Tag Archives: compost

Am I a Crunchie Hipster or the New Urban Norm?

So there I am, in the kitchen, eating a Dupont Farmer’s Market carrot with some “Maryland-style” hummus I made at home. I proceed to throw the carrot top in the compost jar in the freezer, wash my hands with a locally made bar of soap (not an exotically scented bottle of liquid soap) which just happens to be sitting next to my reusable mug I carry with me every trip to Starbucks. I pour myself a glass of DC’s finest tap water, then blow my nose in a hanky. I walk upstairs where our freshly washed laundry is hang-drying from our glass catwalk to deposit the hanky in our eco-water saver laundry machine, then I walk back downstairs, remove my phone from our portable solar panel charger, grab my kindle from my backpack which I take religiously everywhere so I don’t need throwaway bags, put my backpack in the closet next to my bike helmet which I’m wearing a lot more since I no longer have my car in the city and rely on my bike to get me where I need to go, and have a seat on the couch to read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying while drinking a cup of warm Yogi Lemon Ginger tea.

And I think to myself, “I’m such a crunchie hipster!”

Or am I?

Before @robotchampion (and A Clean Life), I did none of these things. Give up my car? I LOVE heated leather seats in the winter. Shop at a farmer’s market on a Sunday morning? I was a notorious Harris Teeter, late evening Tuesday shopper, buying lots premade, packaged everything. Bring a recyclable mug to Starbucks? That just means I have to carry it around and wash the grody thing out. But I did all of these things, and more, and it hasn’t been an impediment on my lifestyle. It’s just required some simple changes in habits.

I don’t think I’m all that unique. I know tons of people who don’t have cars, who compost at home (even if they live in the city), who shop at farmer’s markets and who think bottled water is a joke (I highly recommend watching TAPPED). I have to wonder if my way of living isn’t such an extraordinary extremity as it is a market correcting itself from an ungodly and unnecessary level of waste and inefficiency.

So tell me: am I part of the new urban norm or just another crunchie hipster?

A TweetStory Of My SXSW Talk on Zero Waste

It’s a shame to let the twitter stream go to waste. So when looking for ways to recap my experience delivering a talk on Zero Waste at SXSW, the twittstream seemed like the perfect way to tell the story.

It all starts with my last two tweets before getting started:

Twitter_avatar_normal robotchampion Prepped and ready for 1230 #zerowaste talk, props, surprise guests, and even activism!

Twitter_avatar_normalrobotchampion Talk is just moments away, use the #zerowaste hashtag

As we get started eight folks chime in with GoWalla and Foursquare check-ins and general announcements about it beginning:

Default_profile_4_normal steveblackmon #zerowaste — at Zero Waste: The Future of Green http://gowal.la/s/4rK2

Me_normal JessiO At the #zerowaste session in 8A. (@ Austin Convention Center w/ @ramon_deleon @benedictwong @leahjones) http://4sq.com/8RQqOx

Yannx_-_small_normal YannR next #zerowaste … the future of green @ sxsw

4419588603_797328914c_b_normal sustaining Settling in at the #zerowaste session; looks like a diverse crowd and a lot of Austinites!

Then, I launch into my intro attempting to explain #zerowaste, but here is what they crowd hears/tweets:

Greenited_normal GREENITED On average Americans create 6 pounds of trash per day per person. #zerowaste #sxsw

Ctg_jelly_normal createthegood At #zerowaste, @robotchampion is talking about companies like @WholeFoods that are reducing the amt of trash they send to landfill. Saves $.

Lbd2008_012_normal accooper1 Change the size of the compost (largest) recycle & landfill (smallest) bins to help change behavior #zerowaste #sxsw

Ctg_jelly_normal createthegood #zerowaste is diverting from landfills… composting, recycling… – @robotchampion #SXSW

Ok, so either I was extremely captivating and no one cared to tweet, or I talked way too fast and folks only had time to tweet major snippets?

Ctg_jelly_normal createthegood Next speaker is Beth Ferguson from Austin… Her design thesis was on solar charging stations for electric vehicles & bikes. #zerowaste

Agreenerlife_normal agreenerlifeorg At the #zerowaste panel being impressed with people’s ingenuity.

Newpic_normal Blocks8 Look for the solar recharge stations that look like 1950′s gas pumps around Austin #sxsw #zerowaste

Ctg_jelly_normal createthegood One audience member said they saw it last night and there was a line. People are digging it. #zerowaste // Now I wanna go snap a pic!

