Posts tagged “Grass Stain blog

My Generation: Wes Rides the London Tube

Where did you study abroad?
London, UK

What was the most exciting thing about this place?

The London Tube (subway system) was the best public metro I’ve ever used in the world. While cars are still relatively prevelant on the London streets, the bulk of the populace uses the Tube to get to work, home and wherever they need to go. And most importantly includes going to my favorite pub, “The Old School Yard”  and grabbing a hearty meat pie and a tall pint of English ale.

Was there anything related to environmental awareness or sustainability worth sharing?

For being one of the largest metropolitan cities in the world, London has some of the best parks and gardens. Having nice and natural areas for recreation and preserving some sense of biodiversity in a major urban center is something expanding cities all around to world can use an example.

Is there one thing that you do in your daily life that can be attributed to sustainability?

I don’t litter (too much)

Why do you think Sustainability or environmental awareness is so important to our generation?
While the consequences of macro environmental issues seem too far off for us to care about (global warming, rising seas, etc) there are many natural wonders that we can preserve right now through increased education and more effective government actions. Taking extra steps to save endangered species and preserving untouched natural areas may seem small and unimportant in the overall scheme of global sustainability, but these small steps will lead to larger leaps towards a more globally sustainable society.

What degree, have you received or are currently seeking?
I have achieved a BA in Business Administration with a focus in Finance from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington.

If you could travel to one place in the world where would it be, and why?
Singapore. It is a melting pot of different cultures from all over Asia and is a very interesting city. Also since it is unique in the sense that is essentially a modern city-state, it has taken great measures to be one of the most sustainable cities in the world.

Mr. Guac Truck // Filipino – Mexican

Photo Credit: Alvin Ong

If you are ever traveling through the Philippines make sure to check out Mr. Guac Truck!

“We had to design a business system that is economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable …We try to make our operations as sustainable as possible; as such, we limit total energy consumption of the truck by using LEDs and energy efficient lighting, upcycled an old delivery truck into a highly designed mobile eatery, utilize a small footprint by maximizing the available space within the 12′ x 6.5′ delivery truck, and developed a system that encourages customers to return our packaging for recycling.” 


Starbucks’ Reclamation Drive-Thru

Starbucks’ new Reclamation (Reclaimed Shipping Container) Drive-Thru just opened in Tukwila, WA.

(photos via ~ Hommie)

EVO gets it Local // Casual Industrees SEA

evo Inc. sources locally w/ Casual Industrees tees ( photos via evo Inc.)

1. Casual Industrees | I Heart NW T Shirt

2. Casual Industrees | I Heart Rain T Shirt

DEDON // cool Outside Furniture

DEDON brings the epitome of “cool” to outside furniture.

“At DEDON, outdoor living is our reason for being. So it should come as little surprise how seriously we take our commitment to the environment…

Developed 20 years ago this year, the original DEDON Fiber is a model of environmental friendliness. It’s sustainably produced, 100 percent recyclable and completely non-toxic (it can be used in children’s toys or to wrap food). It doesn’t pollute groundwater or harm the ozone layer. And remarkably, it’s not finished – the research lab at our fiber production facility in Lüneburg is continually seeking ways to make it even more environmentally sound. Each time they succeed, we raise the environmental standard for our entire industry just that much higher.

And the same is true at our manufacturing facilities on Cebu island in the Philippines. Here too, we control the entire manufacturing process. And here too, we systematically approach each phase of production with the aim of continually improving  environmental performance. Among our most notable achievements so far is the zero waste we generate across the entire DEDON supply chain. “Every scrap of waste created during production is recycled,” explains Hervé Lampert, a passionate advocate of the environment. “Every leftover strip of fiber, every off-cut of aluminum is segregated, sold off or otherwise reintroduced to the system. Even the aluminum shavings from the cutting blade are recycled.”

My Generation: Interview with Rap/ R&B artist Scribes, as he talks about “Green” controversy and equity

~ Shout out to an old friend. Scribes is musically talented and unequivocally one of Seattle’s next best up and coming R&B artists. All the best. (Go to to hear more! and download his work)

When did you begin your music career?

