OFFICIAL LIVE BLOG - TRANSCRIPT - Leadership: Green and Eco-Blogging sponsored by: Michelin
By Lori Luna on August 21, 2009
Moderator: Well, thank you all. Am I – is the mike on? Can you hear okay? Okay, I'm Diane MacEachern. I blog at BigGreenPurse.com and this is a session on leadership, which I think is a great topic to start the conversation around green, and the environment and sustainability because, in fact, the need for leadership is so great.
And because, in fact, BlogHer has show a leadership in this particular conference in greening the conference and we really appreciate that. So what we're gonna do – the sessions that I've been in that I've enjoyed the most here at BlogHer are the ones where we just can't keep up with the questions from the audience.
You know there's just so much conversation and one question and answer leads to another. So we're gonna each start off with a question that I'm gonna ask the panelists here. But then, hopefully, that will lead to all kinds of questions and a really great discussion with you all.
Female: Before you get started, Michelin's told me that they would like to do it going now.
Female: So if we – does everybody have their card in there that were not into this bowl.
Moderator: Actually they might stay it.
Female: You got one last week [background noise] when I called you. I was interrupting.
Moderator: Wait, we have one more card.
Female: She might be lucky winner. ________________, right. Perfect.
Moderator: Are you gonna send them to ________.
Female: They make great carry ons.
Moderator: Okay, I promise I won't pick my own. [Laughter]. It's not mine, I can tell.
Female: Okay, Kathleen Walk from ______________. [Applause.]
Female: Just real quickly, depending on what kind of car you drive, obviously that will impact with the tires you use. But I want to point to what is based on the energy saver all-season tire. That is right now, the most fuel-efficient tire on the road in the entire market.
So you know, get – a key point from Michelin is that respect of the environment is one of our core values, so we feel very strongly about saying ___________________ and by _____ carbon emission. So we want to thank you again for that opportunity to do that. And then, also, real quickly, if you haven't checked on your USB right click that ________; there are five more sets of tires being given away. So make sure you check on that [crosstalk].
Moderator: So if you recycle yours go grab them on [laughter]. Check them all in. Okay, what I'm gonna ask each of our panel to do is introduce themselves a little bit when I ask them a question because they'll be able to tell you much better than I can how wonderful they are and how important their work is.
And I wanted to start with Summer Poquette who's in the middle. And Summer, the question that I have for you really has to do with how you effect real change doing environmental protection work using your blog in Social Teach Media.
Female 1: Well, I came to blogging –
Moderator: And say who you're – who you're with.
Female 1: Okay. Summer Poquette, GreenandCleanMom.org and I came to blogging simply as a mom who wanted to reach other moms. I had no idea what I was starting whatsoever. And over the course of 2½ years social media, Twitter, Facebook, MyBlog, has really turned into a lot of advocacy in helping initiatives like the EWG and Healthy Child, when they are behind certain acts like the Kid Safe Chemical Act and so forth.
Things that I'm really believing in, I can reach such a wide audience with my blog. And that's from state to state, but now it's starting to turn into some local change. And so it's great to see that but then get the comments saying, "I had no idea that there was the Kid Safe Chemical Act. Thank you so much. I'm going to use my voice to write a letter to my legislators and I'm going to call the EWG.
And that's neat when you get those emails and you don't always see the comments. A lot of them are personal emails or a tweet or a Facebook message, so using all of that. And then another blogger starts writing about it and then they tweet it. And that to me is inspiring when you see that change.
Moderator: And actually, we're gonna just step out for a second, if Beth Terry wouldn't mind just saying a word. Beth Terry of FakePlasticFish.com and she used her blog [applause] to bring a neighbor national – multinational corporation – shall I say it – to its –
Female 2: No, no, no, don't say that.
Moderator: Don't say that, okay. She was able to effect tremendous change with her blog. Will you just take two minutes to tell us what it was about? And where's our mike ______?
Female 2: I think the mike's [crosstalk]. I'll try to do this quickly. My blog, FakePlasticFish is all about finding ways to reduce our plastic consumption and plastic waste. And when I first started it, I discovered that the Brita Filter that I was using to filter my water – 'cause I wasn't drinking bottled water – I looked online to find a way to recycle it and I found out that it wasn't recyclable but it was being recycled in Germany by the original Brita company.
So I thought of they could do it here, why – there – why couldn't we be doing it here. And I contacted – I found out that Brita here is owned by Clorox and I contacted Clorox to find out about that. And they gave me reasons why they couldn't do it and those reasons didn't sound – they didn't make sense to me.
So I put out the – posted on my blog, saying, "Is this an issue that's of concern to other people?" And I found out that a lot of people were coming to FakePlasticFish through looking for ways to recycle their Brita filters. They were googling recycle Brita and they were getting my blog because there was no way to do it. So we started a campaign and we made a petition online using GoPetition.
And we started collecting Brita Filters from everybody all over the country and Canada. We collected, I think, like 800 filters. I can't remember the exact number but it was a lot. And actually people at Clorox had thanked me for doing that because it's something that they – you know corporations want to do the right thing but they need motivation to do it.
