sustainability

Fiber Co-op, Sustainable Seafood, and U-Pick Farm are winners of 2017 Washington Coast Works Competition

Fiber Co-op, Sustainable Seafood, and U-Pick Farm are winners of 2017 Washington Coast Works Competition

A focus on sustainability paid off for the winners of the 2017 Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition honored at the Coast Works Awards Ceremony on November 9, 2017 at Olympic Theatre Arts in Sequim.

Innovative Business Leads to Benefits for Society and the Environment

Innovative Business Leads to Benefits for Society and the Environment

In 2016, Jessica Ellis and her small business, Freedom Acres Dog Boarding, won top prize in the Washington Coast Works Small Business competition. Read the story of her sustainable dog kennel business and learn more about this year's competition!

Complementary Angles on Sustainable Angling

Complementary Angles on Sustainable Angling

Sustainable seafood is not simply a fish balancing act. The livelihoods of communities that depend on fishing are also of critical importance. Read about Claire's dive into what corporations, academics, and coastal communities are doing to tackle fisheries sustainability.

Creating a Sustainable Coast

You can make a difference for sustainable business on the Washington Coast.

Photographed by Tim Regan, Flickr Creative Commons

It’s easy to invest in big Wall Street backed businesses, but next to impossible to invest in a local Main Street business in your community – especially if that business is a startup. The Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition is changing that with a crowd funding campaign that lets ordinary folks contribute what they can afford to help emerging entrepreneurs launch new businesses in rural and tribal communities on the Washington Coast. First prize is $10,000 in startup funding, with multiple runner up prizes. See the Washington Coast Works website for details.  

TO DONATE, CLICK HERE     

This year’s Coast Works entrepreneurs include a cultural tourism business, a wood boat kit manufacturer, a beekeeper, a construction business, a chocolatier, a tiny homes builder, a food truck, a dog boarding business, a permaculture farm, a stump grinder, a nature-inspired fitness company, a sustainable vegetable and hog producer, and a manufacturer of art equipment. All are “triple-bottom-line” businesses designed to generate profits with significant social and environmental benefits.

“How awesome that all of us can contribute to the Coast Works prize money this year,” says Coast Works intern Sarah Haensly who designed the campaign. “Web-based crowd funding now makes it possible for anyone to contribute what they can afford – without calling up your local stock broker.”

Tanikka Watford knows how hard it is to raise startup funding for a small business. She needed significant capital to launch Deep Roots Foods, a Tumwater-based small-scale food co-pack food processing business.

“I was fortunate to find local investors through Social Venture Partners’ FastPitch competition last year, but those opportunities are rare,” says Watford. “I think it is amazing that you all are making it possible for people in Coast Works communities to participate directly in their local economic development!”

 

Visit www.wacoastworks.org for more information 

 


 

 

Sustainable Small Businesses Move Forward with Washington Coast Works

MAY 31 (Seattle, Washington) — Fifteen emerging entrepreneurs from coastal communities in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties are participating in an intensive 8-week business development training provided by Enterprise for Equity as part of the 2016 Washington Coast Works Sustainable Small Business Competition.

Participating businesses include a permaculture farm, a wood boat kit manufacturer, a construction business, a chocolatier, a bee keeper, a tiny homes builder, a dog boarding business, a cultural tourism business, a nature-inspired fitness company, a stump grinder, a sustainable vegetable and hog producer, a manufacturer of art equipment and a food truck — all “triple-bottom-line” businesses designed to generate profits with significant social and environmental benefits.

The training concludes in late July with an Entrepreneurship Summit to be held at the Olympic Natural Resource Center in Forks, Washington. At the Summit, participants will connect to a team of volunteer mentors and advisors who will help them develop their pitch and polish their business plans for presentation to a panel of judges in mid-September, and for a chance to win up to $20,000 in startup financing. Winners will be announced in October.

“It (the competition) gave me a new lease on life — something that I want to do for my community. I want to build our community”, said Jean Ramos, a winner from last year’s competition working to launch a sustainably foraged Labrador tea business. 

Liz Ellis, another winner in last year’s competition, used her award to launch East Aberdeen Community Farm.

“I feel so fortunate to have been part of the three days of very intensive workshops,” Ellis said about last year’s Summit. “For me, the most valuable part of the competition was learning and being inspired by professionals and people in business, coaches and economists, and the fellow applicants from the north and the south.”

