Endangered Species: Why They Matter

1 Comment

Endangered Species: Why They Matter

By Sydney Benjamin

 

We’ve all heard about endangered species. We know that they’re in serious danger of going extinct. But why should we care about them? I’ll give you four reasons.

1. THEY’RE IMPORTANT PARTS OF MANY ECOSYSTEMS

Many endangered species are also keystone species, meaning their disappearance could greatly affect the entire ecosystem they live in. Just one example of this is with the lovable sea otter who helps to keep their kelp forests healthy by eating sea urchins and other species that destroy the kelp. Without sea otters, the kelp forests would be ravaged by these predators. And, without kelp forests, coastlines would be less protected from harmful storms. Also, a new study by Christopher Wilmers revealed that kelp forests are also big absorbers of carbon dioxide, which is the main gas responsible for global climate change. Sea otters, especially along the California coast, have been hunted for their thick fur pelts and have been greatly affected by oil spills, leading to their very endangered status. According to the IUCN Red List, there has been an over 50% decline in sea otters over the past 45 years. Conservation efforts by California and other agencies up the Pacific coast have been implemented in recent years, which has led to some improvement in their numbers. (Yay!) But, because of their great loss in numbers, kelp forests have been dying out and taking their precious carbon storage and storm protection with them. If you want to learn more about the importance of sea otters, you can read here. The sea otter is just one example of an endangered species that is essential to the survival of their ecosystem. Some other examples are bees, who are the most important pollinators on Earth, and certain types of corals which provide habitat for thousands of species of fish worldwide.

 

 Image by Tony Trupp

Image by Tony Trupp

2. DIMINISHED DIVERSITY

“Biodiversity is the totality of all inherited variation in the life forms of Earth, of which we are one species. We study and save it to our great benefit. We ignore and degrade it to our great peril.”
— E.O. Wilson

Biodiversity, which is how many different types of organisms live in a specific area, has become increasingly important on a global scale. The most biodiverse regions of the world are the most prone to destruction, including places like the Amazon in South America, the Congo of Africa, and the California coast. The California coast is actually a hotspot for biodiversity, home to many species not found anywhere else on Earth. What this also means though is that if those species go extinct, they are gone forever. The loss of these endangered species would also mean a loss in the diversity of an ecosystem, leading to changes within the food web, habitat infrastructure, and relationships with other species. In the Amazon rainforest, for example, there are thousands of new species of animals, plants, insects, microbes, and more discovered each year. But, the Amazon rainforest has been subjected to great deforestation and habitat loss, leading to the endangerment of many species and the complete loss of some. Some scientists believe that since there are so many species not yet discovered, the cure for cancer could be found somewhere in the Amazon. When endangered species go extinct, they diminish the biodiversity of the habitat they live in. This can not only greatly affect the organisms they live with, but humans as well.

 Huge swathes of land cleared out of the Amazon Rainforest  Image by  Greenpeace

Huge swathes of land cleared out of the Amazon Rainforest

Image by Greenpeace

3. they're GOOD FOR HUMANS

Many of these endangered species offer us ecosystem services, which are benefits that humans receive from the natural environment and functioning ecosystems. We already mentioned how endangered species contribute greatly to the functioning of many ecosystems, but they can also benefit us in more direct ways. An example of this would be pollination of bees. Data from studies led by researchers at UC San Diego clearly show that the bee is the world’s most important pollinator in natural ecosystems and contributes greatly to the functioning of the ecosystem. Now, not all bee species are endangered since there are thousands of different species of bees, but overall there has been a rapid decline in bee populations around the globe. Four bumblebee species in the last 20 years have declined by 96%, and more and more species have declined or have even gone extinct in recent years. Bees pollinate much of the crops we depend on for food and help to keep plants growing. In California, much of our economic prosperity is due to our agricultural exports, supplying almost all of the country’s almonds, nectarines, kiwis, walnuts, strawberries, and more. All of these crops are pollinated primarily by bees. Almonds alone contributed about $5.16 billion in exports to the California economy, which would not be possible without bee pollination. Without bees providing this essential ecosystem service, we would not have much of the foods we eat nor the great prosperity of the California economy. The bee is just one such example of how an endangered animal can benefit people. Some mussels and fish naturally filter out pollutants in river and lakes and many tree species that could become endangered provide us with lumber to fill our homes and buildings with. The world naturally provides us many of these services.

 Photo from  BBC

Photo from BBC

4. the WORLD's WELL-BEING

Not only do they help their ecosystems, increase biodiversity, and provide humans with benefits, but many endangered species simply improve the well-being of the planet. Species we all know and love such as Asian elephants, tigers, orangutans, and blue whales are in danger of extinction. Perhaps sooner rather than later, it is possible these species could only exist in captivity. It is true that some zoos and reserves have breeding programs meant to help improve the populations of species, but in cases such as the Asian elephant, poaching pressures and habitat destruction will make it impossible for them to thrive in the wild. In large part, these endangered statuses are due to human encroachment, whether it be deforestation, urban development, or poaching. These endangered animals are symbols all over the world, easily recognizable icons that make the world a better place by simply existing. They are great attractions in zoos and reserves, which makes people care about them and want to help them.

Whatever the reason to care about the survival of these endangered species, it is important to know how our own lives impact them. Supporting companies that employ environmentally sustainable practices is a start, as it promotes the idea of sourcing products in a way that does not harm ecosystems or habitats. Humans must learn to coexist with these animals and plants in a way that is not so detrimental to their survival. Conservation practices and attempts to revive these endangered populations have grown over the years, as shown with the success stories of bringing back the white rhinos and giant pandas from the brink of extinction. It is important to keep these programs running so that more and more endangered species can thrive once more. There’s a long way to go, but we love to see these efforts and successes and hope it inspires even more hope and change for the future.

 

Help us save the Endangered Species Act from political attack here.

Learn more about the bill here.

1 Comment

5 Reasons to Get Passionate About Sustainability

Comment

5 Reasons to Get Passionate About Sustainability

By Ally Pratt

 

With seemingly infinite information clogging our newsfeeds and inboxes, it can be difficult to focus on the facts that matter. Lucky for you, we have an energetic and motivated team that wants to share their knowledge about how things are changing in the world of sustainability. Coastalong's mission is to spread the news about practical, sustainable lifestyle choices so you can do the right thing without having to think too hard. Here are a few things we've gotten excited about in the recent environmental news – we hope they excite you, too!

1. Huge companies are going zero-waste.

Of course, we heartily commend companies that have been pledging zero-waste policies since birth. We also want to highlight a few companies who've adopted a zero-waste plan in recent years: Clif BarIKEA, AdobeSierra Nevada, General MotorsGoogle, Microsoft, VirginHewlett Packard, Xerox, KrogerPillsbury, and more recently, Coca-ColaLegoRyanAir, and Garnier. (Click here to learn more about 127 companies that have pledged to go 100% renewable.) Did you know that this year's Super Bowl diverted 91% of their waste from landfills? That's huge. There are endless reasons to go zero-waste, but at this large scale, it requires strong initiative, infrastructure, and persistence. Bravo to these businesses for setting a good example.

We love watching this list grow. Coastalong has always implemented measures to reduce our landfill waste as much as possible – our vendors use only 100% recyclable materials. Of course, we only promote brands that align with our sustainability standards. Eco-focused businesses everywhere are looking for our support. It's important to know that your personal footprint matters, too.

Policy changes help — but the movement can’t succeed without people.
— Isabelle Chapman, CNN

According to Isabelle, these are some suggestions to easily reduce landfill waste on your own:

  1. Trade plastic bags for a reusable shopping tote.
  2. Swap one-time-use water bottles for a stainless steel one.
  3. Pick up a set of reusable utensils that you can take with you on the go.
  4. When you order a drink, ask for it without a plastic straw.
  5. Buy compostable, sustainable toothbrushes instead of plastic ones.

Another great article on steps towards being less wasteful can be found here. Keep us posted with any ideas you have about how to reduce waste and about any zero-waste companies that you support. We're working on several recyclable art projects for this year's festival, so stay tuned to find out more. 🌿

2. Renewable energy farms are popping up all over the world.  

New York has recently pledged to reduce their greenhouse gases 80% by 2050, and their newly anticipated offshore wind energy is predicted to power over 1.3 million homes. This is all part of a plan to get 50% of their power from renewable energy sources by 2030. Nice! (BTW – check out this site to see how the states stack up in terms of renewable energy production.) Visa also just announced that they want to use 100% renewable energy next year, and the United States Agency for International Development just finished a massive renewable energy project in Nigeria. Exciting!

