Environmental changes have anchored themselves in our day-to-day reality moving past the realm of research papers, trend charts, and debates among experts. We can see and feel these changes everyday. Temperature, air quality, visibly, species changes. And then we get startling in-your-face bits of news like the New York Times article last week that said that hundreds of miles of the Great Barrier Reef are now dead from overheated salt water last year as a result of human caused green house gas emissions. I feel such profound sadness and fear when I read something like this. What are we going to do to halt this avalanche of environmental devastation?
On a much smaller scale, something very interesting is happening in Durham, North Carolina. A group of women each launched individual enterprises to fight back against environmental degradation with ambitious, creative, beautiful products and businesses that promote a new, eco-friendly way of living.
Alyssa Cherry decided to tackle waste and pollution from body products and cleansers by creating a zero waste line of body products–Fillaree–that can be refilled locally. Crystal Dreisbach is waging a war on restaurant waste through a subscription based reusable togo container system for the city: GreenToGo. Lee Moore Crawford dreams up spectacular, bee friendly bouquets–Hana Lee–from local flowers that are free from toxic chemicals so bees can actually land on them (I was surprised to learn how rare this is for bouquets). River Takada-Capel handcrafts apparel and accessories from reclaimed materials–Rivtak–including her spectacular line of kimonos from reclaimed silk. Daria Drake has formed a community collaborating for a more sustainable Triangle using art and design–Durham Originals (she is also responsible for the beautiful new branding and logo for Reid Miller). Rebecca Kuhns, the boutique owner of Liberation Threads saw a need to provide ethical fashion in her community and opened her shop for this purpose. And last but not least, Reid Miller designs clothing that promotes a green commute.
And we decided to come together to help each other. For our first collaborative effort we are celebrating our work and the fight for sustainable living at the launch of our Eco Style Pop-Up on Saturday, April 1st from 1-4pm at Liberation Threads. We will gather our products and ideas in one place, share tips on living sustainably, eat some hors d’oeuvres and toast to our efforts.
Taken together, this work reminds me that the big change we need will come from billions of little changes in our seemingly mundane daily choices: how we get around, what we eat, the products we use on our bodies and our households, and why we buy/consume in the first place.
Through getting to know these awesome ladies I have come to believe that entrepreneurs who make it easy and, indeed, pleasurable to make more sustainable choices are the lynchpins of our green revolution. AND, refreshingly, we don’t need to wait on the government to act, to witness change. Our green revolution is solutions-based and, importantly, provides a bit of levity, beauty and FUN in the face of a darkening environmental situation.
To be sure, none of these ladies are Pollyannas. Talk to Alyssa about plastic waste in the oceans and her tone becomes serious, urgent, solemn. But her response is action-oriented, solutions-based, pragmatic and extremely courageous – no more plastic, disposable container for our body and cleaning products.
And when I get down about the herculean task that is transforming our relationship with our world I think of these ladies and it fills me with love. I have found my pack of wild, creative, ambitious eco-entrepreneurs who are going to help me make the little changes for that big change we so urgently need.
If you live in the Triangle, please come out, meet them and see the beautiful enterprises they’ve created.
Here’s to all the little changes we can make to transform our world!