The Clean and Green Club, July 2017

Having trouble reading this as e-mail? Please visit to read it comfortably online.
Like Twitter Pinterest GooglePlus LinkedIn Forward
Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Marketing Tip, July 2017
Like Twitter Pinterest GooglePlus LinkedIn Forward
This Month’s Tip: 4 Questions to Create Eco-Friendly Transformation, Part 1
Stumbling across this article on bicycle-powered-everythings (bicimaquinas) in Guatemala—grain mills, water pumps, nut-shellers, blenders, and more—I’m reminded once again of key questions to ask if you want to spark innovation while keeping an eco-friendly focus on using fewer resources.

1. How Can I Best Accomplish the End Result?

Too often, we focus on the tool: asking questions like “how do I get a new tractor?” But what is a tool? It’s a means of accomplishing a task! So the real focus should be on the task: “How can I get this done?” Asking “how can I get harvestable plants” might lead to plowing with draft animals—or to no-till farming techniques.

Green entrepreneurs (or frugal ones) refine that question. It morphs into “How can I accomplish this with the fewest resources?” Money and time are resources. So are raw materials, energy, water, plant seeds, animals, and so forth.

The people at Maya Pedal, the organization profiled in the bicimaquina article, understood this. They looked around and realized there were a lot of junk bikes out there that could still do plenty of useful work, just not as transportation. They’ve come up with 19 different models so far.

Bicycle technology is cheap, accessible, understandable, and versatile. In fact, my latest book Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World mentions a number of creative bike technology uses, even including a bike-powered trash hauling company. I also know of a fitness center that harnesses the energy of their bike-pumping clients to light the room.

This blender is one of 19 different types of bicimaquinas—bike-powered equipment—developed by Maya Pedal in San Andrés Itzapa, Guatemala

We can ask this question in many situations—and it creates abundance. Asking “how can I power my electronic devices easily and cheaply without negative environmental consequences” might lead to developing something like the amazing Blue Freedom frisbee-sized hydroelectric plant (no dam required).

Back in 1985, when laser printers were retailing for $7000 and I had only a dot matrix, I asked myself how I could offer laser quality to my clients without spending that kind of money. That led me first to rent time on a nearby laser printer for a dollar a page, and later—when I spotted a remaindered model for $2500—to organize a co-op of four local business owners who chipped in $700 each to buy the printer and a sturdy stand for that very heavy machine. Since I organized the co-op, the printer lived in my office.

Amory Lovins, founder of Rocky Mountain Institute, asked himself how to build a really energy-efficient house that could fund the energy improvements out of capital savings. All the way back in 1983, he built a near-net-zero-energy luxury home that didn’t need a furnace or an air conditioner (in the snowbelt outside Aspen, Colorado, where the biggest industry is skiing). I have a detailed study of Lovins’ work in Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World, by the way—including the energy retrofit of the Empire State Building that saves $4.4 million per year in that building’s energy bills.

We have to learn to be clear about what our end goal really is. Booking a hotel is not an end goal. Phrasing the question as “where will I stay when I travel?” opens up options like homestay organizations. Even money is not an end goal. Money has near-zero intrinsic value: the paper and ink used to create it. Money’s value is in the ability to exchange for goods and services. Whole economies have been built on other types of exchange, such as barter and even gifting.

(continued next month)

New on the Blog
What I Told Seth [Godin] About Seeing the Journey’s End

Hear and Meet Shel
Another fantastic interview, this time on Leverage Masters with Jack Humphrey and Gina Gaudio-Graves. On my interviews page, I’ve identified nine different attention points in this interview, including a surprising parallel between Bill Gates and the most successful industrialists of more than 100 years earlier.

Also, I’ve put a link to the in-depth written interview with me on

Order 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. Find out more and order from several major booksellers (or get autographed and inscribed copies directly from me).

Download a free sampler with several excerpts, the complete Table of Contents and Index, and all the endorsements.
Another Recommended BookBuilding the New American Economy
Like Twitter Pinterest GooglePlus LinkedIn Forward

Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, & Sustainable, by Jeffrey D. Sachs

At this year’s Book Expo (the largest US trade event in the book publishing world), Building the New American Economy was one of only two books I saw that reflected the results of the 2016 US election. I sought out Sachs’s signing and picked up a copy. Published in February (by Columbia, where Sachs teaches), this book specifically sets out to influence policy in the new administration.

Based heavily in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all 193 member countries including the US, it lays out a sustainable blueprint for the promised infrastructure rebuild and warns of the dangers of focusing on the dead end of fossil-fuel infrastructure.

