Thursday, July 31, 2008

Facebook stalking at its best

You know what's really good?
Cameron Sinclair's facebook stati.

"Cameron South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Italy, Biloxi in 10 days. eek."

"Cameron is off to the airport with 90 min. till my flight. drive like the wind mr. bus driver."

"Cameron had a great dinner last night with Mr. Benetton while wearing a Benetton shirt. Thank goodness it wasn't Mr. Speedo."

"Cameron is sitting in the lobby where the worlds' business leaders are fighting over free cheeseckae squares. oh, the humanity."

"Cameron Sinclair calls it. Facebook 1 FEMA 0 -- we did it in 12 hours. Thanks guys."

He's pretty fly. You should meet him. If you email him he'll email you back.


Here's an interesting article about Rubberized Asphalt Concrete in Cali from the LA Times. I'm a huge fan of diverting recyclable materials from the waste stream. But im wondering...

They also can pose a high fire risk, and these fires are not only hard to put out but they also create heavy smoke and toxic runoff.

Does baking in the hot sun all day + friction from cars going 60+ cause the same sort of heat that could cause a similar sort of toxic runoff? What about when you add rain to the mix? We DONT need anymore toxic runoff in our rivers.

Upcycle, please.


Gabe(via text): "I hate biking in oak park. These suburbanite assholes have no respect for the favor I am doing our planet."

damn you, Oak Park, I thought you were rad. If gabesters wants to deliver sandwiches on his old bike and lock that old bike up to an old streetpost in your hood, he should be able to. How outrageous. I'm typing so hard, im about to break my macbook air!!!

Damn the man.

Upcycle, please.


Here's a mappie that Daniela made for the biking design competition she's working on this summer. Somebody's been working on their PS skilllzz. Here's some of the text from the email this map was attached to:

hihi. hurrs one of my mappies. it doesn't have a key or scale or north arrow yet, so it's kinda not readable...but it's the only one of my mappies that i can get small enough to send. grr. i'm tryin to see if i can get the other ones smallish too, but anyway. i've been meaning to send you this one forever cause it's my fav so far. it's basically just a straight info map. color coded for the building uses (purple's residential, brown's industrial, pink is commercial, orange is public, and green is green!). then there are the red dot things that are points of interest. and the thru/no-thru symbols for getting past the bqe. I also did a bit of intervention stuff on this map but i might separate it out in the final version...the blue line is a possible commuter route and the light orange-ish is a possible recreational route (the existing stuff is those green chevrons). and lastly. the orange ripple is a time/distance calculation from the train station. sorta. i dunno how to make that part clearer. the ripples happen every quarter mile and the numbers are the minutes it would take to ride to somewhere in that area if you ride at about 8-10 mph (which is kinda slow but considering you're never going in a straight line, i thought it should be pretty accurate) oh! and the dotted lines with the number/letter combos are the building zones! and the little blue oPo things are a symbol for existing bike parking. hahaha. and the arrows are the street directionality...okay. i think that's it! haha

Pretty sweeeeetsters.

Upcycle, please.


Such a sad picture.
Upcycle, please

Weird but true

So I watched the video below and thought about this movie:

If you haven't seen it, you're missing out on my childhood and a ridiculously good film. It's pretty amazing it was made in 1984.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Amanda sent this to me. SO frightening, really.

If I've learned anything over the last couple of months, it's that who you know is often more important than what you know. This... is kind of a testament to that,

Upcycle, please.


This video is so sick.

Upcycle, please.

Kill Your Own Sheep

"I don't think I'm capable of answering problems that have been here for many years. But I think the best I can do is present them in a way where one wants to solve these problems." — Charles Burnett
director of Killer of Sheep

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Generally speaking, green washing is pretty bad and really dumb. And we’re all kind of obsessed with it and scared of it. And rightly so. BUT.

What if greenwashing was actually, maybe, possibly a good thing?

