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Green Picks: SoleRebels... Rothbury Festival...

African entrepreneur speaks out about sustainable project.

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SoleRebels artisan at work.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

>> Rebels With A Cause
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is the ultimate community organizer. The African entrepreneur founded SoleRebels, a sustainable line of fair-trade, handmade footwear that creates jobs for people from her village in Zenabwork, Ethiopia. “We knew the idea for SoleRebels was sound because folks in our community have many artisan skills,  they simply needed to be appropriately channeled,” she said. “We saw that footwear is an excellent platform to share many of the indigenous eco-sensible crafts we have here in Ethiopia. It also meant that we could source and make almost all our materials locally.” SoleRebels’ shoes are modeled after the traditional Ethiopian “selate” and “barabasso” styles, which make use of recycled car tires. And major retailers are taking notice. SoleRebels has formed partnerships with Endless.com, Amazon.com, Urban Outfitters and Whole Foods. Price points range from $30 to $65, and this year the company is on target for $500,000 in sales. But the biggest payoff is its community employment and development. “I’m proud to say SoleRebels  has supplied more than 40 people from our community with full-time, dignified and well-paying work, and a further 100 people with part-time jobs,” said Alemu. “We passionately believe that trade, not aid, is the key to upliftment.” Contact: rootsculturetires@gmail.com Meghan Cass

>> (Green)house Party
New York nightclub Greenhouse puts its aspirations right in the name. Located in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, the two-level, 6,000-sq.-ft. lounge/event space opened late last year and has been on a sustainable tear ever since. With recycled glass bars, water-friendly bathroom fixtures, bamboo floor and wall coverings, and recycled and renewable building materials throughout (as well as a spectacular 5,000-crystal LED light fixture), Greenhouse is giving new meaning to the phrase “eco-chic.” The club also claims to be the first LEED-registered club (the space is awaiting certification). Party on in good conscience, green lovers. Jennifer Ernst Beaudry

>> Prom Green
Most high schoolers prepping for the prom consider corsage colors before carbon footprints. But Project Green Prom, a new initiative sponsored by Whole Foods Market and cosmetics line Teens Turning Green, aims to change that. Through an interactive Website and a series of nationwide events, teens are given the tools to make more sustainable decisions regarding beauty, fashion, transportation and décor for their big night. Throughout April and May, there will be launch parties across the country, where promgoers can view green fashion shows and spa treatments that can help inform their prom purchases. A Project Green Prom pop-up shop will also bow in Corte Madera, Calif., with eco-friendly gowns, shoes and beauty treatments to get girls and guys greenly glam. Visit Projectgreenprom.com for more information and a full event schedule. M.C.

>> Mood Music
The mood will be festive and eco-friendly this July in Rothbury, Mich., where the Rothbury Festival will attempt to throw a live music extravaganza with zero waste. (It’s using recycling and composting initiatives, clean energy and carbon offsets to do it.) Held over the July 4 weekend, the four day-event will include art installations, camping, yoga, light shows and parties, as well as sustainability focused roundtables and discussions. On stage will be The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, The Black Crowes, G. Love and Special Sauce, Broken Social Scene, Girl Talk and Ani DiFranco, among many others. Tickets are $273 (including fees for the weekend), but through May 2, fans can enter to win fully paid trips on Merrell.com/rothbury. J.E.B.

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