Since I was a kid, I always enjoyed a variety of subject areas – history, science, languages, as well as music and art. I didn’t feel like there was one subject area I excelled at more than another. So when the time came to choose what I wanted to study in university, I was torn. I didn’t see a way for me to combine my favourite courses in the sciences and the arts. After many years of trying to do one or the other, I feel like I have successfully found a balance in the environmental sector that allows me to explore both my passions: communicating science and innovation through artistic and creative means. I am in the process of completing my Masters degree in Resource and Environmental Management, and I have found that more and more, these two subjects are intertwined.
August 26, 2014, marked the launch of Adjacent Possibilities in art+energy, a 2 week, one-of-a-kind exhibit, housed within the MaRS Discovery District Heritage Atrium, Downtown Toronto. This engagement was the result of teamwork between artists with innovators to convey inspiration, determination, and human innovation to address climate change. This exhibit not only showcased the possibilities being developed to address climate disruption, but boldly addressed what can emerge from collaborative thinking.
Adjacent Possibilities is artistically representing scientific technological advancement, providing a visual and emotional message to the innovative solutions that many companies are implementing to solve global climate issues. As they put it: “Against the vastness and complexity of climate disruption, non-experts can struggle to derive meaning and importance from technically complicated cleantech solutions, leading to pessimism about our capacity to transition our energy economy. By engaging creative minds from the worlds of arts, science and business, Adjacent Possibilities in art+energy leans into the challenge of climate change, inspiring boldness in the face of the daunting energy transitions to come”.
At the opening of the exhibit, Jesika Briones, co-founder of Adjacent Possibilities, told us why she’s bringing the venture to Toronto. “We are sharing this with you today because it is not easy to speak about climate change. It is very heavy. To put the climate change coat on every day is not easy… We need to make a cultural change to steer our way toward a greater future, and I strongly believe that we have the solutions that are needed to make a difference in the world. I don’t want to see future generations telling us that we had the power to make a difference and we didn’t do anything about it.”
The means and methods to address issues and innovation need to be communicated in a fashion that will drive home a message, evoke an emotional response, and spark that need to make a difference. That is what art can bring to the world of science. As Briones mentioned, this exhibit and this art “will serve as a beacon off in the distance to hold our gaze and lift our spirit.”
The name Adjacent Possibilities, which comes from a theory by theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman, describes that the realm of possibility can only be accessed by becoming adjacent to it. Therefore in order to truly understand and access the will and drive to implement change, there needs to be an interconnectedness between the art, the innovation and the science.
This year, the Starfish Canada is pleased to name Tamo Campos our Top Environmentalist under 25. Regardless of his family ties to David Suzuki, Tamo has made his own name in the environmentalism game at the age of 23.
As a young athlete and aspiring snowboarder, Tamo founded Beyond Boarding, an environmental and humanitarian activism group to raise awareness about issues impacting all corners of the world – from the headwaters of the Amazon, to First Nation’s groups in Northern BC.
Tamo recalls the impact the Beyond Boarding’s first project had on his sense of urgency and understanding of the interaction social and environmental issues. “[The project] was about international development done locally. We showcased the area through film by involving local communities in impoverished areas. Our project largely draws in different audiences – snowboarders and youth with snowboarding of volcano craters in Patagonia. Seeing massive floods in these areas hit me personally. I came home and saw how fossil fuel development in BC contributes to the problem and it inspired us to take environmental action.”
Raising awareness through film is something that Tamo has discovered a knack for in his pursuits with Beyond Boarding. His most recent project “Northern Grease” have been featured at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival and the Tofino Film Festival. The movie embodies one of the core lessons of environmental activism through its frank and honest presentation of the issues inherent in the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline paired with the fun-loving, thrill-seeking perspective of a professional snowboarder.