I look at it this way: we live in a capitalist, consumer-oriented society where success is defined by the amount you can sell. Morals, ethics, human rights don’t really matter. If they did, people wouldn’t get laid off en masse nor would they make things at the expense of their children’s futures. To the government and the corporations, you’re not a person or a customer; you’re a consumer, a vessel through which things and ideas are sold, packaged, and branded. Your purpose is to buy things from these companies, and funnel your wealth to the stockholders. If that wasn’t true, you wouldn’t get a check from the government when the economy was bad (read: enough people weren’t buying enough things) and told to go out and shop at the local Wal-Mart. And to me, our economy is an economic system predicated upon social and environmental inequality and waste, enacted violently against the masses at the expense of public health, happiness, and self-awareness all the while robbing us both of our youth and natural spaces.

That’s probably overly simplistic, and maybe even a bit dramatic… and maybe it isn’t. The point is that if we want environmentalism to be successful, I feel, it needs to be marketable. It needs to be popularized; bought, sold, distributed on the open market just as easily and freely as unsustainability currently is. It needs to dominate economically.

The conflict is that truly green/sustainable/eco-friendly/whatever you wanna call it practices and lifestyles are diametrically opposed to the markets, trends, and boom-bust cycles that gave rise to this sort of consciousness. If that’s so, how can they ever coexist?

No, they can’t.

So, ultimately, our goal isn’t simply to make things green, but to irrevocably alter and transform the way we do business around the world so that we don’t do business, we do life. Green’s not the new black, no, it’s sort of the new Red.

And in order for sustainability to succeed, we have to beat them at their own game and capitalize the shizzle out of our ideas, things, and lifestyles. We have to green-power-wash our society.

That’s why solar panels in the suburbs, hydrogen cars, and organic cotton ain’t worth a damn as a solution to the environmental problems we’ve created. Society has to change through and through, right down to the amino acids for any of it to matter. And when it does, nothing will ever be the same,

Upcycle, please.


I wish I could take Los Angeles and add two floors to every building.

In our cities, like in nature, there are parasites. Creatures and things that suck the life out of what's healthy, squeeze the beauty from every leaf, stomp out every last seedling. These places, we call suburbs.

What we lack are the epiphytes and symbyotes that can be found in the rainforests of the world. Epiphytes use existing things as pedestals; they grow on branches and stems, but do not harm their hosts. They also, however, don't necessarily help them. They're neutral. Symbyotes, on the other hand, are not only beneficial to their hosts, but necessary. Their hosts aren't hosts, instead, theyre mutual partners in an unspoken pact for survival. I wonder where in our cities the symbiotes lie and if over time, epiphytes can evolve into symbiotic creatures.

I'd like to design a structure that could go on top of already existing buildings and add extra floors for homes, stores, libraries, and gardens. Something that is affordable, made using local or repurposed materials, and could be built on site by the community. A little epiphite that could grow all over the city and eventually nourish the building below back to health.

Solar panels, bamboo, or smart cars are not the answer to the environmental problems we have created; restructuring the built environment is where it has to begin.

Upcycle, please.


When I do stuff with the fam, how we travel comes down to one thing: cost. If it costs less to fill up a tank of gas than it does to bus it, we drive. If it doesn’t, we don’t. Taking PT obviously takes longer than driving, so its hard to justify both spending more on our mode of transportation as well as using up more precious daylight doing so. Traveling with parents and kiddies can be tough on the money clip. What would usually be a relaxing $1.25 bus ride to Burbank, suddenly becomes a $3.75 (if its just me and the kiddies) - $5.00 (me, kiddies+momz) money hemorrhage. And that’s each way (so double it for round trip), and if the trip is only one bus (it never is), AND it takes longer than driving.

So, why don’t PT companies offer family passes? A $10 day pass for a family of four seems like a pretty sweet deal, no?

Mine are 8 and 9 years old, at the perfect age for lots of mind-molding and impression making. But the Metro policy here for kids riding free only goes up to age 5. I’m trying to get them interested not only in riding public transportation, but in experiencing the culture –or lack thereof- of this city. A family pass policy should be considered an investment in future generations of bus-riders and the city as a whole.

