Thursday, May 1, 2008

Big Ideas for a Small Planet

Season Two of the Sundance channel's The Green, a series of programs dedicated environmental issues, kicked off on April 22nd. The series features celebrity activists such as Laurie David, Sheryl Crow, Carole King and Kevin Bacon sharing ideas, information and enthusiasm about their cause of choice in The Ecoists, a variety of ecological documentaries and Big Ideas for a Small Planet which takes a topics such as "Food" and explores the different ways professionals and ordinary people are trying to nourish us with environmentally friendly food and wine.

On May 6th, an episode dedicated to eco-friendly fashion will be featured on Big Ideas for a Small Planet, with a spotlight on the use of premium organic cotton in Del Forte Denim; Nau, a clothing company which is not only changing the fashion industry model by creating sustainable rather than disposable clothing, but has applied their unique perspective in eco-friendly wear to creating new fabrics and new sales and distribution techniques; and a cleaner dry cleaning method using CO2 instead of PERC, a highly toxic chemical.

The "Fashion" episode was very enlightening, since I am certainly guilty of the "consume and discard" method of purchasing clothing. No doubt my castoffs over the years could clothe a small third world nation (Although to be fair--I do "recycle" by donating my gently worn stuff to Goodwill...). It's quite a change in mindset to invest in high quality, durable and eco-friendly garments that will last years and years longer than that trendy summer frock that will be out of style by next season...

"Recycle" is the Big Ideas topic airing on May 13th. In the U.S., we dump 16 billion TONS of trash each year. A landfill in Sonoma, CA has come up with creative ways to reduce the load of waste by recycling and reusing, composting and using the residual trash to generate energy. The episode also features a pair of designers who recycle packaging materials into trendy accessories and the refurbishment and reuse of electronic and computer equipment.

Don't miss "Grow," an episode dedicated to green spaces and public gardens on May 20th and "Transport" which explores how the climate crisis is forcing an examination of how we live and move via mass transit, bicycle friendly cities and commuter cars. (Personally, I think there should be an examination of creating more telecommuting positions to alleviate carbon emissions and traffic congestion. With internet connections, cell phones, e-mail, IM, faxes, etc., it's just not necessary for millions of Americans to travel to an office to do their job.)

"Live" airs May 27th followed by "Business" on June 3rd. "Gadgets" and "Animals" complete the series airing on June 10th and June 17th respectively, so mark your calendar! There are lots of innovative ideas in each of the Big Ideas episodes. And if you should come up with a big idea of your own, submit it to the "What's the Big Idea?" contest sponsored by Lexus Hybrid Living:

Submit a short film or photo essay demonstrating how you work green, play green, eat green or live green. The winner will be awarded a cash prize of $10,000 to help make their “Big Idea” a reality as well as a private green audit by “Big Ideas for a Small Planet” subject Current Energy – creator of the world’s first energy efficiency store™ – which appears on season two of “Big Ideas for a Small Planet.” Four runners up will receive a Sundance Channel Green VIP Bag.
Get the details from the Sundance Channel: The Green website and make sure to submit your big idea by May 20th!

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