As you know, every day is Earth Day. Especially here at Gorgeous and Green! A local and green certified Event Planner, Karine Brighten, also treats each day as earth day. Apart from being green certified and having connections with local green vendors, she is also committed to education as we are. This past April 22nd, the traditional Earth Day, she put on an event in Berkeley that highlighted her commitment to the environment and her belief in eating and living as a vegan.
I asked her to share more about her event: 1. What was your vision in creating a vegan earth day in Berkeley? My vision for the event was to start a new tradition, and that new tradition was to celebrate the link between veganism and a healthy environment in honor of Earth Day. There are many events in the San Francisco Bay Area that take place on this day, but none that focus specifically on the positive effects of veganism on the environment. My goal was to have people leave the event feeling inspired, and with tools that they can use to help the planet.
2. Please describe the event and who you chose to include in the day? The event consisted of the screening of an award-winning feature documentary, “Call of Life, Facing the Mass Extinction” by Species Alliances. The film investigates the growing threat to Earth’s life support systems as a result of dwindling biodiversity. Following the film there was a panel discussion of 4 experts in vegan lifestyle, nutrition, and sustainability. After the panel discussion there was a catered vegan reception that everyone loved!
3. Do you feel like your vision was achieved? What else would you like to include in up and coming vegan earth days? I couldn’t be happier with the ways things turned out! The event sold out and people walked away feeling motivated to make changes in their lifestyle. The tradition will indeed continue next year, and I hope to make it a full day event.
Gorgeous and Green was hired to provide the cute edible baskets for the event:
in Green and Health, G&G
(photography above by Gia Canali)One of the first decisions (and some would argue the most important decision) most couples make when planning their wedding, is deciding where it's going to happen. The venue... For the green couple, finding a venue that will represent their value systems and green choices is important. But, not all venues talk green and not all actually walk the green talk. This brings us to Wilbur Hot Springs. Yes, it's a local and sustainable event Venue. If you're a Bay Area local, you may already be familiar, and if not, it's definitely worth checking out, multiple times, I might add. 1. How is Wilbur a sustainable wedding/event venue? Wilbur is 100% off the grid, powered entirely by solar panels and propane. Renovations and improvements are performed using eco-conscious building materials and practices. The solar panel array was installed in the early 1990s. Up to that time, the Wilbur hotel had been lit with kerosene lamps. The transition to solar-powered lighting was completed in 1991. The refrigerators are all electric and are specifically designed to run on solar power. They are more efficient and use approximately one-third the power of consumer refrigerators The stoves in the kitchen, and the fireplaces, which heat the hotel in winter, are powered by propane. Wilbur uses compact fluorescent light bulbs and low-flow toilets. And the cleaning products we use are all eco-friendly. Wilbur’s hot springs flumes are non-impact. In other words, the water is simply diverted from the geothermal source, held temporarily in the flumes and then returned to the creek. No chemicals are added to the flumes,and as a result no chemicals are being added to the water table. The hotel and hot springs are located on approximately 240 acres. In 1999, the surrounding 1560 acres were purchased and designated as a nature preserve. In 2006, Wilbur began working with range ecologist Craig Thomsen from UC Davis to restore native plants to the area, and combat invasive species. Thomsen’s work continues currently, with Wilbur participating in raising grant money, and providing lodging in trade to guests who work with Craig.... To read more about Wilbur please go to: Green.Weddings.com In Green and Health, G&G
Check out a recent post I did for The Knot's Green.weddings.com blog. All about a green event planner I have recently worked with here in the Bay Area..
Tasha's DesignsI've slowly been coming across more green and sustainable invitation options out there in the sustainable event and wedding world. I am always impressed by small business owners who were startups turned artists, or vice versa. Maybe they were always an artist, but something in their life changed or they changed their own life's course and let their creative imagination and sustainable thinking run a business. It reminds me of my own story just a little. Here's a great small business doing sustainable designed invitations: Tasha Rae Designs. I asked the owner, Tasha Fontanes, to answer some of my green and catchy questions about her business and her life. Check out some of her designs, her cool story and how she works green into her business:
I like the play on the tree carving a couple might do, signifying the lasting commitment of a relationship etched into a old tree. Very Romantic.
this one's my favorite, mostly because of the large colorful flowers, kind of like in a kaleidoscope
1. Why did you start your invitation/stationary business and why did you decide to offer sustainable/eco-friendly designs?I started designing invitations as a hobby after I had printed my own wedding invitations. About a year into it, fate stepped in when I got laid off from my full-time job just a week before I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. So I decided to dive in head first and start my own business. I added earth-friendly invitations about 5 years ago when people were becoming more aware of the fact that we need to clean up our planet. The demand for earth-friendly invites has grown tremendously over the last 5 years and now I would say about 85% of my customers request recycled papers (and I try to talk the other 15% into using them as well!)