And so, we showed them through all the signatures that we got on the petition and all the filters that we delivered, that this was something that consumers were willing to do. And people were paying to mail us their Brita Filters. So back in the beginning of – in the end of last year, I was able to deliver all the filters to Whole Foods, which is collecting them.
And they're being sent to Preserve, which is the company that makes recycled toothbrushes, and they are recycling the plastic. So anyway, it was just [applause] you know, the power of the Internet. I could never have reached all these people without my blog and the Internet.
Moderator: Thanks, Beth. Well, it's also the power of leadership because Beth completely took it upon herself to exercise her leadership to do this, with a result that is really – has been great for the company and great for consumers so.
Female 2: Inaudible comment.
Moderator: You did great. All right, Jennifer Taggert, I'd like to ask you a question about labeling because one of the issues that is so confusing for people who want to do the right thing is how do I know what's really green. Everybody's talking about green. Everybody's using the word, green, or natural or earth friendly or so on. What does that really mean and how can you use your blog to help address some of the confusion.
Female 3: It's a great question. My name's Jennifer Taggart. My blog is TheSmartMama.com. I twitter as TheSmartMama. And I – just to give a tine bit of background, I was a geeky engineer, a vernal engineer first, and I moved into the consumer product label and I'm now an attorney.
And then to blogging in order to have a larger voice although it was a very, very soft beginning. And then I was a mom, and when I became a mom, although I had always been into environmental, it became much more personal because when you have kids – at least for me – it wasn't just about a global issue.
It was very personal, what my kids were gonna be dealing with as they grew up, what problems they would be facing if we had climate change or disappearance of species or what chemicals they were being exposed to.
And that's really my focus is non toxic in the green community. And one of the problems as bloggers – and it intersects a lot of issues – the new FTC proposed regulations, concerns about defamation, transparency, all of those concerns factor in.
And when you're writing a blog post, whether it's something you may be reviewing or something you may be talking about in the context of an advocacy for legislation like the Kid Safe Chemical Act, is how do you identify who's really green, what products are really green, what movements are green. And I think it's really difficult. None of those terms are regulated terms.
The term, natural, is not a regulated term. The term, organic, is regulated in one context. We have the USDA's organic program, but you can use organic in your name, like a beauty product, and have no organic ingredients. Fragrance-free is not a regulated term. It just means the product has no fragrance.
And how do you, as a blogger, sort that out and not expose yourself to liability when you're talking about a natural product. If you say this is a natural product, I love it, go buy it, and then it turns out it has parabens in it and you were talking about it's chemical free. I think it's a really important issue.
One thing is I think you have to do more than just take the company's word for it or the movement's word for it. Look at the sources. Understand what terms are regulated, what terms aren't regulated. Understand the standards that are out there or at least say, "I don't know what really is in this product but Johnson & Johnson told me it was natural and so it's a natural product."
And you know at least you've like, said what those words was. I'll give you a great example but I ___________ of P – I don't know. P&G has a new Pure Essentials Laundry Detergent line and it says it's green. The MSDS is exactly the same as [crosstalk].
Moderator: They don't know what MSDS is.
Female 3: Oh, I'm sorry. Material safety data sheet, which is a chemical – it's a sheet that lists the chemical ingredients in a product. And if you look at the natural product and the original product they're exactly the same. So it's really a case of green washing in terms of the product. All they did was repackage it and slap the natural label on it. I think as bloggers it's important to realize those terms aren't regulated and use our blogs.
If you're gonna slap natural on a product, demand to know what's in it, why it's natural. If it's eco friendly, why is it eco friendly? Are they not using petroleum chemistry in the processing? Is the packaging eco friendly, but the product's not. Or is it made at a facility that has implemented energy saving measures, but they're using non renewable resources, and that demand that.
And by using our blogs, or twitter or Facebook, whatever media you're using, to demand that companies own up to what labels they're using, we can effect change. Similarly, participate in standard making. We all kinda stay back and – I shouldn't say we all – a lot of us don't think we have a voice in regulatory proceedings or when some of the certification agencies are developing standards. You do.
You can submit comments just like the Chevrons of the world to any of those regulatory measures and be part of the record. Why not? We all have experience, knowledge and training, whether you're a mom, an attorney, a scientist, a basketball coach. It doesn't matter. Your voice is valuable. Use it.
Moderator: Thanks, Jennifer. Somebody who has really used her voice in the blogs, particularly, from a very early time it seems, is Siel. and I'd really like you to talk about –
Female 4: Oh. [Laughter]. This is the youngest. [Laughter].
Moderator: Yeah, but I'd like to talk – like you to talk about some of your experiences, and particularly, you know you've seen these big waves of citizen concern and consumer concern come about. And then there's been sort of a fall off sometimes, and how you deal with using the blog to maintain interest in some of these issues that are very confusing, and complicated and yet, really so important to people's lives.
