March 30, 2007

links of interest?

i was driving to the studio this morning listening to science friday on npr . steven jackson was on talking about climate change... it was really interesting especially when they started talking about the nations that are currently growing industrially [china and india] and how we can attempt to balance changing emission standards while considering the wealth of nations. the audio will be posted by 6pm eastern time today. hopefully here

a while back my dad sent me a link to this editorial by thomas friedman of the new york times . it's a really interesting read. the idea of environmentalists beating corporations at their own game - by using high power investment bank consultants - is an intriguing one.

March 28, 2007

Sustainable Seafood

Hello fellow greens,

This is my first post and I'm excited to share some information I have recently read about " Sustainable Seafood". I first came across this subject in a World Wildlife Fund newsletter and then I saw a special article about it in the latest issue of National Geographic. The more I read on, the more I realized what a problem the seafood industry is in. The main problems are overfishing, ridiculous amounts of bycatch (29 million tons of fish, seabirds, turtles, and marine mammals each year) & the lack of government support.

The whole world is feeling the effects of overfishing. One fisherman Alfonso Consiglio of Italy, whose family owns a fleet of purse seiners, is also torn. "The price is cheap because more and more tuna are being caught" he said. " My only weapon is to catch more fish. It is a vicious circle. If I catch my quota of a thousand tuna, I can't live because the price is very cheap. I want to respect the quota, but I can't because I need to live. If boats of all countries respect the rules, tuna will not be finished. If only few countries respect the rules, and others don't respect the rules, the fisherman who respects rules is finished."

There is a huge lack of government support, they need to cut back the worlds 4 million fishing vessels, which is double the amount needed to fish sustainably and lower the budget of 25 billion dollars in government subsides set aside annually for the fishing industries. Not only do we need to change the rules but we need to open peoples minds to the idea that we must treat the oceans inhabitants as we would the beautiful animals on land. It is easy to ignore or just truly underestimate the wonders of the sea, simply because it's a world most of us don't interact with.

If you would like to make a change and push for more sustainable practices you can go to this website:
It is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an independent, non-profit organization set up to find a solution to the problem of overfishing. You can find out where to buy sustainable seafood, fisheries that support the program and even delicious recipes. They were also a winner of GreenAwards, a UK based organization supporting "creativity in sustainability".

Also I wanted to share the list of safe fish:
Halibut - Alaska/Canada
Striped Bass - Atlantic
Squid - Pacific "market"
Albacore - Pacific
Lobster - Australian rock lobster
Shellfish; mussels, clams, oysters - farmed (various sources), cockles (Burry Inlet, U.K.)
Dungeness crab
Caviar - farmed U.S.
Salmon - wild Alaskan

Some fish to avoid are Atlantic swordfish, wild caught Atlantic salmon and sharks. Speaking of sharks, there is an estimated 40 million sharks finned alive for shark-fin soup. So if you would like to support eco-friendly sustainable seafood please look for the blue & white MSC logo on your packages of fish. It's worth mentioning at your local grocery store, let them know, if we don't speak for the fish nobody will.

how to start a car/truck share

Last year a friend of mine came up with a great idea: sharing a pickup truck. He had been fantasizing about buying a little truck to haul mulch, lumber, furniture, whatever. A few other friends had recently bought fixer-upper houses or started some big home/garden renovation projects, so owning our own pickup truck seemed to many of us like both a good idea also a far-fetched one at the same time, financially speaking.

Enter the truck co-op.

Here's how we did it: five households (all within 2 miles of each other) agreed to buy a beat-up old work truck together. Price tag: $1,000. We split the cost 4 ways ($250 each), with the fifth $250 share going into the maintenance fund. One person volunteered to add the truck to his car insurance and to manage the maintenance fund. In repayment, he does not have to pay into the annual maintenance fund ($150/year).

this is what a $1,000 truck looks like

The truck, whose name is 'Red Betty' for her lovely coloration, is reserved by co-op members for 1/2 day blocks using a Google calendar. We each have a set of keys. Folks outside the co-op can rent her for $50 for one day, no more than 2 days in advance (so that co-op members get first dibs). The small number of rentals we've had so far have done well to keep our maintenance fund in good shape.

Our other 'rules' are, don't take Red Betty outside our 3-county region, and do bring her back full of gas. That's about it.

