#GreenFest: A Higher Calling for our Fair Trade Clothing Panel


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 […]

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#GreenFest: 5 Things I Learned from “Gearin’ Up Bicycles”


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 […]

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Climate Divestment Interview #2

The University Alumnus:  Kyuwon Kim(Interview conducted by Martha van Gelder, associate editor of the Green American magazine) “Universities are very sensitive to how they are portrayed.” Kyuwon Kim and two recent university graduates, Elysia Petrone and Yasmin Parodi, are attempting a unique method of pressuring universities to divest from fossil fuels. The three friends are asking Maclean’s Magazine, a current affairs publication that annually ranks Canadian universities, to add an “ethical investment” ranking to its report. Green America/Martha van Gelder: How did you get involved with the divestment movement? Kyuwon Kim: I met Elysia and Yasmin at a workshop in Toronto that was run by the Sierra Youth Coalition back in October. The three of us had a big interest in the divestment campaign because we came from different 350.org chapters, which inspired us to take action. Green America/Martha: How did you get the idea to use the universities’ rankings as a way to encourage them to take action? It is such a unique approach! Kim: At the end of each year, Maclean’s publish a universities issue in which it ranks Canadian universities based on class size, funding, reputation, student support, etc. Most Canadian high school students use it when they search for universities. I used it myself! We noticed that there was nothing that mentioned ethical investment, so we started a petition asking Maclean’s to include information in its university rankings that reference the ethicality of their endowments. Green […]

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July 2013 “Faces of the Green Pages”: Solar Service, Inc.; Niles, IL

As a regular featured speaker at our Chicago Green Festivals, Solar Service, Inc. owner Brandon Leavitt enjoys seeing his customers from 36 years of Chicagoland solar installations drop by to say hello. “We’ve counted more than a dozen of our customers at the shows, some of them clients from 30 years ago whose solar systems are still going strong,” says Brandon. We asked him to tell us more about his first solar installation and about his inspiration to start his solar company… Green America: What does your business do and what are your most popular products? Brandon Leavitt: Solar Service designs and installs both solar PV and solar heat and hot water systems for new and existing residential, commercial, municipal and multi-family buildings in the Chicago area.  Today, our most popular products are multi-family solar hot water systems and residential and commercial grid connected PV. What makes Solar Service green? Brandon: Obviously, by selling and promoting the use of renewable energy systems we are a green business at our core. Also, Our solar thermal panels are made in Florida and Minnesota.  The solar storage tanks are manufactured in the USA. The vast majority of our PV panels are produced and/or assembled in the USA.  We have never purchased PV panels made in China. We are a ’family friendly’ company where our employees’ needs for flexible work time are respected.  We have always recycled our in-office plastics, glass, metals, batteries and […]

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Green America’s Policy Director at White House Climate Change Summit

On Thursday, May 23, Green America’s policy director, Fran Teplitz, will participate in the Women’s Leadership Summit on Climate Change and Energy at the White House.  She’ll be among 100 women leaders invited to share information about their organizations’ climate and energy work, such as Green America’s Clean Energy Victory Bonds proposal. What’s more, we invite YOU to listen in on a live-stream of the opening of the Summit from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM on www.whitehouse.gov/live. Speakers will (tentatively) include: Dr. Kathy Sullivan, Acting Administrator, NOAA Chair Nancy Sutley, Council on Environmental Quality Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President on Energy and Climate Change Dorothy Robyn, General Services Administration Kateri Callahan, President, Alliance to Save Energy Nancy Pfund, Managing Director, DBL Investors Frances Beinecke, President, NRDC Cecilia Estolano, Estolano LeSar Perez Advisors Reverend Sally Bingham, Regeneration Project We hope you can listen in on the conversation on Thursday, May 23, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM on www.whitehouse.gov/live.

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Garment Factory Collapses in Bangladesh

In the most recent tragedy of the Bangladeshi garment industry, scores of factory workers are reported dead after the collapse of a building yesterday in Savar (outside of Dhaka) that housed several manufacturers of clothing destined for Western markets. Hundreds others were injured, or remain buried under the rubble, with the death toll certain to rise.  As the Financial Times writes: The tragedy comes five months after at least 117 people were killed in a garment factory fire in the country, and will raise fresh questions about basic safety standards and management practices in a $19bn industry catering mainly to western companies and consumers. Reuters reports that of the five factories housed in the building, at least one provided clothing destined for Wal-Mart, and others contracted with European retailers.  Notorious for its more relaxed building codes and enforcement, Bangladesh has been the site of some of the worst garment factory disasters of recent years. Green America’s allies at ILRF are hosting former Bangladeshi garment workers Kalpona Akter and Sumi Abedin (survivor of the 2012 fire noted above) at Gap headquarters in San Francisco this Thursday, April 25.   Please join them, if you are able, to speak out against tragedies like yesterday’s collapse and November’s fire.

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NYC GF: “Sustainable or stylish? It doesn’t have to be one or the other.”

Organic cotton dress and made-in-the-USA belt modeled by fashion editor Jasmin Malik Chua.

Thanks to fashion designer Eileen Fisher for sponsoring our sustainable fashion show, kicking off Day Two of the NYC Green Festival.  Eileen Fisher’s new “Green Eileen” project recycles used Eileen Fisher clothing at stores across the country, and the company’s “&” (ampersand) line brings a new level of sustainability to fashion: made-in-the-USA items, organic cotton and fairly traded garments, and […]

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NYC GF: “We were inspired by the Green Festival in San Francisco.”

Chris and Misty at the NYC Green Festival, in front of their wall of socks.

When Misty and Chris Reilly decided to start their own sock business in mid-2000s, they had some very good examples to draw on.  They’d been attending the San Francisco Green Festival on the West Coast (produced annually since 2001), and had seen all of the green, sustainable, eco-friendly, and Fair Trade businesses that make up the Green Festival marketplace. “We […]

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