Monday, June 23

Eco 92

Saturday, May 24

Being Green, Saves Green

Here is a wonderful article over at Treehugger about how some elementary students helped the environment, and saved their school about $800 a month. This is great, because the students can see the positive effect they are having. Even the littlest bit counts. And if $800 doesn't seem like enough to some people, I will be more than happy to take it off their hands for them.

Friday, May 16

NYU Green Campus Day

NYU has an interesting program going on, its called Campus Move-Out Day, and it feels similar to Art Center's TRUNKsale. It's great to see parallel thoughts popping up in campuses around the nation. There is a larger explanation of Campus Move-Out Day at Treehugger. Also information directly from NYU here and here (pdf files).

Tuesday, May 13

Wattz On

Most everything in the issue of Sustainability will dwindle down to energy consumption. Here is a massive resource of information about that (I have only gotten through 25 of the 190 something pages so far, and think it is worth the read for anyone else interested in the subject matter). Download the the whole presentation at

Wednesday, May 7

Cassandra and Peak Oil

Found via Treehugger. Which has more links about how you can adapt to peak oil. As well as Cassandra's own site

Friday, May 2

Going Green Tips has a categorized facts, tips and products to help you go green. Fantastic little icons that pay attention to the details of design. I enjoy how there are footnotes to some of their tips, making it easier for users to check where information is coming from, and follow up further if so inclined. has tips that are "convenient, fun and inexpensive." I don't have the experience with idealbite I would like to for a proper review. It was recommended by a friend though, and has several features I enjoy. One is city specific green tips for San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. Their tip library has been easily searchable. And, if so inclined, users can have tips delivered to their inbox on a daily basis. has a series of how to green various aspects of your life. Convenient are the links to other resources and places to purchase some of the items talked about. In fact, the follow up resource lists are quite extensive, and get updated by the daily posts on Treehugger if relevant.

Thursday, May 1

Animals Save the Planet

A series of fun claymation ads by Animal Planet. Watch the Animals Who Save the Planet.

Sunday, March 23

Week 10 Recap

The Bike Tune-Up was finalized and will be this coming Friday, March 28 from Noon - 3pm in the Sinclair Pavilion. Free help with your bike, snacks and water, followed by an informal ride down into Pasadena. Please bring your a helmet.

We discussed all the different possibilities for Earth Hour at Art Center this Saturday, March 29. Looking to have people on Hillside Campus at the Sinclair Pavilion by 7:30pm, so we can watch the lights of Art Center go out. After that, there will be a brief dialogue addressing why we're doing this, and what it all means. Followed by singing songs, telling stories and having fun in the dark! 

Jaman brought up an issue that the fields around the Sculpture Garden might be torn up with some kind of pavers put down, so that cars can park there without sinking in. The problem is, this is where the Hooligans play soccer. He'll be looking into asking the school for an alternative solution that doesn't result in the loss of space for activity to take place, there are so few options available to us on campus.

Monday, March 17

No Impact Man Speaks

A brief and inspiring speech, read more from Collin at No Impact Man.

Friday, March 14

Week 9 Recap

We went over the t-shirt designs once again, and are looking at doing a honeycomb/floral print over the misprinted orange colored logo.

There is going to be a Food Committee to discuss the issues regarding cafeteria. Two members from Ecocouncil will be in attendance. More information as this develops.

The Bike Tune-Up is now Friday Week 11. 

A reminder now that we want to spread the word on Earth Hour, March 29 8pm to 9pm. We will be talking to Art Center faculty about making this an opportunity for the school support us.  On a related note, there will be Catch-Up day Week 13, April 6. The school will be open for students to catch up on all of their projects.

Friends of Los Angeles River is having their big clean up May 17. We are trying to organize one during the term as well. It is planned for Friday Week 12, from 9am to Noon. Heidrun's Sustainability class will be involved, and Ecocouncil is looking to supply snacks and water to all who attend! We plan cleaning up the Arroyo Seco, which the the little river that runs down under Holly Street.

John updated us on the Model Shop Organization/Recycling Bin. It's come a long way, and he now has some orthographics which he is working on with Arthur and Clark. Thanks for the hard work.

Food Drive on Campus

Korey Madson has organized a food drive on campus for the LA Food Bank. This is a worthy cause that everyone should contribute to. It has been going on since week 8 and will end week 10 (March 21). I hope that everyone can find some time to drop something off.

Monday, March 10

Week 8 Recap

We were visited by Emily, who was a former employee of American Apparel working as their Environmental Programs Representative. While there, she dealt with such issues as waste diversion, energy, and transportation. It was an informal conversation with her, and she answered as many questions as could from Ecocouncil. 