Female 4: Okay, great question. I'm Siel. I write a blog called Green L.A. Girl. It's about environmental living in the city, specifically L.A. And, hold on. I liked your question, but I –
Moderator: But what was it?
Female 4: What was the very last part?
Moderator: Well, how you use your blog to maintain interest, given how overwhelming the issue can be.
Female 4: Right. Okay, the great thing about blogs, as you all know, is that once you put a post up there, it's there forever. So if Jennifer puts something up about a product that is truly green, someone else, much, much later, who has a kid five years from now, can go to that post and say, "Oh, okay. So that's the kind of diaper I should get," or whatever it is.
So I think one of the benefits of having a blog – and after doing this research, to actually post about it – is that a lot of people can benefit even if it's not – even if it doesn't translate to instant traffic for you, you know, today, tomorrow or this month. It has sort of a long-term benefit that leads to a general consciousness shift I think.
One example I wanted to use – was anyone at the BlogHer two years ago? Okay, a few of you. I was on a panel at that time and I was talking about the Starbucks challenge, which encouraged people to go to Starbucks stores and ask for fair trade coffee. They had said that they would make it for you as long as you asked for it.
If you notice – if you're staying at the Sheraton, you'll notice that the decaf coffee is actually fair trade. I mean this was – this would have been shocking just two years ago. Since we had that Starbucks challenge – and, of course, there were many other activists who were working on similar issues – Starbucks has gone up to 6 percent and since it went to 6 percent fair trade, Certified Coffee has even agreed to double their fair trade Certified Coffee offerings.
And now, we're starting to see it in places like the Sheraton and things like that. That was a – that was an initiative that I did more than two years ago and it's sort of on sort of the back burner now. It's not like an active campaign that I've been continuing, but it has had an effect. People still find it and people are – people discover fair trade because of these older posts that I have written.
So I would encourage all bloggers here, even though you know, it can be disappointing when you write a post that seems really, really important and should be life changing to everyone, but may not have that immediate effect that you hoped for to know that it is a voice and it will stay there and it could still affect big changes in the future.
Moderator: Great. That sort of leads into a comment that I wanted to make, just about how, in fact people, you do think about ways to motivate your audience. My work is really very much focused on motivating people to change the way they spend their money, to use your money to make a difference.
But figuring out how to do that can be a challenge because the first thing that everybody says, practically, when you're talking about doing this, "I can't afford to do it." And one of the things that we launched at BigGreenPurse.com is called the One in a Million Campaign. And we identified 10 or 12 ways that you can shift your spending to products and services that offer the greatest environmental benefits.
So, so far, about 5,000 – mostly women – have joined the campaign. And to join a campaign you demonstrate that you've shifted in one way or another about $1,000.00 of your existing household budget. Well, it's only 5,000 people so far, but it's, you know, $5 million in the marketplace. So it's really substantial and, you know, if in fact, we hit the million-person mark, it would be a $1 billion impact.
And the interesting thing that I've noticed is that the tipping point is very small to get companies to pay attention to you. You know it was not millions of Brita Filters that made Brita say, "Oh my gosh, I gotta do something." It was a couple of thousand.
And yet, they realized that that literally is the tip of the iceberg and you can have so much impact by just reaching in small tipping points because that tells them that there's something bigger going on. I did want to point out another example of leadership that's in the room.
And even though Lynn Miller is over there typing furiously, probably Twittering, you'll notice that a bunch of us have these T-shirts on, these white T-shirts on that say, "Green moms do it naturally." We're all part of something called The Green Moms Carnival that Lynn started, and I didn't give her the heads up, sorry ___. So Lynn, maybe you could just walk to the microphone and tell people a little bit about the carnival because you're all invited to join.
Female 5: About – just about a year ago –
Moderator: Lynn – Lynn Miller with Organic Media.
Female 5: Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Lynn Miller with OrganicMedia.com and about a year ago I noticed that there were some women like these women and others doing fantastic work and, really, I think not getting a lot of credit. In particular the moms, who were treated, like, just like stupid little mommy bloggers. So I got together a group of women and submitted us to AllTop and got us listed on there and we decided to keep in touch.
And our method for doing this was through a carnival where we blog every month about topics of common importance. We're a very diverse group. Some of us don't have children so there are mothers of the earth. And I just wanted to let everyone know that this group really is open to everyone, so if you want to join just send an email to GreenMomsCarnival@gmail.com.
You can also leave a comment on the blog. If we don't get back to you right away, it's just because we're really disorganized and busy like everyone else. It's not like a slight, so just keep following up or Tweeting or whatever.
But we actually spent some time today at lunch and put together a letter that describes what we do in more detail, and would love to build the momentum. And people are really paying attention, and we support each other and it's, like, totally not for profit. It's not for schwag. It's just to do the right green thing, so thanks.
Moderator: Thanks, Lynn. [Applause]. We've got a live right here and we've got a mike rambler somewhere. _________ okay. Casey, is Casey in the room? She must have stepped out. Okay, you want to do it. So are there any – just wait, okay. Yes.
