Category Archives: Green

Van Jones rejoins Center for American Progress to lead Green Opportunity Initiative

I am a fan of the work of Van Jones, and was glad to hear he will continue to help build a more just, prosperous and green economy here in the US. The official Public Announcement below:

Today the Center for American Progress announced that Van Jones is rejoining the center as a Senior Fellow and leader of the Green Opportunity Initiative, a new CAP project.

“We are thrilled that Van Jones is joining us to spearhead a ‘green opportunity’ agenda to develop the policies and strategies that will ensure the clean-energy future brings not just climate stability and energy security, but also broadly shared economic prosperity,” said Kate Gordon, Vice President for Energy Policy at CAP.

In this role, he will work in close coordination with CAP’s existing Energy Opportunity team to develop a clearly articulated agenda for expanding investment, innovation, and opportunity through clean energy and environmental restoration⎯especially for low-income and minority communities. Van will guide CAP in its efforts to advocate for rebuilding the American economy and creating millions of jobs through new investments in clean-energy technologies.

For the full story visit  –  http://ping.fm/3lu1m

Recycled Fashion

Believe it or not, the fashion industry is responsible for a large part of the world’s pollution. From manufacturing to shipping, tons of toxic chemicals, CO2 and greenhouse gasses are discharged, and huge amounts of oil and energy are consumed.  That said, where can one go for stylish, yet eco-friendly clothing?  Enter Goodone, a British label that creates hip and trendy clothes made from recycled garments. 

Founded by two Brighton University graduates, Nin Castle and Phoebe Emerson, Goodone takes second-hand or throwaway clothing and repurposes them into new garments that don’t look obviously recycled.  Their style has an urban and edgy vibe, with each garment being unique since all textiles and prints come from used clothing.  All products are locally hand-made from individually chosen recycled garments or sourced from textile recycling factories.  What is innovative about Goodone is that they are providing a creative and sustainable solution to counteract the damage that the fashion industry has been wreaking upon the environment.  By using materials that already exist, they don’t need to consume more energy or expend more toxic waste in order to manufacture new products.  And unlike some other companies that have hopped on the recycling bandwagon, Goodone’s garments are not only eco-friendly and fashionable, but also completely realistic and wearable.  Now that’s fashion with a conscience.  WU

Green Architecture, Brave New World

For some urbanites, a sustainable lifestyle means unplugging their MacBook at night, carrying a reusable tote bag to Whole Foods, and buying organic cotton t-shirts at American Apparel. While doing all these things can certainly help to lower one’s carbon footprint, believe it or not, there are even greater ways to live green. Enter a new wave of architects and designers, who (literally) take green lifestyle to new heights.

As natural resources dwindle, it is no wonder that sustainable architecture is a rapidly growing trend. Carbon neutral buildings and green housing projects are cropping up in cities around the world. Many countries now have their own rating systems for green buildings, such as the well-known LEED standard in the US. Companies like URBN Hotels are revamping the concept of eco-hotels by updating them for the urban jet-set. These new hotels feature minimalist aesthetics, recycled materials, and 5 star luxury, just for starters. From New York to Singapore, green housing projects are also making appearances. The benefits of living in one of these apartment complexes include solar powered energy, water-based air conditioning, and rain-water collection systems. Even the pre-fab home has seen a recent rise in popularity since it’s mid-century beginnings, with a new exhibit at MoMA in NYC dedicated solely to these DIY properties. Lastly, another emerging and innovative concept is the “smart building,” which incorporates bio-mimicry techniques into architecture, creating buildings that are seamlessly integrated with their surrounding environments.

What is interesting, and relevant, about all these new concepts is that it takes sustainability to a whole new level. In these new eco-buildings, people don’t have to consciously change their behaviors to live green; rather, it becomes their surroundings that are changing instead. Instead of focusing on changing the way people act, these buildings are designed to directly change the way people live by infusing sustainability into their daily lives. WU

Come Ride With Me

Rush-hour streets of New York

Rush-hour streets of New York

 

With fuel prices on the rise and the effects of global warming becoming more apparent each day, many commuters are turning to greener ways of transportation.  In New York, cab sharing is becoming a popular and cost-effective way to get from place to place.  Websites such as RideAmigos.com allows New Yorkers to search for fellow riders with common destinations and arrange to share a ride.  In Washington D.C., a program called SmartBike DC allows commuters to rent bicycles by the hour to efficiently get around the Capitol.  In Paris, a similar bike rental program, called Velib, allows Parisians (and tourists) access to public bicycles, creating an effective alternative for reaching destination points between Metro stations.  Swedish home furnishings giant IKEA takes the concept of rental bicycles one step further by providing “trailer bikes,” bicycles equipped with carts, as an eco-friendly way for shoppers to transport their flat-packed goods back home. These innovative methods of alternative transportation are gradually beginning to take off in many major cities.

