The Clean and Green Club, July 2013

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Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Marketing Tips, 

July 2013

This Month’s Tip

A Company Brave Enough to Ask, “Do You Really Need Our Stuff?”

Patagonia, the outdoor recreation supply company founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, has been an environmental hero company pretty much since its founding. In fact, Chouinard’s earlier company was among the first to make reusable metal supplies for mountain climbers, starting with a home blacksmithing operation in 1957 when he realized that permanent pitons hammered into the rocks were environmentally awful—and he cites among his influences such famous environmental writers as John Muir and Thoreau.

Every interaction with the company is likely to rub into some area where it demonstrates leadership. Patagonia has worked tirelessly and consistently to green its supply chain, its manufacturing processes, and the materials of its products. The environmental section of its website stretches across 11 different pages under an umbrella called “Common Threads.”

It was one of the first companies, perhaps the first, to offer to take back any product at the end of its useful life, to rehabilitate, remanufacture, or use as raw materials to make something else. You can see this commitment at, and again at

“In 2005 we began taking back worn out Patagonia clothing for recycling. Today, you can return any Patagonia product to us and we will reuse it, recycle it into new fabric or make it into a new product.”

56.6 tons of used gear has been recycled since this program started.

But even for such a thought-leader company, I am amazed that it actually urges its customers NOT to buy without thinking carefully about whether you really must have it. At, you’ll find this statement:

“As a consumer, the biggest thing you can do is to not buy what you don’t really need.”

And this attitude extends to external outreach, too. At, you can see the famous 2011 ad entitled “Don’t Buy This Jacket.”

Wow! Most companies would simply never do anything like that.

You can even find a link on their site to the trailer for the anti-materialism video classic, “The Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard.

Patagonia is the only company I’m aware of that tells consumers to limit consumption of its product, other than those that are legally required to do so (e.g., liquor and tobacco companies).

If you know of any others, please let me know, and I’ll list them (and credit you next month.

Friends who Want to Help

The Magic of GOOD Water
If you’ve been to Las Vegas, you might have noticed that the water tastes and feels wretched. I drink a lot of water, ever since I had a kidney stone (BIG ouch) about ten years ago; in most of Vegas, I had to really work at getting enough fluid. But I went to a conference there recently, and I noticed that in the conference rooms, the water was among the best I’d ever experienced—but in other parts of the hotel, and in other places we went in the area, the water seemed unfit to drink. And this was especially awkward because in the hot desert climate, keeping hydrated is crucial. I drank a whole lot of water from the conference rooms and felt great.

Then I met the water magician who made it happen: Patrick Durkin. Patrick has done a whole lot of research on water, and has tremendous knowledge about how to reduce disease, rid your water of toxins, and enjoy a great tasting natural beverage. And it turned out that Patrick had arranged to treat the conference water so that we had something not just fit to drink, but fit for kings and queens.

Since our bodies are mostly water, the quality of the water we drink can have a huge impact on our health, our mindset, and of course, our taste buds.

I asked Patrick if he would share his water wisdom with you. And I asked him if it was OK for you to bring friends to hear this information. He said yes, and we set a date far enough out that you can help spread the word. Please save this date: Tuesday, September 24, 8 pm ET/5 p.m. PT. 

And sign up for the call at (page should be ready by the time the newsletter publishes—if it’s not, just drop me an email: shel AT, subject: water call signup).

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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).”
Your Writing Can Have Influence Even Beyond the English-Speaking World
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For a no-charge, no-obligation estimate, please visit Enter promo code SHS07 to get a fun gift: “Translation Bloopers from Around the Globe.”

Shout-Out: Congratulations to the Most Ethical Business Owner I Know
Going back at least to February, 2006, I’ve mentioned Dean Cycon and his coffee company, Dean’s Beans of Orange, Massachusetts, several times in this newsletter, on my blog, and on several of my websites.

Dean is proof that a business can be green, and ethical, and extremely successful. And I recently found out that Dean was awarded the very prestigious Oslo Business for Peace Award, known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.” If you’d like to read my congratulatory blog, with a terrific picture of Dean making music with a group of villagers in Rwanda, and links, please visit

You can subscribe to my blog at no cost; just visit any blog page and scroll down until you see “Get the Blog via Email” near the bottom. If you don’t want to give your e-address, you’ll see “Networked Blogs: Follow This Blog” a bit higher on the page. I post a lot of cool stuff there—here are three recent samples:

27,000 Times the Radiation Limit–In Your Water

Idiot Politician of the Year? (He has introduced a law that would ban any state purchase of sustainable goods or services).(
Hear & Meet Shel

Replay of my “Copywriting for the Green Marketplace” interview with Dalya Massachi

Tuesday, July 23, 2p.m. ET/11a.m. PT: Ruth Hegarty interviews me on green profitability strategies as part of her Seer Cafe thought-leader series:

Thursday, July 25, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT: Monica Brinkman interviews me on It Matters Radio. Listen live at
or by phone at 213-769-0952 (my segment will start at 6:30). The replay will be available later at the same link.