Audience: I just wanted to ask you what you were saying before about _______________. My name is Beverly Farm. Siel, I didn't ___________ the _________. I'm working on a new project.
Moderator: And I'm gonna have you – you know what, it won't get recorded if you don't speak into one of the mikes. So until Casey comes back, how about if we move that mike around. Oh, there you are.
Audience: Just to tell you what I'm doing. I'm working on a new project with someone we're about to launch. It's gonna involve a blog about travel and places, but we have a green, sustainable, saving the places you love bent to what we're doing. So I'm very excited to be here. I worked in advertising for a long time. I worked for the Leo Burnett Company just a few blocks away.
I just want to say that when I worked for them, in terms of what we do – I want to share with you what I know from the inside, and if there's any other people here from advertising, you'll probably echo. It really only takes a few voices to change. I remember working on an account and at the time, as I worked at Leo Burnett in the '80s, was when the big garbage bags were coming out.
And there was a commercial that had been done that had a garbage bag that talked. Six parents wrote in with a fear that a child could get inside a bag to imitate the commercial and could suffocate themselves, and they totally killed the commercial.
And if you know how many millions of dollars there is behind developing a commercial, six letters killed the commercial. So it doesn't take much to really make that change. So I just wanted to let you know that, you know, that's what I witnessed in the advertising world.
Moderator: That's great. Summer, did you want to weight in?
Female 1: Yeah, I did. Well, you know I live in a very small town and as a mom when I was staying home, I didn't think that I was making an impact whatsoever. And I thought if I told a couple of friends, I had that third eye, you know. "You should buy the BPA free bottles. You should buy the brass bottles." And they looked at me like I was crazy.
But what I realize is over – and you even talked about when you shift your dollar 'cause sometimes it takes a long time to see something change. It's not – something big isn't going to change overnight and we have to work together, like with the Green Moms carnival and, you know, using social media for good. But sometimes when – if you're patient and you just keep at it, it works out.
When I first bought bottles, I bought three glass bottles and they were extremely expensive. Those were the only bottles I had and now, glass bottles are on the shelf two years later. So you can start to see the change when mom write the letters or consumers write the letters or you have a concern with Brita, it does make a difference.
Moderator: You know I should have asked at the beginning. How many – how many of you consider yourselves to be writing a green blog. It's primarily about green on my blog. And others of you who that's not the case, how often would you say you post on green issues, once a month? Yeah. More frequently than that, once a week maybe? Okay.
And what are some of the biggest challenges that you face in trying to identify what you're gonna write about it or how you're going to ensure the accuracy of what you're writing?
Audience: Hi, I'm Kate. I write a blog called Blogsup in Nature'sChild.com and then I'm also a contributing writer for Eco Child's Play. And hi. And I really wanted your opinions on this of to affect change without being naggy and I think we all [laughter] know about that.
Female: That's a great one.
Audience: So I think that we all tiptoe around that. And I think I would have, like you know, this big old soapbox and I know I come off as opinionated. And you don't want to sound like, "Well, I am so much better than you." Well, I only got here by people helping me learn, you know. So I wanted to hear your opinions on that.
Moderator: Siel, did you have a thought on that?
Female 4: Yeah, I think one of the things that I try [laughter] – that I try to do too to sort of not just being naggy, but like to prevent myself from always sounding like a Debbie Downer and like, [laughter], you know, "You ate that for dinner, but did you know?" [Laughter].
And one of the things I try to do is if there is something good, you know, where you should eat dinner for example, then I definitely make sure I write about it. If something good happens, make sure that you do write about it and recommend it to others. And this goes for everything from, like, product reviews to just various things you do in your life.
There are a lot of – I'm very much about greening your travel, especially in the city; not driving everywhere, trying to bike and use public transportation whenever you can. And because of that I read a lot of bicycle-related blogs, which are great. But so often the bicyclists write their posts right after they've just been pissed off by [laughter] – by something a driver's done, you know.
So it's almost like for someone who is just thinking about cycling and looked up bike blogs in their area, they're like, "Gosh, maybe I shouldn't bike. It seems really treacherous and horrible out there." So you know one of the things to try and do is say, "Well, maybe instead of just writing about the one incident that was really horrible, I should write about the other nine incidents where drivers stopped for me.
Or it was really pleasant because the – I could feel the breeze from the beach or because two of us biked together and we could talk during the trip and, you know. If we're able to also write about those things, that may not be as dramatic as like, some, you know big fight with a driver or something. I think those also help people get encouraged to do the good things versus just avoiding the bad things.
Female 1: It is hard though. I know I ______. When you're writing – when you're doing a primarily green blog or even if you're posting once a week or once a month, it does come off sometimes as very naggy or that you're putting someone off. I'm a better person than you are or I'm a better mom than you are if you're in the mommy's blogging sphere because I use this non toxic product and you don't. And it's right.
You can sometimes spin it. Sometimes you can spin it and it's cheaper, it's green living, but it's frugal living. Sometimes you can just point out – and sometimes you can just point out the positives of the product you're using as opposed to saying it's not – what you're using has all toxic chemicals' crap in it. Here, come use this good product.