Red Betty lives at one co-op member's house, since she has a big driveway and plenty of parking. Since we're all close by, this is a really convenient arrangement. So far, my partner and I have used Red Betty to haul a huge load of mulch that we got for $12 from the city, a desk I bought (saving us a $25 delivery fee), some lumber, all the stuff from our shed when we moved in December, and a few other odds and ends. Red Betty also does regular duty at the Boys Club, where another co-op member volunters by running the kids' community garden there.

Some tips to make a car share successful (based on my experience):
  • Agree on all the rules/guidelines as a group and maintain them someplace, like on a website.
  • Make sure everyone has ample opportunity to use the car-share. Too many families sharing one vehicle can make it less useful for members. Five households means that our truck is always free when we need her - and that she gets relatively light use, an important consideration for an elderly truck!
  • Use a Google calendar or another easily-accessible scheduling tool to manage reservations.
  • Put one person in charge of vehicle maintenance, preferably someone with some skills in that area. Being able to change the oil and do minor repairs yourself will save the co-op a lot of maintenance money, but make sure that the maintenance coordinator gets some kind of stipend (as in our case, where he doesn't pay maintenance fees).
  • Go co-op with people you respect and trust, and be sure to treat them with that respect and trust in all interactions. If problems come up, work them out politely and in a full group setting.
Friends can go co-op on all sorts of useful items, like power tools, lawnmowers, yard-work, child-care, art supplies/equipment, community gardens, and all kinds of other things. Think of large purchases that you'd like to have but don't have the space, or may not use all that often - it may be perfect for a co-op arrangement. In our group's case, this co-owning has made other big investments (like do-it-yourself home renovation) possible where they might otherwise have been out of reach.

Of course, you don't have to manage something like a car-share yourself. There are plenty of memberships you can buy into that include the cost of management, like Zipcar. Here are a few resources to consult if you're in the market to share a car, truck or other significant item:

Car-sharing Library
City CarShare (SF Bay, USA)
LiftShare (UK)
Freewheelers (international ride-sharing - UK)
National Cooperative Business Association (USA)
Co-operative Child-Care (UK)
Stelle Community Cooperatives: Tool co-op

So the basic idea behind sharing instead of buying is to save money and natural resources by buying less stuff, particularly in the area of large, expensive, high-resource items like cars. But one of the best side-benefits of sharing stuff is the community-building. Taking on a large project like this with other people builds trust, caring and a shared sense of responsibility for our own greater well-being. Our co-op beater truck has generated quite a few group projects, including a notoriously fun afternoon of ripping apart an old porch at one co-op member's house (it was so much fun that the video made it to YouTube).

March 26, 2007

Green Like Veggies

At one of my favourite vegan restaurants, Native Foods, the manager always writes animal friendly quotes on the chalkboards that line the walls of the restaurant. The other night I sat under a sign that read, "According to a new UN report, the meat & dairy industry produce more greenhouse gases than all transportation combined." I sat under that sign pondering how powerful that statement is and finally asked the manager for more information. She had taken that quote from VegNews Magazine.
A quick search lead me to the UN report and this article relating to the report:

"Cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation, and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions."
"Livestock now use 30 per cent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 per cent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 per cent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing."

Why was this so shocking? I became vegetarian in 7th grade after researching a report on rainforests and was horrified by what the meat industry did to the land. I remember crying while reading about the deforestation. Now, 15 years later, I am surprised and horrified by the fact that this continues almost unnoticed.

Global warming and pollution are huge issues right now, as they should be, but the issue is always addressed in terms of cars and "industry" [in general]. It seems to me that people could have a larger effect on global warming if they gave up meat & dairy en masse. We need to reduce & rethink transportation methods in terms of CO2 emissions; doing so could have a huge effect but according to this report if meat & dairy consumption double by 2050, no hybrid car has a chance of making a dent in global warming. Scary.

So what can you do? Give up or reduce meat & dairy consumption. There are already a million health reasons to do so and more so, a billion amazing & delicious reasons.

Here is a list of some of my favourite vegan [don't let that word scare you; vegans have a wonderfully rich and varied diet and are not all "preachy" and righteous. Plus dark chocolate and most sugars are totally vegan, OK and french fries are as well.] recipe resources:

  1. Vegan Lunchbox
  2. Post Punk Kitchen [I have had amazing results with her recipes]
  3. Also check out her Vegan Cupcake book!
  4. The Vegan Chef
  5. Veg Web
  6. Vegan Food
  7. Becoming Vegan [first and best vegan health book I have owned]

More reason to eat your organic veggies!


