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Life Arts

Greening America: One Household at a Time - Talking with Susan Agate and Mike Slutsky, Part Two

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Sure. Go for it.

Green America is a great source of information. I've been a member for years and their publications have helped me to find "green" businesses, learn about sustainable investing, avoid sweatshop labor and think about environmental issues I hadn't know about before. They've been hosting Green Festivals on the two coasts for a number of years, but it took them a while to start one in Chicago. Each May for the last three years, there's been a Green Festival here [in Chicago]. I always learn more when I attend. Actually, one of my favorite activities at the Green Festival is to take waste to the "trash" bins. Volunteers tell you what to put in recycling, what in composting, and what in trash. The trash only accounts for about 5% of the waste at the festival! This year there were many fair trade vendors there.

Let's hear more about green businesses, sustainable investing and how to avoid sweatshop labor.

Green America has some great publications on these topics. I love reading the annual National Green Pages, which lists a lot of green businesses. When I can, I try to visit those businesses or shop on-line. Green America also publishes a newsletter and they have had publications on getting to zero waste, healing your home, sweatshop labor, etc. Reading these publications has given me lots of ideas, including trying to invest in socially responsible mutual funds.

One company that I found through the Green Pages is Indigenous Designs. I own two pieces of their clothing and I have saved the tags because they are impressive. Here's the text:

"Indigenous Designs prides itself on providing its customers with products that takethem beyond the bottom line. What does this mean? Indigenous Designs not onlyproduces garments that look great, feel wonderful, and last, but they take thoughtfulmeasures to ensure that the garment is made in a holistic and socially responsible manner. This garment is made in a safe working environment: the artisan producingthe garment is paid a fair wage; the dyes used to shade the garment are low impact;and the natural yarns used to create the garment are made from ecological materials that will not harm the planet. Indigenous Designs is committed to fair trade,preservation of the environment, and quality craftsmanship."

Isn't that great? I have purchased their clothes at two different on-line stores, including Jute and Jackfruit.

Anything you'd like to add?

On our 30th anniversary (December, 2005) all of our children except Elana were in town. Mike, never one to pass up an occasion to make a speech, was describing my good qualities and said that I was an environmentalist. I had never thought of myself that way, even though by then I was doing lots of things to reduce my carbon footprint and care for the earth. So, I figured out that night that I am an environmentalist.

Well, I could have told you that! Thank you for sharing your passion with our readers. You're an inspiration for your students, offspring, and friends, including me. I'm so glad you and Mike helped me kick off my environmental series!

***

Part one of my interview with Susan and Mike: Greening America: One Household at a Time - Talking with Susan Agate and Mike Slutsky

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)
 

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