Greening Christmas: We're Dreaming Of A White (And Green) Christmas

Looking for a last minute stocking stuffer?  Need some home decorating or festive recipes before the guests arrive? Check out the new book from Chronicle Books by Anna Getty, I'm Dreaming of A Green Christmas, with video vignettes available on YouTube...suitable for good friends and family.

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Now, if only all of us had such luck with good friends and stocking stuffers!
Happy Holidays! Wishing everyone Health and Prosperity for 2010!

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Greening Copenhagen: A Climactic Fairytale

by Paige Donner

When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger addressed the leaders attending the Global Climate Conference in Copenhagen earlier this week, he noted Copenhagen's Little Mermaid, its famous statue in the city center that is drawn from a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. He also noted that his favorite fairytale as a child was "The Ugly Duckling" because of its theme of transformation.

The California Governor is lobbying hard to maintain our focus on the fact that "this conference is automatically and already a success."

In these final hours of the historical summit, much focus is being placed on a global agreement being signed by all the world's leaders, the developing nations and the developed nations; And in particular whether China and the U.S. can come to an agreement about emissions reduction inspections and national sovereignty. Much focus is also being placed on which leaders B.O. is including in his pack and which ones he is snubbing.

Schwarzenegger's emphasis continues to focus our attention on the integral role that subnational governments and leaders - and individuals and entrepreneurs - play in this transformation of our environmental practices and some of the industries upon which we base our global economy.

Governor Schwarzenegger:

"...the world's governments alone cannot make progress, the kind of progress that is needed on global climate change. They alone cannot do it. They need everyone coming together, everyone working together. They need the cities, they need the states, they need the provinces and the regions. They need the corporations, the activists, the scientists and the universities. They need the individuals whose vision and determination create movements. They need everybody out there.

So ladies and gentlemen, let us regain our momentum, let us regain our purpose, let us regain our hope by liberating the transformative power beneath the national level.
That can be the great contribution of Copenhagen -- that could be the great contribution of Copenhagen.

Some examples he gave of industry and entrepreneurs leading the way: A German company in Texas building and operating the world's largest wind farm; a renewable energy company in China stating that they feel that renewables are "good business, not a burden." Solazyme, the firm that derives its renewable energy from algae and its recent U.S. Department of Defense contract is more evidence of successful private-public partnerships.

He also spoke about his late Mother-in-law's pioneering efforts to create the Special Olympics. This was an effort of individuals and people. This was not an effort set forth by governments. He pointed out that;it is people, friends and family, who are there at the finishing line to give the athletes participating in the Special Olympics a big hug, not governments. The Special Olympics is now in 180-plus countries.

Without the dedication of individuals, activists, entrepreneurs, there would be no environmental movement. "Movements began with the people, not with governments," concluded Schwarzenegger.


Greening Long Beach: Partners With Freedom Waterless Carwash For Black And White Fleet

Here's an example of a public private partnership that can
 1. Help the environment.
2. Help a city reach its targeted sustainability goals.
3. Help sustain small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Freedom Waterless Carwash Partners With Long Beach City For Pilot Program
                                                                              Watch Video Here
Please contact  greenbloggerinfo  at gmail   with any questions.
VIDEO HERE ></object>

Greening Beauty



Greening Los Angeles: Villaraigosa And Schwarzenegger On The Water Team

"Mark Twain once said, 'Whiskey is for drinking, but water is worth fighting for," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at the signing of the historic water reform legislation November 6, 2009.

Introducing and speaking alongside the Governor was L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. 

                                                                                                                   Watch Video Here

Video  courtesy of HeadingtonMedia.


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Greening California: California Hosts First U.S. Hydrogen Plant

By: Susan Kraemer

In a move that can be seen as indication of the far-reaching global effects of European cap and trade legislation, California has been selected by a British subsidiary of BP; to host one of the first hydrogen plants in the US. Hydrogen Energy International Limited will pioneer groundbreaking carbon-capture and sequestration technology in a hydrogen-fueled power plant.

The $2 billion, 390 MW power plant will be one of the first hydrogen-fueled electricity plants in the world with carbon capture and sequestration.

The company is part of the Hydrogen Energy group of companies owned by BP Alternative Energy and Rio Tinto. It will partner with Occidental Petroleum; the largest natural gas producer and the third-largest oil producer in California, which will use its sequestered carbon dioxide in a nearby oilfield.

The project draws on a number of technological breakthroughs to pioneer post-carbon fossil energy. While carbon dioxide has long been used to enhance oil recovery, it has not come from a power plant before now.

A coal gasification process will produce the fuel to power the plant, not with coal but with hydrogen gas. About 190 million standard cubic feet of hydrogen daily will run the gas turbines, which is another technological first: getting hydrogen to power a gas turbine.

The technology will capture 90% of the carbon dioxide before combustion and inject it into a local oilfield for sequestration and enhanced oil recovery. The gasification block will capture two million tons a year of carbon dioxide produced; and send it four miles in a pipeline to Occidental Petroleum’s Elk Hills oilfield; to aid in oil recovery.