Washington Coast Works is an initiative of The Nature Conservancy in collaboration with Enterprise for Equity (with support from a USDA Rural Business Development Grant), the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Ta’ala Fund. The program is designed to diversify the economies in Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties and contribute to a new vision of sustainable community and economic development on the Washington Coast.

The complete calendar of events leading up to the competition is available at www.wacoastworks.org. Contact Enterprise for Equity at (360) 704-3375 ext. 3 or Mike Skinner info@wacoastworks.org for more information about the competition.


Story Contacts

Robin Ohlgren
WA Coast Works Fundraiser
P | 208-301-1011  
E | robin@ohlgren.com

Liz Ellis
East Aberdeen Community Farm
P | 360-780-0349  
E | harborsolar@yahoo.com

Jean Ramos
SovereigNDNTea
P | 360-780-0349 
E|  jeanniebug.123@gmail.com

EARTH OVERSHOOT DAY WITH WENDY MARSH     By Kiara Serantes, Gonzaga University, Journalism Candidate   
 Our own Director of Donor Communications and Stewardship, Wendy Marsh, discussed her thoughts about Earth Overshoot Day, and why its date is incredibly significant. 
   Wendy:   Earth Overshoot Day is a barometer of the state of the earth which affects The Conservancy’s work (we have to work faster and bigger) and my quality of life (heath, safety, prosperity). My most compelling reason for my interest in this cause is part of the report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: “climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems, such as civil wars, poverty, strife between nations and refugees. Fights over resources, like water and energy, hunger and extreme weather will all go into the mix to destabilize the world.”  
 I don’t think people realize the domino effect and how wide-spread the repercussions are. 
    It is my understanding that Earth Overshoot Day happens each year, can you please describe what this is and why it’s significant for every person?    
   Wendy:   That’s the day we bust our ecological budget. From that day forward, the planet will be operating under an ecological deficit, using more resources than the planet can produce  and emitting more carbon dioxide than the planet can filter out.  Basically, it’s like living on credit cards until the next payday  – which isn’t until January1, 2015.    Ecological Debt Day is calculated by dividing the world’s biocapacity (the amount of natural resources generated by Earth that year), by the world Ecological Footprint (humanity’s consumption of Earth’s natural resources such as food, fish, fiber, energy –for that year), and multiplying by 365. 
   How significant is the date?    
   Wendy:   The date is an unsettling reminder that we are closing in on the point of no return. We’ve been living beyond our means since the 1970s. Earth Overshoot Day has moved ahead by an average of 3 days per year since 2011 indicating we are not making progress (except this year it is on August 20th – the same as last year) 
   Gonzaga University is currently undergoing a lot of construction installing new facilities, of which are likely to bare LEED Certification (green building). Do you feel that constructing new facilities to be more “green” is enough to help lead to a more sustainable future on campuses (and beyond), or is more palpable change necessary?   
   Wendy:   LEED certified buildings are a good step.  There’s a lot more colleges can do, however, especially since they are grooming our next generation of leaders who need to have an understanding of the interdependencies between environmental, social, and economic forces.  There are a lot of little examples such as retrofitting the current buildings to be energy efficient, banning plastic bottles from the campus (something a number of institutions are already doing), to low impact dining, and integrating sustainability into the curriculum. Check out the Association of Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.  There’s a lot campuses can do! 
   What is the most important factor when it comes to solving the resource problem, on a local and community level?   
   Wendy:   The two most important factors are awareness and changes in our behavior. We need the political will to cause change.  The political denial of climate change is unacceptable.  The media needs to be challenged to start covering these issues.  Businesses and government need to step up and set policies that are good for all of us. It’s up to us to cause this change because they listen to consumers and constituents.  And we all must consume better, wiser, and more conservatively. 

EARTH OVERSHOOT DAY WITH WENDY MARSH

By Kiara Serantes, Gonzaga University, Journalism Candidate

Our own Director of Donor Communications and Stewardship, Wendy Marsh, discussed her thoughts about Earth Overshoot Day, and why its date is incredibly significant.

