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Posts Tagged ‘triple bottom line’

When I first got to Washington to start my new job, I had to look all freshly scrubbed and nicely attired. And I was…except for my shoes. I walk with purpose, and my shoes look like I walk with purpose. To the outside observer they might also looked old and scuffed. But these were nice shoes (Nunn & Bush), so I certainly wasn’t going to throw them away. The only other option was to fix them. What they needed was to be re-stained (or dyed or whatever it’s called).

For about three seconds I considered doing it myself, then I pulled out my iphone and began to look for a cobbler. Yes, a cobbler. That word evokes images of an old Danish man dressed in a frock and hunched over a table, pounding tiny nails into the sole of a leather boot. As I typed cobbler into google maps, I wondered how far I would have to drive to find one.

There were three in downtown Everett. Apparently, people in Everett still take their shoes in to get repaired.

So I took my shoes in for their tanning (or dyeing or whatever) where I had to wait in line to get served. A line. At a cobbler’s. Who was neither old nor hunched. Nor Danish, for that matter. Bottom line: $25 bucks for both shoes. When I picked them up they looked like new. Which is a big savings compared to actually buying them new for $85 a pair.

This event got me to thinking (as pretty much every event does; it’s the philosopher in me): what if we applied the cobbler methodology to other things, like computers? First, let me explain what I mean by cobbler methodology. It’s simply this: just because something is old, worn, or even broken doesn’t necessitate throwing it away. It can be fixed, often to look and feel like new; sometimes it can even be made better than the original.

What if Apple took up this methodology? (I’m using them as an example for a few reasons: a) they’re super geekilicious; b) their new laptops are cut from a solid block of aluminum, making them very durable; c) they’re rapidly adopting green production methods). Instead of designing their computers to allow for minimal expansion, modification, or replacement, they could make them modular and significantly upgradable. Then, instead of buying a whole new laptop every time there’s an advance in, say, processor speeds, you just take it to your neighborhood Apple Store and have one of their icobblers swap out the processor for a new one. No need to waste all of those precious materials by tossing out the whole unit. Just adopt the cobbler methodology and extend the useful life of a resource-intensive product by years, maybe decades.

I realize that this is a return to the way that many computers (mostly PCs) used to be made. In fact, some still are made this way. The difference is the way in which it’s done. Formalize it; standardize it; coolifize it. Make a statement while making a positive change for our planet.

How’s that sound, Apple? You in?

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Bernie Sanders inspires me. He’s one of the few people who authentically represents the interests of his constituents and his country. In the video below, one in a series produced by Brave New Films, Bernie speaks eloquently about the connection between green policies and economic growth and the strides that the government has made in the past year towards a viable green future.

We could certainly use a few more Bernie Sanders on Capitol Hill.

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One for the Money

One for the Money

To most people Bamboo is a nuisance at best, a scourge at its worst. Horror stories of running bamboo taking over yards or neighborhoods is a long-standing urban myth. Unlike the Kudzu, http://www.herbreference.com/kudzu.html

Now this could be a nightmare

Now,this could be a nightmare

that has taken over entire southern states bamboo enjoys limited exposure as a ‘Lucky’ plant grown in an 8oz container, or the main food source for the cute and cuddly panda in zoos, or safely observed from afar in bonsai exhibits at garden shows.

In China and Japan bamboo is a mainstay. Japan says its country is held together by bamboo and china builds bridges with it. Bamboo shoots are a food source, a feedstock, and of course timber bamboo has the tensile strength of steel, hence bridges and houses that last hundreds of years. I would not be surprised if author David Blume,  “Alcohol Can Be a Gas” could not brew up a batch of alcohol fuel from this sweet grass.    http://www.permaculture.com/

The running bamboo gallops in zones 4-10, hence the term running as opposed to clumping.  And if we were not so intent on killing or confining it, that running factor alone is a real asset.

How it gets up and goes

How it gets up and goes

Like crab grass it sends underground shoots in all directions and comes up with a new shoot the first chance it gets. This new shoot is a new plant that will send out more runners with more shoots to make more plants and on and on and on.

Crab grass is not a food source at least not to humans, nor can you build houses, flooring,

Pretty smooth stuff

Pretty smooth stuff

and tiles, make paper, clothes, musical instruments like flutes and reeds, window shades or bridges with it. You can’t reroute rivers or keep a denuded mountainside intact.  So, I can see the reasoning behind discouraging crab grass from running wild but, I do not understand why one would discourage, no, try to obliterate and eradicate a plant with the potential to reverse the current downward economics and raising CO2 trends. Growing bamboo for timber has all the earmarks of an industry that lends itself very nicely to the triple bottom line philosophy.  A win-win-win business philosophy that puts corporate greed in its place by practicing in unison the 3 P’s, planet, people, profit, thus the triple bottom line. “Building a Green Economy, by Kevin Danaber.” http://tinyurl.com/yauw8he

