Hello and welcome to the Green Upward design diary series. Green Upward is a sustainable design studio and lifestyle blog. This video is about: Real Tools for Real People, and includes my prototyping, sketching, testing processes. This is all about how to design the beautifully functional, not the pretty useless.

My summary notes from this video are:

  • How did I start? This journey began when I wanted to reduce my waste and live more sustainably. I got frustrated at the grocery store one day when my tomatoes squished at the bottom of my reusable tote bag. Then, I tried…


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When we can interact and work together with initiatives that have likeminded values and ideas, it inspires us to learn and adopt new sustainable practices into our day-to-day lives. It’s much easier to join a community of people already taking green action. Through Instagram, Green Upward met TreeEra — an organization that helps individuals and businesses reduce their carbon footprint and combat the effects of climate change by community-funding the planting of trees. Although our overall missions are similar, our paths to get there are different, which is why we thought it would be interesting to answer a few of…


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This past week I collaborated with visual designer Marta Zewdu (Instagram: @collarbones) on styling and shooting Green Upward bags. Post shoot, I sat down with Marta to discuss the shoot and here’s what I asked her:

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Green Upward: Tell me about yourself!

Marta Zewdu: My names Marta, I’m a 24-year-old visual artist in learning from the Northern Virginia/Washington, DC area.

GU: How did you hear about Green Upward?

MZ: Well, a mutual friend (shout out: Richie) told me about a sustainable bag line of a fellow Virginia Tech grad…


Dear 2018,This year belongs to the sustainable folks: to those who chose to live with less waste, bring their own straw, support local food markets, and so much more.

This year goes out to the folks who are willing to change, and encourage others to change for the benefit of our earth and environment. Let us not loose track of why we choose to live more sustainably: for fresher air, cleaner oceans, a safer world for our children and grandchildren…

I’ve written a blog post on 10 simple steps you can take to begin to reduce your waste in 2018…


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Why am I talking about sustainability?

I am not an expert. I am not an environmental scientist, nor do I live an extreme zero waste lifestyle. I am first and foremost a designer, and I want to present sustainability to you through my lens of design, and design thinking. It’s my belief that sustainability, while an environmental problem, is also best posed as a design challenge, and that approaching this with a design mindset has a lot of power in the future of our environment and the way we interact with it.

Why does it matter to me?

However, before…


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There are many reasons a person may want to downsize their material goods: the coveted minimalistic lifestyle, moving in with a partner, transitioning to a new job, or starting out at a new city.

As I have exited university, I have had to undergo a major downsize, reducing what I owned to nearly half of what I own now. I have been avoiding the dump like the plague and instead have been looking for as many alternative options as possible.

That being said, one cannot give away items to just anyone; a miss-placed donation can easily end up in the…


A couple weekends ago, in late summer my boyfriend and I had the opportunity to stay with a friend in the family’s cabin in Sarnia, Canada for a weekend. We are both sustainably conscious individuals interested in living environmentally holistic lives, and thought it would be fun to challenge ourselves to have a sustainable weekend through conscious purchasing, activities, and waste reduction.

Originally published at greenupward.com.


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Today was a good day. I went with my mom to pick up our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share. Potomac Vegetable Farms, where our farm share comes from, is headquartered off of Route 7, in a beautiful little green nook, just down the road from the hustle and bustle of Tyson’s Corner Virginia.

I love the fresh smell of earth hits you as soon as you step out of your car and head down the small hill toward the produce booth and veggie stand. Potomac Vegetable Farms claims they’re eco-organic. In their own words they describe this as:


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Image from my 2017 Kickstarter

“Follow your mission, not your passion” — was a saying from one of my favorite design professors. I believe the next generation of designers and entrepreneurs has the responsibility to question what they make and focus on solutions that contribute real positive health, environmental, or cultural change — and that this change isn’t reserved just for large companies.

I am two things: (1) Not very good at sitting still, and (2) an environmentally focused designer. The combination of these two traits led me to start a small design company called Green Upward in the year following my graduation from undergrad…


The SolarMill studio is a eco-tech wonderland of solar energy based creativity and concepts, and I was ~sunstruck~ by their work. They are a small design and manufacturing studio that is entirely solar-powered. Their mission is to effect a solar renaissance: to inspire others to harness the power of the sun to meet their own energy needs. In doing so, they are reducing carbon emissions by researching and developing radical new methods of mass production. They are passionate about designing high quality consumer products made in a responsible way.

On a hot afternoon in an industrial complex in Richmond VA…

Green Upward

Green Upward is a design studio & lifestyle blog seeking to rethink what sustainability is in our daily lives. By Gabriella Jacobsen | www.greenupward.com

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