Waste Not, Want Not

Boulder Weekly, news

We all love those prized Palisade peaches that are so easily devoured, crate after crate, at the end of summer every year. But did you know that one out of four peaches doesn’t even make it out of the orchard? Or that after 253 miles of transporting them to Boulder County (about 10 gallons of gas per truck, round-trip), there’s no guarantee that any particular peach will even hit the shelf before it’s discarded to make room for the next day’s shipment? If the peach bruises or over-ripens in your kitchen, do you know what your options are, besides (God forbid) the trash?

Thankfully, Boulder is home to a slew of proactive efforts dedicated to save foods like the very peaches we love (and tons of other produce) to create an overall better environment and community for future generations. Jamie Harkins, sustainability coordinator for the City of Boulder, says decreasing food waste is increasing in priority for the local government. By updating the City’s Climate Commitment and Action Plan, continuing educational projects and expanding the Food Waste Awareness Week program this September, things are looking bright on Boulder’s food waste reduction horizon.

But locals are also leading the charge: Here are three Boulder County organizations and businesses helping the City reach its zero waste goals.

Boulder Food Rescue

In 2011, Hayden Dansky kick-started a food recovery program named Boulder Food Rescue, which bridges the gap between problems in Boulder’s food infrastructure and food insecurity. “There’s food waste on all levels,” Dansky says — the farm, transportation sectors, distribution systems, grocery stores and, ultimately, consumers, who contribute 60 percent of overall food wasted, according to the 2016 City of Boulder Food Waste Audit. Dansky, who is the program’s executive director, endorses the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy, which pinpoints “source reduction” and “feed hungry people” as the top two prerogatives when it comes to managing a more sustainable food system. After finding out that 40 percent of food produced ends up in a landfill, Dansky began to reach out to grocery stores and restaurants to see if businesses would donate any excess produce. Grocery stores such as Sprouts, Lucky’s and Whole Foods now participate in the program, resulting in 1,200 pounds of produce that’s redistributed to low-income communities every day. These businesses benefit by reducing trash collector fees and receiving an incentivized federal tax credit, and the community benefits from the nourishment.

Looking ahead, Boulder Food Rescue plans to create a more engaging environment for the people they serve by sharing the community’s stories about food insecurity. They also plan to continue educating businesses about food donation policies and working with the City of Boulder to develop strategies to reduce even more local food waste.

Eco-Cycle

In the summer of 2015, the City of Boulder, along with the green minds behind Eco-Cycle, passed the Universal Zero Waste Ordinance that requires all restaurants, businesses and schools to reduce waste by recycling and composting. Eco-Cycle has been in the pro-environmental game since 1976 — when founders Roy Young and Pete Grogan started to collect recyclables on an old school bus — and the organization has helped create recycling facilities and conduct research programs for Boulder County ever since. Nowadays, Eco-Cycle focuses on educating the community about composting and how they can dispose of organic waste both curbside and in their own backyards. 

Communications Director Harlin Savage says businesses have many questions and obstacles to address when first learning about the logistics of composting, such as space constraints, but the long-term benefits to composting have sparked interest in working beyond these hurdles. Composted soil adds nutrients to the land, it’s more resistant to erosion and grows plentiful produce. “By diverting waste, it prevents methane gas’ heat trapping power,” Savage adds, a toxic emission that is many times more powerful than carbon dioxide. 

In the next 11 years, Eco-Cycle envisions Boulder achieving their zero-waste milestone and continuing intensive compost research within the county.

The Stone Cup

The Town of Lyons has committed to becoming a zero-waste community and The Stone Cup’s owner Mindy Tallent is fully on board. While it’s a costly practice for the restaurant and a continual process of educating customers, Tallent says it’s worth it because the country’s astronomical food waste needs to be addressed. Within her shop, Tallent uses ceramic ware and stainless steel silverware for dine-in guests and compostable to-go containers. Customers are encouraged to bring in their own mugs. She also use an in-house composting and recycling program through Eco-Cycle.

The Stone Cup hopes the current government will address climate change and pass legislation that causes change in manufacturing, production and purchasing so it will be more affordable to be environmentally responsible. “Our hope is that folks become more educated about how our environment is impacted by our decisions and actions,” Tallent says. “As business owners, we will continue to do what we can in educating [others] and leading by example.” 

Written for Boulder Weekly. Original article here.

A Growing List of Ways to Be Sustainable

news

1. Shop from local businesses. It reduces carbon emissions from transportation used and it funnels money into the immediate economy.

2. Make friends with a farmer. Buy local meat and produce.

3. Swap out your fake fabrics for breathable ones such as cotton, linen, or bamboo. You are literally wearing plastic on your skin.

4. Decrease your intake of red meat to every other day to eventually once in awhile. High amounts of beef and pork lead to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

5. Turn your damn lights and water off when you’re not using it.

6. Before throwing something away, give it new life by reselling, repurposing, or donating it.

7. Recycle all plastic* and paper. (Not all plastic is recyclable. Check the package and wash it before tossing in the bin.)