Take your kids with you on the bus.

Upcycle, please.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I was at the Huntington Gardens the other day, helping to teach a botanical drawing class (read: sharpening pencils) when I met the director, Jim Folsom, quite possibly the coolest person Ive met in the last few weeks. He spoke a lot about the “Architecture” of plants and how they are built, segmented (modules, anyone?) and super duper the hizzle for shizzle with no sign drizzle.
He also told us that green is at the center of our visual spectrum and that we can discern like, 2 million different shades and hues of green (Red is at the center of Hummingbirds’ visual spectrum, which is why they’re so into red stuff).

Anyway, that;s just an interesting tidbit of info I thought might blow your mind a little bit.

How many shades of green do YOU see?

Upcycle, please.


Here's something super sweet from our newest contributor, Amanda. You should check out her blog and that link.

And also ride the bus today, maybe?

Upcycle, please.


Here's an article on an issue unfolding in LA over my beloved LA River. I think a three day paddle ride is way way hard to the core. and I'm glad they did it/wish I had been invited!

Rivers and watersheds are important social and environmental amenities crucial to the development and health of our urban environments. We should not only have access to them, but we should be able to consider those amenities to be protected from harmful intrusion and pollution. Please, make the LA River public again.

Upcycle, please.


"Beijing calculates a daily air pollution index from 1 to 500 based on measures of four pollutants. Days on which the index is under 100 are said to be acceptable. The Chinese government claims that air quality has greatly improved since 2001 when Beijing won its bid to host the Games with promises to clean up the local atmosphere. In that period, Beijing has tightened emission standards and built four new subway lines." -LA Times article

The big shocker for me that quote wasnt the pollution, but that Beijing has built four subway lines in the last 7 years.

Upcycle, please.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Funk what youre doing tomorrow night.
go to this. 

Upcycle, please

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I'm not Toniopants, but it says who I am at the bottom.

So I'm temporarily in Memphis, Tenn., because that's where I grew up and all, but today was the first time EVER that I took the public transit system in this city. Apparently ridership has been up because of gas prices, and today I took the 50 Poplar and there were probably about 40 people on that bus. Everyone yelled "Back door!!!" to the bus driver when he forgot to let someone off, and then we all laughed. It was one of the most enjoyable bus rides I've had in a while.

In addition to being super sassy, the MATA is offering rides for a quarter (that's twenty-five cent) on code red ozone days. I kinda wish I was staying long enough to see one of these days and see the bus PACKED.

In addition to the sassy bus drivers and the atmospheric considerations, at least some of the buses have some seats facing each other, not like across an aisle, but across perpendicular to how the road stretches. (Get it?) So strangers were striking up convos in these funseats.

Maybe my experience was special and magical; maybe it's always like that? I'm going to try to confirm it's the latter by adventuring. Here's a beautiful pdf map. I'm having an acute affinity to the city of Memphis all of a sudden.

Cycle up now!!


Whoa nelly.

Upcycle, please


Okay, so here are some more scans from my sketchbook. the scans are particularly bad this time.
The good parts:

Totes, Totes:

Schwimmer House:


Baking Soda/Venn:

Upcycle, please.


What if… public trans (PT) was actually really convenient and fresh to death? What if we had WIFI on the articulated buses and knew how long we’d have to wait before the next Rapid swooped by, bike racks rollin more than two deep? I have an idea, well, a few.

One: Double the number of buses on the streets. What? Whoa, that’s expensive. Whatever. If you build it, they will ride. If buses want respect, get allll up in cars' grillz. No one ever sees buses, so we think two things :they never pass(i.e. the PT system sucks), and they're huge, scary, monsters. The best way to solve this is to get people more familiar with the size, scope, and intensity of buses. The more interactions, the better! Get up in their grillz, theirtheir grillz.

