53 posts categorized "climate change agents"

September 23, 2010

The Bigger Question is Why Wasn't This Done Sooner?

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This week Hillary Clinton announced a, “cross-cutting issue” that affects health, the environment and women’s status in much of the world. “That’s what makes it such a good subject for a coordinated approach of governments, aid organizations and the private sector.” 

The solution comes in the form of a not-so-everyday cook stove--one that on the $20 model is 50% more efficient, and with the "$100 model can capture 95% of the harmful emissions while burning far less fuel to produce the same amount of energy," according to NY Times article.  Smoke from open burning, "kills 1.9 million people, mostly women and children, from lung and heart diseases and low birth weight. Go here for the full article.

Clean burning stoves are an elegant solution to helping women, children and men have a carbon-free home, while not polluting the atmosphere from millions of fires and at the same time keeping more women safe as less fuel is needed and they don't have to forage as far in dangerous territories for wood. [thank you to good guy, John Broder for bringing the story forward]

But why wasn't it done sooner? It's such an easy and elegant fix for many issues; what held others from putting this idea from advancing? In a word, gender. That's not a criticism, it's a reality. If you don't touch the problem every day, you don't feel the issue. Around the world, cooking is women's work and because of that, it isn't on the top of the male mind to fix it. 

Hillary Clinton, a long champion of women's rights, is the spokesmodel for the issue along with Lisa P. Jackson from the EPA and others who have worked together to launch this project on a global scale. Granted, Hillary already admitted that she's not the type to stay home and bake cookies for her man, but she is sensitive to the issues of those who do and that's what makes the difference.

When gender is balanced at a partnership level, good things happen on a global level. Women's issues come to the forefront instead of overlooked. Under a "partnership" economic model, families thrive as well as business. In this case, nearly HALF the people on the planet use inefficient stoves in order to cook food. Providing clean burning stoves and replacing them every few years is a big economic boom to everyone in the supply chain.

It's proof that going green is a good thing for the economy even on its most basic level, and that the leadership for this change will be come from those who touch the issues everyday at home--women.

For more information contact Leslie Cordes, Senior Director of Partnership Development, Lcordes@unfoundation.org and check out www.cleancookstoves.org.





September 07, 2010

A Reality Show, by Women for Women

I became a bit player in the In Women We Trust "reality show" the past two weeks. In the book I explored why women turn to each other for advice. In the real-life "show" last week i experienced the answer again and again as to why we are forming our our gender-specific groups at a time when we should all be "equal".

Screen shot 2010-09-07 at 4.11.13 AMFirst up, the Sales Shebang, where 25 female sales professionals came together in Chicago to share ideas and synergies. The women were gracious, giving, and very funny. 


A few days later I found myself in Pasadena at the Women in Green Forum with 300+ of the most engaging women leading sustainable practices in the Los Angeles area. 


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The realty is, it's just plain different when you have a room full of women talking or a room that's dominated by male discussion. The female style is more open, authentic and -- well -- real, real to me anyway and that's the difference on who I felt I could trust with information and who I couldn't. Because my guard was down, I was more open and didn't feel that anyone was holding back on me, either.  

At the Sales Shebang, trade secrets were exchanged as easily as emails. During the Women In Green Forum connections that would have taken months of cold calls were made in minutes. 

The big takeaway from both -- network convergence. Dots are being connected between the silos of disciplines. We may work in one sector, but we share with all.

By now everyone knows that women dominate consumer spending decisions. We are also moving into corporate positions for sales, marketing, purchasing and sustainability (congrats to Andrea Thomas) We may not be at the very top of the corporate food chain, but more of the decisions which effect that corporate bottom line are being made first by us -- that's a reality show worth watching.

July 17, 2010

DeVita Does Dickless Marketing, Can You?

Screen shot 2010-07-17 at 8.42.27 AM On Monday, Yvonne DiVita, LipSticking Queen and publisher of In Women We Trust, (the book) will be speaking on our favorite topic - Marketing to Women by Women.  Be sure to listen into the program hosted by Simple Truths for Women Entrepreneurs. 

Yvonne will be joining others as she reveals what she's learned about this market-moving culture that has gone from "trend" to "mainline-never-to-turn-back-fact" on MONDAY, July 19th at 3:00 p.m. (PST) 

Yvonne caught my eye years ago when she wrote "Dickless Marketing," what's not to love about someone who isn't afraid to be so cheeky? She is a pioneer on the topic of why women think, act and buy differently than men. 