8. Stop using straws!!!

9. Buy yourself a fancy water bottle.

10. The fast fashion industry must be stopped: don’t buy cheap clothes that wear out quickly and invest in quality USA made fashion.

dior

Dior: From Paris to the World

fashion, Hand in Hand, news
dior

The highly anticipated fashion exhibit, Dior: From Paris to the World, will be open to the public on Monday, November 19 until March 17 at the Denver Art Museum.

After two years of meticulous curation, an A-team led by Dior expert Florence Müller, the museum’s Avenir Foundation curator of textile art and fashion, and renowned architect Shohei Shigematsu, an OMA New York director and partner, visually tells the story of the iconic French designer Christian Dior (1905-1957) and the playful path the House of Dior follows.

In 1947, Dior shocked the fashion world in more ways than one. After the devastation of World War II, Dior’s bright and colorful vision put Paris back into the international spotlight as fashion capital of the world. It was as if the end of the war allowed Dior to finally breathe and express himself freely. The result: a “New Look” of dresses that celebrated the female body (cinched waistlines, fuller pleated skirts, embellishments) and becoming a fashion pioneer by being the first to accessorize his creations with his own purses, gloves, and heels. “The world was his playground,” Müller says, as Dior was invited to India, Japan, and the Americas to design dresses for the wealthy and royal. Though Dior reigned for a short 10 years, his vision has inspired six more artistic designers to pay homage to the house he built.

The exhibit is chronologically set for the most part. At the beginning, as you pause to admire Dior’s rendition of the New Look over the past seventy years, you’ll notice the up-cycled mill aluminum backdrop, which Shigematsu says was to mimic the titanium juts of the art museum itself, but also feels like a nod to Denver’s own growing industrial feel. After checking out designs by Dior and his successor, a then-novice Yves-Saint Laurent, you’ll be stunned by “The Office of Dreams,” a wall full of suspended dress sketches made of white cotton muslin. Then take a tour of women who’ve sported Dior throughout the years (Marilyn Monroe, Rihanna, Charlize Theron, to name a few) and get a glimpse into Dior’s evolving line inspired by surrounding eras, culture, and art. There’s much to see at the Dior exhibit (18th century French-inspired dresses sure to impress Marie Antoinette herself, as well as a neatly stacked rainbow wall, chock full of bold statement accessories), so visit DenverArtMuseum.org to get in on this exclusive display of fashion history today.

Written for Hand in Hand, a publication. See original article here.

A Fresh Take on “This is America”

news, social change

one thing I cannot believe people have NOT talked about yet is the impact of music videos on our youth, especially young black children. we’ve been warned in the past about how too much MTV is bad for you, but what exactly are music videos doing to children? in Childish Gambino’s “This is America” music video, we watch a stream of recurring problems for African Americans (which we are sadly desensitized to at this point), but I feel like the biggest one has flown right above everybody’s head.

there’s a reason he chose black school children in uniforms as his dancers. if they were in any other dress, we would forget that these kids are only in school. imagine being a young black child after school, scrolling through the channels. all he or she sees is a sea of white: white actors, white problems, white music. then they stop at BET or MTV or ESPN and sees someone who looks like them. they see talent, fame, and a ticket to respect. (something children clearly do not have enough of, but more on that later.)

they see these moves. they imitate them, in hopes to be as good as what they see on their TV screen. then there’s the words, the enticing rhythm and flow. violence is a common theme they rap along to. so is sex, alcohol, and drugs. when they repeat this cycle enough, it becomes the norm. then they bring it to school. they start living it out on the weekends. and when life gets to be too much, there’s the unlucky ones who take it to the streets and probably end up belonging to the streets till they hit the grave. the streets are where those music video dreams can come alive.

in “This is America,” among all the chaos and crime, the children dance as a way of expression, but ultimately represent the influence black musicians can have. Donald Glover shows how he can smile and dance and rap without taking a second look at the chaos behind him, and the teens blindly follow in suit. he’s blatantly calling out the rappers who are not using their privilege to speak the truth and break the cycle. the same can also be said for the media, which has a track record of depicting African Americans as criminals.

going forward, we should empower youth, especially black youth, to show them a way out of this false narrative. I feel like there’s a lot of unnecessary hate in this country and to fix it, we need to take a step back, think about that feeling, and learn as much about it as we can to offer a solution. rap artists should take note that they have a very difficult/important role to play, too, but rap & hip hop may very well be the bridge that brings us all together.

Slow Fashion

Boulder Weekly, news, profiles, social change
Photo courtesy of Robins Photography

Just about every sector of business is geared toward sustainability these days. Sustainable agriculture, energy and tourism are all a given, but sustainable fashion is just beginning to disrupt the traditionally wasteful mainstream fashion industry.

Denverite Deb Henriksen, owner and founder of the rocker-chic brand Equillibrium, is poised to keep moving the fashion industry’s momentum forward. Her mission is to educate others about their own consumerism while bringing her sense of style to life with responsibly sourced textiles and materials.

Henriksen owns a storefront, and creates and sells clothes made of sustainable textiles such as organic cotton, bamboo and hemp. The idea for Equillibrium was born in 1998, when Henriksen began to dream of having her own eco-friendly fashion boutique. In 2000, Equillibrium began as a wholesale brand that was carried in skate and snowboard shops around Denver and Breckenridge. She opened her first store in 2004 (now located on West Custer Place) and hasn’t stopped since.