As a renewable, sustainable, pure green, job creating, out-and-out cash crop, bamboo is unbeatable.  It is a gift from Good Old Mother Nature like gold, sliver, diamonds, oil, air and water. The big plus side of Bamboo is that you don’t have to wait a million and half years to harvest this bounty.  Unlike Mom’s buried treasures that require deveining Her arteries, beheading Her mountaintops

or denuding Her ancient mantle for the treasured nonrenewables, bamboo is right there in your face, ready, willing and able to grow and multiply.  It screams, “Here I am. Come and get me.” Not using Bamboo as a natural resource is about as stupid as not using Hemp with all its natural renewable resources. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.  http://www.hemp.org/

Lets look at some hard cold facts about Bamboo as a Big green, sustainable, life producing manufacturing plant.  This plant can create wealth right here and right now. “Bamboos are the fastest growing woody plants in the world. Their growth rate (up to 60 centimeters (24 in.)/day) is due to a unique rhizome-dependent system, but is highly dependent on local soil and climate conditions.  Timber bamboo grows in zones 4-10.  Here is a zone map http://tinyurl.com/yep5hf3.  San Luis Obispo is Zone 9.

They are of economic and high cultural significance in East Asia and South East Asia where they are used extensively in gardens, as a building material, and as a food source.” We know it works and is sustainable.

Why not?

Grows .00002 mph

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamboo

Compare This: Timber bamboo takes 5-7 years to grow to the point it can be harvested.

With a 10-30% annual increase in biomass versus 2-5% for trees, bamboo creates greater yields of raw material for use. One clump can produce 200 poles in the five years it takes one tree to reach maturity.

In Costa Rica, 1000 homes are built every year with all of the building material coming from the same 150-acre plantation.

Bamboo homes can withstand 173 mph hurricane winds and 7.3 earthquakes.

Not to shabby

Not to shabby

Bamboo grows anywhere, from the equator to the Himalayas. There is Bamboo as a ground cover that you can mow once a year, or some timber Bamboo that grows to 100 feet in the first year.  It eats carbon dioxide. http://tinyurl.com/yemx3w8

One hundred and fifty acres of timber bamboo can produce 1250 board feet of timber in one year’s time compared to using native species, which takes  30-50 years to produce the same amount.  We get most of our Bamboo products from China and Japan. China and Japan get most of their lumber from our old forest. That does not seem like a fair trade. Bamboo grows anywhere. All you need is some dirt and sunshine.

As a commercial enterprise, the processing and impact on the environment in terms of chemicals, waste, toxic byproduct used is minimal compared to processing lumber for paper or pulp,  if it is done right.

Fun to watch

Fun to watch

For backyard gardens I grow bamboo in pots for fun and profit. I grow Black bamboo for the sheer beauty and grace. Green and yellow bamboo again for its beauty and it makes great all natural, no BHA, straws because there is at least 12” between nodes.  I also use the variegated variety for stakes in the garden or make fencing and criss crossing traps to keep critters out of the garden.  I keep cutting it and it keeps growing.

I am lucky.  I live in a town that is looking for a growth industry that is user and planet friendly.  We have the land, the climate, and the will to live a sustainable lifestyle.  There are two independent lumber yards that might be interested in a grow-your-own-economy that bamboo could provide.  Bamboo is amazing.  Working with Bamboo is working with  Mother Nature at the Grassroots.  Here are a few sites to get  you started http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ecoph39.htm .  There is a lot of information here.    http://www.bamboos.com/timber%20bamboo.html Also, locally we have Bamboo Batu.  This is a  local business with more facts and bamboo products.  Check it out.  http://www.bambu-batu.com/24-0-factoids.html. We get no kickbacks from any of these sites.  We are doing it for the love.

The Big Picture

The Big Picture

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Apparently, so many people are interested in buying locally-grown produce that even the big guys like Pepsico, Foster Farms, and ConAgra have taken notice. They’re releasing marketing campaigns that tout their “local” credentials. You can read the whole NYT article here.

What do you think?

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Habitat For Humanity Wins The Green Business Award!
San Luis Obispo County Green Award 2008

This is a great place to shop. I got a 12 foot metal pole for our clothesline for $4.30! Bathroom fixtures, lighting fixtures, paint, tools, hardware, nuts, bolts, screws, tile…oh my!

Even kitchen sinks.

Very helpful, friendly volunteers, and even customers, seem glad to help a damsel in distress, which would be me. I am trying to put together an outside antenna contraption and don’t know what the heck I am doing. So, if you are in the market for a project and need some materials I would give the ReStore a look see. I like to know where my money is going and this sure makes me feel good when I spend it here: all the proceeds go to building green Habitat for Humanity houses.  They provide a great service to our community and, well, look they won the Green Business Award for goodness sakes. The press release is below (with links from lil’ ol’ me).

