Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Greenfluencer? Or Just Green?

Last week Arduous wrote a post about the idea that certain sustainable people can be called "Greenfluencers" based on research done by Porter Novelli. I agree with Arduous, the concept makes sense, though the name is a little dorky. Especially since I don't like to be labeled.

So, I read the article and it got me to thinking. Do I consider myself a "Greenfluencer"? What I have done that would categorize me under this label? Do I think I am educated, intelligent, family-oriented, practical and a voter? Yes, but I think I would be all of these things even if I wasn't "green". I was all of those things before making this change to a lighter, greener lifestyle. Maybe those are the qualities that lead me to choose this lifestyle? Hmmmm, which was first? Chicken or egg?

Do I consider myself stylish, a trendsetter, adventurous? Um, sure. Though not everyone might agree. I write letters, I volunteer and dabble in a little community activism. So, I guess I can check those boxes too.

But, have I influenced anyone? OK, other than my children, they don't count yet. I know I influence them, they don't really have a choice! :o)

Here are two things I think I have done as a "Greenfluencer":

1. Little League Recycling Program - I influenced, sometimes forcefully, the league to recycle. I gathered up some volunteers, got some free recycling carts from the waste company and collected some trash. By the end of the season, the carts were full and the "trash lady" jokes sort of subsided. Did some of that carry over into the personal lives and habits of the 250 families in the league? Let's say yes!

2. I write some posts for our local food buying club blog reviewing products, recommending new ones, writing local food recipes and that sort of thing. Based on my recommendation the owner decided to carry some new soaps which helped a local business get more business. I guess that's "Greenfluencing."

What have you done to consider yourself a "Greenfluencer"? Or, do you think it's just a load of bunk?

Do you run a food buying club? Start programs to provide girls in Africa products they need to make sure they can go to school? Host a green book club? Jam sessions? I would love to hear what everyone else does, I think I have a lot to learn about "Greenfluencing"!


Joyce said...

Outside of my family, and the impact of my consumer dollars, the only place I have any influence is at the church I work for. I've made a few suggestions about the use of styrofoam cups, making two-sided copies instead of the usual one side, and recycling cardboard. Churches are very conscientious about the bottom line, since the members support the organization and expect wise stewarship of the funds. My approach has to be "It will save us money!" or "It won't cost us anything!". Beyond that, it would be hard to make much change happen. But I do what I can.

Bobbi said...

I consider myself an influence to my two older children (age 24 and 26) because they have adopted green lifestyles in their own homes. I have also influenced my parents - they used to never recycle, throwing everything in the trash. I also write a monthly column for our local newspaper, and ocassionally I will write on the green movement.

But I agree with you and aurdous, I don't like the name "greenfluencer".

Green Bean said...

I guess I've Greenfluenced - though I still prefer APLS.

I started a food buying club which I then foisted off on the members. Actually, it worked out very well. 8 other women are now taking turns hosting. All will have the opportunity to get in touch with their food more, share the burden and meet other APLS.

I started a green book club which has been a blast. We read books, had our jam session and, in Sept, are planning a wine country retreat. Girls only!

I'm sure I've done some other things here and there but I do think just living green and happy draws other people in. My next door neighbor recently started push mowing her lawn and asked me about my clothesline. Another friend took up bicycling when I waxed eloquent about how I enjoyed it.

I think anyone who is interested in a greener life, can greenfluence people. Just be who you are, enjoy what you do and reach out to other folks.

arduous said...

I've mostly used my "greenfluence" in small scale ways- converted most of my girlfriends to the diva cup, stuff like that. I really need to do more in terms of bigger stuff. Kudos to you for getting that Little League Recycling program off the ground.

Lori said...

That's great that you've been able to convince the little leaguers to join the recycling effort!

