What's Next? ThisNext.com


Thisnext.com is a new shopcast portal - a Squidoo meets E-bay of sorts. Summer Rayne Oakes was asked to give her insights into what cool products she has discovered and would recommend to others. Here are some of her recommendations and some general thoughts.

Ohhhh Gracy Girl: Part III


Latest shots from Gracy Girl.
Silks and wools...

Register to download S4, sustainability trends in fashion


Head over to S4trends.com and register to download the S4 newsletter reporting on sustainability trends in fashion. Read press release here.

Going behind-the-scenes: Touch-ups with Stacia and Teddi at the Allen Martin
"Hoodoo: Spirit Magic" photoshoot. Check out this S4 editorial and more at S4trends.com.

Shout Out! Thanks to Collin over at the Sustainable Style Foundation for featuring it as their "spotlight" over the weekend.

OH SO MOSO - The Premier Issue
Bamboozled by bamboo? Sometimes it's difficult to see the forest through the trees, or
in this case, the clear message through the cluttered attic of consumer culture. From socks to surfboards, toilet seats to TV sets, birthday suits to bikes, floors to furniture, this almighty grass is getting more attention than a well-manicured lawn.

Bamboo became quite a hit when it began percolating onto the fashion scene in designer collections a few years back. What made it unique was not only its impressive resume of technical properties, but also its positioning as an eco-friendly fabric. The common proclamations of bamboo's benefits consistently reiterated include: green or eco; renewable; biodegradable; fast-growing; luxurious; breathable; absorptive; ventilated; hypoallergenic;and antibacterial. Find out what S4 has uncovered about fashion's latest greenhorn.

More Praise and Support for Mark Ritchie


I know I gushed about Mark Ritchie in a previous post, but I went to another one of his fundraisers in NYC tonight and I just think he is deserving of more praise. I met Mark ironically in Hong Kong at the World Trade Organization. One of his colleagues (under the non-profit that he had founded - Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy) had hired me to represent fair trade issues at the fair trade expo. Mark, if I can just say (and I will) is a McArthur Genius and one of the finest, fairest people that I have ever met. He is currently the DFL endorsed candidate running for Secretary of State in Minnesota. He gives me hope in our democratic system. At the event, he gave an impassioned speech about his role as Secretary of State and acknowledged that even though a Democrat, his goal was to "deliver an election to everybody that is open, free, and fair," something that hasn't been given to the citizens of MN in quite some time under the current opponent who is up for re-election.

"There is a fundamental crisis in the democracy - people's participation," Mark stated. "I had 40 people call into me recently because they just finished watching 4 Princeton professors on CNN hack into a voters machine in 45 seconds and change the results. People are disenchanted with the final results and feel disempowered. Secretary of State is tackling bigger issues - these issues. We need to figure out a way that our electoral process can make a difference because there is a hunger for it. It won't happen until people step foward."

He acknowledged that there needs to be more cross-collaboration between states. For 2006, he said that he is busy building and supporting a network of people running for Sectretary of State ('08) across many states. "This ensures the Presidential Candidate doesn't have to go to the same state a dozen times, because we are doing our job of mobilizing the base of voters in an open, free, and fair way." Perhaps that is what will get MN and other neighboring states out of the swing state category.

GO Mark GO!

If you would like to support Mark, visit his site here.

P.S. Jon Tester, who is running for an important Senate race in Montana was also supposed to be there, but didn't make it. Hopefully he was off at another important event. Mark at the Fair Trade Expo in Hong Kong

Ali, Bono and Sachs Launch the One Tee-Shirt in NYC


We headed on over to the launch of the One Tee-Shirt campaign at the Hudson Hotel to get some B-roll for our TV ventures. Bono stood on stage with Ali and Rogan Gregory. He quipped that he was, "Ali's bitch tonight," but clearly did not let his own celebrity get in way of the message: no songs, no long monologues --just straightforward introductions to Edun, Economist Jeffrey Sachs, and musical guest Damian Rice. It was such a pleasure to run into Jeff again, who gave an overwhelming speech regarding Lesotho and joining together as one. I'll highlight the talk a bit more in the S4 newsletter, which will be launching this week. In the meantime, enjoy this clip I found of Sachs and Colbert talking about the end of extreme poverty. How amazing to be able to witness an event [the end of extreme poverty] such as that in our lifetime? That is what our generation should be known for... Far better than being known for the senseless wars we have been waging on one another...