“I started writing raps when I was 15 or so. I had been a fan of hip hop since I was probably in the 3rd or 4th grade. I had always been kinda hesitant to start rappin cuz I was white haha and I didn’t wanna look like a fool. But during high school I remember seeing a bunch of different freestyle battles and I couldn’t help but get involved in it. It started with free styling just goofin off, then developed into writing raps, then to recording songs, and then to cutting entire albums. I’ve kept progressing ever since. I dropped my first album in August of 04 before going into my junior year of high school. By the time I was finished with the album my mind was set on pursuing rap/music as a career.”

When is the next release?!

“I’m hoping to release my full length album sometime between Nov. 2010 and Feb. 2011.”

What is your take on sustainability? Is it just a buzz word, or is it important?

“I would say that the word sustainability is kinda beyond me. I understand what it means and its significance but I don’t feel like I’d ever personally use it in a casual conversation or even in an intellectual conversation. Haha I would probably just say “doing shit that’s good for the environment”. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for it and I do think it’s a very important issue if not the most important but it’s a really complicated one.”

“It’s obviously important to help preserve the environment and echo system for this generation and generations to come just for the simple fact that we as humans won’t survive without it. But, actually successfully going green and reversing some of the negative things we as humans have done to the environment is a complicated and difficult task.”

Photo Credit: Powell Images

Click Photo to view link ~ Photo Credit: Powell Images

Is there any talk about the music industry trying to become more “green”?

“People talk about going green in the music world but to be completely honest it is not really in my genre of music. In general rock artists (haha and just about everything not rap) are more willing to talk about the environment. And I definitely feel em. I’m all about it too. It’s just that i see the issue as being a little bit more complicated than just going green. I personally don’t live a green lifestyle at all. I mean don’t get me wrong I don’t own a car but that’s ‘cuz’ I’m too broke. Before I got rid of my car I was ‘whippin’ a 92 gas guzzling ford explorer. I recycle or whatever but that’s about it. Really to be completely honest I don’t pay attention to news on the environment or going green cuz frankly I don’t have the luxury to. I’m morally all about improving the environment in a black and white sense but I feel like because of the economic level I’m at I don’t really have very good access to the necessary resources. The problem is that there are too many people who gotta go work entry level positions for big business who exploit the environment.”

“Here in America we talk shit about big companies while much of our economy is held up by those businesses. But there are few people here who are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. If we are going to successfully improve the environment we have to make “going green” more accessible to normal folks. A lot of companies have made tremendous strides. For example, one of my jobs is being an assistant manager at an apartment building. The company has replaced all of the toxic cleaning supplies that are bad for the environment with cleaning supplies that are less harmful. That’s a step in the right direction. But it’s too often that folks like me have to work for business that don’t care about the benefit of the environment. Then with the little bit of money we are paid we put the money back into businesses similar to the ones we work for by buying the cheapest products available on the market, anything from food, to clothes, gas, cars, whatever else. If u are struggling financially are u gonna support an organic company that costs bank or are u gonna buy some cheap food?!?”

“So when it comes to rap music specifically u gotta remember that although it’s become one of the dominating genres of the world it still comes from the hood. Cats in the hood have too many struggles in their day to day life to rap about shoppin at whole foods or whippin a prius (Not to mention to few of the people in the hood gain access to higher education. Education is very important when it comes to informing people about the environment.) Hopefully it will change but it won’t change until environmentally friendly products become more accessible to blue collar people (which certain companies have done, I believe the Prius is surprisingly cheap). And yeah it’s arguable that some of those rap artist who have been successful should be rapping about the issue but a lot of those artists are still carrying the scars and pressures of the street. A lot of cats overcame huge obstacles and struggles. Just about anybody in their shoes would have came out the same (some worse). The rap game isn’t all about being politically correct it’s about surviving. Few people are strong enough to maintain their morality and survive. The rap game is honestly an animalistic game. That’s largely the reason that it for a long time hasn’t been understood by middle and upper class white America. But at the same time, it’s starting to change. Things are becoming less gangster. Folks are beginning to expand and have a little more room to be themselves as artists in hip hop. People from all different ethnic and economic backgrounds are involved in the music. I think because of it more rappers will be promoting going green. I think it’s tight. It’s kind of exciting to see but at the same time it’s a trade off. People have to pay fewer dues to the street to gain success in hip hop so therefore more artists come out lacking a real understanding of the struggle that hip hop came out of. But whatever the case is something has to change. The world as we know it won’t survive without change. And the world is a big thing to throw away. I think change starts with improving the lives of working folks. Like I said improving the environment might very well be the most important issue we face but there are so many other issues tied to it.”

photo by Canh Nguyen

If you could travel to one place in the world where would it be, and why?

