37 posts categorized "NO emission mission"

March 07, 2011

Women Leaders Break the Silo Ceiling at the Same Time

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For the first time, women lead the top Organic Food organizations announced a press release this morning, "With Maureen Wilmot named to the executive directorship of the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) in January, four leading U.S. organic food and farming advocacy organizations are now headed by women for the first time. Joan Boykin is the executive director ofThe Organic Center, Christine Bushway is the executive director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), and Peggy Miars is the executive director of the Organic Materials Review Institute.

"Because women are the backbone of most families in America, it is not surprising that women lead key organizations in the organic community. Women have led the way in buying organic for our families, advocating for production practices that protect the environment, and ensuring that organic laws and regulations uphold the integrity of organic products. As a baby boomer, I remember when women's rights were still young, so it is very gratifying to see this leadership transformation in organic," said Ms. Miars."

This is an historic event to have all four organizations run with a women's touch and priorities. It will be interesting to track and see if having women leaders will make a difference in how the movement moves forward. They'll be meeting together on March 10th to begin that conversation. 

Congratulations to you all!


January 25, 2011

Kathleen's Legacy: Organic and Delivered to Your Door

How I found Kathleen Barsotti's  business -- word-of-mouth meets hot coupon idea. 

My friend Andrea told me about Groupon. One of the first offers came from Farm Fresh to You with a coupon I couldn't refuse, $15 for $31 of organic veggies delivered to my door. Even if I never used Farm Fresh to You again, I had my money back -- and then this box arrived on time filled with gifts from the earth. I was smitten, and that's when I dug in and learned the legacy story of Kathleen Barsotti, student and practitioner of the earth.

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It starts with a sad ending. Kathleen is no longer with us; cancer met her before I could. She started the farm with her husband Martin in the 70s, but four sons and a divorce later left just she and her boys to keep the farm stand open. Those who knew her described her this way, "Kathleen is beloved by all who knew her as a devoted student to ecological sciences, an excellent farmer."

Apparently, they all had a knack for the world wanted, today the boys now have about 30,000 customers all eating more fruits and vegetables collected from their farm or nearby partners.  

What is stunning about this service is that it's almost the same as going to store; instead, you do something more fun than grocery shopping and this no-excuses-to-eat-better-box arrives at your door. 

To prove that the pictures on their site aren't faked, here's a sampling of what showed up last week. They encourage you to leave the flattened box for them to pickup when they drop off the next batch. I'm not too happy with the plastic bag, but given that all the other packaging, i.e. skins, have no plastic and I can send the bag back; it's not a bad trade. It's like Nutrisystem, but without all the packaging...

Out of the box came this beautiful array of color. Just makes you want to start cooking looking it, doesn't it?  And if you're stumped for ideas, Farm Fresh to You gives them to you matching the ingredients provided that week. Screen shot 2011-01-06 at 2.03.40 PM

Kathleen's legacy is a consistent alternative to driving to the Farmer's Market, trying to find parking and lugging home weighty food. 

Her legacy is teaching thousands how to cook and WHAT to cook while it's in season and not shipped a bazillion miles from another country. Her legacy helps keep organic farming alive and profitable in a way that is scalable. 

Her legacy also promotes the use of untampered seeds that produce tasteless food with questionable parentage.  

Her son's expanded the farm stand business via modern marketing by taking their word-of-mouth business online. Their offering to spread the word has rewards for both the giver and the taker. Whomever orders a box of veggies using the special promo code* and my name Mary Clare Hunt, will get $5 off of their first order and I get a free box of goods. Of course you have to be within their California delivery range. 

No wonder they have 30,000 customers instead of depending on drive-by business. Everyone wins, especially Kathleen who created a life's work that put's life into others and back into the ground. What's not to trust? 


 *Code intentionally left off, this is a story about a well planted seed of an idea, not getting more free veggies for myself. 


November 10, 2010

Congratulations to Margaret Gordon, Purpose Prize Winner.

Margaret Gordon is proof that you don't need money, education, or position to get things done -- what you need is passion and commitment to a purpose. Margaret is a housekeeper who learned about the high amounts of cancer and asthma in her bay area from her work with an environmental family. Up until then she hadn't made the connection that greener cities mean healthier kids. 

She then connected the dots between the cause -- transportation gases; and the effect -- high asthma rates in children and worked to correct the problem. 

Thank you Margaret, for making the connection and then doing something about it and thank you to the Purpose Prize organizers for drawing attention to many puposeFULL people.

November 09, 2010

Earthster makes being socially responsible and transparent, easier

This blog is about co-creation -- women are doing many things to change the world, but if the world of business doesn't change at the same time, we're in a world of hurt. The Earthster system is the beginning of providing accountability to business that women will love. 

At this morning's webinar, Wal Mart, Seventh Generation, and Earthster (sister site Social Hot Spots) announced that they have teamed up with governments and companies to create a new law of the law -- the law of sustainability -- in a play-nice/be-transparent sort of way. 

Earthster is the public, open source backbone and keeper of the data in the same way that Wikipedia anchors community input to it's site. In Earthster's case, it's gathering third party approved information that comes from millions of supply chain contributors. Think Story of Stuff can now point to everyone and everything in the supply chain.