Let's talk about the good thing. But it is certainly hard and people don't want to get nagged at all the time. I hear you 'cause I always try to talk about it. And people get burned out on hearing that the world's gonna end at all times or I'm living in a toxic zoo. So I struggle all the time.
Audience: Hi, I'm Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. I just want to add something to what Siel said. I just recently wrote about getting a new bike, and taking my kids in the early bike trailer, and biking around, and it was just a very lighthearted and, like, a fun post about this is what I've been doing lately, and it's so much fun, and I'm getting exercise and out in nature and all of this.
And so then I've had a few people comment back to me and say, "I've been really wanting to get a bike for a while and you've inspired me." And so, instead of saying, "Well, everybody needs to write a bike more and, you know, ditch your car," it was more like that and people responded to it.
Audience: There was another article.
Moderator: Well, we'll get – any other questions.
Female 1: I'm sorry. The other flip part of that is that I'm the first one to admit I am not completely green. There's lots – I have bad vices and everything. And I think a lot of times [crosstalk].
Moderator: No, we don't want to know. We want to get on.
Female 1: No, I will tell you my – and Siel's gonna just shoot me and so is Beth. It's I love Coke. So it's ________ points are up. The plastic or aluminum bottle, and I just, you know. I'm sorry. I'm like, 4 years old. It's my one vice. Well, obviously, it's not you know. And Maryann knows. She came over to my house and I'm, like, oh my God the green police are coming. I've gotta run around 'cause my husbnd's not green. I'm, like, hiding crap in the garage and stuff [laughter] that's not there.
Moderator: Okay, here's a comment over here.
Audience: Hi, yeah, I'm Sheryl Conte. I blog at Jack and Jill Politics, which is a top-ranked black political blog. Actually sometimes, I do write about green stuff. I was hired by Greenpeace to go to the consumer electronics show and blog and help them with that.
But the blog is a big part of my life, but an even bigger part of my life is the business that I run, Vision Strategy, which actually counsels non profits on using social media to affect change. And so, one of the questions that I have is, you know, they're all very interested now in talking to bloggers. And in a lot of the research that I'm doing for them, you know mom blogs are coming up as very influential.
So my question to you is are you interested in working with non profits, and if so, you know what would be the ideal kind of allied scenario where you guys are working together. They sometimes have resources or they have connections, but you all have audiences and you have power with companies and with consumers.
Moderator: Good question. Anybody in the audience want to answer that question? Is that – go ahead. Wait 'til the mike comes.
Audience: Who needs the blogger 5K. Hi, I'm Jenny Khatchatrian. I'm the Eco Chic Organizer and Eco Chic on Twitter. I also write for Chicago Moms blog and I run Chicago Green Families. And so – and we support Green City Market, and Growing Home and you know tons of non profits. And I guess it's a two-part thing.
And one I think the bloggers, you know, the not-for profits, they don't have any funding right now. And it really helps them immensely if we can talk about what's happening in our community, get them aware, just get them connected to the story of it. They might not like every one, but one of them's gonna connect to the story of one. One's gonna connect to another. It's gonna hit a chord with someone, and they really need our support.
My personal story and what I wanted to ask you guys too, and sorry to be off topic, but you know our group is about activism. We've adopted two beaches in Chicago. We do – with the Alliance for the Great Lakes and we clean them monthly, and it is hard to get people out to do. It's nice to talk about. It's nice to say, "I'm green. You know it's cool or trendy and people follow me all over and Twitter and it's great."
For me, the bottom line – part of it is, you know I like the intent. It's the first step before action. But how do we inspire that action more, and how can, maybe, Chicago bloggers – and I write where Chicago moms blog – how can we all kind of band together in a way that supports one another and it gets a movement going?
Moderator: Great question. Anybody on the panel want to talk about it?
Female 4: Well, one of the things I've noticed a lot with, and anyone who's had a blog for a while that's green has probably noticed this, is that a lot of the – sorry – a lot of the emails you get from non profits will be addressed the same way as they would be to mainstream media. So like, I'll get like a lot of press pictures or press – you know, like form press releases from Sierra Club and Greenpeace, but even like the local non profits.
And what I would encourage non profits to do or people working with non profits to encourage them to do, is to think of bloggers as someone who might become a member of your non profit, you know. Maybe instead of sending them those sort of form pitches, ask them to come to the next cleanup and you know, we'd love it if you blog about it.
But even if you don't, I hope you can join us and that kinda thing because when the blogger then goes back and writes this first-hand experience, "Oh, this is what happened at the beach cleanup. I met all these people. I had a lot of fun. I got a tan." [Laughter]. You know then it sort of – not only does it encourage other people to do the same, but it sort of demystifies the process.
You know a lot of people are afraid to go to these things. "Oh, I don't want to go alone. Will it be okay if I just show up at the cleanup? Will I be wandering around the beach alone like a hobo with a plastic bag, you know?" [Laughter]. So when someone else blogs about and shares their experience, "I just happened to go and this is what happened," then it encourages others to do the same.
