What's in Your Backpack?

It’s Thursday morning and I’m on the bus heading to a business meeting. I’m making good on the promise I made to take public transit more frequently. My backpack is stuffed with everything I’ll need for a busy day traveling around Puget Sound by bus, ferry, and on foot.

Read More
Wash Before Wearing

You probably own clothing with a tag that reads, “wash before wearing.” There’s a good reason for this. Many finishes that wick moisture, repel water, or make the clothing last longer cause irritation or allergic reactions or, even more worrisome, contain toxic chemicals linked to serious health problems.

Read More
Hawaii: Land of Lava and Bioplastic Cups

I recently returned from a week in Hawaii, where I traveled to the Big Island to compete in the Lavaman Olympic distance triathlon. I posted a race report on Facebook, but that's not what I want to discuss. I want to talk about Hawaii's approach to environmentally friendly products and packaging.

Read More
Julia GoldsteinComment
Surfing, E-waste, and the 2020 Olympics

Did you know that the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are going to feature surfing as one of the sports?

I learned this fact by talking with another member of The Riveter, the co-working space where I have a desk. He also told me something interesting about the medals for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Read More
Julia GoldsteinComment
SMART, Sustainable Goals for 2019

As 2018 winds down, you may be thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I don’t believe in them. As I said in a talk that I gave at a Toastmasters meeting in January 2018, I prefer to commit to SMART goals: goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Read More
Julia Goldstein Comment
What's in a Name?

Do you know what ASBC stands for? If you answered American Society of Brewing Chemists, you’re right. That organization appears in eight of the ten first-page Google search results for “ASBC.” The chemists, or the folks they hired to design their website, seem to be on top of search engine optimization.

Read More
Julia GoldsteinComment
Peanut Butter, Donuts, and Forests

I like peanut butter. It’s delicious on toast and makes for a healthy snack. I often buy the varieties that contain only peanuts and salt to avoid added sugars. The labels say, “oil separation is natural.”

Curious about how this relates to donuts and forests? Read on.

Read More
Searching for Greener Materials

For a materials geek like me, the best part of the GoGreen conference in Seattle on April 4 was walking around the exhibit hall and talking to the people working the booths. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed hearing from local mayors about what their cities are doing. I’m encouraged by brands, from family-owned businesses to large corporations, that are taking a stand on politically-charged positions. When it comes to the role of materials in environmental sustainability, though, the exhibit hall was the place to be.

Read More
Julia GoldsteinComment
Aligning Investments with Values

“Value investing” has taken on a new meaning recently, one unrelated to the traditional distinction between value and growth stocks. The global investment firm BlackRock has made headlines this year with some dramatic statements. Its most recent announcement on March 2 spoke out against companies that make and distribute guns and firearms. 

Read More
The Problem with Mining

I’m on the email list for Friends of the Earth, which means that I receive frequent messages imploring me to donate money to save national parks, protect bees, and fight the fossil fuel and mining industries. One recent email mentioned the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, appreciating Friends of the Earth members for their role in flooding the EPA with comments opposing the project.

Read More
Julia GoldsteinComment
Guess Which Company Wrote This Statement

“We’re committed to helping create solutions to these challenges [population growth, climate change, food insecurity] while helping to take care of our planet, our people, and the communities where we live and work.” Any guesses which company wrote these words? Read on to find out.

Read More
Julia GoldsteinComment
Printing Solar Cells and Wearable Sensors

Did you know that there is a machine in Seattle that can print solar cells, using a method that is much like printing newspaper? A long roll of plastic sheeting passes through the machine, which deposits silver-laden conductive ink to form electrodes, heats the ink to cure it, and then applies the active layer that converts energy from the sun into electricity. This technology, an exciting application for printed electronics, may very well pave the way toward affordable solar cells.

Read More
Julia GoldsteinComment
You Must Read This Book

In my November 4 blog post, I mentioned my reluctance to read Radium Girls, the story of the teenage dial painters who worked with glow-in-the-dark, radium-laced paint, licking their paintbrushes to achieve a perfect fine point. The blog post concluded with the assertion that I should indeed read the book. I was right. Yes, some of it is truly horrifying and sickening. But this story is still relevant and more important than ever.

Read More
Julia GoldsteinComment
The Full Story Behind Recycling

Did you know that store receipts made from thermal paper aren’t recyclable? They are apparently coated with bisphenol A (BPA) or bisphenol S (BPS), the same toxic additives that caused health alerts for reusable plastic water bottles. I want to do the right thing by recycling all the paper that I’m done using, but I’ve been unknowingly contaminating my recycling bin.

Read More
Choosing the Right Book

Browsing in an indie bookstore this summer, I spotted the book Radium Girls by Kate Moore on the new nonfiction table. I contemplated buying it. This is an important story – I should read it. But I bought Mozart's Starling instead. 

Read More
Julia GoldsteinComment