Category: advertising

I’ve found some truly startling articles about aspartame. Now, I eat my fruits and veggies, I excersize four times a week, and I drink a LOT of water, but sometimes I just really feel like a soda. Since I have always been somewhat conscious of my weight, I chose Diet Soda. Of course I had heard of some reports that the artificial sweeteners in them had carcinogens and free-radical destoying agents, but I convinced myself it was no worse than the flouride in tap water. Well after this report, I can’t imagine touching the stuff again.
Here is one study done independently by a mother who worried about her kids drinking soda. Here is another Doctor’s account of her own battle with health complications directly resulting from aspartame intake. Here’s an article in the NYTimes linking diet soda to metabolic disorders.

A few weeks ago, when Hillary Clinton was campaigning, she said something that I hadn’t heard from a candidate in all my years participating and watching politics. She said, “I believe not only do we need to reform health care, but we need to divert some of that money to stopping the causes of the illnesses in the first place. We have toxins in our water, in our food and our money could be better spent on ceasing illness before it starts.”

Well shit, Hillary. I think you are on to something there. (This does not mean she necessarily gets my vote, only that I was listening and agreeing.) It is time that we stop letting big business poison us to better line thier pockets. This is exactly the reason that we need to start shifting into controlling our own food sources and water sources. Even one meal a week that didn’t come from the store is a meal that will benefit your family.

Turns out soda is only good for one thing:


From my home state, Green Mountain Cofee, “The Fair Trade, Organic and Signature Coffee.”
I really love coffee and I have tried a lot of brands and shops, but when it comes to making it at home, there is none better, in my book!

For over 25 years, we have been on a deliberate journey to create and sustain a values driven company that views profit as a means to achieve a higher purpose…Our vision is for all businesses, especially ours, to be agents for positive change in the world. Our long-term viability as a business is inextricably linked to the ecological and social viability of the communities where we work. We embrace our economic and moral obligation to do business that creates opportunity, stability and hope.

From their site:

Positive Community Impact

Empowered by the economic stability provided by Fair Trade, members of the COSURCA coffee cooperative in Colombia successfully prevented the cultivation of more than 1,600 acres of coca and poppy, used for the production of illicit drugs.
In Papua New Guinea, the AGOGA cooperative, is investing in a medical team to meet the healthcare needs of its isolated rural community.
In the highlands of Guatemala, indigenous Tzutuhil Mayans in the La Voz cooperative are sending local kids to college for the first time.
Near Lake Titicaca, in Peru, the CECOVASA cooperative is assisting members from Quechua and Aymara indigenous groups in raising coffee quality and transitioning to certified organic production.


Nope, this isn’t sarcasm. Nope, it isn’t a jab at the Oscars for overlooking The Diving Bell for best cinematography. BBC broke the news yesterday that LA has the best tasting tap water, according to the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting.

…selection criteria was based on taste, smell, texture, after taste and clarity.

And in the bottled water category, newcomer Tumai Water of Martinsburg, West Virginia, won over. The company donates profits to Aids relief and water needs in Africa.

Despite the drought crises sweeping the west in the United States, LA has managed to keep their taps running clear. Congratulations Los Angeles! Now lets work on Solar Power.

Slowly but surely, more people are becoming aware of the double-edge sword that is “organic” and “natural” shopping. While we may sleep better at night, assured of the lack of chemicals and “better” quality food and product we bought, the real problem lies in our consumption habits. Going green is great. Buying green is great, but we still need to re-think what we “NEED.”
Here is a funny spoof ad I found on youtube:

Supermarket Giant Whole Foods has announced that they will no longer offer “plastic” as an option, offering reusable and paper bags instead. Winner of the Green Power Partner of the Year for 2006 by The Environmental Protection Agency, the company which recently acquired Wild Oats Markets is a minor player in grocery with over a hundred natural foods and low processed food stores.
The Texas based company which spans from California to Toronto, Canada, says “This is something our customers want us to do.” Customers also have the option of a 5 or 10 cent refund for each bag they bring into the store.
Whole Foods is following what some environmentalists have been pushing for for years; a ban on plastic bags (Which take approximately 1000 years to decompose.) Many states have already mandated recycling for retailers or banned them ouright. New York, New Jersey require recycling while China and Oakland California are banning them to date.
It’s refreshing to see government and corporations taking such major steps to clean up our cities, waterways and roads.