March 22, 2007

what's in your wallet?

as i drove home yesterday, thinking about the article in the nyt -the year without toilet paper- that stephanie led to, and hearing more about how we are "consumed with consumption". i thought about cindy's post again. how can i simplify? and i was reminded of a little something i carry with me in my wallet. i found it late last year, while perusing a constant source of inspiration and encouragement - The Center for a New American Dream - some holiday inspiration in the column "Living Green Below Your Means".

"The Thrifty Wallet Buddy" was my stocking stuffer of choice this past holiday. and i really feel that it has made me a more conscientious consumer. not perfect by a long shot. i can't imagine life right now without {unbleached, recycled} toilet paper. but certainly more thoughtful! i want to share it with you too, if you don't know it already. you can download it here.

it wraps your card in "questions to ask before buying" including:
"Can I borrow one, find one used, or make one instead of buying new?"
"Will it serve more than one purpose?"
"Can I recycle or compost it when I'm done with it?"

{i do believe some of these questions will be looked at more closely in posts next week...)

happy friday!

March 21, 2007

How to be a little more green

Hello all,

May I begin by echoing Gracia’s sentiment in saying how glad I am to be a part of this blog and this group of green-minded folk.

By no means do I consider myself the greenest of the greens. I still have a petrol burning car, though it's small, efficient and I try to drive it as infrequently as I can, and I fill it with petrol with the lowest emissions from the company which is investing in solar power rather than the one turning its nose up at its environmental responsibilities (I'm all for being a conscientious consumer).

I can’t afford to convert my hot water heater to solar or install solar panels to generate my own electricity, however I do use as little hot water as possible and I keep the thermostat turned down. I also turn every appliance off at the wall and turn lights off when I don’t need them and I have changed over to using 100% green energy.

All in all, I know there is a lot more that I can do, but until I can afford the big things there are a lot more of the little things I can concentrate on.

The more I read, the more I realise that every action and choice has environmental implications (be they possitive or negative) and that if everybody tried to reduce their own impact and live sustainably, then great big positive things could happen. Who knows, we may even save the planet. As David Attenborough so eloquently said (in a documentary featuring blue whales) "It's not just the future of the whale that lies in our hands, it's the survival of the natural world in all parts of the living planet. We can now destroy or we can cherish. The choice is ours." (Planet Earth, series two, Ocean Deep.)

Here are a few green tips I’ve been embracing lately (taken from my most recent zine How to... (be a little more green).

March 20, 2007

The 40 Hour Drought - take part

When asked to join Sew Green I quite literally jumped at the chance. A blog of green-minded folk (from California to Vancouver, and recently more further a field) learning new green things together, who wouldn’t be tempted, who wouldn’t send back an immediate reply, “Yes, please! Count me in!”? So, here it is, all introductions aside in the first week, my first post, my first contribution to Sew Green, a blog that is sure to evolve into a green jungle of ideas, tips, experiences and a guide to handy, local and international resources. Cindy, Lisa S and Tracy have got it off to a flying start.

Reading Tracy’s post The grass is always greener earlier in the week on water consumption in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, in which she mentioned an alarming figure, “500 gallons of water a day (…1900 litres)”, tied in perfectly with what I wanted to write about today… water. Compare that figure with 208 litres residential daily water use per capita for Melbourne (2005-06).

Here in Victoria, and indeed the rest of Australia too, water is first and foremost on the minds of everyone. Water restrictions are enforced and new water saving ways have been embraced by the many (though not all, definitely not all). A whole host of new terms have been coined thanks to the growing ranks of plastic bucket people collecting the grey water from their showers and sinks to use on their garden beds. Who could have foreseen that scores of Melbournians would take to the bucket as their new shower companion with such gusto? That phone conversations would be cut short when it was time to divert the water from the washing machine... can’t have all that water simply going down the drain now, can we? Some shower with a foot firmly planted each inside a bucket whilst others prefer to place a bucket under the shower head as they wait for the hot water to kick in. Yes, the bucket brigade is growing in ranks especially as gardens dry up due to water restrictions enforced by drought. Down pipes have been altered so as to pour onto garden beds (that is, when it does actually drizzle) and, where possible, water tanks have been installed. So many inventive techniques have been adopted and reported about in the papers, so many ways to reuse your grey water (outdoor showers anyone? Yep, it’s already been done). So many ways to also reduce the amount of water being used as well. Water has become a precious commodity no one is wasting… showers are shorter, dripping taps are being repaired and water saving shower heads are being installed… bowls are placed in sinks to catch the excess from washing your hands to rinsing your tins for recycling.