Despite a tumultuous political climate, solar power has remained a strong force in renewable energy development in recent years. According to the National Resources Defense Council, carbon emissions from the power sector last year dropped 28% below 2005 levels. Check out who's number one on the list. 

 Loving that California sun! ☀️  (solarindustrymag.com)

Loving that California sun! ☀️ (solarindustrymag.com)

This isn't just an American effort. According to Elle Hunt, "the number of cities [in the world] getting at least 70% of their total electricity supply from renewable energy has more than doubled since 2015" (The Guardian). Iceland is home to one of over 100 global cities predominantly powered by clean energy, Reyjkavik, which sources all of its electricity from hydropower and geothermal power.

 Pictured here is the Nesjavellir geothermal plant in Iceland. The capital, Rejkjavik, gets 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.  (Photograph: Alamy)

Pictured here is the Nesjavellir geothermal plant in Iceland. The capital, Rejkjavik, gets 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. (Photograph: Alamy)

Turning to renewable energy has never been more widespread. Naturally, Coastalong promotes renewable energy and we prove it by using bike power to fuel our whole festival! 🚲

3. We're finally getting rid of plastic and styrofoam. 

At the current rate, plastic is predicted to outweigh fish in the world's oceans by 2050 (The Telegraph). This ties back to the zero-waste movement. Thankfully, large companies like Johnson & Johnson have been pledging to take plastic out of their products. Queen Elizabeth II just banned plastic from all the royal estates in Great Britain. Taiwan is banning single-use plastic from every restaurant by 2030. Dunkin Donuts recently announced that they will be banning styrofoam cups from their menu. If they can do it, who can't?

It's finally happening... the first completely plastic-free supermarket aisle just debuted in Amsterdam this week. Check it out.

Nope, that's not plastic. We promise.

Also this week, a little closer to home: Malibu officially banned plastic utensils, straws, and stirrers in every restaurant. We love it! Keep up the good work. 👍

4. Cities are becoming more sustainable.

For those of us living in big cities, it's important to know that our actions contribute to some of the strongest and most dense sources of CO₂ emissions, waste, and deforestation. There is still a lot to strive for, but cities are definitely taking active measures to tackle these huge environmental issues. Like I mentioned earlier, many cities are now banning plastic straws. Urban gardens and eco-inspired architecture and design are trending, too. Japanese architects just announced their plan for the largest wooden skyscraper in history. Restaurants are competing to be more sustainable, environmentally-conscious, and have more plant-based menu options. Hydroponic farms in New York are even delivering their produce by bike! Do your part, and support businesses you believe in.

 Aimed to "transform Tokyo into a forest," the structure will feature a garden roof, balconies covered with greenery, and large open spaces filled with natural light.  (Sumitomo Forestry Co.)

Aimed to "transform Tokyo into a forest," the structure will feature a garden roof, balconies covered with greenery, and large open spaces filled with natural light. (Sumitomo Forestry Co.)

Also, shout out to a new gym in New York that's powered by it's own exercise. Go pedal power! 😊

5. Veganism and plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular.

Vegan diets are going seriously mainstream. It's officially more expensive to buy meat and dairy than ever before. Google searches of the word "vegan" have increased by 6x in the past decade and the number of vegans in the UK has increased 350% since 2006. The Canadian government just announced a major push towards vegetarian farming. And best of all, BEYONCÉ IS GOING VEGAN. Veganism isn't just a diet, though; it's a lifestyle. It's no secret that veganism is growing worldwide – and it's happening fast.

There are substitutes for literally any animal product out there... and they actually taste good. The meatless "meat" industry rose dramatically last year, and the plant-based milk industry is projected to reach $28 billion in the next four years. People are realizing that they don't need dairy in their diets, and vegan cheese is becoming bougie. If you haven't tried any of these products, trust us, you will soon.

Oh, and you NEED to try this burger. (The 2-pack at Whole Foods is only $5.99.)

This one shouldn't need convincing. 🍔

We love to see all the efforts people are taking to reverse the damage humans have caused to our environment. Clearly there's still a long way to go, so we encourage you to mindfully follow the trends toward sustainability on a social and personal level so these changes can endure nationally and even globally. If you want to learn more, visit some of our favorite resources TreeHugger, ScienceDaily, and GreenMatters. To get in touch with the Coastalong team, you can reach us via our Facebook or Instagram. To all our loyal sustainability advocates, environmental activists, and Earth lovers: good luck, keep your head up, and keep coastin'! 💚

Comment

Eating Vegan Doesn't Have to Be Hard

Comment

Eating Vegan Doesn't Have to Be Hard

By Fiona Riddle

 

You can help promote environmental sustainability without changing your lifestyle.

In the past few years, the trend of eating vegan has become exponentially more prevalent in society for various reasons. Three of these include personal health, the movement against animal cruelty, and environmental pressures. Much research has supported cutting meat and dairy out of one’s diet as a way to promote environmental sustainability due to the enormous environmental costs livestock production has. Regardless of the reason, however, transitioning to a fully vegan diet can be difficult, especially for those who are used to consuming animal products with every meal. It can seem daunting for many people, causing them to shy away from the notion altogether.

While the trend of dairy-free and meat-free diets have become so popular recently, numerous restaurants catered more towards eating vegan have begun popping up on seemingly every street corner in large cities in America. Los Angeles, for example, currently has around 145 fully vegan restaurants to choose from (www.happycow.net) in every possible cuisine imaginable.

What does this mean? It no longer has to be a struggle to eat vegan, even if you're not ready for a full lifestyle change. Eating just a few meals a week that don’t contain animal products can have a substantial positive impact on the environment. As the demand for meat and dairy decreases, there will be less of a need to produce such copious amounts of animal products – much of which ends up turning into waste anyways.

It no longer has to be a struggle to eat vegan, even if you’re not ready for a full lifestyle change.

So, if you’re looking for a way to help decrease your carbon footprint and lower greenhouse gas emissions, it can’t hurt to start small. Explore new vegan restaurants with friends, find alternatives to your favorite dairy products, and try cooking an animal-product-free meal once a week. You might end up loving the results!

Comment

What Is Sustainability?

1 Comment

What Is Sustainability?

By Sydney Benjamin

 

We’ve all heard about things, products, and practices being “sustainable.” We all have this general idea that when something is sustainable, it’s good for the environment. There’s the vague notion that sustainability is “green” and “eco-friendly.” But what does it really mean?

By definition, sustainability is adopting current practices to meet the needs of the present, while also thinking about the needs of future generations. In simple terms, it’s thinking of what kind of future we’ll leave for our children. It’s understanding that our actions aren’t without consequences and will affect people down the line.

Sustainability is understanding that resources are finite and without finding any alternative, affordable means for energy, fossil fuels will continue to burn. They’re called fossil fuels for a reason. One day, those resources will run out.

Sustainability is knowing that our current sources of fuel are also harmful to the Earth. Fossil fuel combustion is extremely detrimental to the planet and greatly affects all life across the globe. From the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef to the bone-chilling cold of the Arctic ice caps, there is no place on Earth that these practices have not harmfully affected. That’s why Coastalong’s aim is to spread awareness for alternative, cleaner energy sources like solar and wind power.

melting-ice-polar-bear-on-206311.jpg

Sustainability is the vehicle that drives humanity forward. As a Native American proverb said, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” To live sustainably is not only to help the current state of the planet, but to help its future.

ploq7ouq0fm-anna-jimenez-calaf.jpg

Sustainability is to live unselfishly and compassionately which is relatively easy to do. Here are some ways to live sustainably:

  • Doing your research and buying products from sustainably sourced companies is a great way to give back to an organization that employs those great practices. When a company says its materials are sourced sustainably, that means that those products are taken from the environment in a safe, conservative way rather than contributing to deforestation.

  • Recycling and composting are great ways to give back to the Earth and reduce the waste.

  • Eating sustainable foods such as fruits and veggies as opposed to meat is another great way to live sustainably as well as more healthy.

  • Conserving water, planting trees, using a refillable water bottle, using reusable bags… the list goes on and on for how to lead a simpler, healthier, and sustainable life! The world is your oyster!

Everyday we make decisions that ultimately impact the environment, the species on our planet, and the climate. Why not make our actions more sustainable?

164637714-plant-wallpapers.jpg

1 Comment

Introducing our 2017 Headliner: HOLYCHILD

Comment

Introducing our 2017 Headliner: HOLYCHILD

Coastalong (a.k.a. Ecochella) is proud to welcome HOLYCHILD as this year's headliner! Keep reading to find out more about HOLYCHILD and why we love them so much.