Wendy: Earth Overshoot Day is a barometer of the state of the earth which affects The Conservancy’s work (we have to work faster and bigger) and my quality of life (heath, safety, prosperity). My most compelling reason for my interest in this cause is part of the report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: “climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems, such as civil wars, poverty, strife between nations and refugees. Fights over resources, like water and energy, hunger and extreme weather will all go into the mix to destabilize the world.” 

I don’t think people realize the domino effect and how wide-spread the repercussions are.


It is my understanding that Earth Overshoot Day happens each year, can you please describe what this is and why it’s significant for every person?

Wendy: That’s the day we bust our ecological budget. From that day forward, the planet will be operating under an ecological deficit, using more resources than the planet can produce  and emitting more carbon dioxide than the planet can filter out.  Basically, it’s like living on credit cards until the next payday  – which isn’t until January1, 2015. 

Ecological Debt Day is calculated by dividing the world’s biocapacity (the amount of natural resources generated by Earth that year), by the world Ecological Footprint (humanity’s consumption of Earth’s natural resources such as food, fish, fiber, energy –for that year), and multiplying by 365.

How significant is the date?

Wendy: The date is an unsettling reminder that we are closing in on the point of no return. We’ve been living beyond our means since the 1970s. Earth Overshoot Day has moved ahead by an average of 3 days per year since 2011 indicating we are not making progress (except this year it is on August 20th – the same as last year)

Gonzaga University is currently undergoing a lot of construction installing new facilities, of which are likely to bare LEED Certification (green building). Do you feel that constructing new facilities to be more “green” is enough to help lead to a more sustainable future on campuses (and beyond), or is more palpable change necessary?

Wendy: LEED certified buildings are a good step.  There’s a lot more colleges can do, however, especially since they are grooming our next generation of leaders who need to have an understanding of the interdependencies between environmental, social, and economic forces.

There are a lot of little examples such as retrofitting the current buildings to be energy efficient, banning plastic bottles from the campus (something a number of institutions are already doing), to low impact dining, and integrating sustainability into the curriculum. Check out the Association of Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.  There’s a lot campuses can do!

What is the most important factor when it comes to solving the resource problem, on a local and community level?

Wendy: The two most important factors are awareness and changes in our behavior. We need the political will to cause change.  The political denial of climate change is unacceptable.  The media needs to be challenged to start covering these issues.  Businesses and government need to step up and set policies that are good for all of us. It’s up to us to cause this change because they listen to consumers and constituents.  And we all must consume better, wiser, and more conservatively. 

MEET STATE DIRECTOR MIKE STEVENS

Meet Mike, an innovative conservation leader and the director for The Nature Conservancy’s Washington Chapter.   He brings 20 years of experience in land and wildlife conservation, conservation biology, and leadership and management of conservation and business organizations to his work in Washington. He and his wife Liz have just moved from Idaho to the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of Seattle.  In the Seattle office, we caught up with Mike for a Q&A:   nature.org:   Why does nature matter to you?   Mike Stevens:   I grew up in Spain and some of my earliest memories are of visits to the countryside and the beach – nature was about family and food. We spent two summers with friends in Finland – I was free to ride my bike through the woods all day; our meals were fish from the lake and vegetables from the garden. We moved to Santa Barbara when I was 11 and our family spent a lot of time exploring  California  and especially Yosemite and the eastern Sierra. There, I learned that nature offered challenge and inspiration and I was introduced to the region’s rich history of conservation.   nature.org:   What do you think is the most exciting new idea in conservation?   Mike Stevens:   I think the most exciting idea in conservation is also in a sense the oldest: how are we as people going to live and thrive in relationship to nature?  There are so many exciting ways in which we are reshaping how we fish, cut trees, raise food, and protect our water and air . This region is already having conversations about and taking action in many of these areas, which was a huge draw for me.   nature.org:   What do you think are the most urgent issues facing us, locally and globally?   Mike Stevens:   The number of people on Earth is growing and we are collectively using more and more of the planet’s resources. So, first, we need to be creative about how  we use and care for our natural resources so they can continue to sustain us all  – this is not just a scientific issue; I believe it’s the fundamental social issue of our time. Second, we need to save room for wild nature – orcas, elephants, and  sandhill cranes  – not only for their own sake but also for the many ways they enrich our lives. Last, but certainly not least, I look forward to the challenge we have right here in our own backyard—the failing health of our beloved Puget Sound. Most folks think our beautiful estuary is in excellent health. We must join together to help heal it.   nature.org:   Why should people get involved with The Nature Conservancy?   Mike Stevens:   The Nature Conservancy leads and supports many of the most creative, collaborative, and effective efforts to tackle these issues around the world by bringing together individuals, companies, tribes, and government agencies to make lasting change. Being a part of The Nature Conservancy – as a donor, member, volunteer – is inspiring and fun as well as incredibly important.   nature.org:   What’s so special about Washington?   Mike Stevens:   Washington has it all – ocean, rivers, big mountains,  forests  and sagebrush steppe. We have wilderness and big cities,  salmon  and sage grouse. Due to our geographical location and economic connections, we are linked to Canada, Asia and the world. Environmental issues are a priority for many of the people in this region and part of the local culture,  so we have an opportunity to work together make a bigger impact than what individual actions can do alone . This is possible since the Washington Chapter has a talented and committed staff and board, many passionate members and a long history of conservation success and innovation.   nature.org:   Tell us about proposing to your wife on Mount St. Helens?   Mike Stevens:   Liz and I hiked with a group of friends to the summit on a warm sunny day, ate lunch with views of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams, and then skied spring snow all the way back to the base. Of course, the most important part is that she said, “Yes.” It was a perfect day.

