What’s in YOUR Carpet? Asks James Stinnet, Our Own King of Natural Carpets

James, flooring has long been a critical and overlooked area of environmental impact, it is great to see Earth Weave innovating in sustainable, natural, non toxic carpets.  We’ve carried your Bio Floor for quite a while, and I safely say that a market shift from synthetic to sustainable carpeting is definitely needed in our home improvement and building industry.  And yes, we DO want to carry that next super secret product you hinted you’re working on.

Name: James Stinnett, Founder 

Company: Earth Weave Carpet Mills, Inc.

What’s your personal definition of greening?

We are different than many other companies in that we feel that the only true way to be “green” is to use sustainable materials. This will require the use of natural and renewable resources.  We do not manufacture using synthetics and feel that this is merely “greenwashing” because most of the time the chemicals contained are toxic to life and the environment.

How did you get started in green business?

I started this company 14 years ago which was well before the modern “green” era.  Prior to this, I have always had an interest in doing the right (environmental) thing and had a great desire to change the carpet industry. Of course, the carpet industry is very large and is solidly entrenched using synthetics and is not something that we can actually impact too heavily.  None the less, I do feel we have made small in-roads over our business tenure and this makes me very happy.  I am excited to continue to push the natural products envelope in the upcoming years!

Why did you choose to supply is a great company that has the ability to educate consumers and do the environment good at the same time that they are building a successful business.

What do you and your company do in your own life and operations to walk the walk?

We are very active in most every aspect of environmentalism.  We use almost every single piece of raw material in some way to eliminate the waste that is created when manufacturing a product.  Personally, most of the things I do would seem to be excessive but I am fine with that.  Not that I will share them here!

What is the best greening advice you can give our customers?

To follow our motto:  From Nature To Nature™  This will allow a healthy planet for future generations.  I encourage everyone to look at the materials used in the products they purchase.

What’s been the biggest change in the green sector since you got started? 

The huge number of mainstream businesses that have been jumping on the green band-wagon is astonishing. 

Do you really think green products make a big difference and why?

YES, of course!  We only have one planet and we must conserve and preserve it as much as we can.

Do you think consumers now are aware green products exist, or is there still a lot more education to do?

Education is the key to EVERY single environmental problem we have.  I do feel that we are just starting get the amount of education that is required to cause a true global impact.  The undeveloped countries of the world will need to be educated on the merits of green before they start down a path like the US experienced with the industrial revolution. If they follow our synthetic path, the world will be so heavily impacted it is hard to imagine.

If you could invent a green product that doesn’t exist, what would it be?

I am working on that at this point so I will not share it.  But what I can say is that we need a battery technology or energy storage medium that is truly green and on the same energy per lb density as gasoline.  Petrochemical consumption is a big environmental time bomb.


Thank you for your time- we are looking forward to many more years working with you!

Real Security after 9/11

Op-Ed by John Addison (9/11/08). My ninth trip to teach a workshop at Two World Trade Center never happened because of the great tragedy 9/11. For years Sun Microsystems, my former employer, had invited me to conduct a series of workshops about technology and strategy. Much of the Wall Street ran on Sun servers, Java applications, and Sun network technology. Reliability, performance, and the ability to recover from disaster were reasons that New York continued to run after the disaster. Sun’s tagline was reality – “The Network is the Computer.”

On September 11, 2001, thanks to heroes like Avel Villanueva the hundreds of people working for Sun Microsystems in Two World Trade Center all quickly evacuated the building and survived. When Avel saw the damage and fire at One World Trade Center, he paged everyone at Sun to leave Two World Trade Center as quickly, “Please, with calmness, go to the nearest exit. This is not a drill. Get out.” He repeated this from the reception area several times. Only after several pages and inspecting the vast 25th and 26th floors did Avel personally leave. Three minutes later the second plane hit Two World Trade Center.

Although it must have been difficult to continue working after such a tragedy, the people at Sun understood that New York depended on their ability to keep working. Within 24 hours almost all Sun employees were doing their jobs at other Sun locations, homes, even nearby cafes. Sun effectively used its own networking technology with an iWork program that enables employees to work at home, at an office near their home, or be highly productive anywhere with a mobile device and wireless network connection.

