Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

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.




Okay, so maybe I’m a bit behind the times. I just discovered author Jonathan Safran Foer. Where have I been?! The author of “Everything is Illuminated” and “Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud” has written another gracefully worded work, full of wit and charm and intelligence, but this time, he’s taken on a fairly meaty topic.

The title of his newest work “Eating Animals” would deceive anyone into thinking that Foer has written some persuasive propaganda. However, vegetarians and omnivores alike will discover something else.

This work is not a clear cut case for vegetarianism (though Foer himself is a vegetarian, and spends a good part of the introduction describing his humorous struggle, only moving on to discuss why we should consider dog meat as a viable form of sustenance.)

No, instead the book is more of an internal debate, and a journey to discover what eating animals really entails, what farming means in America today, and whether or not there’s a clear and easy decision.

Foer charmingly balances both sides of the argument on his sharp blade of written word. It’s impossible not to fall in love with his portrayal of where fact meets feeling. A must read for any vegan, vegetarian, omnivore or carnivore.


I was watching an episode of Thirty Rock the other day. Tina Fey’s character had just purchased a pair of jeans from this high class hipster store, promoting fair trade and green-o-nomics. Her punch line about said pants, was that they would “make up for all the times I took a long hot shower because I was bored!” (As it turned out, the store was owned by Haliburton, and the ‘hand made in usa’ on the label meant that the jeans had been made by a community of people called the hands, in country who’s name was pronounced ‘oosa.’)

This hits the funny bone of most people, I think, because most of us live a day to day give and take of conservationism. After all, we can’t all live textbook minimalist lives, so we balance our green consciences sort of like our checkbooks. We ride our bike to work one day, to make up for leaving the lights on the night before, or we make sure we use reusable grocery bags, because we just can’t go without our daily coffee in that hypnotically appealing and wasteful to-go cup. It’s these little hypocrisies that make us human. (I’m currently eating a vegan sandwich out of a disposable plastic container. )

We are creatures of habit. I’m sure we all have a few good habits and a few destructive ones. With that in mind, I thought I would offer up on ongoing discussion to you bloggers out there.

Name three good green habits you have, and three you might be afraid to confess to the hippie nearest you. In the spirit of approaching New Year’s Resolutions, perhaps we can exchange some ideas, and inspire each other to try, just a little bit more, to keep the world around longer. I’ll kick it off, and expose my dirty laundry. (Which I am about to run through a water hogging washing machine, and energy sucking dryer.)

The Wicked:

Water Bottle Addicted- I have a problem, in plastic form. Hot Showers- long ones. Can’t get enough, sometimes twice a day. Paper Towel Insanity- Haven’t made that leap of buying cloth napkins and cleaning rags. It’s silly, but I can’t’ make a decision on ones I like.

The Win:

Reusin’: Taking old butter, peanut butter, Tahinni, and any other sturdy disposable plastic or glass container, and making in to my new Tupperware. It may be cheap, but it’s also pretty good for the environment. Buying locally grown, organic produce: Easy on the pocket book, fun, and environmentally friendly. You avoid putting more pesticides in the air, and create less of a need for large, polluting trucks to drive 300 miles to bring you a head of broccoli, if you walk down to your local farmer’s market or co-op. CAR-bon: Carpooling, biking, walking, and public transportation. It’s good for you, your community, and the earth. (It’s okay if the real reason for it, is that cars are really FREAKING expensive. No one has to know that. )

So, there’s a starter. Hopefully, this topic inspires you (ehem) thousands of readers of ours out there to see the green light. Or maybe just pick one bad habit to get rid of. Who knows. I should mention that you can’t say ‘I recycle’ as one of your green good deeds. We’ve all been recycling since the eighties. It’s old news, guys.

If you find you come up short on your good deed list, come in to Bambu Batu for some green living ideas. We have everything from compost pales, to reusable sporks, to help you get to that next step. We can do it. Together. Oh, we have reusable water bottles on the way? Check.