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  • Small-Scale Sustainable Communities: The Key to the Next Social (R)evolution

    This article marks the first in the author’s series on Sustainable Communities, in which she investigates theories and examples of how we might organize ourselves toward sustainability.  This introductory article examines why it is crucial to focus on the viability of sustainable community prototypes, the likes of which are popping up in both urban and […] More

  • Bright Lights and Big Bangs: The Chemical Composition of Fireworks

    Part 2: Do Fireworks Pose Significant Environmental Danger? Pittsburgh, PA.  A place known for its peoples’ good ol’ blue collar fervor, our enthusiasm for everything from our football team (STEELERS!!) to our beer (Iron City) to our hoagies (Primanti’s, brother!).  We are thus naturally inclined to encourage bombastic public demonstrations of our affection–in this case, […] More

  • Bright Lights, Dark Cloud: Examining the Environmental Effects of Fireworks

    Part 1: Pittsburgh’s Environmental Record–and “The Smoky City’s” Love of Fireworks On Saturday, October 4, 2008, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania celebrated its 250th birthday in a climax of a fireworks display, thirty minutes long and launched from 17 different locations around the city, including barges floating on Pittsburgh’s three rivers and off of downtown skyscrapers. Pittsburgh loves […] More

  • How to "Winterize" Your Bicycle!

    For many of us who take environmental protection into our own hands daily, a bicycle is an indispensible part of the dream.  Throw off those winter blues… bicycling can make your winter green! Bicycles are an efficient way to transport yourself daily for a number of reasons.  To me, the most important benefit to using […] More

  • Greening the Restaurant Industry

    Note: Scroll to the bottom to find out about the new Green Kitchen Certification offered by Food Service Warehouse Dear Readers, Some of you have inquired about how I’ve been spending my time since wrapping up production (and living) on the Sust Enable project at the end of July.  As I wrote in my post […] More

  • A Meditation on Being American… and My Role in Global Sustainability

    This blog post was written in response to some unusually caustic replies received on my last Sustainablog post, “The Dissonance Between Dreams: Re-writing the Sust Enable Episode Scripts.” It was composed in the interrim between the second-to-last comment, and the final comment, which clarifies the author’s tone a bit and does lay out some common […] More

  • The Dissonance Between Dreams: Re-writing the Sust Enable Episode Scripts

    “For any viewer who has been camping, a tent may not sound like the most… comfortable living option.  On the other hand, it has some real benefits to my mission to live sustainably! …Inhabiting it uses no energy–neither heating nor cooling is an issue.  While it might seem like it at first, a tent is […] More

  • Voyage to the Center of the United States: Love, Theft and Theory

    Dearest Sustainablog! Thank you for welcoming me back after an extended hiatus travelling our great American countryside.  Burned out from the stresses of the Sust Enable project, my partner Scott and I took off for the great wilds of U.S. National Parks in early August.  I haven’t written a blog since, as my adventures swept […] More

  • Widespread Sustainable Consumerism is More Vital Than Taking Individual Actions

    Perhaps no one knows better than I do what it means to take individual responsibility for my environmental impact.  For those of you familiar with my blog, you know that for the past three months, I have been trying to live 100% environmentally sustainably within urban Pittsburgh.  A formidable task, indeed. In Robin Shreeve’s provocative […] More

  • Layers of Ecology: Book Review for A Matter of Scale by Keith Farnish

    “Businesses and politicians have no part whatsoever to play in the solution: it is all about individual ‘non-civilians’.” -Keith Farnish The Sust Enable webcast series was spawned in a climax of understanding… years of myriad input and countless bits of information collected over time at once coalesced into one artistic, complex and beautiful vision.  I’ve […] More

  • A Sustainable Way to Travel: CouchSurfing.com

    CouchSurfing saved my life. Well, possibly.  No one yet knows what role quality sleep plays in one’s life, or whether one could die from sleep deprivation. But if it weren’t for the Couchsurfing.com network, I would be–more or less–homeless. Since I gleefully waved goodbye to my soggy, moldy tent in mid-July, I’ve been faced with […] More

  • Sustainable Solutions for Conquering Mold!