She talked a lot about the process of how shirts are made. From cotton plant, to yarn spinning, and fabric cutting and dyeing. American Apparel doesn't grow cotton plants, Emily did talk about the extra parts of the plant being pressed to make cotton seed oil for food. Because a lot of cotton is laden with pesticides, she recommended against eating anything with cotton seed oil. The dye process of making shirts the most energy intensive and expensive process of shirt making because of the heat involved. 

Emily did have a few recommendations for us to consider. Anyone interested in textile should read the Global Organic Textile Standard, it is fast becoming regular reading in the industry. Regenerative Materials are becoming a bigger and bigger issue in the industry, and will only become bigger. This means reusing industrial waste [ie the trimmings from cutting shirts] as well as the more common practicer people have taken by re-designing commercial waste [ie turning a coke bottle into a planter]. Two companies told us about two companies that are doing two interesting things in green, Sustainable Solutions Incorporated and Rana Creek. Finally, she recommended a few magazines we might be interested in, Permaculture Magazine and Ecologist.

Two updates from student projects that are well worth noting. Narbeh looked at computer usage at Art Center, and found that we are not doing the bare minimum to conserve energy. The computers have slow start up times and settings on the computers are not geared towards efficiency [ie screen savers and sleep modes]. He talked to a few companies, explaining our situation, and the quickest solution they recommended is simply putting computers to sleep when not in use. This is something we could implement at pretty much zero cost. Narbeh is going to continue researching into this and keep us posted.

John talked to the AV Department, and it will be quite easy to have an outdoor screening, all we need is to have an instructor check out the equipment. To add to this, William found out a screening of King Corn would cost us $295 [we'd get to keep the DVD afterwards though].

Thanks to Emily for coming by, and for everyone else for finding out the information.  Final note, I have Emily's talk in .mov format, and would like to shrink it down [and edit] before posting online. Can anyone help me with this?

Friday, March 7

12 Household Uses for Vodka

1. Keep Aphids off houseplants. Wash off houseplants with tap water then dab the leaves with a cotton ball dipped in vodka. Do not use alcohol on delicate plants like African Violets.
2. Shine chrome, glass and porcelain bathroom fixtures. Soak a soft, clean cloth with vodka and shine.
3. Remove hairspray from mirrors. Soak a soft, clean cloth with vodka and wipe mirrors clean.
4. Clean crystal and porcelain ornaments.
5. Clean the caulking around bathtubs and showers by filling a spray bottle with vodka, then spraying the caulking. Wait 5 minutes, then wash clean. Bonus: the alcohol in the vodka actually kills mold and mildew.
6. Clean a chandelier right where it hangs! Spray the chandelier with a solution of four teaspoons of vodka to one pint of water.
7. Put down a cloth or plastic sheet to catch the drips.
8. Remove stains by rubbing with a clean cloth soaked in vodka. Rinse thoroughly.
9. Clean jewelry and cutlery. Soak it in vodka for five minutes, rinse and dry.
10. Remove the glue left behind by stickers and labels. Rub the glue with a soft, clean cloth soaked in vodka.
11. To get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke, mix one part vodka to three parts water, spray and let dry.
12. Clean tiles in the bathroom by spraying with vodka. Leave it on for 5 minutes and rinse. Great for getting rid of soap scum.

Bonus 13. Make your own vanilla, by cutting a vanilla bean and leaving it in the vodka. Cheaper than vanilla extract. You can use this technique to add some aroma to any of the tips above!

image via skyy vodka

Thursday, March 6

ATHGO International

Some of the Art Center kids with one of our group members in the break-out session.

Timothy Foresman and his awesome shirt.

From February 27 to March 1, three students from Art Center were lucky enough to attend ATHGO International's Global Forum at UCLA [with the tagline, "change your attitude, not the weather"].  At the forum, two things happened, there were speakers and breakout sessions. The speakers informed us about what is going on right now in the world. The breakout sessions were the attendees opportunity to come together and create some possible solutions to what the world is facing. These solutions were in the form of business models and policy outlines. On the final day, each of the nine break-out groups presented their ideas in an attendee moderated panel discussion.

Some of the standout speakers included John Zawalney, who did a climate change presentation with knowledge gained from training with former Vice President Al Gore. A big hit was Timothy Foresman, President of the International Center for Remote Sensing Education, and member of He talked about the need to check what we know, and that we can reduce pollution and make money doing it. He also ended one of his panels with everyone singing Imagine, because we have to have fun or else its just not worth it.

The break out sessions were awesome, and a great opportunity to meet people with different backgrounds that were interested in social and environmental responsibility. Hearing their ideas alongside those of the speakers was inspiring. Two of the more interesting ideas from the panels were the need for some kind of education program in today's schools and a green bank, that provides funds for private and businesses attempting to be green. I think both of these are issues that various people at Art Center help tackle with various toolsets [Banks need logos, graphics, letterheads, and so forth. An education program might need background research, interactive games, and engaging educational videos]. Out of all of this, the thing we came away with, was that all the ideas that we have come up with, already exist, they're just not well known enough. There are green banks, and there are green education programs, there just needs to be more. The same goes with the technology out there, everything we need, is out there, we just need to re-organize it in a meaningful manner that allows people to take advantage of it.

