Shred the Streets Green

by contributor John Holden

Since 1986 Etnies has been manufacturing some of the most cutting edge skateboard shoes on the market. Now celebrating their 25th year anniversary they are continuing on that path with a new campaign BUY A SHOE PLANT A TREE. For every pair of Jamieson 2 Eco shoes sold Etnies will plant a tree in the rain forests of Costa Rica. The Jameson Eco 2 is not only a stylish pair of shoes but the out soles are made from recycled bike tires and plastic gloves while the laces are made from Pet recycled plastic bottles.


Jameson 2 EcoJameson 2 Eco

Jameson 2 Eco

The United Nations Urges Veganism (again).

a cattle farm at Estancia Bahia, Mato Grosso in Brazil

A new UN report clarifies the  message that slowing global warming requires a shift towards a plant-based diet for humans. “A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change,” explained the UK’s Guardian today, but this will probably, again,  fall on deaf (or greedy, stubborn, infantile) ears. Just read the comments! Something tells me we’re doomed; when faced with hard facts people are still willing to sacrifice the planet for their palate.

The recommendation follows advice last year that a vegetarian diet was better for the planet from Lord Nicholas Stern, former adviser to the Labour government on the economics of climate change. Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has also urged people to observe one meat-free day a week to curb carbon emissions.

Ultramarathoning, Whiskey, Donuts and a Prom

• Ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, is changing the world of sports. The New York Times’ article yesterday by Mark Bittman outlined Jurek’s plans for Thursday and Friday: a “24-Hour Run world championship in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France, on Thursday and Friday. It is a grueling race to determine how many miles runners can complete on a 1.4-kilometer road loop (about nine-tenths of a mile) in a 24-hour period.

Scott Jurek is a vegan, and his diet certainly isn’t slowing him down. He holds the fifth-, sixth- and eighth-fastest times in race history on the 153-mile course between Athens and Sparta. He is tall, strong and shows boundless energy – completing training-weeks of 140 miles or more.  “He said he needs 5,000 to 8,000 calories a day, “and I get that all from plant sources.  It’s not hard, either. I like to eat, and I don’t have to worry about weight management. All I need is a high-carbohydrate diet with enough protein and fat.”

Read the rest of this inspiring article HERE.

• How I wish Dunkin’ Donuts were totally vegan. Too bad they use rotten eggs. Thank your lucky stars that Danielle Konya of Vegan Treats whisks icing with brass knuckles and turns dust into earth-shatteringly amazing donuts. Now through May 21st, you can vote for the next Vegan Treats donut flavor! Time to make the donuts...

Tuthilltown Spirits, my favorite distillery,  is embarking on a three year program to exit the Grid by converting all its waste byproducts to fuel. They just won awards at American Distillers Institute Annual Conference.

“It’s an exciting time for us. The distillery is really established and our products are well received,” founder Ralph Erenzo said. Economy of scale andrecycling of heat and materials are high on the list of improvements.

Brian Lee, the engineering mind behind Tuthilltown Spirits, estimates the distillery could be independent of outside sources of fuel by making use of the waste stream. “We have unpotable alcohol at high proof that burns clean and hot. Our dry distillery grains, grain stalks and chaff can be burned in a furnace to make steam to fire the stills and cookers.

“The CO2 created in the fermentation process is destined to be pumped into a greenhouse where we will experiment with starch bearing algae that can be fermented and distilled to be used as fuel. And then there’s cellulosic fermentation of stalks, cobs and other grain parts for distillation to ethanol. Don’t get me started.”

Lee is enthusiastic about the prospect of a business without fuel bills. “It’s the way of the future for the agricultural distiller.”

All this has a practical side. Virtual elimination of transportation costs for fuel delivery, thereby lowering carbon emissions. Near elimination of dependency on typical fuel sources. No matter what happens out there in the world, says Erenzo, “We’re still making whiskey.”

• Go to the Veggie Prom!

  • • Artwork for this flyer was created by the incredibly talented Michelle Cavigliano.
  • • Veggie Prom is 8 p.m. Friday, May 14, 2010. It will be at Littlefield in Park Slope: 622 Degraw Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217.
  • • Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. 21 and over. Buy tickets here. There is a cash bar, and VEGAN desserts are free! Music will be provided by veg*n DJs Lil Ray and iLan. A raffle will benefit Mercy for Animals. Creative prom attire is encouraged! Couple themes are welcome too! No date necessary to attend!

