Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why Go Green? Because the World is Small and Beautiful

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Unkle Karl: Doing it for the Bikers!

This is not a fake ad.

Karl Lagerfeld dons a reflective yellow vest for a new French road safety campaign, declaring, "It's yellow, it's ugly, it doesn't match anything, but it can save your life."

According to Bloomberg, "Lagerfeld agreed to pose in the shapeless protective apparel as part of a French government safety-awareness campaign, which was kicked off yesterday. The vest and a reflective triangle will become mandatory for all drivers and cyclists on July 1. The number of traffic deaths in France jumped 10 percent to 346 in May, the highest since the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Environment said on its Web site. Two cyclists have died in Paris since the introduction of free municipal bicycles last year."



Friday, June 20, 2008

The Other White Meat

I don't really do celebrities on my blog much - I leave that for Perez Hilton. But, I had to include this picture of Jessica Simpson. Honestly, I think her t-shirt is talking about the other "eating meat" . . . if you know what mean (wink. wink. elbow. elbow.) **

Anyway, I am going to use this opportunity to talk about eating meat (um, actual eating meat, not the "R"- rated version.) But, not about the humanitarian issues (you can read PETA's treatise: "top five reasons that only stupid girls brag about eating meat" here), but about how the world's heavy meat diet is affecting the environment. Yes, in order to save the world (if you're interested in such things, that is), you will have to drive less AND you will have to eat less meat.

Here is the story (via No Impact Man):

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization’s November, 2006 report, “Livestock’s Long Shadow–Environmental Issues and Options”:

  • 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock (more than from transportation).
  • 70 percent of previously forested land in the Amazon was cleared to pasture cattle.
  • Two-thirds (64 percent) of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems, come from cattle.
  • The livestock sector accounts for over 8 percent of global human water use, while 64 percent of the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas by 2025.
  • The world’s largest source of water pollution is believed to be the livestock sector.
  • In the United States, livestock are responsible for a third of the loads of nitrogen and phosphorus into freshwater resources.
  • Livestock account for about 20 percent of the total terrestrial animal biomass, and the 30 percent of the earth’s land surface that they now pre-empt was once habitat for wildlife, in an era of unprecedented threats to biodiversity.
  • These problems will only get worse as meat production is expected to double by 2050.
In addition, from an efficiency standpoint (I am an MBA after all!), raising and eating meat as a main staple of people's diets is incredibly inefficient. It takes significantly more energy and water to produce a calorie of meat protein as it does an equivalent amount of vegetable protein (the amounts vary, but trust me, it is considerable). Meat prices also don't reflect the true social costs of meat production like greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, loss of carbon sinks (forests) for meat production, etc. Plus, there are many governmental subsidies that are aimed at helping the meat and dairy industry that could be used for other things. I am sure that if there was a true accounting of the costs of meat, that was reflected in its price, people would eat a lot less of it, for sure.

So, eating less meat will soon become as important as driving your car less. But, if you are a committed omnivore, there are definitely sustainable aways to get your steak on. Buy meat from organic, local farms. In the DC area, many local farms are represented at the neighborhood farmers' markets. And choose restaurants that commit to buying their meat from local farms (like one of my faves, Cafe St. Ex.)

**Actually, after some "research" on the issue, it seems that it might be even more juvenile than that. According to OK! Magazine, the slogan is a subtle dig at boyfriend Tony Romo's ex-girlfriend, country superstar Carrie Underwood - who has twice been named World's Sexiest Vegetarian by PETA. Geez.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cleaning out the Closet on Ebay

I've finally gotten around to getting beau to take pics of me wearing some vintage pieces that I want to post on Ebay. Unfortunately, it seems that my computer does not support some of Ebay's more helpful features, so I will not be able to post these until tomorrow or so, when I can get on one of the computers on campus. But, here are some pics for you. The first outfit is a pristine vintage Paco Rabanne dress-coat and the second is a bright yellow Teenflo suit (the skirt of which I could not get over my hips even on the skinniest day!). I will post the links to the items when they get posted on Ebay.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sitting Here.

I sit at this table a lot. Aimlessly surfing the endless realms of the interweb. LOLing at other bloggers' wit . . . pondering their wisdom. Futilely trying to restructure (boring, awful, stupid) cover letters. Trying to rationalize my writer's block. Lately, mostly trying to rationalize my writer's block . . .

These are some of the things that I see when I sit here.

(Sorry, that's all I got kids. Maybe its the heat. )

Friday, June 6, 2008

"Sex and the City" and the Environment

No, this post is not about SJP launching an eco-friendly clothing line (although she should!), or that her recent green outfit was environmentally friendly (I am sure it wasn’t). [And I don’t care what anybody says, her Philip Treacy hat was amazing. I mean, really, it looked like an acorn, people. So fab. In a world struggling against homogenous, bland fashion (um, hello shapeless Lauren Conrad dresses for $200!! Are they serious? ), Treacy allows women a little bit of well-placed eccentricity. Go SJP.]

Anyway, all this talk (and this talk) about the movie, the television show and the role of women in our society – interspersed, of course, with news updates on the progress of the monumental democratic primary race – has reminded me about how I became an environmentalist in the first place.

You see, I didn’t become and environmentalist because of pandas (though, they are so cute, aren’t they? And they do deserve for us to protect their habitat.) I became an environmentalist because I believed in the power of women and giving women the opportunities to live a better life. Feminism led me to environmentalism. Though you may not see the connection.