    Rain, rain, go away.   Come again some other day… Mold, mold, meet your end.  Never, ever come again! A couple days ago, I recounted my story about how I was forced to abandon my abode (a small tent) due to a blight of mold.  The old children’s song of the first lyric is what […] More

  • Hard Lessons in Sustainable Living: The Tent Trauma

    “F*** sustainability. I just want a bed.” — Dear Readers, The Mili-Tent is a bust. On May 1, 2008, I moved into a tent in the woods within Pittsburgh, PA. It was in my mind an easy solution to a complicated problem: that of how to dwell sustainably. Without the time nor interest in building […] More

  • Sustainable Living Rule #3: Take Your Time

    Take it easy.  Go slow.  Take your time. Lately, I’ve been writing about lessons learned during my three-month sustainable living experiment.  Most of them are not concrete facts, but rather emotional insights which came to the forefront when the stresses of my new lifestyle began taking their toll. Welcome to my most significant understanding: that […] More

  • Sustainable Living Rule #2: Have FUN

    If the revolution isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong. I often wonder what people imagine when they hear I’m trying to live environmentally sustainably for three months.  Do they picture me living in a tree, hunting rabbits and eating grass?  Do they think “oh, I could never do that for myself,” or do they think […] More

  • Sustainable Living Rule #1: Be Gentle To Yourself

    My friend Nick listens thoughtfully as I tell my sob story. “The film is too stressful,” I say. “I am always running around. I am never able to be where I want to be.” He shakes his head. “That’s not very sustainable, Caroline.” I look at him, puzzled. “What do you mean?” I say. “I […] More

  • Reclaim Your Plate! The Sustainable Food Diet

    The jury is in: the most sustainable way to feed yourself is to grow your own food. There are many factors considered when evaluating food sustainability.  The primary concern is: what is the ratio between how much land is used, and how many calories are produced? In asking this question, we can immediately eliminate meat […] More

  • When Sex Isn't Sexy… Environmental Implications of Another Baby Boom

    Birth control methods. There are many, but the two most common forms are the condom and the hormonal pill. Can these products be manufactured sustainably? If not… who cares? There is something I would like to add to list of “things I would never give up, even if sustainable solutions are never found.” The first […] More

  • A New Vision of Sustainability: To Live Satisfactorily?

    — My attitude and understanding of sustainable living have shifted drastically since I began this project, in a way that could only be provided by a direct experience.  Ideology clashes with reality, and in the heat of that conflict, a new identity may be forged. The experts are continually skeptical whether what I am doing […] More

  • That Flushing Feeling: Sustainable Living, Ruined by a Toilet

    Picture this.  It’s the first day of trying to live 100% environmentally sustainably.  You are in a constant hyper-alert state about what you choose to do.  You bike to work… doing good.  You eat only from sustainable venues… doing great!  And then… catastrophe. The porcelain gods are angry with you. This is the story of my hard lesson about […] More

  • Travel Green: Bicycling in the City

    There is one thing Pittsburghers can agree upon, besides the greatness of the Penguins or Steelers. That is: “there’s way more bikes on the road this year, aren’t there?” Indeed there are. Whether it’s for economic reasons, or the result of a growing green consciousness, I am one of hundreds of Pittsburgh bicyclists taking to […] More

  • Learning To Read Plants: Redefining "Eating Locally"

    There’s several mulberry trees growing nearby my tent, where I am camping for three months in an effort to approach 100% environmental sustainability for myself. I was wonderfully relieved to discover that the trees near me are in fact Red Mulberry trees, a native species! This is in contrast to Paper Mulberry trees, which are […] More

  • To Live Relevantly: My Story of Defining Sustainability

    I will author a life that causes as little harm as possible, and provides as much usefulness to humanity as I can. This involves using my skills (as a filmmaker), but it also involves using my unskilled self: I must be willing to learn how to implement many practices from different sources, and be willing […] More

  • Sustainable Drinking Water Sources

    Since I began trying to live sustainably, making sure I have sufficient water has been a significant challenge. I still mostly rely on municipal water (faucet water) from neighbors’ houses for my water needs, but that is soon to change. Rain Water Rainwater is an obvious solution for dish and clothes washing water, and bathing […] More

  • The "Sustainable Fitness Plan!"

    Lose ten pounds in just three weeks! What does it take to get results like that? Trying to live in harmony with the Earth! Today marks the 24th day I have attempted to live environmentally sustainably. I sleep in a used tent, bike anywhere I want to go, volunteer biweekly at Landslide Community Farm, and […] More

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