HOLYCHILD aren’t exactly surprised that in the last few years their brand of brainy effervescent tunes have caught on. Pleased yes. Honored? Of course. But given the way the social trends have been bending, neither member find it shocking that music fans are craving substance.

It’s Brat Pop, the glittery blend of electronic beats and tell-it-like it is lyrics that Liz Nistico and co-writer/producer Louie Diller perfected with their debut album The Shape of Brat Pop to Come. It’s a potent blend that’s alive and well on their newest offering, the five song EP, America Oil Lamb. The collaboration EP features the talents of Kate Nash, RAC, Mereki, Tkay Maidza, MS MR, and Kitten. The release sees the Los Angeles duo stretching their signature sound showcasing them and showing their influences of alt-rock, hip hop and R&B.

“We felt we could stretch more on this record, since each song is a collaboration,” Diller muses. “It was fun to explore and show different sides of us on the EP… I think Liz’s voice and me producing/mixing most everything helps tie it together though, so there’s still a HOLYCHILD vibe.”

As with any HOLYCHILD outing, the theme here is equality: be it gender, racially or economically based. Over the course of five songs, the artists take on a myriad of topics, including toxic relationships in our commercial world (“Rotten Teeth”), the shallowness of celebrity idolization (“Not Invited”), and corporate America drowning our emotions (“America Oil Lamb”). It should come as no surprise that both members proudly refer to themselves as feminists—a word that they’re proud to embrace. 

As with any HOLYCHILD outing, the theme here is equality: be it gender, racially or economically based.

Nowhere is that more evident than the duo’s first single, the Kate Nash featuring cut “Rotten Teeth.” Across a insistent drum machines and waves of synths, Nistico reflects on the state of the modern woman, declaring“I can never be the girl I want to be/no no I’m never free,” with Nash replying “Do we eat or just starve ourselves tonight?”

“The commodification of feminism is interesting to me,” says Nistico. “On one hand, I feel frustrated. Of course we’re in this capitalist world where we’re selling everything we possibly can. On the other hand, it excites me because the trend of feminism is so cool! It’s so good for the cause! Our EP is essentially embracing that paradox and trying to be true to ourselves while we are doing it. Can we change things through pop? I don’t know, we’re still trying to figure it all out.”

Catch HOLYCHILD at Coastalong Festival on April 29th at Sunset Rec. 

Comment

How To Be a Conscious Consumer in a World of Fast Fashion

Comment

How To Be a Conscious Consumer in a World of Fast Fashion

We are surrounded and tempted everyday by new products, trends, and clothing items. They are advertised to us on our Instagram feeds and hidden in targeted ads on Facebook. We actively follow brands on social media outlets, keeping up with new styles and reviews of the next big thing. What many of us don’t know or often forget to acknowledge is the environmental impact that the fast fashion industry is making. The truth is that fast fashion has severe effects. The industry rips off of independent designers and commercializes their creativity. It propels a distorted view of consumption by encouraging spending without any regard to true cost or origin. We are often so blinded by the low prices of the industry that we fail to see its consequences. So how can we as consumers become more conscious and reduce our waste in a world that tells us to “buy buy buy”?

Here are some tips:

1. Do your research.

Some of the most popular stores and brands are a part of the fast fashion industry. To name just a few, there are Zara, Forever 21, H&M, Adidas, and Urban Outfitters. Let’s not forget about their parent companies or the companies they own. Researching your favorite brands will allow you to be more cognizant of where you money is going. Are your favorite clothing stores using sustainable material in the manufacturing of their clothes? Do they provide recycling/reuse centers where you can discard unwanted clothing? Where exactly is the unsold apparel going? Do they treat their workers fairly with sustainable wages and healthy working conditions?

2. Support and purchase from ethical and sustainable companies.

There are several brands that have emerged in order to reduce the environmental footprint of the fashion industry. Some include: Everlane, Patagonia, LA Relaxed, Stomie Dreams, My Sister, Modernation, Aeon Row, People Tree, Nisolo, Alternative Apparel, Good Cloth and many more. Believe it or not, there are sustainable companies out there that are also affordable. Did you know that the average shirt takes about 700 gallons of water and ⅓ pound of chemicals to be produced? In response, many of these green companies use recycled yarn and organic textiles. Some even use biodegradable fabrics. Furthermore, these brands are ethical and make sure to treat their workers with fair compensation. Show your support for these clothing companies. Follow them on social media outlets. Make your next purchase a slower one.

3. Decrease your own spending and environmental footprint.

Think twice before you buy into a new trend. Try to reduce the amount of fashion trends that you follow. Keep in mind that what might look cute and trendy today, may be obsolete in just a few months. Be more inclined to buy clothing that you can picture yourself wearing for years. Furthermore, don’t participate in ‘hauls’. By purchasing clothing items in lesser amounts, you will leave less waste, while simultaneously encouraging yourself to consciously think about each of the items you purchase. Wear recycled clothing. Go thrifting with friends. You can even try to mimic some trends by DIYing.

4. Tell your friends.

Educate your peers and family about the fast fashion industry. Even better, when you go shopping with friends, hold each other accountable in making more ethical purchases and reducing your waste. Spreading the word about the impact of the fast fashion industry will encourage more people to become conscious consumers.

Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.
— Vivienne Westwood

The benefits of being a more conscious consumer are plenty. Not only will you end up saving more money in the long run by wearing sustainable clothing and not spending money on fleeting fads, but you will also be reducing thousands of pounds in landfill waste each year. You will end up reducing the exploitation of impoverished communities. You will contributing to a better fashion industry, and ultimately, a better world.

Comment

The Worst of the Drought Might Be Over, But We Can Still Help

Comment

The Worst of the Drought Might Be Over, But We Can Still Help

Don't give up now

The drought might be ending in California, but that doesn’t mean we should go back to our old habits of wasting water. It’s important to be conscious of our water usage, and it only takes a little effort to collectively make a huge difference.

For one example, when washing dishes, turn the faucet off when you’re not actively rinsing anything and try not to let it run the entire time. Additionally, be sure to wait to turn on the dishwasher until it’s completely full to minimize the amount of loads. For those of you who live in the dorms, reduce dish usage as much as possible at the dining halls in order to minimize the amount of water needed to wash everything.

Reducing water usage should be a conscious daily decision for all of us.

When taking a shower, only turn the water on once you’re actually prepared to get in. This way you can maximize your time while minimizing wasted water. Even better, turn off the water while shaving, soaping, and lathering up with shampoo. This one is pretty obvious, but if you turn the water off while brushing your teeth, you'll end up saving several gallons of water a day!

Reducing water usage should be a conscious daily decision for all of us. Another great (and fun) idea is switching out your potted plants for succulents and cacti. They are super cute, trendy, and easy to take care of because they require hardly any water and thrive in our California heat. This way, you can decorate while still being conscientious of your water use.

These small habit changes are an easy way to make a difference, reduce our environmental footprint, and lessen the effects of the California drought.

Comment

Meet Our Vendors: Ecochella's 2016 Lineup

Comment

Meet Our Vendors: Ecochella's 2016 Lineup

Get the down low on Ecochella's awesome food and drink vendors. From juice syringe shots to bike-churned ice cream, our vendors playfully push the envelope on innovation. Whether you're looking for a refreshing green juice or a gluten-free cupcake, our vendors have got you covered! 

1. Kreation Juice

The Kreation Vision: Peace Love & Juice

Kreation designs delicious and healthy drinks that will invigorate your body and mind. 

A tall, cool glass of bright green juice might not look entirely appealing to the uninitiated, but trust Kreation, it's delicious. It's also a nice pick-me-up for your body since the super nutritious juices will flood your body's cells with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that will leave you feeling cleansed, healed, and nourished! 

What Sets Kreation Apart

  • They're organic, raw, gluten free, never high pressure processed, and never pasteurized to offer your body maximal nourishment
  • Juice doesn't get much fresher than Kreation's— they use farmers market certified organic fruits and vegetables that are purchased daily in Santa Monica  
  • They're a Santa Monica Certified Green Business
  • Their adventurous flavors! The "Relax" juice is a concoction of carrot, coconut, lemon, and ginger (clearly not your average bottle of juice from the grocery store) 

Just For Fun

Juicekriptions will be available at Ecochella! They're syringe shots packed full of nourishing goodness that come in the forms of "Antidote," "Beauty," "Emer-jui-c" and "Immune+". 