Monday, March 3

Free! ARTS Bus

The ARTS Bus is Free for the month of March!

The following text is snagged from

"The City of Pasadena is again offering a “Free Ride” on all Area Rapid Transit System (ARTS) buses to Art Center staff, faculty and students during the month of March. The ARTS bus provides weekday service
to/from Art Center between 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. along Route 51. Route 51 connects to the Memorial Park, Del Mar and Fillmore Metro Gold Line stations--and the Fillmore station is within walking distance to South Campus. If you're already on campus, try taking the ARTS bus to lunch in Old Town. Just show your ID card and board.

Due in part to the effort of Art Center's Eco-Council, bicyclists wanting to use Pasadena ARTS buses for part of their journey now can count on this system to provide bike racks on each of its 24 buses."

Sunday, March 2

Week 7 Recap

The American Apparel Tour has been cancelled. In its place a former employee who was in charge of many of the Green initiatives there will come and give us an informative and inspirational talk.

The Bike Tune-Up is now scheduled for Friday of week 10 [March 21], and will go from about Noon to 3pm. This will be followed by a fun group ride around Pasadena.

We are going to try and do a Weekend Clean-Up Event week 11, with the help of Claude Willey. We're looking at picking plastic bags out of the Los Angeles River, or something along that line. Once a date, time and place is finalized, we'll be inviting instructors and faculty to come with us. In particular, George Falardeau, Nate Young and Richard Koshalek. 

Some students are going to look into having the Student Store start carrying cardboard binders. There are some in the CMTEL room right now, they're amazingly sturdy, and definitely better than the vinyl plastic folders.

We are going to work on efficiency in the computer lab. To start off though, we need to know what that means. Is it turning off the computers? Turning off monitors? There is definitely some opportunity in putting the Lab Assistants to work in monitoring this, and finding a way to make students more conscious of this. We'll be looking into seeing what other colleges do, to try and get some ideas too.

We're trying to get another E-waste drive going, and seeing if this can coincide with the one that the Rose Bowl hosts. At the very least, there might be some boxes put into the CMTEL for this.

Out Network is having a food drive in the coming week [exact date posted shortly]. I urge everyone to contribute to this.

There was a good discussion about an Art Waste drive and the need to talk to students and instructors about the amount of paper used at the school.  Things covered are the fact that large sheets of newsprint often end up sitting around in student trunks only to be thrown away over recycled. We are trying to formulate a stance on this, so we can inform various instructors about our collective goal so that can try and adapt what they already do a more sustainable end. Other specifics mentioned was move towards projected presentations to save paper. This is a rough concept now, that we are trying to flesh out over time, and would appreciate any ideas.

Finally, two events Art Center might try to participate in [with some encouragement from Ecocouncil]:
Earth Hour [March 29] [individual post forthcoming]
Pangea Day [May 10] [individual post forthcoming]

Wednesday, February 27

UCLA 2008 Global Forum

A few members from Eco Council will be attending this ATHGO International Event at UCLA over the following days. We will take note of as much as we can and summarize interesting and key points back here.  In the mean time, here is a list of recommended reading material to prepare us for the event, I thought I'd share.

Global Warming

·         Basic facts:

This article is a brief on various keywords that might be used in regards to climate change. The meat of the work is at the end of the page, summarizing that although there can not be seen any global trend [possibly from lack of adequate information] local changes in the extremes and variability are seen.  At the very end, it is noted that are best way to consider the future is based upon climate models through computer simulation.

Scientist have reached a consensus, there is global warming, and "dealing with it is no simple task." A great aspect to this is addressing the issue that this affects our economy, and affects how we should consider the future global economy.

Global warming exists, and yes greenhouse exist. The biggest concern is that we are producing these gases in excess of the capacity to absorb and process what we are dishing out. Temperature change might be natural for the world, just not in the ways we're currently experiencing.

·         Causes:

This is a review of information for anyone who has taken Heidrun's Design for Sustainability class, a good review about the various green house gases. Some odd comparisons, maybe someone could make a cool graph of the relative pollution levels of various fuel options.

This is a great site with straight questions people sometimes have, and direct and concise answers. I highly recommend this one. It is a quick informative read, that would be a good jumping off point to issues mentioned in it.

There are two data maps here that might be interesting to anyone looking for support information to projects.

·         Basic Information

Carbon Offsets, don't get me started... Cheat Neutral. The heart is in the right place though, and thats a start.

Alternative Energy Sources

·         Types

The US Department of Energy, lists 14 means to harness energy, which makes it an interesting primer to jump off to other topics based upon reading brief synopsis's of those.