“I don’t know specifically where I’d travel to if I had the option to go anywhere but in all honesty it would probably be a place where I could relax and get my mind off of the day to day work of my life. Some place where I could have fun.”

If you could be any type of animal in the world what would it be?
“haha, I have no idea what animal I’d be. Maybe a bird? Flying seems like it’d be fun. I like being a human.”

My Generation: Where in the World is Ally?

Where did you study abroad, live, or have lived that you would like to share for the Sustainability Project? I studied abroad in Rio de Janeiro, have traveled extensively all throughout Europe, traveled to South Africa, a small island off Honduras, wandered through a few countries in the Middle East and Egypt, and recently returned home from a three week adventure in East Africa. As could be expected, all of these countries’ programs and attitudes towards sustainability varied as much as their respective landscapes and cultures. For the purpose of this blog entry I will speak mostly to my experience in Rio de Janeiro, a stunningly beautiful city (think mountain-like hillside meeting tropical beach with a city fit snuggly in-between) located in a country blessed with abundant natural resources.

What do you think was/is the most exciting thing about this location?
The music! The fruits! The dancing! The colors!! Of the water, of the people, of the flowers and the trees…The hustle and bustle of metropolitan people mixed with the flavor of Brazil.

Was there anything related to environmental awareness or sustainability worth sharing?

Every day we would hop on the subway which would take us to the other side of the city for class. It was a breeze even though the tube would get stifling hot and crowed during the height of work-day commute. There were plenty of busses as well; though we called them “death coaches” because the roads are incredibly dangerous due to lack of traffic law enforcement. Unfortunately the quality of air in Rio is often poor and I developed temporary asthma while training for a marathon while I was down there. I would run every day along the water, which unfortunately ran alongside a frequently used highway. The cars spewed exhaust and I rarely saw a vehicle which would pass an emissions test in the USA.
On the flip side, every day I would walk to a fresh juice stand (they could be found on every corner) which would have every Amazonian fruit imaginable which they received daily. The grocery store only carried what was in season. This aspect of sustainability is very important though not often thought about or discussed. The toll importing mangos or pineapples to Seattle takes on the environment is enormous. In Rio, people ate what was grown, raised and cured locally. This seems to be the norm in most developing nations. Perhaps this is due to local palates, though I am more inclined to assume it is because imported foods are much more expensive than local products. Local produce stands and grocery corner shops only carry what is sourced from nearby. (Of course exceptions of this always exist…I was just in Ethiopia and found myself frantically searching for chocolate bars. While they had been abundant in Kenya (presumably thanks to colonization) they were nowhere to be found in Ethiopia. I was finally able to locate at the “import grocery store” where the shelves were stocked full of Italian balsamic vinegar, Russian Vodka and Cadbury chocolate bars)

Is there one thing that you do in your daily life that can be attributed to sustainability?
My little sister does a much better job paying attention to her carbon footprint and living a sustainable lifestyle than I do. I do my best, though often times will drive to my evening restaurant job in order to avoid taking the bus late at night for safety reasons. I try to bike to closer destinations or if I don’t mind getting a little sweaty. Composting and trash sorting is the easiest thing I have programmed myself to do automatically. All it took was training myself to think about where to place my old Starbuck’s cup or banana peel. I know pick my roommates shampoo bottles out of the trash, remove the caps and place them in the recycling, autopilot style.

Why do you think Sustainability or environmental awareness is so important to our generation?
It is important because the livelihood of future generations depends on it. In my opinion, at the most basic level we all must acknowledge that the Earth is only so large, and only contains so many natural resources which we cannot renew at the rate our world population is growing, if at all. If we deplete them at the rate which we are now, I fear for what kind of environment our grandchildren will be living in. It’s easy to forget this though; we live in a bubble in the PNW surrounded by abundant wildlife and stunning natural resources. Its only once we see how the rest of the world lives (both for the better and the worst) will we understand how much we actually consume, where it comes from, and how much less we really need to live happy and productive lives.

What degree, have you received or are currently seeking, or what field of work are you looking to jump into? I am currently finishing up my degree in International Studies at the Jackson School at University of Washington, Seattle.