Kreation is all about fully informing their customers about what goes into their juices. Take a look at their beautiful ingredients graphic to get a sense of the diversity of nutritious ingredients that Kreation works with. 

 

2. Peddler's Creamery

Pedal-powered ice cream is definitely something that the Ecochella family can get behind and we are so excited to announce that they will be back at Ecochella this year. (Bike nerds unite!) We love how they've blended two of our favorite things— bikes and ice cream— into a delicious and sustainable creation.  

Their Vision

From the start, Peddler's Creamery set out to be a different business that features local products, highlights where their ingredients come from, and supports causes that are important to the community. They strive to make their customers happy, satisfied, and smiling, all while reducing their carbon footprint on the earth. 

How It Works

In their shop in Downtown LA, they've set up their grand ice cream peddling operation. Check that out! 

Like what you see? Good news. There is a Peddler’s Club that you can join to bike for free ice cream. For each batch you churn, you get a free scoop or you can donate your scoop to charity. Just give them a call or stop by the shop in person to reserve your spot. 

Definitely swing by the Peddler's Creamery ice cream cart for a delicious scoop at the Ecochella Sustainability Fair. After all, what could be more fitting for an outdoor bike-powered concert than a side of bike-powered ice cream? 

 

3. Groundwork Coffee

Their Story

As Groundwork tells the story, they "rose from the sands of Venice Beach." The company grew from one small shop that sold coffee, tea, and rare used books to one of the first certified organic coffee roasters in California. In fact, they set new industry standards for their sustainable, relationship-based coffee sourcing as well as their solar-powered low-emissions roasting technology. 

Committed to Community

At nearly 25 years old with eight locations around LA, Groundwork is still committed to every single cup and customer. As they'll tell you, they have an ongoing "borderline-obsessive commitment" to their community throughout the coffee production process— from their farmers to their customers to their city. 

We're glad to have them at Ecochella, where they'll be serving cold brew, hot coffee and talking about their sustainability initiatives. 

 

4. Bolani East & West Gourmet Afghan Food

The Story

As Nazie, Rhated, and Billal Sidiq of Bolani Foods will tell you, Bolani came from one woman's dream. Nazie immigrated to New York over thirty-five years ago in hopes of a better life. After settling in California with her husband (Rhated) and son (Billal), the family struggled to make ends meet. About 10 years ago, they decided to start their own business based on authentic Afghan recipes. Their vegan flatbreads and sauces were soon all the rage at the farmers markets they visited and they now sell at over 200 farmers markets in California as well as Whole Foods and Costco. 

Their Vision

Since the start, Bolani has been committed to creating delicious and nutritious food, and now they're working on going all organic too. 

Be sure to try some samples with some of their tasty spreads! 

5. Breakaway Bakery

Their (Totally Sweet) Story

Breakaway Bakery has been the six-year adventure of Janice and her daughter Nava. When Janice eliminated gluten from her diet, Nava wanted her mom to still be able to enjoy delicious baked goods. The mother-daughter duo started experimenting in the kitchen together, working to develop sweet treats that worked with Janice’s dietary restrictions. They realized that they were actually pretty good at it, so in 2008 the family decided to go for it and open up their own bakery on Pico Blvd.

Their Mission

The founding idea of the company is: “Breakaway from things that are bad for you. Breakaway to a great taste adventure where the things you love to eat are also honestly delicious and healthy.”

If you have any kind of dietary restriction, this is the bakery for you. Breakaway Bakery proudly creates all kinds of yummy baked goods that are all:

  • organic
  • kosher
  • gluten free 
  • made only from whole grain brown rice (no flour)
  • made with 400% less starch than most gluten free products
  • organic fruit-infused
  • free of preservatives and trans fats
  • non-GMO

Cupcakes, bars, cookies, brownies, breads, donuts, babka, sticky buns— Breakaway Bakery has it all! Stop by their table at Ecochella to indulge your sweet tooth with a healthy treat. 

Comment

Ecochella-Friendly Restaurants in Westwood

Comment

Ecochella-Friendly Restaurants in Westwood

Here's four local restaurants that have kindly helped support Ecochella from supplying our hungry bikers with fresh fare to donating prizes for our Instagram challenges. Get the low down on the people behind these restaurants, the must-order items and some awesome programs that they've developed to give back to their communities. 

1. Veggie Grill 

What's the Deal? 

Veggie Grill founder T.K. Pillan says that he and cofounder Kevin Boylan founded Veggie Grill with the goal of making healthy vegetarian food "fun, friendly, and approachable" and they're doing that by fashioning healthy vegetarian ingredients into familiar American comfort food.  

Behind the scenes

The founders of this plant-based restaurant weren't always vegans. Pillan and Boylan started out as an MIT grad tech entrepreneur and a business investor who knew little about plant-based food and nothing about the restaurant business. However, in the process of building Veggie Grill from the ground up, they've become veggie enthusiasts who are dedicated to introducing wholesome food to a wide variety of people, especially people who might not normally try let alone eat vegan food. 

How'd They Do It?

Once they saw that there was a market for convenient, healthy food, the next step was research— and not your typical "research." Pillan and Boylan traveled around Southern California, San Francisco, and New York on an epic food tour trying out every healthy restaurant they could find (sign me up please!). 

What Should You Order? 

Who better to offer advice than the creators themselves? Boylan says that picking his favorite Veggie Grill dish is "kind of like saying which of your children is your favorite" but if he had to choose just one... he recommends the Santa Fe Crispy Chick'n Sandwich. It looks like plant protein glory!  

 Vegetarian comfort food lovers rejoice! 

Vegetarian comfort food lovers rejoice! 

 

2. Tender Greens

What's the Deal? 

Tender Greens says they like to make "slow food done fast." They're all about translating their fine dining point of view into a casual, quick meal option. With almost all of their produce picked daily from Scarborough Farms, Tender Greens provides people with high quality, wholesome food in a way that fits into the modern urbanite's hectic schedule. 

Helpful hint: be sure to visit the Hollywood location to see their aeroponic tower garden growing some fresh veggies!

Fun fact: Aeroponic towers use up to 95% less water than field farming. 

Community-Minded

One awesome initiative at Tender Greens is their Sustainable Life Project. It offers a 6-month internship to emancipated foster youth. Students experience restaurant work, culinary arts classes, farm tours, and life skills workshops. When they graduate, they are also eligible to work as full-time employees at Tender Greens. It's one way that Tender Greens is making an effort to work not just "in" a community, but with it, all while using food as an agent for social change. 

What Should You Order? 

The Happy Vegan salad is a customer favorite— and it looks delish. 

3. Panera Bread 

What's the Deal? 

Panera started thirty years ago with a simple goal: to bake fresh bread from fresh dough every day with no artificial preservatives or short cuts, and at the end of the day donate what was left to neighbors in need. 

Since then, they've stayed true to their original intention kept coming up with more good ideas even as they've grown. Check it out: 

Know of a group or organization that could benefit from Panera's Day-end Dough-Nation food recovery program? Here's the link to their donation request form.

What Should You Order? 

Definitely have some of their fresh-baked bread— be it in sandwich, pastry, or soup bread-bowl form!  

 

3. Cava Grill 

What's the Deal? 

Greek food is nothing new to the creators of Cava Grill because they grew up eating it in their Greek and Mediterranean-American households. Now, they've created a restaurant that merges inspiration from traditional Greek food and California farm-to-table freshness. Many of its producers are less than a few hours away from their restaurants, so the food travels as directly as possible from the farm to your fork. 

Giving back

Here in LA, Cava Grill has also partnered with Garden School Foundation, whose Seed to Table program offers garden-based education to under-served youth, using outdoor living classrooms to better connect education, health, environmental awareness, and community need. 

Who Came Up With This?

The Cava founders are— get this— actually childhood friends. Ike Grigoropoulos, Chef Dimitri Moshovitis, and Ted Xenohristos started Cava Grill in celebration of the flavors of their families’ traditional Greek and Mediterranean cooking. 

What Should You Order? 

The nice thing about Cava Grill is that you totally customize your dish. Make sure to take advantage of all their yummy dips and toppings! Or treat yourself to a fresh juice!

 Dips galore! 

Dips galore! 

Comment

Revitalizing the LA River: What's Happening and How To Get Involved

Comment

Revitalizing the LA River: What's Happening and How To Get Involved

If you haven't visited the LA River yet, don't worry about it. At the moment, you're not missing much. In fact, walking by it, you might not even realize that you're crossing over a river....  