Flexwork is one way that we are now more secure. The vital work of millions can continue even if a building cannot be accessed or part of a city is closed. Wireless and Web 2 enable collaboration, communication, and knowledge work to continue anytime and anywhere. People are most effective working some days at one location, other times at home, others at a customer or supplier location. We can take advantage of the new flexible workplace solutions to annually save millions of wasted hours and billions of dollars of fuel. Flexible Work Article

Every time that we go through an airport, we are aware that important steps have been created to make U.S. entry and travel more secure. Yes, despite the hassle and loss of some privacy, Homeland Security has been valuable in keeping terrorism at bay.

As our current president reminds us, “We are addicted to oil.” As we continue to spend billions for oil for countries hostile to our way of life, we continue in the words of Thomas Friedman to “finance both sides of the war on terror.” In his new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, the Pulitzer Prize winning author shows us how to be free of this addiction.

Americans are not waiting ten years to replace a fraction of our foreign oil with new oil from Alaska. Americans are reducing our oil use now. Confronted with high prices at the pump, U.S. citizens drove 12 billion fewer miles in one month. People are taking advantage of flexwork, public transit, car pooling, sharing rides and sharing vehicles. Two car households are buying fuel efficient cars and increasingly keeping their gas guzzlers parked. 40,000 Americans now drive electric vehicles that do not use a drop of oil. In ten years, we will be driving millions of electric vehicles. EV Reports

Twenty-three percent of our increased supply of electricity in 2007 was from renewable energy. We have enough wind to power the nation including transportation. We have enough solar. Scientific American Article Yes, it will take time, money, high-voltage lines to major markets, and added jobs. Green is producing green. While many areas of our economy are currently suffering, renewable energy and energy efficiency are growing rapidly creating jobs and corporate profits. Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2008

Real security requires more than airport checks, less foreign oil, and cleaner transportation. Real security starts with the commitment to give our children a better world. Future generations deserve nourishing food, clean water, and protection from disease. Global warming has now put over one billion at risk of not getting enough water and food. Glaciers are disappearing. Water systems are stressed as oceans rise and water tables deplete. Hurricanes attack our coastal cities with increased intensity. Draughts weaken our ability to grow food at affordable prices.

Yes, there are those in Congress who are chanting “drill, drill, drill,” but we cannot end our addiction to oil with more oil. Elected to represent their people, not special interests, these legislators threaten to stop funding renewable energy unless Big Oil can drill anywhere it pleases. Others want to undermine states rights, removing their ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions within their state.

Fortunately there are wise leaders in both parties committed to put a limit on our greenhouse gas emissions, encourage conservation, put us on a path to a sustainable future that is more secure for our children.

In Mr. Friedman’s new book he recalls a Chinese proverb, “When the wind changes direction, there are those who build walls and those who build windmills.” America can renew its world leadership with innovative solutions to an emerging climate crisis. We can lead in wind power, solar, geothermal, building efficiency, materials that are lighter and stronger, zero emission cars and zero emission cities. From information technology to clean technology, from flexwork to sustainable communities, let’s build windmills not walls.

We can be inspired by heroes like Avel Villanueva who got everyone to safety. We can also celebrate the millions of ordinary heroes who are building a more secure future for our children by living a more sustainable life today.

Copyright 2008 © John Addison. Permission to reproduce on the web with preservation of this notice. Portions of this article will be included in John Addison’s upcoming book.

Back to the Garden

(By John Addison 9/4/08) The warm summer breeze carried the aromas of ripe berries, almonds, fresh honey, heirloom tomatoes, and exotic mushrooms. I was like the cartoon character lifted by mouthwatering fragrances and carried to the source in a hungry trance. I was soon in the middle of a farmers market, a tradition as old as civilization. The food was local, seasonal, often organic, and at peak freshness.

