Tuesday, February 28, 2017

GlassDharma's 10 Year Anniversary!

Celebrating GlassDharma's 10 Year Anniversary & the Birth of the Glass Straw Industry!

Wow! 10 years! It is not very often that someone can say they created a whole new industry but look what happened! We started GlassDharma 10 years ago, put up the first website for glass drinking straws and now there is a whole industry of glass drinking straws being made all over the world! GlassDharma has actually shipped straws to over 60 countries! We are proud of what has evolved and very grateful to all of our loyal customers both retail and wholesale. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We are even grateful to our competitors who took our lead and decided that they also wanted to make a difference by providing a sustainable product that would help to replace single-use plastic straws! For every glass straw that is purchased, 1000's of plastic straws are kept from our landfills and oceans.

Some Glass Straw History 
1940s & 50s Glass Swizzle Straws
Did we really make the very first glass drinking straw? No, there were actually glass straws used in the medical field as far back as the early 1900's. Here is a picture of very fragile antique straws from around the 1950's. There was a movie made in the 1940's with Humphrey Bogart called Dark Passage where he plays an escaped convict who has plastic surgery on his face. There is a scene where he uses a glass straw to drink while his face is all bandaged. These straws were most likely made from soda lime glass and were not very durable.

How Did We Get Started?
We are often asked how did we get the idea for glass straws. We credit our beginnings to Living Light Culinary Institute who approached Pacific Glassworks (formerly MacNeil Glass) in Fort Bragg, CA to make glass drinking straws for their students to have a reusable and sustainable straw. David Leonhardt, a long time glassblower and new to Fort Bragg, was asked by Terry Anderson, the owner of Pacific Glassworks to "be the show" on Saturdays. He noticed the glass straws and immediately saw a use for them to replace plastic straws and help cut back the plastic pollution caused by single-use plastics. Terry gave her blessings on David taking glass straws out into the world and GlassDharma was born!

In addition to starting a whole new industry, GlassDharma is very proud of creating the lifetime guarantee - if your straw breaks, for any reason, you can have it replaced for free (not including shipping). How unusual is that? We started this because most people assumed that if they had a glass straw, they would just break it immediately. We wanted people to see how durable our straws really are. We often say that they are made out of borosilicate glass, the strongest that is commercially available - the same as vintage Pyrex®. Yes, if you drop them on tile, they will probably break. We have noticed that some people choose not to take advantage of our guarantee when they know that any glass would have broken in certain circumstances - we leave it up to you! We are always delighted when someone makes additional purchases with their replacement straw! Apparently, this is such a good idea, a number of other glass straw makers have subsequently also offered some kind of guarantee.

Plastic-free Packaging 
Packaging is another area where GlassDharma has excelled! We have made great efforts and expense to develop packaging with no plastic but still protective. Both our Online packaging for website sales and our Brick & Mortar packaging are free of any plastic, made from recycled corrugated cardboard and chipboard. Our hemp sleeves and Family Pack Carriers are in 100% compostable cellophane sleeves. When orders come in that request no plastic in the packaging or shipping materials, we say, "Of course!"

Highest Quality, Satisfaction Guarantee and Excellent Customer Service
We truly do want our customers to be delighted with their GlassDharma straws and have very liberal policies. We treat you how we would want to be treated and often go even a bit farther. We hear from our customers daily on how impressed they are and how much they love our straws! Even when we make a mistake, we often hear how much people appreciate our customer service!

Why Dharma?
This is a Sanskrit word that has a various meanings. In our case we are using "right way of living" or "path of rightness" which also relates to higher purpose. We feel that taking care of our bodies and the planet is the right way to live and we offer GlassDharma straws with this purpose as well as serving as an educational tool to build awareness of alternatives to single-use plastics.

So what are we doing to celebrate our 10 
year anniversary? 

* Starting on March 1, 2017, for the whole month, we are reducing all straw pricing 25% for both website sales and wholesale purchases!

* We are also offering weekly giveaways, which will include products from various partners as well as some GlassDharma gift certificates.

*To learn how to enter these giveaways, make sure to follow us on social media! Each week will be different!