2. In what ways is your business sustainable?I offer a wide variety of recycled and earth-friendly papers, I reuse the packaging that my paper comes in to package my final products and I recycle ink cartridges through a program that sends money or school supplies to my daughter’s school. I also plant a tree at the end of each month through www.americanforests.org for each earth-friendly order. Another thing that is important in my sustainable business deals with the customers themselves. Instead of charging my customers for samples, I ask them to make a small donation to the charity of their choice. Amazing things can happen when you ‘pay it forward’. My business has thrived based on this idea so I am proof that it really works!
3. How would you define sustainable living?I think an important part of sustainable living revolves around the way you treat the people around you as well as the world around you. I am a firm believer in 'what goes around, comes around' and I try to apply it to all parts of my life. Whether it’s by recycling or just doing something nice for someone, so they in turn pass it on. If we all take care of each other and the earth, we will live happier and healthier lives.
4. What do you think is the biggest barrier in getting people to choose green wedding options including invites?I think sometimes people get stuck in old traditions or etiquette and have a hard time breaking out of the mold. Invitations do not have to be engraved to be elegant. Reply postcards are OK and cut down on paper waste. I tell people that recycled papers may vary a little and have some inconsistencies but this is what make them unique and beautiful.
5. What is the most un-green or unsustainable event or wedding practice that you can think of or have seen in your experience?Well – I think people are getting smarter about this now, but I would say a lot of people still waste a lot on useless wedding ‘favors’. I LOVE the new ‘greener’ trends... making a donation to a charity in lieu of favors, giving guests seed packets to plant or writing a personal note to each guest (on recycled paper of course!).
6. Let's pretenf for a moment that you could create one green/eco-friendly invention in your life (that worked, no matter how unbelievable) what would it be?I think since I am a work at home mom (my daughter is long out of diapers, but thinking back in time...) it would have to be a diaper that just disappears into thin air...you don’t have to throw it away or wash it. Just take it off the baby and poof it’s gone!
Since we've already received an invention for a sustainable diaper (which isn't surprising, since 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used each year in the US, resulting in a possible 3.4 million tons of used diapers adding to landfills each year, a fact shared in a recent Time Magazine article in 2008) She emailed me an additional highly needed green invention:how about a solar powered robot that cleans the house! :)
In green, clean houses, and health,
An Interview with Indie CakesA little while ago, I introduced myself to a local cake baker, Anastasia, with Indie Cakes here in Oakland. I've gotten to know her a little more and was able to get some details about her and her business. She's sustainable, small, local and her baked goods are sooo good! We were able to hang out a little while ago at my house and she was nice enough to bring mini cupcakes in many different flavors. Yum Yum. They look so cute and their natural organic flavors were scrumptious. Take a look : Here's a closer look. From left to right, there's lemon, red velvet with cream cheese frosting, banana and raspberry. Here's what she had to say about her business and sustainable living: 1. Why did you start your business and how did you decide to get involved in making Organic cakes? I love baking and can't think of anything else I would do for living. I started my business because I wanted some flexibility with working hours. I have a 10-year-old daughter and I believe it's a critical time for me to be available for her. My decision to make cakes with organic and local ingredients is an extension to the choices I make in my personal life. I buy and cook organic food, so it only makes sense to me to sell products that I would eat and serve to my family. I also want to support local producers, keep the local economy going and do my part to save the environment. 2. How would you define sustainable living? To me, sustainable living starts with being mindful of my life and how my choices will impact those around me. I define sustainable living as being resourceful, finding ways to reuse and not waste and cutting down on consumerism. 3. What do you think is the biggest barrier in getting couples to choose a green/sustainable wedding? I think the biggest barrier for couples to choose a green/sustainable wedding is their their awareness of how much their weddings affect the environment. Once they believe that they can make a difference, green wedding will be the only way to go. 4. How is your business green/sustinable? What do you wish you could do or have to make it more green or better for people and the planet? I use organic and local ingredients. Any packaging I use, which is very little, is unbleached and the fiber comes from Sustainable Forestry Initiative lumber. For more info about these wonderful products visit here . I recycle all plastic, milk and egg cartons, paper, etc. I'm also looking into composting. I always try my best to not be wasteful. For example, I use egg whites for my buttercreams. The egg yolks will go into making lemon curd, pastry creams, or vanilla buttercakes. I use any extra batter to make tasting samples. Nothing goes into waste. One thing I wish to have someday is a hybrid or electric car. My car now is old but runs really well. It goes with my motto of if it still works, use it. 5. What is the most un-green or unsustainable wedding practice that you can think of or have seen in your experience? Destination weddings. All the time, effort, and resources to put these weddings together and to fly all the guests and, sometimes, the materials over are all unnesccesary and avoidable. 6. Let's pretend for a moment that you could create one green invention in your life (that worked) what would it be? I had this idea when my daughter was very young to create a cloth diaper that's (almost) as convenient as paper diapers. I use cloth diapers for her and found that putting on a diaper and the cover is a 2-step process and then having 2 items to wash (that didn't stop me for using it for 3 years, though). On the other hand, paper diapers come in one easy step. I would like to see a cloth diaper that has a built in cover, all in one piece, only one thing to wash, made with organic cotton.
For more information about her sustainable practices or to order a cake contact:
Anastasia Widiarsih www.indiecakes.com