For those not Melbourne based, we are, were I live, on stage three water restrictions which means (amongst other things) that even numbered houses can water their gardens on Saturday and Tuesday, whilst odd numbered houses can water on Sunday and Wednesday. Hand-held hoses fitted with a trigger nozzle, a watering can and a bucket can only be used between 6am-8am and 8pm-10pm two days a week, with no watering permitted on a Monday, Thursday or Friday. Other areas around the country have been on such restrictions for allot longer and south-east Queensland, as of the 10th of April, is about to step up to level five water restrictions.

All this talk of water brings me nicely to the nationwide community event, The 40 Hour Drought… which poses the question; can you manage with just 40 litres of water in a 40 hour period? Take part now and register here. It commences 7am, Wednesday the 21st of March through until 11pm, Thursday the 22nd of March (Hurry, there's just enough time). Louise and I will be taking part, how about you?
(Whilst this is ‘officially’ only for Australian residents in terms of registering to take part, I think it would be both a fun and worthwhile challenge for anyone, anywhere to try to limit there water consumption to an impressive 40 litres for a 40 hour period. 40 litres is 10.57 gallons.)

You’ll find handy water saving tips here (everything from using garden friendly detergents and cleaners low in salt, phosphorous and that are biodegradable to planting drought friendly plants).

I am off now to bucket my grey water around the foot of the white flowering hibiscus tree, and I'll keep you posted on how the 40 litre challenge goes.

March 19, 2007

the simple life...

when i think about what is the most beneficial action i can take to reduce my impact upon the earth, it would have to be to live simply.

i have been inspired by draft-dodgers, hippies, and back-to-the-landers, ever since i was young. growing up on vancouver island, on the extreme west coast, i bore witness to many of these people as they chose to live what was then considered an "alternative lifestyle." entire families living in handbuilt surfing shacks on sombrio beach, vietnam dodgers living in their cabins or on their boats in some of the many remote coves that are dotted up and down the island. they all shared a common goal, to live simply with nature.

we are trying to do this in our own little way, here in our home smack in the middle of downtown vancouver, the second most expensive city in north america. we made a conscious decision to live with walking distance of work, and most amenities. we have space and light within our home, and finally a teeny, tiny, yard that we can start a small herb and food garden in. the yard is concrete, and because we are renters, we can't really have anything permanant, so we are building containers that will hold the garden above the ground.

as with tracy's quest to have a natural californian landscape around her house, i'll keep you posted on how our garden grows in future posts.

here are some links to my favourite books and blogs on simple living. i treasure them. i hope you will too.

the good life
radical simplicity
the path to freedom
handbuilt shelter
you grow girl

March 18, 2007

eco easter eggs

hi... i just wanted to post some links. you may already know about how to dye easter eggs using something other than food coloring or paas, but just in case you didn't....

wendy sent a link to this blog post from made by adrienne that shows a step by step onion skin coloring technique.

and jen posted a link to martha's version of how to do it [i love the photo of the bowl of pastel eggs].

i also found these instructions on the celestial seasonings website [which also has some great reading on the benefits on all different types of tea - a different topic entirely, but....].

i'm also really curious as to how dying fabric with these techiniques would turn out. anyone tried it??