A Bleak Scene

In the 1930s, the Army Corps of Engineers concretized the river to resolve flooding problems. As a result, the LA River flows down a bleak concrete channel. The channel functions as a water freeway that blends in with the rest of LA's freeway-filled cityscape. However, Angeleno city officials and residents alike are recognizing the untapped potential of the river's 51 mile stretch. 

 A wildlife restoration project implemented on the LA River offers an idea of the potential of a greener river space

A wildlife restoration project implemented on the LA River offers an idea of the potential of a greener river space

What Does "Revitalization" Really Mean?

Revitalization efforts center around de-channelizing the LA River, which means removing the concrete that lines the riverbed. Instead of a concrete channel, revitalization advocates want to see a living green space. The revitalized river would function as an extended park linking the neighborhoods it flows through. 

 A mock up of the river after revitalization

A mock up of the river after revitalization

Why Revitalize It?

Revitalizing the LA River benefits people and the environment alike. By weaving nature back into the cityscape, revitalization gives Angelenos a dose of green recreation space in the midst of concrete jungles like Arts District, Downtown, and Chinatown. City planners hope that a reinvigorated LA River may serve as a community hub that will bring people together. 

 Planners hope the river will be a community hub

Planners hope the river will be a community hub

Environmental Benefits

Replacing the LA River's concrete channel with a soil and rock-based riverbed will improve water retention. Currently, rainwater runs straight down the channel out to the sea. Rebuilding a porous riverbed would allow water to percolate down into LA's groundwater, which increases the city's resilience to drought. 

 A revitalized river would function as an extended greenway

A revitalized river would function as an extended greenway

The Plan 

The LA River Revitalization Corporation and Mayor Eric Garcetti are leading a push to restore 11 miles of the river running roughly from Glendale to Downtown. Instead of concrete, the river will be lined with parkland that includes wetlands, terraces, cafes, and bike paths. 

 The vision for the 11 mile long section currently slated for revitalization

The vision for the 11 mile long section currently slated for revitalization

Explore the River

You can experience the LA river yourself by joining the Earth Day night run on Thursday, April 21st at 7pm. It's a non-competitive 5k that you'll need to register for, and the event includes post-run yoga, taco trucks, craft beer, and a bonfire. You'll see the river at night and play a part in activating the river as a community hub! 

Comment

From Dumping to Upcycling: The Good and Bad of Recycling

Comment

From Dumping to Upcycling: The Good and Bad of Recycling

We all know that we should recycle, but recycling is actually a more complex issue than you might think.

Basic recycling into a standard recycle bin includes clean metals, paper/cardboard, glass, and plastics. Unfortunately, if a recycling bin gets contaminated with non-recyclables, the entire bin’s contents will get thrown out. So make sure you’ve got the right bin!

Want to double-check your recycling skills? Check out this recycling overview.

 

Downcycling and other problems

Recycling all of our recyclables rather than sending them to landfill is helpful and important, but recycling is not a 100% cure-all. After all, the recycling process takes energy, and oftentimes, that energy comes from nonrenewable fossil fuel sources. Not to mention, the recycling process can generate pollution and toxic waste, and the energy costs of transporting recyclable materials can be significant.

 Workers sorting recycling at a recycling center

Workers sorting recycling at a recycling center

Additionally, not all materials are equal in the eyes of the recycling center, and some materials can be recycled much more effectively than others. To capture this idea in a word, we can talk about “downcycling,” which describes how recycling a material yields a product of reduced quality and functionality. An aluminum can be recycled with minimal reduction in its quality through recycling since it essentially just gets melted and reformed. However, materials like paper and plastic get downcycled with a much greater cost to quality. 

Do you know where your recycling at UCLA goes? A lot of it goes to the Allan Company recycling center in Santa Monica.  

 Paper recyclables at the Allan Company recycling center in Santa Monica (Photo credit: Austin Yu) 

Paper recyclables at the Allan Company recycling center in Santa Monica (Photo credit: Austin Yu) 

 

E-waste

 An e-waste dump polluting a lake in Agbogbloshie, Ghana

An e-waste dump polluting a lake in Agbogbloshie, Ghana

We handle and see the cardboard boxes, glass bottles, or aluminum cans in recycling bins all the time, but not everything that should be recycled belongs in the recycling bin on the street corner. Electronic waste, commonly called “e-waste,” requires specific recycling processes that only e-waste recycling centers can provide. E-waste takes the form of broken or outdated computers, batteries, cell phones, tablets, cameras, televisions, radios, keyboards, etc. that consumers discard. 

 Women in Guiyu, China pick out precious metals from dumped e-waste

Women in Guiyu, China pick out precious metals from dumped e-waste

In the tech age and with planned obsolescence a routine business practice, United States consumers generate a lot of e-waste, and an alarmingly high proportion of it never gets recycled. Worse yet, the vast majority of it actually gets shipped overseas and dumped in other countries including China, Ghana, and India, where e-waste is poisoning people through toxic exposure and polluting groundwater supplies.

 Two people harvest metal scraps from e-waste in Ghana

Two people harvest metal scraps from e-waste in Ghana

 

Upcycling Through Art

These artists are taking a stand by creating inspiring and beautiful art that makes a political statement.

Vik Muniz

 One of Muniz's trash portraits, made entirely from trash collected from Jardim Gramacho

One of Muniz's trash portraits, made entirely from trash collected from Jardim Gramacho

Muniz returned to his native Brazil to the largest garbage dump in the world, Jardim Gramacho, on the outskirts of Rio de Janiero. He worked with a group of catadores—people who live at the dump and pick recyclables from the garbage for a living—to create large-scale trash sculptures which he photographed from above. 

 Muniz working on a trash portrait from a platform above

Muniz working on a trash portrait from a platform above

The people depicted in the trash images are the catadores he worked with. Muniz pledged to return all of the proceeds from the photographs back to the catadores. Want to see more? The documentary “Wasteland” captures the journey. Here's a link to the trailer

 Catadores at Jardim Gramacho wait to collect trash from a dump truck

Catadores at Jardim Gramacho wait to collect trash from a dump truck

 

Ellen Driscoll

Driscoll uses HDPE plastic (what most milk and water gallon bottles are made of) to portray the twenty-first century oil economy through sculpture. Driscoll carefully cleans, cuts, and then manipulates the plastic to construct plastic landscapes. The opaque plastic gives them an ethereal, ghostly quality. 

 Recognize these components of a plastic gallon milk container? 

Recognize these components of a plastic gallon milk container? 

She made a floating bricolage, called "Distant Mirrors," that presents a mirror image of North America surrounded by five countries with oil fields that source crude oil to the United States (Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela). As part of her installation, Driscoll set the work afloat the surface of the Providence River.

 "Distant Mirrors" floating down the Providence River

"Distant Mirrors" floating down the Providence River

 

What can you do?

E3 runs an e-waste campaign that’s always looking for volunteers to help with e-waste collection on campus. Come by the weekly E3 meeting or check out the website for more information.  If you don’t have the time to get involved in the campaign, be sure to still use the e-waste collection containers located around campus and spread the word! 

You can also try your own hand at crafting some trash art. Your trash and recycle bins will offer you a bounty of materials. Plus, it's a great way to make yourself more aware of just how much waste you generate on a day to day basis. For Earth Month, E3 is hosting its annual sustainable art competition. Prizes are not decided yet, but in the past, Trader Joe's gift cards are usually in the mix! 

 

Still Curious?

Want to learn more about trash and the people who deal with it? Here’s some documentaries to check out.   

Wasteland —see how Vic Muniz and the catadores created the trash portraits.

Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground from PBS Frontline/World— Learn about the impacts of e-waste in Ghana (it's free to watch).

Plastic Paradise — learn about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the floating island of garbage that's the size of Texas.

E-Wasteland — learn about how our exported e-waste negatively affects people overseas. (You can watch this film free online with the option to make a donation.)





 

Comment

From New York to Los Angeles: Some of the Wildest Gardens in the U.S.

Comment

From New York to Los Angeles: Some of the Wildest Gardens in the U.S.

If you thought gardens were for growing flowers and that farms were for the countryside, check out what these urban gardeners and farmers are up to for an eye-opening surprise. From rooftops to schoolhouses to front lawns, these cutting-edge urbanites are opening up a whole world of amazing possibilities for how we can grow food in cities for healthier people and more sustainable landscapes.

 

New York, NY  

Brooklyn Grange 

Born out of a desire to cultivate nutritious, tasty, and sustainable food in the midst of a bustling city, Brooklyn Grange is greening New York from above. This business operates the world’s largest rooftop soil farms, located on two roofs in New York City. To say these farms are productive is an understatement— they grow over 50,000 lbs of organic produce per year! Not to mention, the rooftop farm naturally insulates the building so that less energy is needed for heating and cooling.