Similar list to US Department of Energy, a good addition is that of pro's and con's to the energy forms listed.

Monday, February 25

Week 6 Recap

Joe Rosebro had a very engaging and informative dialogue with students and faculty. He talked about the work he currently does for Perfect Sky, Inc. and Green Car Congress, much of it for public policy, city mobility, and energy issues. This is one of the larger points he brought across, that a lot of issues regarding sustainability lead back to energy use.

Interestingly enough, Joe graduated from Art Center in Fine Art. He lived in Sweden for a year to study the European point of view on mobility and energy. He has gone down a long road of trying to define sustainability, and has found a suitable framework in The Natural Step.
Joe had two other broad issues he covered. One, if Art Center does not shift its core beliefs and attitudes towards its curriculum, Art Center will no longer be relevant [note: this is a very big thing! We're paying a lot to be here at this school, and if they're not preparing us for the competitive future, we're not getting our money's worth]. 

The second broad issue talked about was the need for sustainability to come from a change in behavior. An example of this is the Prius, a person may buy a Prius to cut their gas usage in half. The problem is that there is a lot of materials that were harvested from the earth to create the Prius.  How could a person have altered their behavior to cut their gas usage in half? That's the difficult part. There are many technologists working on the issue of sustainability, now we need more sociologists.

Get unplugged!

One of my favorite tech writers, Alex Pham, had an article in the LA Times Business section, Sunday 2/24, titled "Shrink Your Energy Footprint" - an informative article that reveals how much energy is lost when you are not using your gadgets (phantom loads).  This helpful little chart comes from and tells you how many watts/hr. each of your electronic friends spends simply being plugged in.  Alex lists a bunch of really great resources for "taming your power beasts".  (SmartStrips. Solio, solar backpacks, etc.)
Consumer electronics left idle, or in stand-by mode, suck as much as 25% of their power when not in use.  Computers can draw up to 85% when left on.  "Phantom loads" add about $28 to the average annual household power bill. 
Check out her article - and for those green tech heads - read all of the articles by Alex Pham, she really does her homework on "green electronics".

Saturday, February 23

Farmer's Markets

Frank, at South Pasadena Farmer's Market, performs while making an awesome savory crepe.

Here is a list of farmer's markets around the Pasadena area:

Alhambra CFM
Sunday 8:30am - 1pm

Eagle Rock Farmer's Market
Friday 5pm - 8:30pm

Glendale CFM
Thursday 9:30am - 1pm

La Canada Flintridge CFM
Saturday 8am - Noon

Pasadena Victory Park CFM
Saturday 8:30am - 1pm

Pasadena Villa Park CFM
Tuesday 9am - 1pm

Thursday 4pm - 8pm

Find a Market near you here.
For a full list of Farmer's Markets around the greater Los Angeles Area check out these websites:

Saturday, February 16

Fields of Fuel

Our friend gave us a "Fields of Fuel, Make fuel not war" badge. The film won the Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival. The rumor says that the team is going to take a road trip to cities in America (of course with their biodiesel vehicle) to share the film.
By the way... we also ordered DVD for "Manufactured Landscape" yesterday.

Original post: toybox

Friday, February 15

Resource List

The goal of this list is a comprehensive list of resources for Art Center Students and Faculty who are trying to be more sustainable [like all the other lists, it will grow, so please check back].

Online Los Angeles Area Lists:

Movie List

Similar to the book list, the movies here are wonderful sources of information to learn about the issues concerning Sustainability [this list will grow and change over time, so please check back].

Please leave recommendations/reviews in the comment section.

Burning the Future []

A Really Inconvient Truth [Joel Kovel]

Radiant City

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

Our Synthetic Sea

What Would Jesus Buy

The End of Suburbia

Darwin's Nightmare (2004)

Extreme Oil: The Oil Cuse

Crude Awakening

Manufactured Landscapes

What A Way to Go: Life At the End of Empire

11th Hour


King Corn




Entertainment w/ Message

Erin Brockovich

The China Syndrome (1979)

Chinatown (1974)

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Dr. Seuss The Lorax (1972)

Gorilla's in the Mist (1988)

Syriana (2005)

Over the Hedge (2006)

Princess Mononoke

Fern Gully

Medicine Man

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind


The Man Who Planted Trees (1987) [animated]

[details under construction]

Week 5 Recap

This was a productive meeting with great attendance and participation by all [It was so productive I wanted to cry]. The Ecocouncil T-shirts are done! Too bad they were misprinted and the logo is in orange instead of the chosen green. We're going to make this work though, and are not going to throw away the shirts. We are already came up with a few options and are going to test them out.

There was a large group discussion on Greening the Cafeteria. We are now organizing to find out as much information as we can about where things stand. The main question is, what is the incremental cost difference? And how do we finance that [who pays]? Looking further at possible options, can we get a sponsor to green the cafeteria? What options have been looked at by Sodexho and Art Center? As we keep repeating, Greening the cafeteria is the best way to send a message to students and faculty alike that the school has listened to our requests.

