Tag Archive: sustainability


This piece of travel clothing and company {r}evolution apparel has become my new obsession and inspiration since I discovered them last December. These two incredible women (who I adore and admire) have created a multi-functional piece and fashion company that represents sustainability, environmentalism, human equality and chic style all wrapped into one. Wow. Sounds amazing right? Pre-order yours or visit their new online store mid-April. Here’s their debut piece, but there will be a maxi dress to accompany and looking forward to an entire 10 piece collection in the future promising 100 ways to wear. Keep up the amazing work girls!

“OUR LIVES ARE DEFINED NOT BY WHAT WE OWN,
BUT BY WHO WE LOVE, WHAT WE DO,
AND HOW WE IMPACT THE WORLD” – {r}evolution apparel

“We’re just two people who want to live with purpose, passion, and adventure. And make the world a little bit better along the way.” – KRISTIN & SHANNON

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Can You Define Sustainability?

Growing up in the 90’s I never heard the word sustainability. Come to think of it, I had never heard of sustainability until my freshman year of college at Western Washington University. I was always familiar with conservation, recycling and pollution, but never used the term sustainability.

Key Sustainability Events

Environmentalism in the U.S. started in 1969 with the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) whose purpose was to “foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony and fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.”

Beginning in April 2001, preparation for the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa took place at the local, national, sub-regional, regional and global levels.

In March 2009 the Copenhagen Climate Council, an international team of leading climate scientists, issued a strongly worded statement: “The climate system is already moving beyond the patterns of natural variability within which our society and economy have developed and thrived. These parameters include global mean surface temperature, sea-level rise, ocean and ice sheet dynamics, ocean acidification, and extreme climatic events. There is a significant risk that many of the trends will accelerate, leading to an increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts.”

Before these key environmental events, sustainability was not in the vocabulary of mainstream America. It has only been recently that environmentalism has spread to mainstream America. But how many Americans actively value the environment? Do their actions reflect environmentalism?

Developing My Environmentalism

My love and respect for the environment was developed during family vacations to the Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, Mesa Verde, and numerous sailing adventures through the San Juan Islands in Washington. Early on I discovered that the environment was irreplaceable, yet magnificent. Back then I just saw the beauty, but the environment also provides many ecosystem services that cannot be recreated or reproduced by humans. Despite my family’s love of nature, I never new about sustainable living, the principles of new urbanism or climate change.

Even though environmental problems existed and affected my life, I never knew. As a teenager I never thought about CO2 emissions released from driving my car, or the amount of my garbage that ended up in a landfill. During my first year at college, I learned about the environmental problems that face our world today and potential solutions to these problems. Renewable energy, green building design and environmental economics were suddenly intriguing and I wanted to be part of the solution. I started taking courses in geology, oceanography, energy and resource economics. I recently graduated with a B.A. in Economics and a concentration in Environmental Studies. My goal is to work in the environmental field to contribute to solving environmental problems with innovative solutions.

But this is just my story. Many Americans do not highly value the environment. This is possibly the reason why I never heard about sustainability until I was an adult. We just don’t talk about sustainability enough. Why is environmentalism not a key American value?

Potential Problems with the Use of Sustainability

Do people know the meaning of sustainability? How many people can define sustainability?

Is there one true definition? Does this word, because of its many meanings lead to public ambivalence?

Does using the term sustainability harm environmentalism?

Solutions

  • Instead of approaching sustainability with a feel good method, it is more important to get attention by taking the opposite approach. Create pragmatic ideas to get the discussion started. Once people become passionate about a situation and understand the consequences, they will become active participants in the environmental discussion and the problem solving process. The most efficient way to plant environmentalism into mainstream America is to get the attention of the public by creating and maintaining an environmental discussion.
  • Anchor improving lifestyle with environmentalism. For change to happen, the focus can no longer be just about the environment but also needs to be about improving the lives of people. Sustainability should encompass the economy, environment and equity. Sustainability needs to include improving neighborhood connectivity and advocating healthy lifestyles. In order for people to care about the environment, there needs to be a strong link between the environment and how their life can improve in the process.

