STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK
Parttime Ketchum resident Diana Kapp showed up at the Sun Valley Community School this past week wearing a cape made of soda tab pulls.
It was a catchy way to draw attention to the creative ways cast-offs can be recycled. And it was an even catchier way to draw attention to her new book, “Girls Who Green the World: Thirty-four Rebel Women Out to Save Our Planet”
Kapp told audience members that the genesis for the book came from her three children, including her youngest daughter Emma, who attends Sun Valley Community School.
Diana Kapp divides her time between Sun Valley and San Francisco.
“They’re so concerned with the environment—it’s the only issue,” she said.
Kapp noted that eco-anxiety is so concerning youth that a new niche is arising for therapists dealing with climate change.
She had already written a book spotlighting female entrepreneurs titled “Girls Who Run the World” after noting that Forbes’ list of 100 top innovators included just one woman. And she set about to do the same for females who are fighting to save the planet.
Her inspiration: Susan Solomon, who worked in minus 40 -degree temperatures measuring light at the Antarctic as she researched how the Antarctic ozone hole developed.
Diana Kapp provided some Pulp Chips for those attending her lecture to try.
The 34 women Kapp includes in her book include one who makes grain-free barbecue, sea salt, jalapeño lime and salt and vinegar “Pulp Chips” out of the leftover fiber of vegetables that would otherwise be thrown away.
It includes a San Francisco woman who upcycled what she called “cosmetically-challenged” cucumbers and other produce that would have been thrown away to produce a line of “Ugly Pickles.”
Kayla Abe followed a similar track to start a business called “Ugly Produce” that resells blemished fruits and vegetables that aren’t deemed pretty enough to meet supermarket standards. She even opened a pizzeria called Shuggie’s Trash Pies in San Francisco that has food waste on the menu.
Emily Stengel co-founded Greenwave to teach regenerative ocean farming. Rihanna Gunn-Wright, a former intern for Michelle Obama, is the architect of the Green New Deal, designed to transform the economy to mitigate climate change.
Kayla Abe concocted Ugly Pickles to mitigate some of the food waste.
Mary Anne Hitt, the director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, closed or prevented 339 proposed coal plants. Lisa Dyson capitalized on an old NASA experiment to produce chicken and bacon from carbon dioxide.
University of Michigan students Nana Britwum and Janice Newsom are turning invasive weeds into black hair extension as they try to turn people away from carcinogenic plastic braids. SunRun’s Lynn Jurich has put 600,000-plus solar panels on rooftops, while Kathy Hannun has pioneered home-based geothermal energy.
Another’s extending the life of avocados to keep them out of landfills and still another is turning mushrooms into leather.
Kapp noted that if Americans substituted eBikes for just 15 percent of their car trips, carbon emissions would drop 12 percent. Choosing a bike over a car just once a day reduces an average citizen’s carbon emissions from transportation by 67 percent.
Diana Kapp has written two books designed to inspire young women.
She also noted that half the world is wearing blue jeans at any one time, but that the dye used for blue jeans is highly toxic. One woman, she said, he taking hers from the indigo plant to rectify that problem. Still another is designing fashion dresses out of Styrofoam packaging.
These innovators show the importance of shifting our mindset, she said.
“Most of these women did not know anything about what they were dealing with going in. A lot simply had personal issues they were trying to solve. Find a problem that you’re interested in and talk to as many people as you can,” she said.
Kapp challenged those in the audience to do something to benefit the planet, whether it be commitment to not eating meat for the next five days, taking used blankets and towels to the animal shelter, starting a compost pile or volunteering for climate-friendly candidates.
“Just do something, even if it’s small,” she said. “People don’t realize how much influence they have over friends. A good idea can spread.”