Archive for the ‘Green Living’ Category

waterwise

Yes, we got record amounts of rainfall this week, for this time year. But no, the drought is not over. Not by a long shot. We probably used more water wiping the spots off our windshields than we received in the form of rain. Estimates for most parts of SLO County indicate something between one and two thirds of an inch fell on Tuesday, so drought conditions remain as severe as ever, and so there’s no better time than now to get waterwise.

If you haven’t already started taking fewer and shorter showers, please do. If you haven’t already removed your fuzzy green lawn, or at least let it whither away by natural causes, then what are you waiting for? These are simple steps we all should’ve taken by now, minor inconveniences to our lazy lifestyles. But there’s plenty more we can do, especially if you’re not enamored with that golden brown front yard of dead sod.

Master Gardener Mary Wootten is hosting a workshop on Waterwise Gardening later this month, June 25th, at the Paso Robles demonstration garden to provide creative tips on more efficient and socially responsible gardening strategies. Topics will include drought-tolerant landscaping, grey water recycling, and drip irrigation. With her waterwise words of advice, you can enjoy a beautiful garden without taxing our diminishing water tables. Workshops are free; check out the flier for complete details.

Eco Fashion Show 2015

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, and San Luis Obispo’s natural fiber fashionistas know what that means. The 5th annual Eco Fashion Show is just days away, taking place at the Odd Fellows Hall at 520 Dana St., on Friday May 29, at 6:30 pm. A yearly fundraiser to benefit Humankind Fair Trade, a non-profit gift shop on Monterey Street, this year’s Eco Fashion Fashion will feature several local purveyors of fine organic and re-used apparel.

Of course, no SLO Eco Fashion Show would be complete without showcasing outfits from Bambu Batu, Hemp Shak and Maule Wear, pillars of our local natural fibers community. Live Local Apparel will also be on the scene with their locally inspired and locally produced t-shirts and caps. Second hand clothiers like Curio, Ruby Rose, Threads and Castaways will also take part, touting the ecological benefits of used clothing. Re-use and reduce! A new addition this year, Eco Bambino will be representing the fashion trends for the little ones.

Good-looking models have been recruited from the community to show off five outfits from each participating business. Bambu Batu will feature a number of new styles, including our top-selling Felicity Dress, as well as other perennial favorites for men and women.

Be sure to stop by and see what else is new this season in the world in the eco fashion. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 at the door, and proceeds benefit Humankind Fair Trade, a non-profit shop that provides income to artisans and farmers in the developing world. Also check out the vendor fair before the show, and don’t miss the silent auction, with some exceptionally nice gifts from each of the participating businesses.

Heidi Harmon

 

Yesterday, hundreds—perhaps thousands, but surely a dismally small number—of U.S. citizens went out to the polls to participate in this American experiment we call representative democracy. Today we can breathe a collective sigh of relief that another season of mudslinging is behind us. But more importantly, I’d like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to one of the few real winners in this election cycle.

Her name is Heidi Harmon, and she ran what was probably the cleanest, most honest and respectable campaign I’ve ever seen. For the first time in my life I had the privilege of casting a vote for a someone I genuinely believed in, someone I honestly believed to be a real person with a heart and soul, an artist, a mother, and a citizen of the planet, willing put the collective interests of her planet ahead of the political and economic interests that have always set the rules and defined the playing field.

At the end of the day, Heidi’s opponent, the incumbent Katcho “I-sell-gasoline-for-a-living-so-don’t-ever-expect-me-to-take-a-stand-against-big-oil” Achadjian (R) had more votes, and will thereby keep his Assembly seat for the 35th district. But anyone who’s ever spoken with Heidi, or attended any of her rallies, or met any of her team of grassroots supporters, or read any of their numerous letters to the editors that have been published in the local papers over the recent months, must know that regardless of vote tallies, Heidi Harmon will always represent the winning side.

