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Ninjas Blog Live from ‘Epic’ Vancouver’s Sustainable Living Expo

VANCOUVER, Canada —  the home city of the 2010 winter Olympics and what the city’s mayor hopes will become the world’s greenest city, hosted Western Canada’s only green consumer tradeshow and eco-marketplace this weekend. Yes, the city which serves as home base to the Ninja Network became a hub of green living excitement when more than 300 exhibitors gathered at the beautiful Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver’s newest and greenest convention centre, to share their ideas, inventions and products with environmentally-conscious consumers.

This place had it all. From speakers including Vancouver’s mayor, Gregor Robertson, economist Mark Anielski and author Stacy Malkan, the founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, to a ‘Sustainable Sips’ mixology class at the EPIC Tasting Lounge.

As well as checking out the latest in cool gadgets, jewelry, shoes, foods and eco-friendly clothing, shoppers could also test-drive Toyota or Lexus Hybrids. The companies showcased the upcoming Hybrid models not on the market yet including the all-new third generation Prius, the all-new Lexus RX450h and the Lexus HS250h.

One cool booth we visited was BuenoStyle, whose designer, Christi Jessica York showcased her vintage, hand-made jewelry. York uses vintage and reclaimed material in her designs, which produces a smaller “footprint” than purchasing something new.

We also paid a visit to Green Gal, who was selling her line of eco-tuplip capris, coffee-cuffs and eco-forever dresses, which wraps in 20 or more different ways.

Multiple car companies were on-hand to showcase their latest eco-friendly models, as well as car sharing networks – which offers city dwellers who don’t own a car, and alternative to buying a car, public transportation or expensive car rental services. With car sharing networks, members rent vehicles at low cost on a semi long-term basis. If you are among those city dwellers who only drive a few times in a month, then a car sharing network might be just the ticket.

Some of Vancouver’s top chefs were also on-hand to prepare world-class sustainable cuisine on the EPIC Cooking Stage. Overall, we give the EPIC Sustainable Living Expo two thumbs up.

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David de Rothschild Building Plastic Bottle Boat ‘Plastiki’

David de Rothschild is taking recycling to a whole new level. Taking thousands of plastic bottles, which de Rothschild says are a symbol of global waste, and constructing a boat that he plans to sail from California to Australia, a journey of 11,000 miles.

“It’s all sail power,” de Rothschild said. “The idea is to put no kind of pollution back into the atmosphere, or into our oceans for that matter, so everything on the boat will be composted. Everything will be recycled. Even the vessel is going to end up being recycled when we finish.”

The boat, appropriately named the Plastiki, is currently being built on a San Francisco pier and is scheduled to set sail from San Francisco in April. Plastiki’s twin hulls will be filled with 12,000 to 16,000 bottles. Covering the hulls will be panels made from recycled a woven plastic fabric called PET.

“This actually is the same material that is made out of bottles,” said de Rothschild of the PET fabric. “We actually wrap the PET fabric over the PET foam and then basically put it under a vacuum, heat it, press it and create these long PET panels. So that means the boat is, technically, one giant bottle.”

Plastiki will also have a watertight cabin, which sleeps four. Two wind turbines and an array of solar panels will charge a bank of 12-volt batteries, which will power the onboard electronics.  The ultimate goal of the Plastiki voyage is to draw attention to waste as a renewable resource while encouraging people to embrace clean, renewable energy.

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Samsung Introduces Blue Earth, Solar Powered Cell Phone

Samsung unveiled Blue Earth today, the first touch screen, environmentally friendly smartphone that runs on solar power.

The solar powered smartphone can not only be charged through the solar panel on it’s back but also boasts a low energy and low carbon emission manufacturing process and a casing made from recycled water bottle plastic.

The Blue Earth and its five star energy efficient charger are both completely free of environmentally detrimental substances like Beryllium and Phthalate.

The eco-friendly phone has an energy-efficient mode, which reduces brightness and other settings to reduce energy consumption.

Even Blue Earth’s packaging comes from recycled paper.

Blue Earth represents a growing trend in eco-friendly gadgets. We can expect to see more green gadgets and phones like it on display at the Mobile World Congress that began today in Barcelona, Spain.

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Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day Gifts

Want to show her you love her in the greenest way possible? Forget wrapping that cheap perfume in paper that will just be thrown out anyway. Here are some tips to have an environmentally friendly Valentine’s Day that will show her you love her – and the planet too.

Does your better half drink from plastic water bottles? Here’s a trendy and eco-friendly solution that she’ll totally dig. The Sakura Scents Botanical Water Bottle from Sigg is made from a single piece of aluminium, making it crack-resistant and completely reusable and recyclable. Hey and if you’re jealous, they have some snazzy manly brands for guys too.

If she’s into handbags then Matt & Nat’s latest brainchild – a shoulder bag made from 100% recycled materials – might be just the ticket. Somehow this bag recycled bag still manages to be chic. Sure it will set you back $165 big ones, but man, once she sees the antique copper hardware, you’ll be getting lucky for sure.

Now here’s something really philanthropically rad you can buy. Pamela Tuohy Nesting Necklace is truly unique and made from discarded materials. Not only that, if you snag one of these necklaces, you’ll be helping women in developing countries create sustainable entrepreneurial businesses. For just $85 a pop, you can make your sweetheart happy and save the world while you’re doing it. Can I get a hoo raah? However, if you’re just a simple dude and don’t want to get crazy, you can never go wrong with eco-friendly underwear. You’ll both be happy.

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Aptera 2e Designers Reinvent Solar Powered Boat

The clearly capable designers of the Aptera 2e have another exciting environmentally friendly vehicle on the way – a solar powered pontoon boat. The Aptera 2e designers have reworked the Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company’s signature eco-friendly pontoon boat; the Loon and the results are impressive.

Not only are the twin hulls essentially puncture resistant through their integration with the deck, but the solar panels on the roof of the boat can be lowered to the sides for convenient off-water transportation.

The most innovative aspect of this solar powered boat is something we are seeing more often in cutting-edge eco-friendly electronic systems, which is its ability to feed energy back into the power grid. When the 1,000 watt solar panels have fully charged the battery the excess energy can be sent back into the grid while it sits plugged in at the dock.

Additionally, the materials used to build the boat get two eco-ninja thumbs up and include: recycled plastic, natural fibers and bamboo. My favorite part of the construction is its manatee-friendly shroud that houses the propeller blades. Oh the huge manatee!

The original Loon had a range of over 30 miles and a top speed of 6 knots. We haven’t seen the specs for the new model but we are expecting they will see significant improvement.

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A Cardboard Bicycle

An industrial design student in the U.K. has built a cheap, ecological transport – a cardboard bike. He designed the bike after learning that a bicycle is stolen every 71 seconds, so he decided to make a bike inexpensive enough that it wouldn’t matter if it got stolen. The prototype is made almost entirely from recyclable and recycled materials, using interchangeable mechanical parts. It costs about $30 to make. The body of the bike is environmentally-friendly and biodegradable industrial cardboard used in constructing particle boarding. Problems? Only if it rains!

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