To film the movie, Tamo got his hands dirty – literally. He and his crew modified the engine of an old school bus to run on used vegetable oil. Once they had raided enough french fry stands to fuel the trip, the loaded the bus and travelled 18,000 kilometers across the province, telling the stories of the communities and people they met along the way. Tamo was so moved by what he learned on the Northern Grease trip that, at its conclusion, he found himself joining in the blockade organized by the Tahltan First Nation against a coal mine that would directly impact the Sacred Headwaters. Tamo took on the role of social media liaison; keeping the police honest by remaining in constant contact with the wider world through twitter and facebook reports of the goings on.
It is for his passion, drive, and success that Tamo received three separate nominations to our Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 list; and it is for his ability to marry youth culture with issues that really matter (and an apparent ability to have a great time doing so) that The Starfish Canada is happy to award Tamo Campos the number one spot on our 2014 countdown.]]>
AE Stelzer Photography (Lowell, MA) - A Fine Art Photography Studio that believes wedding photos should be breathtaking, refreshing, and tremendously beautiful.
Artless (Los Angeles, CA) - Creating contemporary craft furniture. Designs are clean, functional, sourced responsibly, and made with the highest standards of American manufacturing.
Balanced Guru (Boca Raton, FL) - Providing certified Organic personal care products for skin, hair, body and spa.
BareBlissBox (Atlanta, GA) – Skincare products that are made solely from the natural elements of the earth. Quality beauty and skincare products without compromising health and overall wellbeing.
Breathe (Philadelphia, PA) - A one-woman-owned boutique business that offers accounting and project support services to creative entrepreneurs.
Busmor Kafferosteri (Valberg, Sweeden) - A roastery of premium coffees.
Cuttingboard.com (Redmond, WA) - A specialty retailer that sells cutting boards and chopping blocks with a focus on sustainability and environmental awareness.
Davines.com (New York, NY) - Selling world renowned, high-end hair-care products with a mission of creating beauty sustainably and encouraging people to take care of both themselves and the environment.
Del Pacifico Wild Caught Seafoods (Hermosa Beach, CA) - Distributors of seafood from the Mexican Pacific. Shipping fresh and frozen seafoods to the United States.
Earth Missions (Lido Beach, NY) - A company that helps its clients experience and enjoy serious powder, swell, and fishing trips.
FarmtoFerments (Windsor, CA) – Raw unpasteurized fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi. Providing locally sourced produce and full circle foods. From farm to ferments.
Fayettechill Outdoor (Fayetteville, AR) – Experience inspired apparel for outdoor enthusiasts, an exhale to the daily grind.
Green Bee Web Consulting (Chicago, IL) - Consulting specialists, focused on building websites using the flexible open source content management system, WordPress focusing solely on B Corps, nonprofits, and those with a social and/or environmental mission.
Icebox Water (Cold Spring Harbor, NY) – Pure spring water in an environmentally friendly paper based carton, a convenient alternative to bottled water in plastic bottles.
imageMILL (Tokyo, Japan) - A new-age branding agency, with a passion and focus on being a catalyst for change for organizations that want to become more sustainable and have a desire to do good in local and global communities.
Kabushiki Kaisya Slow Village (Japan) - Featuring the “All things in Nature” environmentally friendly detergent brands.
Kamuy Outdoor (Lille, France) – Unique outdoor coaching and ultralight backpacking school.
Kossymix (Japan) - Specializing in premier snowboard wax for passionate riders.
Modern Way Consulting (Cotterells, United Kingdom) – An online payment systems and optimal digital commerce solution for business.
NUTRIMATIX (Scottsdale, AZ) – Providing personalized nutrition products.
Open Mind Developments Corporation (Saskatchewan, Canada) - Creating products from plants to provide earth conscious alternatives to conventional plastic.
Oregon’s Wild Harvest (Sandy, OR) – Family-owned and operated proud grower and producer of fresh Certified Organic herbal products.
Pandosy Village Veterinary Hospital (Kelowna, BC, Canada) - An integrative veterinary clinic and fine pet goods store.
