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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Step It Up Saturday!

Posted by admin | April 12th, 2007 | Filed under Environmental Change, Positive Change, Sustainability


Last week I had the pleasure of joining several hundred Portlanders to hear author and activist Bill McKibben speak at our colossal local bookstore, Powell’s Books. He began by talking a bit about his latest book, Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and The Durable Future, which challenges the premises of our current growth-based economy, provides examples of vibrant local economies around the world, and suggests that many of our current social, environmental, and monetary ills could be alleviated if local regions generated more of their own food, produced more of their own energy, and provided more of their own culture and entertainment.

As McKibben neared the end of his obligatory summary of Deep Economy, his eyes brightened and his voice grew excited for what has been his latest endeavor: organizing a nation-wide collective of events calling on Congress to “Step It Up,â€? and cut carbon 80% by 2050. As I write this, 1,349 “Step It Upâ€? events are planned in all 50 states, and McKibben has been garnering national news attention as the event date, April 14th, grows near.

Although significant downtown rallies are being planned around the nation, most events are spread throughout urban and suburban neighborhoods, so participants won’t have to travel far to find one (what’s the point in fighting climate change if you have to burn a lot of fuel to do it?).

Here in Portland there are ten grass-roots events planned across the city. Between a Polar Bear Plunge in the polluted Willamette River, a Climate Change Awareness Bike Ride, a conference on Melting Mountains, and more, Portlanders have the opportunity to celebrate this “National Day of Climate Actionâ€? however and wherever they see fit.

To find out more about “Step It Up!â€? and learn what events are happening in your community, check out www.stepitup2007.org. Hope to see you here, there, and everywhere.

2 Responses to “Step It Up Saturday!”

  • April 13, 2007 at 7:48 am | peejay says

    I’m glad you’re concerned about the environment – it’s great to see a company paying more than just lip service about this.

    However, slightly off-topic (and since I haven’t read your blog much until now, maybe you’ve dealt with this topic already), but why do you have a retail presence in Bridgeport Village? To me, a suburban mall – one that focuses on luxury goods for the Lexus set – is not necessarily the best location for your business, and certainly not the best for this earth. Every retail dollar that store makes comes at a cost of miles travelled, hydrocarbons burned, trees cut and asphalt spread, at a much higher level than a location within the dense urban fabric of our city.

    When the dinosaur crack in our history is over, the suburban build-out of the 20th century will become increasingly untenable, and eventually abandoned in favor of more supportable city cores. Bridgeport Village will be a ghost town, complete with tumbleweed. Hope you didn’t sign a long lease!

  • April 14, 2007 at 10:36 am | Ian says

    Great question and one that received considerable attention within our emerging venture. There were many things we needed to consider. For instance, we knew we needed to open our first four stores within a specific timeframe and that one of them needed to be in our home town of Portland. We originally intended to locate all four stores on the west coast but then the realities of real estate availability became apparent. We quickly realized that if we were going to find four viable locations, we had to expand our search. That’s what ultimately led us to Boulder and Chicago, in addition to Portland and Seattle. As for Portland, we were looking within the downtown area but it was Bridgeport that became available in the timeframe we required. Ultimately we don’t see it as our only store in Portland. In fact, we continue to actively look for space closer into the downtown core of the city. In some ways that’s the point. Bridgeport serves a certain part of the market but not the entire market. I don’t have all of the specific traffic data for Bridgeport but my guess is that many of the people who go there travel shorter distances then if they had to to travel to a store of ours that was loacted downtown. So, its a bit of a trade off, but I don’t see it as one versus another. Different physical locations within an urban setting serve different parts of the market. Of course, there’s alwys the option of purchasing on line.

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