Two: -and this can be done maybe on the cheap- label and number the bus stops. They could all start from some sort of central point(like, downtown, maybe?) and have some sort of directionality attached to them. So like, the 85th bus stop on Sepulveda, north of LAX could be stop 85N. Whytf would you want to do this? Very simple:

Because then you could call 1800-COMMUTE and, say you’re waiting for the next 761 rapid bus going north, you’d type in the route number (761) and the bus stop (85N) and bam!!! A sexy automated voice whispers “BUS number 761 going NORTH towards stop 85 NORTH will arrive at 6:10 PM” it’s 6:05 right now. Sweet, I have to wait five minutes.

Or no?

Upcycle, please.


Starting with the last post below, We're gonna be introducing a series of super cool homies who are going to guestwrite the whip all over this blog. Until we find a clear way of letting you know who authored each post, we're going to leave you in darkness (darkness is way sustainable).

So, you'll be hearing from Hitomi, Will, DJ, and me for now.

Maybe there'll be more in the future??

Upcycle, please


I was in summertime Chi for 3 hours Monday, so I went and visited my favorite place to visit in Chicago (aside from OPRF), the Chicago Architecture Foundation! Yippee.
AND they were having this exhibit called "Green with Desire." They had categories associated with building and American living in general that cause problems in society and the environment. I especially enjoyed the ones about how the standards for comfort and status changed as certain building and transportation practices became cheaper or more convenient. It's pretty well-rounded and has a ton of factoids everywhere. Some of them are just thrown out there, like, "Building subdivisions can result in five to ten times more soil erosion than farming," but many are rooted in Chicago buildings and historical 'hoods, so it's super interesting.
If you're in town, you should most definitely check it out!
They also have affiliated events coming up.
Toodles Upcyclers

Monday, July 21, 2008


This is an email from the editor of the NYT to the McCain campaign regarding an Op-Ed piece the campaign submitted recently.

Dear Mr. Goldfarb,
Thank you for sending me Senator McCain's essay.
I'd be very eager to publish the Senator on the Op-Ed page.
However, I'm not going to be able to accept this piece as currentlywritten.
I'd be pleased, though, to look at another draft.
Let me suggest an approach.
The Obama piece worked for me because it offered new information (itappeared before his speech); while Senator Obama discussed Senator McCain,he also went into detail about his own plans.
It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrorsSenator Obama's piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate,in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq. It wouldalso have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory — with troopslevels, timetables and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate. Andit would need to describe the Senator's Afghanistan strategy, spelling outhow it meshes with his Iraq plan.
I am going to be out of the office next week. If you decide to re-work thedraft, please be in touch with (Redacted)
Again, thank you for taking the time to send me the Senator's draft. Ireally hope we can find a way to bring this to a happy resolution.
David Shipley

John McCain= dumb/computer illiterate/a robot (not the good kind).

Upcycle, please.


Just for fun:

So that's a really crappy video, but the performance was amazing. I want to father all of Feist's children. Really. Sucks to be you if you weren't there last night.

And,a video of much higher quality,

. So good.

And another, by popular demand:

I took the metro to the concert, so this counts as being under the realm of sustainable stuff.

Upcycle, please.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I just read this article about a new Costco and Best Buy being planned for the Pacoima neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. Following that, I read this article about the Mayor's lust for Big Box retailers. Together, the articles made me kind of upset.

Do we really need more big box retailers in LA/The Valley/Pacoima? No! What? I've read local newspapers and magazines from San Diego to Chicago to Philadelphia and never have I heard of a city actively attempting to promote big boxes as a realistic form of economic and social development. That just isn't the case. Big Boxes bring jobs, yes, but they're low wage, concrete ceiling, going-nowhere-fast jobs that are not only low skill, but boring and intellectually unstimulating. Big Boxes also bring cars and asphalt. As if we needed any more of that anywhere in the world. Please.

Mayor needs to get his act together.

