Issue 35, Final Fringe

Tagged: enviro

Celebrate Earth Day with Fringe


In honor of Earth Day, why not take a gander through Fringe’s most recent and environmentally-themed issue

And while you’re at it, we’re a mere $114 away from our website re-design goal. Consider a $5 or $10 donation through the widget on the right.
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The Birds & The Bees: Green Porno


Famed Blue Velvet actress, Isabella Rossellini stars, directs, and produces the online short film series, Green Porno—a show devoted the sex lives of insects and marine life. How did I miss this?!? Apparently, Rossellini always wanted to direct films but could only think up short stories that weren’t long enough for the big screen. Her chance came when The Sundance Channel wanted to produce a series for the 3rd screen (i.e. ipod, internet). Rossellini’s childhood dream was to write about animals, and The Sundance Channel said sound good, but make it flashy! And what better to catch people’s attention than sex? Thus, Green Porno was born. Not only is the show hilarious and scientifically accurate, but it’s incredibly artistic—almost all of the costumes are made out of paper and manipulated manually. Go to the website and watch them all! Here’s her piece on the mating habits of bees. Enjoy!

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Green Your Library


Eco-Libris and the Fringe Environment Issue go together like recycling and paper.  

Ever feel guilty about all the dead-trees lying around your house?  You can assuage your conscience at Eco-Libris, by planting a tree for every book you read at the bargain-basement price of $5 for 5 trees.  Eco-Libris has also been active in pushing publishers toward environmentally sustainable practices.

I had the opportunity to put a few questions to the CEO of Eco-Libris, Raz Godelnik about environmental writing, the Kindle, and how Eco-Libris actually works:

What prompted the founding of Eco-Libris? And why address your environmental concerns toward books and not, say, dishwashers?

For me it all started when I learned more about the environmental impacts of paper while doing some research for articles I wrote for an Israeli newspaper. I realized that it might take a while to get to the point where eco-friendly alternatives will replace virgin paper. Then, I talked with some friends about the idea of giving people the opportunity to balance out their paper consumption by planting trees and received good feedback about the idea.

The decision to focus on books was made after learning that only less than 10% of the paper used for printing books is made of recycled paper... more »

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Fringe @ Eco-Libris


Today the Eco-Libris blog gave the environment issue of Fringe a really nice shout out, including an interview with Editor-in-Chief Lizzie Stark.

Watch this space tomorrow for Lizzie’s interview with Raz of Eco-Libris, as well as some commentary on the environment issue.
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Keeping up with Thoreau


Fringe’s Special Enviro Issue debuted today, featuring literary selections with a special focus on green and environmental topics. Fringe isn’t the only journal looking toward the environment for inspiration, though.

Ever since Henry David Thoreau famously “roughed” it on the shores of Walden Pond, writers have used their natural surroundings as fuel for their creative fires. Lately, though, this environmental concern seems more omnipresent than ever. While staffing my company’s table at AWP, I was surprised by the number of people who asked if we published any nature writing anthologies. We don’t, but it got me thinking that it’s a good avenue to consider pursuing, since it’s obviously a hot button issue that’s in demand and in the forefront of our global consciousness.

I also came across two literary journals while at AWP that focus primarily on the natural world. The Fourth River is a journal run out of Chatham University in Pittsburgh, and “welcomes submissions of creative writing that explore the relationship between humans and their environments, both natural and built, urban, rural or wild. We are looking for writings that are richly situated at the confluence of place, space and identity, or that reflect upon or make use of landscape and place... more »

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Pollyanna All Grown Up


You know how irritating it is when you got up at 5:30 a.m. & someone complains about getting up before noon? That’s how I feel about the “Go Green” and “Stop Global Warming” movements. See, in the summer of 2001 I was a 21-yr old bright-eyed canvasser for the Florida Consumer Action Network (FCAN) for roughly a month. We were trying to get TECO to upgrade the coal filtering system on a nearby power plant whose out-dated technology was exempt from EPA regulations because it had been grandfathered under the Clean Air Act. FCAN had science on our side, and the mission at hand was small, attainable (they did finally make TECO retrofit the plants), and non-threatening to the status quo. As a canvasser, my job was to educate the public, get them to write petition letters, and solicit donations preferably $15 or more. The “public” was different middle class neighborhoods in the Tampa Bay area, some of which were close enough to the TECO power plant that you could see smoke stack over rooftops. I thought the job would be a cinch.

