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Archive for the ‘Green Policy’ Category

An Invite: Atlanta Tweet & Meet, March 20

by Nancy Rogers on March 16th, 2012

Learn how EarthShare of Georgia Leverages Earth Day to Communicate All Year on Tuesday, March 20, from 4 to 6 pm, EDT. Join us online from wherever or with a beverage and snacks in the Eagle’s Nest at Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta. There are no registration fees for the Tweet & Meet hosted by Atlanta Green Communicators. An RSVP to is required to ensure adequate space at the tables.

Elizabeth Patrick, Director of Communications and Administration, EarthShare of Georgia (@EarthShareGA), will lead the conversation about how the organization’s upcoming Earth Day events generate coverage and build visibility throughout the year. From 4 to 5 pm, discussion will focus online using #atlgreencom. The traditional face to face meeting with tweets runs from 5 to 6 pm.
Anyone interested in Georgia’s green community may track the conversation stream, even without a Twitter handle. To follow the comments in real time, go to and enter the hashtag #atlgreencom. If you are not on twitter, you may also enter #ATLGreenCom as a search at and the results will appear. You will need to refresh to see new comments. If you use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, a column may be dedicated to this chat.

EarthShare of Georgia is the state’s only nonprofit raising funds through employee giving campaigns to support seventy environmental member organizations dedicated to conserving and protecting air, land and water.

Atlanta Green Communicators attracts communication professionals as well as media working with sustainability and green issues. Individuals working to communicate green topics are invited to join the LinkedIn group.

Manuel’s Tavern is at 602 N Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30307.  

Reflections on Green Trends

by Nancy Rogers on December 14th, 2011

Awareness is expanding. LinkedIn reports a 19% increase in people with “sustainability” as a skill in 2011 over 2010. Consumers and business understand that product choices affect our quality of life and future. Whether it’s the residue from soap or how to dispose of appliances, questions are raised about impacts.  As we move into a new year, I hope this foundation continues to evolve into informed action on energy, water, resource management, green building, air quality and all the facets that contribute to a healthy planet.

In my eyes green has become a melting pot of people and organizations around the globe with different priorities purporting to serve planet survival for future generations. Some are authentic; some are inserting “green” into existing sales materials. As communicators and consumers, knowledge brings responsibility to ensure holistic approaches and transparency at all levels.

Each week, I meet green marketers and eco-strategies with newly minted credentials. I do not question their passion. Whether they are checking a box on LinkedIn or calling attention to actual experience, it’s thrilling that we are now explaining “how” more often than “why” green matters.

Green Earth PR consultant Lisa Lilienthal observes, “As consumers become savvier, their expectations are higher in terms of value proposition, and that includes how you source, manufacture, distribute and recycle. Green is becoming shorthand for a more ethical approach to business in general.” She offered the Patagonia Don’t Buy This Jacket ad as an example.

Our colleague Louise Mulherin agrees that Patagonia has been perceptive with its communications strategies and posted on this particular ad. She notes, “The challenge becomes when consumers aren’t savvy and companies talk to them as if they were. Companies need to recognize there is a broad spectrum of understanding. Information should be formatted to suit the audience.”

Companies need to take into account that a green building audience or a facility manager would have different requirements than someone in the food industry.

Companies that are successfully using green marketing are transparent, relevant and clever to grab and hold attention. Patagonia included a call to action and mutual responsibility with a goal of 50,000 signatures to support The Common Threads Initiative. Results are tracked online.

We can follow the results and the example. Please add your thoughts on what you’ve observed and what you expect for green communications in the coming year.

A similar post appears in the Green Communications Blog for Environmental Design + Construction and Sustainable Facility

Grammar of Green Communications: Know your community

by Louise Mulherin on November 11th, 2011

Today more than ever, multiple voices share your story via paid, earned, owned and shared outlets. Everyone in your community has access to a variety of channels—social media, tradeshow booths, industry publications, and face-to-face meetings to name a few.

Do you know where your community finds information and do your stakeholders know where to seek more details? Is the representation accurate? Do the messages generate sales or achieve other business goals?

GEPR’s Nancy Rogers shares more about how to be sure your messaging is consistent to ensure your green communications objectives are achieved via ED+C Magazine’s blog.

The Real Deal: A tribute to Ray Anderson

by Lisa Lilienthal on August 9th, 2011

I love my work, which sometimes consists of entire days – weeks even – stringing words together to help someone else tell their story. It is gratifying to have the trust and confidence of my clients, to be sure, but some days, there just aren’t any words left for me to tell my own story. Today, I needed to save a few for myself.

