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)
Penned by Carolyn
Last night, Christina (our career coach extraordinaire) spoke at the San Francisco Net Impact monthly chapter meeting, which was focused around green jobs. Leonard Adler, head of www.greenjobs.net, organized the event and provided some really valuable insight as well — videos to come soon.
Probably the most interesting element of the event for us was the 20 minutes that the audience spent sharing their own tips, success stories, and warnings about searching for a job. Some really amazing insight was put out there, and we wanted to share some of their thoughts on staying positive and effective while you’re unemployed or jobseeking:
- If you’re unemployed, keep a schedule. Whether it’s walking your dog each day, going to the grocery store, keeping an active calendar of networking events, you can keep structure and motivation by sticking to a daily schedule.
- Seeking out volunteer leadership roles will give others a chance to see how you work and be able to recommend you based on work ethic, organization and other elements that might not come through when you apply or interview for a position.
- Networking is a two-way street: keep helping others by connecting acquaintances with similar interests or recommending other jobseekers for roles you know are open. Keeping this up whether you’re jobseeking or not is empowering and will keep your network connected and active.
- Get out in front of people. Jobseeking can make you spend a lot of time alone, and you can fall out of practice in terms of presenting yourself and your spiel. The more you interact with others, the better you’ll do when you eventually have to present yourself in an interview.
- It’s never too late to take an internship, especially if you need to gather skills to move into a new sector.
- Whenever you reach out to people you don’t know or peripherally know, do it thoughtfully. Find your common interests, point out your shared connections, or remark on something that’s happening in their company or industry. Not doing so is wasting a big opportunity to connect on an emotional, social level.
- Find free jobseeker support services — such as the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s weekly Job Forum.
- Don’t forget the basics. Applying for a green job is still applying for a job: make sure there are no spelling, grammar, or other basic mistakes in your resume. Tailor each resume and cover letter to the particular role.
Thanks to Julie and Adam Menter and the rest of the SF Net Impact Professional Chapter for organizing the event. Like many chapters across the country, the group hosts monthly meetings for its members with interesting speakers and opportunities to meet people working for social responsibility in business. Learn more about Net Impact and join at www.netimpact.org.
More photos on our Flickr feed.
For every 50 new resumes registered on our site before September 1, we will fund the education of a child in Madagascar for one year.
At the end of 2008, Bright Green Talent quietly made a donation to a Malagasy school to help put a child through education for one year for every placement we’ve made. And now, we want to more people involved. This month, we’re launching a new campaign to turn our goals into action:
At Bright Green Talent, we’re always looking for ways to spread our social and environmental aims beyond the impact we can make just by placing two, ten or a hundred people into jobs. We recognize the need to ensure that we provide ‘Talent for a Bright Green Future’ at each and every turn – not just in London or San Francisco, but in Africa, Asia, Latin America and beyond. And we believe strongly in “paying it forward” – helping others so that the favor can eventually come back around as we all strive towards meaningful livelihood in a cleaner future.
One of our co-founders, Tom, also founded Blue Ventures, an award-winning organization working in Madagascar, and in light of his experience and the recent political troubles in Madagascar, we were compelled to contribute to creating a sustainable future for these children. Bright Green Talent’s donation provides scholarships to help finance a teacher, food and accommodation for children from surrounding villages so they can study in Andavadoaka (many villages don’t have a school).
As Blue Ventures says, ‘these donations are vital to help educate the next generation of people living and working to protect the surrounding fragile coastal ecosystems in which they rely for their livelihoods. Without these donations many of these children would not receive any formal education.’
Education – both about environmental issues and to promote economic security and development – is key to promoting stewardship of the world’s natural resources. The actions of every single person around the world count.
Why send your resume to us?
Our aim – to collect resumes – is evidently not just about Madagascar: we’re readying ourselves for the wave of green jobs mounting on the horizon, and we want to have a willing green workforce so that we can help companies quickly find the right person to grow out their sustainability initiatives. In the meantime, we’ll continue to provide resources, opportunities, and coaching to help prepare you as those jobs become available. And don’t fear – we never, ever pass on resumes without approval from our candidates.