March 16, 2007

the grass is always greener

we live in a 1955 development in the san fernando valley of los angeles. the average temperature here in the summer is 95F (35C). (though last summer we set a record going for 21 days straight with temps over 100 degrees fahrenheit and setting an all time record of 119F (48C) on July 22 and this winter has also been the warmest on record.) average annual precipitation sits at 18 inches. (the national average is about 39 inches.)

when i first moved to my neighborhood, i wondered: how does everyone keep their lawn looking so good? (and why are we so obsessed with keeping it this way?)


then i learned. it is estimated that the average southern california family uses 500 gallons of water a day. (500 gallons!! i think that is about 1900 litres. just think of all those milk jugs lined up...) 30% of that in the house. that leaves 70% going to watering the lawn and filling the swimming pool. i am told the figure for outdoor use is likely higher in the valley, where we receive less precipitation, and the mercury rises higher. i cannot fathom that amount of water being poured onto the ground. besides that, think of the run-off, and all the pesticides and fertilizers it is carrying out of the valley, under the santa monica mountains, and into the pacific ocean.

the history of the lawn in the u.s. relates to the housing boom that our home was part of. that ideal of suburban perfection. but it goes back further than that. back to english manor homes with grand entrances. where vegetable gardens were hidden and idyllic landscapes were constructed. lawn = success. (and it better be green!)

when we purchased our house almost six yrs ago, we talked about doing it differently. we do have a pool. (solar powered, and i dare say a must with days in the 100s.) but we don't have a lawn. well, actually we do. but it hasn't been watered. leaving it to look much more brown than green.

i like green.

so, our goal this summer is to tear it out. cap off our sprinkler system. and go native. (plus some raised veggie beds.) socal native plants are adapted to winter rains and summer drought. once established, they should need very little water other than that provided by mother nature. and we should see a considerable decrease in our water consumption.

so we are at the beginning of the journey. we have a basic plant list in hand. a rough plan drawn. and are planning a trip here to check out some specimens "in person". pointers are always welcome!

and i'll let you know how it goes...

inspiring me...
california native plant society
the american lawn
edible estates los angeles
heat wave
l.a. county dept. of public works : how to save water outside the home

update - links from the comments that i should have included! thank you thank you!
beyond pesticides
theodore payne nursery
las pilitas nursery (we developed our list from this one, i love it - you can put your zip in and get the plants for your area)

March 14, 2007

do you believe the hype?

first off - THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who is as excited about this as we are. the response has been surreal, your comments, your linking to us... thank you! we are really hoping to live up to all of your expectations. and we'd love it if you kept giving us the tips, tricks, and any resources you've found helpful. this is meant to be a collecting place for us all - and we are definitely learning as we go - so keep it coming!


onward ::

i have to admit i am loving daylight savings time [except for the first few mornings. ugh that was hard]. i'm such a fan of eating outside at 7pm - of getting home after a long day and still having a minute to enjoy the back yard. of feeling like my day doesn't need to be over when i'm done with work because it's dark and dreary.

i had heard that part of the reasoning behind shifting daylight savings time to a few weeks earlier was to SAVE ENERGY. we don't need as many lights on at night if it stays light longer, right?? that sounds good doesn't it?

well. think again.

first i heard nell boyce's report on morning edition . then i went and read this study .

so really the longer days help golf courses, shopping malls, and restaurants? and we are more likely to get in our cars and go do something since we have are more upbeat with the light? uh.... not if we are conscious about it. i say walk to the restaurant if you can.... or plan ahead and have your after work shin-dig somewhere near public transit.... or carpool to your early evening tennis/golf/swimming romp.

and heck - since there's "more light" maybe we should all buy these solar panel devices and charge up our ipods and phones with all the extra sun.

March 11, 2007

Welcome to Sew Green!

Sew Green is made up of eleven women who met through the crafting blogging community.

One day last November, on my regular blog, I mentioned wanting to start a blog about consumption. It turned out, some dear crafting blogger friends were also interested in this idea. I think most people in the world want to live more environmentally responsibly, but there are so many obstacles to doing this. Hopefully this blog will be a way for us to remove some of those obstacles for ourselves and each other, by sharing what we’re learning and figuring out who to try to influence {industry people, institutions, politicians} on a grander scale, to affect change.

The first month or so, we’ll be introducing ourselves and sharing some topics we’re interested in. Topics we’re interested in will undoubtedly range from simple (tips on how to stop receiving junk mail), to more complex (how global economics affect environmental issues).

After our initial month, we plan to all research the same one environment/consumption-related topic per month and to share our findings/art/stories/thoughts/ideas around that subject. We’re going to figure this blog out as we go. We hope you’ll join us on our Sew Green journey!