Thousands sampled and bought 35,000 packages of local goodies. Neophytes learned about the collage of heirlooms displayed in front of their eyes. Regulars traded hellos and stories and recipes with the farmers who brought their food. Free water stations, generously located everywhere, reduced an estimated 100,000 water bottles from being sold and discarded.

Across America, thousands of such farmers markets allow people to learn, socialize, and buy food at the peak of its freshness and health benefits. Growers and producers benefit by having dialogs with their best customers, trading notes with other farmers, and making their precious brands visible in a market where the food processing giants spend millions on advertising. This particular farmers market on Labor Day Weekend in San Francisco was part of Slow Food Nation’s celebration of food. Over 60,000 attended the farmers market, workshops, special tastings, and/or the edible garden.

From 4,000 seedlings planted in July, a vast garden covering 10,000 square feet flourished. This Victory Garden was a vivid reminder of the years during World War II when American’s produced 40 percent of the nation’s vegetables in such gardens. The food would be donated to those needy and hungry through the Food Bank.

Surrounded with tall green plants and the smells of fresh food, hearing the happy voices of children weaving through the garden paths, I drifted back to my childhood when I followed my mother into our backyard garden. I could see her appraising the rhubarb, then selecting the most promising stalks. I knew that one of her famous pies would soon be baking and that dinner would be complete with a slice of the curiously sweet and tart desert.

Slow Food USA envisions a world in which all people have access to food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it and good for the planet. Slow Food USA is a nonprofit membership organization that seeks to create dramatic and lasting change in the food system. Slow Food USA has more than 16,000 members and 200 local chapters in 47 states. The U.S. group is part of Slow Food which has over 80,000 members in 100 countries.

In this first U.S. event, a wide range of food experts, activists, and executives were brought together. Leaders of the movement were passionate about the health of everyone, especially children. They shared a concern that children are now taught to be perfect students of Fast Food Nation. Their senses must now be awakened. Good food needs to be irresistible. Alice Waters was passionate about the success and growth of edible school yards where children are involved in growing and enjoying real food. Ultimately, she explained that food is about love and nourishing people.

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, discussed the health and environmental benefits of local fresh food instead of the industrial products where food quality is sacrificed in the name of quantity and shelf life.

Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, chaired a panel that detailed how many farm workers are denied a wage that would allow their families a roof over their heads and medical care. I empathized with the workers, having once bailed-out on farm work after spending all of three days as a lemon picker who lived with migrant workers when I was 17. At the speed I picked, I could not feed myself, much less a family.

Food, health, climate change, and justice are all big issues. Everyone at Slow Food Nation could find much to like, as well as issues over which to disagree. While many in the world cannot afford the most basic of substance, some objected to gourmet fund raising dinners at over $100 per plate. Yet, this allowed the non-profit to raise important funds to continue and expand its work.

More needs to be done. True. We need thousands of Victory Gardens. Instead, the San Francisco demonstration garden ends this mid-September, lacking the funds for permanent personnel and security.

Others objected that local, seasonal, and organic food cannot scale to meet all of the world’s needs. Thinking back to when I lived through frozen winters in New Hampshire, I would agree that Slow Food is a critical step in the right direction, more beneficial in some seasons to some locales, and that feeding 6.5 billion people is indeed complex.

After event sessions titled Food for Thought, my wife and I completed our time at the event enjoying an evening of tasting and thoroughly enjoying food and wine. I convinced myself that the wine tasting was somehow beneficial because the vineyards were local, their practices sustainable, and the grapes organic. I was also grateful for the public transportation that returned us home free from needing to drive.

Slow Food is certainly a delicious and healthy antithesis to my young bachelor days of subsisting on fast food, frozen dinners, and packaged stuff with long ingredient lists of unpronounceable chemicals.

Slow Food Nation has inspired me to lower my carbon footprint and my “water footprint.” I will be drinking tap water not bottled water and sodas. I will buy more local and seasonal foods at farmers markets and our local markets. Bon Appetit Food Carbon Calculator

Consider joining Slow Food. Why shouldn’t something good taste delicious and be full of health benefits?

Copyright (c) 2008 John Addison. Permission to reproduce on the web with preservation of this copyright notice.