Vermont Carbon Diet Design session

Spent the last day in a half, working with a group of Vermont NGO’s and companies to think about how Vermont companies can play an active role with the NGO and government community to help educate people to change their behavior and reduce their CO2 footprint. David Gershon who wrote Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds and Joe Laur who we work with in the SoL community, led the design session. It was an interesting day with a number of questions on how to engage Vermont in a way that builds synergy with all groups focused on the Global Warming question. We walked away with idea of roadtesting the idea of putting 7th Generation on a Low Carbon Diet. The process would look like this:

The first step is making a commitment to reduce your company’s carbon footprint, and enrolling your employees in a program to reduce theirs. The steps for this first, internal, phase of the program are as follows:

1. Identify your organization’s carbon footprint
2. Commit to a 20% organizational footprint reduction by 2010
3. Host a “Global Warming Café” workshop in-house to introduce the Low Carbon Diet and Cool Community Campaign to employees
4. At the end of each workshop, employees are invited to make a personal carbon-reduction pledge and to form “EcoTeams”— groups of approximately eight people/households who will serve as a peer support framework for completing the carbon-reduction program. (Like a Weight Watchers support group for one’s carbon diet, EcoTeams follow a series of four structured meetings guiding participants through the diet’s carefully crafted 22-step recipe for successful carbon reduction).
5. Utilize employee carbon reduction learning to assist with organization’s carbon reduction strategy.

We are thinking about roadtesting this process in the fall. More to come… WR

If You Have Your Nails Done Read This!

While I never have, I know many who make it a weekly ritual to visit a nail salon to get painted. While I have insisted that the three women in my family only do their nails outside or in the garage to avoid polluting the air in our home, I was deeply saddened by a recent article in the NYTimes about the women who work in nail salons.

According to the article, nail salon workers (not to mention their clients) are surrounded by toxins on the job. They’re exposed to toluene, which is a colorless liquid used as a solvent, formaldehyde that helps harden nails and dibutyl phthalate, a plasticizer that makes nail polish flexible to prevent shipping. “The intensity of exposure for salon workers is 1,200 times what it would be for the average American,” said Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst for the Environmental Working Group.

We love Toyota. But Should We?

I’m disappointed. I’d heard rumor of this before, but it was sad to read Thomas Friedman’s account of how Toyota is lobbying against tougher auto mileage standards in the Senate version of the draft energy bill. You heard me right: Toyota is sitting right beside GM, Ford and Chrysler arguing that it can’t achieve a corporate average fuel economy standard of 35 m.p.g. by 2020.

Friedman speculates on the reason.

“Why would Toyota, which has used the Prius to brand itself as the greenest car company, pull such a stunt? Is it because Toyota wants to slow down innovation in Detroit on more energy efficient vehicles, which Toyota already dominates, while also keeping mileage room to build giant pickup trucks, like the Toyota Tundra, at the gas-guzzler end of the U.S. market?”

The article goes on to note

“Representative Edward Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who heads the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said to me that Toyota could meet a 35 m.p.g. standard in Japan and Europe today, “but here — even though they bombard Americans with ads about how energy efficient Toyota is — they are fighting the 35 m.p.g. standard for 2020.”

Let’s tell Toyota that if they don’t knock it off we’ll all be buying Hondas.

Life is short under the best of circumstances

Music drifts into our back yard from the benefit party almost one mile away and it’s only 5:00 pm. This is the land of benefits; almost every Democratic candidate for President comes to the Hampton’s in the summer to raise money. Last night we attended two parties: one we were invited, the other we were not.

At the first we met Lloyd C. Blankfein, recently elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs. We (my wife Sheila and I) commented on the wonderful research Goldman had done detailing how the performance of responsible companies exceeded those that were less responsible. Mr. Blankfein had not read the research, but noted that there were over 1,000 people at Goldman who write such reports. We also learned that he had two children at Harvard. Telling him what I did (he didn’t ask) he said he was unfamiliar with Seventh Generation since he never went shopping in a supermarket.

At the second party, with several hundred in attendance, I noticed Senator Corzine of New Jersey dancing up a storm – I was amazed given his recent accident. The house that housed the party was huge, I’m guessing it is worth over $40 million. This – the Hampton’s – is a place that attracts a huge number of people with lots of money. There are convertible Bentleys and more Mercedes that you could ever keep track of…

This morning my son came running out of the house. He told me that a young woman, only 20 years old, who had been his boss all summer at the store where he worked was killed last night in a car accident. She drove her car into a tree. He sobbed for a long time in my arms. He couldn’t understand how someone so young could die. I was glad to be home to help comfort him.

Life is short under the best of circumstances, and much, much shorter under the worst. My son went to work today on his day off to fill in for her. He didn’t know what else to do. Jeffrey