In order to build the rooftop farms, the Brooklyn Grange crew had to lift hundreds of 3,000 lb sacks of soil by crane up seven stories to the roof. But it was well worth it: they’ve now sold over 500,000 lbs of vegetables to restaurants, CSA members, and directly to individual New Yorkers at weekly farmstands.

 A Brooklyn Grange farmstand

A Brooklyn Grange farmstand

As if this place wasn’t cool enough, Brooklyn Grange isn’t stopping at vegetables— it is also home to egg-laying hens and is launching a commercial apiary (i.e. beehives!).

 

Green Bronx Machine 

 Stephen Ritz (right) and one of his students harvesting lettuce from a vertical gardening system 

Stephen Ritz (right) and one of his students harvesting lettuce from a vertical gardening system 

Educator Stephen Ritz and his students started the Green Bronx Machine in their 100 year-old schoolhouse in the South Bronx. The Green Bronx Machine incorporates urban agriculture with schooling in order to empower students to higher academic performance and lead healthier lives.

 Vacant space transformed into a garden

Vacant space transformed into a garden

The schoolhouse is located in the middle of the poorest congressional district in the U.S., which used to be a bleak food desert. Ritz resolved to change the things he couldn’t accept and started building green roofs, green walls, and vertical gardens. Ritz and his students have transformed city streets and abandoned space underneath metro lines into what Ritz proudly describes as “an absolute garden and urban oasis.” In the process of transforming the physical landscape of the South Bronx, Ritz has helped his students be a part of a green economy and community.

 Green Bronx Machine food walls 

Green Bronx Machine food walls 

Want to hear the story straight from Ritz and his students? Check out this TedTalk on the Green Bronx Machine.  

 Green Bronx Machine students learning how to install a green roof

Green Bronx Machine students learning how to install a green roof

 

Los Angeles, CA

South Central Farm 

 The 14 acre South Central Farm

The 14 acre South Central Farm

Did you know that from 1994-2006, LA used to have the largest urban garden in the country? The garden, located at 41st & Alameda in South Central LA, was a whopping 14 acres of green space in the middle of South Central’s concrete jungle. The city originally gave the garden to its largely Chicanx community as a concession in response to the 1992 LA Riots, and the farmers grew everything from potatoes to papayas. However, in 2004, the garden was slated for demolition. Sadly, after a hard-fought legal and political battle in which the farmers miraculously raised over $16 million in only 60 days to save the land, the garden got bulldozed and has remained a vacant dirt lot ever since. However, the South Central Farmers say they “won by losing” because they were able to move on and purchase a farm in Buttonwillow, CA to form a farmer-owned cooperative. Today the farmers are their own business-owners and they supply low-income people of color in South Central with certified organic produce as well as run a city-wide CSA box program. 

 Chayote--a squash you probably won't find at your local supermarket-- grown at the South Central Farm

Chayote--a squash you probably won't find at your local supermarket-- grown at the South Central Farm

Be sure to check out the co-op’s CSA box and tasty snack options on their online order form here. (Helpful hint: the beet and kale chips are both on sale right now!)

To learn more about the battle to save the original farm at 41st & Alameda, you can watch the Academy Award-nominated documentary “The Garden.”

 

LA Green Grounds 

 The LA Green Grounds transforming a strip of lawn into a food forest

The LA Green Grounds transforming a strip of lawn into a food forest

Imagine for a moment that all of the lawns in LA are food forests instead… that’s the vision that LA Green Grounds is working to make a reality, one front lawn at a time. Ron Finley, a guerrilla gardener in South Central LA, founded LA Green Grounds in response to the lack of fresh, healthy food available in his neighborhood. Finley observed that while South Central lacked grocery stores and fresh food, there was an abundance of unused vacant lots and under-utilized front lawns. It made sense to him to put the unused space to good use by using it to grow food. LA Green Grounds really brings food production to the local level by helping people transform their front lawns into food forests. While this is something that everyone can (and should!) do, the organization’s work is especially important for residents of low-income neighborhoods that may otherwise not have easy access to a fresh head of lettuce or an organic apple.

 Transformation complete!

Transformation complete!

Definitely check out Finley’s revolutionary TedTalk on his work— it’ll get you fired up for sure.

 Guerrilla gardener Ron Finley

Guerrilla gardener Ron Finley


 

Find Your Green Thumb

Looking to try your hand at gardening but limited on space and time? Try growing some herbs on a balcony or by a window. You don’t need any fancy supplies, just a container, some soil, a few seeds, and a bit of water (we’re in a drought, after all!).

Want to up the ante even more? Drop by the UCLA Student Garden run by the Dig Gardening Club. It’s a small, friendly affair and everyone is welcome, no gardening experience necessary.  Dig-ins happen 12:30-2pm on Sundays and there’s nearly always something fresh and tasty to harvest! Also be sure to bring along your food scraps to contribute to the garden’s compost bin. The garden is in the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center, next to the challenge course. 

 How to get to the garden on foot from the residential hill

How to get to the garden on foot from the residential hill

You can also lend a hand at one of the LA Green Grounds community dig-ins, affectionately called garden parties. You’ll help build a lasting resource, get some hands-on experience with master gardeners, and meet other urban growers who are down for the cause! Dig-ins typically last from 9:30am-3:30pm. Here’s the link to sign-up and receive more information.

 Volunteers pitching in at a LA Green Grounds dig-in

Volunteers pitching in at a LA Green Grounds dig-in



Comment

Bike LA! Culture and Community

Comment

Bike LA! Culture and Community

Looking to explore the LA bike scene but not sure where to start? Here's some fun community bike events to check out. 

1. CicLAvia: March 6, 2016 

What's CicLAvia?

Angelenos will be booting cars off the road for a day and retaking the streets by bike. CicLAvia works to develop vibrant public spaces, support active transportation, and promote good health. The hope is to positively transform communities and reignite human connection. Anyone who has participated in a CicLAvia ride can agree that car-free streets truly do transform a neighborhood! Be sure not to miss this opportunity to bike safely while absorbing the sights, sounds, and smells of a familiar city from a whole new perspective.

Don't be too bummed if you missed the CicLAvia ride down historic Wilshire Blvd last year! The next CicLAvia event is coming up fast and will be in San Fernando Valley on March 6th!

March 6 CicLAvia Ride: The Valley

The ride is four miles long with lots of action to check out along the way! There are three hubs of activity on the route: Panorama City Hub, Arleta Hub and Pacoima Hub. You can see where the hubs are located on this route map. You won't want to miss the highlights that make this San Fernando Valley CicLAvia special:  

Panorama Hub: contribute to a collective painting at the Mobile Mural Lab from 11am-3pm and keep your eyes peeled for the mobile Book Bike-- you get a free book if you have a library card!

Arleta Hub: watch students in action as they capture the spirit of the city through live art!

Pacoima Hub: take a break and get loose at Bradley Plaza's Block Party! You'll experience the spirit of Pacoima through music, hip-hop dance, folklorico and live art from youth and community leaders

 Rest your legs and get creative with the community mural

Rest your legs and get creative with the community mural

Keep on the lookout for Angelenos showing off their wild homemade bike contraptions! 


2. LA Critical Mass: Friday, March 25

What's Critical Mass?

Feel the pedal power as you bike in a pack of almost 4,000 other riders! LA Critical Mass is the largest community bicycle ride, and it attracts bikers of all creeds. Critical Mass seeks to promote biking as everything from leisure activity to sport to practical means of transportation and their monthly rides offer a fun time for all. Meet some fellow bikers and make new friends as you take in LA by night. Not to mention, it's also a great way to explore a new part of the city. 

What to Expect

If nothing else, the people-watching should be pretty interesting. According to the ride description, you're bound to see all types of riders from the off-hour bike messengers to wannabe superheroes to avant-garde cycling fans with bikes tricked out in lights.

Bummed you can't make this ride? Don't sweat it! Critical Mass happens every month, so you can join the pack in April! 

3. Bicycle Coffee Community Events 

PSA: Stop by Bicycle Coffee on Friday for a free cup of Joe! Be sure to check out their First Friday food truck gatherings for some tasty post-ride eats, including free veggie tacos, music, booze, art and more (what's not to love)! And then be sure to return on Saturday morning to meet some fellow bikers for a community ride.

 #FREECOFFEEFRIDAY!

#FREECOFFEEFRIDAY!