So by registering your resume with us, you open yourself to new positions without any drawbacks — and you help spread education, knowledge, and stewardship around the world.
Thanks for spreading this note far and wide to help us help people around the world find a more meaningful, sustainable livelihood.
If you’ve already registered with Bright Green Talent, but would like to contribute directly to help these children, please click here.
Penned by Carolyn
Watching this one minute video review of the energy bill in the House, one word resonates again and again: jobs. The potential for job creation in moving towards a clean energy future has become a rallying cry for proponents of the Waxman-Markey Bill — because who can argue with job creation when unemployment has officially hit 9.5% nationally?
In the past couple weeks, the Labor Department announced $500 million in grants for green jobs training programs. States and cities have also started to distribute stimulus dollars for training programs. If you’re interested in who’s getting funding and how, sign up for updates from Green for All — they’ve been giving a number of conference calls to keep folks in the loop and share information nationally about training programs. Most of the money that’s being doled out focuses on helping blue-collar workers transition into the green economy — providing “pathways out of poverty” as the nation undergoes energy retrofits, solar system installation, and more.
But some concerns remain. Yesterday, the New York Times brought into question the effectiveness of retraining programs in giving trainees a leg up in the job search. As the Times wrote, “a little-noticed study the Labor Department released several months ago found that the benefits of the biggest federal job training program were ‘small or nonexistent’ for laid-off workers. It showed little difference in earnings and the chances of being rehired between laid-off people who had been retrained and those who had not.”
Hopefully, the green jobs training programs will avoid the pitfalls that have led to the concerns raised by the NYT article, and will lend a hand to folks from all backgrounds and work histories — we hear from a lot of people who are looking to transfer technical skill sets and haven’t yet found a clear pathway in helping them do so. We have to believe that, with all the energy and enthusiasm focused on the green sector right now, there couldn’t be a better moment for these programs to succeed in training the next generation of environmental leaders.
To that end, we’ll continue to provide advice and resources to our jobseekers (keep an eye out for Bright Green Seminars starting in the next couple months), and we’ll support our partner Solar Richmond as they seek stimulus funding to support their amazing solar installation training program.
Stay tuned… more exciting developments are surely on the way.
Penned by Nick
This morning Solar Richmond hosted Senator Barbara Boxer. Amongst a well-orchestrated public relations production, about 100 attendees from all walks of society milled about and got to know each other.
At a time when folks are wondering “where are the green jobs?”, this place seemed to have all the answers. People were together, training, and envisioning–indeed, realizing!–a cleaner, greener tomorrow.
But after the applause had died down and the press disappeared, I got a chance to sit down with Solar Richmond and hear about how hard it is to really change the world.
The reality of the situation, despite all the applause, was that there’s still a lot of hard work to be done.
Graduates from these programs still find too few career opportunities, and the support structure that surrounds them needs to be reinforced with more than just hard skills training.
As Senator Boxer noted many times, these graduates are our future, and their futures are tied to a cleaner, greener economy.
If we are to truly make an inclusive transition to the green economy, we need to do more to help at-risk citizens from falling into the trap of unemployment.
The self-confidence and sense of satisfaction these kids gain from programs like Solar Richmond is immeasurable. They literally beam out the good vibes. But they also need help polishing off their corporate personas and skills so that they don’t pass the class only to fail the real-world test.
A lack of reliable transporation, credible role models, and access to job opportunities daily reminds us all that it’s not easy to climb up above the fray of broken families, drugs, discrimination, and a broken social support system.
The Obama Administration is investing heavily in next generation job training programs. The programs promise to be premised on partnership, and in the process, bring together a stronger family of organizations in which to raise the next generation of environmental leaders.
Along with Senator Boxer, Solar Richmond, and the Administration, I hope that we all can continue to come closer together to support this vision, and in the process, ensure everyone benefits from a cleaner, greener tomorrow.