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Archive for May, 2010

May 24 2010

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Cradle to Cradle institute launches

cradle-to-cradle
Architect William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart made a huge splash on the green scene in 2002 with their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things and have since created an entire movement. Their Cradle to Cradle (C2C) framework is a paradigm shift to eliminate waste through innovative design. Originally developed in 1995, the framework posits that sustainable design, based on the laws of nature, can transform the consumer economy into a regenerative force. The C2C model provides a blueprint for redesigning products and ingredients to become nutrients, enabling old products to become the raw material for new goods and services.

They have since created a C2C certification program (through MBDC), for companies and products that adhere to the C2C criteria. Companies such as Herman Miller, Method, Steelcase and many others have products that have been C2C certified.

And last week, they announced that they were starting the Green Products Innovation Institute, Inc. (GPII), a non-profit organization based in California focused on transforming the making and consumption of things into a regenerative force for the planet. The announcement happened at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA, and included GPII founders and supporters, including William McDonough, Governor Schwarzenegger, Adam Lowry, James Cameron, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and many other political, business and design leaders.

michelle-kaufmann-gpii
The Institute will provide consumers with a valuable resource to ensure that the products they use daily at home, school and work—in every aspect of their lives—are safe and healthy. Rather than focusing on how to make the ingredients in consumer products “less bad,” the GPII is designed to be a resource for those who aspire to be “more good” and achieve new levels of environmental and human health and safety for all products sold in California (and soon, beyond).

The Institute, using the C2C protocols, will work with leaders from academia, the NGO environmental community, government and industry to establish a rating system for evaluating products. Products that meet the criteria will receive the Cradle to Cradle product mark. In addition to the data on toxic chemicals that will be collected as a part of the state’s Toxic’s Information Clearinghouse, there will also be a list of safer “positive” alternative chemicals list created that will enable greater innovation by industry. That innovation will, in turn, lead to safer products and bring us closer to a global Cradle to Cradle economy. Using the C2C framework, the GPII is set to transform how companies design, manufacture and use chemicals, fostering innovation and job growth in a new green chemistry sector.

As an architect, I want to make buildings healthy and choose materials that will have future lives, but it isn’t always easy to know what to avoid, as well as what are the best alternative solutions. That is where GPII can help. The creation of GPII is an exciting step for making C2C principles more accessible—not only for consumers to understand, but also for designers, architects, and companies to adopt in their designs and products. The C2C ideas are big, and the Institute has the promise to make the big innovative ideas a built mainstream reality.

Govenor Schwarzenegger brought a Green Chemistry program into law requiring the toughest, most comprehensive regulatory regime in the country for identifying harmful chemicals in consumer products and require manufacturers of those products to evaluate safer alternatives. This law also gives authority to California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to take action for imposing restrictions and bans. The DTSC and GPII will be collaborating on strong standards and offering solutions.

“The time is now for us to go beyond simply being “less bad” and to lead the world in the invention and innovation of “more good” with Cradle to Cradle products and a prosperous Cradle to Cradle economy. Together, we will inspire and transform the world.”—Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Not only am I a huge William McDonough and C2C fan, but I am also proud to be an advisor with GPII.—Michelle Kaufmann

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May 21 2010

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WHAT'S GOIN’ ON ?

100519-G-5380K-023-Deepwater Horizone Response Controlled Burns

I feel very lucky that I can write about the thing I love to do most—design. There are so many wonderful things happening in the world of interior design, and getting to go to trade shows and see gorgeous products firsthand is nothing short of amazing. As a green designer, I am continually pleased and excited about what’s changing and evolving in materials and products in the kitchen and bath business, as well as the rest of the home. I get really pumped when I see that manufacturers are really “getting it” and changing the way they manufacture and produce their products to make them more sustainable. I have seen green design go from a trend to a mainstream market, even with the downturn in the economy.

So what’s my point? Tonight I’m on a plane to New Orleans to visit a job site, and I have some time to think about what my next blog post will be, and what new, cool thing I can talk about. But I’m not really feeling so great about the latest and greatest hot new product right now. The oil spill in the Gulf has really put me in a tailspin.

I try not to watch too much news on TV. I like to keep up with current events, but I really have to pace myself and not watch it more than once or twice a week. There’s too much going on that disturbs me so I’m better off just tuning in now and then. I know this might sound like a cop-out or that I have my head buried in the sand, but I can’t help it. I simply can’t see how keeping abreast of every news event worldwide every day is going to make me be a better person. There’s a Buddhist philosophy that states that everything you see, hear, think or say has a profound effect on your soul. I truly believe that, and watching hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil and natural gas spew into the Gulf of Mexico is really doing a number on mine.

I just don’t get it. It’s been three or four weeks since this tragedy unfolded, killing several workers at the outset. That’s enough of a tragedy in itself, but the oil continues to flow into the waters, doing untold damage to the wildlife and the ecosystem. And nothing is going on. The “blame game” is being played by BP. Washington, DC, has created a “committee” to look into the problem, and even Kevin Costner seems to have an idea about how to fix the problem. I feel completely helpless, as I’m sure you do. I don’t know what to say, what to do.

There’s a song by Marvin Gaye from 1971 called “The Ecology—Mercy, Mercy Me.” If you get a chance, find it on iTunes and listen to it. The words are below.

Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
No, no
Where did all the blue sky go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the north, east, south, and sea
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
No, no
Oil wasted on the oceans and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
No, no
Radiation in the ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can you stand?

