Posts tagged ‘eco-preneurship’
We had a chat with Tracy Hepler this week, an entrepreneur trying to green LA:
Q1 What are you up to at the moment?
Right now I’m constantly working on growing my baby, yourdailythread.com which is an online community space for green, sustainable and local living in Los Angeles. Our goal is to bring green down to the local level. There are wonderful national and global sites out there right now such as treehugger.com or grist.org, but they usually don’t focus on neighborhood issues. We try to focus on things that you can do in your own back yard, from community gardens to local green events—we sift through all green marketing and green washing to bring our readers the crème de la crème of local green issues.
I have also recently co-founded LYFE (Leading Young Future Entrepreneurs) with Hillary Newman (the Ecowarriorr) and Rachel Hurn-Maloney of Vie Eco Fashion Boutique in Los Angeles. LYFE brings together young entrepreneurs who care about the environment and want to network both professional and socially.
I also do freelance writing/blogging for a few other green/cause oriented sites including the Huffington Post Green, Causecast.org and I’m working on a few more side projects including bringing green to the Latino mainstream.
Q2 Why do you do what you do?
After graduating college, I thought I really wanted to work in the entertainment industry as a writer. I soon realized once in the industry that my calling was to use my skills towards work that would help make the world a better place. As cheesy as that might sound, it is true. I feel that climate change and the environment is possibly the most pressing issue of our time and I want to do everything in my power to bring change and inspire everyone to do everything they can to conquer this problem.
Q3 What keeps you awake at night?
Haha, this is funny because I’m currently on vacation and I can’t be away Your Daily Thread for more than a few hours—that is my baby, if you will, and I am so inspired to see it succeed all the way through.
Q4 You mentioned that you’re doing a summer special with YDT – what tips do you have?
Well I missed the 4th, but our tips are applicable for the rest of summer. If I could suggest one big thing it would be to avoid using disposables. For one hour of picnicking or bbqing your plastic plates and forks will sit in the landfill for hundreds of years. I don’t care how tasty you burgers are—it’s not worth it. Bring your own plates from home or if you need to use a form of disposable, use compostable ones from companies like Earth Shell. They’re made in the USA from old potatoes and other scrapes and can be thrown into the compost bin. If you don’t compost and must throw them away, they won’t take nearly as long to biodegrade. You can view the rest of our green summer bbq tips here.
Q5 If you were a g(r)enie, what would you wish for?
I get three wishes I assume!
1) I’d wish for green to be a major priority across, political, social and all other spectrums. I’m happy with the amount of progress we’ve made in the last few years, but I think we’ve got a lot more to do and a stronger sense of urgency is needed.
2) That every household and business in America used a recycling and composting bin so that we would throw less into our landfills.
3) That we’d return to eating healthy real food. I have been a big fan of Michael Pollan for a while and recently saw Food INC—it’s shocking how much of what we eat really isn’t food. I’d wish for a return to more seasonal organic food that everyone could afford.
Penned by Christina
Last night I enthusiastically attended the book launch for Adam Werbach’s new book, Strategy for Sustainability. (For those of you who don’t know who Adam Werbach is, read on or learn about his company, Saatchi & Saatchi S). They had a ton of great speakers, drumming, drinks and fire dancers!
During the performance, the drummers talked about what culture really means, how critical it is for society and how it connects to sustainability. I can never hear enough of that type of thinking! I was also reminded that Saatchi & Saatchi S focuses on and problem-solves utilizing SEEC – social, environmental, economic and cultural dimensions. It really warmed my heart (and not only due to my proximity to the fire!) to see a thriving company that has pushed the boundaries of progressive business thinking.
(Photo by Nathan Wyeth)
- There’s a paucity of good information out there for those who want green jobs;
- Strong federal support for green jobs has generated immense interest, but with few jobs available, many job seekers are starting to view this movement as a “shooting star”; and
- Educational institutions are slow to evolve their curriculum to meet our environmental challenges.
Indeed, despite the warm reception we enjoyed on the East coast, the experience was slightly troubling. Nearly everyone I spoke with is just trying to “figure it out” — “it” being green jobs. How do we create them? How do we train people for them? And what will be their impact in the years ahead?
Penned by Nick
Mark Penn’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal examines the “microtrend” of “green workers”, but misses the macrotrend that’s turning the fight against climate change into the 21st century’s brawl for corporate profits and credibility. At the end of Mr. Penn’s article, he suggests that: “…the executives of federally subsidized green companies…should not profit excessively from these government-sponsored programs in a time of crisis. So jobs that used to be done for greenbacks may soon be done just for the green of it.”
Tom and I often joke that I’m “all business” and he’s “all better planet.” To our colleagues, we quip that it’s going to take both of us–business and better planet–to solve climate change. That’s because, for the first time in human history, we face a challenge that requires 1 billion people to act: global warming. When you think about it, there are only a few places we could get a billion people to act. We could ask China or India to legislate on their billion-plus person populations to be more environmentally responsible.
Unfortunately, this request has been a tough pill for these countries to swallow, and rightly so (witness the post-Kyoto divide over the “double standard” of emissions targets for developing countries). The only other place where we can motivate 1 billion-plus people to act is through the market. Indeed, every day more than a billion people engage in some form of commerce.
The market, it turns out, is the most powerful tool for social and environmental change the world has ever seen. Social and environmental entrepreneurs the world over are daily discovering this fact. In doing so, they not only generate a profit in pursuit of a healthy planet, but they demonstrate that profit and planet are mutually reinforcing motivations that create a virtuous cycle. Ecopreneurs are driving profitable, sustainable businesses forward through their ingenuity and market-savvy. At a time when the world needs a new example of how to do good, responsible business, we should not punish these individuals by limiting their profit motive. Instead, we should encourage environmental organizations to be as profitable and successful as possible. In doing so, we can inspire a generation of business leaders to pursue a brighter, greener future.