Unfortunately, the new president has chosen a path in opposition to all the environmental and much of the human rights progress of the last several decades. He has embraced a mean-spirited and miserly ethic and shows no sign of caring about the rights of poor people at all, let alone protecting them in environmentally sustainable ways. And his stated infrastructure plans revolve around environmentally destructive and economically unsound support of heavily polluting industries such as non-renewable energy.

Is Sachs is spitting into the wind, at least as far as getting the government to listen to him? Am I with my own Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World? No—because these and similar books have many purposes besides directly influencing government. In the activist community, there’s an old and very relevant saying: “If the people lead, eventually the leaders will follow.” If this book helps the people to lead and the government to eventually follow, it’s doing good work.

Sachs lays out a very solid framework for understanding some of the issues, and as an Ivy League economist, backs up everything with solid numbers and sharp analysis. It’s a shortish book—just 121 pages in the main text—and much easier to read than much of what comes out of academia. Spend a few hours with it.

The last several chapters focus on ambitious solutions. A few of the goals he promotes:

  • Harnessing the high-level brain power of America’s universities, think tanks, businesses—and yes, governments—to create solutions for seemingly intractable problems. He notes that government has contributed to many technical breakthroughs, from the polio vaccine to the Internet, and that these created multiple new industries that create enormous economic growth and far outstrip occasional failures such as Solyndra)(p. 91).
  • Long-term thinking that goes well beyond the classic first 100 days of a new administration (pp. 102-104).
  • A six-step process to restore trust in the US political process (pp. 109-111)—including a wonderfully ambitious program to reduce income inequality while funding services that people actually want.
  • “Making America great again” through great goals. Just as JFK set goals to reach the moon, end racial inequality, and sign a nuclear test ban agreement with the USSR, we need to end our slide to the bottom in such areas as cutting the poverty rate from 17 to 8.5 percent (Denmark’s is 6 percent)…slashing obesity from 36 percent of the population down to 10 percent (Japan’s is 3 percent), and reducing the rate of incarceration from 716 per 100,000 to 100 (Scandinavia ranges from 65 to 75 per 100,000). “None of the goals outlined is utopian or out of reach.” (pp. 113-119). Alongside these mega-goals, he suggests we upgrade our broadband, rail transit, genome research, and several other areas where the lack of government spending has caused us to fall out of leadership—and behind many other countries (pp. 13-16).
He has some excellent ideas on where to find the funding and how to fix our debt crisis, too.

But Sachs does endorse one set of recommendations that I strongly disagree with: he’s a fan of advanced-design nuclear power. I am an ardent opponent of nuclear. I’ve written an entire book on why nuclear power is a dreadful technology that should be abandoned (as several countries have done or are in the process of doing).

My reasons:

  1. It’s not nearly as carbon-friendly as some environmentalists claim
  2. It’s an economic disaster
  3. The consequences of an accident, or even of improper waste storage (over the 220,000 years it has to be totally isolated from the environment) are horrific; the area around Chernobyl is still not habitable after 31 years, and may not be for centuries
  4. We don’t need it—we have plenty of safer, cleaner options
If you’d like to know more, I’m happy to send you the update to my nuke book that I wrote for a Japanese publisher, post-Fukushima. It’s only 14 pages and it goes through a number of arguments. No opt-in required and you have my permission to share the document as long as you don’t change anything. To get your copy, please visit and click on the link.
Recent Interviews & Guest Articles: 

Shel’s done 24 podcasts recently, ranging from 5 minutes to a full hour. Click here to see descriptions and replay links.
Connect with Shel

Find on Facebook

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), his newest book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World, has already won two awards and is endorsed by Jack Canfield and Seth Godin. 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, Going Beyond Sustainability, is the first business ever to earn Green America’s rigorous Gold Certification as a leading green company. He’s an International Platform Association Certified Speaker and 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).”
Privacy Policy: We Respect Your Privacy

We collect your information solely to let our mailing service send you the information you request. We do not share it with any outside party not involved in mailing our information to you. Of course, you may unsubscribe at any time—but we hope you’ll stick around to keep up with cool developments at the intersections of sustainability, social transformation, and keeping the planet in balance. Each issue of Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Newsletter has a how-to or thought-leadership article and a review of a recommended book. We’ve been doing an e-newsletter all the way back to 1997, and some of our readers have been with us the whole time.

Leave a Comment

Name: (Required)

E-mail: (Required)