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]