Pascha Chocolate Company (Toronto, Canada) - Makers of ultra-pure chocolate which is completely free from all the major food allergens. Using fine aroma organic cocoa beans and creating the chocolate from bean to bar.
Phytodess (Paris, France) - Real beauty care for the scalp and hair, the PHYTODESS products combine nature, luxury and hair expertise to reveal and enhance the hair’s beauty.
Quabblejack (Lake Oswego, OR) - An online retailer with a focus on gear for the adventure and a mission to design quality goods that will last through each and every adventure, that have a minimal impact on the environment.
Sharp Six Services (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – Providing capacity building professional services to community driven organizations and micro-financing & capacity building services.
Susquehanna Actuarial Consulting (Golden, CO) - Specializes in actuarial and management consulting to the healthcare industry: insurers, health plans, employers and government agencies.
Taco Bike (Nashville, TN) - Taco Bike Serves organic, sustainable, humane breakfast tacos from a bicycle. As a social business, Taco Bike was founded to promote local organic food, sustainability, and animal welfare.
TenderWin (Stockholm, Sweden) - Helping people to achieve a healthier life style.
The Conservation Process (Isle of Palms, SC) - A credit card processor hoping to prove that one simple business decision can decrease operating cost and generate additional funding for the community initiatives clients support.
Vermont Farm Tours (Winooski, VT) – Experience the story and flavor of Vermont’s unique culinary landscape by connecting guests to the people and farms that feed us and inspire a better food system.
We invite you to check-out all of these members at the 1% for the Planet website.
The GIC: Impactathon is a national challenge to see which of our student volunteers can conduct the most energy audits for local businesses during the month of October. And at the end of the month, we will crown one student or group as the GIC: Impactathon Winner, along with a plaque and other cool prizes like CO2 light switch stickers, blog features, and more.
The competition will bring energy efficiency recommendations to small business owners across the country, as well as empower dozens of students through hands-on experience. But, it’ll do more than just that.
In keeping with the goal of National Energy Awareness Month, this competition will shine a light on a neglected community of the climate change conversation. GIC: Impactathon will raise awareness about the $60 billion in energy costs and the half a billion metric tons of carbon emissions that the small business community contributes every year and the need for us to help them take action.
So we invite you to participate in this national competition and help us to spread awareness. Here’s how you can get involved:
Compete! Step up and try to conduct the most energy audits in your community and take home the GIC: Impactathon plaque. This is a great way to add something to your resume while helping local businesses and the environment. To get started, review the GIC volunteer toolkit and then sign up to join and we’ll provide you with access to our energy audit tool, GEMS
Volunteer Sign Up
Get a free energy audit! The GIC: Impactathon is a great opportunity for you to support local student volunteers while receiving custom, actionable ways to save energy and utility costs. With the average energy audit only taking 20 minutes and identifying 25% in energy savings, it’s the best investment you’ll make this year. To sign up to receive a free energy audit, simplyregister your business.
Register Your Business
Spread the word! Use the hashtag #GICImpactathon to help us spread sustainability awareness in the small business community and on universities across the country.
CLICK TO TWEET: A national student #energy audit competition for #smallbiz! Who will win?! #GICImpactathon
And good luck to all of those competing!]]>
Strong Recognition for Estuaries and Coastal Wetlands
WASHINGTON – A new priority agenda from the White House announces new actions and comprehensive commitments across the Federal Government to enhance the resilience of our Nation’s natural resources, especially estuaries and coastal resources, in the face of climate change. The agenda places particular emphasis on the importance of healthy estuaries and coastal wetlands for their ability to mitigate carbon pollution and enhance community resilience.
Estuaries and coastal wetlands are on the front lines of climate change impacts from rising sea-level, extreme weather events and increased flooding. Every dollar invested in the mitigation of storm-surge effects on coastal communities saves four dollars in losses from natural hazards, and for every $1 million invested in restoration projects, between 17 and 30 jobs are created.
