Category Archives: Environment/Green Biz

Runners Give Back To Support Esplanade, Parks

By Zaneta Jung

For the second year, Boston’s Team Esplanade ran the Boston Marathon, as the only environmental charity in the famed race. The big leaf on the team’s T-shirts offered a clue to the mission aiding the park along the Charles River.

“Many people come to the Esplanade to run,” said Jeryl Oristaglio, president of the Esplanade Association. “And we wanted to join in on the Boston Marathon to embrace the runners’ community.

In 2007, we applied to the Boston Athletics Association to be part of the marathon and were accepted for the 2008 marathon.”

Each of the runners had a $3,000 fundraising target. The association received applications ranging from first-time marathoners to veteran runners. And it will take awhile after race-day blisters heal before the group knows whether it reaches the overall $60,000 goal.

The "After" photo of Team Esplanade's marathoners

The "After" photo of Team Esplanade's marathoners

“We reviewed [runner] applications mainly on two criteria: fundraising goals and fundraising capability,” said Chris Murton, head organizer for Team Esplanade.

The money collected through the marathon goes towards the Esplanade Association programs and ” . . .programs, such as yoga and dance classes, kickball, and model sailing,” Murton added. “We’re also trying to create new programs for the community as well. It also goes to the active volunteer program, and while it is through volunteers, we still need to buy equipment to facilitate the program. The money also goes towards the large-scale programs such rebuilding docks and playgrounds, as well as operating services for the association.”

Each runner has an account on Firstgiving.com where they can post bios, pictures, videos, and other materials that might attract donations.

Tim Horn, a four- year Boston Marathon runner, raised a little bit more than $5,000 by Sunday morning and was continuing to look for more donations.

“I contacted friends and business contacts I consider friends,” said Horn. “It’s pretty easy; at least it was for me… You have to truly believe in your cause to ask people for money. It’s a hard thing, but if you truly believe, you can do it.”

Belief in a greener environment is why Rick Muhr, a 40-year-old Boston Marathon veteran and coach, left Team in Training this year to help train Team Esplanade runners.

“I’m certainly very interested in the environment and being green, and that resonated with me with the Esplanade Association,” said Muhr. “That’s a very important piece of property that people take for granted… and I wanted to help with their programs.”

Thomas Kershaw, proprietor of Cheers Beacon Hill, is not only a neighbor, but a longtime advocate of the Esplanade Association.

“I ran on the Esplanade every day for 20 years until my hip gave out. The Esplanade is actually where I learned to sail through its program!” he said. “It’s the nicest park in Boston.”

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Filed under Back Bay, Environment/Green Biz, Patriots' Day

Dude, Those Shoes Are Smokin’

The Hempest
by Victoria Guerrera and Zaneta Jung

Thanks to a thriving “green” movement, cannabis is sparking a new interest — in the fashion industry. Organic products, made from cannabis and hemp, are mainstream in clothing as companies pursue the eco-consumer.

The Hempest, on Newbury Street, has featured organic clothing in Boston since 1995, when Jon Fishman founded the clothing store with money he got by selling his car. He moved to Newbury Street in July 1997 to attract a larger audience and partnered with Mitch Scofield.

The store sells men and women’s clothing – made from as much as 90 percent organic materials such as hemp, soy, bamboo, ramie, organic cotton, and recycled soda bottles. There’s also food, paper products and bedding made from hemp.

“The primary focus has been to expose and educate people to the incredible potential of the cannabis plant,” said Scofield. “Many people do not realize what integral part hemp has played over the course of human evolution, from its use as food, textiles, paper, building material and more.”

Hemp cloth dates back to Mesopotamia in 3000 B.C. And, did you know, the first American flag was made of hemp, along with the paper for the U.S Constitution and the Declaration of Independence?

Fishman and Scofield said they believe clothing makers have been a major cause of pollution – from fertilizers for growing cotton to dyes in coloring. That’s one reason they prefer hemp, which can be grown without pesticides or fertilizers.

“The clothing industry is notoriously dirty and chemically dependent. Conventionally grown cotton is actually responsible for about 40 percent of all the pesticides in use today,” said Scofield.

“The rapid growth of the market has been a bit hectic, as a lot of major players like Nike, Costco, and Target trying to look more ‘green’, have been competing for a relatively limited organic fiber market,” said Scofield. “They are going to some of the very same competitors we’ve been going to for years.”

Rick Nelson, 21, is one of those who have made the conscious choice to live a more eco-friendly life. He got involved with organic products years ago to improve his health, and then evolved into a greener stance when he decided that he wanted to reduce his impact on the Earth.

“They [organic clothing] have personal value to me since the methods by which they are produced have less of an impact on the earth,” Nelson said, noting that some eco-claims may be flawed.

“Well, I believe in true organic products, but there are evident loopholes that companies get through,” said Nelson. “A lot of companies use it because it’s become a fad, and I think that kind of ‘green washing’ is ridiculous.

And to make organic clothing more readily available, Fishman and Scofield have shifted to producing their own line of clothing and are working more directly with manufacturers. Their immediate goal is to add stores in New York and San Francisco, along with taking the clothing to European and Japanese markets.

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Filed under Back Bay, Environment/Green Biz