Monday, December 15, 2008

Is throwing shoes at Bush green?

On the way to work, I heard the story about an Iraqi journalist throwing his shoes at George W. Bush. After wondering whether the Secret Service wrestled the offending shoes to ground (those of you who have seen Chevy's Chase's old SNL routines will get that one), I began to wonder...was that shoe throwing green?

Since the NPR story gave no information about the nature of the shoes, or what will happen to them now, I had to do some speculation.

Here's what I came up with...

1) If the shoes were worn out, and would otherwise have been thrown away, it was a creative form of re-use. So on that count, it could be considered GREEN.

2) If the shoes were purchased especially for the throwing event, and will be discarded and not worn afterwards, the act would have to be considered NOT GREEN.

3) However, if the shoes were purchased especially for the throwing at George Bush event, AND were manufactured and sold through a Fair Trade company, the shoe throwing could be considered green even IF they would not be used afterwards as footwear. GREEN

4) If the offending shoes will not be worn afterwards, but will be auctioned at a later date to buy humanitarian aid products or to support global warming research, they could be considered GREEN.

5) If the shoes were made from cruelty-free materials, especially if natural and organic fibers like hemp were used to make the shoes, they could score major GREEN points even if they were otherwise unworn and will be disposed of afterwards. Score double GREEN if they are biodegradable.

So here's the tally:

Leather shoes, made in an exploitative factory, bought especially for the "throwing shoes at George Bush" event, disposed of in a landfill afterwards, NOT GREEN.

Organic fiber shoes or worn out and ready to be thrown away shoes, made under supportive and fair working conditions by adults paid a livable wage, and either reused or sold at auction for a good cause afterwards, GREEN.

So tell me, Mr. unidentified male Iraqi journalist, are you green?

P.S. If the shoes in question were new Manolo Blahnik's or Jimmy Choo's, forget the everything above and send me the shoes!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Greener restaurants are here to stay

The November issue of Restaurants and Institutions featured an interview with Green restaurant expert Michael Oshman.

According to Oshman, the current economic problems in the restaurant industry and the economy at large are not likely to reverse or even slow the expansion of green practices in food service. The changes, he contends, are consumer driven and are coming from a real and growing concern for the earth and its resources. That hasn't dropped, and is in fact growing, as resources become more scarce and fears of global warming grow.

Even so, he noted that one of the biggest obstacles to green practices is a perception that's what's good for the earth cannot be good for business. That's a myth he would like to help dispel. In his blog, he also listed ways in which going green is actually good for a business.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Green advertising - Part 3

Advertising doesn't have to involve paper to be effective. Even if your market is not right for online marketing, there are ways to get something in a client's hands without adding to the glut of paper trash.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Print your message on something usable -- and re-usable

Whether it's a coffee mug, a water bottle or a t-shirt, reusable and durable products mean your message will be around a lot longer than on any print source. Plus when people use the mug at the office or wear the t-shirt to the park, they help spread your information at no additional cost to you! Try doing that with a mailer!

Offer branded products that help the environment

If your company is committed to a green message, spread the word by getting customers to spread wildflower seeds from a branded biodegradable seed packet. Or even better, offer recycled, soy ink paper embedded with the seeds. That way, all they have to do is stick it in a pot or garden and water. But the message before they plant is that your company cares about the earth. And when the flowers bloom, the message will be reinforced!

Make the paper reusable

Give your customers a punch card or stamp card they need to bring to your store or restaurant for discounts or specials. That will keep your name and message in front of the customer, AND keep the paper of multiple cards or mailings out of use and out of the landfill.