Wednesday
Jan172018

Green @ Home in Houston: Small Steps to Larger Environmental Impact

Being “Green at Home” is a home practice of environmental mindfulness. In my point of view, “Going Green” is a process that involves pursuing ecological knowledge and instilling recommendations in our society. The aim is to improve current conditions while protecting and sustaining natural resources for future generations. If we are able to start making a difference in our family settings and communities, we can inspire other members of our society to make a difference as well. Green practices that start in the home transfer naturally into public arenas.  
In my family setting, a staple practice of our “green” efforts involves maintaining a minimalistic lifestyle. We opt to do our best to de-clutter our kitchen, bathrooms and storage areas to limit waste. We repurpose vegetable pieces, stalks, seeds and leaves to make stocks and soups. We are also financially advantaged enough to be able to buy energy efficient appliances and cleaning products. In the spring, we open the windows most days to limit air conditioning usage and save on our energy bill. Living in alignment with the “Going Green” movement at home can be very simple because you have more control over your immediate environment. Whereas, in public places the ability to recycle, reuse and save energy rests on the tools and infrastructure provided by the municipality or businesses and organizations in the area. 
The ability to exercise environmental mindfulness depends on living situation and household income. Making conscious choices toward the environment may be much simpler for families living above the median U.S. income. In Houston, neighborhoods in the Southwest quadrant of the city have health and environmentally conscious retailers and restaurants readily available. For someone living in the Memorial area, a Trader Joes or Whole Foods may be less than a block away from home. These retailers have policies that lean heavily toward sustainable agriculture and organic farming. Such places may increase individual awareness of “Green” practices in the community. 
Households with incomes below the current U.S. median may struggle implementing “Green” choices in their homes if businesses in their neighborhoods do not reflect progressive attitudes toward the environment. In neighborhoods like Sunnyside, where my family originally resided, food is more expensive and the quality is poor. In order to give her children nutritious meals, my great grandmother would trek across town to other grocery stores. A commute such as that is a time constraint that few would be willing to spare, especially if more pressing financial or health concerns limit time and mental space for creating new habits. 
The matter of awareness is key when we think about how folks “Go Green” at home. If your neighborhood has no regulations on recycling, it is not likely going to be a priority that comes to mind. We also have to consider what resources are available in different areas of Houston. What knowledge is accessible to people of different backgrounds? Knowledge and increased public awareness can drive change in a positive direction. Make a project of starting your own “Green” initiatives at home and watch as your changed attitudes and habits spread further!

 

- By: Kelly Beecher

Sunday
Jan142018

Introduction to "Homegrown": Vox Culture's 2018 Initiative on Environment

For 2018 Vox Culture shifts gears as it turns its focus from 2017's "Know Your Neighbors" racial equality initiative to this year's feature cause, Environment!

Our 2018 initiative on environment, called "Homegrown," begins in February and will extend to November of this year. Officially partnering with Houstainable, Houston Sierra Club, Citizens' Environment Coalition, and Air Alliance Houston, Vox Culture will seek to work with these organization's to address trending themes on environment in Houston.

The goal behind "Homegrown" throughout 2018 will be to educate, raise awareness, fundraise, and develop creative social action projects that address a variety of environment related issues impacting Houston. Among the final aims of the year for Vox Culture will be to present (1) How ideas presented by Houston artists can be implemented to further raise awareness on environment, (2) How creative solutions developed by local entrepreneurs and startups can be used to address environmental challenges facing many Houstonians, and (3) How our community can come to both take action on local environmental issues and continue to prepare for future environmental challenges that may face Houston. 
If you would like to volunteer, collaborate, contribute, or seek more information on our “Homegrown” environment initiative, please send a message to viktor.kopic@voxculture.org.