We've been promoting each other for years, which is sort of the point -- why do women talk and promote each other's work and how can your company/product be part of that circle of influence?  This is goes way past girly, and straight to the core of the women-driven media. It doesn't matter if you're selling organic food or sustainable wall panels, if you want to know how to generate buzz in an authentic way using word-of-mouth,  tune in on Monday and find out how. 

July 13, 2010

Anne Younglove: Creating a Template for Green Tech Teaching

Wouldn't it be great if your teenager could graduate from High School and be able to earn $18-$20 an hour immediately?  Thanks to Anne Younglove and her colleagues, they can. 

Anne championed the idea of turning a typical business training program for solar panel installation into curriculum for high school students -- the kids not only graduate from high school, but they have a job waiting, if they want it. 

Is it working? So far Back Bay High has an outstanding 97% attendance rate of which 99% of the students graduate. In honor of that achievement Back Bay High was named a model school by the state of California. 

Kathy Evans is the solar installation class instructor, she started out teaching biology and then went hands-on into solar. She is a role model to other teachers and especially the young women in her classes. One female student decided not to go into solar installation, but because she was no longer afraid of science, she confidently turned her talents towards the medical field. 

Everyone wins in this apprentice-like system, the solar panel companies don't have to educate their new hires and the students get a hands-on, real-life education. On top of learning the basics of solar panel installation, they also learn about the marketing, operations and the nuance of running a small business from REC Solar

Anne told me that Sharp handles the installations; Suntrek is the thermal and solar photovoltaic supporters of the curriculum; Heritage has been a helpful adviser; and Global Village Green have been big supporters and are encouraging the school to move forward on Environment Auditing." 

It's good to see apprentice-type programs are making a come back. It's an amazing confidence booster to be able to make something with your own hands. 

I'll let their video tell the rest of the story. Nice work Anne!

June 18, 2010

A Day in a Green(er) Life

Beth, who writes on living plastic free at Fake Plastic Fish asked us to capture a typical day and how we face our green challenges. It was a more difficult assignment than I thought and showed the power of being mindful of what's in me, on me or around me...


5:45 / no need for an alarm clock, the sparrows outside of my window wake me up. 


6:00 hit the shower (with low-water shower), tried out the Green Natura soap we from the Sustainable Brands conference last week. I really like the face scrub and can feel the difference on my skin. Organic coffee has arrived as Mr. Hand slips a cupo-joe onto the bathroom sink  (thank you sweetie...)


6:30 figure out what to wear starting with what shoes I can walk in. One of the reasons I wear slacks to work is because dress shoes aren't walking shoes. (Settled for black sandals, black slacks and jacket, it is LA and anything brighter than brown is suspect) Actually I like black for the same reason my great, great grandmother wore it - it doesn't show the wear and tear like colors. the slacks are my new favorites, Royal Robbins found at REI, good for work or play / no wrinkles, dry instantly, pack tight, never shrink...


Returned email to EcoMomAlliance.


7:00 Drove the Honda Civic (33 mpg) to the train station where I'm writing this before the battery goes dead on my 'green' Mac laptop. The Metro train is a predictable 45 minutes until I catch the next link into downtown to my consulting job. I could walk to the train from my house, but then I'd look like a train wreck when I got to work.


8:30 First meeting - finish the Touchpoint Handbook. The handbook is a new business model for groups who have to work together, but have no tight financial contracts between them to keep the job on task. The District has hundreds of architects and contractors working on almost $6 billion in building projects over 10 campuses. The Touchpoint chart helps bring groups and processes together during the critical phases. The buildings are going for LEED certification.


11:30 didn't pack a lunch, so went down to the deli where everything comes in a plastic container. We have recycle bins in the office. I opt out of the plastic bag and just take the salad in its plastic container.  Used my bandana for a napkin and the real silverware that I have in my desk drawer. I never liked using plastic utensils.


12:00 Listened to TED talks while creating binders for the Touchpoint Handbook, an organization way to operate when you have hundreds of companies working on the same project.  Listening to TED is a great way to pass the time while doing mindless work. I can recommend the following on what makes us happy (you'll never give people choices again), one on poverty and creating new ideas. 





3:00 Binders complete. Checked email / found a google alert hit on SMaRT and the presentation Forbo gave to the GSA this month. http://www.usgbc-stl.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/SMaRT-Denny-Darragh.pdf  


4:00 Walked back to the Red Line,  8 minutes later I'm at the Union Station and catching the 4:30 Metro Link back to Orange. Finished up emails from work on the way home.


