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The latest news, food for thought, recipes you’ll love, great advice on everything from raising kids to nurturing bees, plus videos designed to entertain, educate and enlighten. If you’d like to find out what’s on our mind – or let us know what’s on yours -- this is place to be.

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Wal-Mart’s “Live Better Index:” What Do You Think?

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Well, you never know what to expect next from Wal-Mart. Today, they announced a new “Live Better Index” in an e-mail:

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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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Ready… Set… Grow!

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Author: the Inkslinger

This just in from Sarah T.:

One little tree makes a ton of difference. It’s a simple idea, and this is what it means: This year for Earth Day, Seventh Generation is partnering with two incredible non-profits to make tons and tons of difference in an area that needs it most. We’re joining forces with the Seed Collective and Replant New Orleans to promote urban reforestation in New Orleans.

It starts with SEED, an on-line experience developed by the Seed Collective, which employs wireless activism to create a reforestation-funding tool. Using your phone and your computer together you can support the replanting and regeneration of the urban forest ecosystem in New Orleans. Replant New Orleans, in collaboration with City Year and a host of volunteers, will plant real trees in New Orleans on Earth Day, April 22nd. Seventh Generation will donate one dollar to that cause for every virtual tree (up to 40,000!) that you grow using SEED.

Both of our partners bring a great deal of passion to their mission of regeneration and community involvement. On Earth Day, we’ll be bringing them together in New Orleans for a special day in which the Seed Collective will show all of the virtual trees that you grew and Replant New Orleans will get the Central City growing.

Everyone can help us grow (and plant!) these trees. All you need is a phone and an internet-connected computer. Here’s how it works:

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Up On the Roof at the Vanity Fair Photo Shoot

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(Note: I wrote this post in January, immediately after the photo shoot for our new Vanity Fair magazine feature. I couldn’t post it then because the contents of the issue were secret and they asked us all not to say anything about it. But now that the magazine is on newsstands, the coast is clear. So here’s my own “snapshot” from behind the scenes at the shoot…

San Francisco, Blue Sky Studios. We have a pretty special opportunity: being included in Vanity Fair’s April 07 Green Issue. We’re sharing the stage with the founders of Method, Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry. I arrive at 12 noon. In the studio the “shooter,” Todd Eberle, is assembled with four photographer’s assistants, a set designer, a stylist, an assistant stylist, a “groomer,” a local personal assistant and two Vanity Fair staffers. I count 12 people in all. They've been here since 10am. There are Apple laptops, food, clothes, product, makeup, lights, and equipment everywhere. The day before they began to build the set. I’m the first one into “styling’” which means I strip to my boxers as they try on 15 – 20 different outfits. You can’t wear your own clothes. Everything about the photo is designed. It feels as much like a theatre piece as it does a photo shoot.

I end up in a paper thin stripped crew neck sweater and Levis jeans. I don’t feel particularly hipper than I did in my own clothes, but then my kids don’t consider me particularly fashion forward. On to the “groomer.” She starts with a haircut before filling my head with “product” to keep my hair standing on end. Then on to makeup. By 1:00 pm I’m ready to go. By 2:00 pm, I’m still waiting and am now using the time to explore ways we can collaborate with Method to fend off the consumer packaged goods giants.

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Tube Time: Seventh Gen On the Air

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Author: the Inkslinger

For all those whose TV antennas (or satellite dishes or cables or fiber optics or whatever…) are within reach of the signal from Vermont Public Television, we’ve got this Official Media Alert:

A new two-part program called ReGeneration
debuts tomorrow night, April 18th at 7:30 with part two following on April 25th. The VPT program discusses a variety of eco-oriented people, projects, and businesses in our enviro-minded home state. An interview with Jeffrey and a look at Seventh Generation is featured as part of the April 18th edition. Set those Tivos and fire up the popcorn maker…

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What Is It They Still Don’t Get?

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Yesterday, the Financial Times reported on a community of Benedictine nuns based in Texas who were stunned to find themselves on a list compiled by Wal-Mart of the biggest threats to the company. The nuns have called on Wal-Mart to explain how they came to appear on the list.

It’s sad to see one of the greatest “potential” forces for a more sustainable planet continue to undermine itself. Wal-Mart is on a dangerous see saw. One day, there’s good news, and the next it’s bad. This is a characteristic of too many large companies (BP and Merrill Lynch to name a few others) as they confine their sustainability and responsible business initiatives to a limited number of highly compartmentalized efforts.

These “non-system” activities create as much reputational risk as they do opportunity. Until any company looks at its entire business and develops a “whole” effort to manage all aspects of its activities with an integrated point of view there is little or no chance of sustained success. This is about changing the way we think, how we think, and what we think about.

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Step It Up This Saturday

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Author: the Inkslinger

A reminder that this Saturday, April 14th is Step It Up 2007, a national day of climate action.

This is going to be a great moment in history, and it’s so simple to be a part of it that everyone easily can and definitely should. Just go to the Step It Up 2007 web site and find an event in your area. Or organize one yourself. It’s totally 100% completely uncomplicated and otherwise effortless. Here’s all you have to do:

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Vanity Thy Name is Green

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Author: the Inkslinger

The new (May) issue of Vanity Fair has just hit newstands from coast to coast. It’s the annual green issue (which ironically must have required a small forest to produce, but let’s not go there. Treehugger did last year and it wasn’t pretty). This year, Leo is on the cover. And Seventh Generation is inside. In a full-page pictorial feature that has Jeffrey and our friends at Method standing on a rooftop in San Francisco amidst shiny piles of safer cleaners. Nice shirt…

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