Comments and discussion are welcome. Hope you enjoyed the post!

We want our lives to be sustainable, but sometimes the incentives are just not there. Incorporating sustainable living into your life is easier than you think. Here are some simple ways to utilize technology, save time and money.

1. Subscribe to On-line Newspapers, Magazines and Newsletters

Instead of receiving daily newspapers or monthly magazines, go on-line instead. Websites contain the same information as the publication, but doing so will save paper. Check out on-line editions of the New York Times, Seattle Times or Seattle Magazine.

2. Receive E-Statements

Switch utility bills, credit card bills and bank statements to E-Statements. You will receive your statement on time and will reduce the chance of it getting lost. Also, instead of writing a check, spending postage and time, pay your bills with an E-Check.

3. Use Email

By using email, you can save paper, money and time. Next time you think about sending a letter through the mail, choose email and save postage and paper in the process. Also join no junk mail lists to cut down on unwanted advertisements.

4. Say Hello with E-Cards

For the next birthday, holiday or important event, send an E-card instead. Americans send 7 billion cards per year. Producing a ton of virgin paper requires 20 trees. There are also many E-card companies that offer free cards. Save trees and send an E-card. Planning a party or event? Send invitations via Evite.com.

5. Stop Clipping Coupons

Sign up for E-coupons and check out your local weekly store ads on-line. This will allow you to research the weekly sales and organize shopping trips. Combining multiple shopping trips into just one will reduce your dependence on gasoline.

Here is a trailer for the series Design e².

“e² is a critically acclaimed, multipart PBS series about the innovators and pioneers who envision a better quality of life on earth: socially, culturally, economically and ecologically.”

Watch the season one first episode “The Green Apple”

The first episode begins in New York, a city that is leading the charge to green its industrial skyline with several groundbreaking projects. New York combats the urban myth of the bustling city as a “concrete jungle.” “The Green Apple” explores some of Manhattan’s most prominent and technologically advanced structures like One Bryant Park and The Solaire, as well as the innovative minds behind them. The episode illustrates how the ubiquitous skyscraper can surprisingly be a model of environmental responsibility.

All of use want to save money, but how can you be ‘green’ at work too? Below are simple ways to save money at work with the environment in mind.

1. Pack your own meals

Making your own meals saves money and improves your health. Pack nutritious and budget friendly meals in reusable containers, bring utensils from home and cloth napkins. Whether its a sandwich, soup, salad or leftovers, making your own meals will become an easy habit to save money, eat healthy and reduce waste. Stop spending money on your daily morning latte, bring your own travel coffee mug and make coffee at work.

2. Carpool with co-workers

Ask around the office, create a carpool network. Carpooling not only saves money, but is an easy way to reduce CO2 emissions and combat climate change.

3. Bring your own water bottle

Now you no longer need to buy expensive bottled water, just bring your own. Choose one that is BPA free, preferably aluminum. Klean Kanteen makes BPA free, aluminum water bottles. If you are worried about the purity of your water, ask your employer to install a faucet water filter or put a Brita pitcher in the fridge at work.

4. Energy Saver Setting on Computer

Today, most computers provide an energy saving setting. By choosing this setting, computers will automatically ‘sleep’ when not in use. Also remember to turn your computer off when you leave work everyday. The EPA recommends, “Setting computers to enter system standby or hibernate after 30 to 60 minutes of inactivity. To save even more, set monitors to enter sleep mode after 5 to 20 minutes of inactivity. The lower the setting, the more energy you save.”

5. Switch light bulbs

LED or compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) last up to 10 times longer and use less energy. By doing this, your work will cut down on light bulb replacement costs, use less energy and save money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “An ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulb will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months. It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.”

6. Decrease paper margins and always print double-sided

By simply reducing paper margins from 1.25″ to 0.75″ will allow more words to fit on each sheet of paper, reducing the amount of paper and ink costs. Just simply adjust the document margins and save paper, ink and money. Also, remember to print double-sided. Western Washington University did this and significantly reduced printing costs.