The remaining 10% of the carbon dioxide emitted, at 250 pounds per megawatt-hour, according to the application, is well below the 800 pounds per megawatt-hour of electricity emitted by even a state-of-the-art natural gas plant, which is about half that of traditional coal-fired plant. (California’s emissions performance standard forbids emissions over 1,100 pounds per megawatt-hour, ruling out most coal plants.)

The application is among those currently under review, along with about 10 GW of solar thermal applications for California. The status of all applications is in this (pdf) map. Despite the fact that the US itself has not passed carbon-limiting legislation, the US will still get some post-carbon fossil energy from a major oil company.

Kern County is also the host of yet another technological breakthrough: the first compressed-air energy storage project for

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Greening Copenhagen: Happy Thanksgiving All You Gorgeous Green Turkeys!

A Green Cooking Demonstration in honor of Thanksgiving, in preparation for Copenhagen.

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Hey, Obama, are you listening?  'Cuz the last we heard, people gotta EARN a Nobel Peace Prize!

Link to video: Do The Green Thing

Recyle, Reuse, Rejoice!



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Greening NYC: Hudson Companies Inc. Third + Bond Collaborates With Pratt Institute

By: Alison Novak


Green Building Meets Match in Green Furnishings: The Hudson Companies Inc. collaboration with the Pratt Institute yields a bountifully green pairing.


Sustainable top to bottom, inside and out, is what can be said about Third + Bond, the 44-unit condo project in Brooklyn, NY. Third + Bond is expected to be LEED-Gold and Energy Star-labeled (as a building) when it is completed next spring. But the effort toward sustainability doesn’t end there. Third + Bond partnered with four academic departments and over 90 designers from Pratt Institute to outfit two model residences with sustainable furnishings.




This collaboration has been covered by Metropolis, Interior Design, the soon-to-close Metropolitan Home, and Yanko design, among others. With furnishings from revered designers Eva Zeisel, Harry Allen, and Bruce Hannah, just to name a few, and prototypes from the newest designers on the scene, like Tawny Hixson and Thomas Stern, the collaboration is undoubtedly buzzworthy.


Pratt Institute, the prestigious art, design and architectural college, completely outfitted the model residences from wall coverings to home accessories, furniture, textiles, art, lighting, and clothing. All items were designed by Pratt alumni, faculty and/or students. Some of the items have been classics for years, such as the T Sling Lounge Chair by Bill Katavalos. Others were created specifically for the project, such as the wallpaper designed by Pratt interior design students who were inspired by legendary, local oysters. Not only do the colors and graphics embody an organic, natural sense, but the wallpaper itself was manufactured PVC-free by Carnegie.


Traditional Brooklyn Townhouse – Modern Eco-Adaptation


Third + Bond was designed by Rogers Marvel Architects as a modern adaptation of the traditional Brooklyn townhouse. The furnished models are a 2 bedroom, 2 full bathroom condominium with a little over 1,000 square feet, and a 3 bedroom, 3 full bathroom condominium with private yard that’s just shy of 2,000 square feet. Green elements include energy recovery ventilators, low-VOC paint, dual flush toilets, pre-fabricated construction and R-39 insulation.  


The Hudson Companies Inc. Paradigm:  Quality Greens


As the first green building project for The Hudson Companies Inc, Third + Bond has also been an experiment in expanding the 22 year old company’s paradigm about quality. Known for both luxury and affordable housing, Hudson has built nearly 4,000 dwelling units in New York City and is known for its quality work. The idea of doing a green building before green was mainstream and when the cost premium was thought to be considerable, was a leap of faith. Now all of Hudson’s projects planned or in construction are green.


For more on Third + Bond, the collaboration with Pratt, and what it’s like for an established company to go green, check back with us on the Green Blog Network.


Photos by Diana Pau, Pratt Institute 

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American Vogue's Sustainable Sally Singer