Taking the gas station entrepreneur head on, Heidi ran as a self-identified “climate change candidate” and set herself apart from nearly every politician from either major party. In neighboring Santa Barbara County, Big Oil demonstrated its might by soundly defeating Measure P, which would have banned fracking and certain other form of oil exploration, outspending the ban supporters to the tune of $7.6 million to $284,000. On a brighter note, Northern California voters passed Measure S in Mendocino County, effectively banning fracking in that county and giving the citizens—not corporations—the final say in their local water use policies.

Let’s just hope Mendocino, and not Santa Barbara, will serve as the bellwether for future fracking controversies around California and the nation. And let’s also hope for a future in which we are less often forced to settle for the lesser of evils, and more often given choices we can be proud of.

 

Central Coast Bioneers

The 5th Annual Central Coast Bioneers Conference is coming to SLO later this month, October 24 & 25, at the SLO Grange Hall, 2880 Broad St. The locally hosted event takes place in conjuction with the 2014 National Bioneers Conference and features recorded presentations of all the keynote speakers, addressing topics of Climate Justice, Women’s Leadership, Indigenous Knowledge, Biomimicry, and more. Among the highlights will be noted author Naomi Klein, who’s currently on tour to promote her newest book, “This Changes Everything.”

Local participants can also attend innovative workshops on community building, environmental stewardship and ethical investing.  You’re also encouraged to join field trips to local points of interest, to study bird watching at Hi Mountain Condor Look Out, community planning at Tierra Nueva Cohousing in Oceano, and the future of farming at Kukkula Winery in Paso Robles.

For pricing details and a complete schedule of local and national events, check the Bioneers website. Tickets available online and in-person at Bambu Batu.

greenhouse

What could be a more appropriate use for salvaged wood than use in a recycled greenhouse? Once a thriving organism in its own right, timber rescued from wine barrels, barns, old doors and retaining walls can become a shelter for developing seedlings. A Place to Grow | Recycled Greenhouses recognizes the potential in scrapped wood and bestows upon the material a new life as an environmentally conscious greenhouse, shed, or outdoor studio space.

Operated by San Luis Obispo residents Dana and Sean O’Brien, the company prides itself in finding a solution to construction waste and creating beautiful bespoke structures. Dana boasts a finance degree from Cal Poly SLO, over 20 years as a government employee, and an active role in Habitat for Humanity. Sean graduated with a degree in computer science from Cal Poly, has been a software engineer for more than 25 years, and possesses a California contractor’s license. Together, the O’Briens created their business to pursue their passions for eco-friendly building.

A Place to Grow has been honored by the Martha Stewart American Made Contest, and has created greenhouses for Sage nursery in Los Osos and private residences up and down the Central Coast. For more information, contact A Place to Grow through their website, or email Dana at dana@recycledgreenhouses.com.

The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change

Looking for some light summer reading to keep yourself entertained while also staying informed on matters of international and scientific importance? Look no further. “The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change”, by Grady Klein and Yoram Bauman, is now available. You may remember these characters from their fully-illustrated yet unlikely literary debut, “The Cartoon Introduction to Economics”, which elucidated the dismal science with whimsical clarity. Think of it as a cross between “Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar” by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein and “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi.

Their latest joint venture takes the most contentious topic in contemporary American politics and spells it out so plainly that even a Tea Party member could understand it. Students, skeptics and scaredy-cats could all stand to gain from a close reading of these climate change comics. Check your local book store or order online today. “The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change” is sure to be a hot seller.

 

Jewelry is a purely ornamental aspect of style and unique representation of personal style. Worn to accentuate the features, each pair of earrings, bracelet, or ring enhances an outfit and serves an example of human craft. Sadly, accessories are all too often sourced from materials surrounded with environmental or political origins. Artistry can be replaced by forced labor, and transform a product from a thing of great artistry to a disposable fashion industry trinket. Takobia jewelry offers beautiful sterling silver and iron jewelry that gives back to a worthy cause. The Waterville, Maine-based company is a contributor to Seeds of Peace, the Love and Understanding Program, and Vietnam Relief Services. Each elegantly simple design is created to inspire confidence in the wearer and instill a sense of pride that their purchase goes towards helping those in need. Bambu Batu is proud to carry a wide selection of gorgeous Takobia earrings, perfect for a holiday gift or just for treating yourself!