I was cussed out, got doors slammed in my face, was called a liar, and even worse, I was... more »

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Recycle Runway


I’ll go ahead and confess that I’m not the greenest person out there. I recycle (mostly), I take public transportation when I can, and I even watched Al Gore’s movie (though I’ll confess to getting bored and turning it off about halfway through).

Okay, so I’m kind of horrible, and it’s probably people like me who’ll be responsible for the end of the world as we know it. But that is why I appreciate the efforts of the environmentally-conscious all the more.

Those people include Nancy Judd, who’s managed to turn recycling into art (something even I can get on board with). Out of her green studio comes Recycle Runway, a project that “strives to change the way the world thinks about the environment through innovative educational programs and couture fashions made from trash.”

The runway turns recycled materials, like Coke cans (see photo), CDs, and phone books, into high fashion—then exhibits the clothing in airports throughout the country, most recently gracing the concourses of Pittsburgh International Airport. Judd also offers workshops for young people to create their own recycled fashion, providing them with a fun and unique way to get involved in environmental efforts.

Check out the runway’s Web site to learn more.

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Animals Are Entering Our Lives


(photo credit: Morris Grover, Oregon State Parks Ranger)

Now they are coming back to us,
the latest homeless, driven by hunger.
–Lisel Mueller

In 1906, the last sea otter–once native to the Pacific waters off the coast of Oregon–was killed. After that, they were declared extinct. An attempt at reintroduction for this federally-protected species failed in the 1970’s. Since then, there have been two major confirmed spottings: off the Yaquina Head in the 1990’s, and Cape Arago in 2003. On Wednesday, February 18, 2009 an Oregon State Parks employee photographed a lone sea otter in Depoe Bay Harbor. Whether there are others remains to be seen.
According to the “Findings” section of the March ‘09 issue of Harper’s, “Confused and dead pelicans were turning up far from shore in California, pygmy killer whales were disappearing off Hawaii, and coyotes were encroaching on Detroit.”
The American pika, known in mountain country as “rock rabbits,” and familiar to hikers in the high country for their familiar “peep” as they dart into their burrows on boulder fields, are threatened by global warming. They are adapted to cold weather, and can die from exposure to temperatures as low as 78 degrees. More than a third of known populations in the... more »

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Guilty pleasures


So apparently recycling is a maddening waste of time, money and good intention (in the UK at least; we’re feeble novices at this sort of thing) but hop over to the East and behold the wonders of re-use – a Buddhist temple made from (empty) beer bottles? Genius (and wonderfully eye-catching).

It need not be said that some serious changes need to be implemented if we’re going to take the task of stretching the life of our lovely (if somewhat abused and exhausted) planet out a couple of decades longer. But what will become of one of life’s most precious simple pleasures – the humble novel? I’m hardly lusting over the thought of these daft pseudo-book gizmos; you can stuff in as many wonderworks as you want, but if it ain’t printed on sheets of paper stuck together I just can’t imagine it evoking the same degree of pleasure.

That said, I do feel a twinge of guilt at the unholy tree-carnage that precludes the creation all those exquisite books we so justly swoon over. And just think of all the godawful stuff shuffling around out there… ooh, the shame. Save the trees! Don’t print substandard nonsense! Better still – and here’s my half-assed solution to the decadence of... more »

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the joys of composting


In honor of the upcoming Fringe Enviro-themed issue, I’m discussing a simple luxury San Franciscans tend to take for granted. The little green bin…

The little green bin is one of my favorite things about SF, but it’s so trashy. Literally. Citywide (bay area wide, more specifically) composting allows businesses and residents the chance to turn any food scraps, paper food packaging, and compostable to-go ware into…wine.

That’s right.

Green bins are provided by the city, and set out on the curb along with trash pickup. Restaurants usually have an equal number of compost and trash bins. It’s in the restaurant industry that you can really see the impact composting has on waste disposal. At the end of a busy shift, the compost bins are jammed full, while the trash…maybe halfway, and that usually just plastic wrap.

The yard trimmings and unwanted leftovers of San Franciscans get turned into compost, which is used in the vineyards of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. While the thought brings a slight shift in meaning to the concept of terroir, the actual practice of composting couldn’t be easier.

While composting isn’t always perfect…and often kinda gross…it’s one way to make a consistent contribution to living a green lifestyle... more »

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