And it's not just beach cleanup. It's even like when the EPA has hearings, you know. I – you know non profits will ask you to come to those hearings and speak up. And very few people do because they're scared, you know. They don't know what will happen. They don't have a speech prepared. But if someone is able to blog about it and say, "Oh, this non profit, we talked a lot. They even coached me a little, and I talked about it and I felt empowered."
Those things then encourage other people to do the same. So instead – I would encourage non profits not to seek that sort of top down, get the blogger to write about us and tell other people what to do. Not to seek that, but instead encourage a sort of community with the blogger.
Female 5: And following up on that, also think of your audience in terms of reaching out to – if you're doing mommy bloggers – is in my very local area I got a top-down pitch. And I said, "You know what, I'm not gonna be able to help you unless we can do this addressing the audience."
Most of the people who I'm talking to have small kids and can't come out for beach cleanup on Saturday unless they have childcare or unless you give them a little bit of speaker training, they're not gonna show up and give a speech on this topic. And so we partnered to provide childcare during the cleanup of the park and we partnered to give speaker training to the people so that they come and testify about our particular issue in our community.
And they felt empowered to do it, so they got a little bit of help doing it. They were happy to come, but they needed some resources to do it. And providing them childcare was a cinch and they came. So you think of the audience you're trying to reach and what might help them be what you want in order to get that movement going 'cause once they do it, they're like, "Oh yeah. I'll come speak next time. I'll come clean up next time, whatever you need.
And I found personally when I'm not – you get a pitch and you haven't formed that relationship. And when you form – a non profit forms a relationship with the blogger, I'm more likely to give Jennifer an email or someone else an email and pass on that information. And she's more likely to go and do something for the non profit because I've called her and I've emailed her, not that non profit.
But the non profit involves a relationship with me and then I can share that with my other contacts and my other friends that are all over the place. So it can even – it can go global. It can go national. So it's not just me in my little world. It's – you know, you can have a bigger impact.
And so I try to form, like if I have a non profit I really believe in, forming a relationship with that PR person or, you know, scheduling a conference call with them to learn a little bit more, and many conference calls with non profits to talk to them.
Tell me a little bit more, not just send me to your website. Like, let's talk about what is your initiative, what are you trying to do and how can we both help each other so that I can reach my readers and then I can help other bloggers reach their readers. And I that that works really well.
Moderator: Lynn, can you get the microphone. Sorry.
Audience: I just wanted to say that there are a couple of non profits I think that are really on the leading edge working with bloggers.
Moderator: Speak up.
Female 5: I was gonna say there's a couple of non-profits that I think are really on the leading edge of working with bloggers, enviro blogs – so anyone here from the non profit world and look at what at what they're doing as a case study. For example they target not only top bloggers but who's in the region. So for example, they flew in their West Coast coordinator, Lisa Frak.
She looked up some of the active green mom bloggers in DC and we got together and had lunch with her. And it was just a simple let's meet. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. But then when they do another event, like they just filmed the ten Americans thing. And again, I think they reached out to all of us who live in D.C.
Green and healthy from Healthy Child Healthy World is another really good example. Some of the non profits are just sending press releases out to us like the morning that something happens, and you can't do anything that way. And Twitter, you know I think, also, to follow most of the green bloggers that are on Twitter, and that's also huge for getting people activated and motivated.
Moderator: Thanks, Lynn. Yeah, a question in the back.
Audience: Hi, my name's Alisa Parker and I produce and host a program called See Jane Do. It's a social change. Well, I interviewed, actually, a lot of the women here and we'd love to hear your stories. We're capturing the stories of everyday women doing extraordinary things for the planet.
But it was more than just doing a radio show or blogging about it for us. We really wanted to inspire action. So referring to your question about how do we get women to do, we live in a smaller community as well, but one of the things I heard here at BlogHer was really focusing local first. And that has been very successful for us.
So when we have a program, we have it around specific themes. And then we take that theme and think, "Okay, how can we inspire action about this?" So one of the things we've done is partnering with traditional media. And so getting connected in our community first was huge, so inviting our friends, having events.
So now we're doing events where you get together. It's free; you hang out; you have your friends who are musicians come and play. So now you're developing a community as you are through Facebook. And then the second thing we did is partnering with traditional media.
So we've had local papers talking about the events we're doing. They've partnered with us, so we had our local paper when we did a show about social media for social change. They actually – our local paper partnered with us to sponsor it. And so, that elicited so much more support from people. And our first Tweet up that we did for social change was a full house and this is a really small town.
So those are some of the things that we've been doing, just getting local first to help inspire action. And it's been very successful and we hope we can replicate it all across the nation so other women and other people can do that too.
Moderator: That's a great idea, not only getting local, but getting relevant to people's lives. How many people here have talked about climate change in their blogs? When you talked about climate change, how – just raise your – if you've talked about the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, for example, that's causing climate change. Anybody talked about that?
