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3 posts from October 2008

October 26, 2008

Three things I'm most grateful for - ever!

"What are the three things you're most grateful for, ever"? That's the question of the month for the green carnival women being hosted by Karen Hanrahan. That "ever" part threw me, how can you limit it to three? My DH would be #1, but outside of family and friends I had to really think about what I use/do that makes me grateful each and every day.

#1 would be, knowing how to grow food and cook a meal from scratch. (Thanks Mom and Dad and Grandma and Aunt Wilma)  It's cost SO LITTLE to scratch a little hole in the ground for a seed and later have SO MUCH that I'd have extra to give away. Gardening is such a simple skill that I took for granted in the midwest, little did I know the peace of mind it gives me now during these rocky economic times. If I lose everything, I know I can survive if I have 200 square feet of earth.

Along with gardening comes preserving my own food, although it's been years since I've done it. I'm actually looking forward to the day when I'll have the time to line up my little jars and wait for the lids to softly ping as they seal.

Then there is the final creative moment  - cooking from scratch and to taste. It's very freeing to walk into a kitchen and 20 minutes later enjoy a meal without cracking a book. Today I bought a $22 bottle of black current Modema vinegar. I could blow that much on three fast food trips. Instead I have a memorable gastronomic experience that makes me also grateful for tastebuds.

My #2 item? Knowing how to type and having a computer connected to the web. I can't imagine my world if I couldn't type. How could I communicate?!? (Thank you Mrs. Sleeman for my 11th grade business typing class)  Through typing and blogging I've made amazing friends who will always be there just a tapity, tap away no matter where in the world I'm logging in. Since I don't have children my virtual friends are my family. They provide an endless supply of inspiration, advice and kindness that fill my mornings and now my nights. When I can't sleep, I log onto Twitter and there are all my friends who can't sleep as well.

I'm MOST grateful that millions of people are blogging and creating a new world order through their thoughts and actions. Every time an opinion is carved into the Internet cave wall, a vote is cast - for better schools, safer food, universal healthcare... and it far out weighs the angry mob that also lives on the web. Blogging has proven to me beyond doubt that people are basically good. That gives me great hope as we race to fix a shaken economy and climate change solutions.

#3 - oh if only I could make it happen... RAIN. Until you've lived 50 years in the midwest and then 6 years in the LA desert, you can't appreciate how delightful and reviving a good rainstorm is. Here in Orange, CA, we get a really good rain maybe one or two days a year. I mean a good soaker storm, not that little airy stuff that dries up before it hits terra firma.

I miss rain - the smell, the need for sweaters, the worms, the rainbows, the post storm sunsets and that extra bounce it gives your attitude afterwards. I still click on the MN DOT highway cameras back in Minneapolis when I need a fix. It's almost November and with it the "green" month(s). When it rains, I'll be very grateful. Until then, I'm equally grateful that I have experienced the joy of something as common as weather.  

October 19, 2008

Head's up Business - Green Women Bloggers are testing products...

I've met so many innovating and fearless green women these last couple of weeks. I'm honored to be in their circles and humbled to keep up with them. The following captures the new levels of knowledge they are willing to share and how people are reacting.

First up, Beth Terry. She was in the SoCal hood to speak at A Campaign Against the Plastic Plague Conference and met me poolside for cocktails. (Cheers, Beth!) Beth, is the lead writer for Fake Plastic Fish and the power behind Take Back the Filter, a campaign asking for Brita to provide a recycling program here like they do in Europe. Beth's contribution to the conference? To help others see how one person with vision and a blog can make big changes. When she started her Filter campaign, she received only form letters from Clorox. Today she is getting updates on what they are doing to rectify the problem.

Beth's story was retold in the NY Times. Afterwards, 650 more people signed the pledge to "Take back the filter." Contrast those numbers with when her story ran on Ideal Bite - 15,000 signed the pledge. If you have a cause, take it to the court of women bloggers.

Karen Hanrahan gets high marks for "Who would of guessed." She posted on her 12-year-old non-rotting McDonald's burger. As of last week she's had over 446,983 hits to her post and over 900 comments. Who knew that people would be so passionate about this icon of consumption.

This past weekend I was able to meet with Jennifer Taggert (The Smart Mama) and MC Milkner of Not Quite Crunchy Parent at Jennifer's birthday party in San Pedro. Jennifer is an environmental attorney specializing in consumer product labeling and Proposition 65 compliance, and a former environmental engineer. Mary Anne (MC) is a marketer of consumer products and lead writer for Green Options. I'm so lucky to have them both within driving distance. Orange County isn't exactly known for it's green activism; these two have given me new hope for my transplanted home.   

Last week, a bunch of green women bloggers met up while in DC for the BlogHer conference. I couldn't attend, but luckily Sommer shot a video of Jennifer using her $40,000 XRF analyzer to determine the amount of toxins in everyday keys (the kind kids chew on) or a PVC purse. You'll be as amazed as I was at how much lead they contain. Check out the full write up here at the Green Phone Booth.

Or watch the video here. (Thanks Sommer)  (Jess was in the booth as well.)

Consumer marketers, take the above as an example of how women are on the move to improve their homelife and at the same time change the way things are being made. You Go Girls!

October 01, 2008

Sam's Club Feeds the Hands that Feeds Them

Way to go Sam! Thank you for investing your money into the group that is investing their money into your stores - women. I caught the press release over on The Earth Times this morning announcing the following:

In celebration of Sam's Club 25th anniversary, the Wal-Mart Foundation will make a $580,000 donation to Count Me In, the leading national nonprofit provider of business resources and community support for women entrepreneurs building and growing their businesses.  In these tough economic times, Sam's Club is joining with Count Me In to recognize the innovation and job creation potential of small businesses and heighten women entrepreneurs' role in the nation's economy.

Groups such as Opt In Now and Seed Money have been behind global micro loans for a long time. This is the first time, however, that I've seen a large corporation actually donate cash that would help grow businesses here in the U.S. - not like this anyway. Please let me know of other companies which are doing the same.

Best Buy's WoLF program, help's women employees inside Best Buy become better at their job and want to stay with Best Buy, part of that is a volunteer program that gives time back to the community. Kudos, good stuff, like it...  The Wal Mart action however, supports women on the outside of the big box. In a way, Wal Mart is playing the role of a venture capitalist. The difference is that the club gets paid back with increased sales instead of loan payments. ANd... if this blog counts - permanent, position promotion.

That's a business strategy that isn't out of the marketing books, but out of the common sense books. You help me and I'll help you. Reciprocal currency is alive and well.

More than ten million women own businesses in the United States, yet 79%
of them report revenues below $50,000.  With this commitment from Sam's Club,
Count Me In will be able to expand its program to include women owned
businesses with revenue sales below $50,000 up to $500,000. To launch the
partnership, Count Me In will provide direct resources to assist 625 women
through its business growth programs.  Twenty five women business owners from
around the country will receive a Sam Walton Emerging Entrepreneur Award
Tuesday, Oct. 7 in Charlotte, NC at Count Me In's Make Mine a Million $
Business(TM) event. The remaining 600 women will be announced soon.

Thanks Sam (and Wal Mart) for thinking outside of your big box and helping rebuild the foundation for economic growth. This action tells me that you value women who are making a living and making a difference. You are helping to create an economic package that is mutually beneficial, the more money we make, the more money you make because we support those who support us. There is nothing wrong with that back scratch approach.

What I appreciate even more is the high amount of green products you are bringing into your stores, such as the computers that meet the higher standards held in Europe and organic cotton clothes. We don't want to be financially successful and then add to the waste stream problem.

Again, my thanks for taking a step in the right direction.