When Elizabeth O’Connell, Green America’s campaigns director, invited Claire Wickland of Alta Gracia and Megan McManus of Amani DC to speak on the ethical apparel panel at the DC Green Festival, she didn’t realize one key commonality embedded in the names of their organizations. “Alta Gracia,” it turns out, means “high grace,” in Spanish, while “Amani Ya Juu” (parent organization of Amani DC) means “a higher peace” in Swahili. It makes sense, once you know the missions of the organizations involved. Read more…
Lots of great wisdom shared today at the DC Green Festival on the topic of GMOs. Our expert panel included Alisa Gravitz, president of Green America; Adam Eidinger, organizer of Occupy Monsanto and the Mintwood Media Collective; Gail Taylor, a DC farmer with the Three Part Harmony Farm; and Zachari Curtis, a DC farmer with the Good Sense Farm & Apiary. Just a compressed sampling and paraphrasing below of the panel discussion, with a top-five action list from Alisa Gravitz to round out this post:
Alisa – Food is life. Food is sacred. We are rapidly losing our ability to know what is in the food that we eat to sustain our bodies and lives. The good news is that the GMO issue brings people together across boundaries. For example, in Mexico, and in South and Central America, traditional cultures that highly value corn as a dietary staple are horrified to see corn being genetically modified. Over the last 15 years, we went from 0 to 90 percent of certain crops being modified. Over the next 15 years, we must go from 90 to 0 percent, and we can. Read more…
At today’s DC Green Festival, Katie Lupo of Gearin’ Up Bicycles in Washington, DC came prepared with a fun game of bicycle “Jeopardy” with categories like “Bike Maintenance and Repair,” and “DC Bike Laws.” Long-time DC bicycle commuters and newbie cyclists alike learned something new. As a bicycle commuter for the last 10 years in DC, here were my top five takeaways:
1) Remember to safety check your headset and bottom bracket: The headset is the part of your bicycle where the handlebars connect with the front fork. If these become too loose, you could lose control of your bicycle on a rapid descent. Test for fastness of the headset by squeezing your brakes and trying to rock your bicycle back to front. If the front wheel rocks, you need to tighten your headset. Same with the bottom bracket, which is where your crank connects to the bicycle. Try to move your pedals back and forth to the bicycle, and if there’s give, the bracket needs to be tightened. Read more…
Company Name: JUST Designs
Mission: We’re a non-profit and in addition to paying the artisans a living wage, we have health, nutrition and finance programs in the villages we work with. We’re also Fair Trade certified.
Bestseller: The hand-made bags ($30) are very popular.
Personal favorite: We love the vests ($55)! We love seeing traditional textiles meet modern designs.
Favorite thing about Green Festival: Personally, this is our first time at Green Festival. At other events, people will be surprised that we’re charging $55 for a vest and will assume we’re making a lot of money off sweatshop labor. No one has suggested that to us here — people at Green Festival understand what Fair Trade is. They are willing to pay a little more to make sure the people who make their clothes are paid a living wage.
Find out more at justafairtrade.org
- Company Name: Evolve Skin Products
- How did you get started? Once I had my son, I was looking for products that were good for him, so I started making my own! We shouldn’t be attacking our bodies with chemicals.
Bestseller: My biodegradable deodorant ($7.50) — it really works! Everyone I know is using it. It’s got five ingredients, no aluminum, isn’t tested on animals and is vegan. It’s also made locally here in Washington DC.
Personal favorite: The deodorant again!
Learn more at evolveskinproducts.com
Company Name: Upcycle Joy
Bestseller: The scarves with ties and suspenders appliqued onto them ($45 – $55).
How did you get started? I’ve always been a thrift shopper. Then I learned to sew and started changing my outfits. Friends asked me, ‘why don’t you sell these things?’
Personal favorite: I’ve just started making photo scarves — I’m going to start selling them soon.
Favorite thing about Green Festival: This is my first time showing my business. I’ve come before as an attendee. Love it!
Learn more at upcyclejoy.com
Company Name: RNR Threads
Mission: “An environmentally conscious apparel and accessories brand.”
Why Green? “I studied environmental science in school and am really into fashion. I realized that the dyes and materials that made the things I love weren’t actually good for the environment. I decided to start making my own clothes — then other people started asking me to make things for them. That’s how we got started.
Bestseller: Our Karma Crewneck (48$) — above
Personal favorite: I’m partial to the eco v-neck ($30). I designed the tree logo so it will always have a special place in my heart.
Favorite thing about Green Festival: Meeting other like-minded people!
Find out more at rnrthreads.com
Looks like there will be further delay when it comes to the White House’s determination whether or not to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Conflicts of interest have come to light that call into question the validity of the latest environmental impact statement on the pipeline. The Office of the Inspector General is investigating concerns that Environmental Resources Management, the contactor responsible for the environmental impact statement, had worked for the prospective pipeline builder (TransCanada Corp.) and for other oil interests that would benefit financially from the KXL.
So while we expected a Presidential decision on the KXL any time now – the Administration isn’t likely to make a move before the Inspector General’s report next year. This buys us more time to oppose the pipeline. On the other hand, Mr. President, why not cut to the chase and oppose the Keystone XL pipeline now, in accordance with your commitment to reducing carbon pollution?
Today, Green America joined our colleague organizations in the release of a report authored by the Sierra Club and Oil Change International, “Fail: How the Keystone XL Pipeline Flunks the Climate Test.” The report compiles all the information that the President and the public need to understand the wisdom and necessity of halting the Keystone XL pipeline – now and forever.