 

Friday
Jan122018

VOX Beer Summit: Introducing 2018 'Homegrown' Initiative

Vox Culture will be opening the new year with a special event to introduce it’s focus on tackling the topic of environment in Houston. The advocacy organization will be hosting its second annual VOX Beer Summit at Eureka Heights Brew Co.  the evening of Friday, February 9th from 6:30PM to 8:30PM. The event will be the formal opening for the organization’s 2018 theme, ‘Homegrown’.
The Vox Beer Summit will provide a chance for guests to meet Vox Culture's community partners for the year: Houstainable, Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, and the Sierra Club of Houston. The organizations will present information to the audience pertaining to their work, the current environmental challenges Houston faces and what is or needs to be done, innovative solutions that can have a positive impact on environment, and the push for a proper environmental policy for the City of Houston. Guests will also have a chance to network individually with the groups to inquire about their work, ask environmentally related questions, and potentially sign up for future volunteering or fundraising opportunities with these groups. Towards the end of the presentations, guests will be welcome to come express and talk about either the challenges or positives that they see in their neighborhoods and/or Houston overall, on the subject of environment, and voice what they would like to see done in Houston. 
A happy hour selection from Eureka Heights will also be available for guests wanting to purchase beer. Soft drinks and water will also be made available.
The goal behind ‘Homegrown’ throughout 2018 will be to educate, raise awareness, fundraise, and develop creative social action projects that address a variety of environment related issues impacting Houston. Among the final aims of the year for Vox Culture will be to present (1) how ideas presented by Houston artists can be implemented to further raise awareness on environment, (2) how creative solutions developed by local entrepreneurs and startups can be used to address environmental issues.

Entry is free but limited. Please select and print your ticket to reserve your spot at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vox-beer-summit-ii-tickets-42116111423

The latest updates can be found by visiting the Vox Culture page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/voxculturehouston.

Inquiries may be directed to shen.ge@voxculture.org.

Monday
Mar202017

Know Your Neighbors: Vox Storytellers 

Following up on one of our newest signature events’ successful debut last year, Vox Culture presents the second annual presentation of Vox Storytellers. The event is part of our on-going 2017 theme, Know Your Neighbors.

This year’s Vox Storytellers will gather prominent voices from the vast diaspora of Houston to share their stories in a conversation about racial equality and diversity. Each speaker will represent a different Houston ethnic group, and ranging in professional backgrounds that include entrepreneurs, artists, former FBI agents, college students, and local government and civic leaders, will share their story.


Sharing stories is the most fundamental aspect of building human connections. Vox Culture feels that it pays to sometimes dig back through our layers of modernity and embrace the calm poise of storytelling. All in an attempt to know each other better.

Vox Storytellers seeks time to embrace and listen to stories in a more meaningful way. The storytelling session will be followed by a panel discussion on racial equality and an audience Q&A.

The goal of this event is to connect the citizens of Houston together in a deeper, more thoughtful way by lending human voices and faces to the conversation on race and understand our diversity.

This event will be hosted at Ecclesia and presented in collaboration with:

Iconoclast -: A group of young creative minds who believe that poetry can change the world.

Project Curate -: An organization that nurtures and facilitates new expressions of kinship, compassion, solidarity, and inclusive diversity in Houston and other cities.

Seats are FREE but limited. Inquiries may be directed to Nadir Hashmi at nadir.hashmi@voxculture.org.

Tuesday
Mar142017

Know Your Neighbors: Vision of our Diverse Nation 

Vision of our Diverse Nation will be the formal debut event of Know Your Neighbors. With the usage of short films and video clips, the featured visual stories will highlight challenges that exist among racial groups. The goal of this event is to encourage creative thinking and dialogue.


Participants will engage in small group discussions both to tell and listen to various stories concerning race, following the media exhibit. In the process, Vox Culture hopes to build bridges among neighbors and contribute to the larger conversation in our country about racial equality.  

Event Partners include Iconoclast, Project Curate, and the City of Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department.          

For more information on the Know Your Neighbors initiative and the debut event of the series, Vision of our Diverse Nation, visit Vox Culture’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/voxculturehouston. Inquiries may be directed to shen.ge@voxculture.org.