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Sustainability

Cover of Spring 2020 issue of Washington State Magazine
Spring 2020

Ever a green state

There’s nothing new about being green.

Two millennia ago, Chinese Minister for Agriculture Tsai Lun in the first-century Han dynasty called for subjects of the emperor to boil old linen rags for papermaking. Professional recyclers in medieval England collected dust and ash left from fireplaces, then sold it to brick manufacturers as an inexpensive base material. More recently, World War II saw an uptick in recycling, with many common household items like clothes, scrap metal, and tires turned into new products for the war effort.

The same spirit of innovative recycling inspired Washington State University’s Taiji Miyasaka and David Drake to invent a construction block from … » More …

Barn
Winter 2014

The roots of tilth

In 1974, a group of Washington farmers, gardeners, and concerned citizens formed one of the nation’s first organized efforts for sustainable agriculture.

It was in the midst of a burgeoning back-to-the-land movement, and not long after the founding of Earth Day. The time was ripe for Washington, its farmers, consumers, and researchers to change agriculture.

On his way home from a Spokane conference on “Agriculture for a Small Planet,” author and activist Wendell Berry started a letter that would catalyze the movement. He praised the thoughtful and knowledgeable group who had organized the event, and wondered if they might work together to shape “a coherent … » More …

Dynamic Duo
Fall 2013

Dynamic duo

As seniors at Lewis and Clark High School, Eric Brandon ’12 and Nick Linton ’13 often skipped lunch to create plans for a zero carbon emission housing development.

“Our friends would come and ask if we were ready to go to lunch, and we’d say just 10 more minutes, or 15 more minutes” Brandon says, replaying the conversations. Linton interjects with his own reenactment, “We have to finish this last little façade.”

In 2008 Brandon and Linton entered their proposed sustainable housing development, called Green Ridge, in Washington State University’s inaugural Imagine Tomorrow competition. The competition brings students together in interdisciplinary teams to address energy … » More …

Sheryl Hagen-Zakarison and Eric Zakarison
Summer 2013

Eric Zakarison ’81 and Sheryl Hagen-Zakarison ’83, ’91—Thinking small

Somewhere along the Norwegian-Swedish border in the 1920s, Eric Zakarison’s grandfather and his family decided it was time to leave.

“They literally put on their packs, with everything they owned on their backs, skied down to the fjord, got on a boat, and came to Minnesota,” says Zakarison. After farming there for three or four years, they picked up and moved again, to the Havre/Chinook Hi-Line area of Montana.

Tired of northern Montana, Eric’s aunt ran away. She married a wealthy railroad man and they bought land north of Pullman. She invited the rest of the family to come further west, which they did, settling … » More …