corn in those corn chips, but you will see corn listed.)  You see it is mandatory to show all of the ingredients on labels in all food, cosmetics and drugs sold in the U.S.  That way,  you can choose to nix the face cream that is loaded with parabens and pass on the hydrogenated oil filled crackers.

Not so for the products you use everyday to clean your dishes, clothing, sheets and showers.

There are no requirements to label ingredients in cleaners.

Hence,  only 7 percent of companies adequately disclose the ingredients of their products and it is common to list just a few of the ingredients or describe them in vague terms such as “surfactant” and “solvent.” Well that “solvent”  might just be a known carcinogen. Once again, the Environmental Working Group has come to the rescue of the modern consumer.  They recently  created the first online guide that rates more than 2,000 household cleaners with grades A through F for safety of ingredients and disclosure of contents.

“Keeping your home clean shouldn’t put you and your family at risk, and with EWG’s new online guide you won’t have to,” EWG senior scientist Rebecca Sutton, Ph.D, said. “Quite a few cleaning products that line store shelves are packed with toxic chemicals that can wreak havoc with your health, including many that harm the lungs. The good news is, there are plenty of cleaning products that will get the job done without exposing you to hazardous substances.”

EWG’s staff scientists spent 14 months researching and compiling the guide.  They found that even some “green” brands do not disclose ingredients adequately.

I decided to check the cleaners I use to see how well they fared. I do most of my cleaning with baking soda and vinegar (this inexpensive, simple disinfecting spray works better than most commercial cleaners)  but I do buy dishwasher detergent, dishwashing soap and laundry detergent.  I tend to buy whatever “green” brand is on sale..in fact  there was a great sale on Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwashing Gel the other day so I  just bought five bottles.  Well, according to the EWG guide, those five bottles got a big fat F!  The funny thing is that Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwashing Powder, Free and Clear got an A.  Looks like I will be doing an exchange!   Obviously it is important to look at the specific products that you are using and not just the brand.  So how did my other cleaners do?  The Planet Ultra Dishwashing Liquid  got a “D” and the Trader Joe’s laundry detergent I have been using received an “F”!                                        Time for some changes.

According to a post on the EWG site, the day after their guide came out they were contacted by many of the manufacturers of poorly rated products.The manufacturers said they had added new ingredient information to their product labels, changed the ingredients – or both.  They were eager to give the EWG their updated information and, hopefully, get a better score on their products.   (Speaks to the power of information and why some companies fight so hard to avoid transparency.)  Weak disclosure or potentially harmful ingredients were two of the big reasons why many well known product lines ended up with low grades.  EWG responded:

We’re happy to get the new information and will use it to update the Guide on a regular basis, but for the most part, the original scores will stay.

Why?

Unlike a tomato or a banana, cleaning products don’t go bad in a hurry. If you’re like most consumers, you probably have bottles of window or floor cleaner under your sink or in your cleaning closet that have been there for months – if not years. In stores, too, it can take a long time before old inventory sells out and gets replaced with the “new, improved” versions.

I took a look at the Seventh Generation website to see if they had anything to say about the guide, and found that they did. While they were very supportive of the EWG and the guide, they took exception with some of their findings.  EWG considered ingredients listed as “essentials oils” or “preservatives” as “incomplete disclosure” but Seventh Generation said that the exact ingredients were also listed. They had differing opinions on other ingredients such as methylisothiazolinone with Seventh Generation explaining, “There’s also the sticky wicket of methylisothiazolinone, a synthetic preservative used to maintain freshness in our plant-based products. (Natural microbes love to eat our natural plant-based ingredients!) EWG gives this ingredient a D, though it meets our rigorous safety and environmental standards.”    In any case the end result is that Seventh Generation promised to continue improving their products and hope to eventually get an “A” rating on all of them.

The guide, it seems, is already having a positive influence.  Consumers can better understand what might be in the cleaners they buy and manufacturers are feeling the pressure to improve the transparency of their products.

So take a look at what is in your cupboard. See how your favorite products fare.  Think about whether you really need them at all.  Check EWG for their recommended products. Then vote with your pocketbook next time you buy a cleaner. Support a company that is making safe products.

…  and don’t forget to vote on the ballot for the other “information to the people” initiative  California Proposition 37, Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food.

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Green homes sell for 9% premium

According to a recent article by Kenneth R. Harney posted on latimes.com:

A new study involving an unusually large sample of homes sold in California between 2007 and early 2012 has documented that, holding all other variables constant, a green certification label on a house adds an average 9% to its selling value. Researchers also found something they dubbed the Prius effect: Buyers in areas where consumer sentiment in support of environmental conservation is relatively high — as measured by the percentage of hybrid auto registrations in local ZIP Codes — are more willing to pay premiums for green-certified houses than buyers in areas where hybrid registrations were lower.

The study found no significant correlations between local utility rates and consumers’ willingness to pay premium prices for green-labeled homes.