What We need is proactive, community-oriented, mass transit-dependent comericial and residential development; walkable communities. Driving a short distance to reach a Big Box is in no way better than driving a long distance to reach a Big Box. In the end, these business are merely sucking the life out of the smaller business in the area that are capable of fulfilling the community's needs, businesses that are more likely to stick around when tough times hit, not merely move out to the next suburban fringe when profitability takes a hit. Economic "redevelopment" is not merely about jobs in the qualitative sense. Personally, I dont care that Costco will produce X number of jobs in Pacoima. Whatever. Yes, those families will get paychecks that they can live month-to-month off of, but in the end, will their lives really be any better? will they be happier? or healthier? Probably not.

Instead, they'll be goaded into buying more stuff from their employers at a discounted rate. That's not really redeveloping anything except Costco's bottom line. We need jobs in the qualitative sense. That is, ones that indeed do make us happier, healthier, and provide us with the means to live better lives. I do not think that Costco/Best Buy/Big Boxes come close to offering that sort of redevelopment.
Upcycle, please.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Here are some sketches from my sketchbook. I don't really know why im posting them, but consider it a window into what I've been thinking about lately. They're in no particular order.

Independent Study: Grow Stick:

Worm Bin:

River Metro:

Independent Study#2:

Upcycle, please.


hahahaha. thats what you get for driving. take the Gold line instead, no?

Upcycle, please


Grandmaster Gore gave an amazing speech today. I wish he could just broadcast himself into everyone's brain speak to us directly.

When are we going to elect him king of the universe?

Upcycle, please.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I think I'm totes stomping on Greg and Kyle's toes here, but I cant help it. Gabriel Herrerawr told me last night that Daft Punk is working on a new album.

I know I'm usually a "back to nature" type of guy, but these two robots are really something I can get behind.

Who knows when the album will come out, hopefully they can tour using a solar powered light show?? Or maybe the next iteration of the Pyramid can be made from upcycled aluminum cans... or something.

Good music is SO sustainable,

Upcycle, please.


Please forgive how LA-centric my bloggster is right now. I can't help it. As soon as I get back to St. Louis, I'll forget about the beach and focus on the river, promise.

BUT, if you're like me and you're gonna be in Los Angeles this weekend, there's a cool event going sponsored by Mayor Villaraigosa. It's a Day Of Service event targeted towards community improvement and beautification. Usually, im pretty suspicious about these one time deal-type events, especially since they usually just turn out to be really good photo ops for the politicians who organize them (we all remember how last year's Green Arleta event produced a few great pictures of Councilmember Tony Cardenas and no sort of long-term, meaningful commitment toward sustainability), but maybe this'll be different.


I'm not 100% sure if I'm going... maybe?

Upcycle, please.


I found this sweet exhibit for those of you in the MN. If you're not near the Walker Art Center, I suggest you up your cabron footprint and take a trip there. I wish i could go right now... and probably will find a way to head over as soon as i can set feet in the middle west again. I wonder if Cami Sinclair is gonna be there??


Upcycle, Please.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Sorry for all the LA Times links, but here's another. It's an article about how West Hollywood is considering lifting a ban on riding bicycles on sidewalks. Of course, I support this change. As an bicyclist, I feel that having the freedom to ride either in the street or on the sidewalk is crucial to my bicycling experience. Some sidewalks (if they're actually paved) are too bumpy or filled with ridiculous blindspots to be ridden comfortably; some streets are near highways and warrant the same degree of fear. I frequently toggle between sidewalk and street, depending on where I am, where I'm going and what time I'm riding. Generally speaking, I dont ride too much in the street after midnight. I don't really ride on the sidewalk when there's a bikelane or slow moving traffic.

As an avid pedestrian, however, i know the inherent fear that comes along with almost being run over by our bicycling brethren. There is, however, a dual responsibility that each party has to undertake. There has to be some sort of order on the sidewalk. It's a pretty tricky situation, and I know that I've felt really awful when I've run someone over on my bike. It sucks and is really really scary to hit someone. That's why it's ultimately the bicyclist's responsibility (just as its the driver's responsibility to watch over the bicyclists) to make sure that they travel on sidewalks safely, with a regard for the pedestrian.

