Archive for September 2012 | Monthly archive page


Bamboo has been used for centuries to build homes, fashion tools, and create textiles.  Now, in the modern era, bamboo is getting a high-tech makeover, protecting our smartphones and looking good in the process.

ADzero: Bamboo lovers, get ready for ADzero, the world’s first bamboo smartphone, created by UK design student Kieron-Scott Woodhouse.  The body of the device is made from four-year-old organic bamboo, and has been treated to make the exterior extra-durable.  Mores sustainable and less energy intensive to produce than steel or plastic, bamboo is an excellent choice to protect the Android phone.  Bigger than the iPhone 4S but weighing less than half as much, the ADzero recently received a very warm welcome at London Design Week where fans were happy to hear that the prototype will be available for purchase by the end of 2012.

Twig Case Co.: For iPhone users, Twig Case Co. offers some stunning laser-etched bamboo and FSC Certified paper cases.  Made in Minnesota, the cases are more durable than wood, and range in style from sleek and modern to intricately carved.  As an added bonus, each case is shipped from their home base in reusable and compostable packaging.

Grove: Handmade in Portland, Grove creates iPhone and iPad cases for Apple aficionados. Laser engraved, the cases showcase the natural beauty of bamboo.  Individual pieces of the sturdy grass are bound together with water-based resins under pressure to provide strength and support for the phone. Each order is hand oiled and sanded, lending a feel of artisan craftsmanship.  Grove also features customized engraving, and pre-orders can be made through their website.



Join the Central Coast Bioneers for their annual conference this October 19-21 at their headquarters at the Monday Club in downtown SLO (1815 Monterey St).  Speakers will deliver lectures that focus on real-world, practical solutions to the political, economic, and environmental challenges facing our society.  Hoping to leave a rich ecological and cultural legacy to future generations, the Bioneers seek to showcase the innovations and progressive ideas of thinkers from across the globe that honor the web of life on which all humans depend.  The conference will feature a number of talks and activities throughout the weekend including workshops, field trips to local libraries, organic farms, and nature preserves, and a keynote address by Dr. Richard Joseph Jackson.  Food, music, movies, art and yoga fill the schedule with enlightened fun.

Pre-Conference Field Trip – Thursday, October 18 – 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (approx.) To Wind Wolves Preserve near Maricopa.

Live Satellite Feed from the Main Bioneers Stage in San Rafael – Friday, Saturday, Sunday, October 19-21, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Hear from the great thinkers of our age, including Bill McKibben, Paul Hawken, Marina Silva, Mike Brune and Sandra Steingraber.

Six Major Topic Areas of Interest to our Central Coast Communities – Friday, October 19, 2:00 to 8:30 p.m., Saturday, October 20, 2:00 to 10:00 p.m., Sunday, October 21, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Renewable Energy Track: Community Choice Aggregation, Solar Roadways, Changing the Story-Building a School’s Renewable Energy Infrastructure. Ecopreneurship/Locanomics Track: Corporations with a Conscience, Slow Money Alliance-Catalyzing Investment in Local Food Systems, Earth-Our Local Conversation: Tapping the Collective Genius of Our Community including introduction to the Central Coast Hour Exchange. Food and Farming Celebration/Track: Screenings of “Truck Farm” and “Nothing Like Chocolate,” Green Chef Cook-off dinner and dance, and Organic Farm Tour. Health/Nature/Spirit Track: The Work that Reconnects, The Importance of Rights of Passage for Men and Boys, Empowering Ourselves Through Ceremony. Activism/Social Justice: Unacceptable-Living in a Nuclear Evacuation Zone, Youth Activism Panel, Standing on their Shoulders-Field Trip to Environmental Archives of Cal Poly’s Kennedy Library. Green Design: Keynote Lecture by Dr. Richard Jackson on designing healthy communities, Green Home Tour and Green Schools.

Dreaming the Salinas Update: Two workshops on efforts to restore the Salinas River, including the Hind River Ranch project.

For a more detailed schedule, speaker biographies, or to register for tickets, visit the Central Coast Bioneers website!