The 9% average price premium from green-rated homes is roughly in line with studies conducted in Europe, where energy-efficiency labeling on houses is far more commonplace. Homes rated “A” under the European Union’s system commanded a 10% average premium in one study, while dwellings with poor ratings sold for substantial discounts.
It is well understood that greening your home is the prudent and responsible thing to do for your personal health and well-being and that of the planet, but it has been greatly debated whether or not it pays economically.  In my opinion, if you look at the broader economic impact of home building and ownership, taking into consideration all of the negative externalities (costs of production and consumption not factored into prices, such as the health impacts of exposure to toxic materials) then the economic benefits of green building are stunningly obvious.
Even without factoring in all of the more comprehensive benefits,  this study finally demonstrates that greening your home is good for your pocketbook as well as your karma ;)

 

So be a smart investor!   Go green with Telios Environmental.

 

photo credit: Alan Cleaver via photopin cc

If you live in Goleta..take action to reduce plastic pollution

Here is an important announcement from Santa Barbara Channelkeeper
Goleta Residents – Our Oceans Need Your Help!
Let Goleta City Council know you support an ordinance to reduce plastic pollution. 

Californians use over 14 billion plastic bags every year, and only 3% are recycled.  This translates into 150,000 tons of waste going to our landfills or ending up on our beaches, creeks and roadsides as litter. Taxpa yers and local governments spend millions of dollars each year to clean up this unsightly litter. Cities and counties across California are taking action to prevent plastic bag pollution by banning disposable plastic shopping bags, and the time has come for Goleta to join the growing effort to address this costly environmental problem.The Goleta City Council recently considered joining a South Coast region-wide effort to assess the environmental impacts of single-use plastic bag bans – the critical first step towards adopting an ordinance – but they delayed a decision until they hear whether Goleta residents feel the City should pursue a plastic bag ban.Channelkeeper has been a lead advocate for action to reduce disposable bags use on the South Coast since 2008.  To date, 52 municipalities in California have adopted single-use bag ordinances to stem the tide of plastic bag pollution, including Carpinteria and Ojai. Santa Barbara has also drafted a bag ordinance which will be adopted after the EIR is complete in early 2013.  Let’s make sure Goleta also takes action to protect our oceans and marine life by adopting a bag ordinance.TAKE ACTION!

Let Goleta City Council know you support an ordinance to mandate reductions in the use of single-use shopping bags. Send an email or make a personal phone call to Goleta City Councilmembers to let them know you support action.Goleta City Council Contact Information:

Phone: 805-961-7500

Emails: eeaston@cityofgoleta.orgraceves@cityofgoleta.orgmbennett@cityofgoleta.org

mconnell@cityofgoleta.org; pperotte@cityofgoleta.org.

Sample email:

Dear Mayor and Councilmembers,

I am concerned about the environmental and economic costs associated with the use of disposable shopping bags. Cities and counties across California and the nation are taking action to prevent plastic bag pollution by banning disposable plastic shopping bags, and I believe the time has come for Goleta to join the growing effort to address this costly environmental problem. I strongly support and urge you to enact a plastic bag ordinance in Goleta as soon as possible.

 

photo credit: thebiggoodbye via photo pin cc

Innovative Shoe Design

Martha Davis’ two month residency with San Francisco’s Workshop Residence resulted in some seriously drool- worthy  shoes!  The challenge was to re-examine the processes, materials and components of a shoe and create a collection of footwear made with under utilized local resources. Davis has created three fantastic styles.

Kahsa

The Kasha is made from reclaimed wood from a 50 foot piece of old growth redwood that was salvaged from a wildfire.   Davis added polyurethane resin that was tinted red, turquoise and black in the workshop to create the 3″ heel.

Sugi Low

Sugi High

The Sugi incorporates an adjustable heel height transforming from a two-inch heel to a three-inch heel by rotating the ellipse and locking the bronze bearings into position. Reclaimed Douglas Fir brake stops from the cable cars in San Francisco have been repurposed into the heels of these shoes.

Simone

 The Simone style features live-edge heels cut from a round of Black Acacia wood that was harvested in the San Francisco Bay. Each pair is carefully selected, from the undulating folds of the tree trunk.  They also have specially designed and custom fabricated spring steel shanks by a local machine shop and vegetable-tanned leather.
Davis designed belts are available in one-inch  and two-inch widths with turquoise or red resin in natural leather, or black resin with black leather.This innovative and inspiring collection can be found at the online store for the Workshop Residence.

“Manufactured Landscapes”

We just watched the excellent film “Manufactured Landscapes” by Jennifer Baichwal which features the work of Edward Burtynsky. His astonishing images are at once intensely beautiful and deeply disturbing, capturing landscapes altered through human activity. Landscapes scarred by extraction,transformed for production or covered with waste.  The film gives us a startling view of the enormous scale and far-reaching impacts of our ever-increasing mass production and consumption.   When describing his work Burtynsky explains,  “These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire – a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times.”

 A potent reminder of the power or art to raise consciousness.