Archive for the ‘Organizations’ Category

OregonBusiness magazine published a list of the state’s top “green” firms for 2010. The survey and analysis methods can be found here. As OregonBusiness characterizes the results,

    Winners range from longtime sustainability gurus such as Gerding Edlen and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to newcomers such as Ruby Receptionists and Hummingbird Wholesale. Add in respected businesses that are always expanding their green programs such as SOLARC Architecture and Boly Welch Recruiting, and the final result offers diverse representation of a statewide trend toward more sustainable business practices.

For the 2011 iteration of this list, OregonBusiness is collaborating with the Natural Step Network to “insure that the survey probed whether an organization is taking a strategic approach to sustainability as well as asking about specific actions a company is taking” (source).


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The proposed Oregon Sustainability Center (OSC) will be to the Living Building Challenge™ guidelines, “which would qualify it among the most sustainable buildings ever designed and constructed.” When it is built, it will be “home to Oregon’s leaders in sustainable business, government, and education. It will act as a laboratory for green technology regionally and globally, designed to be the greenest high-rise ever built—sourcing its materials locally, creating its own energy, and collecting and treating its water on-site” (Source).

The OSC will be built “on the eastern edge of Portland State University campus in downtown Portland, Oregon. It will form the nucleus of the Portland State University Ecodistrict, a neighborhood strategy to develop and integrate smart buildings, infrastructure, transportation, and community connectivity along sustainable lines” (Source).

Some people wonder if this project is worth the cost. (more…)

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The Illahee Lecture Series was founded in 1999 and is a program of the Portland-based non-profit Illahee Institute. The organization’s mission is to provide participants with “practical tools for understanding the nature of our home here in the Pacific Northwest, and for taking care of it. We provide the region opportunities for science-based, policy-relevant environmental inquiry.”

The group’s founders chose the Chinook word illahee, which describes “‘earth, ground, land, country, place or world.’ Unlike the word ‘environment’ that implies a separation, illahee conveys the all-encompassing relationship that ties the people of a place to the land and each other.” (Source)

One of Illahee’s ongoing questions has been: “Why is it so difficult for individuals, nations and the international community to address obvious issues like water needs, energy transition and climate change?” To address this question, their 2011 lectures center on the topic “Searching for Solutions: Innovation for Public Good.”

Upcoming lecture details and dates can be found here; archived lecture details and dates can be found here

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The University of Oregon recently announced a new PhD program in it’s Department of Architecture focusing on the art and science of sustainable design. This program is focused on sustainability at the scale of the city, individual buildings, and construction materials. From the press release:

    The doctoral program will engage students in interdisciplinary investigations focused on the creation of new knowledge in compelling and time-sensitive research topics such as:

      • sustainable cities and livable communities design and policy
      • design for climate change and adaptation
      • cultural, social, and economic sustainability
      • net-zero buildings and eco-districts design
      • resource forecasting and simulation of place and building performance
      • energy-efficient, adaptive re-use of existing buildings
      • indoor environmental quality and occupants’ health
      • high-performance building envelopes and green technologies;
      • life-cycle building analysis design and modeling

    “Research conducted by architecture faculty members and doctoral students address issues most critical to the built environment and provide creative solutions to problems associated with building performance, resource conservation, urbanization, ecology and quality of life,” says Christine Theodoropoulos, department head. “Our goal is to further environmental sustainability through collaboration between architectural research and practice for the benefit of our communities.”

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Onward Oregon is

    part of growing grassroots movement to restore civic power to the people of Oregon and their communities. We envision a state where all of us can enjoy comfort and prosperity, equal opportunity and a beautiful and healthy environment. But this will not happen without your participation. Many Americans have forgotten that government is actually, “We, the people,” not—as some would have us believe—an alien, inept or untrustworthy entity. Let us reclaim our constitutional right to a truly democratic government. Our path is not left or right, but onward.

One of Onward Oregon’s current initiatives is their Mapping the Commons workshop series:

    Oregon Commons, a project of Onward Oregon, is presenting a series of workshops this fall as a step toward our larger goal of strengthening active stewardship of the commons — the gifts of nature and civilization we share across generations. Join us for “Mapping the Commons,” a fun and interactive workshop designed to help grow our awareness, our network and our commitment to serving the common good. Together, we’ll explore the many facets of the commons and identify opportunities to become more active as its caretakers.

Onward Oregon is hosting two of these free workshops this fall:Salem on Nov. 13 and Portland on Nov. 20.

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The Portland State University (PSU) Institute for Sustainable Solutions hosts Solutions Seminars every Wednesday from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., at PSU’s Shattuck Hall Annex (1914 SW Park Ave.). These seminars “explore visionary and desirable solutions to the environmental, economic, and social challenges of our time.”

PSU’s journal Solutions: For a Sustainable and Desirable Future helps sponsor this series. Learn more about the Solutions Seminars series at the Solutions website here.

Past speakers have included:

    Robert Costanza, PSU professor of sustainability, director of the ISS, and co-founder and editor-in-chief of Solutions. He spoke on “Solutions for a Sustainable and Desirable Future.”

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I just learned about a book of relevance to the SHP that is soon to be released:

This book is “a collaborative exploration of how small businesses can effectively and efficiently shift toward sustainability and thrive.” This exploration involves “Fifty-one small-business people from Portland” who “share their experiences with implementing sustainable practices in their companies.” The collaborative effort to create the book involved crowdsourcing. As the book’s website identifies:

    The difference between crowdsourcing and ordinary outsourcing is that a task or problem is outsourced to an undefined public rather than a specific other body. The difference between crowdsourcing and open source is that open source production is a cooperative activity initiated and voluntarily undertaken by members of the public. In crowdsourcing the activity is initiated by a client and the work may be undertaken on an individual, as well as a group, basis.

Mercy Corps Northwest is hosting a free-of-charge book release party for Portland Bottom Line on Wednesday, November 10, from 5-8 pm (with a program at 6) at Mercy Corps HQ, 45 SW Ankeny St., Portland.

The book’s website provides some sample chapters and a forum for other regional business professionals to share their stories.

** Updated soon after posting, with information from the editors. Thanks, editors!

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Students for Leadership in Ecology, Culture and Learning will be hosting the second annual PSU Sustainability Education Week, Nov. 6-12, 2010.

Students this quarter have been invited to attend one or more of the events and write-up a blog post about it for the SHP website, and anyone else interested in providing feedback, links, or other items for discussion are also invited to post a comment below.

Community partners for the event include:

and PSU campus partners include:

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For the Fall 2010 academic quarter, we will be looking at sustainability in the Portland area (broadly defined) through the lens of equity.

I’ve facilitated these courses since the Winter 2009 quarter, and I’ve consistently found that the majority of students don’t immediately think of equity issues when considering sustainability; most of them readily think of economic and ecological topics, but not necessarily equity, social justice, etc. That students tend to come to class with this perspective suggests an opportunity to bring this dynamic to the forefront for educational purposes. This quarter, then, I sought to address this issue directly and engage my students more explicitly with one of the Brundtland Commission’s three co-equal pillars: equity.


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Below is a selection of a few online videos relating directly and explicitly to sustainability efforts in Portland. Of all the videos available, I chose the ones that had the best audio, video, and informational characteristics while also representing as diverse a range of topics as possible.

For a more complete list of video works, including documentaries and films only available on DVD, see the SHP’s Film & Video page.

Suggestions are most welcome, in the comments section.


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