By: - Yetunde Schuhmann

Conversations with Fashion Innovators: Sally Singer

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down for an intimate lunch with Fashion News and Features Director for American Vogue, Sally Singer. Sally was in town to interview Google’s Marissa Mayer and graciously accepted my invitation to chat about fashion, the recession, and of course the role that sustainability plays for the industry.
During the course of the interview I was captivated by Sally’s passion for the industry, as well her keen dedication to being socially and environmentally responsible in fashion. As she recently stated in her [November 2009] Vogue story, “Salad Days”: “ I love my Deep Green Living directory-where to buy toys, cat supplies, eco-friendly lunchboxes, nontoxic pest care toys)’oh, no; groans my husband)- and I love feeling that little bit more empowered. I may not be living with houseplants but I’m that much closer to the Emerald City.”
Sally is not your typical fashionista.
In fact she made of point of noting to me, “I feel like I’m very, very lucky. A friend of mine, who is an editor, said something like, ‘for girls, getting to go to the Paris shows is like getting to play for the NFL’, and that’s pretty good! I certainly have a job that links up with my things that I care about. I never thought anyone would pay me to care about those things.
Educated at UC Berkeley and later Yale, Singer was originally on a career path in academia but somehow found herself in the world of fashion and magazines. Over a good hearty meal with the best-made Arnold Palmer in town (no salads for these two fashion gals) we began our conversation.
- Yetunde Schuhmann is President and Founder of The Innovative Fashion Council San Francisco
YS: How do you think fashion will weather the recession?
SS: I think that fashion and style is relevant regardless of the economy. Style is almost more relevant now as it’s something that people can do for themselves as a pick-me-up. It’s something that helps them imagine a more interesting world; it helps people think differently about their culture and their time. All sorts of examples of the best style have come out of stricken times.
Within the industry it’s been a tough year and will continue to be for some time. I’ve read that there are some good signs ahead. People will have to think and work a little differently, but that’s not always a bad thing. The hard truth is that people who are very talented might be shuttered this year. It’s a real shame to see Christian Lacroix going into bankruptcy proceedings in Paris, and almost on the same day see Veronique Branquinho shutting her business. These are two immensely talented people with enormous conviction who shouldn’t have done anything any differently, but the system hasn’t worked for them at this moment. So in that sense, I don’t think the shake out is a great thing because it means that only the best will survive. I think a lot of really great people are having a really hard year and people who I don’t necessarily think have a lesson to learn from it. The same as people who are suffering from personal setbacks, they weren’t necessarily over-spending or living a false life, they were just trying to get by and a whole lot of things conspired against them.
I do think that fashion designers and companies will come out of this year with a different perspective on how they operate, how they control their production, how they control their wholesale network and hopefully the industry will be stronger for it.
YS: Do you think that because of the financial distress, it will affect the way designers will market themselves?
SS: Well advertising has taken a hit. Designers are not advertising the way they used to. Were those gorgeous campaigns and the number of them necessary? Shot by just a few photographers… It made fashion really exciting to people and made fashion a fun industry to be in. And a fun industry for the public to engage in. There’s not a designer out there right now, who’s not re-evaluating the way they market and merchandise their collections and how they put their message out there. The interesting thing is that because of there’s such knowledge of fashion. Before you didn’t have to work every day to have people be aware of your work.
When I started at Vogue, you kind of had to figure out how you were going to do it. Maybe there was a cable show that showed a bit of a runway show… The idea that you could know the name of a model that wore Look 12 at Prada was impossible, unless you were in the business. Now anyone can go online and see a show, and know that Natalia was opening the show, and get the details and see the bag up close. So there’s an incredible knowledge of fashion right now. So a lot of marketing just has to build on that. So I imagine things will be done differently in the way that people will position themselves.
Right now there’s so much emphasis in the industry on the pre-Fall. Right now, we’re starting to see Resort in New York and those collections are the real money-spinners for companies. They hit the stores in November and stay full price much longer than the traditional Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections. In the past these were seen as the ”real” clothes collections, not the catwalk ”follies.“ And I think there is more direction in them now than ever before. Because there is more scrutiny. They also, go into stores at the moment that people who are in the mood to spend, spend. So I think in the last few years there’s been a greater emphasis on pre-fall or pre-spring or resort and I think that will continue. And more companies doing that if they can, delivering into the stores four times and therefore not staking it all on two seasons. And if two seasons go drastically on sale they have double the opportunity to sell.
YS: The ultimate goal of the Innovative Fashion Council is to support more sustainable fashion design and practices. Do you think it is still only seen as a trend?
SS: I would hope it’s not just a trend, and that the economic crisis wouldn’t be a reversal and we’re still moving forward. There have been other trends in the fashion industry that challenged issues of sustainability. Those too were valid concepts.
