Monday, March 31, 2008

The "We" Campaign: We Can Solve the Climate Crisis

This week, Al Gore has launched the "we" campaign, a project of the nonprofit he founded, The Alliance for Climate Protection. The goal of the "we" campaign is to educate the U.S. and the world about the need for action on climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The campaign also urges elected officials to take action toward solutions, provides suggestions and solutions for individuals, corporations, and governments, urges the media to ask elected officials more questions on climate change, and asks lenders to consider climate impact when funding new coal plants.

The campaign will reach people through advertising, online organizing, and partnerships with grass-roots groups. You can watch the first television advertisement and other videos on their website. At their site, you can sign up for action alerts, read success stories of individuals and businesses, watch for the opening of the "we" carbon neutral store, and learn more about the campaign.

You can visit the "we" campaign website at

Green Home 2008 Giveaway Sweepstakes Now Open!

Each year, HGTV gives away a Dream Home. In addition to the Dream Home, this is the first year they are also sponsoring a Green Home Giveaway. The Green Home is located in Tradition Hilton Head, SC, comes fully furnished with eco-friendly furnishings and appliances, and even includes a GMC Yukon Hybrid. On their website, you can take a virtual tour of the Green Home and enter the Green Home Giveaway sweepstakes until May 9, 2008.

Clean Air Lawn Care - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Clean Air Lawn Care (Fort Collins CO) was started in 2005 by Kelly Giard. The company uses solar-powered lawn mowers for yard care. Trucks are equipped with solar panels to recharge the mowers throughout the day. When it is not possible to use solar-powered mowers, they use conventional mowers fueled with biodiesel. They will also remove yard waste to an organic waste recycling center, where available. The company purchases carbon offsets for the business and is carbon neutral.

Clean Air Lawn Care has seven nationwide company-owned locations and 20 employees. Franchises are also available. Locations are now in Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Austin, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Portland, and Seattle.

On their website, you'll find an online calculator to determine the carbon emissions of your current mowing methods. You'll also find a $1000 scholarship application for environmentally-minded students preparing to enroll in college for the first time; deadline for applications is May 1, 2008.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

Sustainability Webinars in April

Here is a list of upcoming sustainability-related webinars for April (offered from a variety of sources). Don't forget to visit our site for a full list of upcoming and archived (on demand) webinars.

Save the it online!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Earth Hour, Saturday March 29, 8-9pm

This Saturday, March 29 is Earth Hour 2008. Cities, businesses, and individuals around the world are asked to turn off non-essential lighting for 60 minutes (8-9pm local time) "to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming."

To date, over 250,000 individuals and 18,000 businesses have signed up to participate. Have you? Visit their website to register.

Monday, March 24, 2008

How To Make A Difference - For Free!

How can you make a difference and it won't cost you any time or money? Here are several companies that make it easy for you!

Search Engines

  • Carbon Neutral Search - makes a contribution through carbon offsets for each search
  • GoodSearch - select a charity and $.01 is donated for each search
  • Magic Taxi - select a charity, 50% of advertising revenue is donated to charities

Instant Messaging


  • ippimail email service - 45% of advertising revenues are donated to charity for each email you send or read on their web-based service


  • Care2 - install their toolbar and for every day you use it, they will save 25 feet of Amazonian rainforest

Click Your Mouse (no purchase required - just click and they donate)

Shopping ( will take time, but if you are planning on shopping and making a purchase anyway, then let these companies make a donation)

  • GoodShop - select a nonprofit and Good Search will make a donation when you purchase through participating online retailers
  • Nau - select a nonprofit at the time of your purchase and Nau will make a donation (NO LONGER VALID)
  • Magical Shopping - select a nonprofit or school and MagicTaxi will make the donation

Auctions (update added 3/30/08)

For additional sites, please see
Update 5/5/08

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Educate to Escape

Ford Motor Company and ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition are teaming up for "Educate to Escape." The contest allows you to nominate the school of your choice for an eco-friendly makeover valued at up to $250,000. In 250 words or less, you must explain why the school deserves a green makeover. The contest ends May 18, 2008.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

White Dog Cafe - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

The White Dog Cafe (Philadelphia PA) offers an "unusual blend of award-winning cuisine and social activism." The White Dog Cafe supports sustainable agriculture by purchasing seasonal, local, organic ingredients from local farmers whenever possible.

In addition to supporting sustainable agriculture, the White Dog Cafe partners with "sister" restaurants in the area which are minority-owned. "The purpose of this project is to encourage our customers to visit neighborhoods they otherwise might not go to in order to increase understanding, build citywide community, and support minority businesses and cultural institutions." Their sister restaurant project also has an international dimension. "Our purpose is to promote better understanding in the world community by opening up new avenues of communication, beginning with our mutual interest in food. We envision a world where everyone has a place at the global table, believing that world peace is achieved through dialogue and understanding, and the achievement of economic justice, rather than through military and economic domination." The international program offers educational tours to the countries of international sister restaurants, a chef exchange program, hosts international visitors, and promotes Fair Trade.

White Dog Cafe has a mentoring program with a local high school's restaurant, hotel, and tourism program, organizes community tours through different Philadelphia neighborhoods, hosts annual multicultural events, participates in Take a Senior to Lunch Day, and hosts speakers each month on various social and policy issues.

White Dog Cafe donates 20% of pre-tax profits to nonprofits and they have also created their own nonprofit, White Dog Community Enterprises.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Green Spring Break

For many colleges and universities, March means Spring Break! So here are some ideas for a green spring break (or for any time of year):

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Green for 20 Years in Ventura

Ventura, California had a "double green" theme this year by promoting an evironmental message for St. Patrick's Day. Saturday's (March 15) parade included unicyclists promoting pedal power as well as entries promoting composting and recycling. After the parade, a green-themed party was planned with a hybrid car on display, drought-tolerant plant and compost give aways, and a Best Green Costume contest judged upon environmental message and use of materials.

