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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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Want To Be Inspired? Read This!

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Beautiful, environmental housing in the midst of poverty. Samuel Mockbee was a gifted architect who devoted his life to ensuring those least able to afford it lived in the most wonderful places. In a world where only those who are already the healthiest and safest on the planet can afford organic food and clothing, non-toxic cleaners, and “green” homes, we should all imagine Mockbee looking down upon us. Here’s an excerpt from an article on Mockbee that appeared in Architectural Record:

Architect Samuel Mockbee was convinced that "everyone, rich or poor, deserves a shelter for the soul" and that architects should lead in procuring social and environmental change. But he believed they had lost their moral compass. The profession needed reform, he believed, and education was the place to start. "If architecture is going to nudge, cajole, and inspire a community to challenge the status quo into making responsible changes, it will take the subversive leadership of academics and practitioners who keep reminding students of the profession’s responsibilities," he said. He wanted to get students away from the academic classroom into what he called the classroom of the community.
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Dear Packaging Development Team

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So, I was sent a link about an organism that happens to like maple syrup, and one of the by-products of this 'sweet' encounter is a family of natural polymers that could help ween us off petro.

Some of you might know that I make maple syrup this time of year, and I’m intrigued about this, that’s for sure!

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I Think That I Shall Never See A Post as Lovely as a Tree

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Author: the Inkslinger

It's Friday.

What more reason do we need to take a break and dig some amazing trees?

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Raffi: Systems Thinker

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Met up with Raffi (singer, author, ecology advocate and Founder of Child Honoring) at the Society for Organizatio

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This is Your Pet. This is Pet on Pet Food…

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Author: the Inkslinger

Dog and cat food is in the news. Bad gluten. Dead pets. Too many tainted brands to count. No doubt you’ve seen at least the headlines. Pet people and animal lovers are up in arms, but here’s the thing (and the dirty secret)… Contaminated ingredients or not, most if not all commercial mass-market pet food is utter crap. Even on a good production day, I’m firmly convinced that it’s just about the worst thing for our animal co-conspirators. You don’t want to know what it’s made from. And you sure don’t want to be feeding it to Fido. (Say… what exactly is in that “meat by-product” anyway?)

My recommendation? Make your own. Really. It’s easy. It’s cheap. It’s guaranteed safe and healthy. And pets love it. I have a 13-year old Australian shepard

who has eaten nothing but handmade chow for the last 12 years. And of all the dogs that I know that were born around the same time, she’s the only one left. Anecdotal, yes. But all the others didn’t die of happy old age. They went early. And cancer was just about the universal cause. My pup was the only one eating a homemade diet of human-grade food. She’s still spry as you could hope for. Evidence enough for me.

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Greenpeace to Kleenex: Blow On This

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Author: the Inkslinger

This is funny (unless you're a tree)… A week ago, deforestating tissue-maker Kimberly Clark was in New York’s Times Square filming interviews with passing pedestrians for their new "Let It Out" Kleenex ad campaign. The idea is that people are supposed to tell Kleenex about something that upsets them, tear up over it, and reach for the tissues.

Greenpeace's idea was to secretly equip members of its Frontline street canvas program with hidden microphones and send them in to infiltrate the interviews and talk about what makes them cry, namely Kimberly Clark’s perversely twisted practice of hacking ancient boreal forests to smithereens so it can make an easy buck selling tissues made from cheap (but also priceless) wood pulp.

This is culture jamming at its finest…

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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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The Annals of Spin

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This week’s New Yorker magazine (4/2/07) features a long negative story about Wal-Mart’s effort to “co-opt liberals.” This is another in the series of good news/bad news stories that both helps and plagues the company. After nearly a year of this endless seesaw, one wonders when they will get the message that systemic change is the answer. As I have often said about many other companies, without a systemic approach that engages the whole culture, the good work done by the right hand is almost immediately undone by the left hand. Compartmentalized initiatives do not work when it comes to managing risk, reputation and moving towards sustainability.

A few of the article’s highlights:

  • According to one source, Wal-Mart has been paying Edelman Communications roughly ten million dollars annually to renovate its reputation. Edelman specalizes in helping industries with image problems; another important client is the American Petroleum Institute
  • Ron Galloway, the maker of a recent pro-Wal-Mart documentary, "Why Wal-Mart Works and Why That Makes Some People Crazy," has turned against the company. Galloway told me that he now considers Wal-Mart to be a "heartless" employer.
  • The chief spokeswoman for the company, a former A.T.&T. executive named Mona Williams, keeps on a shelf a filmed cover of a 2003 issue of Business Week featuring a story titled "Is Wal-Mart Too Powerful?" The story asked tough questions about Wal-Mart's influence on the American economy. "I keep that there to remind me never to trust reporters," she said, without smiling.
  • Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's president and C.E.O., who last year earned $15.7 million in salary and bonuses. Early this month, the company announced that it was granting him an additional twenty-two million dollars in stock. In the past year, Scott earned roughly two thousand times the salary of the average Wal-Mart worker.
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Cleaning House; Finding Frost

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Author: Lara Petersen

Cleaning my apartment thoroughly seems to always require the arrival of a visitor (usually my mother).

And then, rather than starting with the tedious vacuuming, mopping, or even picking up – I often begin by opening a closet or drawer and exploding the contents onto the scene. Basically, I tear the place apart.

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