One of the topics of sustainability that gets overlooked is packaging. It amazes me how much totally useless packaging gets added onto everyday products. If you buy a glue stick, it comes with an insert of all of their products, a plastic cover so you can see the item and a cardboard backing. Or you buy a microwaveable dinner; while I understand that they want you to think there is an extra 4 ounces of food in there, there is just no need for the cardboard box with the tray on the inside.
For every ounce of product you purchase, it’s plausable to think we are paying half the price of the item for the packaging and half the materials going into the item you buy are in the packaging. Wait, wait, are you telling me I’m paying for garbage? Yes! You are! But… my friends I am happy to announce there are solutions!

First, when shopping, take the time to look for the products with the least packaging and it goes without saying that fresh fruits and vegetables have none.
Second, look for paper packaging over plastic or metal. Paper is a much more renewable resource than plastic.
Third, the inevitable metal cans and plastic bottles can be recycled now in most states. Look for the rules and regs in your area.
Forth, remember to bring your own bags to bring your groceries home. Those plastic bags (I know it’s been beaten into your skulls) add millions of pounds of waste in the landfills. They can be recycled in most places too. Check your local co-op for a receiving bin.

There is also a wonderful new area of study and production in Graphic Design focusing on green packaging. Here and here are a couple companies who are adding innovation and creativity to the fight for sustainable living.

This website offers a comprehensive list of products made in the United States.
What’s so great about that, you ask? Aren’t they more expensive than imports, you ask?
Well, dear reader, as an example: here is a tricycle listed on the site for $38.99:

The same product is for sale at for $44.89.
These sites have been popping up everywhere since the lead scare from Chinese Imported items lately, which is reason enough for some. If that isn’t enough reason for you, try this:

*Any item made in the US requires less CO2 emissions to get to your doorstep.
*The people making your product were working in a US company (meaning MORE jobs for you and I)
*The materials put into the product most likely came from the US, meaning we aren’t robbing some other far worse off country blind.
*If it’s made in the US it is more likely to be recycleable

So, just to recap, it’s better for the evironment, your family, the whole country and the WORLD. wow.
Just in case one of you smarty pants gets the idea to bust on me for promoting consumerism when I just posted about Buy Nothing Christmas, for the record I’m all about home made gifts or material-less gifts, but if you must…buy local.
Happy Holidays.

The first thing that needs to be done is the simplest. We need to stop saying “I” and start saying “we.” If every single person started shifting their conciousness to that mentality, then the major controversy would be over with and we could start working on the solutions. This does not mean that we need to stray away from our “capitalist ideals;” to the contrary!
The truth is, everyone thinks that shifting the economy to business and industry that is green means we lose profit. This is a complete fallacy. To provide a better product(healthy and sustainable), made with better materials(organic, natural),through workers who get paid a liveable wage ($10 or more), means the whole country wins.
This idea can be transferred to politics as well. During a normal debate, the candidates shy away from issues such as social security, health care and sustainability because the solutions COST MONEY. Duh! But the solutions, such as in the case of global warming, also make money.
The real solutions to these problems, involve moving the middle-class back into America, creating jobs such as industry of natural and sustainable products, recycling and reuse of already produced materials, and construction and retrofitting of existing buildings to fit the need for better energy use.
It may seem a bit daunting to look at these problems on a large scale, but really the answers are astoundingly simple and accessible for everyone. If we want the human race to exist in a hundred years, then these problems need to be addressed and we can address them in really progressive and beneficial ways.

Food: less than 200 miles is a reasonable distance in which to grow and sustain our food. Better yet, grow a few yourself. If you neighbor grows potatoes and you grow tomatoes, you will both have plenty extra to share. It’s better for you, more delicious and better for the enviroment. All you need is a bucket and some dirt.
Find a farmers market or a co-op. Your town doesn’t have one? Start one!

