Being Green + Being Profitable: Opportunity Green 2009

November 11, 2009

Having read all of the exciting press coming off last year’s Opportunity Green conference, I was looking forward to attending this year’s event, held in sunny Los Angeles, CA.  Heralded as one of the top green business conferences in the industry, OG09 promised to be a forum to gather with leaders of the business world to discuss not just our shared idealism towards a more sustainable planet but our determination to succeed in a green economy.

My excitement on the front end was met with some disappointment the day of the actual conference and I’m sad to say that for the most part, I was underwhelmed.  The opening keynote included a talk by Chris Jordan, an artist famous for his portraits of waste in mass culture.  While I admire Chris’ work and passion for revealing the consequences of our modern world, I tend to get more annoyed than inspired during those types of lectures.  He showed photographs depicting our daily use of plastic cups and the tragic death of albatross on Midway Island due to significant plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean.  In fact, he played a 6 minute long video showing carcass after carcass of albatross that had mistaken plastic for food and died with massive quantities of it in their bellies.

Sad, right?  Of course.  It’s horrible.   But did I travel across the country to be shown pictures (that I’ve seen many, many times – it’s a popular image for green conferences) accompanied with severely depressing violin music?  Not really.  I’m in this room because I am all too aware this is a problem.  I’m in this room because I am afraid of what the future looks like for my children and their children and I want to solve this problem, or at least try.  I’m too motivated and there’s too little time to sit around and grieve, which is what Chris suggested we need to do for our planet.

We don’t need to grieve.  We absolutely need to acknowledge what we have done to this planet.  But like any problem in life, dwelling on how wrong it all is begins to sound like broken record.  Yes! It’s wrong.  How do we make it right?  Grief will not heal us.  I am sure of this.

At any rate, the conference had its moments of redemption for sure.  My favorite panel was Modern Storytelling with Annie Leonard of Story of Stuff and Jonah Sachs of Free Range Studios.  If you haven’t seen Story of Stuff, you should go watch it right now.  Annie is a brilliant storyteller who spent 2 decades researching the materials economy and uncovering what happens to all of our stuff throughout its lifecycle. Jonah and his team at Free Range helped Annie turn her research into a smart, witty and informative 20 minute documentary with an attempt to illuminate some of the issues within the materials economy including massive waste and overconsumption.

Working in communications, I appreciate Annie’s no BS approach to tackling a problem and presenting information to people who have predisposed conceptions about the world.  As she advises, “talk to people where they’re at – not where you’re at.”  The discussion centered around the concept of authentic communication, opening up dialogues and not trying to control the conversation once it’s out.

She closed the session with this piece – “Change is inevitable, the question is whether it will be by design or by default.”  It is the perfect summary of the choices we have now, the decisions we make towards a more sustainable world and what we need to keep at front of mind when we approach this revolution.

While I met some very interesting people at OG09 and was thrilled to see Annie Leonard speak live, I left with an overall feeling that has accompanied me at the end of many green centric conferences or expos – concerned at our ability talk about the problem in depth but our inability to provide comprehensive, deep solutions.  Right now, green conferences tend to include those of us who are dark green – we believe it, we know we’ve got to change, we’ve dedicated parts of our lives to so.  While seeing and hearing stories about the breadth of the problem can be inspiring, too much of it becomes time consuming and ineffective.  We need an active campaign, not a passive one.  I want to attend a conference that starts that campaign.

Posted by: Ashley / follow me on Twitter

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The Perfect Stocking Stuffer for Everyone!