A little about the Sew Green collaborators in no particular order:


Fawn Pea
North Carolina, USA

I am a little worried about how the "developed" world is shopping itself into oblivion. I am feeling more anxious all the time about whether we will ever wake up from our consumption-induced stupor to see how our vapid, overfed lifestyles are making the rest of the world miserable. I am a bit miffed at the widespread idea that buying stuff can bring meaning to our lives, and so I spend a lot of time in my community trying to create opportunities for people to get together and do things that are meaningful: knit an afghan, play with children, cook a meal, put on a play, or petition our elected officials for change. My day-job is fighting toxic chemicals, and the rest of the time I spend with my partner and friends making monsters out of old socks, being civillydisobedient, dancing to loud music and knitting to transform the frustration into something beautiful, or at least something useful.


cindy jaswal
vancouver, british columbia, canada

I suffer from a reckless obsession with drawing. I have been exhibiting my work in Canada and the United States since 1997. My interests lie in the intersection between the man-made environment, and what is left of the natural world. For the last few years, through detailed drawings, I have been documenting the inhabitants of nearby natural spaces, from the forests, to the seas of the wild pacific coast. I live in Vancouver with my husband and son. My latest project, due to be complete in the fall, will increase the population of our home by one. There will be great joy and cake.


shari a.
durham, nc, usa

i am a creative soul trying to find a new career path after teaching preschool for eleven years. i live in durham, nc with my boyfriend and two cats. slowly but surely we are beginning to take small steps towards living a greener life. my main areas of interest are biofuels (i drive a diesel VW beetle and run it on B20 whenever possible), sustainable agriculture and permaculture. i love to read and hope to be sharing many green reads with you! two little known facts about me: i founded and served as the president of the EARTH club in high school, and even though the name of our blog is sew green, i can't sew a stitch.


lisa solomon
artist, professor, free-lance graphic designer
oakland, CA, USA

I am an artist who is deeply interested in the notion of hybridization. I think that is why I end up making all sorts of things, out of all kinds of materials, for all sorts of reasons. Since getting my MFA in 2003 I have been busy trying to make and show my work. I am lucky to teach art at several colleges locally. I love how teaching inspires and motivates me. I am fascinated by the mundane {finding beauty in the ordinary}, searching for a way to live more simply, and hoping that I can take small steps to live more sustainable. I live in Oakland with my husband, two dogs and two cats. We love to garden, sit in our sunny yard, and cook yummy food. My studio is five minutes from my house and I try go there as much as I can.

I am hoping that this blog will help me navigate an affordable way to live a greener existence. i think like everyone else here I am saddended by what is happening to our planet and I don't want to feel powerless about it. I'm excited by the prospect of a group of creative women working to explore sustainability.


Ashley Baker
Seattle, Washington, USA

Hello, I'm Ash. I work as a production assistant to jewelry artist Lulu Smith during the day and then by night or any other free time I have I work on basically whatever I'm feeling passionate about artistically. I usually work with textiles, making handbags and accessories or soft toy patterns for books. I love photography, gardening and my other half + our 3 fuzzy kids. I think what I'm most interested in eco wise is sustainable/organic gardening, using art as a catalyst for a better world and basically using this blog as a source for people to read and get answers when it comes to being green. I really believe the more we educate others on what they can do to help, the better the situation will be.


Gracia Haby
Visual Artist
Melbourne, Australia

Each day, from my home-based studio, I try to eke out a greener existence. From recycling grey water to adopting energy saving methods on a budget, all in a bid to leave a fainter carbon footprint on the earth beneath my two feet. Recently I have discovered I am not as green as I could be, so what better means to ‘green-up’ my ways than joining a collaborative, environmental blog with my peers. In my art practice I construct imaginary miniature worlds that could be seen to speak of the changing world around us, both on a personal and global level. It is not unusual to find owls bearing precious gemstones whilst oncillas from South America can be seen assisting with the untying of ones eyelashes, where pink diamonds litter the Japanese skyline, and newly found companions are not to be trusted. Paper is my primary medium, Louise Jennison my primary collaborator, and together, as a team, since 1999, we have been making collaborative artworks. Our limited edition artists’ books have played host to a gathering of extinct hand drawn animals, from the Robust White-eye of Lord Howe Island, Australia, to the Pig-footed Bandicoot of in-land Australia, last sighted in 1901, though always with a slippery approach to the facts.


Louise Jennison
Visual Artist
Melbourne, Australia

I am a visual artist living and working in Melbourne, Australia, using paper as my primary (and so it would seem, preferred) medium to create an ongoing series of limited edition, collaborative artists' books with Gracia Haby, various lithographic offset prints, sculptural objects constructed again, wholly from paper, low tech photocopied zines, drawings and watercolours. Recent works have focused on the worldwide decline and extinction of species, habitat loss, pollution, and the impact of humans on both land and sea, on our planet in general. It seemed only natural to draw on paper these environmental concerns. Endangered animals continue to take pride of place, as far as my art practice is concerned. Large polar bears sport bright yellow floatation devices to aid them in their increasingly long arctic swims. Northern Hairy-nosed Wombats are drawn counting their seventy remaining friends. In both my individual work, and together with fellow collaborator, Gracia Haby, I hope to carve out a space removed from its original context and suggest alternatives. In my life, I hope to live a sustainable existence. To be aware of my own personal impact on the environment and to make changes.


Kerstin (shash) Svendsen
Graphic Design Student, Artist and Administrative Assistant
San Francisco, California, USA

As children I think we all have a sense of wonder about and respect for the natural world. My love of animals and trees caused me, among other things, to claim to my friends that I could speak with my pets, to become a vegetarian at age nine and to pick the college I would attend for its Redwood tree density on the campus. For some time now however, I’ve been feeling less connected to this natural world. I’m also really freaked out about how much waste I and others in “first” world countries produce. And about how we are poisoning our land and air and the beings on earth. Often I feel overwhelmed by all the environmental issues and feel I am not doing enough. I’m hoping this blog will make it easier for me to deal with the issues and help me rekindle that relationship with the natural world. I want to transform my worry/talk into action. I’m also hoping this blog will inspire others to make changes. (Normally you’d also find me quilting, making cards, reading fiction, writing, going to the movies and hanging out with my cat Pinky Leon. But for now I’m working part time and going to school full time, and I can barely figure out when to reserve my next CityCarShare hybrid car to buy groceries and fix my next organic meal.)


Hayley Alaska
Grad Student and Director of a museum store
Long Beach, California, USA

I am a city dweller who wants to live on a farm, or in a mountain cabin, or at least have a space with light and trees on all four sides and several dogs in the yard. Everyday I try to live more simply and beautifully within my current habitat. I am a grad student studying nonprofit business management and work as a director for a museum store where I focus the buying on handmade, local and sustainable goods from responsible manufacturers. I have two cats like children, love all pets, and volunteer at an animal shelter. I love to cook, am vegan and love food. I also knit and am reluctantly taking to sewing. My personal green goal is to reduce my material input and output and increase my intellectual input and output.


tracy bartley
mum, artist’s assistant
los angeles, california, USA

I live with my husband and our 2 girls(ages 5 and 2, my “bugs”)in suburban L.A.

I worry (a lot) about the constant bombardment of commercialism in our girls’ lives and try to protect them from that as much as possible. I want them to walk (in a city where everyone drives); to know from where, and from whom, what we consume comes from; to be barefoot as much as possible; to know that being rich has nothing to do with how much "stuff" you have or how big your house is; to cherish the hand in hand-made; and to love our planet earth. In turn, I try and see the wonderment that is life through their eyes. It gives me hope.

When I am not digging in the dirt looking for bugs with my bugs, I work as an artist’s assistant. I am a great believer in the power of community. And I am trying to build a stronger bond with my sewing machine.


gwen bugheart
phd student/entomologist/
evolutionary ecologist
washington dc, usa

every little thing counts.

little insects.
one day
i looked
a little closer at
the tiny insect world
around me
and was hooked.
yet powerful
only occasionally
noticed by the humans.
an elegant world
amazing diversity
so much
to still understand.

little changes.
i study
tiny changes
in the genetic code.
those changes
cause variation
within organisms.
variation that
is the difference
between survival
and extinction.
it is
the foundation
for evolution.

little losses.
i seek to conserve.
habitat loss is
the greatest
threat to diversity.
we are losing
at an alarming rate.
i plan
to contribute to
a great body
of research
that proves
little losses
in diversity now
across species
and lead to
massive losses
in the future.

little steps.
i believe in
the little steps
we can take
turn off the lights.
take the stairs.
bring canvas bags.
buy local produce.
buy used.
stay informed.
when living greener
seems overwhelming,
i remember that
all great change
is the sum of
small changes.
these everyday changes
can lead
to living greener.

every little thing counts.