Thursday, September 26, 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT. “Incorporating Values in Copy: When, Why and What to Avoid,” Speaking at Marcia Yudkin’s No-Hype Copywriting Telesummit. She has a great lineup. No charge to attend the live calls, and a bonus session if you choose to purchase the recordings.

Saturday, September 28, 10:15 a.m. “Do-It-Yourself Book Marketing,” Amherst Publishing Fair, 99 Main Street, Amherst, MA, $10 includes all events and fair admission from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Planning way ahead: May 10, 2014, I will once again be presenting at CAPA University, a one-day book publishing program in Hartford. More info: gaffney AT
Another Recommended Book: How to Re-Imagine the World

How to Re-Imagine the World: A Pocket Guide for Practical Visionaries, by Anthony Weston (New Society Publishers, 2007)

This little book has been hiding on my shelf for a number of years. As I begin to conceive my own big-picture change-the-world book, I found it when I was looking for a book I might review.

It’s only 142 4×7-inch pages (most business books are 6×9). But don’t let the small size fool you. It’s a powerhouse of great ideas. Some of the material refers quite specifically to the policies of the George W. Bush administration. But as the news pages are exploding with stories about the spying scandal, the IRS scandal, and more, critiques of the Bush years still seem alarmingly relevant. 

Weston begins by noting the accomplishments of “creative mutiny” movements, such as the US Civil Rights movement. Visioning a better world is a key step in achieving that world. Thus, the archetypal moment in that movement was a man sharing a dream in front of a quarter of a million people. 

But the other part of the subtitle is “practical.” Wesson claims that harnessing our vision can create a better society in the here and now—one that’s easier to achieve because of our deep visionary mindset. And there are ways of depolarizing those visions so that Left and Right can find common ground. For instance, he says, a full-scale program to green the United States (the sort of thing I’ve been advocating for years) could create 3 million jobs, many of them high-skill and high-wage. Don’t be afraid to dream big, as Martin Luther King, Jr. did 50 years ago, he says. Ideas can stretch.

And they can shrink. Tiny individual changes can add up to big cultural shifts. Our actions on the micro level actually make a difference in the larger world. I’ve personally experienced this, over and over again. It’s one of the reasons why I create tools to motivate individual change, such as my Painless Green ebook with 111 mostly easy and low-cost/no-cost tips to go green. 

At the same time, we need to make space for the big shifts that start as big shifts. Often, this involves rethinking how we do a task from the ground up. Weston is not afraid to tackle big issues with a new mind set: How would the solid-waste crisis improve if we switched many products to edible packaging, or demanded (as much of Europe does) that manufacturers take back all the packaging? What if instead of creating more efficient cars, we reimagined the whole reasons and ways we transport people? What if instead of building permanent homes in coastal danger zones, we made them moveable, and when a storm threatened, people AND their homes were evacuated? 

Humans are a capable, resilient, innovative species. When we set our inner compass on a path of change, we are able to make great changes—to exceed expectations. And we’re able to plan for calamities such as natural disasters before they happen, and thus respond better when they do. 

One of his “crazy” ideas that I really like is to create “delightism”—an antithesis of terrorism. Secret armies spreading joy in the world by stealth. I think that’s pretty cool. He takes the metaphor further, advocating that we preemptively spread peace—using South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission as one possible model. 

Weston also questions today’s realities with an activist’s eye. How, he asks, did we ever accept that dumping pollutants or overharvesting resources are rights (he calls this “resourcism”? 

You might notice that Weston is really good at reframing. Framing is something the enemies of positive change have been much better about than we who work to shape a better world. Let’s flip it around. In other words, we can co-opt the language of the naysayers. When “attacks on our soil” are used to justify police-state measures, use that phrase to discuss the literal attack on our soil by “chemiculture” (a word I invented, as far as I know) and GMO seed stock. “Nature Deficit Disorder” is Weston’s term for those who have never been exposed to the natural world and therefore have never learned to value it. 

And, he says, don’t forget to have fun. Demonstrations can become festivals (as many have. The arts remind us that a better world is achievable. The paradise that we dream about is within our ability to create.
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