If you could travel to one place in the world where would it be, and why?
I am DYING to go to Cuba, The music, the dancing, the food (if you have not been to Paseo in Fremont…stop reading this and go immediately!!!) the culture and most of all the history. It is so different from most places in the world. And it’s sunny, I love to snorkel and swim in warm water.

If you could be one animal in the world what would it be?
A dolphin! Snorkeling and swimming all day in crystal clear waters!? Yes please!

My Generation: Matt bounces from Italy to Egypt and over to Costa Rica

A Boat in the Nil River ,Zamalek , Cairo

Image via Wikipedia

Where did you study abroad, live,or have lived that you would like to share for the Sustainability Project?

In the fall of 2008 I spent 3 ½ months living in Milan, Italy and traveling around Europe and this past summer I spent 3 weeks traveling through Israel and Egypt. I am currently living in Costa Rica for 11 weeks (2 down 9 to go) and hope to keep traveling the world in the future.

What do you think was/is the most exciting thing about these l ocations?

For me, Italy was very exciting because it was my first time experiencing Europe and the culture is just so different than in the US. Italians care much more about family and being happy than working. Milan serves as the business and fashion capital of Italy so there is a lot going on all the time, but I would imagine that other parts of Italy are even more relaxed and family oriented. They would never bring you a check until you asked for it, and you could spend 3 hours at a restaurant eating a meal and you would never be rushed.

The Middle East is such a fascinating place to visit because it takes such a large role on the world stage of politics and current events. For me, it was also a chance to learn more about my ancestry as a descendent of the Jewish people. The vast amount of history that has taken place in the region was what inspired me the most. I was also able to visit Cairo during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan which was a hectic and memorable experience as well.

Costa Rica is a very relaxed and family oriented society as well. In the first town I visited, it was full of tourists and partying with jacked up prices, however the town next door (where all the locals lived) was quaint and much cheaper. I was told that the majority of people in the town could be traced back to two or three families, so nearly everyone was a cousin or grandchild or of some relation to the people around them. Entire blocks would be populated by a bloodline. Costa Ricans are happy and friendly people for the most part, but their society has its problems too!

Was/is there anything related to environmental awareness or sustainability worth sharing?

–              Like most major European cities I visited, Milan had an excellent public transportation network. It consisted of buses, trams, and a subway system that was very efficient and widely used. Seattle could definitely take a lesson or two from Europe. Another thing that stood out to me as different than in the US, is the lack of many common appliances in households. Electricity and water are much more expensive in Italy and appliances using lots of these resources are reserved for only the wealthiest individuals and most luxurious living quarters. I was the envy of all my friends because my apartment had a dishwasher, so we didn’t have to hand wash our dishes. No one in my program had a dryer, as we were all expected to line dry our clothes, either out the window or on a drying rack.

–              I was very disappointed with the level of environmental awareness and ideas of sustainability in the Middle East. Both in Israel and in Egypt, trash littered the land. In streets, parks, nature reserves, beaches, it didn’t matter where you went, you were guaranteed to see plastic bags and bottles. It was very sad and made me wonder how horrid places like India and China must be if we hear about them all the time, but never about trash in the Middle East. The Red Sea was phenomenal; however much of the coral I saw was dead which was disappointing as well. The water was very clear for the most part, but not quite like the lagoons in the Pacific Islands we see on TV. When it comes to transportation, the places I visited are behind the US in some regards. Cairo was an absolute mess. With a population of around 20 million people they need a complete overhaul of their transportation infrastructure if they ever want to become a world class city. It is impossible to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time (except if you go right a sundown during Ramadan because everyone is eating so the streets are empty!). Traffic was a mess, everyone drives like maniacs and no one follows or enforces any type of driving rules.  The Nile River was also disgusting and more likely than not very polluted.

–              In Costa Rica, the environment plays a huge role throughout the country. Many, if not all, of the main tourist attractions in this country are related to the environment. There are numerous natural parks, breathtaking beaches and lush mountainsides all full of a diverse array of wildlife and flora and fauna. It is not uncommon to see monkeys outside your window in some towns, or to see beautiful birds and butterflies going by. Recycling is commonplace as is the conservation of energy and water. Organic and local food is also big because of the rich natural resources and fertile land that Costa Rica possesses. Cars are a luxury here, and many locals take advantage of a well-run bus system throughout the country. As for tourists, with roads being quite horrid, it is very common to take the buses as well, or to use private shuttle companies that use 10 or 15 passenger vans to transport groups between cities.

