stepbystep2WITHOUT TRYING TO SOUND ALL HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE OR DEEP-FRIED SOUTHERN GOTHIC, I’ve got to share the garish headline spiel I ran across on the back of an early-60s paperback I’m currently engrossed in: “step by step … deed by deed … they fashioned their own destruction.” It bejewels a musty, well-worn copy of Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away, but I was thinking—for Green Dynamind and with the International Day of Climate Action taking place tomorrow—that it’s an appropriate tag for where we’re heading if we keep on our current path of irresponsible and oblivious mega-consumption. And then the new issue of Scientific American arrived in the post, with its upbeat cover story, “A Plan for a Sustainable Future: How to get all energy from wind, water and solar power by 2030,” (more on this in a bit), and I thought, along with all the coordinated noise many will make across the globe tomorrow, maybe we can turn our spiel into “step by step … deed by deed … they fashioned their own salvation.” Now wouldn’t that be something to get excited about?! Read More »

GerdingDOING THE RIGHT THING IS THE SMART THING. I think this was the number-one high-level takeaway from the GoGreen09 “Cultivating Sustainable Business” conference, which took place at the LEED-Platinum-certified Gerding Theater in Portland on Wednesday. To many this may appear a no-brainer: of course, like the good ol’ golden rule, good actions (not just intentions) should produce positive results (in some capacity), which is both right and smart. But in today’s climate of rampant fear-mongering and economic turmoil-cum-uncertainty, what once appeared obvious may, more often than not, no longer be the case. Going green is going to cost me more money—I can’t do that right now and adequately feed my family, take that well-earned vacation, purchase those new ski boots, etc.; or in the case of business … purchase that new employee health plan I’ve promised my peeps all year as we’ve collectively weathered the storm, solarize that roof, add a fleet of hybrids, etc. Ouch!

Panelist after panelist at sold-out* GoGreen09 shared success story after success story of how going green or carrying out a sustainability best practice or innovation was not only the right and necessary thing to do but the smart thing to do, resulting in some kind of bottom-line victory, in many cases of the preferred triple-bottom-line variety, where people, planet and profit all high five as victors. Were we hit over the head with the folly of fossil fuels and the continuing Cassandra complex of carbon-emissions levels? Fortunately, not so much. After all, we were attendees at a green event and should get that part at least. Read on for more impressions from the day. GoGreen09, indeed! Read More »

OGO LogoHQ‘To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd.’ —Wendell Berry

WE’RE AT THE OUTER EDGE OF SUMMER, TEETERING TOWARD FALL, the autumnal equinox mere days away, and celebrating, here in Oregon, another Organically Grown in Oregon Week, now in its twenty-first year. With 425 certified organic farms and organic production covering more than 115,000 acres, Oregon has been a longtime leader in the organic agriculture charge toward sustainability and “good food for all.” And now with an organic vegetable garden on the South Lawn of the White House (raising a big the-day-has-finally-come HURRAH! from Alice Waters; not so much from Monsanto) and everywhere you turn talk of simple, slow, local, organic and boy, do we ever need to change our nation’s eating habits, let’s hope this movement can gain serious momentum, and requisite backing, to make a real difference in the way food is grown, harvested, sustained and eaten.

As Michael Pollan writes in the introduction to a new collection of essays by Wendell Berry, Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2009), “Certainly these are heady days for people who have been working to reform the way Americans grow food and feed themselves—the ‘food movement’ as it is now often called. Markets for alternative kinds of food—local and organic and pastured—are thriving, farmers’ markets are popping up like mushrooms, and for the first time in more than a century the number of farmers tallied in the Department of Agriculture’s census has gone up rather than down.” Read More »

fsc-logo3SO WHAT EXACTLY IS THE FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL? And why is it held in such high regard? If you’re dealing with products derived from wood anywhere in your business practices (paper or cardboard, perhaps, so really, who isn’t?), if not already, get hip to the FSC (this purview applies equally to us all as consumers). As Brian Dougherty writes in Green Graphic Design, “The Forest Stewardship Council has emerged as the premier standard for assessing the sustainability of forest management practices.” The independent, nonprofit NGO was established in 1993, operates in over 50 countries and demonstratively impacts how a growing and mighty swath of forests is harvested and sustained. Let’s take a closer look at this “forest” that’s for all the trees. Read More »

Jimella1ABOUT HALFWAY UP THE LONG BEACH PENINSULA on the southwest Washington coast, in rather unprepossessing territory*, you’ll happen across Jimella’s Seafood Market & Cafe, gemlike yet equally low key, a keen practitioner of things local, fresh, organic, slow and sustainable. And let’s add REMARKABLY FLAVORABLE to the list (sure, why not, in all caps). You see, the owners, Jimella Lucas (she cooks) and Nanci Main (she bakes), own and ran the critically acclaimed Ark restaurant up the road in Nahcotta for more than 20 years. Worth the trip if you’re in this Lewis-and-Clark end-of-the-trail windswept-and-wild landscape? Absolutely. And it’s off the scale in green goodness! “Thank you for buying local,” a sign above the front door reads, “we’ll pay it forward.” Read More »