The Clean and Green Club, June 2016

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Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Marketing Tip, June 2016
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This Month’s Tip: Human Energy: The Next Frontier?
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Cats seem to spend about 18 hours a day NOT doing—either sleeping or vegging out in a sunny spot with no more activity than a loud purr. We humans, on the other hand, have close to the opposite ratio. OK, so some of that time is sitting at a desk and not doing much with our bodies. But a lot of it uses kinetic energy: movement.

Of course, we’ve been using direct-capture of human energy for tens of thousands of years, at least as far back as the invention of hammers and canoes. But turning it into electricity and powering devices with it is only a few decades old, as far as I know.

Why has so little attention been paid to harnessing this movement source of energy? It’s not like the concept is new. I remember hearing about a few pioneers capturing human energy back in the 1970s. And eight years ago, The Mother Earth News ran this article: – here’s an excerpt:

David Butcher’s experience is a case in point. Every morning he goes out to his garage and pedals a stationary bike for at least a half hour. The effort he puts into his workout isn’t wasted on friction as it is in most fitness gyms. Every pedal stroke makes electricity that is sent down a cable to his office in the house to power several small electrical devices. Pedal power recharges his electric razor and his cell phone, runs a computer monitor, and periodically runs the compressor that tops off the air pressure in the tires of his vehicles. David also runs the bike generator directly to a water pump whenever necessary for aerating and filtering the small backyard fishpond.

David works out of his home office in San Jose, California, as the client services director for a Web agency, and he sits in front of a computer most of the day.

Windstream Power, another company mentioned in the article, brags that it’s been doing this since 1974! So we’ve been able to convert human output to electricity for 42 years now. Isn’t it time we had a mass movement to capture at least some of that wasted energy?

Other people are also converting treadmills to capture kinetic energy (see ).

My latest book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World , discusses several examples of bicycle power, among them the Copenhagen Wheel, a nonmotorized device that stores a bicyclist’s kinetic energy and releases it when that rider needs extra power (like going uphill)—and a bicycle-powered trash-hauling fleet that has successfully competed with trucks in my own area for many years.

And what better place to do it than fitness centers? Texas State University retrofitted 30 elliptical trainers to capture the electricity: , calling it “the largest human power plant in the world.”

That claim could well be challenged in India, where a two-month-old pilot project called FreeElectric, , is bringing light and power to places that never had it:

Kids are able to do homework after the sun sets, freeing them to help their parents or play outside with their friends while it’s still light. Shop owners are able to continue conducting business through the evening as opposed to closing their doors at dusk. Classrooms are able to power laptops, tablets, and flat-screen televisions, connecting students and teachers to knowledge, people, information, and ideas from all over the world.

On a smaller (and much cheaper scale), a fitness center in my area started capturing kinetic energy with its exercise bikes several years ago. 

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).
Hear and Meet Shel

Ronald M. Allen interviews Shel on the Manage Change show, TODAY, June 15, 7 pm ET/4 pm PT–going-green-raises-your-companies-revenues

WEBINAR FOR INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS OF NEW ENGLAND/ASSOCIATION FOR SPECIAL SALES, “Green Audiences, Green Titles, Green Printing NEW DATE Thursday, June 23, 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT – this is a brand new program I’ve never done before, highly recommended for any publisher considering producing books for the green market and/or greening your production.

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About Shel & This Newsletter

As a green and social change business profitability/marketing consultant and copywriter…award-winning author of ten books…international 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).”
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.

INTERVIEW WITH WADE TAYLOR OF WS RADIO, Monday, June 27, 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, one-hour interview with four segments:
1. Consumers: how to make buying choices that better the world
2. Small business: how to be there when the customer is ready to make that intelligent choice of a better world
3. Big business: operational excellence: lowering costs and boosting revenues by building products, services, and partnerships that not only help the planet but actively turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance (while creating new markets)
4. Nonprofit/academic: how to be a resource and partner to business on this journey while also advancing your own agenda 
Recent Interviews & Guest Articles:
Mike Schwager:
How I got started in social/environmental change at age 3 and returned to it (for life) at age 12. Dialog with Jack Nadel, 92-year-old entrepreneur with a green product line. The easiest ways a business can go green—and the real 7-figure savings that are possible when counting all the costs. Why market share doesn’t matter, and how to partner with competitors
Western Massachusetts Business Show with Ira Bryck, Profiles of several companies that were founded to good in the world. Green companies as price leaders. How to get a copy of my $9.95 ebook, 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 at no cost.
Bill Newman: (segment starts at 28:28): A quick, intense 11-minute trip through the highlights of my work

Ask those Branding Guys: (segment starts at 9:23)

Todd Schinck, Intrepid Now, with a nice emphasis on the power of ordinary people to change the world: (segment starts at 2:28)

JV Crum, Conscious Millionaire, second interview: We cover my first activist moment at age 3, how I helped save a mountain, the next big environmental issue, and how a simple vow in my 20s changed my life (segment starts at 3:25)

Jill Buck, Go Green Radio: (segment starts at 0:52). The difference between socially responsible and socially transformative businesses, impact of a social agenda on employees, urban farming, new energy technologies…and a cool case study of how a dog groomer could green up.