March 27th - April 2nd 2017 Giveaway Prizes Include:

1. A 3 Piece set of Reusable Lunch Boxes from ECOLunchBox
2. Kombucha delivered to your door from Clearly Kombucha
3. A Wide-Mouth Stainless Steel Mason Jar Lid and Stainless Steel Band from EcoJarz + a Lid Straw from GlassDharma to go with it! 
4. A set of 4 straws (plus a brush) of your choice from GlassDharma
(Over $100 in Prizes!!) Winner gets ALL!

2 Ways to Enter:

To enter giveaway, you must do all 3 actions:
1. Like the Facebook giveaway post:
2. Comment below on the Facebook giveaway post telling us what you are going to do for Earth Day
3. Comment below on THIS 10 Year Anniversary Blog telling us something you learned from the blog
4. For 5 EXTRA entries SHARE this Facebook post and tag GlassDharma
5. Make sure you are on our Newsletter

1. On Instagram follow GlassDharmaECOLunchBoxEcoJarzClearly Kombucha
2. Like the Instagram giveaway post
3. Tag 3 friends in that post 
4. Comment on the Instagram giveaway post telling us what you are going to do for Earth Day
5. For 5 EXTRA entries REPOST this Instagram post and tag GlassDharma
* Entries must be submitted by 12 PM (PST) April 2nd 
* Winner will be announced by end of day on April 2nd
* Contest is for US residents only
* Winner will be contacted via DM
* Your account must be public to enter

March 20th - March 26th 2017 GiveawaPrizes Include:

1. $30 Gift Certificate to The Mason Bar Company
2. 1 Tea Towel from Kitchen and Kraft
3. 3 Reusable Silicone Storage Bags from Stasher Bag
4. 1 Set of 20 Stainless Steel Clothespegs (Pins) from Pincinox Stainless Steel Pegs
5. $50 Gift Certificate to GlassDharma
(Over $150 in Prizes!!)

** This is an Instagram Only Giveaway
**Giveaway closes 3/26 at 12 pm (PDT). **Winner will be contacted via DM. 
**This contest is for US residents only. **Your account must be public to enter. 

Thank you to our fabulous partners for all of their awesome donations!
Stasher - Silicone Storage Bags
GoMacro - Health Food Bars
HealthyHuman - Reusable Steins and Cruisers
The Complete Idiots Guide to Juice Fasting by Steve Prussack and Bo Rinaldi 
All the Way to the Ocean by Joel Harper
Lelani and the Plastic Kingdom by Robb N. Johnston
Mason Bar Company - $30 Gift Certificate
Pincinox - Stainless Steel Pegs (Clothespins)
Synergy Clothing - $75 Gift Certificate
Kitchen + Kraft - Kitchen Tea Towels
ECOlunchbox - Reusable Seal Cup Trio Lunch Boxes
GlassDharma - Various Prizes

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Free Glass Straw from GlassDharma

Read below to find out how to receive a FREE Glass Straw!

GlassDharma is the maker of the original glass drinking straw. Ten years ago we introduced highest quality borosilicate glass drinking straws to the world as an alternative to single use plastics and as a conversation starter about sustainable lifestyles. Since then, we have prevented hundreds of thousands of plastic straws from entering waste streams worldwide and contributed to countless hours of peer-to-peer conversations about disposables, reusables and ways to make a difference. 

Participating in the #1LessStraw campaign is an easy way to join us in making a difference & besides, you can receive a FREE GlassDharma straw!*

OneLessStraw 090816 from 1moregeneration on Vimeo.

We are excited to join forces with Olivia and Carter Ries, the founders of ONEMOREGeneration.org, and to promote their OneLessStraw pledge campaign. This campaign is asking individuals, schools and businesses to join them in taking a pledge to not use or accept plastic straws for the month of October. 

The OneLessStraw campaign strives to educate the public about the dangers of single use plastic straws and how they affect our health, our environment, and our oceans.

Join us and help keep plastic drinking straws out of our landfills, our streams, our oceans, and off our beaches. 

* Take the OneLessStraw Pledge. 