The idea of a Sustainable Dialogue Series was discussed. We will look into asking Jeanie Mitsunaga about requesting more speakers in the Business Dialogue Series who have experience in this. On our part this means starting a list [with reasons] about who we might ask to come and speak. The Sustainable Dialogue Series issue spun off to also having movie screenings as well. Again, it will be upon us to start carving out this list. Some films already mentioned were The 11th Hour, The Future of Food, King Corn, and Battle in Seattle. These may be screened in the Ahmanson and/or out in the Sculpture Garden [Cinespia style]. On a lighter note, we might even have an Apocalyptic Series Marathon [think along the lines Soylent Green, Twelve Monkeys, Mad Max and dare I say, Waterworld]. And if all that isn't enough, there might even be free refreshments!

Issues that had briefer conversations include the Book List. The CMTEL will try and have as many of these available for interested students to come and browse/borrow. The Model Shop Recycling Bins have been designed, and should be implemented when Clark gets back, barring minor approval issues. Speaking of the shop, Clark is going to a green materials show, that we hope he will come and speak to Eco Council about post-show.

Upcoming Events:
February 22, 1pm, there will be a speaker coming in to talk to Ecocouncil.
February 22, 4pm - 8pm block party/street fair on Mission St. in South Pasadena.
March 7, tour to American Apparel in Downtown LA.

Planned, but still unscheduled events:
Bike Tune-Up (looking at 9-ish week)
Art Center Bike Ride (post Bike Tune-Up maybe)
Nature Conservancy Volunteer Weekend
Arroyo River Hike
Sustainable Movie Screenings

Wednesday, February 13

Nokia remade

2085059868_d35a78ee0c_oConcept sustainable phone from Nokia. It looks quite sleek.

"We will be compelled to reuse and celebrate what is essentially “above ground”. Thus we explored the use of reclaimed and upcycled materials that could ultimately change the way we make things.

In remade, recycled materials from metal cans, plastic bottles, and car tyres are used beautifully; whilst helping reduce landfill and preserving natural resources. The concept also addresses cleaner engine technologies, and energy efficiency through power saving graphics."

original post: toybox

Tuesday, February 12

Pasadena ARTS Bus Information

Fare is 50 cents. EZ Transit Passes, Metrolink Passes, Pasadena Dial-A-Ride, and Access Services ID are also accepted. The 51/52 Route [Blue] is the one that goes between Hillside and Southcampus. 

How to use the Bike Rack.

Monday, February 11

Week 4 Recap

The meeting was small and intimate. We got a bearing on where various student projects are at. The main point of discussion were gathering a list of ideas to propose to Nate Young, post-Sustainability Summit. We also started brainstorming on a possible Green Standards Guideline for Art Center student groups.

Key Issues we want to bring to Nate Young:
Greening the Cafeteria - this is an issue that is right in front of our faces everyday. Moving towards a more sustainable cafeteria would be a tangible change for the better to students and faculty alike. 
Sustainable Education - we feel that if Art Center wants to continue to be a school that is leading in Design, there needs to be a deeper integration of sustainability into the curriculum. This ranges from the possibility of adding new courses to integrating the ideas and spirit of sustainability into existing classes. Some faculty are doing this already, and their efforts should be taken note.
Sustainable Dialogue Series - we feel this would be an extension of the business dialogue series and Eco Council's own efforts to bring speakers on campus. It is also an extension of the broadening of Sustainability Education on campus.
Recycling - there is a level of confusion as to what is happening post Waste-Stream Analysis. In addition to being updated with the latest information, we would really like to see recycling bins now. What would it take on the student's side to make this a reality? This might include a lecture to incoming students to make this engrained in everyone's mindset.
Transportation - we would like there to be more incentive to carpooling and using the Arts Bus, so it is seen as a more beneficial option to students.

Green Student Organization Standards [Resource Guide]
What are the student events? What do students buy? Even as students, when put to the spot, we realized we don't know enough about ourselves or each other. We will reflect upon the various supplies and items we buy over the coming weeks, to start to compile a list of sustainable alternatives for students to choose from. 
We also hope to make this list as part of a packet to present to incoming students.

Sunday, February 10

Book List

This list is for people interested in learning about Sustainability, and needing a place to start. These books are wonderful resources. [This list will expand over time, so please check back]

Cradle to Cradle: Remake the Way We Make Things
by William McDonough and Michael Braungart
ISBN-10: 0-86547-587-3

Mid-Course Correction
by Ray C. Anderson
ISBN 0-9645953-5-4
Chairman and CEO of Interface Inc., Ray C. Anderson reflects upon how he came to believe in sustainability and implemented in his corporation with the goal of becoming a restorative company. This is a fantastic case study of sustainability in the real world. 

Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired By Nature 
by Janine M. Benyus
ISBN 0-06-053322-6
Janine takes us through a series of interesting applications that look to nature for solutions to the problem of human survival. Think of trying to harness the sun's power like a leaf, or being able to weave materials ten times strong than steel, like a spider.  All without the harsh effects of mining and processing. These are the kinds of inspiring topics in this book.

The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability
by Paul Hawken
ISBN-13: 978-08877307041
In this book, Paul Hawken proposes a culture that is mutually inclusive of business and the natural world.

World Changing: A User's Guide to the 21st Century
by Alex Steffen
ISBN-13: 978-0810930957
This book is packed with information on the 
environment, sustainability and possible futures. It introduces a number of issues and concepts, and is wonderful reference book.

The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses are Beating the Global Competition.
by Michael H. Shuman
ISBN 978-1-57675-466-5
This is the reason I list ISBN numbers over providing Amazon links, you should be going to your local bookstore, and they should be carrying this book. Being sustainable is as much about local community development as it is buying organic and recycling. 

Thursday, February 7

Sustainability Summit Day 2

V. Sumantran started the day off by talking about the issues concerning a low-cost car, with particular attention to its application in India. He noted that there are a number of solutions available, it is the balance of numbers that go into affordability for the population of India. There is also the consideration of an urban car [IE the Smart Car] versus a low cost car [like the Nano]. In the interim the needs will be met by people mobilizing private capital. In the long term, mass mobility will demand newer systems.

Geoff Wardle introduced a twenty minute clip from his hour long interview with Gordon Murray. The full interview is available on the Summit website.

Mark Goodstein moderated a panel of Christer Lindstrom, Dan Sturges and V. Sumantran. They talked about the need for a paradigm shift in terms of technology and its application. There also needs to be intelligent multi-modal mobility options. There is a currently a serious gap in efficiency that needs to be addressed [driving around with 1 of 5 seats filled doesn't cut it]. What to do though? Consider this, the best trip is the one you don't have to make [think Netflix, mentioned earlier in the conference by Alex Steffen]. All this things that are talked about are possible, we simply have to just do it. In World War II the US shifted from manufacturing cars to war goods in a matter of weeks. Will power and determination make anything possible. People need to feel the urgency and need more.

Katherine Bennett introduced Jan Chipchase from Nokia, who gave a wonderful presentation about observation, trends and designing in context. People find solutions for what they need, and he had many citations of this happening around the world [particularly in Asia]. There are also amazing examples of simple solutions, distilling a gas station down to the absolute simplest form, a single brick and bottle of petrol in Thailand. He also gave a wonderful list of upcoming trends, such as status casting using AIM and Twitter, and translated this into the concept of doing the same for products. Consider a service that lows people know exactly when the product they want is in the store, or the exact location a bus, so you know how much time you have the magazine stand.

Lloyd Walker talked about the mVIP Future Scenario Application again, and prepared the attendees for a Texas Hold'em Style game situation. This second go at it was easier for people to grasp than the first day. There is a learning curve to these cards, I think people were better abled to deal with them this time around. There were many interesting ideas that came out of it, that the organizers of the Summit are now sifting through. Overall though, I feel it was a success, and heard some inspiring projects with a lot of potential.

Post-Lunch was a fantastic webcast lecture by Hazel Henderson, who did so because she is done with jetting around and flying. I was visualizing again, and the only note I have jotted down is this, she believes we are up to the design challenge ahead of us. I have to say, there was something inspiring and comforting about hearing her speak. She was very impressed by a question from an attendee and offered up her personal contact information to follow up with this person about the specific trials she was facing.

Jayne Poynter moderated a panel with Peter Bishop, Axel Friedrich and Freeman Thomas. It was a passionate panel that talked about how do we change our behaviors towards energy. There was an interesting point about the fact that most of the United States infrastructure for mobility was built in a post-petrol world. In comparison to Europe, where there are many options and structures in place that are easier to adapt to alternate mobility options from pre-industrial days. The physical layout begins to influence our mental construction of the thing, and starts to shape our thoughts.

Geoff Warlde and David Muyres concluded the Summit, by thanking everyone for coming. They also spoke of the immense task ahead for them to synthesize all this information for future reference. They hinted at a timeframe and location for future Sustainability Summits, and openly stated their desire for collaboration on it at all levels, university, corporate and governmental. I believe it was Geoff who called for truth and honesty in design [adding that these two facets are not impediments to industry]. I couldn't agree more.

More to come: the RSVP Dinner from after the Pre-Summit, details from Paul Hawken's Keynote, and photos from the closing Party [which was sadly not on the rooftop as advertised]!!!