Comment

3 Rad Bikers: What They Did And What They Brought With Them

Comment

3 Rad Bikers: What They Did And What They Brought With Them

Ever biked 4,000 miles? Here's three rad bikers who made up their minds to bike coast-to-coast across the United States (one of them is Ecochella founder Rachel Woods-Robinson!). Here's why they did it, how they did it, and a few things they brought in their bike bags: 

Rad Bikers #1 and #2: Rachel Woods-Robinson and Elizabeth Case 

Why bike from San Francisco to New York City? 

Rachel and Elizabeth met at UCLA, where they bonded over a mutual love for physics and bikes. After graduating, they co-founded Cycle For Science. Their mission: to bike across the United States while also teaching science classes about solar power along the way. Through their creative lesson plans and inspiring journey, the two bikers hope to get students excited about science and encourage young women to pursue STEM careers. To read more details about their journey click here

 One state down, fifteen to go!

One state down, fifteen to go!

How did they do it? 

Their route was approximately 3,800 miles and took about three months! Here's the state-by-state itinerary: 

CA → OR → ID → WY → SD → NE → IA → IL → IN → OH → PA → MD → DC → DE → NJ → NY

 3,770 miles— yowza! 

3,770 miles— yowza! 

What was in their bike bags?

  1. Tent: it was a rugged trip!— they either camped or crashed on friends' couches
  2. Water: they had to pack their own water through stretches of deserted landscapes for hundreds of miles at a time 
  3. Sol Cycles: little 3-D printed, solar-powered bicycles that they used in their classroom lessons to teach kids about solar power. (They designed and printed these themselves!) 
 The Sol Cycle in action

The Sol Cycle in action

 

Rad Biker #3: Rob Greenfield 

Why bike across the U.S.? 

When Rob woke up to the huge environmental problems our world faces, he set out to live as sustainably as possible—and oh yeah, he did it while biking across the country. He says that he embarked on his journey to learn how all of his little daily actions affect the earth. On his journey, he tried to leave a minuscule environmental footprint all while having a ridiculous amount of fun. 

 That bike is made out of bamboo!

That bike is made out of bamboo!

How on earth did he do it?  

His mission: bike across the United States on a bamboo bike, using only water from natural sources, avoiding fossil fuels almost completely, carrying solar panels to create his own electricity, and creating almost no trash. 

His final stats over 1 year are pretty impressive:

  • 4,700 miles biked! 
  • only 160 gallons of water used
  • less than 1 gallon of gas burned
  • only 2 pounds of trash generated
  • 300 pounds of food dumpster-dived 
 Rob with his living essentials in tow

Rob with his living essentials in tow

 Rob making a tasty (and nutritious!) lunch from discarded produce in a grocery store dumpster. Nice finds Rob! 

Rob making a tasty (and nutritious!) lunch from discarded produce in a grocery store dumpster. Nice finds Rob! 

Want to see Rob in action? Here's a Youtube video where Rob Greenfield shows you clips from his journey and some of the shenanigans that happened along the way.  

Comment

4 Delicious Farmers Markets Near UCLA That You Should Know About

Comment

4 Delicious Farmers Markets Near UCLA That You Should Know About

Looking for some fresh, tasty eats? Fancy a weekend outing? Here are four farmers markets near UCLA, and how you can get there. 

1. Bruin Plaza

 Image credit: Bruin Plaza Farmers Market Facebook page

Image credit: Bruin Plaza Farmers Market Facebook page

What you should know: The nearest farmers markets is right here on campus. Grab a basket of sweet strawberries or pick your own veggies for the week. If you're looking for healthy snacks to munch on, to or from class, you can pick from a huge variety of dried fruits that you probably won't find at the grocery store. 

Helpful hint: If you haven't tried a dried persimmon before, do yourself a favor and try one— they're delicious! You may even encounter a live A Capella music performance, another thing you won't find at the grocery store. 

Where/When: Swing by Bruin Plaza every other Wednesday 2:30pm-6:30pm to visit this farmers market. Check out the Bruin Plaza Farmers Market page on Facebook to get more updates. 

 

2. Westwood

 Image credit: Airbnb

Image credit: Airbnb

What you should know: This farmers market is another convenient option for Bruin shoppers. With plenty of stands offering fresh fruits & veggies, eggs, honey, vegan baked goods, bread from Homeboy Bakery, hummus & pita bread, fresh-squeezed juice, tamales, and roasted corn, it's hard to go wrong. 

Helpful hint: If you're looking for a gift, there's lots of small craft vendors that offer everything from small succulents to jewelry and handmade soaps. 

Where/When: You can find the Westwood Farmers Market every Thursday on Broxton Ave from 12pm-6pm near between CPK and Chipotle. 

 

3. Brentwood

 Image credit: LA Times

Image credit: LA Times

What you should know: This Farmers Market is a little further away, but makes for a great weekend outing. You can expect to find a beautiful spread of food, including fresh produce, seafood, bread, pastries, olive oil, and lots of fun specialty items. There's also a huge range of food vendors offering a variety of treats, from dumplings to tacos to sorbet. This market is bigger than the Bruin Plaza or Westwood markets, and there's samples galore so come hungry to try lots of tasty food. 

Helpful hint: It's a quick ride by bus or bike and we've saved you the trouble of researching. Here is the bike route and bus route to get there from UCLA. You can thank us later. 

Where/When: Visit this farmers market at 741 S Gretna Green Way in Brentwood from 9am-2pm on Sundays.

Bonus— the Brentwood Farmers Market also has a petting zoo with baby pigs, goats, and more that you can play with! 

 

4. Santa Monica

What you should know: This is a great farmers market to visit if you want to get out of the Westwood bubble on a weekend.  There's also a small park right next to the market, so you can stick around to enjoy a farm-fresh picnic. Like the Brentwood farmers market, this one is on a whole other scale than Bruin Plaza's and Westwood's farmers markets. Expect to find more fresh produce and food creations than you can imagine! 

Helpful hint: Here’s the bus route and the bike route (if you’re really ambitious). Note that according to Google Maps, biking is actually faster (and greener, but Google Maps failed to mention that bit)! 

Where/When: Find the market on Sundays in Heritage Square at 2640 Main Street from 9:30am-1pm. It's located right in the heart of downtown Main Street in Santa Monica, so you can check out shops on Main Street or head to the beach after you do your farmers market shopping.

 

Comment

5 Sustainable Coffee Places in LA

Comment

5 Sustainable Coffee Places in LA

1. Bicycle Coffee

Bicycle coffee holds a special appeal for the Ecochella team, ‘cause they’re also all about bike power. They roast quality, sustainably grown coffee locally and then deliver their beans from roasting plant to cafe by bicycle! Talk about taking sustainability to the next level by cutting that carbon footprint way down. They keep their operation simple and localized to maintain high quality business practices. Bicycle Coffee offers four coffee options from Latin America and Ethiopia.

You can visit the Bicycle Coffee cafe and roastery at 5427 Santa Monica Blvd or find them posted up at the Hollywood Farmers Market at 1600 Ivar Ave on Sundays.

 An order of Bicycle Coffee on its way from the roasting plant to your cup!

An order of Bicycle Coffee on its way from the roasting plant to your cup!

 Bikers—and bikes—of every creed coming together for bike-powered coffee

Bikers—and bikes—of every creed coming together for bike-powered coffee

 

2. Funnel Mill

Coffee aficionados, this one’s for you. Visit this Santa Monica coffee and tea shop if you’re looking for the ultimate combination of sustainability and quality. Funnel Mill has an extensive selection of unique, single-estate coffees from all across the world, which they syphon brew. All of their coffee beans are organic, and many are also certified biodynamic (i.e. organically and consciously grown)!

Funnel Mill is open Monday through Saturday at 930 Broadway in Santa Monica.

*Fun Fact: a special feature of this particular sustainable coffee house is its (in)famous Sumatran Kopi Luwak coffee. These beans have been chemically treated and fermented to give them their distinctive flavor—and guess where all of this treatment takes place? In the stomach of the Luwak civet cat. The civet cat eats the whole coffee cherry and the beans remain whole throughout the digestive process, where it acquires its distinctive taste. Locals then collect the excreted Kopi Luwak beans from the forest floor, clean them, and then roast them like any other coffee bean. Kopi Luwak is smooth and syrupy in body, with a rich, heavy flavor with hints of caramel and chocolate. If you want to try Kopi Luwak, you’ll have to make a reservation; Kopi Luwak is a special experience that requires its own cupping appointment.

 (Photo credit: Luke L.)

(Photo credit: Luke L.)