Many, many other people have been heartened by the fast-fashion, the explosion of really directional, fun retail environments where clothes are extremely on target, on trend and affordable, and often designed by real luminaries in that market. I mean, I hear Jil Sander is doing clothes for Uniqlo and I hear the clothes are amazing. That said, the whole notion of fast-fashion is not exactly at one with the issues of sustainability. Do we need all those things for clothes we buy on Friday, to wear out at a club on Saturday and toss out by the next Friday? And where are they going? Those clothes may start to be made with organic fibers, made in different factories and made in line with ecological goals and a more conscious set of parameters. We’ve just seen this with Target and their collaboration with Loomstate. Rogan Gregory really pushed to have Target source differently.
I want people to buy the right things at the right price for the right reasons. But I understand designer fashion that is fairly priced, and made artisanally and directional and exciting. Designers like Rodarte, the Mulleavy sisters, and Isabel Toledo are making these amazingly beautiful clothes and these clothes are not inexpensive. And to many people it doesn’t make sense to wear a dress that costs $1,900. But on the other hand, she’s doing something incredibly sustainable. She’s wearing someone who sourced the fabrics properly, made it beautifully, worked on it by hand and paid her workers fairly. I want to encourage people not to spend more than they can afford, but to spend the right amount of money and wear it a lot. And when you’re done wearing it pass it down, rework it, figure out how to integrate it into the next thing they want to do, chop it up, even make it into pillows! I don’t know, but I want people to figure out how to work with their clothes in a more sustained way—whatever their clothes are, it may be the Loomstate Target collection—whatever! I just want them to love it beyond the moment they bought it.
YS: What about educating the designers in sustainable design concepts like William McDonough’s book “Cradle to Cradle?”
SS: We are seeing biodegradable shoes, not just Nike, where if you drop off your shoes, they’ll remake it into something else. So we’re seeing that. And designers, such as Stefano Pilati at YSL doing collections out of old fabrics he found around. He just launched that collection at Barneys New York. I think it’s a fantastic model for how luxury goods should be working right now. But I also think designers are receiving an enormous pressure from retailers and consumers to make things at a less expensive price point, to broaden their price points, to offer entry level price points. And often what that means is to go overseas and China’s environmental standards are not necessarily the best. It’s not necessarily the quality; the real issue is that a designer is trying to work to a sensitive way to their customer and to the world. And it’s an awful lot of balls in the air.
Some will say they’ll use an organic fabric, but if you don’t produce in an up-to-date factory with environmental standards, does it matter if it’s an organic fabric if you’re using chemicals to process it? Kind of, I don’t know but it’s like the set of decisions that we’re all facing in our everyday and I just think that the more everyone is conscious of those choices the better off we’ll be. And every designer out there is thinking that way. They know the customer understands the value of conscious production. It’s not yet at the same place as food, where people will buy the ugly but organic apple. Fashion people still want the nice looking thing. But they know that an ethical back-story adds value for consumers. Whether they can take all their impulses and put out a product that the consumer can afford remains to be seen. But, they’re all trying to. They think endlessly about sourcing, and they have to know fabrics are so expensive now.
And partly because a number of people working now are working at the top of their game are young people. They are part of a generation that grew up with an environmental consciousness. People such as Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler, Phillip Lim and Derek Lam - these guys don’t stand apart from their generation. So, no I don’t think
it’s a trend; it’s just going to take some time to sort itself out. Luckily there are a lot of people right now who know a lot about sourcing and the issues who are working in the industry right now, such as Rogan. As long as people continue to talk about it, it will be okay.
YS: Do you think that hosting a sustainability conference would be a good idea?
SS: It’s hard to get people to come. Designers are very busy these days, going to stores and connecting with the customers. Everyone knows the more designers are out in the stores, the better the sales are. I don’t think there has been a time where designers have worked more frenetically here in New York or in Europe. I know I did a panel for UCLA's Hammer Museum, where I brought together Rodarte's Kate Mulleavy, Adriano Goldschmied, Christina Kim and Tom Binns. They’re all artisanal designers. They found it was very useful for them to talk about the choices they have to make everyday.
YS: It seems as if there is a disconnect, people wanting to be sustainable and not knowing what to do?
SS: Certain questions can be answered by others, such as “I need a source in Peru” but how you choose to go about imagining who you are as a designer has to come from you. I think there’s great value in knowing what your signature is, what your point of view is, how to render it, who is going to appreciate it, how far you can take it and being content with that and scaling it to that. And making great choices that allow you to do it in a way that it’s good for you. In the Bay Area, for instance a company that I think is fantastic is a ceramic company from Sausalito called Heath. Everything that Robin and Cathy have done makes sense. And they’ve just opened a huge store in L.A. in the midst of a recession, but it’s the right store. They truck things down twice a month so they always know exactly what is selling and what to produce. They manufacture locally, they partner with Chez Panisse and Blue Bottle, and other artisanal lifestyle choice businesses that they are part of. They opened at Opening Ceremony in Japan. They are the height of the fashion life, as uber-fashion as you can get without necessarily being a fashion business.
YS: What do you think of the San Francisco emerging designer scene?
SS: When I come here I usually go to Modern Appealing Clothing and see what they carry. I think there’s no reason to do Paris in San Francisco, or Fifth Avenue in San Francisco. You have to do something that connects to San Francisco. I don’t think San Francisco needs a fashion week, I don’t even think L.A. needs a fashion week. You have to do something that makes sense here. I think it’s probably true that if you want a larger audience you’ll probably have to go to New York or even L.A.
Full post can be read at:

