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

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from SustainableSPU!

bikeWe here at SustainableSPU would like to wish you a happy and (emotionally) warm time celebrating the people in your lives as you take some time off and get down to merriment. If you’re trying to be extra green this season, the holidays present several ways to put sustainable values into practice. For a quick round-up of the holiday greenery that’s been covered on this blog, check out the links below. Continue reading

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On the Importance of a Coexistent Ideology

NJ_DeerI hate to be the bearer of such depressing news, but I just read about a deer culling planned to take place in Eastern Long Island that struck me as representative of a core roadblock in our communal quest to live in harmony with the earth. The Long Island Farm Bureau and the United States Department of Agriculture have set a goal to eliminate two to three thousand deer from an estimated population of between 25,000-35,000. If this goes through, it would be one of the most deadly government deer removals in history. Continue reading

Sustainability & Film: Prince Avalanche

large_Prince_Avalanche_1_PUBSDirector David Gordon Green’s Prince Avalanche is set against the backdrop of a 1988 Texas wildfire, charred woodland making for a haunting and enveloping atmosphere that acts as the perfect stage for a quiet and meditative study on the relationship between the film’s two main characters. Alvin (a mustached Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsch, seemingly competing in a Jack Black lookalike contest) are a couple of mismatched road-workers, stuck with each other as the two of them paint new lines on a rural highway. Party-focused Lance tells the straight-laced Alvin that he gets lonely out in the wilderness, but Alvin stays behind when Lance heads to the city for the weekend, saying that he “reaps the rewards of solitude.” Continue reading

Real or Fake Christmas Tree?

elfMany people struggle around this time with the question of what kind of tree to put in their living room. Real or fake? Both sides hold reasons why theirs is the more sustainable option. My first reaction to the idea of a real tree is negative due to the simple fact that it involves chopping down a living tree for the sake of decoration, but upon closer examination it becomes apparent that fake trees aren’t the greenest purchase either. Continue reading

The Perks of Going Nutty

almond-pistachiosI never realized that nuts were so good for us. But those pistachios, almonds, peanuts and co. really want to help us out. According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, people who eat a handful of nuts every day are 20% less likely to die from chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease. The span of the research is very impressive and encouraging, with 118,000 people who ate nuts seven or more times a week being followed over the course of thirty years, the results finding that their chances of dying from any such cause were reduced by the aforementioned twenty percent. Continue reading


8x10_EagleApparently, December and January are the times to spot bald eagles in the Northwest. In the winter, many eagles migrate to the relatively tepid waters of Oregon, Washington, and southern B.C., and can be seen congregating more than usual since it’s neither mating nor hatching season, and many of them can be seen at once if a birdwatcher gets lucky. One location to scout is the Skagit River, with other possibilities being more remote but perfect for a winter break road trip. Continue reading

Creative and Fun ways to Holiday Sustainably

ron swanson marshThe other day I wrote about sustainable gift-giving, but of course, a lot more goes into holiday prep than presents. Decorations are something that we look forward to throughout the year; nutcrackers, lights, tinsel, scented pinecones, all that jazz. Going to the store for holiday supplies seems like the automatic action, the given, the call of consumerism. But if we get a little creative, we can make our own decor, saving money and reusing what we might have otherwise thrown out. Below are a few tips that might jump start your holiday innovation. Continue reading

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Interview with a Vegan: SPU Alumni Colin Hohnstein

colinColin Hohnstein, a 2012 SPU graduate, has many titles. Brilliant writer, skilled musician, roommate to the best blogger on the planet; these are just a small sampling of the ways in which you might describe him. As of last August, Vegan could be added to the list. Colin has swept away all traces of animal product consumption from his life, which affects more than what initially comes to mind. If you’re considering veganism, or just cutting down the use of animal products in your lifestyle to whatever extent, the insight Colin gives in the below interview will likely be very helpful.
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Sustainable Gift Giving

ecoGiftWrapThe holidays can bring a lot of excess waste with them, waste that we think little of while caught up in the season’s good cheer. There are small things we can do, however, in an effort to go about our merriment in a more sustainable way. On the subject of gift-giving, it’s possible to spread a double-dose of goodwill by making people happy while keeping the environment in mind. For instance, if you’re shipping a lot of presents, try to send them off early, before you need to rely on last-minute air delivery, which burns bookoo fossil fuels and releases more CO2 than other modes of transportation. Continue reading