Below is a screen shot of what this visually looks like as products are tracked from their source to the store shelf. The common software and methodology will be available in multiple languages to encourage global participation. When the webinar link is available, I'll post it here.

Wal Mart will be testing the system more completely in the first three quarters of 2010 using the supply chains from ten vendors and rolling it out to the rest of their 60,000+ vendors at the end of the year. What happens at Wal Mart, doesn't stay at Wal Mart -- other big box stores will be using the same system and that's a good for everyone. 

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Earthster is agnostic in its design and is more of a clearinghouse for all information, not a standard that determines which information gets more credit than another. It creates that layer of transparency that has been missing in green products.

Earthster also changes the green marketing attitudes from "OMG We better not say the wrong thing or we'll be accused of greenwashing", to "We're doing the best we can and here is exactly where we are doing it."  Even the EPA is getting behind Earthster during a time when there are 300+ sustainable standards vying for the top slot. Standards mean nothing if the information isn't verified as accurate. 

What women will want to cheer about is that this move will speed up accountability on toxic materials, social equity, energy globally and many more issues. We won't have to hold political rallies to get rid of brain altering chemicals in our carpets. Earthster and the market competition will take care of it.

This new transparency will not only foster safer products, but infuse trust back into an economic structure that has to operate with/outside of all political systems -- and do it at a price point that small business can handle. Sites such as Good Guide will have a common way to rate their products. 

This gives me great hope, for people, planet and profits!

October 10, 2010

If a Consumer Complained in a Forest about Climate Change, Would Anyone Hear Her?

The bigger question is, Would anything change because they did hear her? 

If a company takes a step towards sustainability do we applaud loudly in a blog post, or just let our dollars do the talking? Recently, a third option surfaced when Frito Lay took their compostable Sun Chip's bag off the shelves because of "customer complaints" regarding the noise.

Really? We have nothing more to do in our day than react to a crackly bag? Apparently over 44,000 did so on Facebook and that was enough for Frito Lay to back peddle.


These postings weren't highly considered decisions, like the pro/con list that Beth Terry wrote about on Fake Plastic Fish, the Facebook posts were twitter length, gut reactions -- enough of them that Frito Lay pulled a production line. Do you have any idea how much money they must be losing to pull an entire production line?

Holy smokes, the bigger story isn't that they pulled the line regardless of its eco-friendly intentions, but that they LISTENED and then pulled the line. Yes, it was a wimpy move and no doubt will be cited as an example of packaging gone wrong in college courses and they could have turned the noise into, "the sound of doing the right thing" BUT AT LEAST THEY ARE LISTENING. For that, reason, I'm excited and have hope for a co-operative future. 

Today 350.org is holding a 10.10.10 party for Climate Change.  Climate Mama is hosting the Green Mom Carnival on the subject. While we took a step backwards for sustainability, let's take a moment to understand the new-found power in this moment.  We no longer have to go through the political system to evoke change when we have a direct connection to corporate decision makers at our fingertips. 

Think about the ramifications of that in a co-created capitalistic universe? What would you ask corporations to do to bring down Climate Change or...

October 08, 2010

The FTC Wants Your Green Marketing Comments by December

Screen shot 2010-10-08 at 1.29.22 PM Ok green bloggers, here is your chance to influence governmental policy without going through that painful voting process -- the FTC wants to know what you think about the messaging on green products. In other words, how do you want them to put truth into green advertising via their Green Guidelines?  Go here to tell them, you have until December 10, 2010. 

Some example language...

• Marketers should not make unqualified general environmental benefit claims. They are difficult, if not impossible, to substantiate. (The current Guides state that marketers can make unqualified claims if they can substantiate all express and implied claims. Otherwise, they should qualify the claim.)

• Qualifications should be clear and prominent, and should limit the claim to a specific benefit. Marketers should ensure the advertisement’s context does not imply deceptive environmental claims. (In the current Guides, this guidance appears only in examples.)

Certifications and Seals of Approval

• This new section emphasizes that certifications/ seals are endorsements covered by the Commission’s Endorsement Guides and provides new examples illustrating how those Guides apply to environmental claims (e.g., marketers should disclose material connections to the certifier). (The current Guides address certifications/seals in only one example in the general environmental benefit section. 16 CFR 260.7, Example 5.)

• Because an unqualified certification/seal (one that does not state the basis for certification) likely conveys a general environmental benefit claim, marketers should use clear and prominent language limiting the claim to particular attribute(s) for which they have substantiation. (This provision highlights guidance already provided in current Guides’ Example 5.)

• Third-party certification does not eliminate a marketer’s obligation to have substantiation for all conveyed claims.

For the full write up go to http://www.ftc.gov/green.

These guidelines are extremely important as they become the backbone for all marketing material being created. It's one thing to be green and another thing to convey the attributes correctly and not mislead the public. 

The guidelines also cover:

  • Degradable materials
  • Compostable materials
  • Ozone-Safe / Ozone-Friendly
  • Made with Recyclable Materials
  • Free of AND Non-toxic products
  • Made with Renewable Energy
  • Carbon Offsets

Green is no longer a nice thing to do to create a new marketing edge. It is THE thing to do and we need a common, public way to talk about the accomplishments. 

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, [email protected] and check out www.cleancookstoves.org.





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. 

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.