Kudos to EcoCouncil

Thanks to ALL of the Art Center students who worked so hard this week to help the Summit be a success.  Thanks to our fearless sustainability guru, Heidrun Mumper-Drumm, for your endless passion.  Thanks to Dave Muyres, Geoff Wardle, Ellen Starr, JoJo Tardino, Megan Webster and the entire crew for working so hard to make sure this Summit continues to be a killer educational event for all.  
Special thanks to chef Nathan for making this blog happen and for doing an incredible, multi-tasking job of capturing the Summit, being a visualizer, networking for EcoCouncil...and I think getting you project work done all at the same time.  And I'm stoked to be jumping in on this blog.
Now to fun walk the talk.   I need a couple of days to digest the last 3 days.  I look forward to everyone's thoughts and impressions.

Wednesday, February 6

Sustainability Summit Keynote

The keynote on the Hillside campus was not to be missed. Nate Young opened up by talking about Art Center's commitment to Sustainability and again about the visualization of the future student. A designer who interprets the world, develops projects in a relevant context, considers human usability, steps into the gap [and stands for something] and applies the creative process to any application.

There was a highlight reel of the past two days by Art Center Graduate Film Students. Then a special address by John Mizroch, from the US Department of Energy. He spoke of the problem of energy, and the need to diversify in its resources. His final thoughts were on the need to embed sustainability in our lives, don't compromise [especially as designers], think big and reminded us that there is a large opportunity in developing this future.

Stuart Townsend [who just finished he directorial debut on a film about the Seattle Protests] gave an honest introduction to the keynote speaker, Paul Hawken. I need to review the tape I took of Paul's address. There were many good points, the key take away for now, follows. If you look at the data [about the climate, environment, the state of the world, etc] and are still optimistic, look again. It is the people you should look at and be optimistic. We don't need any more heroes, now we just need more human beings. We are doing amazing things that should inspire and motivate. Our imagination is an amazing resource we need to take advantage of.

Summit Day One

The Sustainability Summit is packed full of information, way too much for one day.

Nate Young started the day off, and introduced other speakers throughout the day. Of interest was his talk of the three portfolios student's of the future will need. One of talent [traditional portfolio], one of character [to relate to people and be human] and one of process [thinking, particularly about the topic at hand, sustainability].

Alex Steffen [of World Changing] spoke about the need for a new view of prosperity. The current one of an endless consumption of resources as desirable just isn't working out. Now we are faced with rising developing nations who grew up on Baywatch, and see that as a standard to strive for. We're in no position to preach, and they're in no mood to listen. He did speak positively, leaving us with the advice that we need to tell stories, have compelling examples, be playful, be reminded of who we want to be, and most of all, we need to speak to people's hearts. We can't build what we can't imagine.

Gary Lawrence [of ARUP] talked about Dongtan Eco-City, giving many interesting facts. Of interest and inspiration was his statement that a sustainable life choice is dependent upon nostalgia, fear and aspiration. These concerns have to be considered when taking on a project such as Dongtan. We can achieve sustainability gracefully or through a systems collapse [an idea noted by other speakers throughout the day as well].

There was a funny future scenario skit, of the 231st Tournament of Roses, with old car parts as petals, and envisioned a future where football teams were renamed because wildcats are a distant memory and some catastrophic imagined event that forced UCLA and USC to combine and form the Brujans.

Henrik Fisker talked about the Designer's Challenge. I was doing some drawings for a presentation during the keynote, so I didn't catch all the details of this lecture. Fisker mainly talked about seeing the need to design a super efficient muscle car, and changing his original business idea to fit this. Biggest take away, Designers need to create the desire for these more efficient vehicles and alternate lifestyles that sustainable mobility requires. It shouldn't just be legislation doing so, and this is a great business opportunity. 

Lloyd Walker talked about Mobility VIP [vision integration project] as an introduction to the break-out session that followed. It's part of system he and others at Art Center are trying develop along with the Sustainability Summit to accelerate the dialogue of future mobility. He spoke of Futurama [referencing Alex Steffen's old vision of prosperity], and the need for disruptive change as an emerging opportunity.

The break out sessions that followed were interesting. Attendees formed smaller groups which were dealt a set of cards that defined a future they needed to design for [in only 15 minutes!]. It was difficult to say the least. The challenges on the cards were vast [and sometimes unrelated]. That is part of the lesson of the exercise though, we cannot always solve every problem with the tools we have. We have to be selective, prioritize and focus our attention to what we can do, with the time that we have. It is also about the creative possibilities of working inside parameters, they confine us as well as guide us.

Post-Lunch, Martin Tillman talked about visualizing future cities, speaking to the importance of services that encourage and embrace positive social actions. This is best illustrated by a number of websites he worked on, a few are Journey On, Walk Score, and Walk 2 Go. He also emphasized the need to visualize these alternatives to people and developers so that they can see the possibilities and alternatives out there.

Gordon Feller moderated a panel with Scott Bernstein, William Browning and Martin Wachs. At this point I was very caught up in visualizing from the break-out sessions, and cannot adequately summarize the conversation that went on.

