Posts filed under ‘Green Marketing’

EPA Blogger Neighbor Aaron, brings more than Green to the Greenversation

This week’s Blogger Neighborhood profile intrigues you more and more as you read. Not only does Aaron do fascinating work for the EPA, but he also lives a life full of passion – for the environment, for adventure and for his family.

I mean, not sure about you, but I haven’t met too many other people who have been both an elephant trainer and a first-mate on a whale watching boat…and that’s just the beginning. Enjoy!

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Blog Name: Greenversations

Blog Topic: Greenversations is the official blog of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, writing about personal experiences related to their work. Science Wednesday on the blog features EPA research and development efforts, highlighting environmental and human health research. The overall goal is to engage the public to help accomplish EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment.

About the Author: Aaron Ferster is the lead science writer-editor for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development. As a member of the science communications team, Aaron’s primary focus is communicating EPA research and development to the general public, translating often highly technical environmental and human health science into language and media that is accessible, accurate and engaging to non-scientific audiences.

Before coming to EPA, Aaron spent ten years working as an exhibit writer and developer at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park, in Washington, D.C. He also worked as a first-mate on a whale watch boat, an assistant camera man for National Geographic film crew, and an elephant trainer. He lives in suburban Maryland with his wife, two daughters (one hearing, one deaf), a dog, and a turtle. He and his wife are currently working on a book together about their experiences raising a deaf daughter.

What first Prompted Him to Blog: I’ve been a big fan of blogs for a while. I’m really intrigued by the evolution of the way bloggers and their readers communicate, forming free-flowing, often passionate on-line communities. So when the opportunity to blog at EPA came along, I jumped at the chance. My first chance to post on Greenversations was to help promote “Bike to Work Day.” I’m an avid bike commuter, so it was a perfect fit.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned from blogging? That people are interested in what EPA is doing, and that blogging is a completely appropriate way for us and other government agencies to engage the public in an ongoing dialogue.

If you could live on any street, what would the street be named, and why? Abbey’s Way (Take the other) – tribute to Edward Abbey, one of my favorite writer’s, and a passionate environmentalist.

Who would be your dream real-life neighbor? A full complement of native critters: owls, box turtles, red-tailed hawks, orioles, black snakes, skunks, foxes, white-tailed deer, and perhaps the wandering bear or coyote now and again. We had a pair of barred owls nest in a tree next to our house a couple years ago and the kids loved it.

What latest new bites would you share with your neighbors if they asked you how you were doing? Puppy news – we have an eight-month-old puppy and our neighbors on both sides also have young dogs, so we have lots of puppy news to chat about.

What would you give to a new neighbor as the perfect welcoming gift? Fresh blueberry pie and a gallon of vanilla ice cream.

What is your favorite blog post and why? Michael Chorost, a deaf science writer and author of Rebuilt: how Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human, keeps a blog about his experiences as a cochlear implant recipient. My wife and I are currently embroiled in a fight with my health insurance company over refusal to cover a second cochlear implant for our daughter. Chorost chronicles a similiar fight he had on his blog, and his post has been both educational and inspirational.

Past Blogger Neighbors Include:

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This continuous weekly series highlights different blogs and their respective bloggers in the blogosphere neighborhood. Following the great Mr. Rogers, who tells us to ‘Get to know your neighbor,’ this series introduces us to our blogger neighbors, making for a more unified, collaborative voice for the social sector. Like to nominate someone or be featured yourself? Contact me @ socialbutterfly4change@gmail.com.

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July 30, 2008 at 2:36 pm 1 comment

Are You a Change-Agent? User-Experience Inspires Environmental Change

Timberland + Changents provide an innovative platform, strategy and user experience for change

What do a bus, a canary, an artist, a rocker and a college grad have in common? Getting green. and inspiring others to follow suit.

Today, Timberland, the outdoor company, and Changents unveiled a new online experience where individuals can be catalysts for change by teaming up with environmental “Change Agents” from around the world to advance the green revolution.

Engage ::

Watch broadcasts of firsthand experiences from the field through blogs, videos, photo albums, Flickr streams, phoned-in podcasts, Twitter dispatches and more.