That being said, I think, as bicyclists, we have to help promote the rights of all non-automobile travelers in our cities. We're all fighting the same battle against the Hummers of the world, we simply do so through different means. If cities expect their residents to stop driving, perhaps they should discontinue their whole-hearted accomdation to and promotion of the automobile in favor of pedestrian, bicycle, and mass transit forms of travel.


This is totally not the sort of sustainability we're hoping for.

Run for the hills, the homies have upcycled to two wheels Soon, they'll be riding tandem bikes down Crenshaw blvd.

... Only in Los Angeles.

Upcycle, please.

p.s. the feature picture is from google, not the actual bike-by.


You've probably already seen this. But I think it's super fly and not to mention, interesting in terms of human rights/criminal rehabilitation.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Iraq is using solar power for its streetlights. Normally, I'm pretty against the common notion of streetlights, but this is such an interesting and innovative approach to the security situation that somewhat doubles as an environmental one, too. I dont know a lot about how our monstrous streetlights are powered here, but im pretty sure it doesnt happen via sunshine. Concerns about light pollution aside, there are obviously a few things we can learn from this situation. I feel like the "developing" world is very much ahead of the curve on energy issues such as solar and cogeneration. When will we stop holding on to our backward notions of energy production in this country? I wonder what it'd take to have solar powered lights here and what that'd do for the solar market.

Also, Bush OK'd coastal drilling today, finally dissolving every last shread of hope the earth might have had in this presidency. Obviously, the environment is one of their top priorities. That is, sucking every last available resource from every last crack in a vain and superfluous attempt at prolonging this culture's obsession with and servitude to crude oil. I hope no one out there is dim enough to consider this a viable solution to the gas price issue. I'm still waiting to hear a compelling argument from Barack about his vision for an oil (and car)-free world. Coastal drilling is the equivalent of attempting to pay for your crack habit using the change you find in the sofa.

Coastal drilling, biofuels, and hydrogen are not the answer; your walking shoes are.

Upcycle, please.


I'm a bit late on this, but LA Metro recently put out a new schedule for its buses, as well as some new lines. They're kind of responding to their increased ridership and demand for better PT. Here are the new schedules. The formatting kind of sucks (like we all memorize every route number?). Pay attention to the OWL schedules, though. Those are the 24 hour buses Metro has for all us party animals. Yeah, service runs every hour, but whatevs, it's better than drunk driving.

In other metro news, they're holding a bicycling conference this coming saturday at the Blue Line station on Vernon. It comes at a crucial time for the bicycling advocates in the city, especially concerning the recent accident that's flaring tempers in the city and at a time when New York is making some gains, cycling wise. Hopefully, Metro can help to articulate some answers concerning their less-than-stellar reputation on cycling/pedestrian issues.

Upcycle, please.


I was on the 233 bus last night from Westwood to Pacoima and found myself incredibly happy with what I saw: A bus, in the middle of The Valley, on a sunday night that was literally standing room only. I hadnt ridden that line (my favorite line) that late before, but it was pretty awesome. I know we've all noticed that bus seats and handrails have been a little harder to come by the last few weeks and I'd like to say that it makes me really happy. Maybe, the people in their cars are starting to learn about the benefits of PT.

The best thing about it was that there were all sorts of people from all over the place on the bus. Yeah, a majority of the riders were my fellow raza heading home from work, but it was interesting to see all the conversations going on between them and all these different sorts of people. Even though most people were there kind of against their own will (that is, it's just too expensive to drive), I think we're all learning to make the best of our commutes.

I think there's a direct correlation between the price of gas and the health of our communities. And buses are the way to bring people back together. They're like mobile community centers, in a way.
Upcycle, please.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Every so often, I’m gonna post some little ideas ive been thinking about/obsessing over. This first one is related to my last post about the river.