Habitat for Humanity is one of six businesses to win the Green Business Award from the Sustainability & Resources Committee of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, for the environmental benefits of our ReStores located in San Luis Obispo and in Templeton.

Criteria for selecting award finalists include long-term environmental benefits, project transferability, environmental leadership, creativity and other considerations. Members of the Green Awards Committee include individuals from the City of San Luis Obispo, SLO Air Pollution Control District, Ride-On, SLO Regional Rideshare, SLO County Agricultural Commission, The Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo County, Integrated Waste Management Authority and SLO Chamber of Commerce.

‘We are truly honored to win this years Green Award,’ states Penny Rappa, Executive Director of Habitat. ReStores help the environment by reducing the amount of usable building materials dumped into our local landfill. ‘Since the opening of the Templeton ReStore in January of 2005, and San Luis Obispo ReStore in October 2007, we estimate over two tons of materials have been diverted from the local landfills annually,’ states Rappa.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are building material thrift stores, receiving and selling new and used building items. ReStores provide an opportunity for the public to donate building materials and to buy quality building materials at very low costs. Doors, windows, cabinets, sinks, light fixtures and other building supplies are given a second life. All proceeds from the ReStores are then used to build new Habitat homes in San Luis Obispo County.

Habitat of San Luis Obispo is in the process of completing four homes within the City of Atascadero, with a home dedication planned for December 13, 2008. Plans are also in motion to build four similar homes within the City of Grover Beach in 2009.

Habitat for Humanity of San Luis Obispo County has built simple, decent housing in Paso Robles, Cambria and in Atascadero. HFHSLOCO was established in 1997, as a non-profit organization and an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. All donations to the ReStore are tax-deductible.

The ReStores are open Thursday through Saturday from 9:00am to 3:00pm.
For more information on what building materials the ReStores accept and sells please call: Templeton 434-0486 OR in San Luis Obispo 546-8699.

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First, for those of you with RSS readers, I fixed the blog title so it shows up on the feeds again. (Thanks for the heads-up, Chris!)

And now, the next episode! It’s a  jam-packed one. My mom and I are really starting to get the hang of this—except maybe for the whole indoor lighting thing. You’ll see what I mean.

Wait until you see the garden! It’s insane how big the veggies (and the sunflowers) got. I mean it. Insane. We also get to the SLO Farmers Market, where I interview some of our local farmers (and a bee keeper). Logan and Kaia track down some lizards to show us, and my mom and I have a coffee and talk about the triple bottom line philosophy. Like I said, jam packed!

I’m totally stoked at the momentum we’re building for Hole in the Fence. There are great things happening here and I can feel the energy! I hope you do, too.

Let us know what you think in the comments. We love your feedback!

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Okay, so the environmental group I’m working with? The one I just blogged about? You might have guessed by now that it’s ECOSLO. Well, they’re taking part in Art After Dark, and last night they had Adam Hill, the new District 3 County Supervisor, as their guest. And I’m affirming that they are definitely doing good things. I met some very cool people there (in addition to Adam, of course).

However, the event was attended by about 45 people, max. I know, because I was there the whole night, lurking. (That’s me: I lurk). And the type of people who attended were the type you’d expect: the wonderful, the well-meaning, the converted.

Total mildly curious and/or drunk attendees? Zero.

Now, maybe I’m being totally unrealistic, but I would have liked to see three times that amount. I mean, it was a chance to meet with a supervisor (and for some of us, a former instructor)! Not only that, but he’s cool. Actually cool. A politician. I know.

I’m drifting. Back to my point. Which was…. If an organization wants to stay viable it has to practice a certain amount of openness and inclusiveness. This has always been a truism, but now, with the current green zeitgeist racing through our collective consciousness, the time is perfect for opening heretofore closed doors.

Have to you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, thinking certain things actually brings them into existence? (Some physicists do, but they’re crazy.) Or maybe because you’re thinking of something you are more aware of similar phenomena? Anyway, I had just written the last post about inclusivity when I came across this article, tweeted by one of our followers. In the wonderful article (that is now in my “special” folder on my laptop), the author, Andrew Outhwaite, lists common barriers to achieving effective, long-term change. This one REALLY nails my thesis on the head:

Barrier: Being too identified with your own profession/network/clique, and its language, symbols, models, paradigms and habits can seriously inhibit inter-network collaboration, even within the sustainability movement.

Community-Enabling Technology: Encouraging information Cross-Pollination. Universities (e.g. BTH, UTS and RMIT) are encouraging transdisciplinary research to enable innovation across departmental, sectoral and epistemological boundaries.

Time to broaden the horizons, methinks. And to prove that I’m not letting any grass grow under my observations, I’m off to meet with Chris McCann, a student a Cal Poly who’s part of the Empower Poly Coalition and the business community. Let the synergies begin!

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