Join San Luis Obispo public radio station KCBX in presenting Democracy Now host Amy Goodman, October 20 at the Spanos Theater on the Cal Poly Campus, beginning at 1:30pm.  Goodman will be speaking as a part of The Silenced Majority tour, a 100-city journey to promote the book of the same name.  The tour  began at the Republican National Convention in Tampa and will continue until Election Day.  Traveling through electoral swing states, the tour will examine how and why citizens are organizing across the US, discuss voter ID laws, and address the impacts of Citizens United and massive campaign contributions. Goodman, along with Denis Moynihan, will be speaking about the sequel to their 2006 New York Times bestseller, Breaking the Sound Barrier, as part of a fundraiser for KCBX.

Goodman is the veteran host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, the independent war and peace report that airs on weekdays on public radio stations across the world.  She is the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award, popularly known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize” for “developing an innovative model of truly independent grassroots political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media.”  Among her many accolades, Goodman is the a co-recipient of the Izzy Award presented by the Park Center for Independent Media, the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Reporting, the American Women in Radio and Television’s Gracie Gracie Award, the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship, George Polk Award, Robert F. Kennedy Prize for International Reporting, and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award.

Tickets can be purchased for $25 per person through the KCBX website.


Far and away, the most common piece of trash we see littering the sides of freeways, clogging gutters, and disgracing our creeks and streams is the single-use, plastic bags. In San Luis Obispo County, shoppers consume nearly 130 million carryout plastic bags a year.  In California, less than 5% are actually recycled.  On average, the bags are used for less than 12 minutes before being thrown away, making their way into our landfills and marring the scenery.

Being near the coast, SLO County residents have a special responsibility to halt the flow of plastic into the sea.  Studies have shown that in the Pacific Ocean, 92% of seabirds and 35% contain petrochemicals in their stomachs.  Pacific trash gyres are composed extremely high concentrations of plastics with bags being a main contributor to marine pollution.  While we think that these bags are “free”, we pay for them in environmental, municipal, and social costs.  So, what is a concerned citizen to do?

Beginning October 1, 2012, all stores in SLO will stop providing single-use plastic bags.  Businesses will provide recyclable paper bags upon request.  Each bag will cost 10 cents, a fee that will reimburse the store for the price of bag.  To avoid the charge and do your part to help reduce unnecessary waste, bring your own reusable sack!  They can be used for years, and eliminate the need for single-use plastics.  For the most part, the use less energy in production, reduce solid waste disposal costs, and can even make a trendy fashion statement.

Here at Bambu Batu, we have several eco-friendly reusable bags for you to carry around with style!  Choose from our Blue Lotus grain and produce bags to store your veggies at the grocery store, bamboo totes, or printed Indian handbags.  Feel good about your purchases and your ecological footprint by making the switch to reusable bags!

Here at Bambu Batu, we are fortunate to be situated right next to the San Luis Obispo Creek, a sparkling member of our county’s watershed.  Unfortunately, there are some in town who do not share our admiration, and we regularly find trash and debris clogging the waterway outside our shop.  Luckily, Creek Day, an extension of California’s annual Coastal Cleanup Day, allows volunteers and nature lovers an opportunity to clean up the beaches, streams, and rivers that we love so well.

This Saturday, September 15, good citizens are invited to meet at one of eight locations from 9am-noon.  Participants are asked to wear sturdy, close-toed shoes, long pants and lightweight fabric, and to bring water and sunscreen, and consider applying bug spray.  The organizers will provide maps of the area to be cleaned, latex gloves, garbage and recycling bags, and basic first-aid kits.

Creek Day officially began in 1992 when a group of dedicated citizens decided that they were tired of seeing garbage in the local creeks.  Lead by the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo and Central Coast Salmon Enhancement, the event grew into a yearly tradition, spreading to cities throughout the county.  While Creek Day occurs only once a year, the planning committee meets frequently to ensure the day’s success as celebration of environmental management and awareness.

Come and get involved in cleaning up the water in your backyard, and take care of a vital part of the San Luis Obispo ecosystem!

After perusing our online catalog, a lot of people have been asking who’s responsible for the superior photography on our website banners. That credit goes to local shutterbugs Maren and Michael Brajkovich of Applemoon Photography based in Oceano.

So impressed were we by their quality, professionalism and affability, that we’ve found ourselves returning again and again to take advantage of their services for both our family and our business. With a cunning eye for detail and an irrepressible sense of imagination, they never fail to produce exceptional portraits in unique compositions.

