» LATEST FEATURES
LITERATURE» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
MUSIC» The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
MUSIC» Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
Big Ideas for a Small Planet, the Sundance Channel's new documentary series, has been airing this summer as part of the network's programming focus on the environment, highlighting both people and ideas that demonstrate new ways of presenting sustainable alternatives to the current system of compulsive resource overuse.
Part of The Green, an over-reaching campaign implemented by Sundance founder Robert Redford, Big Ideas for a Small Planet is presented in a number of installments, each centered on a distinct theme; "Fuel," "Cities," "Eat," "Work," et cetera. A recent entrant to the series focuses on sustainability in the world of sports, which, while probably not the aspect of modern life that first comes to mind when thinking about building a greener civilization, is indeed an important one. The "Sports" episode focuses on three different aspects in the "alternative" world of athletics (because, let's face it - mainstream sports such as hockey or baseball are unlikely to be the frontrunners in environmental reinvention).
The first segment of the "Sports" episode revolves around Craig Calfee's bamboo bike line. Calfee has begun making lightweight and highly durable bikes from bamboo, a remarkably strong and renewable resource - according to the program, some types of bamboo grow at a rate of a foot per day. Calfee estimates that these bikes now comprise only 15-20 percent of his business; not surprising, considering that they retail for over $2500. One happy user of the bike is cyclocross rider Dorothy Wong, who comes in 4th in a competition using one of the bikes.
The second story focuses on Oakland's Comet Skateboards, a company that uses sustainable materials in the production of its decks. This means using things like Forest Stewardship Council-approved wood and composite boards that incorporate soy protein into their makeup. The hope of founder Jason Calfi is that the company can be a "closed loop" of production, where old boards are actually recycled to make new ones.
Finally, the third story centers on professional skier Allison Gannet, who was hand picked by Papa Eco-Bear Al Gore to head up a public relations and outreach campaign alerting outdoors enthusiasts to the effects of global warming on the winter sports industry. According to Gannet, ski resorts located at an altitude of 5000 feet or below have about 15 years of business left - after that their slopes will no longer turn white in the winter. Scary stuff if it holds true, and there are numerous examples to support the prognosis.
This episode comes with some cheesy editing - jump cuts of Craig Calfee in different positions with his bike - and perhaps too much of a focus on the alternative sports world, although the co-owner of the Philadelphia Eagles does show up for some comments, along with Bob Costas. It would be really interesting to hear how the franchises of more traditional sports - the NBA, NFL, and NHL - could turn their methods and resources towards recycling and sustainability as well, as these billion-dollar industries create countless waste at every single game they hold. That being said, this documentary series seems to have arrived at the right time and with the right sense of topicality, especially during this long, hot summer we're just now getting settled into. SEE ALSO: www.sundancechannel.com
SEE ALSO: www.calfeedesign.com
SEE ALSO: www.cometskateboards.com
SEE ALSO: www.alisongannett.com
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.
See other articles by Jonah Flicker.
» MEDIA DOWNLOADS
» GOT STICKERS?
--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.