PARISIAN PIONEER: C-PAS’ Pierre-André Senizergues

Pierre-André Senizergues has a Hollywood story. He went from a Parisian childhood, to being homeless on the streets of Venice Beach, to becoming an international skateboarding champion and then one of the most influential and respected businessmen in the apparel and skate industry, heading-up Sole Technologies, Inc. Now, with over 25 years of revolutionizing skate culture, Pierre is again setting new standards and breaking new boundaries with social responsibility and environmentalism. C-PAS is Pierre’s latest personal endeavor, and along with designer Pierluigi Pucci, Senizergues is making menswear from recycled parachutes and tarps, organic cotton, soda bottles, sustainable fabrics, and he is finally addressing the fact that leather can never be sustainable.

I stopped by the Soho, NYC studio to try on some of the clothes, and chat about C-PAS, sustainable fashion, and menswear.

Pride and Luxury

Grasp your pearls, for the future of the luxury market is at risk! We saw this video over at EcoStiletto (a special that appeared on The Luxury Channel) and were both intrigued and sort of disgusted by these luxury brands who are finally realizing that their own futures are at risk if the resource-tap they call Earth dries up. With their own mortality in sight, the main question this video raises is, “Does looking and acting rich conflict with sustainability?” Hello? Does a bear shit in the woods?

Let’s get over the noble idea that these brands actually care about the Earth, right now. It’s like the classic case where a Hollywood mega-star get’s a disease and then suddenly they’re the biggest advocate for finding a cure. They are simply trying to save their own existence, which is not the worst thing. Often it can help, but in the case of an entire market, that means certain sacred cows can not be questioned. Like what? Poverty. Caste and class systems. Money. Materialism. Greed. Hierarchical power structures. Resource access. Viewing the planet as a stockpile of resources. Anthropocentrism. The list goes on.

Damn the Fashionistas!

One glaring issue is that companies like Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Alexander MQueen, and others that rule the world of luxury, who perpetuate images of desirable and unattainable lifestyles, are all addicted to leather, fur, cashmere, wool, and other animal products. We also know that raising livestock is the single greatest ecological threat that exists. So, until these brands convert all their products to be vegan (which is possible), it’s all greenwashing and very difficult to take them seriously. Even Stella McCartney, who uses no fur or leather, still uses plenty of wool. Once again, when talking about environment and sustainability, the livestock industry was completely brushed over and left out, although it is the single greatest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

If we leave it up to luxury brands to define the mainstream understanding of environmentalism, of course extracting things from nature and turning them into expensive products (and the social and political atmosphere maintaining their position to do those things) will not be questioned in itself. If we let luxury brands use their powerful positions to create the mainstream discourse on sustainability, it’s like letting a drug addict head up the ATF.

I was astounded to hear the list of luxury brands who helped create the documentary Home” by Yann Arthus Bertrand. Do they not see how drastically they need to change everything about themselves? If the current definition of sustainability is “meeting the needs of the present without undermining the ability of future generations to meet their needs” then I wonder whether these brands could ever be capable of accommodating such an aspiration as that?

According to the video, the “I am not a plastic bag” phenomenon reduced plastic bag consumption in England, but is it Fur is Greedsimply an accessory of mass distraction as The Observer’s George Monibiot suggests? My fear is that greenwashing will prevail, not unlike the Canadian Fur Council’s  “Fur is Green” and Diesel’s “Global Warming Ready” campaigns, and they will attempt to capitalize on the market value of “green” as opposed to actually changing industry practices from labor and environmental impact to animal welfare.

Heritage is what is at risk for luxury brands. Changing the factories, formulas, and ingredients of their products changes who they are at the core, which is a huge and uncertain undertaking. But if done thoroughly, honestly, and openly, it’s more than an opportunity. It’s common sense. It’s not biting off the hand that feeds them. It’s realizing that there is only one Planet Earth, yet many of us live in a way that requires three Earths to sustain the status quo.

What do you think? Can luxury brands change their ways? Or is the very nature of luxury in conflict with sustainability?