Hopefully, youre have had a chance to look at the LA River Master Plan. If not, you should. It definitely does a great job of outlining all of the complex issues involved with the River and provides great ways of addressing them. It doesnt, however, really address these issues in a timely manner (it’s a 25 year plan). I dont know about you, but I’m pretty tired of being told that I have to wait 10, 15, or 20 years for this country’s infrastructure to catch up.

I suggest Guerilla Gardening and Guerilla Bicycling.

By using the vast network of washes and rivers in the area as an underground transportation and food production network, we could help to bring a completely new level of interest to the LA River and perhaps come up with more creative ways to use this valuable asset.

Ive linked up a SketchUp model I made of a hypothetical wash thats very similar to the one near my house. Play with it.

Alleycats, eat your hearts out.

Upcycle, please.


Here, in Los Angeles, we have this great thing called the Los Angeles River. It’s pretty glorious, sort of. It’s kind of like one part Mississippi River, two parts swimming pool, two parts superfund site. It’s a 50 mile long, concrete-lined drainage and sewage ditch. But it’s also incredibly beautiful and inspiring.

Our city is eally nice most of the time. Every so often, however, we get flash floods. The River and its tributaries used to flow freely, following a course that was pretty variable and quite unpredictable. That was fine back when the LA Basin was filled with poppy fields, scrub brush, and Native American villages, but when we ripped all that stuff out and replaced it with suburbs and streets, flash floods suddenly became a pretty big deal. So, in the 1930s, the River was paved over and converted to a drainage ditch. Today, it hardly supports wildlife, is used only in certain places as public space, and is just really dirty and gross. Obviously, it’s a huge mistake and environmental disaster. Yeah, it stops the flash floods… but it lacks ecological tact.

Essentially, The River follows the same sort of logic we’re dreadfully accostumed to in America: out of sight, out of mind. All the litter in the streets, and runoff from the asphalt feeds directly into The River, which feeds directly into the Pacific Ocean. So, we have dirty beaches and dead zones off the coast. Yumz.

I wish there was a way to make the LA River become a bigger part of the LA culture.It doesnt make much sense that the water feature most accessible to many of the poorer, inland communities is almost entirely off limits.

All that said, it’s one of my favorite places in the city. There’s something about moving water that is not only reassuring and calming, but I think vital to the fabric of an urban environment. If only the River wasn’t being completely underutilized, I’d be happy.

Upcycle, please.

Monday, July 7, 2008


While I'm trying to figure out how to post up some sketchup files i made, entertain yourselves with some of the other blogs ive been reading.
theyre mostly based in LA.

upload links to other cool stuff you might have.

Green LA Girl
Bottleneck Blog
Everything All of the Time
Muni Manners

Upcycle, please.


There’s a channel on tv called “Planet Green.” I watched some of it this weekend and had really mixed feelings about it. It offers a series of informational reality shows centered on convincing wasteful suburbanites to recycle, wear organic cotton, and perform other basic sustainable lifestyle choices in order to reduce their “household ecological footprints.” There was definitely at least a hint of greenwashing. Like, maybe green rinsing. It seems as if the people in charge of Planet Green legitimately care about the environment, but present this concern in a highly sanitized and dumbed down manner.

I am glad that popular culture has embraced sustainability, but I am not sure if I am satified with how that embrace has chosen to manifest itself in that popular culture. I believe its one thing to drive a hybrid and shop at whole foods while its quite another to bike, grow your own food, and re/make as many of your own necessities as possible. That is, I don’t know if hybrids and whole foods are the answer whereas, Planet Green does.

Many of the solutions popular culture has pushed for and endorsed are band aid solutions, merely sedatives that only delay-both physically and psychologically- the realization that western-style culture is furthering itself economically at the expense of quickly and methodically misallocating and destroying the earths resources and inhabitants, both human and non human.I dont think Planet Green denies this, necessarily, but they do not offer legitimate solutions to these tendencies nor do they explicitly engage them. Instead, Planet Green seems to be “green” for fashion’s sake. That is, it feels like a construction made to tap into the burgeoning interest in environmental issues for for the sake of ratings and to make already green-minded people feel better about themselves.