Is there one thing that you do in your daily life that can be attributed to sustainability?

Having grown up in Seattle and attended a more-liberal-than-most college I have adapted my habits considerably to the point where I try hard not to buy lots of material goods that I know I won’t use, such as trinkets and toys. I also normally carry my groceries out without a bag, or use a reusable bag if needed (plastic bags have polluted this planet more than anything I have ever seen!). I also try not to eat red meat (I prefer the taste of chicken too! But it is also way friendlier on the environment than beef) and I try to eat locally grown foods as much as possible. I got into a good habit of riding my bike a lot this past summer, but in all reality I won’t be riding much during the winter unless the roads are dry.

Why do you think Sustainability or environmental awareness is so important to our generation?

There are many reasons why sustainability and environmental awareness are important to our generation, the least of which is the fact that our generation is going to inherit one hell of a mess if we don’t change our ways soon. At the current rate our society (the world in general but especially Americans) consumes resources, there won’t be any left for future generations. We might even run out for ourselves. We only have one planet to live on, and if we mess it up we aren’t going to get a second chance. Costa Rica is only as pristine and lush as it is because the Spaniards couldn’t find gold or other resources here so they  decided to go destroy some other society. I can only imagine how beautiful the United States were 100 years ago, and I try not to imagine what our world will look like in 100 years because I fear that I won’t be able to recognize anything. It will be like Wall-E, plants won’t be able to grow!

What degree, have you received or are currently seeking, or what field of work are you looking to jump into?

I recently graduated with a degree in business management and a minor in economics but I’m not sure if that is what I want to do with my life. I really enjoy traveling and watching soccer, so if I can find a way to make money by doing those two things I would pursue that option.  Once I return from Costa Rica I am going to try and get into the world of finance but it is a difficult field to enter in the current economic climate, and the working conditions are not always the best. I hope to find something that makes me happy and can support me in the long run!

If you could travel to one place in the world where would it be, and why?

I have been fortunate to do more traveling than the average 22-year-old in the last few years, but if I got to pick another place to visit it would either be South America (Argentina and Brazil) or back to Europe (to further explore Spain, Portugal, and Scandinavia)

If you could be one animal in the world what would it be?

I really like penguins but I don’t know if I’d like to be one. Sloths lead a pretty sweet life, at least down here in Costa Rica, as do monkeys which are quite entertaining to watch. If I had to pick one animal though, it would have to be a dolphin. I love the water and dolphins are very smart and sophisticated animals which would suite me well.

My Generation: Erica Invades Japan

Where do you live currently Erika?

Japan since Sept 2009.

What do you think is the most exciting thing about Japan?!
I think that one really exciting thing about living here is its sheer size. It’s overwhelming at times, with buildings for miles and miles.

As far as environmental awareness goes…does Japan do anything in particular?
The public transportation system here is, in my opinion, really well organized and is easy to use. There are trains, subway systems, buses, bullet trains, and cabs. Almost all highways have tolls on them and parking is ridiculous so it’s really not worth having a car unless you work weird hours or live in the countryside.

Is there one thing that you do in your daily life that can be attributed to sustainability?
I do my best to eat locally (this is hard since few produce items are labeled), have a constant eye on my seafood watch app, carry around my own chopsticks so I don’t have to use the disposable ones, carry around a tumbler (for coffee and water) and of course, I recycle!

Why do you think Sustainability or environmental awareness is so important to our generation? Sustainability is the only way to assure that we are able to maintain our standard of living. In my opinion, it’s the only responsible way to live. One quote that I really like by Antoine St-Exupery is “You do not inherit the earth from your ancestors: you borrow it from your children.” The only way to ensure that we have a future is to ensure that we are taking care of the earth and all of the organisms on it. I think that people often forget that we’re not the only inhabitants of the earth, just the most selfish.

What degree, have you received or are currently seeking, or what field of work are you looking to jump into? I have a Bachelor in Science in General Biology, and spent most of my senior year taking classes on the environment and sustainability. I’m teaching right now and am still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life after this.

If you could travel to one place in the world where would it be, and why?
I would go to Iceland- have you seen their tourism ads?

If you could be one animal in the world what would it be?

Does it have to be an animal? What about algae? Fine. I’d be a chipmunk.

Want to see what else Erica is doing in Japan? Check out her blog!

Grass Stain: Facebook – Unfriend Coal

Coal is made from Rotten Dinosaur food