Thursday, May 21, 2009

What is Green?
Green consumer habits
Earth Day is past : Now what can we do?

Businesses are getting into the spirit of environmentalism

By Claudia Buck

McClatchy Newspapers

3:19 PM CDT, May 12, 2009

If only cash sprouted as easily as backyard weeds, we'd all be cheering. But greening up your wallet is still doable. Here are some Earth-friendly money habits you might want to adopt.

Green Donations

It's grown from a Bay Area brainstorm into a global campaign to get businesses into the spirit of environmentalism. Buy a shirt, a chocolate bar, a beer -- even fencing supplies or legal services -- and 1 percent of the company's gross sales are pledged to environmental nonprofit groups.

Since launching from a California Patagonia store in 2002, the One Percent for the Planet -- or 1% FTP -- program has now spread to some 1,138 businesses in 38 countries, said Terry Kellogg, the Vermont-based CEO of 1% FTP.

The participating companies range from big retailers like Sony to independent jewelry sellers. The recipients run from high-profile nonprofits like the Sierra Club to tiny grassroots groups. Based on company audits, Kellogg said more than $42 million has been contributed to environmental causes in the past six years.

For details go to, One Percent for the Planet

Green Funds

One way to feel environmentally good about your investing dollars is with so-called "green mutual funds."

The Green Money Journal recently released its new Top 10 list of mutual funds that invest in companies devoted to alternative energy, clean water, organic products and those that avoid alcohol, tobacco, gambling or weapons.

The annual list is a mix of new funds and those that have changed or enhanced their investment mix to be more environmentally conscious, said Cliff Feigenbaum, founder and president of the Green Money Journal, based in Santa Fe, N.M.

His list of mutual funds that are "greening it up": Appleseed Fund, Integrity Growth & Income Fund, Wells Fargo Advantage Social Sustainability Fund, Dreyfus Global Sustainability Fund, Calvert Large Cap Value Fund, Calvert Global Water Fund, Pax World Global Green Fund, Pax World International Fund, Pax World Small Cap Fund and Firsthand Alternative Energy Fund.

For more details, go to Green Money

Green Banking

All kinds of companies, from banks to your local utility, are urging customers to switch to electronic billing, statements and payments. The notion: Pay online, save a tree. Or two.

Pay It Green is a coalition of financial services companies that promotes electronic billing. According to the coalition, if the average U.S. household switched to electronic payments, it would annually save 6.6 pounds of paper, eliminate 4.5 gallons of gasoline (consumed by mailing and delivering all those paper payments) and eliminate 171 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions (the equivalent of 169 miles of driving or conserving 24 square feet of forestland).

A handy calculator at lets you compute your "financial paper footprint." Another proponent, eBill Place, puts it more personally. By its "Cash & Time" calculation, the average family would save $50 a year in postage and five hours of time spent writing and stuffing checks into envelopes.

Green Plastic

If your wallet is weighed down by plastic gift cards, credit cards, gasoline cards and such, maybe it's time for some pruning. As we all know, clipping up or paying down costly credit cards can be a huge lift to your bank account.

But don't just snip and toss that plastic. If it's a used-up gift card, ask to have it reloaded with cash. If it's a no-longer-needed credit card, hotel key or other plastic, toss it in your recycling bin.

But check to be sure it's actually recyclable; some companies are converting to biodegradable materials. The Sacramento, Calif., landfill says most aren't suitable for recycle.

A greener solution? Pop it in the mail to Earthworks System, a company in Solon, Ohio, that's on a crusade to rid the world's landfills of those tiny rectangles of credit. For more information on Earthworks, go to,0,6869925.story

Youth creates 'Vision of an Eco-Friendly Earth'

From Society Scene |A marketing publication of the Sun-Sentinel Company
May 20, 2009

The Craig Zinn Automotive Group, South Florida's Premier Auto Group, joined Young At Art Children's Museum and Kids Ecology Corps to host the "Vision of an Eco-Friendly Earth" art contest awards ceremony and family-friendly reception at Lexus of Pembroke Pines. The event celebrated the achievements of all participants and winners of the "Vision of an Eco-Friendly Earth" art contest. More than 300 students in grades 6 through 12 throughout the tri-county area created their "Vision of an Eco-Friendly Earth." This contest not only showcased students' artistic talents, but also helped spread the word on fuel and economic efficiency in transportation.

"We were thrilled to host such an educational, fun and inspirational event that allows us to be involved with our community's 'green' initiative," said President and CEO of The Craig Zinn Automotive Group, Craig Zinn. "With the construction of our new eco-friendly Lexus dealership under way in North Miami, we strive to encourage South Floridians to work toward making our world a healthier and safer place. We believe that our efforts as a business and community will expand to other areas and aid in keeping the earth clean."

Prizes included gift certificates to The Craig Zinn Automotive Group dealerships, $350 in cash prizes, Apple Store gift cards and gift baskets filled with art supplies.

The event also featured a caricaturist and a live raffle with items such as an autographed Miami Heat basketball, a $200 Visa gift card to Sawgrass Mills Mall and a Young At Art annual membership basket.,0,623517.story

No comments: