Thursday 23 February 2012

a green flings crush : patagonia

I never would have thought my favourite clothing brand would be one that specialised in outdoor-gear, but right now the clothing label that has me buzzing is none other than active and adventure-wear experts Patagonia.

Why is Patagonia my latest obsession? Take a look at their mission statement.

Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

I'd gone to the shop looking for hiking boots and wet weather gear for an upcoming New Zealand trek, and the longer I was there, the more I was impressed with this company and its truly unique business strategy.

The founder, Yvon Chouinard, initially founded Patagonia as a way to keep himself (and his buddies) kitted out for mountain climbing. He soon realised that everything his business did had an impact on the environment, and it was usually negative.  In 1985 he started giving 1% of Patagonia's profits to environmental groups, and co-founded 1% for the Planet in 2001 as a way to encourage other companies to do the same.

Today over 1400 companies have become 1% members.  Chouinard wants companies to get out of the habit of thinking the 1% is Philanthropy, instead encouraging them to recognise it's merely the true cost of doing business, including the environmental cost.

Patagonia have also made great strides in sustainable fabrics in their clothing line.  They create clothing meant to last - encouraging reduction of new purchases - and will endeavour to repair damaged goods when possible.  They have also committed to using only organic cotton for their cotton products and have created fabric made of 100% recycled materials that is completely recyclable itself. AMAZING!
Some of the colourful Women's pieces made with recycled polyester.
Chouinard is reportedly working with Wal-Mart to encourage using recycled/recyclable polyester work clothing; he recognises there is not enough organic cotton available for all clothing, nor is it always the most appropriate fabric, so instead considers the 'Cradle to Cradle' approach of ensuring the fabrics are reusable or recyclable at the end of a product's current lifecycle.

On top of everything, Patagonia have their Common Threads initiative which enables and encourages reuse, recycling and repairing of Patagonia clothing, including a special eBay store to purchase pre-loved items.  Patagonia clothing is designed to last, so this is a great way to save money on outdoor gear (especially if you have growing children!) and reduce the amount of new clothing you purchase.

Believe it or not, I could continue on about Patagonia's environmental activities, so if you're keen to learn more check our their website and continue to be impressed with this company that is truly not driven by financial profits.

I haven't yet purchased any clothing from Patagonia - I need to investigate the Common Threads used clothes store first - but did buy a pair of Keen hiking boots from the shop. Keen are no doubt Patagonia's boot of choice due to Hybrid.Care, their corporate responsibility program that provides support (in money and in time) to environmental organisations working toward the greater good.

Not the sexiest boots I've ever purchased.
I've ordered hot pink laces to tart them up a bit!
I love finding companies that are interested in more than just the financial bottom line.  Even though it might not be a high-fashion clothing label, Patagonia have set a new standard for sustainable clothing and definitely caught my eye.

I hope other labels beyond active-wear are taking note!

Sunday 19 February 2012

a green valentine fling

I know it's one of the more polarising holidays around, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't LOVE the holiday dedicated to LOVE.  I don't need a Hallmark card, box of chocolates or a diamond necklace, but I do appreciate the opportunity to celebrate my loved ones with a little extra oopmh

This year my hubby bought me a night back on the grog (I'm signed up to FebFast) and we had a divine meal at Jared Ingersoll's Cotton Duck in Surry Hills.

The hubby enjoying one of the amazing courses,
Roasted Venison, Mole, Corn & Avocado

Ingersoll has long been a champion of sustainable, ethical food. His restaurant Danks Street Depot was founded on the principles of the Slow Food movement, and favours local and seasonal produce - he's continued this vision through Cotton Duck's menu.  I've had my eye on Ingersoll for a few years now, and held my 30th birthday at Danks Street Depot specifically because I wanted to celebrate a sustainable birthday in style (and it was perfect!).

Cotton Duck is as stylish as a Surry Hills eating establishment ought to be, and includes sustainable fixtures in the interior design including recycled timber walls, reused concrete blocks as planters, exposed ceilings with minimal lighting features cut from plywood, and water glasses made from old glass bottles.

Boing! I love this!

Perfectly formed drinking glasses made from
bottles with the tops cut off.

Cotton Duck was the perfect location for a my Valentine's date, and my tastebuds were delighted with each sustainable course - I'm sorry I didn't take more photos! 

If you haven't already, pop around to Cotton Duck or Danks Street Depot for an amazing dining experience, and sign up to Ingersoll's 6th Sense Newsletter to receive updates on the restaurants and other ethical, sustainable food news.

Friday 10 February 2012

a green fling favour : help me pick my book cover

Hi Everyone,

As you may know I've been busy writing a book - now I need your help picking the book cover!

My friends at Wingrove Design have generously donated their time and beautiful design skills creating me a range of book cover options.  I've narrowed it down to my favourites, but I can't decide which one I like the best.  I'd love your input, so have a look and in the comments section let me know what cover you like the best.

Short book summary:

The story of how I transformed from an image-obsessed shopaholic to an environmentalist, learning to achieve sustainability with style.  In it I share the good, the bad and the ugly of learning to live sustainably, and include cultural analysis regarding climate change action. I want to share my story to demonstrate to others you really can go green without losing yourself, and also provide insight for the environmental movement about how to encourage sustainability in mainstream culture.
Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Option 5

Option 6

Option 7

Thanks everyone - happy voting!

Thursday 9 February 2012

a green fine art fling

I volunteer once a month at the lovely SH Ervin Gallery in Observatory Hill; the current exhibition features the magnificent landscape paintings of Elisabeth Cummings.

Elisabeth Cummings, Edge of the Simpson Desert, 2011, c/o SH Ervin Gallery

Cummings is part of the Wedderburn artist community in Western Sydney, and she and fellow Wedderburnian John Peart spoke at a public program at the gallery this past Sunday.  I was excited to listen to her speak because I'd admired her work throughout this exhibition and previous shows.  I was even more interested when I heard that she and Peart had previously been involved in environmental activism in their Wedderburn artist community - don't you just love it when your worlds collide?

Cummings and Peart had been involved in protecting the natural landscape of the area from overdevelopment and mining, and for a time used their art as a means of expressing themselves in addition to more 'typical' environmental activists activities like arranging petitions, speaking at council meetings and organising the wider community to work together to protect their local natural landscape.  As recently as 2007 they were among artists featured in an exhibition the Cambelltown Arts Centre called Grounded: Art, Activism, Environment.

Now in their 'twilight years', both Cummings and Peart are hoping the younger generation will take the reigns on activism.  I suspect with the likes of AYCC, Greenpeace and other grassroots groups this won't be a problem.

What a fantastic reminder that you can get involved in environmental activism through many different channels - everyone can be a greenie!

Thursday 2 February 2012

product of the week: tap™

The first time I saw this cheeky glass bottle in a restaurant I had to giggle:

I've long been filling my stainless steel water bottle with the stuff, and now there's a fantastic website that outlines the many benefits of my favourite beverage, (also known as the original eco water):
  • tap™ is packaging free, so I'm not using resources, adding to landfill, or requiring extra energy to recycle any bottles.
  • tap™ is widely available, piped right around the country to all homes, schools, workplaces and some parks and beaches, so I can refill anywhere.
  • tap™ costs less than bottled water, actually, it's less than 1 cent per litre (or free when I'm anywhere outside my home where I pay my water bill).
  • tap™ is high quality,filtered, cleansed and tested to the strictest quality, taste and safety standards.
  • tap™ is local, so I can enjoy it without the eco-guilt of drinking water shipped from overseas.
As far as I'm concerned, there's really no other water to drink in Sydney than tap™- have you gotten on board yet?