Don't Close Your Eyes

Lately I have been uninspired by the cultural activism in the climate change scene. There has been so much talk about the Pope's encyclical it has drowned out a lot of other things going on in the world... or maybe I just haven't been digging as deep as usual. But this morning that changed when I learned about Word on the Curb via the Guardian.

Word on the Curb is a collective of filmmakers and spoken word poets who use their videos (on youtube) to discuss social issues of today. Their most recent film is Don't Close Your Eyes. It reminded me so much of the FutureCoast project I worked on last summer which took a fictional look at the world in the near future considering climate change. Word on the Curb is warning the audience (in a non-preachy way) not to "close our eyes" to climate change by defaulting to inaction & the status quo. 

The video is a beautiful easily digestible narrative with skillful poetry behind it. I highly recommend taking a look.

Kitchen of the Future is Sustainable

My week started inspired with the Ikea Concept Kitchen 2025.

This kitchen is compact. We won't need an appliance for each step of the cooking, eating and cleaning process. We won't be using energy to inefficiently heating and cooling a box nor will we be mapping out extra space in our homes for them. This is music to the ears of this new yorker where a square foot of space is more prized than some of my vital organs. The kitchen is also water efficient, having graywater storage capabilities automatically built in.  And my favorite part, the smart meal planning.

The table will provide smart recipe suggestions based on your time allotment and things in your pantry. I am currently struggling with meal planning; I actually just picked up a few glass containers this weekend to help me in my efforts... and a smart database, preferably one that syncs to my phone for my sopping trips would be immensely helpful. Despite all of my list making and planning I still throw away perishable food every week. If my kitchen could save me time and tell me what I have and if I need to eat it soon far less food would make it into my garbage pail.

Although all of these ideas are brilliant and I look forward to having this kitchen in the next decade, the whole premise of having an urban, food storage-light space requires addressing the issues of food accessibility. Even though more than half of the world lives in cities and cities are believed to have open-access to quality food, it is not always so.

I live in a wealthier neighborhood in downtown Manhattan, and while we have some small groceries in walking distance they are not what anyone would consider affordable nor do they carry quality fresh produce. The best option is a Whole Foods and it is a 10-minute walk and requires crossing a highway (not kidding). And Whole Foods certainly isn't friendly to my tiny post-grad, non-profit salary, debt & rent burdened budget.

These kitchens are brilliant, but to avoid them becoming a sustainable commodity for only those with the means (much like electric vehicles or solar panels previously) the underlying social issues have to be addressed. 

Powerwall and Beyond

Tesla-powerwall-b.jpg

Elon Musk is a modern day super hero of sorts. This morning's announcement of the Tesla batteries to store solar power is inspiring to me and my colleagues working in the sustainability field. It's not that the issues of renewable storage and our failing grid isn't being discussed and worked on by others, it is more the fanfare that Tesla brings to the conversation that excites me. The more publicity and exposures his humanistic ventures get, the faster we race toward a sustainable, clean energy future.

Musk's thoughts on procreation and colonizing Mars?... let's just say I'm not a faithful believer.

Kill the K Cup

My obsession with coffee continues

Years ago one of my great friends, Teresa (who has a wonderful etsy shop), took it upon herself to make our office more sustainable. The greatest challenge,: our hated Keurig machine. She tried a few things... pod recycling programs, reusable pods that we filled with our own grounds, but the hassle just made us hate Keurig even more! This is why the brilliant Droops Coffeemaker by industrial designer Eason Chow gets me so excited! 

Isn't it just beautiful? And what's even better than pretty is something that solves a problem in a sustainable way. Peace out trashy K-cups, hello sexy Droops!

Read more about the design here.

Meatless Mondays

I love food. I love potatoes and barbecue and sweets, just all types of deliciousness. And I certainly love meat. I really admire vegetarians/pescatarians/vegans and the other non-meat eaters, but it's just not me, which makes my quest to reduce my carbon "food-print" super difficult.

GS_one-pot pasta

According the the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) food production, particularly meat, generates more greenhouse gases than transportation or industry. It has been calculated that by cutting our meat consumption in half we can prevent catastrophic climate change.

I don't eat meat everyday, and when I do I keep my portion within the recommended sizes (for my health more than any other reason), but I could be more conscious about my meat habit. That said I have decided to challenge myself with Meatless Mondays!

Mondays tend to be a difficult day for me to plan my meals and eat well so I figured it's the best place to start. Yesterday I made an amazing one-pot pasta, and it was just as comforting and easy as my usual meat-heavy dishes!

Plus if these soldiers can do it, so can I!