* Encourage your favorite business or school to take the pledge and to only provide plastic straws on request. Also ask for them to use biodegradable or reusable options. 

* Become a Sponsor of the OneLessStraw pledge campaign.

Go to OneLessStraw.org to download and submit a pledge form, get more information and get involved!

As an environmental mission-driven company, it is our honor to partner with and support the OneLessStraw pledge campaign.  We truly hope you join our effort and take the pledge! 

*Here are the guidelines for receiving a FREE glass straw:
1.) Take the OneLessStraw Pledge
2.) Spend $20 or more at GlassDharma.com
3.) Tell us you took the pledge and request your free straw(s) in the order's comment section at checkout
* $20 minimum excluding shipping costs
* You can receive 1 "Earth Day" straw with each $20 spent
* Offer good through 10/31/2016

info@OneMoreGeneration / 877.664.8426 - Regarding Pledge 
stephanie@glassdharma.com / 707.964.9350 - Regarding Free Straw

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mid Summer Sip Glass Straw Photo Contest

Mid Summer Sip

Join the fun - win some glass straws!
(via electronic gift certificate)

GlassDharma's 4th annual Mid Summer Sip Photo Contest is underway and runs through July 22nd.

$100.00 gift code grand prize and two $50.00 gift code prizes will be awarded to winners by email. Winners will be contacted via social media for their email contact information.

Our Judging panel will be made up of GlassDharma staff members.

To enter this contest, simply post your glass straw photos on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with hashtags:

#glassdharma and #midsummersip16

The photos that GlassDharma reposts, retweets, and shares, will automatically be the pool of contestants for the judging to begin.

Winners will be announced in the August Newsletter so make sure sign up here!

Water with Mint garnish and a
Simple Elegance GlassDharma glass straw!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Earth Day 2016: 500 GlassDharma Glass Straw Giveaway!

(Ft. Bragg, CA) - March 1, 2016 – 
How many of us have ordered a drink or glass of water at a restaurant, bar or cafe and noticed how often a single-use plastic straw is automatically placed in our glass? How many of us have ordered a drink and said “no straw please” only to then receive one when your drink was brought out? How many of us have brought our own reusable GlassDharma straw, shown it to the server or barista and then STILL received a plastic one with your drink? ...TOO MANY!

Consumer demand and feedback is a powerful mechanism for influencing company decisions. In honor of Earth Day 2016, we are giving away 1 free straw to each of the first 500 people who write letters to restaurants and restaurant suppliers regarding their plastic straw policies. We will also offer a $100 gift certificate for 2 grand prize winners! *International participants see below.
There are multiple campaigns going on around the world urging restaurants and entire municipalities to adopt "ask first" straw policies and to source plastic straw alternatives. More restaurants, cafes and bars are coming on-board every day, thanks to the inspired and forward-thinking advocacy of people like you! Some cities are even working on initiatives to ban single-use plastic straws altogether! Our last letter-writing campaign had over 600 letters submitted to restaurants worldwide!

You are invited to participate in the GlassDharma Glass Straw Giveaway for Earth Day 2016!

To enter, simply choose a restaurant or restaurant supplier and write a letter to the managers/owners suggesting they take responsibility for the growing amounts of single use straw trash that is clogging waterways, choking wildlife and littering our entire Planet. The letter is intended to spur thought and contain helpful suggestions of how they can be leaders in the changes that will heal our Earth’s trash problems. Keep in mind there are many people that do not even give a thought to where plastic straws might go to once they are “thrown away” or just how many accumulate over time!

Here are the steps to take to receive your free GlassDharma Earth Day Straw and how to qualify for the 2 Grand Prizes

1) Write and send at least 1 letter to a restaurant or restaurant supplier
-- 1st 500 people receive a free Earth Day Straw (*offer for US only - includes free shipping)
-- Each letter gives you 1 entry into the drawing for a $100 gift certificate (unlimited entries per person) This can include international.
-- We will also will award a separate $100 gift certificate to the person who sent the most letters! This can include international.
2) Copy your letter (or 1 version) into an email and send to earthdayglassdharma@gmail.com. Please include the contact info of the restaurant AND your personal contact info so that a free GlassDharma glass straw can be mailed to you.
Note: *Contact information for entrants and restaurants must include, full name, phone number, mailing address and email address.
3) In the email you may also let us know your preference for your free Earth Day straw - Ice Tea (9.5mm) or Smoothie (12mm) x 5" +/- 1/4". Honoring your preference depends on availability.  