6:00 Dinner: We tried the veggie/eggplant meatballs and gluten free pasta. We're finding that we feel better when we don't eat as much wheat products. Mike thought the meatballs were 'ok' then I told them they were made of eggplant and he was more impressed. We'll buy them again. Thanks to Beth's prodding, we're buying far less plastic wrapped items.


We also buy the "Naked" brand of smoothies that are loaded with fresh veggies. They are expensive, but we use them as a base, add cold water and a sprig of fresh mint leaves and voila - an inexpensive and good for you beverage. We buy our main food at the Farmer's Market or Mothers Market. Both places let me buy without having to shop very hard for organic food. Mother's has a whole section dedicated to gluten-free food. That makes it easy to buy, I don't have to check every label, whatever is in that section is fair game. 


7:00 Cleaned up the kitchen with 7th Generation dish soap. Watered planters containing flowers as well as spearmint, chocolate mint (fantastic tea), oregano, basil, chives, rosemary, dill and thyme. It's nice to grab fresh and free food. Finished off emails for the day, hung out with Mike and went to bed by nine.  


It's not an extraordinary day, but that's the point. We're working so that doing everyday green things becomes so normal that no one has to think about it. I'd like to think that my little selections along the way are making a difference. 

May 04, 2010

Changing to Greener Transportation

Next stop Fullerton, watch your step...

Diane asked us to write on transportation for this month's Green Mom Carnival. Perfect timing, this morning, I'm riding the train into LA and that gives me an hour of productive computer time in and out. After the initial craziness of figuring out schedules and drop off points, it's become a mindless exercise. 

Buena Park, please use handrails when walking about...

I've been in LA for seven years and until six months ago I never knew that the Metrolink to downtown existed just a mile from my home. I heard the whistle in the distance, but had no reason to check it out further. That all changed when I had to commute to downtown. From my home in Orange to LA it's only 35 miles - a nothing commute if you traveled at highway speeds, when we don't - a 35 minute ride is more like 1.5 to 2 hours one way. Ugh. 

This is Norwalk / Sante Fe Springs, all aboard, the doors are closing...

I was forced into finding an alternative or be willing to get up at 5 am and beat the rush. As much as I like an early morning drive, the afternoon bumper car party can not be avoided. 

I looked on the maps and in bright blue, red, gold and purple colors you could see the Metrolink train routes which were everywhere except coming out of my town. It turns out they don't color the Amtrak/Metrolink route because it's an Amtrak, track. No wonder I couldn't find it.

Now the question becomes how much and is it worth it? For me it's not quite a financial wash, I drive a Honda Civic that averages 33 mpg in the city, or 2-3 gallons a day at $3 something. Let's call it $10. Then there is parking at $6.50 in the cheap lot.  

Honda miles/painful drive and long commute - $16.50 a day.

No miles/computer time, predictable commute - $24 a day with the 10 pay pass.

What do I get for the $8 extra dollars? Head time and less adrenalin pumping through my body as I dodge idiots cutting in front of me. 

I can plan my day instead of my day driving me. If I grab the 7:30 train vs. the 7:00, there are less people and we skip over the city of Commerce and head straight into LA. In less than 45 minutes i'm dropped at Union Station, from there I pick up the red line and three stops later I'm a block away from where I have to be. Nice. 

In less than an hour I can go from my office at home to my office in LA and still pick up an extra 30-45 minutes of computer-and-me time. Not a bad trade off. 


Union Station, all passengers must exit...

Time to pack up, thanks for riding along. 

April 18, 2010

Green Women Celebrate Earth Day's 40th Birthday

Screen shot 2010-04-03 at 7.01.35 AMWhoo Hoo! Light 'em if you got 'em, Earth Day's 40th birthday is here on April 22. It's time to pause and praise the thousands, maybe millions of Green Women making every day Earth Day by greening their homes and encouraging others through their blogs and community action projects. 

From mommy bloggers like Heather Hawkins and Renee Limon from EnviroMoms to members of the Green Mom Carnival to the team behind the Eco Mom Alliance and their 25,000 green gal pals - women everywhere are joining to support each other's work. 

All the awareness and buzz that they generate is fabulous. In tandem and equally important (but not as visual) are the women working in the B2B zone helping to bring the building, products and investment side of things into the main stream. Together the two groups are co-creating the next eco-culture. 