“We commend the White House for advancing an agenda that commits to increased priority and investment in our coastal natural resources,” said Jeff Benoit, President and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries. “Our estuaries and coastal wetlands play a crucial role in helping communities prepare for the effects of climate change while helping to measurably reduce carbon pollution at the same time. I’m especially pleased to see that the agenda fully recognizes the importance of our coastal resources in the same fashion and priority we have long placed on terrestrial resources.”
Restore America’s Estuaries and our member organizations are pleased to be a partner on several of the private and public sector commitments announced by the White House including:
Coastal wetlands are vitally important ecologically, economically and culturally. Estuaries—bays and inlets where freshwater intermixes with saltwater from the ocean—act as spawning grounds and nurseries for commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish species, provide storm buffers for coastal communities, filter pollutants, and provide habitat for numerous species of fish and wildlife, as well as recreational opportunities for hundreds of millions of Americans annually.
For more information on Restore America’s Estuaries or the ways we’re helping increase the resiliency of natural resources in the face of climate change, sea level rise, and other threats, please contact Lance Speidell at lspeidell (at) estuaries (dot) org.
“My NOLS experience was truly life changing. I learned how to make my voice heard, deliver constructive feedback, embrace hardship and the unknown, be intentional, and live minimally. I learned to appreciate each moment; that the past and future are only thieves of today. I hold all that I learned close to tackle the next adventure.
NOLS taught me the value and power of community. Everyone tried to be fair-minded, open, compassionate, respectful, and helpful. We worked hard at effective communication and conflict management, which paid off incredibly well. I will never forget the power of expressing even the smallest frustration to maintain a healthy relationship.
In the backcountry you can’t let things “brew.” Although this is common in the frontcountry, it is not healthy or productive. Since my course, I am more aware of myself as a function of the whole community of my school, workplace, and teams.
I think everyone should experience outdoor education. One of the hardest parts of the course was raising enough money to be able to participate, and I could not have done my NOLS course without a scholarship. I have never seen myself, or anyone else, grow in leadership skills, competence, self-awareness, judgment and decision-making, risk management, and expedition behavior in such a short time. Everyone deserves to experience that.”
Sadie Sarvis is a 2011 Semester in the Rockies graduate and scholarship recipient.]]>
Watsonville, CA, October 2, 2014 – On October 25th, 2014 The Live Earth Farm Discovery Program invites the community to celebrate the harvest at the annual Harvest Festival. This event is the culmination of the fall tour season, welcoming students back to the farm with their families. Open to the public, LEFDP celebrates the harvest with loads of family friendly fun including tractor rides, face painting, a potluck, live music, local beer and sausages, a pie contest, apple cider making, tomato canning, and lots of local treats by folks like Penny Ice Creamery, and Hey Honey Lemonade.
Recently, I overheard a parent of young kids reflecting on their u-pick experience at Live Earth Farm. “What struck me,” he said, “was how we picked down the whole row and looking back we barely made a dent.” This parent learned an important lesson about the true value of agricultural labor, a lesson that translates into real appreciation of the food that makes it to our dining tables and the efforts and resources is takes to get it there. About 300 people of all ages will get the chance to appreciate and celebrate the food on our plates at the 2014 LEF Discovery Program Harvest Festival.
Through LEFDP’s programs local, under served youth build confidence in learning to be active caretakers of themselves, their community and their environment. This is why the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program hosts three farm events a year for the community, to provide farm programming for all local families.
Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are available, as well as tickets on our website. http://www.liveearthfarm.net/harvest-festival-2014/
The Live Earth Farm Discovery Program (LEFDP) is a farm-based education not for profit organization in Watsonville, California. LEFDP makes seed to mouth, farm to fork, and child to community connections through a variety of hands-on educational programs serving the youth of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Monterey counties and beyond. A special emphasis is placed on reaching under served people in the Pajaro Valley to bolster individual, community and environmental health.