Kristie Notto, Be Legendary: The perfect example of a business that addresses social issues, the hidden revenue model I showed a social entrepreneur, how a famous gourmet food company went head-to-head with a much larger competitor, what we can learn about engineering from nature, and why wars are solvable

 Guest on Leon Jay, Socialpreneurtv (you’ll get to see what I look like when I’m overdue for a haircut/beard trim—a rare glimpse at Shaggy Shel)
Two-part interview on Steve Sapowksy’s excellent EcoWarrior Radio podcast: (Listen to Part 1 before Part 2, of course)

The first of two excellent shows on Conscious Millionaire
Another Recommended BookCradle to Cradle
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Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart (North Point Press, 2002)

Have you ever *really* thought about soap? William McDonough and Michael Braungart have. Asking questions like “what kind of soap does the river [where the soap ends up after use] want?” they think about such options as:

• Eliminating the water from liquid soaps and detergents, so that the actual soap ingredients can be transported much more easily, at lower cost, and with much reduced environmental impact
• Individual-use packets of powder, formulated for specific bioregions with different water conditions and common types of textiles and packaged in fully biodegradable materials
• Designing clothes that repel dirt, as a lotus leaf does
McDonough (an architect based in the US) and Braungart (an industrial chemist in Germany who headed Greenpeace’s chemistry section before founding the German Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency) think about a lot of things most of us never question about how the modern industrial era has been cobbled together; they oppose the kludgy, unholistic “systems” that have become the norm.They thought about paper, and designed their own book using a waterproof, tree-free paper made of plastic that can be reused or recycled indefinitely with no degradation. This may seem at first an odd choice for a book about incorporating deep environmental consciousness into design

but it makes more sense when you realize that paper recycling is a flawed process that consumes a great deal of energy and inputs large quantities of chemicals to transform used paper into something not-quite-as-good.Their special paper is an example of what they call a “technical nutrient”: something developed by humans rather than nature, but of great value if it can be reclaimed. Reclaiming/reuse is generally easy when a product is composed of only technical or only natural nutrients. Too often, however, we mix natural and technical nutrients into a product that’s very hard to separate out again into those components, and thus the future value of all of it is zero. McDonough and Braungart consider this almost criminal, and stress the importance of designing everything for easy disassembly and reuse. What makes it only “almost” criminal in their eyes is intent. Usually, nobody’s trying to make the world suffer; they just don’t know any better. However, once the consequences are known, they see continuing the behavior as criminally negligent (pp. 43-44). And we need to change this “strategy of tragedy” to a strategy of change.

One way to do this is to design backward from the goal, rather than forward from the clumsy present (something I’ve been advocating for several years, including in my TEDx talk, “Impossible is a Dare“: *(click on “event videos”).

Human factors are also important to the authors. They oppose lifeless, soul-less buildings even if they meet all the green building standards. They think of ecosystems, “eco-effectiveness” (p. 76), rather than efficiency. And with this mindset, even industry can be a great neighbor:


…Industry can be so safe, effective, enriching, and intelligent that it need not be fenced off from other human activity (This could stand the concept of zoning on its head; when manufacturing is no longer dangerous, commercial and residential sites can exist alongside factories, to their mutual benefit and delight.) (pp. 87-88)

For McDonough and Braungart—and for John Todd, whom I profile in my new book Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World—waste becomes food. Whatever waste is generated, some other process or product should be able to use it.

Some other questions they like to ask, especially when toxics are involved (pp. 37-38):

  • Why is it there?
  • Is it necessary?
  • What happens if it’s recycled? Burned? These questions encourage us to ask other, implied questions:
  • What impacts do the ingredient or process have on energy and water, the waste stream, and on the ability to reuse both the final product and the leftovers?
  • What are the alternatives to using this ingredient or process?

McDonough and Braungart ask us to focus on the positive changes we want. Remove words that limit our responsibilities and our hopes to making things less bad, like “avoid,” “minimize,” “sustain,” “limit,” and “halt” (p. 45). Instead, make them not only ecologically appropriate but also fun (p. 154). Remember that effluent is no longer a problem if the effluent is cleaner than the influent and can be used again; design everything for total reuse, with no quality loss (pp. 109-110). Even a car can clean the planet as it drives (p. 179). Imperialism, they say, is a response to loss of nutrients

so use the concept of “abundancenot limits, pollution, and waste” (p. 91) as an antidote to imperialism.

Seeing materials as nutrients opens up new models beyond the usual purchase-and-dispose. Why not a rent-a-solvent business (p. 112), or a building that’s designed like a tree (p. 138), for instance?

The authors are very much against one-size-fits-all, preferring instead unique solutions adopted to each place and conditions, with plenty of redundancy (p. 185). Nature does this all the time; that’s why there are 8000 different species of ants (p. 120).

In almost 900 words, I’ve only scratched the surface. Especially if you’re in any kind of design capacity, read this book. Even if you’re not, it will change how you think and open many doors.

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