Greening Beauty



Eco-Holiday "Give Light" Initiative

By: Charlene Brown

On behalf of the "Give Light" Initiative, I wish you an eco-holiday and to ask you to join in using solar powered lights this holiday to help reduce demand on the power grid and reduce your carbon footprint; And, of course, reduce your electric bill year after year.

Another objective of the Give Light Initiative is to help those who are without electricity to light their windows this season. Full program details and solar light samples are online at

Why "Give Light":
Each year Americans, regardless of religious affiliations, decorate their homes with marvelous lights to celebrate the most joyous season of the year. And while incomes dry up, electricity costs are on the rise and utility bills are going unpaid, leaving many homes dark at night.
The Give Light Initiative will help recapture the joy of the most joyous season of the year by offering residents energy-efficient, safe and environmentally friendly solar lighting at a discounted price.

And for every ten solar light sets sold, we will give a gift of light to a needy family in the neighborhood.
Pasadena Development Corporation, Lookin’ Green Magazine, and Shepherd’s Door are commissioning this initiative. Partners include Sam’s Club, City of Pasadena, Side Street Projects, One Community and others. We hope you will join us in this brilliant solar lighting initiative with a generous partnership to help those who are without light this season.

Request for Support:
We invite you to order solar light strings through the Give Light Initiative with which you can decorate your home or business or that you may give as gifts to your guests and friends. Every 10 LED solar light set will offset 30 watts for 30 days resulting in reduced carbon emissions less demand on the electric grid.
i. Galaxy = $25,000 for 1,000 solar light strings
ii. Sun = $15,000 for 600 solar light strings
iii. Moon = $10,000 for 400 solar light strings
iv. Star = $5,000 for 200 solar light strings
v. Light = $1,000 for 40 solar light strings
Order any quantities of solar lights for a donation of $25 each - 100 LED bulbs on a string.
Benefits of Solar Holiday Lights:
a. Save on electricity costs with energy-efficient solar LEDs for 10,000 hours of light
b. Safe lighting with no outlets, no extension cords, no overload, less blackouts
c. Suitable for indoors and outdoors with year-round automatic lighting from dusk to dawn
Give Light Initiative Goals:
d. One million solar powered LED lights distributed (10,000 strings of 100 LED bulbs each)
e. One million watts saved during the holidays, and up to 10,000 hours of light for years to come
f. Two Hundred Thousand dollars to benefit local non-profits and needy residents
g. Three Thousand solar light strings gifted to needy families in the neighborhood
This Give Light Initiative will save money while reducing power demand, help protect the environment, reduce carbon emissions, and will promote safe holiday lighting with energy-efficiency eco-safe long-lasting LED lights - powered by the sun. For more information about the Give Light Initiative and partnerships, please contact me, Charlene Brown, President, Lookin' Green Magazine and visit our online store at
You can also contact Keith Rogers, Program Director of the Give Light Initiative
Executive Director, Pasadena Development Corporation.

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Lisa Ling Builds Green

By Green Blogger
At Senator Pavley's recent "Greening the Bottom Line" town hall meeting, Lisa Ling and her husband, Paul, turned out to speak about the home they are building in Santa Monica.  Here's the link to the ABC News Video:
Lisa Ling Builds Green
Also, Ted Flanigan of Eco Motion and George Infante of West LA Print and Copy showed up to share their green success stories.  In addition, Pavley was able to bring out the local utilities and 20 community groups and businesses to provide "How To Go Green" resource materials. "The event was fun, informative, and highlighted how being good to the Earth is also good for your pocketbook," said Pavley.
For more information on the next "Greening the Bottom Line" go to Senator Pavley's (D-Santa Monica) website.


Gaining Green Ground

By: Green Blogger
Here's a thing not often seen in the U.S. - a "First Nation's" Chief sanctifying an urban conference about the Resiliency of Cities. First of all, we don't refer to our Native Americans as "First Nations people" and rarely are they offered the honor of sanctifying civic events.
But up in Canada, they do things a bit differently. And so, for the 6th Gaining Ground Summit, this one focused on Resilient Cities, Chief Bill Williams of the Squamish First Nation, on whose tribal land the Vancouver Convention Center was built, led opening ceremonies with a traditional drum chant.