Has anybody talked about, you know, polar bears being threatened because their habitat is disappearing, the ice shelf melting? How many of you have seen a polar bear in the habitat? One person, right. It's usually about what it is. How many people have blogged about the fact that because of climate change, poison ivy is getting worse?
Audience: [Inaudible Comment].
Moderator: Well, how many people are allergic to poison ivy, raise your hand. Are you allergic to poison ivy? Do you know somebody who's allergic to poison ivy. The point is that – and because of the way environmental issues have evolved over time, the conversations have really been at a very high scientific level where there's often been not a lot of agreement, right, where there's gonna be a conversation in Copenhagen about climate change and it's gonna be all about how is the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In the meantime all of us are dealing with families or kids or friends who are really allergic to poison ivy and who might care about climate change if we were talking about it in terms that are relevant to them. And that's true not only about climate change, but about – just about every single environmental issue that we're all talking about.
So one of the ways, I think, to get people engaged is to find out what's relevant to them. And it starts not only about being local, but about self-interest. If you look at the levels of interest that people have, what is in the middle of the circle? Yourself, right. And then it's your family. And then it's your neighbors. Then it's your community, the world.
We're always talking about think globally, act locally, but there are very few people who do think globally. They think about what's in the center of the circle and it's themselves.
Female 1: That's my blog. I start here. I started with my house, my family, my products. What I was impacting was my kids and that's what I talk about because that's what my concern was. But what I wash down the drain impacts the bigger picture.
And so when I'm talking to people – most of the blogs I read that I like the most are the blogs that are giving you real, true, personal experiences, opinions and starting from here, not thinking. I'm worried about paying my bills, and buying my groceries, and putting my kids to bed, and cooking dinner and I'm not gonna wash my dishes with this, you know, the bad stuff.
And I'm not gonna use the bottles that are – you know, have chemicals in it, and the bad soaps and so on and so forth. But then that inspires other people 'cause they're like, "Well, she can do it and she's busy, you know. And she works a full-time job and she does this, but she started here and then it has the trickledown effect," which is inspiring because I know I'm looking at a lot of you, and I see your blogs and that's what inspires me.
Moderator: Right. Question right here.
Audience: Hi, I'm Jennae from Green Your Décor. And piggybacking a little bit off of what Summer said, what I found and what a lot of my friends and family members tell me, is that the reason they listen to what I say is because I don't preach. I talk about my own struggle to do it and my own struggle to find products to use.
And they learn because of that because I'll pick up something that says organic and go, "Oh crap, there's a bunch of parabens in this." And standing next to me they go, "Oh, well I never would have thought to read the label if I hadn't been here with you."
So a lot of it is leading by example and just showing people that we're not perfect. I mean everything in my house isn't green, but I try. And by opening up the conversation and making people think about it, then that's starting to change, so.
Moderator: Thank you. Yes.
Audience: My name is Meghan Butler and I'm with Seventh Generation, and I'd love to know more about your experience with the products that – not just, you know, home-cleaning products, but any kind of green products that you've researched and you've found for not only yourself, but your family and through other blogs that you've read and their authenticity.
And the reason that I use that word is because I think that it's very core and central to any green lifestyle, and natural and being authentic. Can you talk to us about your experience in finding authentic products?
Moderator: And I encourage people in the audience, also, to answer this question. That's a great question. Anybody want to start?
Female 4: Do you want specific ____ names or just how we felt comfortable?
Audience: Yeah, just your comfort level and _____________.
Female 4: I have found it very hard to truly be invested in products 'cause you can't always get all the information. And the companies that are willing to provide you everything from their packaging, their ingredients, whether their so-called natural ingredients are actually processed with petroleum products. So therefore, they're using petroleum, even though there's no petroleum products on the label. It's just very, very difficult to get that information.
And when I find a company that answers my packaging, production, fair-trade, fair wage, I mean you know everything you can think of, I love that company and I will – you know I'm married to that company and I'm so happy to deal with that company. And I think there's like three of them that [laughter].
And it's taken a long time to get there. So I don't know if I really answered your question. It's a lot of work. I mean a lot of follow-up emails, "Okay, you answered this question but not this question." Phone calls to people, getting the right person. And to be honest, they're mostly mom-based businesses with fewer than ten employees that are those companies that I love.
Moderator: I'm not quite as thorough. I'm annoying. And I have a hierarchy of things that I'm concerned about. And it starts with health. So if I have to choose between a company that's energy efficient but creates a product that I think would give me cancer versus one that has really cleaned up its act but it still has a lousy carbon footprint, honestly I look at my health first. That's my first – and you know other people feel differently about it.
But for me, health is really the first issue that I – that I look at. And I have a little list of things. I have now, 50 year-old eyes, so these big product – list of ingredients on products that just says to me too many ingredients in there. I look for the minimum number of ingredients if I'm comparing products. It's a very simple screen. The fewer ingredients in a product, the better.
You know half the time you can't understand that if you're not Jennifer, you don't have the sort of that's incredible technical background, you really can't understand most of those ingredients anyway. So I look for the product with the fewest ingredients. And then I look for – primarily, with personal care products, I look for five things.