November 10, 2009

OmniMount’s newest product, the omnimount, is this year’s perfect stocking stuffer for anyone with a TV.  Whether it’s for a college student looking to get more space for their dorm room or for a parent looking to keep the TV from toppling over around rambunctious kids (or just looking to keep the TV up and out of the way of little fingerprints), the omnimount is the new essential item in home décor.  The omnimount is the easiest, strongest, most discreet way to hang a flat panel TV. Unlike any mounting solution yet available, the omnimount combines all of the advantages of a traditional fixed flat panel mount with the highest level of versatility and affordability. With the omnimount, anyone can mount a medium-sized flat panel TV in three easy steps without even having to locate a stud. Users are instructed to simply attach the panel spacers to the back of the TV using a screwdriver, mount the wall brackets with the template provided and hang the flat panel in its place.  The omnimount accommodates any flat panel, 13 to 42 inches and up to 40 pounds in drywall alone, perfect for do-it-yourselfers who want to hang a flat panel TV with total ease and confidence. The product supports up to 80 pounds if mounted into a single stud or concrete.

The omnimount is so easy to use – setting up the mount is almost as simple as turning on the TV since OmniMount provides you with a level, the proper drill bit and even a template to place on the wall so you know exactly where to drill.  In three simple steps, the TV is mounted and ready to go, and retailing at $39.95, it’s even easier to justify purchasing than it is to set up.  Check out just how easy it is to install!

Posted by: Lauren


Hand Sanitizers, the new “IT” product.

November 9, 2009

The swine flu scare that is sweeping the country has allowed marketers to start getting creative with sanitizers.  But are they really all they are cracked up to be?  Everyone from drug stores, to clothing lines are now making their own hand sanitizers.  Hand sanitizer is a 112 million dollar industry, who wouldn’t want a piece of that?  I will admit I have fallen for some of the attractive packaging but when I look at the price I am taken back.  Eight dollars for a 4.2oz bottle of hand sanitizer from Victoria Secrets is what threw me over the edge.  Thank you but no thank you I will just hold on to my two dollar bottle of Purell

Are we all going overboard?  Will these hand sanitizers really help the spread of germs, especially the dreaded swine flu virus?  Are the prettier, well packaged hand sanitizers really going to work better?  Of course not but they will make us feel prettier/cooler when using them. 

Companies have even gone as far as promoting their logo on a bottle of hand sanitizer.  What happened to the stress ball or pen?  Hand sanitizers are a necessity; a way of life, without them what would one do?  It makes sense to put your companies name or logo or even a picture of your face on a bottle of hand sanitizer.  Everyone carries them around; everyone uses them in public, what better way to promote ones company or self?  It is actually a brilliant marketing scheme. 

The Food and Drug Administration has voiced that the old school way of washing your hand with soap and water is still the single most useful way to rid yourself of germs and bacteria.   But how is that possible if the hand sanitizers claim to kill 99.9% of bacteria?  Apparently this is true on almost any inanimate object but not on the human hand.  Apparently  it is very hard for them to test this on the human hand being that the bacteria is hard to control because everyday life changes and therefore so does the germs you carry with you.  I am not telling you to stop using this product just warning you that it could possibly not be as effective as you think it is.  It should be used as an aid to washing your hands with soap and water. 

By Kate Kiselka


The downfall of print … not so bad?

November 6, 2009

It isn’t a secret that the publishing industry isn’t doing so hot right now.  As Bill  Stoller (@publicityguru) informed me yesterday morning (via Twitter, of course) “First 9 months of ’09, 383 magazines closed…”.  The internet and social media have unfortunately driven newspaper and magazine sales down – way down.  With information so readily available to anyone who wants it, why would you go buy a newspaper (not that it’s necessarily a costly purchase, by any means) when you could just go to directly to the newspapers website from your computer or internet-equipped phone? 