Ray Anderson died yesterday. We worked together for nearly 16 years, and as I often assured a skeptical journalist, he was the real deal. A brilliant intellect with a natural gift for communication, he was a publicist’s dream client: articulate, passionate, sincere, so adept at staying on message that he taught me a thing or two about it. As his success would suggest, he was not only visionary, but he was competitive and tenacious, while at the same time a superb collaborator.

When I first began working with Interface, it was on a small project — a corporate open house. The marketing director and I hit it off and stayed on as a consultant. It was mid-1995, almost a year after Ray had made what would become a legendary speech to an internal task force, turning business-as-usual on its head. A small band of believers within the company were charting out the course, the “seven fronts of sustainability” were being developed, and the image that would become iconic, Mount Sustainability, emerged. I suggested to Ray that we should talk about what the company was doing.

“If the press is interested in what we’re doing, they’ll find us,” he demurred. I persisted, and one day in a conversation about how the company would define the term “restorative,” I had my opening. Wouldn’t one dimension of restorative be the power of influence; Interface leading by example and helping other companies find their way along the path the company would travel? Ray was converted, though always cautioned: “Don’t let the talk get ahead of the walk.”

Over the next 15 years, we’d work and write together, strategizing on two books and more than 1,500 speeches and interviews. Everywhere he went, Ray got a standing ovation, and I think that — the burst of applause that would fill the room, bouncing off the ceiling as the audience stood, enduring long past the point of a polite clap — became a sort of validation that he was really getting through, making a connection, making you think.  It never failed to thrill him, to humble him, to spur him on.  And while I know that his passing yesterday was peaceful, I’m counting on the fact that it was meet with the standing-ovation-to-end-all-standing-ovations on the other side.

The rest, as they say, is history — as it should be. For my part in it, I will be forever grateful to Ray and to Interface – for giving me meaningful and important work that has changed my own life and that of so many others. Of course, there will never be another Ray but his legacy will endure. And as for the man who is committed to keeping Ray’s vision alive? Yep, Dan Hendrix is the real deal, too.

Communicating Green, Trade Show Participation Part II

by Louise Mulherin on July 13th, 2011

It’s time to start thinking about your company’s Greenbuild presence, check this blog post from ED+C magazine for tips on how to walk the green talk. What is your company doing to tell your green story at Greenbuild?

Communicating Green, Trade Show Participation Part II 2011-07-13

And don’t forget, with Greenbuild in Toronto this year, US residents will need a valid passport to attend, be sure yours is up to date.

Earth Day and Good Friday

by Nora DePalma on April 22nd, 2011

This year, Earth Day falls on Good Friday, one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar.   As a Christian, both mean something to me.

When I first actually read the Bible, it was striking how early and often we are commanded to be careful and reverent with God’s creation. Right up there in Genesis 2.15, God is telling Adam to take care of this cool Garden thing he’s got going on.  And he wasn’t just talking bad apples.

Even earlier, in Genesis 1.26, God gives humans dominion over nature. Which makes sense because He gave us the capacity for great wisdom and great compassion not found in other beings. When it came to being smart enough to save the planet, it makes sense that it should fall to us humans.

Except that He also gave us capacity for great inhumanity, as well as willful ignorance.

Which brings us to Ann Coulter.

And a whole bunch of like-minded conservatives who have a completely different view of “dominion over nature.”

In this telling, dominion over nature is meant to be an absolute monarchy where it’s good to be the king (See Koch Brothers). It’s this mindset calling for billions to be spent to get at oil and gas that will run out in less than 100 years (100 years ago, my dad was 9. Life comes at you fast.)  It’s the same mindset that fishes and harvests and builds and wastes until it’s all gone.

Sorry, Ann, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense a king to kill all his subjects. I’m pretty sure that’s not what God intended.  There’s a big difference between using natural resources and abusing them.

Today and this weekend, those of us in the Christian faith celebrate the ultimate defeat of evil and the triumph of compassion and love.  We may not be there yet, Mother Earth, but we’re trying.

How are you thinking about decisions?

by Nancy Rogers on March 22nd, 2011

More from Harvard. Here’s an article worth reading if you have been wondering about your decision-making process. In Are we thinking too little, or too much? Harvard Business School marketing professor Michael I. Norton discusses the potential pitfalls of thinking too much or thinking too little. Be sure to read the comments.

Fix a Leak Week: Saving Water or Selling Products?

by Nora DePalma on March 20th, 2011

Is Fix A Leak Week about saving water or selling products?  Should the government be leading this effort?

Last week’s annual event from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  teaches people how to fix water leaks in their homes.  Household leaks in the U.S. can add up to 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year per household. In total, leaks from all U.S. homes can be the same as the total annual water use for Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami combined.

