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Of Cabbages and Kings…

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Author: the Inkslinger

Continuing to wade through the accumulated digital clippings here at my perch in the Vermont clouds, where a foot and a half of snow over the last two days has made the task a bit easier by slowing life down considerably. So let’s continue with some more recent dispatches that have caught my eyes and ears of late…

You probably don’t know it (I sure didn’t) but our entire lifetimes and those of all other human beings throughout human history have been spent in the geological era called the Holocene, that period of time that followed the retreat of the ice age glaciers 12,000 years ago. Now, however, some geologists are suggesting that the Holocene Era is over and the Anthropocene Era has begun, a new geological age in which human activities not natural processes are the force responsible for shaping the surface of our world. It’s a semantic change, really, but it’s a very, very interesting notion, a bit of perhaps necessary symbolism if you will, that I think deserves some consideration if only for the attention it would bring to the tremendous impact people are having on the state of the Earth. We’ve now surpassed all of nature itself as the dominant force in the world. It’s the first time in billions of years of geological history that a single species has achieved such utter and overwhelming dominance. Truly we are as gods and surely that’s worth some discussion. Declaring the dawn of the Anthropocene Era would certainly be one way to start it.

Okay. This is just funny. And perfect. And brilliant. And you should watch it right now.

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E-Waste Phones Home

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Author: the Inkslinger

My wife and I got our first cell phone about eight years ago. Her commute in those days was a long one over lonely back roads and with another big bad Vermont winter coming and a toddler now often in the back seat, it seemed like a wise choice. So we got the cheapo plan, a bare bones phone and 500 free minutes of which we used maybe ten a month for quick can-you-pick-up-some-milk-on-the-way-home calls.

Four years later, a hinge on the phone snapped, and I went to Verizon to get it fixed. The phone guy kinda laughed and said they don’t really fix them. Every two years, it seems, we could get a free new phone and the old one would get thrown out. Who knew? But that’s how it works. Except that it really doesn’t work for a whole lot of reasons that are outlined in this great new video from INFORM.

It is completely crazy that we live so disposably. That it’s cheaper to replace things than to fix them. That we simply throw away so much without thinking about it. Profligacy has replaced frugality, and that may not even be the deepest sadness. What, after all, are all these phones are made from and what happens when that stuff gets tossed into our soil, air and water. Watch the video then let’s figure out a better way to go.

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Change It 2007 VIDEO!

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Author: Lara Petersen

I know it's only just October, but it seems like ages since I was in DC this summer with Greenpeace and 200 inspired students who were fighting for their beliefs and for this precious earth that we all share.

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Viva Vermont! and Yert (Your Environmental Road Trip)

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Author: the Inkslinger

Living in Vermont surrounded by Vermonters, it’s hard to know what the rest of the world thinks of our little state. My sense is that everyone else considers ours to be a kind of quaint little place, a somewhat odd anachronism in the modern world populated by slightly old-fashioned, slightly wacky, fairly far left-leaning folk just crazy enough to send socialists to Congress, endure unspeakable winters, and live miles from the nearest anything unless you count the farm down the road, the weekend chicken pie suppers, the general store, and, of course, the forests and mountains, which we here all definitely do.

Fair enough, I suppose. In Vermont we do often find ourselves a bit out of step with the rest of the world and quite contentedly so. You can drive for hours through nothing but bucolic scenes of pastoral paradise that seem like relics from a lost age. And it’s true that we Vermonters are, for the most part, quite happy living in relatively simple and traditional ways in a rare landscape where humanity and nature have learned to peacefully coexist. But if you pull off the highway and start poking around, you’ll find something else: people young and old forging the future for the rest of the world.

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Wiping Up History

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Author: the Inkslinger

In 2001, we had a problem with our baby wipes. Or rather with the manufacturing partner who produced our formula for us. What happened next is a case study in the challenges that socially responsible businesses so often face. Literally. By that I mean that University of Oregon Lundquist College of Business Professor Mike Russo and former grad student Dan Goldstein have actually turned the story into one that just won the 2007 oikos Sustainability Case Writing Competition sponsored by the oikos Foundation at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

The case study, Seventh Generation: Balancing Customer Expectations with Supply Chain Realities, topped 22 other submitted case studies to take top honors. You can read it here.