It's 2:19 A.M. Time for some rest.

CNN Money Highlights Eco-Fashion


CNN.com Money highlights a run-of-the-mill blurb on eco-fashion. We have a quote pirated from the latest Grist article. Let me just get one thing straight: I don't like the title, "eco-style expert." I think its pretty lame and pompous-sounding, but whatever....Read the article here.

S4 "Sustainability Trends in Fashion" Newsletter


SRO presents the launch of S4:

S4 is the fashion industry insider on sustainability. It takes a hardcore, in-depth approach beyond market hype. By coupling on-the-ground interviews with multi-disciplinary research, S4 cuts through the crap and begins taking a look at what sustainability really means when it comes to the stuff we wear. Read about it and register for it at S4trends.com.

Ooh Gracy Girl: Part Deux


An assortment of images from the current Gracy Girl catalog shoot. Various designs in soft merinos, angoras, modal blends, and silks.

What's Left After the Coal Mines


A picture I shot of a large culm pile near Grassy Island Creek, Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Bulldozer working to level the culm piles, Grassy Island Creek, Northeastern Pennsylvania

An opening to a mine shaft, probably to let noxious fumes out from the underground mines. Even though the mines have been closed since the 1950s, there are still coal fires below ground.

Rehabilitating the area. Using fluvial geomorphology, the contractors created a vortex weir to create riffles and runs

Planting nitrogen-fixing trees to stabilize the new riparian area

The first day after the stream got rerouted. You are starting to see how the riffles, pools, and runs are forming.

This post is dedicated to both the inquiries I have received from the recent Grist article and to filmmaker, Jeff Gibbs. Jeff and I will be traveling back to the place where I grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania to document what remains of an area that was founded on the prospects of coal.

Northeastern Pennsylvania was largely founded on coal, but the degradation of the landscape is really all that's left in most areas. The waste product of coal is called "culm." Above are images of a project I helped work on 6 years or so ago. The team appointed me to create the planting plan for the Grassy Island Creek reclamation site. Rainfall began undercutting the culm piles and there was a significant amount of acid mine drainage (AMD) flowing into a Class A trout fishery.

We brought contractors in to use fluvial geomorphology and work with the "natural" anatomy of the stream to redirect it into the river. We then leveled out the land, fertilized it, and chose appropriate hardy riparian tree species to plant along the streams. The labor was rather intense. Soil doesn't exist in these areas and all of the time you had to fight shoveling coal. Japanese knotweed was also prevalent in the area and we had to do our best to remove most of that invasive plant species before tree planting could begin.

That's it for now, but we'll start highlighting some of my past research, work, and landscape management consultation programs on this blog. It'll be a nice way to see a bit of the history behind something I hold very close to my heart...

So we were never quite sure about "the eco-model" title, but we won't fight it. We realize that it rolls off the tongue quite nicely. Ecorazzi highlights Summer Rayne's profile on Grist.

Mike Sabel over at Grist Magazine has done a fine job in highlighting Summer Rayne - from her past experiences to her current trajectory and all the way down to her quirks.

For more information, read the article here.

Sludge 101


...And on the coattails of the Soil issue for E Magazine, a segment on sewage sludge land application and health. We completely missed this one. Thanks E! As a side note, sewage sludge (60% applied back onto our lands) is only regulated for 9 incorganic contaminants and 2 bacteria. In many cases, toxic organic contaminants were turning up in the sludges and exceeding typical soil screening limits on superfund sites. Find out more here.

Summer Rayne Oakes for E Magazine Covershoot


E Magazine "Soil" covershoot with photographer Jon Moe. More outtakes below.


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