Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Imagining the Future of Green

This Meetup took place on Monday, April 11, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at Green Spaces and was hosted by Ethical PR NYC and Carbon Outreach.

This was one of the best conversations I've had recently. The audience ended up being minimal (we finally got some really nice, spring weather), so it became a round-table discussion with the following panelists:

Jesse Ash (@GreenerMedia on Twitter) is an award winning Filmmaker and Partner at Greener Media, a Brooklyn-based multimedia production company that focuses on creating environmentally and socially conscious content. Over the past few years he's helped grow good ideas for the Sustainable South Bronx, New York Restoration Project, Greenpeace Australia, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, and a handful of other organizations that are doing good in the world. He can be reached at
Greg Barber (@RecycledPaper on Twitter) is Founder and President of Greg Barber Printing, a prominent environmentally-responsible printer in New York City. Started on Earth Day in 1990, Greg has worked with companies like the NRDC, Earth Pledge Foundation and US EPA.
Helen Clarkson (@hl_clarkson on Twitter) is the US Director of Partnerships & Projects at Forum for the Future. Prior to working with Forum, Helen worked for Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF-UK and at Deloitte's public sector consulting team.
David Marks: has dedicated his personal and professional life to the prevention and remediation of toxic exposures, protecting the health of children and educating others about environmental issues, energy conservation, green living and Jewish responsibilities towards the environment. David is highly experienced in entrepreneurial business development, online marketing, social media and business networking, communications, public outreach, and group organization. He is Co-Founder of Shades of Green Network, a business services and marketing resource network focused on the green industry. He has also founded an internet development firm, The Giving Web, a business networking association, the Dynamic Netowrking Association, and is Chair of the Green Synagogues Committee of his synagogue, Kehilat Kesher in Englewood, New Jersey.

Erica Grigg (@CarbonOutreach on Twitter) moderated a great conversation on the future of green. She is the founder and CMO of Carbon Outreach.

1. What strides have been made in the past decade to make you excited about the green movement?
There are mixed opinions on how optimistic we can be on this topic. Some believe that the general public has made great strides toward environmental awareness, but I'm not so sure. Jacquelyn Ottman cites in her new book, Green Marketing, that an astounding 80% of consumers consider the environment before making purchases - this seems incredibly optimistic to me. 
I think we all agreed that social media has made incredible strides in the past decade. This can both help the environmental movement and create disinformation as Jessica Reeder commented in the latest Experts' Opinions on Sustainability post. The internet has gone viral providing information, and misinformation, to the masses, improving transparency, and sparking social movements. We commented on's successful use of social media as well. 

But, how much do those Facebook "likes" really matter? Slacktivism has also emerged with the internet - giving people the idea that clicking the "like" button is enough, that they've done their daily duty. 
Also mentioned: Earth Excess Day - the day the world uses more resources than it has for that year. (Unfortunately I was unable to find a link to this.)

2. How will the green movement change in the next 30 years? 
There is a debate here between which sector will take on the green movement: 1. The People 2. The Government 3. The Corporations.
I believe it is the corporations. Despite the benefits of the small, everyday actions that are being emphasized, it is really larger scale actions we need to be taking. The powers in charge of this are government and companies, and, because so much of the government is controlled by special interest groups and lobbyers, it is the companies that need to take the initiative. We are fortunate to see the current emergence of the CSO - Chief Sustainability Officer - in the corporate ladder, as noted in their recent webinar

There are several unpopular discussions that need to take place to look at the environmental movement over the next 30 years:
1. Population Control 
2. Unsustainable Economic Growth [despite what politicians keep saying "grow out economy!" - it's just not sustainable - "you can't have infinite growth on a finite planet."
3. Unsustainable American Lifestyle 

We also agreed that the environmental movement is currently fragmented (an idea I have found over and over again, especially in the environmental blogosphere, and the reason I created the EOS project). Websites like 2Degrees are helping bridge this gap, but it is a long road to having everyone working on the same page. 

Also mentioned:
Green Schools Alliance
Shades of Green

Participating in the discussion included the following:
Frank Moris of Ecological Advisors
Lauwrence Schaw, Creative Director of Line Works Studios
Mario Vellandi (@MVellandi on Twitter)
John Messerschmidt of Green City Challenge
Greg Barber of Eco Friendly Printer and Neil's Wheels
Bob Leonard, CEO of Earth Garage

As always, please leave a comment below with thoughts and questions!


  1. i am envious that you get to live in a place where conversations like this take place... great work.

  2. Thanks Jin. Yes, NYC is a great resource.
    Working to bring these conversations to everyone in the blogosphere that doesn't get to be here in NYC.

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