Poo Power

We've identified several instances in which companies are recycling animal excrement on a commercial scale to create energy and even paper products. The Dallas Zoo, Denver Zoo, and Cincinnati Zoo are working to turn solid animal waste into energy while Sheep Poo Paper, Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company (one of our Sustainable & Responsible Businesses of the Week), and Elephant Dung Paper all turn solid animal waste into paper products.

So it was just a matter of time before you could convert your own waste into energy with a home unit. According to Forbes Magazine, a company in India, Sintex Industries, has created a biogas digester (pictured above) that can convert "human excrement, cow dung, or kitchen garbage into fuel that can be used for cooking or generating electricity." The unit is reported to cost approximately $425.

Now who will develop the do-it-yourself paper kit?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mom's Best Naturals - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Mom's Best Naturals (Northfield MN) offers a product line of all natural breakfast cereals, oats, and oatmeal. Their products have no artificial ingredients, no artificial colors or flavors, no hydrogenated oil, and no high fructose corn syrup.

In addition to their healthy line of cereals, Mom's Best Naturals' factory in Northfield, Minnesota recycles over 99% of its waste, has reduced water usage in the manufacturing process by 41%, has reduced energy usage by 10%, their cartons are made from recycled paperboard, and they purchase 100% of their energy through windpower. Each year, they also host an Energy Fair to educate and inform employees and the public on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Mom's Best Naturals is part of Malt-O-Meal, a family-owned company founded in 1919.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

Sustainability + Sex

You know sustainability is reaching mainstream when it impacts every industry in some way, including the sex industry. You can read an article at Greenpeace or at Grist to understand why "going green" is important in this case, particularly as it relates to the use of potentially hazardous PVC plastics in an industry that is unregulated.

But the green movement in this industry has gone beyond avoiding PVC plastics in products. Blogs, such as TreeHugger, have posted articles like "How to Buy a Green Sex Toy", "How to Green Your Sex Life", and "Eco Kink: Japan's Green Sex Clubs." And you can purchase natural and organic products, such as the Eco-Sexy Kit, at eco-conscious shopping sites (Babeland, The Sensual Vegan, Good Clean Love, Love Me Naturally, and Earth Erotics, just to name a few).

For the socially conscious, there are French Letter condoms made from fair trade rubber and numerous fair trade items are available through the fair trade sex shop, Coco de Mer (founded by daughter of The Body Shop's Anita Roddick). For the environmentally conscious, there are now porn sites just for you, such as FFF and VegPorn.

And when the fun is over, don't forget to recycle through LoveHoney's Rabbit Amnesty program or

Sustainability has finally reached every nook and to speak.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Global Warming is a Total Crock of Sh**

By now, you've probably heard about General Motors' Vice-Chairman, Bob Lutz's comments:

  • "Global warming is a total crock of sh**."
  • Hybrid cars like those made by Toyota “make no economic sense...”
Lutz is no stranger to controversy over his statements. Just read a single article in BusinessWeek to learn about Lutz's views, such as:

  • His opposition to U.S. government's increased CAFE fuel effiency standards, stating "CAFE is a totally flawed strategy"

  • When asked about the wisdom of producing vehicles that run on ethanol, given its "questionable" benefits, he accused the American Petroleum Institute of running a multi-million dollar smear campaign against ethanol

  • His opinion that both Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton's plans to raise fuel standards to 40 mpg in the next decade are unrealistic

Lutz goes on to state that these are only his personal opinions and they carry no weight at GM, the largest automaker in the US, and are not a reflection of GM's values. But here are some facts for your consideration.

  1. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists' Automaker Rankings 2007: The Environmental Performance of Car Companies (of all automakers responsible for 96% of cars in the US), GM is ranked next to last. Their key finding about GM? "General Motors crawls out of the basement—barely. GM is the top peddler of vehicles rated at 15 mpg or worse in city driving."
  2. US auto fuel standards have remained at 27.5 mpg for two decades and the Clean Energy Act 2007 proposes to raise standards to 35 mpg by 2020, finally bringing the US close to China's standards and exceeding South Korea's standards. According to BusinessWeek, GM can tout 23 vehicles in its lineup that achieve 30 mpg or more, surpassing the efficiency standards that were set in the 1980s.
  3. According to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Japanese cars now get an average of 46 miles to the gallon while American cars (at 27.5 mpg) have the lowest standards and fleet-average fuel economy ratings of 9 worldwide regions covered in their study. The EU is targeting a 48.9 mpg standard by 2012.
  4. For the first time in history, foreign imports now claim more than 1/2 the US auto market as US automakers' market shares continue to decline. In 2007, Toyota finally overtook GM's seven decade run as the largest automaker in the world.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Indigenous Designs - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Indigenous Designs (Santa Rosa CA) was founded in 1994 by Scott Leonard and Matt Reynolds. The company sells organic fair trade fashions created by their own artisan network across South America. All items are hand-made by artisans using traditional techniques, natural colors, natural dyes, and low-impact dyes. Indigenous Designs also partners with non-governmental organizations and others to help provide training, educational materials, and equipment to the artisans.

In addition to organic fair-trade fashions, Indigenous Designs purchases local green power to offset carbon emissions from their business activities, encourages employees to bike to work, and claims that about 20% of employees own and drive hybrid or biodiesel cars.

Watch video on CNBC.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

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