Category Archive for Green Living

The Clean and Green Club, December 2015

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Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Marketing Tip, December 2015
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Do you have five minutes to help me better understand and serve your green/social change business needs? Please fill out this quick survey:

Now Through the End of the Year: Print Editions of Two of Shel’s Best Books (and an award-winning novel by his wife) for Just $4.95 per Copy

Perfect holiday gifts for the entrepreneurs, managers, marketers, and business students in your life—and for your own personal library. Also great to buy in bulk and donate to your favorite educational institutions and charities.
Nobody has to know that you only paid $4.95 each (plus shipping) for these award-winning and classy books from respected publishers. Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World (Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Finalist)(Chelsea Green) retails for $22.95, and Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green (Independent Publisher Magazine Groundbreaking Indie Book)(John Wiley & Sons) retails for $21.95.

My wife, award-winning novelist D. Dina Friedman, decided to join the fun and make one of her novels available at the same price (and hers is a hardback!). Playing Dad’s Song, published by Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, tells the story of a boy who faces crises ranging from a school bully to the death of his father in 9/11, and finds his way back to his center through music. It’s perfect for kids aged 9-15.

Because we’ve recently taken the rights to these books back, you can have print editions of these critically acclaimed books for less than a quarter of their original prices. Sometimes, there is more power in spreading a message widely, and low prices can make that happen. Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green, especially—with its message of business success through green and ethical business practices—has a role to play in changing the culture, and I want to see that change ignite.

The holidays are coming and everyone loves easy, frugal, useful gift ideas. (Note: if you’d like to be more generous, the gift of a strategic green/social change profitability consultation or copywriting project from me could be life-changing.)

Read more about these amazing books at (Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green) CODE: 4.95guerrillabook (Grassroots Marketing). CODE: 4.95gmbook (it comes with a two-chapter update covering social media, no extra charge) (Playing Dad’s Song) CODE: 4.95pdsbook

Then visit to place your order. Make sure to use the proper coupon codes.

Note: Paperback only; ebook editions are available at the usual undiscounted price (still a great value). Quantities are limited to what we have in stock. If you’re interested in a bulk purchase, let’s talk. If you’d like your books signed and inscribed, please tell us what to say.

This Month’s Tip: Do You Make Yourself Clear, Part 1
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I was scouting my library for the next book to review and spotted a title by one of the world’s most prominent green economists. Great, I thought—until I started reading.

When I review a book in this newsletter, I read it all the way through. By the second paragraph, I was stumbling over so many obtuse sentences, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to tolerate 300 pages of this. The language was so ponderous, it felt almost like reading a foreign tongue. And I have a degree in communications, am trained in journalism, and I’m an avid reader, reading at least four and as many as 12 books each month of 2015.

Authors of nonfiction generally want to communicate and convince.

Yet, if this book is written too thickly for me, imagine trying to convince a tradesperson who reads two or three novels a year that the message of this book is worth all the work.

Here’s a 111-word excerpt from the paragraph that convinced me not to bother reading the book (it continues for another four lines):

The power of the concept of sustainable development is that it both reflects and evokes a latent shift in our vision of how the economic activities of human beings are related to the natural world—an ecosystem which is finite, non-growing, and materially closed. The demands of these activities on the containing ecosystem for regeneration of raw material “inputs” and absorption of waste “outputs” must, I will argue, be kept at ecologically sustainable levels as a condition of sustainable development. This shift is resisted by most economic and political institutions, which are founded on traditional quantitative growth and legitimately fear its replacement by something as subtle and challenging as qualitative development.

The problem isn’t just a matter of sentence length, but that’s a piece of it. Jamming three long sentences together with no break is certainly part of the problem. Long paragraphs compound the situation. I would have started a new paragraph with “This shift.”

But the biggest problem is the convoluted, meandering thought process. A good edit could easily fix this. To prove the point, I’ve rewritten his first sentence (dropping the word count from 44 words to 22):

Sustainable development’s true power is the way it anchors human economic activities to the natural world—a finite, stable, and closed ecosystem.

You can still get a complex message across with simple, understandable language; you don’t have to talk down to your reader. Consider these two paragraphs:

When you look deeply, a lot of the causes of hunger, poverty, war, violence, and catastrophic climate change turn out to be about resources: who uses how much, whether they’re taken sustainably, how fairly they’re distributed. When we address resources systemically, we’re able to transform hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war and violence into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance.

We actually know how to do this. Passive-energy construction expert David Bainbridge estimates that not only can we reduce the typical building’s energy footprint by 90 percent on new construction, but we can even cut the footprint on existing buildings by 50 to 70 percent. We knew how to build near-zero net-energy buildings at least as far back as 1983, when Amory Lovins built his house. We understand how to significantly increase crop yields without using chemicals and without compromising quality.

I like to think the above excerpt from my forthcoming book Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World takes some pretty complex concepts and makes them understandable—even with sentences of 36 and 38 words. 

Just to be fair, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that my writing could also use tightening. I think my original is easy to understand, but I could have written it even more clearly, starting by knocking seven words out of the first sentence:

Look deeply: hunger, poverty, war, violence, and catastrophic climate change often turn out to be about resources: who uses how much, whether they’re taken sustainably, how fairly they’re distributed.

Finally, one more example (from a different book) of what not to do:

The [name of tool] provides data profiles of four sample generic companies as starter sets with which to initialize the online simulator dashboard and worksheets.

One sentence, and I’m already lost!

Next month, we’ll look at some specific dos and don’ts to keep your writing clear.

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About Shel & This Newsletter

As a green and social change business profitability/marketing consultant and copywriteraward-winning author of ten booksinternational speaker and trainer, blogger, syndicated columnist – Shel Horowitz shows how green, ethical, and socially conscious businesses can actually be *more* profitable than your less-green, less-socially-aware competitors. His award-winning 8th book Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet was a category bestseller for at least 34 months (and is now available exclusively through Shel). Shel also helps authors/ publishers, small businesses, and organizations to market effectively, and turns unpublished writers into well-published authors.

Shel Horowitz’s consulting firm, Green And Profitable, is the first business ever to earn Green America’s rigorous Gold Certification as a leading green company. He was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame in 2011.

He began publishing his monthly newsletter all the way back in 1997, making it one of the oldest marketing e-zines (it’s changed names a few times along the way).

“As always, some of the links in this newsletter earn commissions—because I believe in the products and services enough to promote them (I get asked to endorse lots of other programs I don’t share with you, because I don’t find them worthy).”
Hear and Meet Shel

NEW YORK BOOK LAUNCH EVENT for Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World: Green America’s Green Festival—New York, Saturday, April 16, Javits Center. Mainstage talk followed by book signing. This is a great event; I’ve attended several times and this will be my third time speaking. Not just terrific speakers but also great organic food samples and cool products like the wallet and purse vendor who makes stuff out of old tires (I use one of those wallets that I bought there a couple of years ago).