Long, long ago (okay, not so long ago), back when I was just a youngun’, I was majoring in Soviet Area Studies at the university. One thing that we learned about was the role of women in the Soviet society. Women were accepted into the workplace with open arms . . . but they were still expected to clean and raise the kids and take care of their husbands . . . it was called the “double burden”. I wondered, “how does this fit in with the goals of feminism?” - something that I knew very little about. I was inspired to really look into what feminism was . . . and what it wasn’t. In my research, I stumbled upon a concept called “eco-feminism” that tries to establish a connection between the dominance of men over women and humanity’s dominance over nature. This was an interesting concept for me to consider. But, what really caught my attention were the statistics about how women – all over the world – are the individuals most impacted by environmental degradation.

Women – esp. those women who don’t live in industrialized, first world economies - have primary responsibility for raising children: feeding them, making sure they are healthy and getting them to school. Women are also the ones responsible for finding clean water, fuel for cooking/heating and food for domestic animals. Women grow vegetables, fruit and grain for home consumption and also for sale. Basically, women interact with, and depend on, their environment much more than men in their daily lives. So, when the environment goes to hell, these women suffer most and the whole family is affected. Here are some examples from the UNFPA.

  • Toxic chemicals and pesticides in air, water and earth are responsible for a variety of women's health risks. They enter body tissues and breast milk, through which they are passed on to infants. In a village in China's Gansu province, discharges from a state-run fertilizer factory have been linked to a high number of stillbirths and miscarriages. Water pollution in three Russian rivers is a factor in the doubling of bladder and kidney disorders in pregnant women, and in Sudan a link has been established between exposure to pesticides and perinatal mortality—with the risk higher among women farmers.
  • Deforestation or water contamination increases the time women must spend seeking fuelwood or safe, clean water, and increase women's risk of water-borne disease.
  • In urban settings in particular, air and water pollution can be extreme, and sanitation and waste treatment poor or non-existent, presenting new threats to health, particularly for women, who have the highest levels of exposure. In the Indian cities of Delhi and Agra, for example, drinking water comes from rivers heavily polluted by DDT and other pesticides.

So, my appeal to all you ladies reading this is: next time you get all indignant for the right of Samantha to have as much sex as she wants with as many younger men as she wants, also try to remember how your personal actions are affecting the rights and opportunities of women in other parts of the world. Perhaps you might be inspired to drive less (reducing GHG emissions might help slow the drastic environmental changes that are negatively impacting women) or perhaps you might choose to purchase your outfits from a company that cares about the women it employs (Fair Trade) or perhaps you will buy organic (reducing the amount of pesticides in the environment). Whatever you do, remember: that we are all connected. Now, more than ever.

Painting by artist: Alex duMauriƩe

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Put this Green Event on your Calendar - TODAY!

The green events in DC just keep getting better and better. Live Green is finally launching its membership program that is supposed to make it more affordable for DC area residents to switch to a greener lifestyle. They are hosting a party at Local 16 with snacks and music by THE BLACK AND TAN FANTASY BAND (Featuring Ashish Vyas of Thievery Corporation, Jerry Busher of Fugazi and Will Rast of Funk Arc).

The Nitty Gritty:

When: Wednesday, June 18, 6PM
Where: Local 16, 1602 U Street, NW
How Much: $15 at the door benefiting Live Green (RSVP required at: contactlivegreen@gmail.com), or $13 online at: http://www.greenlivingmadeeasy.org/launch.
Why: Because green is the new black, babies and the music will be tight!

PS - Over 100 people have already RSVP'd on Facebook, should be a blast . . .

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Passing of a Fashion Legend

When I first moved to DC to attend university, I had an apartment overlooking Foggy Bottom, with a view of the Watergate and the Potomac River. There was a very small Safeway in the Watergate (nicknamed the "Soviet Safeway" because it sold almost nothing) and I would go there to buy the few things that I actually knew how to cook back then (pasta, eggs, cereal . . . )

Whenever I would go to Safeway, I would stop and admire the windows of the YSL boutique on the first floor of the Watergate. To me, living within steps of a haute couture boutique, in a major international city, made me feel like I was living a very stylish, international life - or at least that I had the potential to live such a life. Even though I mostly wore sweats to class and mostly ate pasta, living so close to the YSL boutique made me feel very adult and very excited about the future.

Yves Saint Laurent died last night in Paris at age 71. He was born in Algeria and came to Paris in the 50s. He joined the house of Dior and, within 3 years, took over the house after Dior's sudden death (he was only 22!). He was said to "design clothes that reflected women's changing role in society" and was said to be "the most influential designer in French couture in the last 50 years". He designed trouser suits for women, pop art dresses in the 70s and see-through gowns. In 1983, he became the first living fashion designer to be honored by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. His last show was in 2002, where he showcased pieces from many different eras of his design career.

I offer you a short pictorial tribute to a very fashionable man, who made women very fashionable for many decades. Cheers, Yves.

As a young designer in Paris.

Rockin' the safari look in the 70s.

With Catherine Deneuve, who would be one of his top muses.

Posing in the 70s.

With Karl Lagerfeld in the 70s (Yes, that really is Uncle Karl!). There was, supposedly, a great rivalry between the two. Read Style Bubble's review of the book that talks all about it here.

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