sustainablespu

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


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S.P.A.C.E., Summer Veggies and the Benefits of Gardening


S.P.A.C.E. stands for Seattle Pacific Agriculture for the Community and Environment, and is a club on campus that stewards over the community garden for SPU. That garden is located on 4th Ave. W. behind the Dravus Lot, and is a great place to get involved over the summer. From my experience very few people I’ve talked to on campus even know that it exists, and that’s why I’m writing about it!DSCN1009

This garden I have visited a few times, but have yet to put much work into. I have contacted the club leaders and will start watering the plants this week. Summer is a great season for plants to soak up the sun here in Seattle, and there are many fruits and veggies that thrive in the warm weather that we’ve been having with the proper care and watering. I’m going to outline a few below, and use this research to help me narrow down which ones to plant in addition to the ones already growing in our garden. Continue reading

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The Coffee Obsession (Part 2) – What is fair trade really about?


Along with knowing what kind of milk and how much syrup is in our specialty drinks every morning, we should be even more concerned about where the beans that create those delicious nutty undertones come from. Some of the biggest regions that produce coffee are Central and South America, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia. Many countries’ economies are wrapped up in the global trade of coffee.

A good place to start in learning about coffee beans is the different types. There are two kinds of beans that are used most often for making coffee, Robusta and Arabica. The differences in these two relate to their flavor, growing conditions, and price.  Robusta has a stronger, harsher taste with grain and peanut overtones and can have twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans. These beans however, are considered lower quality when compared to Arabica beans in most cases. There are a few growers of Robusta that are higher quality and used in espressos for their rich flavor and caffeine content.

Arabica beans are common in pricier coffee circles, where Robusta is common in the grocery store. Arabica beans are more acidic and tend to have the fruitier tones that can be associated with specialty coffees. The two different kinds of beans are grown in different locations as well. Arabica beans grow at higher altitudes and take longer to produce than the Robusta beans which are very hearty and grow quickly.  This information was all found at http://www.thekitchn.com but there are many other sites out there. The types of beans grown determine the price that growers can sell them at and how much and how fast they can grow. Continue reading


Sustainable Flower-Buying


beautiful-valentines-day-giftIt’s hard to go wrong with flowers on Valentine’s day. I’m not usually one for traditions, but if anything is traditional in a good way, it’s flowers. Unfortunately, a startling eighty percent of cut flowers in the United States come from countries where fair wages are often absent and dangerous pesticides are not. But don’t worry, your chocolates won’t necessarily have to go solo this time. There are plenty of environmentally conscious options out there, and several ways in which you can ensure you’re buying the right flowers. Continue reading


Happy Thanksgiving!


New-Girl-1x06-Thanksgiving-new-girl-26505860-1950-1300Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that grows on you as you get older. When you’re a kid, it’s a rather boring and anticlimactic holiday, merely the pretext of what’s to come in December. You start to appreciate it more when the prospect of gifts is no longer the most exciting thing in the world, when the event itself becomes what to look forward to. Whether the idea of a familial gathering makes you anxious or filled with joy, there’s something about the atmosphere of Thanksgiving that feels warm, renewing, and full of life. If you’re aiming to give thanks to the environment this year by having a more sustainable thanksgiving, here are a few things you can keep in mind whilst pilgrim-dancing and avoiding your creepy Uncle.

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Eating as Ourselves


leslieDo you perform any rituals before you eat certain foods? This could be something as elaborate as a dance across the living room with socks on your hands pre-oatmeal, or something as simple as tapping your fork against the plate before digging into spaghetti. If you do practice such routine, you probably think of it as inconsequential, not something that directly affects the meal you’re about to eat, simply a personal quirk that feels right to you, for whatever reason. As it turns out, individual rituals performed before the act of eating have been shown to actually improve the taste of the food you’re about to consume.  Continue reading


Eating Healthier for Less


keep-calm-and-help-me-i-m-poor-12A lot of people (including the writer of this post) would like to eat healthier and more organically than they do, but find the task to be economically unfeasible. The frugal thing to do is to buy six packets of ramen for a dollar, then add imaginary bits of carrot and stir them in with the noodles. Yum yum. Real, fresh fruits and veggies are costlier to come by, an expense that seems impossible to mix with an already strained budget. If you’re eligible for a SNAP EBT card, there’s a super cool program going on called “fresh bucks” that could assist you in your pursuit of non-imaginary produce. Continue reading


Sustainable Coffee Practices


tumblr_lv16mbK86H1qbi3l5o1_500If coffee is as big a part of your life as it is mine, the way you get it matters ecologically. Because let’s face it. We can’t just stop drinking coffee. It’s a happy addiction. What we can do is go about it in the most sustainable way possible, with little efforts here and there. Continue reading