Back a Change Agent by assuming the roles of:

  • “Fan” (a shout-out of support),
  • “First Responder” (being on-call if their Change Agent gets in a pinch),
  • “Buzz Builder” (promoting a Change Agent’s stories and Action Requests through viral sharing),
  • “Angel” (helping fill their Change Agent’s piggy bank) and
  • “Advocate” (influence policy makers with respect to a Change Agent’s cause)

Plug in to ‘Earthkeepers,’ where you can follow and interact with 5 extraordinary Change Agents, dubbed, “Earthkeeper Heroes.

  • Big Green Bus (12 Dartmouth students travel the country this summer in a tricked-out school bus converted to run on waste vegetable oil);
  • The Canary Project (an artist couple convey the story of human-induced climate change and potential solutions through media, events and artwork);
  • Agent 350 (a recent college grad and his scrappy team sprint to build a global, online/offline climate action movement from scratch);
  • Reverb (a group of rock and roll road warriors green summer concert tours for Dave Matthews, John Mayer and Maroon 5/Counting Crows while engaging fans around environmental sustainability);
  • POWERleaper (A 23-year old designtrepeneur created a blueprint for urban flooring systems that generates electricity from human foot traffic).

Become an Earthkeeper Hero yourself! Nominate yourself or others to compete for a chance to join the ranks of this amazing group.

About ::

Changents.com is an entertainment-driven Internet destination that connects innovators of social and environmental change – Change Agents – with a global network of people who want to help them. In 2007, Changents was founded by two social entrepreneurs, Alex Hofmann and Deron Triff, who set out to engage a digitally-connected, socially-conscious generation on its own terms.

“We started Changents to give a new generation of social and environmental problem-solvers the tools they need to build teams of active followers and help them become ‘rock stars’ of change through the Internet,” said Changents Co-Founder and CEO Deron Triff.”


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June 17, 2008 at 2:50 am Leave a comment

Plastic. If anything inspires to reduce your use, it’s this.

Fellow Twitter follower Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) who works at Forrester Research shared this motivating video series with me titled: The Toxic Garbage Island.

Long time considered ‘urban myth,’ this series seeks out the truth about the supposed ‘Garbage Island’ the size of Texas floating in the middle of the Pacific north of Hawaii between California and Japan.

Videographers, along with University of Missouri researcher (go Tigers!) Dr. Frederick Vom Saal, took a 3-week trip to the Garbage Island and produced a 12-video series to create awareness and provide a visual for everyone back at home. (warning: some video coverage uses minor extreme language….course, the issue is pretty extreme in itself.) Share any reactions you might have in the comments. I was personally stunned, and motivated to cut down. For the more official website with the video series, blog and pictures, click here. (having troubles embedding video…lo siento!) Trust me tho, it’s worth it!

I once talked with a teacher who said every year she took her class on a field trip to a landfill…she said it was more for the life lesson than curriculum planning. I hope my future kids, whenever I do hopefully have them, has a teacher like that someday. =)

photo credit: tuff-titmouse


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June 9, 2008 at 11:03 pm 1 comment

18 Fun, Unique Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Going green on a daily basis is great….but who doesn’t like another reason to celebrate?

Join millions around the globe in celebrating Earth Day, this Tuesday, April 22, 2008. Here are some of the many ways you can join in the celebration:

1. I first want to congratulate you because the easiest way to celebrate Earth Day is to learn more about the earth and earth-related topics (recycling, global warming, agriculture, the ozone, water use, etc). You are already being proactive in this area by reading this blog post. =)

2. To learn more, plan a library day and check-out books about the earth.

3. Read about the history of Earth Day from the perspective of the founder of Earth Day, former Wisconsin Governor and Senator Gaylord Nelson.

4. Go through some serious ‘Spring Cleaning’ and donate games, clothes, books, movies, etc. to your local Goodwill.

5. Wear green or brown. If you dig this, more companies are created earth-friendly clothing, check out this brief article to find out what popular brands H & M, Victoria’s Secret, Lucky Brand Jeans and others are doing to get green.

