Friday, 30 May 2008

Karmakonsum Conference: It is not Easy being Green

I am right now on the Karmakonsum Conference on LOHAS Marketing in Frankfurt, and in a few hours discussions hit the podium and heat up the athmosphere. An eclectic mix of people on the conference and an enlightening sunshine makes the conference hot: “Alte Ökos” (old ecos), Neogreens, conventional marketing agencies, representatives from sustainable businesses...

Read my reports on the Karmakonsum Blog , the first post here

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Eco Luxurious Fashion by Fin

Eco luxurious lifestyle? Check out the sleek and original presentation of the Norwegian luxurious eco fashion brand Fin (yeah, a bit confusing name in this case). Don't forget to press 'next'...

Fin shows eco fashion from it's best LOHAS side. Their clothes are made from organic cotton, wild silk, and organic alpaca. Not something to wear while camping or mountain hiking. But half naked chic can be quite eco after all.

Monday, 19 May 2008

My Encounter with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Brandenburger Tor

Today me and my daughter Gaya went to see his Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin. We were not the only ones, about twenty-five thousand people had the same idea, and so we stood pressed together, waiting for the leader of the Tibetan people in exile to arrive.

There were also people who were not there, such as most of Germany's politicians. For all the social democrats created a scam around the visit. After an under-minsiter announced she would meet the Dalai Lama, the top of the socialists got furious. SPD-leader Beck stated: "Unfortunately we can't stop this shit anymore." Well, shit happened, but it had a very friendly face.

Mao's promise

Considering all the political tensions around his visit, the Dalai Lama seemed to be fairly untouched. He smiled as usual and held a very calm, China-friendly speech. After his speech ended and his goodbye, he turned back to the audience to say something about all the Tibetan flags around. He said, Mao had asked him back in the fifties, if Tibet also had a flag, and promised him that he would allow the Tibetans to hang the Tibetan flag next to the Chinese communist flag. The Dalai Lama quoted this to make clear, that he does not aim to replace the flags, but to have the two in peaceful coexistence.

Dialog or boycott?
It is stunning, that with so much willingness for dialog from the Tibetan side, so little politicians dare to take a clear stand in the matter. The only party where the whole top supported a meeting was the German Green Party. The Silence of the International Olympic Committee and world leaders is tacit endorsement of abuse, says Amnesty.Regarding the brutal and dehumanizing way the Tibetans are treated, it is only because of the strong economic power of China that there is no boycott or other forms of official, international protest. But the Dalai Lama is the one being boycotted here. Even today, even in Germany.

Made in China
It is in this light brave of the Dalai Lama to be against a boycott of the olympics or any boycott at all. From an ethical consume perspective, I think it is better to look at the origin of your product before you buy. And to realize that "Made in China" does not really guarantee workers rights, if any rights at all. Well, make your scan. To be honest, I'm writing this on a China made Apple. I'm not promoting a boycott here, but just be aware of your consume choices!

First image (c) by Frans Prins
Second image: circulating on Facebook
Sources: Taz, N-TV
More to the Tibet case: Tibet Online, Avaaz, Wikipedia, Amnesty International

NB: This article is written on personal title. Not all blog articles on this blog are representing the standing point of the Grass Routes Foundation.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Sounds of Sirens: How to Link Consumerism and Holistic Principles?

For some time I met Lars Schmidt, together with his partner Steffa Roth running their project Art & Ecology Education. Because of the name I guessed there was a connection with Grass Routes, as we work with creativity and sustainability as key values. We have been exchanging ideas and vision a few times, and for me it is interesting to confront our projects with ideas deriving from deep ecology and permaculture. It forces to think more precice about consumption again: can we really consume just better? Is that the whole solution? LOHAS or simple living? Organic cotton from Africa or locally sourced textiles? We will continue this dialogue and plan to make some workshop or event out of it.

Lars is also running a nice blog in English and a bit of German: Sound Of Sirens. The blog deals with topics from the areas of sustainable living and management, Corporate Social Responsibility, De-Branding, the environment and culture: "one of the main questions being if, and if yes: how, modern lifestyle and consumerism can be linked to holistic principles." A few nice interviews such as with the people behind the Sustainable Dance Club.

Canadian Athletes to Olympics with Eco-Friendly Uniforms

The Canadian athletes going to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will wear sport clothing made from organic cotton, bamboo and Cocona, made from Coconut waste.
Not that all bamboo is always so environmental friendly (it consumes a lot of water and is hard to make only using chemicals), but it's a good step forward and can reach a large audience for eco-wear.

“I’m happy that Hbc took the time to consult with athletes on the design of the team uniforms and has created cool, eco-friendly outfits that will meet our needs in Beijing," said rhythmic gymnast Alexandra Orlando of Toronto, who has already qualified for the Beijing Games. Most of the pieces will be available for sale as replica wear through Hudson‘s Bay Company (Hbc) outlets.