Meet Mike, an innovative conservation leader and the director for The Nature Conservancy’s Washington Chapter.


He brings 20 years of experience in land and wildlife conservation, conservation biology, and leadership and management of conservation and business organizations to his work in Washington. He and his wife Liz have just moved from Idaho to the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of Seattle.

In the Seattle office, we caught up with Mike for a Q&A:

nature.org:

Why does nature matter to you?

Mike Stevens:

I grew up in Spain and some of my earliest memories are of visits to the countryside and the beach – nature was about family and food. We spent two summers with friends in Finland – I was free to ride my bike through the woods all day; our meals were fish from the lake and vegetables from the garden. We moved to Santa Barbara when I was 11 and our family spent a lot of time exploring California and especially Yosemite and the eastern Sierra. There, I learned that nature offered challenge and inspiration and I was introduced to the region’s rich history of conservation.

nature.org:

What do you think is the most exciting new idea in conservation?

Mike Stevens:

I think the most exciting idea in conservation is also in a sense the oldest: how are we as people going to live and thrive in relationship to nature? There are so many exciting ways in which we are reshaping how we fish, cut trees, raise food, and protect our water and air. This region is already having conversations about and taking action in many of these areas, which was a huge draw for me.

nature.org:

What do you think are the most urgent issues facing us, locally and globally?

Mike Stevens:

The number of people on Earth is growing and we are collectively using more and more of the planet’s resources. So, first, we need to be creative about how we use and care for our natural resources so they can continue to sustain us all – this is not just a scientific issue; I believe it’s the fundamental social issue of our time. Second, we need to save room for wild nature – orcas, elephants, and sandhill cranes – not only for their own sake but also for the many ways they enrich our lives. Last, but certainly not least, I look forward to the challenge we have right here in our own backyard—the failing health of our beloved Puget Sound. Most folks think our beautiful estuary is in excellent health. We must join together to help heal it.

nature.org:

Why should people get involved with The Nature Conservancy?

Mike Stevens:

The Nature Conservancy leads and supports many of the most creative, collaborative, and effective efforts to tackle these issues around the world by bringing together individuals, companies, tribes, and government agencies to make lasting change. Being a part of The Nature Conservancy – as a donor, member, volunteer – is inspiring and fun as well as incredibly important.

nature.org:

What’s so special about Washington?

Mike Stevens:

Washington has it all – ocean, rivers, big mountains, forests and sagebrush steppe. We have wilderness and big cities, salmon and sage grouse. Due to our geographical location and economic connections, we are linked to Canada, Asia and the world. Environmental issues are a priority for many of the people in this region and part of the local culture, so we have an opportunity to work together make a bigger impact than what individual actions can do alone. This is possible since the Washington Chapter has a talented and committed staff and board, many passionate members and a long history of conservation success and innovation.

nature.org:

Tell us about proposing to your wife on Mount St. Helens?

Mike Stevens:

Liz and I hiked with a group of friends to the summit on a warm sunny day, ate lunch with views of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams, and then skied spring snow all the way back to the base. Of course, the most important part is that she said, “Yes.” It was a perfect day.