I’m 22 (a lady should never tell her age, but I made an exception here).  Therefore, things like watching the news and reading newspapers aren’t exactly “trendy” with my set.  However, I am willing to bet that 22 year olds now are much more up to date on their world news and current events than 22 year old were 10 years ago.  I’m almost embarassed to say that in other circumstances (such as before I discovered the wonders of the RSS feed, which was – also embarassingly enough – only a few months ago), it would absolutely never occure to me to read the newspaper to see what’s up in the world or to watch the morning news.  However, I follow CNN,  on both Twitter and my RSS feed and also have included The Daily Collegian (my college newspaper), The Boston Globe and The Providence Journal on my RSS feed.  I’m able to hold a conversation with just about anyone regarding current events and am always up-to-date on the lastest news, probably because I have access to it from anywhere at anytime.  Typically, I have more information about current events than older family members, who’s world updates come on the 6:00 nightly news.  They may have more of an interest in what is going on – but I am the one who has the information to give them.

The downfall of print media is tragic.  There is nothing better than receiving a magazine in the mail, or playing the Sudoku in the newspaper (and I guess reading a good article or two) – but perhaps the growing online readership of these publications is a good thing.  Now, more than ever, “young people” are beginning to interact with the general population on a more worldly level.  

Posted by Courtney | Follow me on Twitter


How to Avoid Swine Flu While Traveling

November 5, 2009

Kim and I are getting on a plane tomorrow to head to Los Angeles for the Opportunity Green conference and then onto Phoenix for GreenBuild 2010.  While I am really excited for both events which promise to be filled with environmental inspiration and hopefully a lot of great networking, I am concerned I’m going to catch the swine on one of the many flights we are taking in the next week.  I’m stocking up on Airborne and Purrell and don’t plan to even look at strangers on the plane.

Luckily, Kim’s mom Nancy is a nurse and gave us some very helpful recommendations for the trip to avoid catching ebola swine flu.  (My comments inline)

Avoid shaking hands with others at this time and make that excuse about the virus, especially at shows. Chew garlic so people won’t get close to you!!!  So nice to meet you, can we bump foreheads instead of shaking hands?  Swine flu!  Also – the garlic – am I trying to avoid Twilight cast members or the general public?

Bring masks to wear on plane, but be sure to tell attendants you are protecting you from them, not the reverse.  I’m sure we will receive a warm welcome on the plane wearing surgical masks.  Nothing suspicious here, just being cautious!

No drinks with olives or fruits, these are the most contaminated things in bars.  Does this include pina coladas?  I’m sure H1N1 can’t survive the blender.

When you check in hotel ask for a brand new pillow and a new blanket, don’t touch the comforter. But how will I get into bed?  Osmosis?

Bring Clorox wipes to wipe off phones and surfaces.  I’m bringing a fanny pack dispenser of them.

We leave tomorrow at noon.  Here’s to staying swine flu free!

Posted by: Ashley / follow me on Twitter


Clint Eastwood Legacy Chronicled by Longtime Collector

November 5, 2009

David Frangioni, musician, producer and entrepreneur adds author to his resume with the release of his first book: Clint Eastwood ICON: The Essential Film Art Collection.

San Rafael, CA – David Frangioni, musician and founder of Audio One, is proud to announce the release of his book Clint Eastwood ICON: The Essential Film Art Collection. For over 20 years David has been collecting Clint Eastwood memorabilia and has amassed a personal collection containing over 10,000 items. Using his collection as the platform, Frangioni and essay author Tom Schatz, chronicle the evolution of Clint Eastwood’s films throughout his exceptional career.

Clint Eastwood ICON: The Essential Film Art Collection presents an unprecedented collection of over 400 archival images that span his film work from the 1960’s to present. This comprehensive trove gathers together poster art, lobby cards, studio ads, and esoteric film memorabilia from around the world. From his early roles as the nameless gunslinger in Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns, to the vigilante films of the 1970s and 1980s, through his directorial roles and latest releases including Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood ICON captures the powerful presence and quiet intensity that turned Eastwood into the definitive American hero.