Picture_20_normal LisaRedShoesPR did not know about the retro-fitted 50s style gas pumps as solar charging stations for bikes, laptops around… #sxsw #zerowaste

4419588603_797328914c_b_normal sustaining Beth Ferguson’s design for a solar electric charging station incorporates 1950s gas pumps to make energy consumption visible. #zerowaste

Kelly_new_avatar_normal craftyb RT @createthegood: Henry Ford’s wife drove the first electric vehicle. #zerowaste #whoknew

I chime in with an important fact that a few tweet about:

Avatar_122615_normal changeorder The greatest new energy source is energy reduction. #zerowaste #sxsw

Then our next speaker, Jason Aramburu, starts off with a zinger:

Croppercapture_3__normal brianfit Clean coal? Oxymoron! #zerowaste

Bbf_normal brookebf Rechar doing project in Houston ship channel w waste wood fr hurricane ike gen pwr & fertilizer reduce landfill #zerowaste #sxswi #housxsw

After Jason’s talk I go off on compost, which seemed to set off a flurry of tweets:

Ctg_jelly_normal createthegood A lot of people in the room raise their hand saying they compost. Me, I’m learning. #zerowaste #SXSW

E_solo_1_normal ericavandenberg “Farmers call compost black gold” #zerowaste #sxswi

3604605400_69a847a333_normal KuraFire Compost is the new black gold. #zerowaste

Amy begins her part:

Ctg_jelly_normal createthegood Next up, @sengseng (aka “Steve’s woman”) She’s talking about the girlfriend’s perspective living with someone who lives #zerowaste lifestyle

Noname_6__normal kirbstr #zerowaste victim or guinea pig :)

Ctg_jelly_normal createthegood . @sengseng‘s first reaction was that #zerowaste is impossible in today’s society #SXSW

Lbd2008_012_normal accooper1 Waste is just a bad habit not a lifestyle #zerowaste #sxsw

Ctg_jelly_normal createthegood Even just bringing a water bottle or your own cup helps reduce the paper generated. – @sengseng #zerowaste #SXSW

Ctg_jelly_normal createthegood Changing food habits was one of the biggest challenges. @robotchampion & @sengseng shop at farmers markets mainly #zerowaste #SXSW

Picture_20_normal LisaRedShoesPR Re-think what constitutes a meal … #sxsw #zerowaste eat things from farmer’s markets.

Amy hits the tweet bingo with the most folks re-tweeting her lines/quoting her. Then a questioneer brings up the crucial question with perfect timing and saving me from the awkward transition to it. What are the online resources for zero waste, food, etc.?

Picture_20_normal LisaRedShoesPR take note of the #slowfood movement. #sxsw #zerowaste

Ctg_jelly_normal createthegood To find your local farmers markets or locally sourced food, one resource is http://www.localharvest.org/ #zerowaste #SXSW

Picture_20_normal LisaRedShoesPR check out eatwellguide.org for farmer’s guide market #sxsw #zerowaste

Finally, the session winds down with announcements and lots of folks with new ideas:

Noname_6__normal kirbstr #zerowaste comment on the waste of the swag bags, but they are a revenue source for smaller biz but #sxsw is cutting down on paper wastes

Img_4890-edit-2-edit_normal MelissaSavcic Great talk about #zerowaste at #sxsw There needs to be more ‘green’ lifestyle conferences!

3604605400_69a847a333_normal KuraFire IFixit.com is aiming to be a Wikipedia for fixing your own hardware (like broken iPhone screens). #zerowaste

3604605400_69a847a333_normal KuraFire “Reduce first, Reuse second, Recycle third. Now a fourth one: Rethink.” #Zerowaste

Pirate_normal floridagirlindc My fave from #zerowaste panel at #SXSW: @sengseng‘s “Look at the faces of people in supermakret vs people at farmers market. Who’s happier?”

Img_0860_normal the007way #zerowaste www.soldesignlab.com Been considering an elec scooter but I have nowhere to charge it at present. Just got rid of car.

The Stats

  • 6 rave reviews and 2 critiques (here, here, I followed up personally with each critique)
  • During the 60 minute session:
  • – there were 51 ReTweets
  • – 204 Tweets using the hashtag #zerowaste
  • – which is 3.4 tweets/minute or about a tweet every 18 seconds
  • 1 Live Streamer
  • 3 Live Note Takers (by YannR, cwcinc, and benrigby)

The Ending, My Favorite Tweet

Photo_071309_001_normal AeroSuch Lots of sandals & composters at #Zerowaste. Great insights into solar recharge, bio charcoal, and savingmoney/calories/trash #habits #sxsw