OFFICIAL PUBLICATION DATE FOR Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World is Tuesday, April 19—and Earth Day is Friday, April 22. Expect several more events to be added in April, possibly including a return engagement at Gulf Coast Green in Houston.

WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS BOOK LAUNCH EVENT for Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World, Wednesday, April 20, 7 p.m., Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley. Come early if you want a seat; I’m expecting to fill the room.

SLOW LIVING SUMMIT, Brattleboro, VT, April 28-30 (theme: Food and Agriculture Entrepreneurship), My talk will be on the 30th: “Impossible is a Dare: How Your Food Business Can Make a Difference on Hunger, Poverty, War, and Catastrophic Climate Change

BOOK EXPO AMERICA, Chicago, May 11-13. Hoping to set up an event either at the show or at a local bookseller.

Preorder your copy of Shel’s newest book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World

Learn how the business world can profit while solving hunger, poverty, war, and catastrophic climate change (hint: they’re all based in resource conflicts). Endorsed by Chicken Soup’s Jack Canfield, business blogger and bestselling author Seth Godin, and many others. Release date is April 19, just in time for Earth Day, and you can now preorder from several major booksellers (or get autographed and inscribed copies from me). Learn all about this powerful book at
Friends Who Want to Help

DONNA CUTTING’s new book, 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers, comes out this week (and includes a little contribution from me). If you’re looking for ways to ‘wow!’ your customers, the book gives you 501 easy-to-implement ideas to inspire loyalty, get new customers, and make a lasting impression.

I recommend 501 Ways to anyone who wants to ‘roll out the red carpet’ for their customers, but feels strapped for time, money, and energy. Power-packed with proven, ready-to-implement action ideas to enhance your customers’ experience and make your life easier.

OSHANA HIMOT (the business coach who has catapulted me exactly where I want to be in creating a career around healing the world) is again offering no-charge consultations (and her phone number has changed. She writes:

“I am a business and life coach and work with people in many fields, assisting them to expand their work. it is unique for each person – the best programs to create, the groups to work with, how to find customers and clients…

I work with people who would like to help create a better society and can benefit from coaching. For a complimentary consultation, call 602-463-6797 or email Oshana Himot, MBA, CHT”

Another Recommended Book: Evolved Enterprise
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Evolved Enterprise: How to Re-think, Re-imagine & Re-invent Your Business to Deliver Meaningful Impact & Even Greater Profit by Yanik Silver (no publisher named, 2015)

When Yanik Silver sent an advance manuscript of his new book, I liked it so much that I adapted a whole chapter as an essay in my own new book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World. He’s one of four outside contributors.

My enthusiasm is apparently shared by a very influential group. Alongside my blurb, he’s got people like Tony Hsieh (founder of Zappos); John Paul DeJoria (co-founder of Paul Mitchell); and my brilliant friend Sam Horn (author of Tongue Fu and several other excellent books).

It’s focused very strongly on how business can have an impact in the wider world, and makes an excellent complement to Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World. But its focus is quite different; with the exception of the shared chapter, there’s almost no overlap. Although Yanik comes out of the world of big-money Internet marketing, his book has an almost spiritual feel—reinforced by the mandala-like concept wheel that opens several chapters. He even uses the term “Transcending” as the third of the three stages of an evolved enterprise; the others are Transactional and Transformational (pp. 48-56).

He draws many lessons in marketing AND management through his own experience and those of his Maverick and Underground members—as well as thought leaders from Thomas Edison to Richard Branson. Edison, he points out, created an entire ecosystem of his ventures, all of which supported each other (p. 93); in the modern world, Zingerman’s does the same thing, with a bakery supplying bread to the flagship deli, for example (pp. 86-88). Tony Hsieh notes the importance of building a culture—not just hiring for values, but firing over them (p. 185). On the same page, Yanik shares a powerful insight about leverage: “little hinges swing big doors.” And a long guest essay by Joe Mechlinski is just filled with powerful leadership insights (pp. 195-207).

It’s a lot about how the good feeling you have making a difference in the world—and the fun you can have while doing it—translates into measurable bottom-line profits. The fun piece is very important to Yanik, a self-described adventure junkie. There’s a long an honorable tradition around this; he notes that the Dalai Lama has referred to himself as a “professional laugher” (p. 104).

That fun often translates to really creative ideas around building a deep and lasting community, internally and externally. Whether it’s exotic branded swag (such as the green Speedos that have become a part of Yanik’s Maverick brand), a unique collective experience, or even the ability to earn some sort of merit badges, as Harley riders do (pp. 170-171)—these can have vast marketing impact.

Creative marketers, he says, have to fall in love with customers and prospects (p. 160), and to use that love to do the unexpected. I’ve said for years that your real brand is not your slogan, logo, colors, etc., but the prospect/customer’s perception of you. Yanik puts it a bit differently: “It’s what other people are saying about you” (p. 161). This could take the form of genuine caring, such as Zappos not just refunding the purchase when a customer’s husband died in an accident before she could give him the brand new pair of boots she’d bought him, but sending flowers for the funeral! (p. 143).

How do you find ways to inject that creativity and that love? Yanik offers not only the usual tools, but also “community decoders” such as origin stories, in-group lingo and rituals, creeds, barriers to participation, sharing the inside story, artifacts, exceptional experiences, AND a higher purpose (pp. 163-180).

He looks quite a bit about the choices we business owners can make in our consumer role. Example: choosing to hire a firm that employs disadvantaged workers to fill goodie bags for a conference (p. 50).

And much of the work is backed up with rock-solid numbers that validate our choices to use our businesses to do good in the world. I knew about Patagonia’s Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign and mention it in my new book. But I didn’t know that the company’s sales leapfrogged 40 percent in the next two years (pp. 150-151). He has numbers for many of the best known case studies of social entrepreneurship and business creativity.

It would be nice if we could find these numbers easily. Unfortunately, Evolved Enterprise doesn’t have an index, although it has several blank pages at the back where one could have gone. It also could have used a better interior design and one more proofread. Despite these minor flaws, this book crams a lot of wisdom in, breaks it up with a lot of humor and visual concept examples, and could knock years off your social entrepreneurship learning curve. I recommend it strongly, and especially in tandem with my own Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World.

The Clean and Green Club, June 2014

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Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Marketing Tip, 

June 2014

Learn with Shel from the Comfort of Your Own Phone:
“Virtual Intensive” on Green Marketing and Creating a Better World
Six group calls with Shel—at a very affordable price.