As to how this extraordinary book came to be, Frangioni says, “I’ve been a big fan of Clint’s films and a “collector” since childhood and, as such, have amassed an array of posters, photos and other memorabilia regarding his movies. My book is a retrospective tribute to Clint’s films through movie art that any of his fans will enjoy reading. ”

David’s love of film is both a personal and professional passion and is a part of his every day business as the founder of Audio One, an electronic systems integrator and custom home theater design firm based in N. Miami Beach, Florida. The company’s client list includes stars of sports, music, and film, as well as many of Florida’s most successful businesspeople and has afforded Frangioni both interest and access to unique and historical film posters. Essays included in the book are written by Tom Schatz, current Executive Director of the University of Texas Film Institute. He is the author of four books about Hollywood films and filmmaking, including Hollywood Genres: Formulas, Filmmaking, and the Studio System; The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era; and Boom and Bust: American Cinema in the 1940s. Schatz lectures widely on American film and television in the U.S. and abroad and he has delivered talks and conducted seminars for the Motion Picture Academy, the Directors Guild of America, the American Film Institute and the Los Angeles Film School.

Published by Insight Editions, the book can be purchased online at http://insighteditions.com for $39.95 (ISBN: 978-1-933784-96-0) as well as on www.amazon.com. One of the most important roles of Clint Eastwood is that of an activist. To help further his efforts, a portion of the proceeds from sales of this title will be contributed as a charitable donation to the Action Council of Monterey County/Clint Eastwood Fund promoting literacy in California. For more information about Audio One, visit www.audio-one.com.

 

Posted by Courtney | Follow me on Twitter


BodySound Home Theater Furniture Makes Surround Sound Personal

November 4, 2009

A unique concept combining furniture design and high quality audio, BodySound creates a truly individual listening experience.

Eden Prairie, MN – November 2009 – BodySound Technologies, Inc introduces a line of specialty furniture with personal surround sound, eliminating the need for in-room loudspeakers. Experiential seatingTM with BodySound technology is the fusion of ultra-comfortable home entertainment seating with innovative audio technology.  BodySound furniture is both wireless and compact, providing full impact, large scale sound in smaller and more challenging spaces.

 

With a 7-speaker personalized surround sound system, each seat drives its own audio, giving every user the ability to fine tune the sound characteristics to match their preference. BodySound technology will then automatically adjust the volume to match the users’ settings, providing a sound that is both crisp and clear, preserving every detail of audio information.  The built-in speaker system coupled to the steel framing construction produces pleasant, full-spectrum vibrations throughout the user’s seating area. Users can customize how much or how little they wish to feel.

“BodySound enhances the listening experience even more than HDTV adds to the viewing experience,” says Dan Cohen, CEO and Founder of BodySound Technologies. With BodySound’s Experiential seating, every user can experience movies, TV, gaming, and music in a way that more fully engages their senses.

BodySound is the culmination of 12 years of research and development including medical research on the relaxation effects produced by sound and vibration.  Refinements in the seating construction and sound system were developed to enhance the relaxation effects.  During this process, the developers of BodySound technology recognized how much fun and enjoyment they derived from watching TV and movies as well as listening to music in their relaxation chairs. As a result, they enhanced the furniture even further to produce the most innovative home entertainment seating available today.  Each seat powers its own 7-speaker system with a built-in multi-processor and 650 watt amplifier.  With easy wireless setup, BodySound seating becomes an ideal solution for a theater experience in any room.

 

BodySound technology is seamlessly embedded within custom luxury furniture, covered in fine leather. Seating can be ordered as recliners, connected rows or curves of seats, love seats, couches, or custom configured.  BodySound furniture starts at $5,995 MSRP and can also be custom designed based on customer preferences.

For more information on BodySound Technologies, please visit www.bodysoundtheater.com

About BodySound

Based in Minneapolis, MN, BodySound Technologies, Inc. is the leading developer of home entertainment furniture with personal surround sound technology built in. Experiential™ seating with BodySound technology is the fusion of fine furniture and innovative sound technology. Sound and seating become one and the same, delivering a personal audio experience in both luxury and comfort.