Via: G-Spotting

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Engagement2.0: Sexy Online Charity

Yesterday I was at a meeting organized by the German sustainability network 3plusX on "Engagement 2.0". Five fresh German online charity portals presented their work and vision. All of them intermediate online between concrete help projects and givers, may it be individuals or companies. All developed their web2.0 strategy to communicate the projects informative but sexy.

What I like about these portals is that they aim to make engagement easy, informative and concrete. For a lot of people a boarder to give money to charity is because they don't know what happens with their money. The charity culture in Germany is much less developed as in the UK or States.

A large part of the discussion was about how these portals generate their money. Some get their money over corporate sponsorship, while others take a small part of the collected money. Off course, both have good arguments.

The initiatives still have to prove what they are worth, but they are all the kind of projects realized with sweat and ideals. Just one critical question: is it really needed and workable to have so many different portals? Should they be concurrents or cooperate?

I am not going to give any ratings here, just look at them yourself and decide what you think of them:


Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Organic Jeansbrand NAU Gives Up

With all the good news of growth for fair trade and organic products, and especially with the hype around green fashion, one can hardly believe that such a cool organic jeans brand as NAU has to give up, for financial reasons. The brand had a very fresh and forward approach, creative and stylish. I got the impression the people behind NAU where extremely engaged. Within a short time the company brand built up a strong name and good sales.

It forces to a bit of reflection for all the green living and LOHAS believers: can this movement just grow in times of economical wealth? Are sustainable products and lifestyle a luxury for the good times? How can sustainable products be crisis resistant?

From the statement of NAU:

"In the current highly risk-averse capital market, we simply could not raise the necessary funds to continue to move forward. We believe this is not so much a reflection of the viability of our business, but the result of an unfortunate confluence of events. Just as we could not have predicted the sudden groundswell of environmental consciousness that blossomed at the time we launched our business, we did not foresee the current crisis in the capital markets. At this time, investors are loath to invest in anything; especially, it appears, a company like Nau that has the audacity to challenge conventional paradigms of what a business should be."

"Nau set out to show the world that business can be a force for positive social and environmental change. Although our current financial obstacles have proven to be insurmountable, it does not mean the ideas associated with Nau are unattainable. Nau was merely one attempt to express a larger idea that was around before us and will survive long after. It remains as urgent as ever for businesses to take the lead in creating a sustainable future for humans and the planet. We, as individuals and as members of a grander collective of the change-minded, look forward to continuing that journey."
Well, if you can say that after giving up your company, you must be wise people. Keep up the good spirit!

Via: Victoria Everman

Image through: G

Monday, 5 May 2008

Treches by JBR: New Organic Streetwear Label from Berlin

It's getting a hot spring for eco-fashion in Berlin. We choose a good time to kickstart our own label Pamoyo. Yesterday we where on the show of the new organic streetwear label Treches, a label by designerin "JBR", Jeanette Bruneau Rossow. Cecilia had contact with Jeanette since the Berlin Fair Fashion Affair, and now she launched her first organic collection on the Lido Kreativmesse.

Clothing and models where on the activist side of style, but since Nike is advertising with "Riot" on it's logo, that's business as usual. For all in Berlin. I always wonder how LOHAS* can be cool in a young, urban setting, as a real party lifestyle does not fit with Healthy stuff. The trend here is more LOPAS: Lifestyle of Parties and Sustainability.

*LOHAS: Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Evening with Grass Routes Moved to 15th of May

Yes, we are a dynamic organization. For all wishing to come to the Event "Change the World with Style", please note that it we changed the date. It is now taking place on the 15th of May and starts half past seven!

for more info click here

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Pamoyo: New Green Fashion Styled With Heart

We launched the new Pamoyo site and Pamoyo collection during a short trip to The Netherlands, making it a truly nomadic clothing label. And it took a few days before I noticed I did not even announced it here on the blog. Well, here we are. You are warmly invited to spread the word about this new born green fashion label!

Pamoyo was founded by Frans Prins and Cecilia Palmer to design a fashion label with green vision and creative edge. Prins & Palmer are known as the initiators of the Berlin Fair Fashion Affair and the Grass Routes Foundation.

The label works community based, the collections derive from a growing, creative collective of young designers. Pamoyo is the first Open Source Fashion Label under a Creative Commons license. Patterns and designs of Pamoyo clothing are published online for non-commercial use. The Pamoyo blog reports on green fashion and sustainable lifestyle.

-a-kind collection "Styled with heart"
All items of the “STYLED WITH HEART” collection are unique, one-of-a-kind pieces made from high quality organic cotton and vintage elements. Every piece is hand made and unique. Integrated recycled materials and a rough sewing style make them feel authentic and exclusive. The collection is inspired by samples of street style and an ironic re-use of retro images and sub-cultural identities. Actually the most fun is the Pamoyo Webshop, where you can order your own one-of a-kind vintage element with your shirt.

Pamoyo supports sustainable development and creative competences in local communities. From the online sales, two Euro per sold item goes to social-environmental projects.

Find out more on and read the interviews with the designers