If you are seriously interested in this training, I want to make sure to design something you’ll be happy with. Please take the short survey at and be part of the process. It should take you between 2 and 5 minutes
Nominate a Business-Change-the-World Project at Business for a Better World
Do you have a favorite cause around turning hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war and poverty into peace, or climate catastrophe into planetary balance? I’m starting a directory of social change projects that businesses can get involved with, at (you’ll see a link labeled Nominate, near the top of the home page.) This is your chance to be among the first to put up a project, and be more likely to attract attention. Let’s get some GREAT projects up there! No cost to list—but the submissions are moderated, so don’t bother spamming it.
This Month’s Profile:
Hawthorne Valley Farm

Here’s a community that combines top organic and Biodynamic farming practices, education, social action, and the arts: Hawthorne Valley Farm, in New York State’s Hudson Valley.

I heard Martin Ping, Hawthorne Valley’s Executive Director, at the Slow Living Summit in Brattleboro, Vermont last week, and decided to share some of his story with you.

Founded in 1972, the 900-acre farm uses Biodynamic agriculture: a vigorous standard developed by the visionary educator Rudolph Steiner, who also created the Waldorf Education movement–that goes far beyond organic into a much deeper relationship with the land.

Hawthorne raises vegetables, grains, chickens, goats, sheep, cows, and pigs. Its store sells raw milk, homemade cheeses, live lacto-fermented sauerkraut and veggies, and home-baked breads made from its own grain. It also distributes its wares through one local and three New York City-based CSA (community supported agriculture) networks, as well as through three of New York City’s farmers markets, including the massive thrice-weekly market at Union Square.

And it packages and wholesales yogurt and quark: a spreadable creme fraiche cheese.

Ping calls these packaged dairy products “our secret weapon. We make yogurt–and people in Atlanta read the container and say, ‘ooh, they’ve got a summer camp.’

Hawthorne Valley’s social action and education/farm apprenticeship programs are fully integrated into the farming operation, as are Waldorf teacher training and numerous visual and performing arts programs. The farm regularly brings in 600 children and teens a year, many of whom inner-city children with no previous exposure to nature.

“We find nine years old is the sweet spot for education. You pull out a carrot and they say, ‘whoa, food comes out of the ground!’ They’re just beginning to see the warts on their parents and teachers, you get them mucking out a stall, taking care of another sentient being–a chicken, a goat, a cow–for the first time in their lives. Kids are not standardized. They’re individual and spiritual,” just like farms.

“They get a sense of the relationships, that it doesn’t magically appear. They make all the food, all the accouterments, they understand. There are 100 pounds of milk in 10 pounds of cheese. Kids get a lesson in economics, in food miles, in the relationships of the whole food system.”

Hawthorne Valley also reaches out to prisoners, immigrant farmers, and veterans, even developing theater works for inmates to perform.

A convergence of factors led to the farm’s founding. As Ping puts it, “At that time, a bunch of farmers and Waldorf teachers were meeting. Farms were being told, get big or get out. Agriculture was being pushed out by agribusiness, the culture was getting lost. And teachers were saying kids had less and less opportunity to interact with the natural world. They mooshed the two themes together.

“They said, let’s buy a farm and decommodify the land. And children will be welcome. ‘We are founding the seed of a living organization: agricultural, artistic, educational. The goal is to become full human beings.’ I get to go to work each day at a place where the goal is to become full human beings!”

The farm’s mission is nothing less than “renewal of society and culture through education, agriculture, arts. It’s a food shed, a watershed. We think of the whole farm as a living organism. Inputs and outputs should stay on the farm.

“Farmers grow soil [through manure and compost]; soil grows plants. We’ve been ‘making good shit since 1972.’ I hear people talking about hedge funds. We plant hedges and watch them grow: bird and insect habitat.

“Our disconnection is at the root of every crisis we face. We’re not displaced, we’re DEplaced. This is what we’re doing at Hawthorne Valley: that healing, that connection, that sense of higher purpose.”

The farm also has a Center for Social Research, which explores Rudolph Steiner’s ideas on how society can be organized, and another research arm studying eco-friendly farmscapes. It supports a microlending program and a two-year Waldorf teacher training program that “looks at art in relation to social life and to money, to supporting it freely and decommodifying it.”

And this has far-reaching implications, both in and beyond Hawthorne Valley’s own bioregion: “We’re starting to see Columbia County as a farming organism, not just to our own borders. We’re growing farmers. 65 new farms in Columbia County, they did profiles, put pictures in every library. One of our farmers got those 65 new farmers and some others together for a one-day charette. We had 75 and had to turn some away. They look at practical things, like how to share equipment.

Despite his zeal, Pink is remarkably nonjudgmental. “Even the multinationals are filled with good people, and we need to help them help us. People at Johnson & Johnson [makers of hand sanitizers, among many other products] understand what we’ve lost in the rush to sanitize everything.”

Where else to Hear & Meet Shel
(beyond the Virtual Intensive)
Making Green Sexy,” SolarFest, Tinmouth, VT, USA, July 18-20:
Saturday, July 19th, 2014, 1:30 to 2:30 PM, Workshop Tent #2

Discussions in process about several other possible talks. Remember: You can earn a generous commission if you book Shel into a paid speaking engagement.

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Green & Ethical Marketing Facebook


About Shel & This Newsletter

As a marketing consultant and copywriter… award-winning author of eight books… international speaker, blogger, syndicated columnist — Shel Horowitz shows how green and ethical businesses can actually be *more* profitable than your less-green competitors. His most recent book is category bestseller Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet. Shel also helps authors/ publishers, small businesses, and organizations to market effectively, and turns unpublished writers into well-published authors.

He was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame in 2011.

Shel Horowitz’s consulting firm, Green And Profitable, is the first business ever to earn Green America’s rigorous Gold Certification as a leading green company

He began publishing his monthly newsletter all the way back in 1997, making it one of the oldest marketing e-zines (it’s changed names a few times along the way).

“As always, some of the links in this newsletter earn commissions—because I believe in the products and services enough to promote them (I get asked to endorse lots of other programs I don’t share with you, because I don’t find them worthy).”
Another Recommended Book—The Business Solution to Poverty

The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers by Paul Polak and Mal Warwick (Berrett-Koehler, 2013)

Several years ago, I reviewed The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, a remarkable book about improving people’s lives at the very bottom while monetizing that improvement in the form of business profit. The Business Solution to Poverty picks up where “Fortune” left off.