Gene Miller, Founder of Gaining Ground, says that a resilient city has 1) a green action plan and 2) a green economic plan.  He sees cities as a productive point of convergence, "In cities, people can talk common sense to each other," said Miller.
Speakers at the Summit, held over three days, Oct. 20-22nd, included Cam Brewer, Executive Director, Smart Growth, B.C., an actively engaged community stakeholder in B.C.'s green development and sustainable growth and a significant sponsor of the Summit.
Speakers also included Anita Burke, Founder of the Catalyst Institute whose professional background is Big Oil, i.e. "working for change from within" as she's quick to clarify; and Majora Carter, a "green Queen" of S. Bronx and a recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Grant along with about 100 other featured speakers and workshop facilitators.
Gregor Robertson, the 44 yr. old charismatic Mayor of Vancouver and organic farmer [his company is called 'Happy Planet,' if that lends any insight...] has thrown his hat into the ring to claim Vancouver the Greenest of the Green cities.  "This is a friendly competition," he says.
Robertson's youthful exuberance was on display when he urged the 600 delegates of the Gaining Ground Summit to "ramp up your efforts as aggressively as you can...The stakes have never been higher for us and for future generations to come."
Following his own advice, he unveiled the ten points organized into three main groupings to achieve Vancouver's Bright Green Future,  - oh, yeah, and a city-wide composting system.
1) Green Economy, Green Jobs:  this category includes establishing metro Vancouver as a "mecca for green enterprise."
2) Greener Communities: includes "achieving a one-planet ecological footprint" for the city.
3) Human Health:  the three points in this category were A. Clean Water i.e. best drinking water; B. Clean Air;  C. Local Food, "to become a global leader in urban food systems."
Read more  Here: Vancouver Sun  
Rob Abbott, who, as the conference Moderator introduced Mayor Robertson by the very proper, if archaic, "His Majesty," commented that "Sustainability is not a problem to be solved but a future to be created."  Robertson said he'd rather not be addressed as "His Majesty." 
Robertson's action plan for 2020 must now be "tabled" (transl. = passed) by the Council in order for it to be officially adopted.  His administration is also helping oversee the implementation of the Greenest Olympics in history.  Environmental consultant Tim Reeve of Reeve Consulting points out that it is one thing to set the guidelines that all official Olympic 2009 apparel, for example, meet the no-sweatshop standard and then a whole other ballgame when it comes to implementing policy.
 It's quite possible like that Vancouver might nab the Emerald City title when even people like Paul Hawken, keynote Summit speaker, admits that he and his fellow Californians "idolize" Vancouver as a "touchstone" of urban green planning.
Hawken dropped gems like, "Our fate as human beings depends on cities. We are nothing without each other."  He took a bit of a stick to the media saying that, "The trivialization of the environment is still occurring in so many places in the media."
He quoted several times from Herman Daly, pointing out that we are underutilizing our most plentiful resource - people.  "We are using more of what we have less of to use less of what we have more of - human beings."
Hawken Gives Keynote at Gaining Ground
And in yet another address, where forming thoughts fired off synapses as Hawken spoke, this inspirational environmentalist and entrepreneur left us savoring, "The city gives us an extraordinary way to re-imagine what it is to be a human being."
Gaining Ground B.C. '09 tied Portland in with Vancouver in a strong way.  There's this popular notion of Cascadia that is being volleyed about.  Cascadia is the term used for the bio-region that extends from Metro Vancouver down to Portland. Cascadia, the bio-region, mitigates the division of sovereign state borders and sees the harmony and interdependence of a region and its resources.
Portland delegates made a big showing, including Mayor Sam Adams and Nike's Director of Sustainability, Sarah Severn, who is headquartered in the U.S.'s most livable city, Portland - a city which also boasts a dearth of job opportunities for its ever-increasing inhabitants.
California might have been invited to the party.  When asked, Miller responded he hadn't thought of it. California may be outside the bio-regional zone of Cascadia but many of its cities have shown extraordinary resiliency.
Cam Brewer, Executive Director of SmartGrowth B.C. reinforced that, "Cities are for human beings with human values."  He alighted on the deceptively simple feature of a city's "walkability factor."
"If a city has a walkability factor, surprise, surprise...people will walk.  When people walk, they are healthier. How can we bemoan escalating costs of health care while simultaneously spending billions on freeway and road infrastructure?" asked Brewer.
Hawken similarly noted how absurd it is for oil producing nations to assume they deserve reimbursement for loss of revenue, "attributable" to use of alternative energy sources.  "That's like a typewriter company asking Intel to reimburse them for loss of market share."
Civil Disobedience
Hawken called on our common intellectual ancestor, Thoreau, and referenced his Master Work, Civil Disobedience. He summed up the work as "Standing for the truth, no matter how unpopular it is."
B.C. former Premier, Mike Harcourt was down with this sentiment.  He took the podium during the Summit and related how, in his more youthful days, he was known as "Ho Chi Harcourt," in part do to his moustache he sported at the time but mostly from his reputation as a young lawyer defending draft dodgers and refugee immigrants.
Harcourt also said that for Vancouver to be the "greenest" city, you have to get political. "Move ideas to action."

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Page on Permaculture

By Linda Buzzell

Psychotherapist, co-editor "Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind"

Read more at: Huffington Post

Permaculture's popping up all over. It's really catching on with young green activists like Juno star Ellen Page, who recently took a break from Hollywood to talk on the Ellen DeGeneres show about her experiences studying permaculture design in an eco-village near Eugene, Oregon.

Teen Hollywood 

reports that Page "spent a month living on the settlement and learned how to live more simply -- and how valuable urine can be."

Page told Teen Hollywood "It's about living in a holistic way with the earth and reintegrating our lifestyles with the natural cycles ... It was amazing. Anyone at all who has a passion for it can learn about it and use it in their lives in so many different ways ... like peeing in a bucket and using it on your compost. Pee is an excellent source of nitrogen."

But what the heck IS permaculture, besides peeing into a bucket?

Permaculture is an ecological design system based on deep observation of nature, and can be applied to gardens, farms, landscapes, homes and also to "invisible systems" like communities, economies, societies, our psyches and even our spiritual practices. It's a path towards sustainable living that is patterned on the way nature works, and can be applied in rural, suburban and urban areas.

Permaculture was invented in Australia in the 1970s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren and is just now really catching on around the planet. The word "permaculture" is an abbreviation for "permanent agriculture" or "permanent culture." reports that "Permaculture is a way of living; it involves sustainability, ethics, community living, harmony with nature, appropriate technology, organic living, organic farming, etc. It is a way to integrate nature and people in the most sustainable way."

"In permaculture, ethics and design principles are used to help us make good decisions for the people and the environment." NaturalNews also tell us that Permaculture follows three ethics:

Care for the land: Actions to protect the environment and improve it. Earth should be seen as a whole.

Care for the people: It involves the physical and psychological aspects, for example providing food and shelter, natural medications, reduce daily hard work, and provide equal opportunities for all people.

Care for the future: It is very important if we want to conserve our resources. Some of the aspects that it involves are recycling, planning, cooperation not competition, supporting local economy, and the use of renewable energy and resources.

My husband and I took the Permaculture Design Course a few years ago and found it incredibly useful and eye-opening. (No peeing in a bucket during our class, though!) What we learned was that the permaculture principles can be applied to every aspect of your daily life as you move towards a happier, more nature-connected and sustainable way of living.