Jessica Ridgeway, Director
On facebook: LEFDP
On Twitter: @LEFDP
On Pinterest: LEFDP
On Instagram: LEFDiscoveryProgram
To learn more about Restore America’s Estuaries, National Estuaries Week, and ways that you can help restore and conserve our nation’s priceless coastal areas, please contact Lance Speidell at lspeidell(at)estuaries(dot)org.]]>
You don’t litter, you have a reusable water bottle and you put your groceries in cloth bags. But what’s in your shower?
In the past decade, cosmetic companies have increased their output of products with plastic microbeads. Most of these are advertised with the words “scrub” or “exfoliating.” On the ingredients list, “polyethylene” and “polypropylene” are red flags: Both are just types of plastic.
Plastic bags and bottles turn into microplastics through a process of degradation, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces. Microbeads, on the other hand, are already tiny—under 10mm in diameter—by the time they enter watersheds. The beads are small enough that they slip right through water treatment facility filters and into watersheds. Once they make it through, they attract the toxins present in low concentrations in a body of water.
Illinois has banned the sale of products with microbeads; Ohio and New York are considering doing the same, as is Toronto. New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. introduced a bill to implement a ban nationwide by 2018, and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has proposed similar legislation. Major cosmetics companies have taken note: Unilever is phasing out plastic microbeads by 2015, and L’Oreal will do the same by 2017.
For now, though, plastic microbeads are easy to buy and use. Luckily, they’re also easy to avoid.
Tips on avoiding products with microbeads:
–Check ingredients labels for polyethylene and polypropylene.
–An app has been released which allows you to simply scan a bar code with your smartphone camera to determine if a product has microbeads.
–Check out the list below of popular U.S. products with microbeads. The complete list is available here.
–Don’t worry! There are plenty of exfoliants without microbeads, most of which use biodegradable and filterable products like jojoba, vitamin C paste and volcanic minerals. You can find a list of some of the best from Allure magazine here.
PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN PLASTIC MICROBEADS
Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub
Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Resurfacing Scrub with Vitamin C
Aveeno Active Naturals Clear Complexion Cream Cleanser
Bath & Body Works Pure Paradise 2-in-1 Body Scrub and Wash
Clean & Clear Advantage 3-in 1 Exfoliating Cleanser
Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Scrub – Oil Free
Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser Scrub – Oil Free
Clean & Clear Deep Action Exfoliating Scrub – Oil Free
Clean & Clear Daily Pore Cleanser – Oil Free
Clearasil Reckit Benckiser Daily Clear – Refreshing Superfruit Scrub
Clinque Estée Lauder Companies 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula
Clinque Estée Lauder Companies Exfoliating Scrub
CVS Pharmacy Oil-free acne scrub
Dermalogica Clear Start – Blackhead Clearing Pore Control Scrub
Every Man Jack Face Scrub Pre-Shave Mint
Every Man Jack Body Wash and Shower Gel – Citrus Scrub
Hempz Sandalwood & Apple Herbal Body Scrub
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel-Energizing Scrub – Skin Buffer for Men
Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective – Skin Brightening Exfoliator
Olay Prof. Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser
Rite Aid Renewal DIY Regenerating Cleanser
Rite Aid Renewal Regenerating Micro Refining Cream
Rite Aid Renewal Acne Body Scrub Clear
Rite Aid Renewal Acne Wash Daily Scrub Oil-Free
Rite Aid Renewal Bright Skin Daily Face Scrub
Rite Aid Renewal Exfoliating Cleanser
Up & Up (Target Brand) Exfoliating Body Wash – Pomegranate Seeds
Up & Up (Target Brand) Blackhead Facial Scrub with Salicylic Acid
Up & Up (Target Brand) Acne Wash Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub
Up & Up (Target Brand) Renewing Cleanser
Victoria’s Secret 2-in-1 Wash and Scrub
Walgreens Blackhead Clearing Scrub
Crest Pro Health
Crest Pro Health for Me
Crest Complete Multi Benefit
Crest 3D White
Crest 3D White Luxe