Based not on academic theory but on real-world hands-on experience starting such companies in places like Bangladesh, Polak and Warwick say there’s a great deal of money to be made serving the world’s very poorest inhabitants: 2.7 billion people living on $2 per day or less. 
However, it’s not a mater of just walking in and rolling up your sleeves. Succeeding in these markets–plural, because conditions and cultures vary widely in different parts of the world, or even different parts of a single country–requires extensive research, following key design and economic principles, and DEEP understanding of the local cultures. 
Products must be items that people with almost no discretionary income will pay for and use, because these will better their lives, directly and rapidly. They must be durable…extremely cheap to manufacture…designed so a non-literate population can use AND maintain them…and systematically deliverable to places with no roads, no infrastructure, and no tradition of buying from the outside. And they have to both fit well enough into the existing culture and be disruptive enough to dramatically improve people’s lives. 
  • Treadle pumps that can be installed for $25 including the cost of drilling a well 
  • Ceramic water filters 
  • An ultra-low-cost warmer for premature babies 
  • Artificial knees that cost $75 instead of many thousands. 
The authors cite numerous failures, many at the hands of governments or NGOs who, in the authors’ view, don’t scale up enough to make a big difference because they lack the profit motive and thus have less need to make sure their projects actually WORK on the ground. Private businesses, including those run by the authors, have had their failures too–but their batting averages tend to be higher, especially if they do plan for scale. Polak and Warwick say successful businesses will talk to at least 100 customers before going forward–and this research may lead to creative marketing strategies such as theatrical presentations, in situations where traditional Global North media won’t work. If people can’t read, the newspaper will not tell them about you. If they have no electricity, then marketing on radio, TV, or online won’t work very well. Aware of the marketing challenges, Polak and Warwick list “aspirational branding” as a crucial ingredient.
The chances of success are highest, the authors say, when the ventures address basic core needs: energy, water, health care, and jobs (oddly, food is not on their list)–and when there’s accountability. They are critical of many microloan programs, for instance, because they often see the money diverted away from seeding a business (a long-term approach that lifts people out of poverty) and into basic survival–and then the money is gone and there is no business to funnel in capital. 
I agree with almost all their numerous success principles in these challenging markets. However, they make–and I question–the assertion that successful businesses must be able to scale up within the first decade to 100 million units and $10 billion in revenues per year in order to be worthwhile. While I recognize that a systematized, replicable infrastructure capable of those numbers is a good thing, I also do believe there is a place for the smaller venture that might be working in just one or two communities, yet still makes a real difference in people’s lives. And a place for the entrepreneur who still wants to make a difference but wants to stay small. 
To make this whole thing concrete, Polak is starting or consulting to four specific businesses that meet the authors’ criteria: 
  • A bicycle-delivered safe drinking water company 
  • A low-carbon biofuel made from agricultural waste that in the past had been burned without capturing the energy 
  • Solar-powered LED lanterns that are safer, cheaper, and more effective than kerosene lamps–and pay for themselves in the savings of a few months’ supply of kerosene 
  • Door-to-door health education and sales of franchised high-impact health products that protect against malaria, diarrhea, and worms

The Clean and Green Club, April 2014

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Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Marketing Tip, 

April 2014

The Research Phase of Reinvention, Part 1

Once again, I take you behind the curtain as I shift toward making a living while helping business solve poverty, hunger, war, and climate catastropheI feel deeply in my heart that this is the work I was meant to do. Frankly, I don’t know how it will all shake out. But while I’m figuring it out, the process creates learning opportunities for you if I choose to be transparent and reveal it–which I do. I feel you can benefit a lot by seeing my process, including how I plan to make money from these offerings.
Common business wisdom says, “research before launch.” But I’m research by doing. I’m putting a lot of things out there, and seeing what has resonance

  1. with my market and my fans (that’s you!)
  2. with the larger work, and 
  3. with my own passions. 

I can do this because most of them cost me only time (and maybe buying a domain name). And I also NEED to just jump in and do it because it would take far too long to research all the various pieces enough to know whether they’ll fly (and I wouldn’t necessarily trust the data anyway). And because opportunities have been zooming at me lately that I want to share with you.

For each, I’ll answer three questions:

What’s in it for you?
How does it advance the planet?
How can it boost revenues?

I want your feedback. And I want you to “vote with your feet” and take advantage of the offerings that make sense. So tell me what you think of these—send me an email telling me which ones you’re interested in personally, and which you think will sing to a larger market (if you can include a quick line or two about why, I’d be very grateful):

The most exciting mobile marketing platform I’ve ever seen
I sat through a demo expecting to smile and move on. Instead, I was totally hooked. Retail, entertainment, and appointment-based service businesses could totally transform their marketing.

I was so enchanted that I worked out a new revenue model for the company (which until now, relied on face-to-face presentations by salespeople). I got them to do a demo video to show you this very powerful platform–something they can scale up and make available to other affiliates:

What’s in it for you?
Reach highly targeted, segmented portions of your customer and prospect list instantly…customize the message situationally…increase revenue during slow times…fill cancelled appointment slots…build customer engagement, community, and loyalty.

How does it advance the planet? A full marketing campaign that’s paperless…AND nimble enough to respond instantly to new developments or events. It’s also interactive, builds relationships, and recaptures lost time that can be used to grow a business…or to organize on your favorite issue. And it’s integrated with social media.

How can it boost revenues? I earn a commission if you become a customer.

No-cost green marketing strategy tune-up
Brand new: 15 minutes to discuss your strategic marketing and branding objectives to advance your green and ethical business. Limited to the first 10 qualifying business owners who sign up. Please have clear objectives in mind for your call.

What’s in it for you?
No-charge tweaking by an expert green business profitability strategist should improve performance. Personally, I’ve learned a great deal from no-charge initial consultations from others.

How does it advance the planet?
Your improved positioning should make you a better green marketer. And since your green business helps the earth, your success helps the earth too.

How can it boost revenues?
Indirectly. You could hire me to write copy, critique and/or tune up your full marketing documents portfolio, and bring new prospects into my orbit. Or even hire me to speak on effective marketing :-).

More info: e-mail shel at with the subject “Please schedule my green strategy tune-up”. In the body of the email, please provide a paragraph about your business. Describe your current marketing efforts in general terms, and your goals for the session. (Note: only people who provide this will be considered for the consult).

Starting next week—you’ll get a full solo mailer on this. Listen to 17 amazing presenters at no cost, plus eight extra calls in the inexpensive recording package. Leading lights in green business AND marketing, sharing deeply—several who almost never do teleconferences. I learned quite a lot as I was recording the calls! It’s really an extraordinary series.

What’s in it for you?
17 (summit calls) or 25 (with bonus calls) info-packed audios offering great information on working with the media, building networks, running a green and conscious business, using business to change the world, activism as a business, marketing to introverts, and even running a green business in a conservative area.

