Category — Environmentalism

Green Building Consultancy Verdical Group Launches in LA

I remember first learning about LEED certification and the emergence of the green building industry in 2008 watching Ian Cheney’s film The Greening of Southie at the Camden International Film Festival. What began as a radical undercurrent has slowly but steadily moved toward the mainstream with the U.S. Green Building Council now boasting “77 chapters, 13,000 member organizations and 196,000 LEED professionals”. So what a pleasant surprise it was to reconnect with fellow Mainer Drew Shula and learn that he had leveraged his training in architecture at the University of Notre Dame to launch his LA based green building consultancy: Verdical Group.

In my mind, Drew embodies the best of what it means to be a social entrepreneur or social innovator. His business helps clients like Ramada Inn, ANEW Foundation and Kaiser Permanente realize business savings by implementing strategic, smart green building elements into their projects. It is a do well by doing good model that has potential to effect real positive change. Add to that Verdical Group‘s participation in 1% for the Planet and their team’s media savvy and my bet is that we will be hearing much more from them in the years to come.

Check out this video produced by Change for Balance for a bit more background on the genesis and vision of the company:

And this short documentary on the construction waste project Verdical Group completed for Kaiser Permanente. They were contracted as a subconsultant to ANEW Foundation with a scope that included researching the construction waste diversion regulations in all municipalities in California where Kaiser has a presence. Love the progressive, forward-thinking approach from Kaiser Permanente:

To learn more about Verdical Group: sign up for their newsletter or visit their LinkedIn, Facebook and U.S. Green Building Council member profile.

July 2, 2013   No Comments

Happy Earth Day!

It’s a beautiful crisp spring day here in NYC. Sun shining, blossoms and baby green leaves blowing in the wind, and the combination of bird song, roaring trucks, whirring street cleaners and car honking that is undeniably New York.

Take a moment today to spend some time outside and notice the amazing beauty that surrounds you, wherever you are. And as you do, perhaps capture a snapshot to submit to Loomstate’s Eath Day Instagram contest:

April 22, 2013   No Comments

Winter Sales!

Support sustainable apparel and save $$ with some great sales from Nau and Alternative Apparel:

March 1, 2013   No Comments

Greenwashing, Starring Walmart

I’m in Maine for the holiday with my family and know I’m always bound to find something inspiring in my Dad’s stacks of UTNE and Mother Jones magazines. As someone who toes the line between hippie-child and urbanite, my commitments to live a more sustainable, thoughtful life have come slowly and in steps. First, myopic as it might be, with the products that have the greatest impact on my physical well-being – food, beverages, cosmetics, shampoos, toiletries, cleaning products – trying wherever possible to limit the chemicals I put on and in my body. Shopping local, joining a CSA, composting (yes even in NYC!), eating seasonally, organic and choosing my meats, eggs, dairy and fish very carefully, avoiding parabens and looking for products with the most natural of ingredients. But with that overhaul complete and basically second nature (except for the occasional junk food indulgences and I do love a good dirty vodka martini or manhattan – I am no saint I can assure you) I have been turning my attention to the products I use, the clothing, shoes and bags I wear and the manufacturing process that brings them into being.

I love Shannon South‘s handbags made in NYC from vintage materials, and Nau‘s clothing and outerwear is a no-brainer for the urban/outdoor cross-over. Alternative Apparel and Loomstate are two other standouts. But by and large I tend to go on auto pilot for these purchase – making decisions based on brand, style and quality rather than sustainability.

Seeking to evolve this, an article in Mother Jones on Walmart’s efforts to make their manufacturing efforts in China more environmentally friendly caught my eye. The author travels to China to investigate how the efforts are going, and finds just how slippery the supply chain is and how hard that makes it for a large organization to effect change. It’s difficult to tell if it’s just a challenging process or malicious intent from the biggest of the big boxes, but with profits so clearly intertwined with dodgy production practices it’s hard to believe it’s not intentional. One of the biggest take-aways for me from the article is that for any sustainable change to happen, the demand is going to need to come from the customers and they’re going to need to be willing to pay more for pieces that are, say, sustainably died or constructed. This means considering the “true cost” of an item when we’re making purchasing decisions and realizing that those super cheap items are most likely not helping create the world we want for the next generation. As a sample, here’s a graphic of the typical production cycle of an average t-shirt sold at Walmart. Amazing that it can go through that entire process and still be sold at a $5 price point for a hefty profit.

The article also highlights Walmart’s economic and environmental footprint. It’s a beast that has so much potential to change the way we look at business but that change still seems a long long way off. It’s not an easy answer but one thing is clear, we need to remember that we are part of the problem too. We vote with our dollars with each purchase, so wherever we can be conscious about the true cost of what we’re buying and make informed decisions, the more a shift toward sustainability can continue.

July 5, 2012   No Comments

Small Steps for Big Change

Sustainable change often lies in the small adjustments, the subtle refinements rather than the big sweeping gestures. I’m loving this simple but revolutionary innovation from Scott Naturals – tube free bath tissue! An elegant solution presented in a campaign that cultivates a sense of awareness for our impact on the planet.

June 19, 2012   No Comments