Velib bike rental station in Paris

Velib bike rental station in Paris

In New York, a crowded city where traffic congestion and delayed subway trains are a daily nuisance, it would be refreshing to find other (greener) means of transportation. However, a recurring problem is that most urban roads were not designed with cyclists in mind.  The lack of separate bicycle lanes in many cities heightens the risk of accidents for cyclists, and also deters many from considering biking as an alternate form of commute.  This trend for sustainability is still relatively new, and many people are only slowly beginning to adapt to the mindset of a sustainable lifestyle.   Thus, predictably, it will take a while before cities such as New York are able to fully embrace change for a more sustainable society. WU

Première Vision Inquisition

Premiere Vision: The Premier Textile Workshop

July 17, 2008 – NEW YORK
Today, I visited Première Vision’s “Preview New York.” Held in Chelsea’s Metropolitan Pavilion, textiles companies from around the world gathered to present their finest fabric samples at this textiles tradeshow. I was looking forward to this event. While stuck in traffic en route, I speculated on all the wonderful new things I would find. Like Indiana Jones on a treasure hunt, I was eager to discover some avant-garde, never-before-seen textile, or a radical new way of producing fabric from recycled tires.

After receiving my visitor’s pass, I checked the guidebook to plan my course of action. The exhibitors were categorized into four “style universes,” with the names Seduction, Distinction, Relax, and Pulsation. There was also a catering table, but the lack of a cocktail bar narrowed down my options. No matter, I decided to start in the universe of Relax. Streetwear is my field of expertise, so I was immediately drawn to the stone-washed, sand-blasted denim booths. I struck gold at my first stop, a Turkish company called Birlik Mensucat. The manager informed me that their cottons were 100% organic, even the dyes and production process were certified eco-friendly. Sounds good to me. We traded cards and I moved on, encouraged to find more organic textiles.

I wandered through the various textile universes on the hunt for innovation, making stops here and there. One of the more noteworthy visits was at Hasegawa, a Japanese textile manufacturer. Their tissue-thin silk/cotton jerseys were the finest I had ever seen. I was also intrigued by a platinum-colored jersey, which, upon inquiry, discovered it was actually metallic ink printed on fine-gauge silk jersey. I immediately ordered a swatch book.

Premiere Vision Preview New York

Premiere Vision Preview New York

After a couple dozen booths, I realized that the majority of the gorgeous fabrics that I had seen were simply not organic or sustainable. In fact, sustainability didn’t even seem to be an issue, since there was no indication of it anywhere on the maps, booths, or trend displays. It was becoming tedious to have to enquire whether or not every company I visited produced eco-friendly textiles. Just as I was ready to admit defeat, I spotted a shirt with the words “100% Organic Cotton” hanging outside a booth. The booth belonged to French company Siat & Lang. The manager showed me some beautiful shirting fabrics, all 100% organic and made in France. I ordered some last samples before heading out.

During my cab ride back to the office, I reviewed all the companies I had visited. Unfortunately, I did not find as many interesting textiles as I anticipated, and was hugely disappointed by the lack of eco-consciousness in the overall exhibition. Perhaps there is a separate textile show out there specifically for sustainable materials. However, I think that if Première Vision wants to continue labeling themselves as “the premier textile workshop,” they should expand their vision and look at current issues of sustainability that are increasingly relevant to the world of fashion. WU

All photos courtesy of Première Vision. http://www.premierevision-newyork.com/

Dress Detective Gone Green

Although this is a project, the design idea is interesting enough for us to cover. All around us, the push for going green is visible. But have designers gone too far to try and capture the “green market”?

Designer Stephanie Sandstrom developed a dress that detects harmful emissions in the air. You can identify the smoggy days and areas when crinkles and kinks start to form on the dress. Powered entirely through sensors incorporated into the fabric, the wrinkles stop with higher quality air. This idea will allow you to stray away from the harmful air that lurks in the most precarious conditions, or to even make a statement about our declining air quality.

The harmful effects of global warming are changing our world and it is time for everyone to notice. But do ideas like this help us achieve the goal of becoming more “green-friendly. Instead of replacing ones wardrobe with fashion that senses smog, which would increase the carbon footprint, we suspect there are better ways of addressing the problem of air pollution.

You can learn more about the Dress along with other imaginative designs at the San Francisco Exploratorium’s 2nd Skin Exhibition through September 7, 2008. HANNA

Green Racer

With fuel prices on the rise, and governments attempting to curb carbon emissions, it’s no surprise that the auto industry is leaning towards more eco-friendly cars. Recent auto shows revealed a new generation of cars that are more sustainable than ever before. What sets the new breed of hybrid cars apart is that, unlike past concepts, many of these vehicles are more practical and road-ready.

Toyota has introduced a new Prius that draws on solar energy for power, creating an endless source of renewable energy. The energy will power the car’s air conditioning unit, making for a more fuel-efficient ride. Fellow Japanese company, Honda, is not far behind, with a Civic hybrid that utilizes lightweight parts made from biodegradable materials. Leading French automobile company, Peugeot, has also been dedicated to developing sustainable vehicles. Their urban-friendly Citroen C-Cactus prototype debuted last year in Frankfurt, and they’ve recently introduced the 308 RCZ, a fuel-efficient car jointly produced with BMW. The 308 BioFlex represents a new wave of cars that run on eco-conscious biofuel.

What is innovative about these eco-cars is that the designers have more to consider than just performance and aesthetics. They must tap into a specific lifestyle and market where people want smaller, lighter, and more sustainable vehicles. Drivers are increasingly seeking cars that can reduce their environmental impact. As new technologies make way for a dazzling array of possibilities, it won’t be long before “green” cars dominate the roads. WU