Transportation: Public access to every single destination in the country is an absolute necessity.
Shelter: reuse reuse reuse: All the materials we could ever need have already been harvested. We need to recycle building materials, not dump
Shopping: Demand that the products you buy come from a good place, as mentioned above:liveable wage, made in US with recycled or sustainable materials.
The most recent statistics show that even the richest in the country have reduced their consumption of goods dramatically over the last 5 years. Everyone knows we don’t need all that crap.
Disposal: ANYTHING reusable goes on craigslist,the local farmers market, the local found materials shed, or the local distribution center. All biodegradable materials go in compost, not the dump. Compost means it goes back in the ground where it belongs.
Water: The most important factor essential to life. It’s pretty simple, don’t waste it. Don’t flush if you don’t have to, don’t shower longer than you have to, don’t leave shit running.
Find people who are interested, and work on a living machine or similar water remediation project.

These are just the beginning. There are hundreds of other ways to engage with eco-friendly living, engage with your community and most importantly, IMPROVE YOUR STANDARD OF LIVING.
If you care about this stuff, which you must if you’ve gotten this far, tell a friend and start small.

Ever felt like puking when you started seeing Christmas commercials in October? I know I do. I’ve talked with a lot of friends that feel that same sense of dread that comes with the manufactured holiday we call Christmas. Everyone wants the holidays to feel like they are supposed to: a time to appreciate family, friends and community,a time to show our love( because sometimes we forget to), and a time to meditate on the meaning of life. Did I make that up?
Well, Adbusters offers a solution to getting back to the true meaning: Buy NOTHING Christmas.
The day after Halloween I went to the mall. Macy’s and everyone else, had Christmas decorations up. Now, I’m not trying to be knit-picky, but I highly doubt that they are just so excited for the holidays that they couldn’t hold out until after Thanksgiving. (That’s right, there is another holiday in there.) I do remember a time when there were autumn decorations up until after Thanksgiving and when the stores closed for Black Friday they switched over the the mistletoe and wreaths. Or am I imagining things?
Some of you may recall my commitment to the Compact, which means I vowed to try not to buy anything new if at all possible. So, I’ve been giving the holiday’s some thought. What can I give my friends and family that will let them know how much I love them without breaking my vow? I know it means more to me when I get something that someone made or put thought into, so how can I do the same without buying NEW?
Keep a look out for my list of ideas. It will be something like “Sustainable Gifts for the Holidays.” 🙂

Apple’s Domination

I was checking in with “Graceful Flavor” the other day, reading his article entitled: Apples Role in Microsoft’s Downfall when it occurred to me that there was some irony at play here.
There has been much chatter about how clever Apple is at advertising, at branding, at getting their customers to connect to them, at producing systems and electronics that people want to be seen with…and so on and so on (but that does not mean that Apple has targeted Microsoft or that they ever had the intention of contributing to their downfall). Anyway, this was generally the sentiment of his blog post: that Apple was killing Microsoft by being so customer and technologically savvy.
Back on track, the irony that I’ve mentioned is that not only is “Apple contributing to the downfall of Microsoft” but so is blogging and communications like this. Every time I read an article saying how superior Apple is I am reminded of how influenced I was in going with a Mac. I’d always been attracted to them based on their dedication to musicians and artists, but within the past year their company has really been put on the map (again). I am not speaking only in terms of stocks and news media, but in people’s blogs (like Graceful Flavor) and in people’s profiles and on people’s cars and bags and… you get the picture.
My point is, it is not only Apples advertising, but their customers talking about them, and their enemies talking about them. It is the customer that makes or breaks a product or company.

On average the dissatisfied customer tells 11 people.
~Word of mouth: understanding and managing referral marketing

The same principal works in reverse. When I got my macbook last summer, I told every person I talked to how much more user friendly it is, how intuitive it is, how much more sense it makes than Windows. Right now I am contributing to this phenomena I am speaking of. Happy customers tell others which is FREE advertising for happy companies.