While we were all being interviewed for the project and reliving the days back when, we took the opportunity to turn on our video cameras and make our own little mini-movie about the experience for the archives:

It’s an interesting parable about how difficult it can be for a small socially responsible company when the right thing and the profit thing don’t want to get along, which actually describes a fairly typical day around here. What do you do? Here’s what we did when the wipe out loomed, and while I don’t think there’s anybody here who would ever want to go through it again, I’m also sure there’s no one who isn’t thankful for the lessons learned.

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Convenient Truths: Numbers Never Lie

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Author: the Inkslinger

Our Convenient Truths contest may have ended last month, but as things turn out it’s impact is still going strong, which is great because that was kind of the point of the whole exercise.

I got an e-mail from Jessica at Treehugger with some cool news and numbers. According to the statisticians,

  • There were over 150 videos made
  • 200,000+ people watched some or all of them
  • 15,000 votes were cast
  • There were more than 20 media mentions from Britain’s Globe to Martha Stewart to Slate magazine.
  • We made 15,000 myspace friends
  • Between Treehugger and the Inspired Protagonist, there were 92 contest posts to get people thinking about climate changes

Though she can’t say anything more at the moment, Jessica also reports that there’s some major media interest in spreading the winning videos around even further and airing them on other web sites and even on TV.

That’s very cool news because, again, the reason we created this contest was not just so people could have fun with their video cameras (although that was certainly always part of it) but to spread the word about global warming and show people that they can make a serious difference. The more people who see the videos, the more that message spreads. We can also help propagate the meme by doing a little spreading of our own and taking the videos viral.. When you’ve got a spare second, send an e-mail to your tribe and tell them to take a look and then share whatever they like with whoever they want. How cool would it be if everyone in the country eventually saw these things and realized that preventing climate change is not up to somebody else. It’s up to each of us.

You can point your peeps to the winners of the contest here. Or send them to the contest site to see ‘em all. Let’s keep the wires humming and the actions coming.

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Convenient Truths: The Envelope, Please...

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Author: the Inkslinger

It’s official! The Convenient Truths Contest is at its end, and moments ago the winners were announced to the world. Here’s the lowdown from Treehugger's Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

For the last four and half months, we've encouraged you to both reduce your personal carbon footprint, and to participate in Treehugger and Seventh Generation's Convenient Truths video contest. Today, we're pleased to wrap up the contest by announcing the winners. The Top Ten finalists were chosen by you and our expert panel of judges, and the Grand, second and third place prize winners were chosen by guest judge Ed Begley, Jr. In addition to prize packages described below, each winner's video will be featured on a DVD by Ironweeds Films, and also showcased at the Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth climate change site.

The winners of the Treehugger and Seventh Generation Convenient Truths contest are:

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Think Organic Gets “Sue’d”

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Author: the Inkslinger

It’s crazy what you can find when you wander ‘round the internets. For example, just the other day we found this little piece of videography from Think Organic
about our very own company and starring our very own Sue Holden. It was captured at the San Francisco Green Festival last November, and in it Sue gives a nice overview of our company and our stuff. Cool.

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More From Marci on Hitching Her Way to a Cooler World

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Author: the Inkslinger

Marci Young, star of our most recent video and climate change-fighting hero, posted this note to our comments section. But after reading it, we thought it deserved to be a full-fledged post in its own right (write?). So we’re making it one. Here’s Marci’s response to the thoughts you’ve been sending our way…

My Friends,

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Change It – Caught on Tape

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Author: Lara Petersen

As many of you already know, this summer Seventh Generation over 100 students to Washington, DC to be trained by Greenpeace to become activists in the growing movement towards social and environmental justice. This 10 minute Change It video showcases some of the highlights from that training.

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