6. Cook a special Earth Day dinner featuring organic foods.

7. Have an Earth Day Arts and Crafts Day. Kaboose lists some great earth-friendly arts and crafts activities that both you and your children/students will enjoy that use fun materials such as egg cartons, laundry soap containers, rocks, toothbrushes, coffee grounds and more!

8. Rent a movie that covers earth-related topics. This site lists environmental movies based on a subject search from Free Willy to to Banana Split, March of the Penguins, UnNatural Causes and more for every movie interest.

9. Plan an Earth Day Observance among friends or in your community. Charge $2-5 and donate the funds to a local earth-friendly charity.

10. Plant trees and do a dedication.

11. Build a birdhouse with your kids and/or family to encourage the local bird population, using various recycled pieces.

12. Review my post “Going Green,” which lists 40+ ways to go green in the kitchen, restroom, when cleaning, around the house, when shopping, eating, for activities and in entertainment, etc.

13. Leave your car at home and bike or walk to work. Or, plan a carpool.

14. Check out this Earth Day 2008 Calendar to see if there is an event being held in your area.

15. Change your avatar or icon on any of the social media: Twitter, Facebook, in comments, etc. to green.

16. Check out The Earthday Network for more information and opportunities to have your voice heard regarding the politics surrounding Earth Day issues.

17. Register your Earth Day event with the current list of over 12,000 and growing!

18. Share your message on Google’s interactive Earth Day map!

Add your own Suggestion in the comments! =)

April 21, 2008 at 6:31 pm 3 comments

Greenwashing: What is it, how do we evaluate it, and what does it mean?

This post provides some answers to these questions and some points to ponder.

First, the term greenwashing is taken from the term whitewashing. Whitewashing means to hide, cover or conceal unpleasant facts or details, especially in a political context or to manipulate. According to the Greenwashing Index, Greenwashing is:

“It’s greenwashing when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact. It’s whitewashing, but with a green brush.”

Knowing this information, enter in the Greenwashing Index, promoted by EnviroMedia Social Marketing and University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. The purpose of the Greenwashing Index is “to educate consumers about how to “read” an ad and encourage them to decide for themselves if what they’re seeing is greenwashing.” The index hopes to curb the growth of greenwashing and encourage real environmental responsibility and change.

The index measures and scores advertising claims based on the following five criteria:

  1. The ad misleads with words.
  2. The ad misleads with visuals and/or graphics.
  3. The ad makes a green claim that is vague or seemingly unprovable.
  4. The ad overstates or exaggerates how green the product/company/service actually is.
  5. The ad leaves out or masks important information, making the green claim sound better than it is.

To detect greenwashing, Sourcewatch offers the following tips:

  1. Follow the money trail.
  2. Follow the membership trail.
  3. Follow the paper trail.
  4. Look for skeletons in the company’s closet.
  5. Test for access to information.
  6. Test for international consistency.
  7. Check how they handle their critics.
  8. Test for consistency over time.

As my previous post mentioned, the FTC began a workshop of hearings yesterday a year early about the growing buzz and concerns regarding green marketing. To listen to the FTC hearings about the, click here. The workshops could results in updating the FTC’s green guides, which outlines the FCC’s laws regarding environmental claims for advertiser, marketers and consumers. These guidelines were originally created in 1992. Though the green guides were updated in 1998, they haven’t been changed since.

Now the final piece: What does this mean to us….as social marketers?

Personally, I think evaluation tools are great, despite the lack of them and the lack of priority in evaluation processes. The evaluation step is one too many organization and marketing directors overlook or skip. I see the Greenwashing Index as another great evaluations tool for us, and I offer up the suggestion that perhaps we should have more such evaluation tools to help keep the private sector accountable and responsible. Doing such, I think, would increase our success in our social marketing endeavors.

More on evaluation procedures and steps in the next post. =)

January 11, 2008 at 9:14 pm 2 comments

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Meet Alexandra Rampy, aka SocialButterfly

I am a social marketing believer, blogger, practitioner, researcher and enthusiast. This site highlights the growing movement of social marketing. Learn more about social marketing and how to be your own socialbutterfly--> here.

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