When you write your letter(s) here are some points you may want to include for restaurants:
  • Suggest that they consider adopting an "ask first" policy before automatically giving out plastic straws (this is a cost savings to them!)
  • Ask that they consider using compostable straws instead of plastic ones
  • Suggest they encourage their customers to bring their own reusable straws (or even selling them at their restaurant!) They could consider offering GlassDharma Straws!
  • Check out thelastplasticstraw.org for more resources and ideas!
*GlassDharma will award one Grand Prize Winner a $100.00 gift certificate coupon code for the most letters written and one Grand Prize Winner a $100.00 gift certificate coupon code for the winner of the general drawing. Although people outside of the United States are not eligible for the free straw, they can submit letters to be entered into the Grand Prize gift certificates.

*Entries will be received through Earth Day, 4/22/2016. We will start shipping straws the beginning of March but don’t expect your straw before May. The Grand Prize drawing will be held the week after Earth Day and the Grand prize winner for most letters written will also be determined. In case of a tie for most letters written, the names will be put in a drawing.  Winners will be notified by email by April 30th.

*Family participation details - yes, kids can participate. There will be 1 straw per person who writes and sends us their own letter (up to the 500 people). Parents can send the email from their email address but must state that it is from their child with their name included and the letters need to be to different restaurants than their parents.

*While international participants will not be able to receive a free straw due to shipping costs, they can still participate and qualify for the 2 grand prizes. Follow the instructions for how to submit your letters and information via email.
Summary of Details
-- 1st 500 people receive a free Earth Day Straw (offer for US only - includes free shipping)
-- Each letter gives you 1 entry into the drawing for a $100 gift certificate (unlimited entries per person) This can include international submissions.
-- We will also will award a separate $100 gift certificate to the person who sent the most letters! This can include international submissions.
-- Watch our Facebook page for the announcement that 500 people has been reached -
we encourage you to enter early!  
--  Start Date is March 1st
-- Entries due by Earth Day April 22nd
-- Drawing is done and announced by April 30th
-- The Free Earth Day straw has a $9.00 value (including $3 shipping)
-- Email entries to earthdayglassdharma@gmail.com
Note:  There will be an auto-response to your emails of receipt but not necessarily that you have met the criteria for receiving a free straw.  You will receive notification within 1 week of submitting your letter(s) if you have met the qualifications. Please do not contact us until May regarding where your free straw is.

    GlassDharma was founded on the idea of starting with something small, simple and ordinary: a drinking straw! Replacing this one everyday single-use plastic item with a reusable alternative has become a “teaching tool” that inspires many to make a switch toward reducing waste and eliminating the need for plastics in general. GlassDharma’s vision of a clean planet and healthy environment for all who live here is reflected in every straw we sell. Please join us in our call to end single-use plastic straws by participating in our letter-writing campaign!

Happy Earth Day 2016 – from GlassDharma

GlassDharma - sip the world. make a difference.

For more information on GlassDharma, please visit www.glassdharma.com.

Questions about Earth Day 2016?
Contact: Gail or Stephanie
Gail Johnson
Partnerships and Promotions

Stephanie Shaffer,
Community Manager

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The History of Free Glass Straws for Earth Day

GlassDharma - The Mission

Forty years ago, the first Earth Day started a revolution of change. Each Earth Day we focus on ideas of Earth Care and how our choices can change and affect the world we live in. Each of us make decisions every day about how our routine practices will affect our planet, a place we will one day leave behind.

Eight years ago, David Leonhardt, founder of GlassDharma decided the best way to get the new idea of reusable straws noticed, was to give them away.  Soon after the GlassDharma company website went live, he began getting the word out that he would give away glass straws for Earth Day.  The word got around and hundreds of people got a free glass straw once they emailed their shipping information to GlassDharma.  Every year since, GlassDharma celebrates Earth day by giving away free glass straws!

