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3 posts from October 2009

October 23, 2009

Does Maria Shriver's Women's Nation Lack a Massive Segment?

Picture 21 It's been a long while since I've tapped into my inner women's circle of pals. Work has consumed me and I've had to put this blog in simmer mode. This morning, however, Yvonne DiVita's blog post cranked up the burner. 

Yvonne is a long-time blog pal and my publisher, she's also been a long-time voice for the everyday gal who's just trying to make a mark in a world that generally ignores her contributions. In her post, she takes on Maria Shriver's Women's Nation Report for two reasons: 

1. Her site focuses on Maria's pals who are only women at the top of the professional food chain.

2. The report focuses on Moms (again) (short overview here)

Yvonne's argument centered on the reports lack of diversity in its roll out and zeroed in on PANKS (Professional Aunts No Kids). As someone who writes for and with green moms all the time, it rang true. The mom stats are quoted so much that even I didn't know the Aunt stats. We 50 percenters aren't even on the radar within our own crowd. 

Interestingly, Melanie Notkin was a bit unhappy with Maria's conference call and her work, also. For those who don't know Melanie she is the founder of Savvy Auntie - a powerful group of women who represent close to 50% of the female population in the U.S. 

The green moms that I hang out with are the best and very inclusive of us who don't have kids. That's the kind of women's nation I want to see. Thank goodness for women like Yvonne who started me on the blog path and for BlogHer for promoting women bloggers at large and for Terry Gamer at Womego for bringing the voices from 500 women-owned publications forward. Without that first push, I would never have written my first post let alone a whole book. 

What this report really reinforces is that our value system that has gone from citizenship to consumership. The reason moms are quoted and tracked is because while they may have less available cash than the PANKS, they have more reasons to buy. They also share more (word of mouth) making them coveted WOM media targets because kids force them into circles of communication that we Aunts don't have. 

I'm glad the tipping point of prosperity has happened and for the attention that this report gives it, but I agree with Yvonne, it's the diversity of the crowd that makes us a stronger "nation" and it's the blogs that bring us together. 

October 20, 2009

A Mindful Momma is more than "Practically Green"...

... She's practically everyone's Grandma. (sorry Micaela, but you gave me a flashback)

In her new book, Practically Green, Micaela Preston embodies women of another age who understood how to make their own cleaning supplies, create their own fun and COOK!  Practically Green provides all the tips that you'd normally get from working side-by-side a sage woman of the house, but with a green twist. It won't take you a lifetime to learn however, Micaela takes the learning curve done to a month or less. 

Picture 12 Micaela, who also authors the Mindful Momma blog, created this delightful book that's a joy to read and hold in your hand. At 5-1/2 by 7 inches, its small size makes it easy to carry in your purse for a reference while shopping. 

Like many of the how-to-be-green books it's jammed with ideas and fun facts for keeping your family toxin-free. What makes it different is the tone. Facts come at you in small bites with lots of pictures that draw you through the book. 

It would make a perfect stocking stuffer, but it might be more fun to follow Micaela's instructions for making lip balm or fizzy bath balls from scratch and give green gifts this year. Or, instead of making a fruit cake you might want to bring Very Veggie Loaf to the holiday open houses. Why not? At least the Very Veggie Loaf will be eaten.

This isn't green for the sustainable die hards, it's green for the rest of us who just want to live our lives a bit better, but don't know where to start or how to stay motivated. The book will keep you busy trying its recipes and crafts and also give you tips for getting food and glue out of clothing. Or, dump the clothes and try the vanilla sugar body scrub.

Start inserting these practical changes into your family and your grandchildren will remember who taught them what to do. 

October 13, 2009

Sustainable Standards: What are the Consumer's Opinions?

On October 1, Wal Mart asked its 100,000 suppliers to fill out 15 questions relating to their sustainability. It was just a request, but in doing so it set an expectation of what is to come - manufacturers will be expected to answer harder and harder questions about their sustainable attributes. Wal Mart and its BBFs (Big Box Friends) have created a consortium to set a Sustainable Index for the world.

I have a question for Wal Mart, why aren't consumers part of your consortium? They don't have $250,000 for the entry fee or even the $25,000 you're asking the small businesses to pay, they've been priced out, yet consumers are 100% of the retail consortium's buyer base. Don't their opinions count? Shouldn't the buyers of your products get a say in helping you form this developing standard with global implications? [the entry fee has been lowered since this was published - MH 11.1.09]

This month's Green Mom Carnival was inspired by this gap in communications. What do the carnivalites think about Wal Mart's and friends Sustainability Index? When should we have standards and what do we want included? 

NEW Beth Terry on Fake Plastic Fiswas late to the carnival, but her post is so on-target with the concerns and issues that this retail consortium's creates. If you have one post to read, read her's. Then read the rest and get the background and additional viewpoints. Wal Mart is right about one thing, this is bigger than just them - it's about all of us

Eco Baby Steps did a bang up job of defining what standards, certifications, seals and more are and are not. Start with this blog to get your base of operations on this confusing world of standards. 

Katy at Non-Toxic Kids just submitted her post explaining the consortium players and connections. Because it goes hand-in-hand with the above, I'm adding her to the top of the submissions.

Over on Citizen Green the subject of having a standard for green events is addressed. I'm with ya. Have you ever seen a street after the parade or attended a trade show? The pile of leftover litter is so unnecessary. Be sure to catch her tip list before you manage your next event. 

Ambejoins as newbie this month to the Green Mom Carnival, her first post on Wal Mart's Sustainability Index can be found here. Her readers had a very strong pro/con reaction, some even thought that Wal Mart planted responses! 

Karen has her say over over on Best of Mother Earth. You remember Karen, she's the one who ranted about a 12 year old McDonald's hamburger that never rotted and the post went viral? In this post she expresses the skepticism and fear many of us feel about standards and their ilk. 

Diane on Big Green Purse has been a strong advocate of standards for years. Her summary will make you think twice about the labels you follow now. She wants the standards that do stand the test of public opinion to be meaningful. 

Erin adds a very poignant view and coordinating story that brings home the message of engagement and participation in the new standards - read it for a look inward at yourself. 

One of the originators of the Green Mom Carnival, Lynn (Organicmania), extends the conversation on the lack of consumer participation in the sustainability index. Lynn's a long time supporter of the Wal Mart sustainability direction, read her reaction here.  

This is a very globe reaching subject. My thanks to the women who take their high standards seriously and hope that the retail giants of the world do as well. Please visit their thoughtful posts and leave your comments.