Mercy, Mercy me………………..

Patrcia Gaylor

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May 21 2010

Posted by
Comments off

WHAT’S GOIN’ ON ?

100519-G-5380K-023-Deepwater Horizone Response Controlled Burns

I feel very lucky that I can write about the thing I love to do most—design. There are so many wonderful things happening in the world of interior design, and getting to go to trade shows and see gorgeous products firsthand is nothing short of amazing. As a green designer, I am continually pleased and excited about what’s changing and evolving in materials and products in the kitchen and bath business, as well as the rest of the home. I get really pumped when I see that manufacturers are really “getting it” and changing the way they manufacture and produce their products to make them more sustainable. I have seen green design go from a trend to a mainstream market, even with the downturn in the economy.

So what’s my point? Tonight I’m on a plane to New Orleans to visit a job site, and I have some time to think about what my next blog post will be, and what new, cool thing I can talk about. But I’m not really feeling so great about the latest and greatest hot new product right now. The oil spill in the Gulf has really put me in a tailspin.

I try not to watch too much news on TV. I like to keep up with current events, but I really have to pace myself and not watch it more than once or twice a week. There’s too much going on that disturbs me so I’m better off just tuning in now and then. I know this might sound like a cop-out or that I have my head buried in the sand, but I can’t help it. I simply can’t see how keeping abreast of every news event worldwide every day is going to make me be a better person. There’s a Buddhist philosophy that states that everything you see, hear, think or say has a profound effect on your soul. I truly believe that, and watching hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil and natural gas spew into the Gulf of Mexico is really doing a number on mine.

I just don’t get it. It’s been three or four weeks since this tragedy unfolded, killing several workers at the outset. That’s enough of a tragedy in itself, but the oil continues to flow into the waters, doing untold damage to the wildlife and the ecosystem. And nothing is going on. The “blame game” is being played by BP. Washington, DC, has created a “committee” to look into the problem, and even Kevin Costner seems to have an idea about how to fix the problem. I feel completely helpless, as I’m sure you do. I don’t know what to say, what to do.

There’s a song by Marvin Gaye from 1971 called “The Ecology—Mercy, Mercy Me.” If you get a chance, find it on iTunes and listen to it. The words are below.

Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
No, no
Where did all the blue sky go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the north, east, south, and sea
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
No, no
Oil wasted on the oceans and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
No, no
Radiation in the ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can you stand?

Mercy, Mercy me………………..

Patrcia Gaylor

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May 20 2010

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Get over it!

One of my favorite bands of all time wrote these words,

I turn on the tube and what do I see
A whole lotta people cryin’ ‘don’t blame me’
They point their crooked little fingers at everybody else
Spend all their time feelin’ sorry for themselves
Victim of this, victim of that
Your momma’s too thin; your daddy’s too fat

Get over it
Get over it
All this whinin’ and cryin’ and pitchin’ a fit
Get over it, Get over it
—Eagles

How many people are living with grudges, anger and resentment from the past? Whether it’s friends, business partners or family, it can eat at your insides and do more damage than you think. What’s done is done. And believe it or not, there are many benefits one can gain from difficulties in the past, depending upon your attitude and how you look at it.

Dr. Hans Selve, a renowned Canadian physician and scientist known as the “father of stress,” revealed a study by a psychologist who was analyzing the effects of drunkenness on children in broken homes. When researching the two sons of an alcoholic father, he came upon an interesting fact: One son was living on the streets and was a hopeless drunk and the other son was a successful businessperson. The psychologist asked both of the sons the same question, “Why did you end up this way?” And both of the sons had the same answer, “What would you expect with a father like mine?”

It’s all about choices. We can let all the past experiences and people who have “hurt” us in some way make us bitter or better. And it’s this constant anger and resentment that not only can destroy your insides but can also end up killing you with unnecessary stress. A USA Today study found that 80 percent of all visits to doctors’ offices are for illnesses and injuries associated with stress.

Now, I was about to write down some tips on how to get over past disappointments and live a more stress-free lifestyle when I thought I’d reverse the process and look at it from a whole new angle.

Here are several tips on how to be miserable. Yes, miserable. You may even know a few of these people…and they wouldn’t trade their misery for all the riches in the world. They also live by the German word schadenfreude, which means people who get enjoyment out of the misery of others.

Tip #1:
Believe the world’s against you. You have to cut yourself off from the world, and then somehow magically an inner voice starts to tell you that everyone’s out to get you. And to make sure this is a fact, you have to have a negative attitude toward everyone you come in contact with because, for some odd reason, their reaction will mirror your approach.

Tip #2:
Get all wrapped up in yourself. It’s not time to think of other people’s needs; after all, you should always come first.

Tip #3:
Read a medical book and find some kind of illness (and we do have a name for anything you can think up) that defines why people should feel sorry for you. Then tell everyone about your research to back up all your misery so, in turn, you can make all the people around you miserable as well. This should work well for a while and then you can search for something else that people will feel sorry for you about when this gets stale.

Tip #4:
Blame everyone else for your problems and why you ended up this way. Never look inside for a solution…It’s always someone else who got lucky or a better deal than you and you end up suffering because of it.

And don’t forget to hold these words closely to your heart at all times: anger, jealousy, self pity, selfishness, self-absorption and revenge.

You get the point. Attitude determines your altitude in most situations in life: Some look to go up and some look down. We have the final choice. If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.“—Maya Angelou, poet and author

Barry Farber

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