There were then Five-Minute Pitch Sessions of sustainable mobility ideas from the feasible to strategic. A lot of bicycle sharing going on here. Raul-David V. Poblano talked about Robo-Scooter [click on mobility, then scooter]. Lindsay Smith talked about Rubber Sidewalks. Nathan Mills talked about Johnson Control projects at Art Center. Peter Treadway gave us a wheeled foot update [along with some fantastic footage of various prototypes]. Finally, Andrea White talked about Bikestation.

Hannah Jones, of Nike Corporate Responsibility talked about Sustainability driving the new economy. She likened the challenge of sustainability to JFKs 1961 address and declaration that the US should put a man on the moon before the decade was out [and we did]. Hannah talked of the need for collaboration, sharing and open source in the design field, and cited Nike's precedence in just that.

There were closing remarks by David Muyres and Andy Ogden.

Tuesday, February 5

Pre-Summit Post-Lunch

Lunch was cookies, salad and a mozzarella, tomato and eggplant sandwich.

After that, David Hammond talked about biomimicry, systems and "Swarm Intelligence." He gave some examples of the three basic kinds of biomimicry; form by means of an innovative propeller, process by means of mimicking glue from oysters, and systems by means of waste water treatment. He showed us an amazing video of birds swarming in the air, and talked about how this has applications to traffic control. Humans are apparently have less than average swarm intelligence [while ants have great swarm intellingence].

Geoff Wardle gave an inspiring speech, with slides only of blue skys. He couldn't show any slides of what sustainable mobility looks like, because nobody knows yet. Ideas touched upon the idea that the entire idea of sustainable mobility is like an increasingly complex onion, each peeled back layer revealing more complexity. Overall, we need to look beyond just Design Think, and start considering Systems Thinking. He offered to email a copy of his speech to anyone who is interested, I will post at soon as I get it.

Claude Willey [a guy who bikes to work 2.5 hours, one way, 3 times a week from Pasadena to Northridge] spoke about the problems of mobility. He provided background into the history of where these problems stem from. He spoke about the Urban Renewal Program and Robert Moses. Claude strongly stated that mobility is defined by race, class, and access. Another citation to give background to this statement was the story of Cynthia Wiggins. This relates to the idea of Spatial Justice. In closing, the overall theme of this lecture was habitat and mobility for everyone, equally [even wildlife].

Jane Pointer, a former participant of Biosphere 2, talked to the audience about the new economy, and in detail, that of carbon sequestration, taxation, cap'n'trade and the confusing 'additionality' [which she'll explain in person if you didn't understand, which I didn't comprehend enough to pass along to you the reader]. This lecture was an overview of many of the current talk about how to deal with carbon.

John Paul Kusz spoke about counting the truth and the consequences. This amounts to the unintended and unconsidered consequences of our actions. He said to google the Jules Verne Effect, so I did [that result was on the 7th page, I think it's what John was talking about though]. John gave a wonderful list of policy making organizations from around the world [linked here when information is received]. He concluded that we need to Lead Change, citing Patagonia as a prime example. His final remark was gold though, "start a small green business, run it for 5 years, then sell it to a larger company that wants to green itself for millions."

Lorrie Vogel was the final speaker of the day. She is the head designer in charge of Nike's Considered Program. Lorrie explained that Considered is not a single product line, but an ethos at Nike. The ultimate goal of Considered to inform people of the impact of their choices [designers and consumers alike]. And that Considered works not by designing a single line of shoes, but by providing the framework for Nike to reduce its footprint throughout all its products. This includes waste reduction, environmentally preferred materials, solvent reduction and being a change agent [inspiring by example]. Being Green isn't about being granola, its about changing your process.

There was a panel discussion at the end of all this, with Joel Makower moderating between Stuart Cowan, Gordon Feller, and Stewart Reed. The biggest take away from this panel was the need for visibility in business and design. People need to see how to change, and we need to reward innovators. There needs to be an execution of policy, and attention to what is necessary for specific regions.

Karen Hofmann closed out the Pre-Summit by talking about the CMTEL lab and the various projects it has going on. This includes a sister CMTEL Lab opening in Tama University, designs storms, and sponsored projects that take advantage of access to the wide selection of materials available. 

I'm reminded of something Tinker Hatfield told me, "a person needs to work on how they can effect their sphere of influence." As a student, this might mean recycling, carpooling to school and signing a petition to have bioplastics in place of styrofoam in your cafeteria. As a professional this might be implementing natural air conditioning for a building. Finally as a political leader, this might mean changing the way a city is planned, or endorsing policy's towards a greener one. 

[In two weeks, the powerpoints from these presenters will be available, except for Geoff Wardle's which is already available, Sunday to Saturday, sunrise to sunset, weather permitting, consult your local almanac for specific times]