Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

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Popular Film and Sustainability Part 1: The Dark Knight Rises

imagesThough this film has been out for quite a while now, I must still warn everyone that spoilers await them here.

The Dark Knight trilogy begins and closes with the question of human sustainability. During its 7-year run, Director Christopher Nolan has peppered the films with the issues of clean water, the poverty gap, urban corruption. Nolan makes his loudest comment on conservation, however, by ending the series with two of the biggest concerns to human existence: the economy and the environment. And Nolan symbolizes these with his focus on nuclear energy. Continue reading

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Put a Bird On It!

ImageSpark your creativity (and save your cash) by buying clothes, cloth bags, and other items from secondhand shops and decorating them yourself.

Secondhand stores provide many unique and affordable finds, and luckily for us Seattle has many such places to shop. And the best way to enjoy them is to turn old old items into new craft projects. Secondhand places are also bursting with materials to convert back into their raw state for projects. No one will care if you buy a $5 quilt and cut it up for cloth!

For you knitters, recycle yarn by unraveling old or secondhand sweaters and remaking it anew.

Thrift stores also offer discounted books, kitchen supplies, CD’s, and fun accessories.

And remember to bring your own shopping bag; some thrift stores don’t offer bags or baskets to place your items in while you browse.

Share your top thrift store find in the comments.

Portlandia & the Culture of Sustainability

PortlandiaTV_04Feminist book stores, indie street music, über-aggressive bicyclists. That’s right: Portlandia is coming.

Well, actually the sitcom has already arrived, having just finished its third season. But you get the point.

The offbeat but tangible skits in Portlandia depict fictional over-the-top citizens of Portland as they engage in controversial social and ecological topics. Underneath the humorous satire, however,  Portlandia engages with serious controversies and debates in today’s society. And many of these issues resonate within SPU’s own area. Continue reading

Increase Your Happiness

imagesAs corny as it sounds, volunteering really does make a person feel happy. Giving to one’s community gives you that “helper’s high” that can keep your spirit up for days.

Volunteering also provides a great way to meet new people and form connections with your community — two strong factors in leading a healthy, happy life.

SPU provides a variety of ways to get involved around Seattle like City Quest, Latreia, and the John Perkins Center. It could be serving at one of the homeless shelters downtown, or just picking up trash around your neighborhood. Click here to learn more about nearby opportunities.

How to Grow Your Own Garden

HomegrownWant to save money, improve your health, and spend more time outdoors? Start your own garden! Growing your own fruits and vegetables is the ideal way to control what chemicals come into contact with your produce, and more affordable than the grocery store. Even better, homegrown food is often tastier and healthier than its store-bought counterpart.

Since it is likely that we have passed the last Seattle frost, you can start planting new crops right away. Even if your housing doesn’t offer a lot of space, you can grow gardens in a sunny corner of your backyard, in your nearby P-Patch, or even in the SPU organic community garden located off of 4th Ave and W. Dravus St.

Luckily, growing your own plants is easier than most people think. Continue reading

“There Is No Happiness Without Action”


To celebrate the first ever International Day of Happiness on March 20, declared by the United Nations in 2012, we encourage everyone to do five things that make you happy today, and stop to think about how happiness plays a role in your life.

Though happiness is a term that many throw about carelessly, its place in the sustainability vocabulary holds a potent meaning. We consider it a complex balance of satisfaction with life, physical health, a quality environment, psychological well-being, and community vitality. Continue reading


ImagePro-tip: even if the sun is hiding behind rain clouds, stepping outdoors for a few minutes each day is a simple way to boost endorphin and reduce stress.

This could be around your neighborhood, up the Queen Anne or Ashton hills to watch the sun set over the Puget Sound, or around Green Lake.

If nothing else, step outside for a 5 – 15 minute break to just breathe and enjoy the new spring blossoms.