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Desk Dump

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Author: the Inkslinger

Continuing the round-up of round-ups here. Clearing the table for the holidays, so to speak. Here’s what spilled onto my virtual desk when I upended my digital box of electronic news and related clippings.

I Am An Activist has a nice slide show from the October 23rd tribute to Anita Roddick. Not quite sure where this site is from or what it’s all about, but it’s got some worthwhile features in addition to the photos. It’s a nice tribute to Anita and, more importantly, it keeps her flame burning by helping us all continue her work on those causes she believed in so strongly.

Another interesting site recently stumbled upon is Playgreen, which purports to be a green wiki. The wiki thing can be a bit dangerous depending on how responsible it’s users choose (or not) to be, but in general I would have to say it’s a great idea that’s proving it’s worth. This wiki seeks to create the “biggest book on green living.” Opening that process to a nation of both formal and informal green experts could yield a powerful tool. Stay tuned…

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Big Green Myth

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I was extremely disappointed to read Ben Elgin’s cover story in the October 29th issue of BusinessWeek magazine. The article, “Little Green Lies,” wrongly suggests that profits and environmental initiatives don’t mix and that companies cannot hope to be both successful and sustainable.

This myth has long been discredited, and my dismay at finding it still being given credence was so great that I fired off a letter to the editor, a portion of which has just been published on the Opinion page in the magazine’s November 12th issue. Here’s the complete version:

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Consumers Union Goes Green

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This weekend Burlington had the privilege of hosting the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) national conference. There were almost 800 attendees including about 350 reporters. The SEJ is a wonderful group that I want to cover in a separate post. But for now, I’m just going to mention a couple of things while they’re fresh.

I had the opportunity to speak on a panel titled “Sticker Spin: The Murky World of Green Labeling.” Urvashi Rangan, a Senior Scientist and Policy Analyst for the Eco-Labeling Project (see below) at Consumers Union, was part of the panel, and two of her organization’s “green” websites deserve a mention:

The Consumers Union’s Eco-Labels initiative covers a wide variety of products that claim to have environmental benefits. It compares them to those that are conventionally farmed or produced, keeps track of labels recently introduced, and compares everything via an interactive report card that you can easily print to take with you while shopping.

Greener Choices is a CU site that focuses on consumer decisions and the impact (for better or worse) they can have on the environment. Greener Choices covers major environmental issues related to energy, climate change, waste and toxic substances, and connects these larger issues to the things people buy in more than a dozen product categories, including autos, appliances, electronics, home & garden, and food. Find out where your energy dollars go, how the products you buy and use can reduce the trend of global warming, and how they can save you money while they save the planet, Discover new ways to reuse or recycle what you would normally throw away and (this is topic #1 for me) learn how toxics found in everyday products impact the environment and your health. There’s a "green ratings" section for several product categories that features evaluations of a product's energy-, water- and fuel-efficiency, and other attributes.

Both of these sites are extremely helpful guides to navigating today’s consumer waters and making the best choices we can make for our families and the future.

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