Ecobricks, the degrowth movement, cycling mindfully

What I listened, watched, read, and loved in May and June 2019.

Waste Dive: Is recycling only a Band-Aid? Q&A with TerryCycle founder

If you’ve ever researched “how to recycle x”, you know TerraCycle is a big deal. Founded in 2001, the New Jersey based company now operates in 20 countries and accepts hard-to-recycle things ranging from toothpaste tubs to old electronic cords that you can’t for the life of you figure out what they were for. I loved this interview with founder Tom Szaky, where he discussed long-term strategy, extended producer responsibility, and other policy solutions to our trash problems.

UCLA: Back to school – unlearning 9 environmental myths

An oldie but a goodie. Dr. Peter Kareiva does a great job debunking some popular environmental myths. I especially loved Myth 9, which I ‘grammed about here

Nick Moore: Mindful thoughts for cyclists – finding balance on two wheels

I came across this cute little number at our local bookstore and bought it on a whim. I’m so glad I did! Consisted of a series of short essays, Moore reflects on the life lessons he’s learned on two wheels. I never go on 50-mile rides in the English countryside, but the joy I feel on my bike commute in the city is all the same.

The true cost (free on Netflix)

A must-watch documentary , if you are interested in learning more about the labor and environmental impacts of the fashion industry. Even as someone who was already quite aware of the labor abuse, price extortion and environmental damage resulting from “fast fashion”, this movie was still so very powerful. 

Related, Collaction is hosting a 3-month no new clothes challenge from June 21-Sept 21, 2019, if anyone wants to join! (The definition of “new clothes” is somewhat up to you – you could still purchase secondhand or take a full-on hiatus from shopping. I am also counting shoes and accessories!)

Gretchen’s Closet: How not to be eco-friendly

Gretchen is one of the OG ethical fashion bloggers; she started this blog in 2004! On Gretchen’s closet, she blogs about style after 40, conscious shopping, and recently, pregnancy at age 46. Her posts just exude honesty and authenticity, and I resonated particularly with this recent post about our over-consumption culture and the irony of “buy sustainable”.

Global Ecobrick Alliance: Where to drop off my ecobricks?

I’ve only heard about ecobricks recently, and the human creativity behind it sort blew my mind. An ecobrick is a plastic bottle packed with plastic to a set density so it can be used as a building block for modular furniture, garden spaces, and even buildings like schools and houses. Global Ecobrick Alliance is an NGO focused on the dissemination of “low-tech, educational, and open source ecobrick technology.” I just loved this post on their website about where to “take” your ecobricks. Check it out!

VICE: The radical plan to save the planet by working less

Here is a question for you to chew on: if economic growth always good? If we only work to afford more stuff, can we de-grow so we work less and buy less stuff? (Obviously this conversation is more relevant in the developed world, and even then I don’t think it’s going mainstream any time soon. Still some food for thought though.

99% Invisible: Sound and Health

Noise pollution is not an environmental problem discussed very often where I live now, but I’m no stranger to this issue, having lived in cities all my life. (For several years, we actually lived next to a highway in Beijing, and literally could never open the window in the summer because how loud traffic would get.) 99% Invisible has a two part series exploring how sound affects our health, well-being and productivity, and how we could incorporate more design thinking in cities and hospitals to lessen the impacts.

What a Waste 2.0: a global snapshot of solid waste management to 2050

I led a waste/recycling workshop at work lately, and cited a lot of statistics from this report. If you want to take a deep dive into the state of our global trash problem, this report is a great place to start. I find the case studies at the end especially fascinating and promising. (tl;dr, you can read a summary here).

Here is me at the workshop. There were more than two people here, I assure you 😛

Side note: would you like me to lead a similar workshop at your organization? Message me!

The Sustainability Agenda: The importance of behavior change to reduce CO2 (episode 64)

I mentioned this episode in an earlier post about changing the culture around how we talk about and practice sustainable behaviors, and I still think about this interview with Brett Jenks (CEO of RARE) often. Check out this podcast, or RARE’s research here.

Until next month!