How does it advance the planet?
Gives you new tools to convey your message powerfully to your best audiences—AND provides information on the green and activist world (especially in the bonus package).

How can it boost revenues?

  1. Commissions on speakers’ product upsells
  2. Sales of recordings
  3. Adding newsletter subscribers—future clients?–into my tribe 
  4. Building deeper relationships with well-connected presenters—possible future opportunities 
  5. Actively promoting the spring intensive at my house (see below) and the summer mentorship coaching program (see next month’s newsletter)

More info:

The famous three-day marketing and social change intensive
Small-group intensive in my beautiful antique mountain-view solar farmhouse, in historic ecovillage.

What’s in it for you?
Learn hands-on skills in identifying different audiences and creating specific messages for each…media skills (including on-camera interview practice as well as writing compelling press releases)

How does it advance the planet?
Makes you a better green marketer

How can it boost revenues?
Tuition, future work, mentorship sales

More info:

This is only part of the list. Next month, you’ll get part 2.

Friends who Want to Help

Paulette Ensign’s Booklets and Beyond: Making More Money Today Online and Offline course has already started—but you can catch the session you missed on the recording. Paulette is an expert on tips booklets, an easy way to package your knowledge and create revenue. She’s building a community around it, too. (This one does have a cost).

D’vorah Lansky’s Book Marketing Challenge includes content from many leading lights of independent publishing (including me). Hands-on, no-charge, interactive training on a wide variety of online book marketing strategies. Workshops, expert interviews, articles, action steps, hot tips, special gifts, and opportunities to expand your online presence.

– Develop Your Author platform
– Learn how to build a list of thirsty readers
– Discover ways to create multiple income streams with your book
– Access specific book marketing strategies that deliver results
– Find out the most powerful ways to reach more readers, globally

Shift Network, the same people who bring you the wonderful Spring of Sustainability series—I sent you a special mailing on that last Thursday—host a call with environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill, who lived for several months in a beautiful old tree to prevent it from being logged. I heard Julia speak several years ago and was impressed. Julia will be speaking May 7 on Igniting the Power of Courage ~ 4 Steps for Transforming the Ordinary into the Extraordinary. No cost. I don’t have the link yet, but I did find out that in addition to the freebie call, she’ll be doing a course. Contact marykay AT to get all the details.

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About Shel & This Newsletter

As a marketing consultant and copywriter… award-winning author of eight books… international speaker, blogger, syndicated columnist — Shel Horowitz shows how green and ethical businesses can actually be *more* profitable than your less-green competitors. His most recent book is category bestseller Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet. Shel also helps authors/ publishers, small businesses, and organizations to market effectively, and turns unpublished writers into well-published authors.

He was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame in 2011.

Shel Horowitz’s consulting firm, Green And Profitable, is the first business ever to earn Green America’s rigorous Gold Certification as a leading green company

He began publishing his monthly newsletter all the way back in 1997, making it one of the oldest marketing e-zines (it’s changed names a few times along the way).

“As always, some of the links in this newsletter earn commissions—because I believe in the products and services enough to promote them (I get asked to endorse lots of other programs I don’t share with you, because I don’t find them worthy).”

Living in Oneness 5 Pillars For Success Summit, from Humanity’s Team, offers training in the 5 realms of Self, Parenting, Relationships, the Business/Professional world, and Leadership and Public Service.

Featuring Neale Donald Walsh, don Miguel Ruiz, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Patricia Ellsberg, Gay & Katie Hendricks, Bruce Lipton, James O’Dea, and many others.

Hear & Meet Shel–A TEDx Talk, Green Festival & More
April 21 through May 2: I interview all 16 other presenters on the Business and Marketing For a Better World Telesummit. My overview call describing all the other calls will be available at any time. And then on the last day, Tom Antion interviews me about how business can create sweeping social change AND make a profit. No cost to register, and you get all the other presenters too:
April 26, NYC, 12:30 p.m. (note time change) Speaking on Business For a Better World AND message points for different audiences at the NYC Green America/Global Exchange Green Festival. I’ll be signing books afterward. The Green Festivals are wonderful events. I spoke at one in 2010 and have attended a couple since then. Pier 94, 55th Street and Hudson River.

May 8, Shelburne Falls, MA: Speaking on Business For a Better World at a TEDx salon! Who-hoo! Speaking at a TED event has been on my to-do list for years. If you’re in Western Mass, please come. McCusker’s market, 7 to 9 p.m. Contact: stacy at

May 6, Tech SandBox, Hopkinton, MA, near the I-495 interchange off the Mass Pike: The brilliant entrepreneur and networker Ken McArthur, bestselling author of The Impact Factor and a really nice guy, is doing a one-day Boston-area intensive with a bunch of other very smart marketers. I’ve traveled as far as Florida to and one of his events, and I don’t remember him doing one north of NYC before. I’ll be attending, and though I’m not formally a presenter, if past experience is a guide, I’m likely to have some role as a resource.
Also, if past is a guide, he will put together an awesome group of people who have a lot of knowledge to share. I expect to take lots of notes :-). Let’s put out a great New England welcome for him. $497 Early Bird price.

May 10, Hartford, CT: I will once again be presenting at CAPA University, a one-day book publishing program in Hartford. More info: gaffney AT

May 16-18, Hadley, MA: Marketing Green in the Wider World: 3-Day Intensive.
Another Recommended Book—An Edible History of Humanity

An Edible History of Humanity, by Tom Standage (Walker & Co., 2009)

Standage argues convincingly that most of the major changes and many key events throughout (and preceding) history are about food. It’s a fascinating and well-written book,

I was particularly drawn to it right now, as I’m launching Business For a Better World—with the idea that most of our current biggest social problems are resource-related.

He starts the history some 10,000 years ago, when humans began to domesticate crops and move from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies. He notes that very early, people started selecting for grains that were more appealing, even if they were less resilient. 

Agriculture began the process of allowing people to develop skills beyond feeding themselves and their families—because, as agricultural surpluses began to accumulate at least as early as 3200 BC, not everybody had to be involved in food production. Thus, Bronze Age toolmaking, crafts, and eventually, industries. With irrigation, these trends increased and spread around the world. 

And this led to a move away from the egalitarian hunter-gatherer ways to stratified societies of professionals, laborers, and of course, a ruling elite. 

Standage offers a new, food-related view of so much of what we take for granted. And he draws a fascinating parallel between the amount of democracy (including a free press)—and food security. Authoritarian regimes tend to have a lot more problems feeding their populace. 