“Earth Day is about awareness and about focusing thoughts on something that is important to us.” says Gail Johnson, co-owner of GlassDharma. She continues, “I believe Earth day and the many related activities have made a huge difference in our awareness of our Planet’s needs and how we can best work and play in synergy and with gratitude. People really want to change their ways but often get overwhelmed. We are hungry for small things we can do occasionally… and then more consistently, to help ourselves and our Planet Earth.”

GlassDharma Free Glass Straws for Earth Day Timeline

2008 - David announced he would give away free glass straws for Earth Day on the GlassDharma website.  Hundreds of simple elegance straws were shipping out of Fort Bragg, CA to various locations in the USA.  To this day, many of GlassDharma's customers have emailed saying that this is how they found out that glass straws existed and continue to buy them for gifts for others.  This was the first "unofficial" Earth Day giveaway.

2009 - David Leonhardt gave away over 500 "Simple Elegance" Glass Straws through the GlassDharma.com website. The giveaway quickly became popular and brought together a huge gathering of people that were willing to share their ideas through emails. The common goal of EarthCare became present throughout their communications.

2010 - Earth Day 2010, David Leonhardt and his wife, Gail Johnson approached CafĂ© Gratitude with the idea to co-brand 1000 Glass Straws to give away at their locations. The successful Earth Day project brought together ideas and philosophies of Food and Gratitude linking to a desire for Planet Care.  Over 1000 straws were given out to customers who visited Cafe Gratitude at different locations.

2011 - GlassDharma gave free glass straws to participants that wrote letters to their favorite restaurants asking them to consider alternatives to plastic straws ar at least to ask the patron before automatically serving beverages with straws in them.  600 letters were written!

2012 - GlassDharma gave Free Glass Straws to participants of an essay contest! . Suggested content was to encourage participants to declare how their glass straws relate to a better world, the Environment, Elegant table-ware, made in USA and/or Personal Joy.

2013 - Pledging PlanetCare was the theme on this Free Glass Straws for Earth Day giveaway and 1300 packages were sent out with contents of a glass straw for GlassDharma a discount coupons form various eco manufacturers that partnered with GlassDharma for this event.  GlassDharma continued the project with additional coupons that were emailed to more participants through Earth Day.

2014 -  This TriviaProject, themed Plastic is Drastic produced 1,000 participants in our Earth Day project in under 48 hours, GlassDharma kept the site live to encourage more participants for the chance to receive a $6.00 coupon code for the value of the Earth Day Straw.  There were over 2,800 entries, which includes the 1,000 free straws shipped, in addition to more than 1,800 coupon codes awarded.

2015 - Participants are asked to view a video and answer some multiple choice questions under the guidance of GlassDharma's own animated "Sipper Hero", the GlassDharma Dude. Participants completed a 3 step process to get a $10.00 coupon to use towards our Earth Day straw and shipping. Over 5,000 participants in just 5 days exploded expectations for this video viewing and questions series event! 

About The Earth Day Straw!

glass straw, earth day, GlassDharma, straw, reusable straw, reuse, glass

The creation of the Earth Day Straw has a two fold purpose, allowing GlassDharma's footprint to lessen at the same time as yours. There is always extra glass when straws are cut; some of this glass is very small in size, and often gets reused by local friends of GlassDharma for crafts and gardening purposes. Other cuts are just shy of being part of the "Shorty" size line, but are just as useful for mugs, short glasses, and stemware; these are our Earth Day Straws! We say they are 5" but this is our one straw that has a +/- variance of ¼" since they are the end of the glass tubing.

The Earth Day Straws are made with the same high quality borosilicate glass using the same specific annealing formula exclusive to GlassDharma straws. Their durability is comparable to all of our other straws and they come with the same Lifetime Guarantee against breakage.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2015 Holiday Gift Guide

The 2nd Annual GlassDharma Holiday Gift Guide is here!