Here are a few resources for those who would like to learn more about permaculture:

  • The Permaculture Institute
  • "Greening the Desert:" an amazing video of how permaculturist Geoff Lawton turned pure desert into a lush oasis using permaculture.
  • Ellen Page talking about permaculture on Ellen Degeneres.
  • "Introduction to Permaculture" by Cathe' Fish is a 6-DVD set of her 2-day workshop with comprehensive, practical information and lavishly-illustrated slideshows. Cathe' covers principles, land, water harvesting, soil, zones, gardens, plants, guilds, bio-remediation, food forests, solar greenhouses, buildings, villages, and more. Available here.

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Shaken, Not Stirred

By Christina McGregor

Publisher of "Green Me Up Scotty!" 

Shaken, not stirred

So it's blog action day. The subject this year ? Climate Change.
First and last, the purpose of Blog Action Day is to create a discussion. We ask bloggers to take a single day out of their schedule and focus it on an important issue.

I took a geology course in college that was dubbed 'rocks for jocks' because it was considered an easy credit. While I enjoyed the plate tectonics as such, it was learning about past climates that tweaked my interest on the subject. Climate Change, formerly known as Global Warming, is the latest media vernacular when reporting on all things green.

I find fear is the number one tactic used by environmental brain-trusts when trying to get their message across. If we don't do X now, we'll get Y later than eventually Z. (Oooh not Z). And Y not. Fear motivates a lot of human behavior - fear of failure - fear of dying - fear of flying - fear of work. I personally fear hummus. When someone puts a bowl of that stuff in front of me I have to leave the room. It's scary. I shudder just thinking about it. Fear as a tactic to fight Climate Change is one dimensional. Actionable yes but educational no. You don't conquer fears by not understanding them. (I'm getting therapy for the hummus btw). 

How does one conquer climate change exactly ? Don a toque when it's cold?

As we look to take action on Blog Action Day - let's try something other than fear as the motivator for change. 

So here's my offering. Climate Change for Christina is 2 fold. The first knowing Climate Change is about the earth's natural evolution over time. You know as we orbit around the sun, stuff happens, ummm, like the southern continents get warmer, I think, umm, yup they do this time of year cause, yah know, they're closer to the sun. Over longer periods of time, the earth's climate has a tendency to change drastically.

The second fold of Climate Change for Christina is mankind. Our nature as survivor & species taking up more of earth's real-estate as each year passes. Our ability to reproduce, adapt and evolve (ha ha) to the ever changing climate makes for some bad-ass mammals.

Making sense of the fact that population growth continues while the earth remains the same size is for the scientists to figure out. They've got a pretty good idea now. Yet it's increasingly become more complex and a problem we need to address sooner rather than later. So they say. Thus Climate Change as the subject de jour - and taking better care of the environment - the action. The solution is complex - improving how we re-produce renewable non-carbon-emitting-energy products for the masses. 

Quiz Time

Q: What generates emission free electricity, cools our nuclear tubes and makes for a refreshing beverage? Oil? no. Coal? no. Cow poop? No.

A: For Aqua. In the great white north, we have an abundance of the most important resource of all things life on the planet. The majority of Canada’s power production (just under 60%) comes from hydroelectricity. In Ontario, Nuclear and Hydro combined represent 75% of power production – all of which is non carbon emitting. (*Source:

I'll leave this post with a question.

Q: If our greatest natural resource is the key to human survival, the planet's well being & provider of clean energy. Why we talkin' bout 'clean coal', building wind farms and solar panels when we're ignoring what's got us this far ?

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Greening Hollywood: Green Graywater Gardens

By Paige Donner

Dawn of A New Era

A revolution occurred in California on August 4th led by Santa Barbara-based graywater advocate, Art Ludwig, and an army of passionate stakeholders from throughout the state. The revolution was the historic graywater code adoption that took place in Sacramento at the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
Graywater is the wastewater that drains out of washing machines, sinks, bathtubs and showers. It can be treated for indoor use and may be used untreated in some landscape applications. 

SB 1258 required HCD, in consultation with the Department of Public Health, to develop standards for the construction, installation and alteration of graywater systems for indoor and outdoor uses.
As of August 4th, 2009, “Californians can legally install simple laundry and single fixture systems without a permit. For the first time, licensed professionals can legally help with the 1.7 million existing graywater systems in the state.”        
-Art Ludwig, graywater Researcher and Educator

Ideas Presented at The "Water Messaging In Media" Dinner

 "Water Messaging In Media" Dinner presented by 
Greening Hollywood and Environment Now 
at the Dorothy Green Home in Westwood
Paige Donner, Josh Green

Typically, a three-bedroom home generates 160 gallons of graywater per day or 58,400 gallons per year.  With the new standards, a family of four could potentially divert nearly 22,000 gallons of water per year by using graywater from the laundry system alone. Great news for water conservation advocates.