Examples: Did you know the Dutch used violent suppression and caused eco-catastrophe in order to monopolize clove production on two islands, all the way back around 1700? Why Stain’s dictatorial regime was based in his complete misunderstanding of agriculture—and how Mao repeated and multiplied the mistake, causing the greatest famine in human history and 30-40 million deaths? (Post-Mao China, however, has made huge strides in food sufficiency, and at least some progress on democracy.) How Mugabe’s country-destroying rule in Zimbabwe saw 80 percent decline in agriculture, 10,000 percent inflation, 20 percent reduction in life expectancy, and unemployment at 85 percent? 

He looks at positive and negative aspects of the Green Revolution’s roots in the development of synthetic ammonia and other nitrogen fertilizers, and of the much more recent shift to GMO (genetically modified) crops. Personally, I think he’s rather too uncritical of some of these technologies—but I do recognize that the Green Revolution, in particular, helped create a more solid footing of sufficiency. 

He also looks at how enlightened consumers have used food purchases to support a social agenda, starting with the first known values-based food boycott in 1791, when Quakers started refusing to buy slave-produced sugar. (I guess he doesn’t see the Boston Tea Party as values-based.) 

At the end of the book, he shares some startling and deeply disturbing statistics about genetic diversity. I find it very scary to learn that in the 20th century, 6800 of 7100 American apple varieties have gone extinct, as have 75 percent of varietals across all crops. Yikes!

The Clean and Green Club, January 2014

Having trouble reading this as e-mail? Please visit to read it comfortably online.
Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Marketing Tip, 

January 2014
Before we get to the tip: three important things

1. Slash Your Trash, and Your Trash Bill
How cool is this? You can cut your waste hauling bill, sometimes as much as 50 percent. You can generate less waste and be better for the planet. And you can do this without spending a penny out of pocket.

I’ve partnered with a solid waste expert who wants to save you big bucks—and he gets paid a percentage of what he saves you.

This is important enough that I’m going to be sending you a special mailing on it toward the end of the month. If you’re too excited to wait that long, go ahead and visit right now.

2. A Few Minutes of Your Time = Great Gifts from Me
Some of you received an invitation to speak for a few minutes with my associate–my business development coach, actually—to help me set priorities to serve you, and the planet, better. Here’s the key result:
—>People see the green world bubbling up into the mainstream, and want to create communities around this. I’m considering organizing a community like that, and I’d like your input into what would be most helpful to you.

The responses we’re getting are so fascinating, we’d like to get a bigger sample.

If you help me with this, I’ll reward you with your choice of
1) a no-charge 15-minute consultation with me on any aspect of green business, marketing, or book publishing
2) or a review of the effectiveness of any single marketing document (up to five pages)—worth up to $195

Either way, you’ll also get another gift: my acclaimed e-book, Painless Green: 111 Tips to Help the Environment, Lower Your Carbon Footprint, Cut Your Budget, and Improve Your Quality of Life-With No Negative Impact on Your Lifestyle.

To participate: just hit Reply and tell us
Your name
Your phone number
Your country and timezone
Times you like to be called
Your business
Which of the two main gifts you prefer (you get the e-book either way)

The original request was called “Green World on the Cusp of Greatness—Let’s Make it Happen Together.” You might find it hidden in your inbox already. If you don’t have it and want to see the full invitation, hit reply and ask me to send you that e-mail. Just use the subject line, “Cusp of Greatness”

(Tip: If you use GMail, highlight just the part of the email you’re replying to, and your reply will only quote the relevant part–pretty cool, huh?)

3. My First Intensive, Marketing Green in the Wider World, Coming in May
The survey results also point to some strong desire for more in-depth training in the green business world. As a result, I’m going to be leading an intensive green marketing and social change training in my historic 1743 farmhouse, the weekend of May 16-18. I’m getting really psyched as I’m working out the agenda (and what I’ll cook for you :-))—this is going to deliver extreme value. I’ll be back to you with the details in a few weeks. There will be a maximum of 12 seats, and up to four of you can actually stay in my house. The price for this first one will be under $1000 (I expect to raise it for future intensives—my co-author charged $4997 for his three-day in-home intensives). With so few seats available, let me know ASAP if you’re planning to come.

Is Turkey on the Brink of a Green Marketing Revolution?

I spent two weeks of December in Turkey, a fascinating destination and one I’d recommend heartily to most travelers other than those with walking disabilities. Whenever I travel, I keep my eyes open for trends in the country’s environmental progress. And in Turkey, I see a lot of evidence that the country is about to bubble up with environmental awareness—but it’s certainly not there yet. Here’s some of what I noticed:

Alternative Energy:
Everywhere we went outside of Istanbul, water is heated by the sun, and stored in rooftop tanks. From the look of them, a large percentage of these tanks are many years old and had no visible evidence of insulation. Even in frigid Cappadocia, where the temperatures dipped well below freezing every night of our visit, the water is stored outside. I wonder if these tanks are drained in the fall, or if the Turks have found a way to keep the water from freezing and bursting the pipes. The water temperature patterns in all our hotels were consistent with solar.

I saw very little photovoltaic. Wikipedia’s article on solar in Turkey notes that the country is just beginning to take photovoltaics seriously. Currently, most PV installations are off-grid (and thus likely to be in very remote locations, not near power lines). The installed base for PV is only 5 megawatts across that vast and sunny country, compared to 10 gigawatts—2000 times as much—for solar hot water.

Consider that Germany, much smaller and with a far less solar-friendly climate, is already generating 35.5 gigawatts of PV, which is 7000 times as much as Turkey. Clearly, the government and private industry have some pretty big incentives to move Turkey much farther up the solar ladder.

And the government realizes this; one planed 100-megawatt facility alone will multiply the amount of photovoltaic power by 20 when it goes online. I’m confident that as it becomes more affordable to the average Turk, solar will grow rapidly.

I noticed that Turkey has a lot of volcanic areas and lots of natural hot springs. So, while I didn’t actually see any, I wasn’t surprised to learn that geothermal is a significant contributor to the energy mix. As of 2010, the country generated 100 megawatts of geothermal electricity, and another 795 megawatts of direct energy capture.

I did see a few wind farms. Turkey has embraced wind and is on a massive growth path: from just 19 megawatts in 2007 to 3 gigawatts (3000 megawatts) today, and permitting already in place to bring that up to 10 gigawatts.

Eating Green:
Turkey is one of the easiest places I’ve experienced for vegetarians. Nearly every restaurant has half a dozen choices or more: lentil soup (and they all brag about how theirs is the best), esme (a spicy salad of tomatoes and paprika, ranging from just a little prickly on up to salsa intensity), thick and wonderful yogurt with various herbs, eggplant dishes, bulgar salads, vegetarian versions of gozleme (filled crepes), humous, white beans or green beans in tomato sauce, vegetarian stuffed grape leaves, vegetarian pides (similar to pizza), an enormous variety of very fresh cheeses, nuts, dried fruits, fresh fruits, and even the occasional vegetarian kebab–which is not always roasted on a stick. Fresh bread is everywhere, but whole-grain is rare.