Gifts for all ages from ($6.99 - $58.00)

This Holiday Season, use your purchasing power while choosing gifts for friends and family.  Gifting with sustainability in mind will go a long way toward planet care. What you buy and how you present your gift deserves careful thought.
This gift guide is published to inspire you to find that perfect gift that will be loved and useful.  Please do not forget to refer to our last year's Gift Guide that has many more good choices to consider. 

The new Bamboo Straw Lid for wide mouth or small mouth Mason Jars. Now available on the New Stuff page at GlassDharma.com ($17.00) 
These straw lids created by The Mason Bar Company have durability in mind with some special care in cleaning (no dishwasher).  A light rubbing of food grade oil will keep these lids like brand new. Sustainable, non-toxic, and reusable are the key factors of why you will want these lids.  Not to mention their beauty!  You can buy all of the lids including the storage lids (no straw hole) at The MasonBar Company.

Naughty or nice?  Yes!  A Lump of Charcoal as a Gift! (Various Kishu Charcoal Filter for pitchers ($15.49)
sizes available) but our most used is the
These plastic free filters will have your tap water tasting clean as it absorbs impurities immediately upon dropping it into your pitcher of water while also imparting healthy minerals like calcium and magnesium. These give your water a delicious, clean taste. Once you have used it for 3 months, you can recharge it by boiling it for 5 minutes and it will last for another 3 months, totaling 6 months!  After you have used it for the 6 months, do not throw it away.  Use it as a deodorizer in pantries, closets and your shoes!

 Baby its Cold Outside! This Eco Insulator™ is the perfect jar jacket for your jars used for drink ware is available at Mason Monster. ($6.99 - $7.99)
These quality crafted 3MM EcoLite  Neoprene covers will keep your drinks hot (or cold) and your glass jar padded as you travel about,  The covers are offered in two sizes – pint and quart. The insulators are all reversible, giving the purchaser two-color combos within one product with 20 color different color choices!

Find this beautiful Olivewood Ladle at World Market ($14.99)
Every kitchen needs this beautiful and sustainable ladle for soups and beverages, this ladle is easy on the finish of your pots and does not scrape like metal utensils will. The natural grain of Olivewood makes this beautifully constructed ladle a work of art to display in your kitchen between uses. 

The gift of quality dish covers! Find these Reusable Russian Linen and Organic Cotton Dish Covers at Quitokeeto ($58.00)
This set of three covers comes in a linen bag and will fit pie plate size bowls on down to a smaller salad size bowl.  The same designer makes these quality made covers as GlassDharma family packs straw carriers! This gift will replace the need for plastic wrap for food storage while introducing quality, reusable choices to how you store your food.

KeepCup is the first barista standard reusable coffee cup to keep your coffee with you and say no plastic and paper cups!  These glass Keepcups are ($22.00 - $28.00)
They are offered in various styles and sizes.  The entire KeepCup reusable cup line includes glass and a glass and cork model that is our favorite. The drawback to this cup is that unlike other designs by KeepCup, the cork requires a careful hand wash vs. using a dishwasher.  Quality design makes these cups easy to transport with a swing top lid that plugs the sippy hole.  Our coffee straws and sipper straws will fit in these sippy holes.  The 8mm lid straw is a bit snug and may stretch the opening slightly.

ECOlunchbox recently launched a beautifully designed ocean collection of stainless steel and silicone lunch containers called the Seal Cup™ Trio ($29.99)
These leak proof food containers will stand up to the test of time in performance and durability.  Designed to be Ocean friendly, (just think of all that plastic that will never make it's way into the gyres) this collection is offered in ocean colors as part of the blue water bento collection (see the Splash Box on our last years holiday gift guide)
The Seal Cup Trio containers are offered in large, medium and small containers and will hold a total of 40 ounces (5 cups) of food contents and are great for picnics and outings as well as to pack your daily lunch.

