What industry promotes better environmental consciousness?
Are you driving a Hybrid in an effort to save the environment? Terrific. Seriously, it’s more of a commitment than I am willing to make at this point in my life. Carbon footprints and how much savings you are actually doing is an important topic. But I’m more interested in where environmental commitment starts or stops and the question I know you have been pondering for years, does dealing in hemp or hybrids drive a bigger environmental consciousness?
I used to be a partner in one of the first retail hemp companies founded in 1994 in Seattle. This was a company based soley on saving the planet. First, let me give credit where credit is due to friend and founder of the Fremont Hemp Co. Cory Brown. Cory has been a good friend since 1988 during days of smoking more green then saving with it. Fremont Hemp Co. started under the ITR Enterprises umbrella of which I was an original investor in 1991. ITR was a paper products company that lead Cory to research hemp at the University of Washington and eventually open the retail store dedicated to the education and promotion of the plant.
Turn of the century mahogony furniture.
The shop was always changing with new product and designs.
The environmental movement was in full bloom in the northwest in the early 90’s. Cory saw one renewable resource as the savior for the planet, hemp. He dedicated his life to it but more importantly, he dedicated himself to living a life of absolute minimal impact on the earth and as his business partner, I followed. Allow me paint to the picture. Everything in the retail store was made from either renewable hemp or recycled materials. Shoes had recycled tires for soles, clothes were made of hemp and recycled cotton, and hemp paper was printed with soy based inks. Dried flowers adorned the walls, found-object tile-mosaics decorated the patio and energy efficient lightbulbs lit the sceen. We, of course, wore, ate and used what we sold.
There was a much deeper commitment though. You probably recycle your junk mail. But do you ever reuse envelopes or shipping boxes? Clean corporate look be gosh darned, we were on a mission. Every salvagable envelop and package received went back out with new labels and tape closing them up. The heat was kept low in the winter, we carpooled everywhere and road bikes in all kinds of weather. All the furniture, racks for clothes and display shelves were hand me downs or Salvation Army finds. We asked if you needed a bag, not assumed you did so you could throw it out 10 minutes later. Not impressed?
- When it's yellow, let it mellow - Shower less, smell more - Buy recycled - Save the left overs - Reuse Ziploc bags - Pound flat the tinfoil - Take the train or the bus - Better yet bike or walk - Non-disposible razors - No tops on fast food drinks - No straws either - Carry bags to the grocery store - Bring your mug to the coffee house - Stop supporting places that waste resources
Leave the lights on? You may as well of kicked the dog. The list goes on and on…
We didn’t worry about watering our yards because we lived on a boat, a sailboat. We’d schedule every delivery or outting based on saving gas not time. And although it might seem like a personal space violation, made it a point to show real distain when our friends make crappy environmental choices. To this day, I can’t pull into a lot or the driveway without shutting down the car immediately. There is no idling while waiting to pick somebody up or as the wife makes a quick run into the store. I can still feel Cory’s wrath as he reached across my car’s dash to shut it down while still gliding into our parking spot. Mini has adopted this philosophy. When the six speed manual is shifted in nuetral and the car is stopped, the engine turns off saving on emmissons and gas. It starts when you despress the clutch again.
View across the front of the shop after we took over the downstairs space.
Almost a decade and a half later, we are finally seeing everybody talking about green, hybrid cars are popular and hemp has made it main stream. Green auto manufacturers are making their mark, really terrific. Now, who’s up for building a hemp oil powered car with me?
Every corner of the store was beautifully decorated.