Yow! If you are a homeowner, stop reading this article right now and take these three steps to fix leaks in your home recommended by EPA WaterSense:

EPA WaterSense Fix a Leak Week logo

Back to the topic at hand.  The publicity surrounding Fix a Leak Week events prompted this perfectly reasonably inquiry on a plumbing industry Facebook group last week:

“National Fix A Leak Week” Should the government be leading this effort? Is it effective? An underhand attempt to increase sales of the WaterSense label? Are you promoting it?

For me, the answer to questions 1. 2. parts of 3 and 4 are: Yes.  The only quibble I have with 3 is that Fix A Leak Week’s objectives are not the least bit underhanded.While some of the EPA’s recommendations are repair activities, the EPA website most definitely promotes replacement:  “The vast majority of leaks can be eliminated after retrofitting a household with new WaterSense labeled fixtures and other high-efficiency appliances.”

The minimal investment to get the facts out–as well as other government incentives such as rebates encouraging the use of high-performance water-saving fixtures–is a smart use of tax dollars to encourage a behavior that delivers a greater good.   Rationale:

  • New census data reported this week in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows that the population of Georgia increased by 1.5 million people between 2000 and 2010. The strongest growth was in the suburbs and exurbs of metro Atlanta.  That is a lot of people doing laundry, drinking water and using the toilet. Not to mention watering lawns, considered to be an unalienable right among some in the North GA suburbs. Yet no new water supplies have been built in GA since the 1970s.
    • There’s also that little unpleasantness of the tri-state water war where the North GA region could lose a significant portion of its water supply on January 1,2012. But let’s save that topic for another post before your humble correspondent’s head explodes.
  • The Georgia Department of Natural Resources cites the Clayton County Water Authority saving nine dollars in water production cost for every one dollar invested in a water-conserving leak detection and repair program. That’s some tax-dollar ROI even a conservative can love.
  • The Georgia Department of Natural Resources also cites Savannah, Ga., hometown of our own Louise Mulherin, for reducing its groundwater withdrawals by 3.8 million gallons a day through a toilet rebate and educational program for city residents. Read Savannah’s lips: No new taxes for fresh water.

Bottom line fact: Georgians can spend modest tax dollars now to reduce water consumption now through education and rebates.   Or we can invest mega-tax dollars to increase fresh water resources.

Furthermore, the plumbing industry is one that gives back. I know this; I’ve worked in the industry for more than 20 years.  Last week,  Georgia’s first GreenPlumber donated his time to give a Fix a Leak Week class called  “Go Green and Save Green.”  The two-hour class was dedicated to the most low-cost solutions to fix leaks in homes.  The entire focus was repair vs. replacement, and all attendees received a free low-flow plumbing kit.   In other words, Nick Marine of Marine Plumbing in Marietta, GA wasn’t drumming up business, and nor was the brand supporting his effort with props and assistance: an O’Reilly/DePalma client, American Standard.  Marine and American Standard supported the program which was held in cooperation with the Cobb County Water System and MUST Ministries of Marietta. Check out Nick’s tips on water pressure for Cobb County, GA residents, captured on video by the Marietta Daily Journal.  Click here to launch and view the video.

oreilly-depalma fix-a-leak-week-marietta-daily-journal

Green Plumber Nick Marine describe water pressure in Cobb County to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Fix A Leak Week Tip: Three Things

Fix A Leak Week Tips for homeowners from the EPA  (source: EPA WaterSense website):

  • A good method to check for leaks is to examine your winter water usage. It’s likely that a family of four has a serious leak problem if its winter water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month.
  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.
  • One way to find out if you have a toilet leak is to place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, you have a leak.  Make sure to flush immediately after this experiment to avoid staining the tank.

Please note that yellow is not the best food coloring choice for the toilet leak test. Just sayin’.

What would you give up for the environment?

by Louise Mulherin on March 9th, 2011

For some in the religious world, this week is when people talk about giving things up for Lent. It’s a time of reflection & renewal, often with a focus on self sacrifice. In the environmental world, results are measured in terms of what is gained when things with a negative impact are given up. A building management company can boost the bottom line by reducing the use of electricity and water. As oil prices continue to rise, companies in the transportation realm are tracking increased associated costs, and strategizing on how to reduce fuel usage to recoup those losses. One could argue that any time someone gives up something with the environment in mind the Earth’s bottom line gets a boost. In this time of self reflection, what are you willing to give up?

A Day Made of Glass… Made possible by Corning.

by Lisa Lilienthal on March 8th, 2011

I wonder what it is about this that left me a little cold?  There’s no denying that the technology is fascinating, and potentially life-enhancing, so what is missing for me? Maybe it is just the music — maybe the real soundtrack of everyday life, “made possible by Corning” would have been more appealing?  What do you think?

YouTube – A Day Made of Glass… Made possible by Corning..