Coming up on April 28th, The Green Standard Organization, lead by Deborah Dunning, will be hosting a thought leader forum on sustainable standards in DC. They'll be covering the processes, education, financial backing, buildings, products... everything a business needs to make it on a global scale. Deborah's known for her ability to translate sustainable product performance information into a user-friendly format. Between her and another visionary, Marilyn Farmer of Green Building Pages, no one has an excuse that they can't learn what it takes to be sustainable. 

Also at the forum are Leanne Tobias, LEED AP and expert in sustainable commercial real estate projects and portfolios. Working with Leanne, is Martha Paschal. Martha also works with commercial real estate and watches for ways to match Federal stimulus funds to energy-efficient, multi-family projects. 

Another partner in sustainability is Debra Italiano who is so incognito that she doesn't even have a Linked in page, yet if you dusted a sustainable business deal for fingerprints you'd find hers all over it. Without women like these locating opportunities and turning owners into partners, many enterprises wouldn't see the light of an investment day. 

It all comes down to cold, hard, GREEN cash. Without the business of business buying into and enabling change, the green momentum we see now would never make it into mainstream culture. That's where Mindy Lubber, the President of Ceres comes in. (watch her below) Ceres is the leading coalition of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups. The group touches trillions of dollars and helps guide mega companies into being more environmentally and socially responsible or face the consequences in their stock value. 

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Coral Rose who was at the inception of WalMart first sustainable product experience. Look at what Wal Mart's sustainable direction has done for their profit margin and influence since then. 

These women represent the millions of other women who are holding their ideals high and keeping the green torch burning in the most carbon-free way. At some point soon, perhaps this year, the B2C and B2B worlds will meet. At that moment we'll have the rebirth of a sustainable economy and one heck of a party. 

Happy 40th Earth Day!

April 03, 2010

Which Came First, the Ads or the Cultural Change?

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Are we changing the culture or is the culture changing us? Recently my enlightened brother sent me a collection of ads from our childhood, (thanks Bill) how absurd, how stupid, how PRESENT in everything we saw or read back then. If you watch Mad Men, you have a good idea how these insane ideas were created, approved and given a run-of-media. 

Can you imagine the outrage if a company ran something like this today? Women bloggers such as Yvonne DiVita would be all over it and the company would have to overcome years, maybe decades of the moment's bad judgment. That's the power of checks and balances in today's wired world. 

Screen shot 2010-04-03 at 5.10.13 AMIf it was still a man's world per se, would we see the things that women value coming to market today? To phrase it another way, will the world become more sustainable because a company decided it was the moral thing to do or because it's the economic thing to do? My money's on the latter.

Screen shot 2010-04-03 at 5.09.22 AM Screen shot 2010-04-03 at 5.09.05 AM The ads of the 50s and 60s happened because the values of those creating, approving and running the ads put them there. The ads you see today are being created, approved and run by a different gender to please a very different audience - the female consumer. Consequently, feminine values are beginning to permeate the social system. 

With the help of millions of bloggers, 50 years from now our grandchildren will see ads that are equally absurd - ads that promote bottled water, non-organic food and products that pollute the water and damage third-world societies. 

No company wants to be on the wrong side of culture, it's the fastest way to lose marketshare. 

P.S. in the NY Times on  4.11.10  Nike is beginning to see the push back when it continues to back faulted star athletes. Women and men aren't buying the message or the product... and worse (for Nike), they are willing to write why in a public forum that will be searchable for years. 

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March 02, 2010

One woman, One message, JUST SAY NO, TO PLASTIC

I get asked all the time 'What can I blog about"?  Each time I use Beth Terry as an example, she's passionate about what she does and it's inspiring the world to take note and follow her lead - consume less plastic.

When I watch the National Geographic channel and see how many organic items (hair, bones, seeds) can be found thousands of years later by archaeologists, it makes Beth's message even more powerful. As my husband and I watched this ABC segment on Beth, we are re-motivated to further tighten up our own consumption. Even If you don't believe in climate change, the least we can all do is commit to pollution change. 

February 19, 2010

Are Women More Responsible than Men?

Who do you trust with your money and your future decision? Studies are reflect that women are in a position to lead. Check out Andrea Learned's full post on the topic on energy efficiency.

(fun facts)

A few of this 2009 study’s general findings:

  • 77 percent of women take primary or equal responsibility for paying their electricity bills (with high percentages, whether married or unmarrried).
  • 91 percent take dominant or equal responsibility for using less electricity at home.
  • 97 percent have taken steps to use less electricity at home.

And, women business owners lead the way:

  • 98 percent of women business owners have cut their electricity use at home.
  • 77 percent have done the same for their businesses.
  • 79 percent have made their businesses environmentally friendly.