 New! Lid Straws at GlassDharma ($8.50 each)
These 8mm (4mm inside diameter) glass straws are offered in 3 lengths, 7 inch (perfect for most jars), 8 inch and 9 inch and the diameter will fit into many straw holes and flexible sippy holes of various  reusable and disposable drink-ware.  This might be the perfect and most versatile straw to pack when traveling.  You can also purchase these Lid Straws in sets of 4 (this set includes a free cleaning brush) for ($34.00)

Diamond Glasses for the Elegant Cocktail or Juice Bar! 
($34.00) for a boxed pair at Urban Outfitters.
These novelty glasses come in a pair and are multi facetted like a diamond.  They sit slightly sideways but tilt back just enough to hold the liquid contents within and are sure to be a great conversation starter at any gathering.  Whiskey is not the only thing you might serve in these glasses, they are cool for Martinis, wine, and dessert liquors!

The Pop Top Lid for wide mouth jars! ($13.00)
GlassDharma now offers the stainless steel (with a silicone plug for a leak free closure) Pop Top Jar lid By Ecojarz. These lids fit the wide mouth mason jars (the jar bands are sold separately). The wide straw or pour out opening is wide enough to fit every GlassDharma straw, even the Bubble Tea Straws!  Seal it up with the plug and no worries for leaks and spills while you are out and about!

PopTop Sealable Drinking Jar Lid from EcoJarz on Vimeo.

JocoCups 8oz. ($22.95) 12oz. ($24.95) 16oz. ($26.95) are available on the JocoCups website.
These glass cups accessorized with silicone lids and sleeves are designed to enhance your morning brew, save your taste buds and help Mother Nature. The cups are offered in six different color choices and three sizes and are great for hot or cold beverages.  Dishwasher safe and easy to handle, these cups are durable and attractive.

 Story Time - The gift of time spent with children is most precious! Sharing and learning with your child cannot be bought with money, but choosing quality books to enhance the experience will provide valuable life's lessons to share with your child.  This book teaches about planet care while creating treasured times and memories for you and your child.
GlassDharma highly recommends All The Way to the Ocean  ($13.63) on Amazon
This is a beautifully illustrated, hard cover children's storybook written with passion and foresight, shows the reader the importance of planet care and explains how the storm drain in your city can actually carries unwanted trash and plastics right into our oceans! Read more about this precious storybook in our blog.

You will find some more wonderful, earth-friendly gift ideas on this GlassDharma Pinterest board, "Gifts for a Sustained Planet"

As you choose your gifts for loved ones, did you know that you can ask manufacturers and stores to package and ship plastic free?  Many customers are finding that they have a lot of success if they inquire about how their purchases are packed for shipping.  As more establishments honor these requests, it sets up a future where plastic free wrapping and shipping will become commonplace.  What a gift this would be to our precious planet!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

All The Way To The Ocean

Reprinted with permission from Stormwater Report (2014), Copyright © 2014 Water Environment Federation, Alexandria, Virginia.
All the Way to the Ocean written by
Joel Harper and illustrated by Marq Spusta
The children’s book All the Way to the Ocean, a tale about stormwater pollution and its effects on marine life, is making it cool for kids to pick up trash. “I wrote this book from the perspective of think globally, act locally,” said Joel Harper, the book’s author and publisher. “Picking up trash can have a big impact, and anyone can do it.”

All the Way to the Ocean tells the story of two boys who learn that runoff carries litter and other pollutants through storm drains to the ocean. Inspired by this lesson, the kids teach fellow students and organize a cleanup day at their school. Like the two children in the story, Harper’s book has inspired similar actions across the United States and the world. Spurred by his passion for the subject and inspired by feedback on the book, Harper is now working on a short animated movie with well-known musicians and film industry professionals. He is pairing the release of the film with educational online games and a new book.

Harper has distributed more than 40,000 copies of All the Way to the Ocean across the U.S. and internationally. “My ultimate goal is to get a book into the hands of every child in every school and every classroom,” Harper said.

No dumping
Harper is from Claremont, Calif., a small town about an hour east of Los Angeles. In 1998, when he first wrote the script for the book, he noticed city signage on stormwater drains. Despite their “no dumping” message, Harper still saw a lot of trash collecting near and in the storm drains.
“It really bothered me to live in this beautiful town with trash receptacles on every corner, yet there was trash everywhere,” Harper said. “There was no excuse for it.”
Author Joel Harper reads All the Way to the Ocean 
to children at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.