Trust me, I'm not usually one for big green moves, or for really trying to influence others' behavior in any way. But for some reason I decided to get out there and do something big this year. So, I've spent some of my "spare time" in the last month or two writing a sustainable operations plan for my company (700+ employees in 3 countries) that includes requirements for major reductions in paper use, single-occupant commute trips and inter-office air travel. It also requires each of our offices to recycle as much as possible in their various region and country, then confirm compliance through quarterly trash audits. (Boy, I hope I don't have to do that part myself.) So far, I've been amazed at how easy it has been to convince a fairly traditional company to take a huge leap in the direction of sustainability. The document was presented to our corporate board last week and it's looking good so far. Fingers crossed, everyone. If you're interested in learning more about this, I'll be including something on this in my blog in the coming weeks.

On the non-work side of things, I've influenced two friends to eliminate plastic grocery bags from their lives by ordering them each a cute little fold-up reusable bag that tucks into their purses. One of those friends is also now recycling at home, which she'd never done before.

At any rate, I don't mean to brag in any way, and I definitely wouldn't say that I'm somehow greener or more sustainable than anyone else. What I'm trying to say in this (suddenly very long) comment is that I've very recently learned that it can't hurt to try for something big and see what happens. People will sometimes surprise you by being much more open to change than you think.

Like Green Bean, I think the most important thing any of us can do to Greenfluence others is to have fun with it. When others see that living greener is not that hard, not that expensive, not that dorky, not that...well, whatever the excuse may be not to change our bad habits...then they tend to be more accepting of change.

End of ramble. ;)

eco 'burban mom said...

Joyce - I agree, churches need to watch their bottom line, so that can be a tough place to greenfluence, so awesome for you for trying to find low or no-cost alternatives!

Bobbi - So, you CAN teach old dogs new tricks, eh? Maybe I should work on my parents! ;o)

GB - I agree with you, I prefer APLS too. Greenfluencer sounds like I might wield a tire iron and be forceful about it. Though, since I quoted your blog like a handful of times, I figured you might notice I hold you in the highest "greenfluencer" regard. Sheesh, I even bought popsicle molds because of you. And wrote the township and some other stuff. Don't worry, I have 4 boys, I don't have time to stalk you or anything!! :o)

Arduous - look at you, all modest and like "Aw, shucks... me and my non-consumer stuff just don't do a darn thing". I think your tips and tricks and just the blog itself is a greenfluencing wonder!

Lori - I think I was a little like you... I was sort of in the green, lurker shadows. This year is the first real foray into greenfluencing. Though, not revolutionizing a multi-national corporation! Woot! Sounds like you are on a mission!! Though, I agree - I never want to brag or stick out my tounge and say I'm greener than so and so. Though, sometimes I think it a little bit!! :o)

Jena said...

Since I'm new to the blogs here I am learning a ton of new stuff everyday. Pretty much of all of you have wonderful blogs that I can't wait to ready each day - how funny that you're all so modest. My Mom was a great "green" influence on me growing up so now I'm trying to pass some of the new things I'm learning on to her. I've got my boss at work all fired up to start recycling as soon as I get some more bins. My fiance is even getting good at bringing his pudding cups home from lunch to wash and recycle along with all the other things he used to throw away. It is funny all the little wasteful things that drive me crazy now!
Thanks again to all of you for sparking this interest in me!

Green Bean said...

Ha! That was really funny. You don't have time to stalk because you have 4 boys. Tell me. Do they get, um, calmer as they get older? Anyway, that's awfully nice of you to hold me in Greenfluencer regard. :) You're one of my favorite APLS.

I'm working on an APLS post and almost entitled it "How to Win Friends and Greenfluence People" but that just sounded too meanacing.

eco 'burban mom said...

GB - well, they get calmer indoors. As far as outdoors? Not so much. I think they learn there is a place for jumping on each other's heads and throwing balls and careening off furniture. Please, for the love of god, GO OUTSIDE. I pretty much say that in my sleep. Daily. Sometimes hourly. :o)