It would be harder, but not impossible, to eat vegan or gluten-free.

But it would be very hard to stick to organic. We did see some, but surprisingly little. Given the emphasis on ultra-fresh foods, this was puzzling. I’d think after a year or two of educating its public and establishing distribution, a Turkish natural foods industry would be extremely popular.

As for beverages…Turkey is really schizophrenic. Quality is either superb or absolutely awful. As an example, it’s very easy to get fresh squeezed pomegranate or orange juice, which is absolutely delicious (and you can feel the vitamins flowing into your blood stream)—but we were also served something resembling Tang. The tourists tend to be served lots of tea: usually either Lipton Yellow Label or apple tea—the latter usually from a powdered mix that’s mostly sugar, unfortunately, and at least one brand of which contains no actual apple. But the Turks themselves favor a strong, bitter brewed black tea. The markets offer a bewildering array of herbal blends, but I didn’t encounter people actually drinking them much. One of our hotels did offer bagged Lipton herbal teas in choice of sage or apple. The sage was quite delicious and the apple was a big improvement over the instant mix. And one pomegranate juice vendor, in front of a mosque in a small town where most of the tourists were Turkish, did offer organic, from his own trees. He seemed to be doing quite well.

I saw no one drinking tap water, even in the cheapest restaurants. I read that the objection is on taste, not health—which means there should be a nice market for eco-friendly water filtration systems—though when brushing my teeth, I thought it tasted pretty good. Bottled spring water is inexpensive, readily available, and tasty; if you know where to look, a single lire ($0.47 US) gets a liter and a half as of December 2013, even in on the streets of touristy Old City Istanbul—but there’s no evidence of consciousness about the harmful environmental effects of bottling. A lovely yogurt drink called ayran is popular, as is Turkish coffee. The local beer, Efes, didn’t impress me, but I liked raki, an anise liqueur.

Public Transit:
Between cities, you can get pretty much anywhere on buses and trains. And the buses are sized appropriately for their ridership. In many places, dolmuses (minibuses of 20 seats or so) or even minivans take the place of full-sized coaches. Most cities and towns also have internal bus routes.

Istanbul has a complex and very heavily used transit system, including trams, subways, buses, ferryboats, and even a funicular and a cable car. The system is well-maintained, but do expect crowds. Yet, enough people drive that traffic is a big problem, both on the narrow streets and the big boulevards. Stick to the tram and metro where possible.

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Green & Ethical Marketing Facebook


About Shel & This Newsletter

As a marketing consultant and copywriter… award-winning author of eight books… international speaker, blogger, syndicated columnist — Shel Horowitz shows how green and ethical businesses can actually be *more* profitable than your less-green competitors. His most recent book is category bestseller Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet. Shel also helps authors/ publishers, small businesses, and organizations to market effectively, and turns unpublished writers into well-published authors.

He was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame in 2011.

Shel Horowitz’s consulting firm, Green And Profitable, is the first business ever to earn Green America’s rigorous Gold Certification as a leading green company

He began publishing his monthly newsletter all the way back in 1997, making it one of the oldest marketing e-zines (it’s changed names a few times along the way).

“As always, some of the links in this newsletter earn commissions—because I believe in the products and services enough to promote them (I get asked to endorse lots of other programs I don’t share with you, because I don’t find them worthy).”

Marketing Green in the Wider World: 3-Day Intensive, May 16-18, Hadley, MA See description near the beginning of the newsletter. 

January 29, noon Eastern/9 a.m. Pacific, I’ll be Corey Pinkney’s guest on his brand new Blog Talk Radio show, Self Reliant Now.———-green-and-profitable (yes, that funny-looking URL is correct)

May 10, 2014, I will once again be presenting at CAPA University, a one-day book publishing program in Hartford. More info: gaffney AT

–> Remember: you can earn 25 percent of my speaking fee if you get me booked someplace. Who do you know that needs a speaker on green business profitability/green marketing? View my demo video, workshop descriptions, and other goodies at

Friends who Want to Help

Take Your Business on the Road, with Help from Marcia Yudkin
Want to chuck your desk for a few months and get out and explore the world? But you still have a business to run! This Udemy course from Marcia Yudkin walks you through, step by step, all the infrastructure and systems you need to run your business from far away, and even ways to make the trip pay for itself and build your business. Normally, it’s $37. While that’s a very reasonable price, I’ve arranged for you to get it during January only for just $17. Visit between now and January 31, 2014.

Another Recommended Book—Billions Rising

Billions Rising: Empowering Self-Reliance, by Anita Casalina with Warren Whitlock and Heather Vale Goss

Want a good solid dose of inspiration to start your 2014 on a good foot? Every time you encounter naysayers who tell you we’re stuck with the world we have and can’t make things better for ourselves or others, grab this book and open at random. Think of it as a megavitamin, pumping up your immune system to ward them off. As the authors say within the first two pages, “a very basic idea we can spread to the whole world at zero cost is that, no matter where we happen to land in life, none of us is permanently stuck there.”
The authors recognize that there are times when people need some old-fashioned charity to get over a crisis–but their focus is on developing self-empowerment and community-empowerment tools that build resiliency, end dependency, and prime the pump for long-term success—through entrepreneurship, deeply involving elected and community leaders, and massive creativity.

Page after page of wonderful people doing wonderful things: creating alternatives to poverty and hunger, building individual and group self-reliance, and giving a permanent hand up to the most disempowered people in our world. And doing so, for the most part, with lean, green, collaborative organizations that lose little or nothing to bureaucracy, reduce pollution, and can be set up with very little money or infrastructure.

Here are just a few of the many inspiring world-changers you’ll meet (some well known, most not):

Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water. He says that bad water causes 80 percent of all diseases, and bad water is easy and cheap to fix—$20 per person can eliminate the problem.

Dean Kamen, inventor of Segway, who developed a water purification system that can produce 10 gallons of clean water every hour, with just one kilowatt of electricity.

Gretchen Anderson, teaching urban farming and chicken raising so that even economically marginal urban Americans can have a dependable source of protein—and showing how to overturn restrictive laws that interfere with food self-sufficiency.

Howard Buffett (Warren Buffett’s son), who offers desert land in Arizona at no charge to researchers combatting famine in the arid parts of Africa.

Tonya Prince, who developed and teaches a six-point program for women recovering from abuse.

