Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

99th Bay to Breakers: The Sustainable Side

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
BP oil runners

BP oil runners

In the 99th installment of Bay to Breakers, the usual things occurred: the Kenyans as a whole flat out rocketed to the finish line (one female breaking a world record), the fog covered the course for most of the day and a lot of participants (not the runners) got totally trashed and created of lot of people in the local recycling business. But we’re not here to check out the usual, we’re here to check out any signs of Green going on of and off the course.

To be sure, the organizers and the City have a tough time creating sustainability for the thousands of runners but they seems to have gotten control of the recycle and compost aspects.  90,000 equals the number of recyclable water cups used per race (almost 6 miles of cups if placed end to end). And with all of  the beer and booze bottles, the recycling people had a bountiful day. In the media tent, they had the presence of mind to use compostable cutlery as well as cups but it would be nice to see more organic and locally produced offerings.

We might request the same thing from the Footstock area (which moved from the Polo Grounds much to the dismay and confusion of many participants where the vendors could offer more locally and natural offerings. We did spy some booths that did toss out all natural dog food (based in Novato) as well as West Coast companies serving up free samples of granola, nutrition bars and electrolyte beverages sans the artificial crap. We tried everything but the dog food.

As for the costumes (at least the ones that we saw), the BP workers dressed in oil splotched jumpsuits made the best environmental statement.

Next year the race turns 100, and with that mark, hopefully the race can incorporate some added greenness  that will keep the event going for another 100 years.

New National Wildlife Refuge System Coloring Book

Monday, January 11th, 2010

colring bookEven if the U.S. government continues its pseudo protection to save the planet’s wildlife and natural resources they can be thanked indirectly as they recently created a new National Wildlife Refuge System Coloring Book. Most people might not be aware of the U.S. Refuge System, which includes more than 540 refuges, with at least one in every state and one about an hour’s drive from most metropolitan areas. Here in the Bay Area we have a few including Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Newark.


The book, aimed at primary grade students, offers various refuge scenes for the kids to color. I’m not that into drawing but my niece had a great time coloring the desert big horn sheep that live in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. The book also allows kids to create a list of wildlife sightings. The book also encourages kids to ride bike through the refuges instead scaring the wildlife with vehicular monsters.

We like the style of Katie R. Schipps’s drawings, which offer a rough and ready look with large lines, and creates the perfect fit for attacking with a crayon or colored marker. Hopefully the refuge system will survive for many years but at least kids today will have some insight into the all important refuge system and how important it is to our future.

Fifth Green and Gorgeous Gala San Francisco Style

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Sometimes San Francisco feels a little Los Angeles or New York especially considering the tall, smartly dressed model-esque crowd that packed the W hotel for the 5th annual Gorgeous & Green fashion show. New York and LA may have a slender leg up on SF as far as model runway shows but SF keeps the other cities and a well dressed arms length with the overall greenness of the event.

Upon entering the festivities, my friend and I couldn’t help but notice the tall talent circulating through the upstairs rooms. Some huddled around the bars sipping organic vodka, beer and wine drinks while others just strolled along looking fab. We took a prime spot with cocktails in hand right next to the living wall. We don’t know how many others noticed the Design Ecology produced wall but we did breathe deeper standing next to it.

The festivities mostly surrounded the fashion. Later in the evening, we joined the crowd around the catwalk for the show itself. The eco-chic fashion lineup offered up an interesting array of attractive models modeling everything from underwear to bizarre dresses. The combination of DJ Donavan beats, green vibe and model attitude got most of the crowd in a buzz. We had one quibble with the actual show as we would have liked to know what each piece represented in terms of “eco” or “sustainability”. It would have been nice to know what made that skimpy underwear so sustainable.

Besides the actual threads, the event brought like-minded people from all professions together to raise awareness (and money) for Global Green.  We attempted to talk with a few people about fashion but as we aren’t fashionistas that didn’t go so well. We did chitchat with several big hitters in the business world and left feeling impressed that events like this (even if we don’t buy $500 green underwear) will only continue to bring awareness to solid sustainable causes.