The all-day Sacramento hearing was described as “a rollercoaster” where “passionate stakeholders” spoke for and against the adoption of the new standards and where a “collision of world views” was on full display as the meeting drew to its historic conclusion.
Another historic outcome from the meeting is that the HCD, who has asked the California Building Standards Commission ( to revise California’s Green Building Standards, shifted – significantly – to taking into account off-site and future impacts of a building’s systems as opposed to only considering occupant safety.
Why this matters?

More than half of all carbon emissions, those nasty greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, are from buildings. Buildings built to California’s current codes are sucking the groundwater out from under California. Under the new codes, graywater permits would allow people to – legally – redirect their laundry water runoff to irrigate their backyard organic vegetable gardens, for example.

Watch the YouTube Instructional video here:

And Art Ludwig's video here:
Art Ludwig periodically holds City of Santa Barbara-sponsored workshops on engineering Laundry to Landscape systems, for free. Santa Barbara started the graywater regulation revolution in 1989.

On California’s graywater revolution, Ludwig’s office, Oasis Design, said, “The commissioners are to be congratulated for their leadership. It is always more work to set up a new system than to fit into an existing one. It would have been a lot easier to stand aside as legal buildings continue to waste resources and pollute the environment. However, in the face of deeply entrenched, powerful opposition, the commission [California Building Standards Commission] is rising to the challenge of revising all of California’s building codes to allow/require better building systems.”
In the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 24, California Plumbing Code, Part 5, Appendix G where you can find the existing graywater standards, you will see that they are antiquated. The revised standards allow for the installation of graywater systems for the purpose of water conservation. The intent is to encourage new ideas and technology related to water reuse.

The disputed point, at present, seems to be whether these state-level revisions now supersede local and municipal regulations.  For example, must someone in Culver City wishing to implement a graywater system for their newly constructed building comply with the City’s code if it departs from the newer California state code?
Water activists such as Conner Everts of Environment Now says that the California State code now has precedence. Wesley Roe of Oasis Design confers.  However, Jennifer Sweeney, Communications Director for the California Department of Housing and Community Development, says, 

"The code provides guidance to inform the user about minimum health and safety requirements and then allows a system to be a scale that is appropriate...This can range from the simplest of low technology (a drain to a mulch basin) to the most complex...system.

Typically, small systems are very simple and adding the cost of building permits and professional design/engineering quickly becomes too expensive and burdensome to be practical. This problem has been addressed in the new graywater regulations by not requiring a construction permit for the installation of a clothes washer or single fixture system. 

Homeowners would still have to check with their local authority to be sure graywater systems are allowed in their jurisdiction, therefore these regulations do not supersede any local code.  Additionally, the systems would still have to be built to the requirements specified in the state Building Code.  More complex systems will still require a construction permit and any system will still be regulated."
At the August 28th Greening Hollywood presents “Water Messaging in Media” dinner at the Dorothy Green Home in Westwood, California, these issues and the topic of how to present complex issues of water to the states’ stakeholders, i.e., every California resident and business owner, were discussed. 

Co-host Conner Everts of Environment Now, a longtime water activist and friend of the Green family, focused the dinner table discussion on the peripheral dam issue.  He cited Timothy F. Brick’s recent editorial HERE in the L.A. Times Op-Ed section as a position he takes issue with.
Water H20 3G
Since many of the dinner attendees, including Stephanie Molen from Sen. Pavley’s office, Frances Anderton, Producer of Warren Olney’s To The Point on NPR, and Catherine Geanuracos of LiveEarth have extensive experience in presenting information in digestible form to large audiences, we steered the conversation toward Water Messaging in Media and the question of which issues to focus on right now.

Susan Munves, Santa Monica Green Building 
Water Conservation and Clean Water were two topics at the fore.   One of the dinner guests, perhaps it was Edward Headington who counts Breathe L.A., hosts of the Green Salon Series, as one of his clients, or maybe it was Josh Green, the late Dorothy Green’s son, or maybe it was Susan Munves from the city of  Santa Monica Green Buildings Program – or, likely it was all three - who said we need to keep the message short, sweet and simple. The message needs to be represented by a one-punch image that will resonate with the Facebook crowd. Something like Water “H203G.”  Stay tuned…

Dinner was generously provided by Chef Simon Dolinky of  Palomar’s Blvd. 16 who runs a kitchen stocked fully with organic and sustainably farmed ingredients.  His platters of roast pork smothered in fresh roasted vegetables and his seafood platter of fresh shrimp, mussels and chubby scallops were all heaven-sent.
Jen Mullen of Jam Gourmet provided us with a fig and gorgonzola pizza – wonderful combination of savory and sweet – and a romaine salad with paper thin-sliced crisp peaches, red onions, pine nuts and feta.  Mendocino Farms, the fully sustainable downtown eatery who is opening up their second location in L.A. on 5th and Flower, provided us with Chef Judy's Seasonal Farmer's Market Salad with Arnett Farms Fuji apples, parmesan cheese and honey roasted almonds on organic farmer's market greens with a sherry vinaigrette. 

The Green Family’s Otelia, who was first brought into the family 41 years ago by Dorothy, helped with the fluidity of the dinner. Indeed, it appeared that she was delighted by the home being used, once again, as a hub of activity for the water tribe.

Water...for the Next Generation... 
Read More on Greening Hollywood.