Wafa Al-Rimi, who led a team of teenage girls in Yemen to develop and market solar-powered lanterns, fans, and even patio umbrellas—in a society that faces not only unreliable grid electricity but social mores that encourage women and girls to stay home and uninvolved.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who discusses (in her commencement speech to Harvard’s Class of 2008) the benefits of failure: “Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have fund the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized…rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Billions rising uses these and many other stories to explore successful examples of collaboration and alternative institutions, often started or run by people from disadvantaged communities (including youth), often using technology and existing infrastructure creatively—I particularly love the example of how Kamen partnered with Coca-Cola to deliver clean water to potentially billions of people.

The book does have some flaws. It could have benefited somewhat from one extra editing pass. It cries out for a more modern and appealing design. And worst of all, it has no index, which means you’ll need to take good notes with page numbers if you’re going to get real value out of it, because otherwise you probably won’t find your particular inspiration a second time.

But jot down those pages; it’s worth the effort. This book could easily start you on a journey to make the world a better place while creating a very nice livelihood for yourself.

Show Every Benefit: Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Tip, May 2011

If you’re marketing a green product or service, it’s up to you to demonstrate why your offering is superior to the conventional alternatives. That means drilling down and drilling down to identify and brag about the core reasons, and to do so in a way that resonates with your audience.

Let’s say, for instance, that you’re a building manager and you offer the feature I mention in this month’s book review: graywater recycling. How can you turn that feature into benefits, and then drill deeper to get at the core benefits?

Good green marketing usually involves showing the benefits both to the customers themselves and to the world as a whole. In this case, the feature is a system to capture waste water from relatively clean uses like sinks and showers, and use it again to water lawns, flush toilets, etc.

The primary benefits are reduced water use and less water contamination. On the personal benefit side, that means lower water bills. Municipal water is artificially cheap in many developed countries, just as oil used to be, so thats a relatively weak benefit. Can we find any deeper personal benefits? How about this: by recycling the water, there is less need to draw down the water supply, which in turn keeps it available for other uses. OK, so if the aquifer is drawn down more slowly, it can recharge properly—and that keeps the water clean and pure.

Ah ha! Now there are both health and aesthetic benefits! The feature of clean and pure water turns into the benefit of staying healthy, not getting sick—and also the benefit of water that is not only good for you, but tastes good, too. This in turn means the customer doesn’t have to go out and spend money on bottled water, because the tap water is good enough to drink. So now we have two economic benefits (tap water lasts longer and therefore costs less, and eliminating the need to buy water bottles) as well as a health benefit because the water stays pure.

Let’s turn to the social goods. More water is available for other uses—and fewer oil-based plastic bottles are needed. If we accept Bill Roth’s statement (see book review) that 5000 kids die every day from lack of good water, we now see a clear benefit to conserving through recycling the graywater: we stop kids from dying. Add that to the benefit of protecting the water supply for our own kids and grandkids in the generations to come, and not squandering that resource the way we’ve squandered oil for so many years, and it should be pretty easy to write some powerful marketing copy.

How Ireland Is Moving Toward Sustainability

During my trip last month to Ireland and Northern Ireland, I was pleasantly shocked to see evidence that this was a culture that cared about working conditions for both humans and animals.

Yes, of course, I could find fairly traded products in the health food stores and even in supermarkets. But it was astounding to me that every roadside convenience store had them as well. Little places in the middle of nowhere, just bathroom stops on the motorways, uniformly offered a pretty good selection of fair-trade chocolate and coffee, among other products. Such items are much harder to find in those types of stores in the United States, where I live.

Furthermore, the Insomnia coffee chain, which seems to be Ireland’s largest, has also gone fair-trade over there. When I encountered that brand in Canada about seven months ago, I saw no fair-trade markings.

Supermarket shopping was actually fun. I got a fantastic house-brand fair-trade chocolate bar at Sainsbury’s, which is comparable to Giant Food or A&P. If I remember right, the cocoa content was around 82 percent, and the quality was terrific. I also noticed that Hellman’s mayonaise is made with free-range eggs over there; if that’s true in the US, it hasn’t said so on the label, last time I checked.

As a percentage, the number of “conscious” products in these stores is still quite small. But if roadside convenience stores are carrying fair-trade products, that means enough people who shop in those stores have requested those products that the store chains have decided to carry them. And I find that remarkable, especially considering that as a culture (and particularly outside of Cork, Galway, and Dublin, which all seem to have higher food awareness), Ireland is not particularly focused on eating well. It’s very meat-centric, vegetables are routinely overcooked, and the food generally is bland and heavy. Dairy is very good, however.

Those three cities seem to have a well-established local/organic culture. We found vegetarian restaurants in Dublin and Cork, a terrific Saturday farmers market including not only organic produce but also artisan foods and crafts in Galway, just outside an amazing artisan cheese shop. A health food store in Dublin offered an amazing selection of raw chocolates, and one raw chocolatier had a booth at the Galway market.

One other trend that surprised me: the infiltration of ethnic restaurants (particularly South Asian and Far Asian) into just about every corner of the island. So if you’d rather not have beef and cabbage stew with potatoes, you’ll find options like Afghani kebab shops, Chinese or Korean restaurants, or Pakistani takeaways in even relatively small towns.

This is a slice of globalization that actually leads toward greater sustainability—not only because it’s easier to find healthy food choices, but also because I believe monocultures are not sustainable, whether you’re talking about growing a single crop or a single human culture. Cultural diversity allows for cross-pollinating the best practices that other societies have come up with, recognizing that some may not be appropriate for a different climate.

Here are a few other random observations from my trip:

  • Wind power plays a significant role. It’s common to see large wind turbines (as in much of the rest of Europe), though for the most part in small clusters of one to five, rather than in the vast wind farms of say, Spain—and also to see older, smaller  private installations on individual farms, of the sort that were common on US farms in the late 1970s.
  • Solar’s role is minimal. I have seen only a handful of rooftop solar hot water installations, and most of the  photovoltaic have been on self-powered electronic highway signs. Of course, it’s not the sunniest place in the world; an Italian immigrant told us, “in Ireland, they call this a beautiful day. In Italy, we would call it a disaster.”  But there must be more than is obvious, because we passed quite a number of solar businesses, even in some pretty rural areas.
  • Big cities have some limited public recycling in the major commercial and tourist areas. I imagine there are recycling programs for households, too.
  • On the campus of the technical college we visited, environmental awareness was quite high. This school is also about to launch a degree program in sustainability and one in agriculture, yet they haven’t explored the obvious linkages between those two program offerings—in part because they’re slotted for different campus, 50 miles apart.
  • Since it’s part of Europe, I wasn’t surprised that attention to conservation is more prevalent. Toilets with low/high settings, tiny cars, and composting projects all seem fairly common.Yet. to my shock, the small conference center we stayed at in rural Donegal was still using energy-hogging incandescent light bulbs.