Checking Out the Treasure Island Music Festival Green Flavor

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

It’s getting to be almost a cliché here in San Francisco with large music festivals that have either a green backbone or a heck of lot of social justice behind it. Both Outside Lands and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass sit only slightly in the rear view mirror but this weekend we hit the Treasure Island Music Festival to check out the music, happenings and the overall Green flavor.

Considering that several thousand people crammed into the festival space on Treasure Island we think that overall they handled the transportation issue in a pretty Green way. We made our way to the festival via zero-emission Bauer buses that picked most of the masses up at AT&T Park. The only real griping we heard came from East Bay attendees who said that they had to drive or take BART to SF instead of having shuttle buses come to the East Bay as well.

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Outside Lands – Day 2 – Bands and Sustainability

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Live from Outside Lands day two (Green posse in tow), today we focus on some of the artists. After all, for most people Outside Lands remains about the music. But unlike many festivals or shows Outside Lands offers a significant numbers of bands and singers who either have some direct social justice, environmental or artistic causes that they support or create.

Pearljam, who rocked us (despite poor Eddie Veder’s scratchy throat) last night has been offsetting their tours since 2006. The social and environmentally minded rockers fight corporate monopolies, create and cover songs with social and environmental angles (no surprise that they they covered Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” among other tunes last night), and donate even donate their bank to alt energy projects.

Tonight, another powerhouse in the sustainable movement the Dave Matthews Band hits the main stage. These band helped start a project called the Bama Green Project which maintains a partnership between Reverb and IZSTYLE, and encompasses various environmental efforts that the band commits to while on the road, in the studio and at home. The DMB and the Bama Green Project works on educating DMB fans around the world about how to take simple and positive environmental actions.  It’s good to know that we have some help in this educational environmental thing.

It’s not all about the big bands, smaller bands such as Blind Pilot, who toured the West Coast twice now on their bicycles, Lila Downs (who unfortunately canceled at the last minute) creates education funds for women down in Oaxaca Mexico), and West Indian Girl did their last tour with a bio diesel RV.

Hopefully, Outside Lands and other festivals will invite more bands with a social and environmental conscience. Sure the music is important but it doesn’t mean that the bands can’t do something good for someone or something else as well.

Back to work as the music continues…..

Cheers to Biodynamic Wine

Friday, January 25th, 2008

quivira3.jpgLast week as we overnighted in the LEED Gold Gaia Hotel in American Valley, we thought that we should take advantage of what everyone else in the region does – wine tasting. But we figured to be a little different. We hit a few wineries of varying organic, green, sustainable qualities and found a few surprises. First, get it out your head to tie “sustainability” to traditional wine making. As Winemaker Steven Canter at Quivira mentions, “There’s nothing sustainable about bottling wine in a glass bottle, corking the bottle, then shipping it all over the country.”

We scooted into the Madonna Winery tasting room during a quite Sunday afternoon. Located in the Carneros Region of Napa Valley, this family produced wine believes in organic farming, without the use of synthetic chemicals and is a proud member of CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers). But when we asked the two servers if they served organic wine it was as if we asked for a tasting of Miller Lite. One gave this look of confusion and the other got a little condescending. Apparently, they do not make organic wine. According to the servers, that whole organic wine issue deals with the adding of sulfites and they think that serious winemakers have to use sulfites. Everyone gets to do their own due diligence as far as organic this or that but don’t make us feel like idiots for bringing up the question. (more…)

The Green That Brings the Buyers

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006
Bob Barker

With the opening pre-sales event of the LEED certified Arterra in San Francisco coming up on Sept. 30th we’re not exactly convinced that perspective buyers are placing their deposits because of the LEED certification or even the whole “Green Lifestyle” that the Arterra continues to promote.

Apparently, the sales office has pre-sales reservations booked for Saturday, Sunday and into Monday. That means green building gets a boost. Always good. But we have a sneaking suspicion (plus someone at the office told us) that the real green draw is the price point. A one-bedroom Mission Bay condo (without parking) for about $515,000 continues to draw buyers to this project like reality to television.

But who are we to judge why someone buys green? People who buy a piece of the Arterra because as Bob Barker says, “The Price is Right” may be doing the right thing for the wrong reason. But at least they are buying green.