 A Kopi Luwak civet cat eating coffee berries

A Kopi Luwak civet cat eating coffee berries

 

3. Groundwork Coffee

A past Ecochella vendor and a fan favorite. What originally started 25 years ago as a small coffee house and rare/used bookstore in Venice Beach has turned into the largest certified organic coffee roaster in Los Angeles. Groundwork Coffee brings consciousness to their entire production chain— from their fair trade, relationship-based organic coffee sourcing to their solar-powered, low-emissions roasting technology. You can try their organic coffee at any one of their eight Los Angeles locations (or you can buy a bag of their beans at Whole Foods in Westwood).

 The Groundwork Rose Ave location in Venice

The Groundwork Rose Ave location in Venice

 The Groundwork Arts District location

The Groundwork Arts District location

 

4. Toms

    You may know Toms for its shoes, but the sustainable and socially-conscious company now has its foot in the door of the coffee business as well. As part of the Toms “one for one” campaign, every bag of Toms coffee you purchase provides a week’s supply of safe water to a person in need. They source their coffee beans from Malawi, Peru, Rwanda and El Salvador and partner directly with communities they source from. Visit the Toms flagship store and cafe on Abbot Kinney in Venice for a coffee and locally-baked vegan pastry. While you’re there, you can check out their shoes and sunglasses in their shop too.

 Coffee shop meets shoe store meets open-air hangout at the Toms flagship store. (Photo credit: David Frosdick)

Coffee shop meets shoe store meets open-air hangout at the Toms flagship store. (Photo credit: David Frosdick)

 The Toms backyard (Photo credit: Tatiana Arbogast)

The Toms backyard (Photo credit: Tatiana Arbogast)

 

5. The Wheelhouse

With its joint coffee and bike repair shop set-up, The Wheelhouse will keep both you and your bike running smoothly. Nestled in the Arts District, The Wheelhouse wants to be a community hub where you can swing by for a coffee while your bike is serviced. You may also want to explore their shop, which features artisan bike products that combine style and function. Their store will keep you stylin' on your morning commute and can also equip you for a weekend bike trip. 

You can visit The Wheelhouse at 1375 E. 6th Street #6.

 People sit side-by-side with bikes at The Wheelhouse

People sit side-by-side with bikes at The Wheelhouse

 (Photo credit: Julie Wolfson)

(Photo credit: Julie Wolfson)






Comment

'CHELLA CHOMPS: Food Vendors at Ecochella '15

Comment

'CHELLA CHOMPS: Food Vendors at Ecochella '15

BY GRACE ALEMAN

This year Ecochella will be full of sustainable vendors selling food, drinks, and more! Two of the vendors are Juicebox and Farm Fresh To You.

JUICEBOX LOS ANGELES

Juicebox is a juice truck that runs on biodesel which is a plant-based fuel. Juicebox sources all of its ingredients from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market so you know that every juice they make is full of locally grown, fresh produce.

RAW. LIVING. JUICE.

"JUICEBOX is the first premium and sustainable juice truck serving the local communities of Los Angeles. In a world of over-processed and underwhelming beverage options, JUICEBOX provides a healthy, affordable, made-to-order alternative in your neighborhood. Juicing fresh, local, and organic produce on location results in nutritionally vibrant, living juice, loaded with live enzymes, vitamins, trace minerals and other vital nutrients. One 16oz juice from JUICEBOX contains almost 3 lbs of fresh fruits and vegetables."


Farm Fresh To You is a USDA and CCOF certified organic Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Farm Fresh To You has farms all throughout California and they deliver produce right to your door. Farm Fresh To You allows CSA subscribers to customize their baskets. You can choose to have a basket delivered anywhere from weekly to monthly, and you can customize what produce you produce you receive. There are even value added items that you can add to your CSA baskets like apple sauce and nut butters. Farm Fresh To You will be offering discounts to students who sign up for their CSA program at Ecochella!

Comment

BAND FEATURE: THE PRIMARIES

Comment

BAND FEATURE: THE PRIMARIES

BY MADDY ROUTON

Header image courtesy of The Primaries

I had the distinct pleasure of seeing The Primaries play last week, their soulful R&B covers and funky originals filling the courtyard of the Fowler Museum with an infectious groove. They're the kind of band you can't help but move to, with a dynamic sound accompanied by a diverse rag-tag group of talented musicians. Led by frontman guitarist and vocalist Ryan Yoo, The Primaries' unique instrumentation and hip-shaking sound has won them acclaim both on-campus and off. They recently performed for the Kollaboration LA competition, whose correspondent Aaron Yeung wrote "the band has pieced together smooth, sensual jams with both innovative and vintage elements, making them a sight for sore-eyes in an industry filled with carbon-copies" (Source).

BE SURE TO COME SHIMMY WITH THE PRIMARIES ON MAY 1 AT 5:00 PM!!!

  Photo courtesy of http://kollaboration.org/3398/spotlight-the-primaries-kollaboration-la-14-winners/

Photo courtesy of http://kollaboration.org/3398/spotlight-the-primaries-kollaboration-la-14-winners/

"The Primaries are a band. The Primaries have seven members plus one who doesn't know how to play anything. The Primaries are fond of free food, discounts, and Stevie Wonder. The Primaries are making an album. Said album will be released in May 2015. Hopefully."

STALK THE INTERWEBS FOR MORE NEWS ABOUT THE PRIMARIES:

Comment

SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER AT ECOCHELLA!

Comment

SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER AT ECOCHELLA!

ARE YOU READY TO PEDAL-POWER A SUSTAINABLE LIVE MUSIC EVENT?

DO YOU WANT TO PLAY ROADIE FOR A DAY AND HELP OUR BANDS SET UP FOR THEIR JAMMIN SHOWS?

DO YOU LIKE FREE FOOD?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, sign up to volunteer at Ecochella 2015!!!

BIKING VOLUNTEERS

Help power UCLA's third annual bike-powered concert on May 1st! We need teams of 6 students to bike for 20 minute shifts. You can participate as a team or as a "Freelance Armstrong" biker:

(1) Teams: Any team is welcome! Student clubs, athletic teams, res hall floors, or just some good ol’ chums. Full teams of 6 are preferred, but we would still love your help whatever size your team is!

(2) Individuals: We can also sign you up as a “Freelance Armstrong” biker to fill in empty shifts and bike with a team of other Freelance Armstrongers.

To register to participate, please fill out the form below and get stoked to raise the handlebars at Ecochella 2015! Deadline to sign up is April 28th at 7pm!

If you have any questions, feel free to email Tira at tiraokamoto@ucla.edu or Hugh at hughedwards65@aol.com

EVENT VOLUNTEERS

Volunteers are an important part of Ecochella and will play a crucial role in ensuring that the event runs smoothly. Volunteers will help to check in bikers, escort bikers/volunteers to the correct location, assist the bands,and more! If you are a part of a club or organization (eg. service organization, club sport) and would like to receive credit for your volunteer hours we can make that happen! All volunteers will receive free food!

Ecochella is happening from 4-9pm on Friday, May 1st, 2015. Volunteers can set up, help during the event, and/or clean up after the concert.

Please sign up to volunteer by 7pm on April 28th.

Thank you! You are the spokes(people) that keep the wheels of Ecochella turning every year!

Comment

BAND FEATURE: THE CLONE BOYS

Comment

BAND FEATURE: THE CLONE BOYS

BY MADDY ROUTON

Images courtesy of The Clone Boys

The Clone Boys are a self-described "indie rock band with a bit of soul" hailing from Naples, FL and currently based in sunny Los Angeles. Their band consists of Billy Larned on vocals, Andrew Kalmans on guitar, Michael Ambrosi on bass, and Joshua Dancu on drums. We on the Ecochella team were wowed by their lively stage presence and charisma as performers when they auditioned with us in March. We can't wait to have their energy on our stage at CHELLA'15!!

 

"Thoroughly underwhelming, The Clone Boys have slowly crawled out of their basement to seek relevance above the surface. Tony Limoni of the Los Angeles Enquirer put it best when he said of the rock group's recent performance "I still can't figure out if that was the worst show I've ever seen, or the second worst. They sounded like decades worth of tears and self pleasure." Unless your only other options for the night are visiting your great aunt Bertha or dejectedly sobbing into your pillow, you might want to stay home for this one."

-The Clone Boys demonstrate their ostentatious confidence

 

Come see The Clone Boys jam out with us on Friday May 1 at 5:30 pm!

STALK THE CLONE BOYS IN THEIR ELUSIVE INTERNET HABITATS:

Comment