Transient Design

In the best of all worlds, clothing would be sustainably sourced, ethically produced, and with profits given to those most in need. Not waiting for the fashion industry to see the light, The Transient Design creates an entire closet filled with hand-woven cotton sewed by Thai workers who are paid fair wages. After taxes and production costs are met, 100% of the profits are donated to organizations like the Wildflower Home women’s shelter in Bo Sang. Fabrics are made and dyed with traditional, indigenous methods for gorgeous, robust, comfortable apparel.

Just in time for the holidays, Bambu Batu is proud to carry a selection Transient Design shawls, Thai fisherman’s pants, and pullover jackets. Casually elegant, each piece shows a dedication to craft and commitment to helping those in need. What better way show your affection to someone you care about than to give them to wrap them in a symbol of love? Come and take a look at our newest items!

 

Industrial Hemp

For decades, farmers and environmental activists have been trying to legalize nonpsychoactive hemp for cultivation in California. The plants require far less water and fertilizers than cotton, need no herbicides or pesticides, and produce fibers that can be used in everything from paper to clothing. The crop can renew itself every 90 days, making hemp and excellent natural and biodegradable material. Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 566 into law allowing hemp to be grown domestically. California joins nine other states and over 30 countries in its decision to raise hemp. Already a $500 million industry in the state, California will now no longer have to rely upon importing hemp to support manufacturing demand.

The bill was introduced in 2005 by Senator Mark Leno. Since its initial proposal as HR 32 in 1999, the legislation was vetoed  four times by three different governors. Governor Brown struck down the bill in 2011 citing a gap in state and federal policies, although he acknowledged it was “absurd” that the state had to count on Mexico and Canada to provide hemp. With his approval, farmers will now be able to raise “nonpsychoactive types of the plant Cannabis sativa L. and the seed produced therefrom, having no more than 3/10 of 1 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the dried flowering tops.”

“I have great confidence in a recent statement by Attorney General Eric Holder,” Leno told the SF Bay Guardian. “He’s said that if a state puts into place a legal allowance and regulatory scheme, that the federal government would not interfere with marijuana. Now, we need clarification between hemp and marijuana, but there’s no sensical way that that could be interpreted that hemp is excluded, given that hemp’s not a drug.”

Bambu Batu offers a few hemp items in the shop, but looks forward to seeing more sustainable, locally-grown fibers on the market!

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum is crucial in preparing our children to live and work in a modern world. Not only do these disciplines support an economy reliant on a well-educated population, but they also open young minds to the beauty and complexity of their surroundings. To make STEM a national priority, associations have created lesson plans, taught master teachers, and lobbied the government for education reform.

Last year, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo helped present the Central Coast STEM Collaborative with a $50,000 grant to assist in their community outreach and develop their programs. The organization is a collaboration between non-profits, educators, and businesses dedicated to ensuring that the children of the Central Coast are ready for college and workforce. Presented in partnership with California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet), the money is seen as an investment into the future of the state.

CCSTEM continues to hold fundraisers in order to provide grants to students, write curriculum, and hold public events. CCSTEM’s next gathering will be held at the Exploration Station in Grover Beach for the Chemistry of Cocktails. The event will take place on Sunday, November 3, 2013 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m, and tickets are available online for $45. This scientific soiree will feature ten local bartenders battling in a mixology competition, food, live music, and silent auction. All proceeds will go to the Exploration Station’s educational program that serves all ages.

Looking to get involved in STEM education? Check out CCSTEM’s page to see how you can build a relationship with SLO’s brightest minds and donate to the cause.

X