If you’re planning a wedding or event and need a top-notch photographer, or just want some priceless family shots for posterity, you can count on Applemoon to deliver the highest quality images, and you won’t possibly find an easier pair to work with.

Need a little variety in your vegetables?  Get your garden started by swapping some seeds this October 5 at the Sixth Annual San Luis Obispo Seed Exchange!  The event will be held from 6-9pm at the SLO County Library in the Community Room. Guests will be treated to a “storytelling library” about seeds, plants, and gardens. John DeRosier from With the Grain Organic Farm will be joined by Greg Ellis for a short lecture entitled, “Building a Living Seed Library in San Luis Obispo County.” Admission is free and open to all ages.

The Seed Exchange, organized by Elizabeth Johnson, is an excellent means of preserving cultural and biological heritage within the area.  By saving seeds with high germination rates and histories of high yields, heirloom varieties, and breeds capable of pollinating openly, traders are able to ensure a rich and secure agricultural future for their community.  Due to the increased interest in organic gardening and local food movement, the swap is likely to feature some unusual and interesting specimens.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Johnson at (805) 544-5364, or stop by the SLO County Parks and Recreation Department Office at 1341 Nipomo St.  Visit their Facebook page for updates and details on Exchange!

Bamboo Living Home

Bamboo is undoubtedly one of the strongest, most versatile materials for construction. Lightweight, sturdy and renewable, the grass is perfect for sustainable building projects.  Bamboo Living, a company headed by founded by Jeffree Trudeau and architect David Sands, offers gorgeous prefabricated bamboo homes ready to be assembled in the tropical paradise of your choice. You can assemble many of the designs rapidly, some in as little as two days.

The company chose bamboo for their line of dwellings in order to encourage the trend towards using materials that were both socially and ecologically responsible.  By using bamboo, they could make strides towards curbing climate emissions, restoring the native forests around the world, helping control soil erosion, and raising communities out of poverty.

They planted the first shoot in 1994, when Trudeau and Sands completed their first project on Maui. That home would lead to the construction over 150 others throughout the Hawaiian islands.

In 2002, the company became the first in the world to offer International Code Council approved bamboo green houses. By 2006, Bamboo Living had established the largest bamboo house in the country, and made an international name for themselves.

Currently, Bamboo Living operates through their Bamboo Works facility near Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam where they employ over 160 local artisans.  The company has the capacity to design, deliver and build a complete green home within three months.  Buyers can choose from over 8 different sizes and  a variety of lines that includes signature selections.  Models range from individual houses to eco-resorts and development, and each prefabricated structure is backed by a 20 year warranty.  Finally, a cost effective and green solution to out-of-the-box housing developments!

Photo Credit: Bamboo Living Home

Fashion is a strange and fickle animal.   Styles come and go, value and craftsmanship vary across brands, and artistic taste travels alongside industry and business.  Major names and style houses tend to dominate the landscape and many cases reach across global markets.  In the shoe industry, sweatshop work conditions, social and environmental exploitation, and outsourcing of labor have become the accepted practice of footwear giants such as Nike and Adidas. Thankfully, there are alternatives for those who want to stand up to the culture of rampant consumerism and still sport a quality pair of kicks.

Blackspot Shoes from Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters lets you have some pride in your stride.  Created by the popular magazine, the brand is open-source and can be used by anyone, free of charge and copyright laws.  The shoes themselves are made of hemp, vegan leather, recycled tires, and produced in fair-trade factories.  Blackspot come in either a classic sneaker or boot design, created by John Fluevog and hand-painted with a large spot.  They are compliant with vegan standards and are monitored by Robin Webb of Vegetarian Shoes in the UK. Each pair is part of limited or small runs, ensuring quality and integrity.

Currently, all Blackspot shoes are fabricated in Addah, Pakistan by Talon Sports where workers receive an eight hour day with fair pay, overtime, vacation, breaks for lunch and prayer, sick leave, and opportunities to advance within the company.  Talon is governed by an elected body that offers micro loans and medical services.  Fifteen percent of the price of Blackspot shoes go to a fund dedicated to improving the living conditions of the workers and their families.

Blackpots are available online, or at a number of independent retailers worldwide in order to bypass industry conglomerates and foster a network of grassroots businesses committed to sustainability.