I’m pretty certain that I fit almost exactly into the demographic theyre looking to reach, but therein lies the other major issue with a green tv channel(and i might be doing some of the same here): its essentially preeching to the choir. Instead of green tv channels, I think we’d benefit from more meaningful debates and educational programs through the public arena (say, the election coverage, children’s programing, or in public and private schools) than from a singular green television channel with a specific and targetted audience. Until we can personally fess up to our society’s mismanaged priorities and collectively decide to do something meaningful about them, we’ll remain right on that threshold between going all the way environmentally and… just recycling our way to second base and another couple hundred parts per million co2.

Planet Green, get it together.

Upcycle, please.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

$4 GAS

I've been saying it for a long time, $4 gas is the best thing to happen to the environment since Rachel Carson (but until gas hits $6 a gallon, Al Gore will still be the best thing to happen to the environment. ever.). I came upon this article from Time magazine. it's kind of interesting, although a bit superficial in its analysis.

Yes, $4 gas is really really good for all of us.

upcycle, please

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Ive posted some links that will guide you to lists of flowers native to your homelands and where to buy seeds! This might be a rather unexciting post for some, but please take note! It will totes pay off several posts from now. Right now, I only have these three geographic regions. I'm working on Northwest, East Coast, and South lists.
Suggestions are definietly appreciated!

Los Angeles/Southern Cali:
Theodore Payne Foundation
California Native Plant Society

St. Louis/Missouri:
Missouri Botanical Garden
Missouri Wildflower Nursery
Shaw Nature Preserve
Missouri Native Plant Society
Gateway Greening

Chicago/ Great Lakes:
Chicago Botanic Garden
Ion Exchange
Prairie Frontier
The Natural Garden
JF New

upcycle, please


I just started this whole blog thing, so it's going to take me a few days or weeks to get it fully up and running, mostly because im working on a lot of different projects as quickly as I can. My first major contribution to this blog will be a Vermiculture guide i am in the process of putting together. It shouldbe up within the next week or so, hopefully by Monday. I am basically going to post formal and informal rants intersperced with these sorts of guides and links to interesting things i come across.
I want to get you into guerilla sustainability, basically. My "guides" are by no means definitive or authoritative, theyre simply the ways ive figured out how to engage in all these different activities.
Right now, Im working on guides for:

Seed Bombs
Urban Farming
Sketchbook Making (facebook the sketchbook.pants group)
and other stuff, too.

upcycle, please

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Welcome to the Upcycle Diaries, it’s a pleasure to have you.
This is my blog.

Upcycling, as I define it, is a process through which something discarded is transformed into something new, given not only value, but meaning. Taking waste and simply recycling into new manifestations of waste is not a worthy enough action for me. I want my trash to do more; I want our trash to do something. Trash has no meaning; that’s why it’s trash. If, however, you can take something that has no meaning and infuse it with an idea you believe in, then you can make the world a better place.

Upcycling, for me, is a name given to a variety of activities and ideas I try to infuse into every aspect of my life, some more successfully than others. I grew tired of simply trying to conserve and slowing my rate of consumption. Instead, I hope to increase the rate of production of all the things I love. Environmentalism does not need to be a passive activity. It can be proactive and dynamic and in order for it to work, it has to be. We’ve afforded the bad guys verbs for far too long; we too can produce, grow, and succeed. In our own way.

Upcycling, until now, has been somewhat of a novelty because I act singularly. I hand-select pieces of waste I would like to give meaning to. It has been a process that has inherently inefficient and laborious and although deeply personal, has gone unshared. Hopefully, I can change those two aspects of what I consider to be upcycling. This blog is about sharing ideas and cultivating actions. I will publish how-tos, manuals, and suggestions, as well as rants.

upcycle, please
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