The book is targeted toward children from kindergarten through third grade. “It’s so important to teach and influence children at this critical age,” Harper said. “The earlier we start, the more chances we have to make it part of their wiring.”

As a writer, Harper is able to articulate the complex problem of stormwater pollution so that it not only conveys the message but also inspires action. “[Harper] skillfully tackles non-point source pollution in an entertaining way that many children will find engaging,” wrote John Mott, who at the time worked with the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

The illustrations, created by Marq Spusta, were all done by hand with colored pencils and are part of what makes the book so captivating for children. “Children get enthralled with the pictures,” Harper said.

Since it was published in 2006, the book has received praise from educators and has been incorporated into numerous environmental education programs at schools, municipalities, water districts, and utilities. The book has been endorsed by organizations including Project WET, a group dedicated to water education. “It is the only book not produced by Project WET that they sell,” Harper said.

All the Way to the Ocean also has won several awards, including the Nature Generation Green Earth Book Award. Along with these accomplishments, Harper is thrilled about the endorsements he has received from teachers and parents.

“My children will never look at litter the same way.  It’s a true threat to our environment and I’m thrilled that my kids are now fully aware of what we can do to help every little bit,” wrote parent Maggie Storm. The book is “a true calling to all kids to see the rewards of raising their voices over the threats to our planet, and how one small voice can create large change.”

Motivated by the book, one student wrote a letter to her state governor asking that all storm drains have no dumping signage and organized a playground garbage pickup at her school. After reading the book, 9-year-old Ryan Conners of Claremont, Calif. started recycling plastic six-pack rings by setting up collection bins across town. His goal was to raise $1,000 from recycling proceeds and donate them to the Ocean Conservation Society of Southern California.

From concept to print

Harper reads All the Way to the Ocean 
to students at a local school.
Despite the book’s success, Harper faced and continues to encounter challenges. It took him about eight years to publish All the Way to the Ocean. Many larger publishing companies wanted to simplify the book’s language. Some found the images inappropriate, among them gritty urban scenes with cars leaking oil or people not disposing of pet waste. Further, they would not print in the US or on responsible paper stock.

“If I’m going to publish a book on environmental conservation, it is important to be consistent,” Harper said. Self-taught, he started his own publishing company, Freedom Three Publishing, to overcome these issues.

Although it was more expensive, Harper used New Leaf Paper, which printed the book on recycled paper using sustainably harvested wood. The environmentally friendly production process prevented 1431 kg (3155 lbs) of greenhouse gases and saved 57,515 L (15,194 gal) of water compared to traditional methods.

“It feels really good to have taken a mere idea this far all on my own,” Harper said. Yet, funding remains a major difficulty. According to Harper, every 10,000 books printed costs $25,000. Early on, the Save Our Seas Foundation was instrumental in curbing the printing costs, he said. Harper would like to find investors that buy the books in mass quantities, so he can give them to schools at no cost.

Onto the screen
Now, Harper is taking his story to the next level, turning All the Way to the Ocean into a 10-minute flash animation piece that he hopes to release next month on Earth Day 2014. Harper is working with Mediatavern, the producers and investors, as well as several well-known actors and musicians, including his brother, Ben Harper, and reggae artist Burning Spear. Actress Marcia Cross from the show Desperate Housewives will narrate the film, and actress Amy Smart will voice one of the characters along with singer and songwriter Xavier Rudd. Also Pete Michaels, a writer from the show Family Guy, will bring some humor to a very serious subject matter.

The film and book also will be supported by a multimedia platform with interactive online games that help kids learn about runoff and litter. Harper also hopes to release his new book, Sea Change, around the same time as the movie. The book’s protagonist, a 12-year-old girl, seeks to educate her school about litter after a beach outing. Kids will be able to write their own version online next to the story images. The goal of this, and many of Harper’s other projects, is to help children become better environmental stewards through storytelling.

Visit Harper’s website at www.allthewaytotheocean.com to learn more about the book and animated short film project.