I look for parabens and the reason I do is because parabens have been linked to breast cancer and they – there's not a direct link, but they have been found in breast tumor tissue. So I don't want to – especially in deodorants, I don't apply deodorants that have parabens in them. And I don't use any products with parabens. Thallites, thallites are often found in fragrances. There are a lot of health problems with thallites. If it's got thallites, I don't use them.
Sodium lauryl sulphate because it's connected to something, dioxene, that is another carcinogen. And I'm not gonna go through the whole list. It's in my book and it's on my Website if you want to take a look at it. But I think I have some very simple screens. Is it gonna affect my health? Does it have the fewest possible ingredients? And are there three or four ingredients in that that to me send up a red flag.
If it's got parabens in it, boom, it's out. If it's got synthetic fragrances in it, boom, it's out. So I think for you, what you need to do is decide what's important to you. I mean you may think, you know, you're Superwoman and you really don't have to worry about these things you're putting on your body.
But climate is really, really important to you and so you're gonna want to look for the company that has the smallest carbon footprint. But you know it's not – it's not really what is perfect for us, it's what works for you, given the issues that are real important to you. Yes.
Audience: Yes. So as blogging has sort of found these marriages with products, how do you deal with the excessive number of products that are coming to your home?
Female 4: I was just gonna talk about that right after you. One of the things that I – oh, you mean as a blogger with the number of things that are coming to my home, specifically.
Audience: As far as –
Female 4: I know my UPS guy really well [laughter] and, like some stuff – you know, I'm not gonna name company names, but early on, the box when it's there, I'm like, "Ooh take it back. I don't need that shit in the house. So but how do you do – I mean some of us, you really have to look at, see, touch, feel. Even the Seventh Generation, as lovely as it is, if it doesn't get my dishes clean, it doesn't do me any good.
So you do have to try it out and there are products coming to the house. But it's gluttonous and I'm not working for a $6.00 bottle of soap. And so what do you do with all the crap that's coming into the house? Where do you give it? Are you giving it to a friend? Are they really your friend if it's garbage? Well, the first thing to do is try and limit it. I mean prevent it from coming to your home in the first place.
So I've gotten a lot better about asking for a full ingredient list and details about the product before giving them my address. So if you have a public PO box, this is, of course, harder to do. But if you don't – well, if you do, you may consider not having that anymore, specifically to avoid this problem. But if you're giving out your address to people to send stuff to you, ask for the ingredient list first.
And there are lot of – a lot of products that I've turned away. A lot of perfume-related products in general. They'll even say, like this is a thallate-free perfume. Well, unless you're willing to disclose all the ingredients under that fragrance, I'm really not interested in taking my time to review it because it's not even just the product waste issue, it's your time waste issue. I don't want to waste my time reviewing a product that I'm probably not gonna recommend in the end anyway because it lacks certain environmental features.
Moderator: Anybody else in the audience have to deal with that? Yeah.
Audience: Well, I was just gonna say that I – I have a blog called Mindful Mama and I do some product reviews, but not a lot. But I found that it's kinda challenging for me to decide how to kind of chart the course with that because I do get pitches all the time for things.
But the part of me that just wants to not do any of them because it's all about consumer stuff and you know. So that's – it's a challenge. And so, what I think I've just decided for myself is I have to come to the right balance for myself, you know, and review the products that I think are important or, you know, that I care about.
And I really like to support small businesses and businesses that are really doing great things. So I feel strongly about doing that and I think I'm gonna continue to do that. But I do turn away a lot of stuff, so and I just think that can be hard as a blogger because you have to make those kind of decisions for yourself. And it's not all about stuff, you know. And so, yeah.
Female 1: We joke in my house that my daughter is the UPS man's daughter. I mean we know each other very well. And you know he's at my house, and there's like, six boxes there right now. And my address is posted on line because I work full time for a non profit and I do not have time to answer all the emails. I just don't.
I do send a lot back and I do open a lot. But when I open them, I try to help the company by calling them and letting them know, you know, "Did you read my blog first?" Did you, you know, trying to educate them about just sending products to anybody. I mean and to educate them on what I might consider as a safer product or a greener product.
But everybody that – well, most of the readers – they're a shade of green. Some people have one thing on their list. "I don't want parabens." So I might not use it, but someone else might. So their standards – you know, their checklist is gonna be different than mine. So it's that whole shade of green thing. My sister, she'll use just about anything. And so I can't change her, you know. And I think _______ understand. And so I try.
Female 4: Like we've given all our – well, I shouldn't say this, but those Bounce things in our room were ____ away from me 'cause I don't –
Female 1: Well, my sister was having a hay day.
Female 4: Yeah, I like _____ mine, you know.
Female 1: So she tries it. She's comfortable with it. I can't push that on her. I can't say, "You can't use that. That's not safe," 'cause she's probably gonna go and spend the $10.00 and buy the thing and use it. So she's comfortable using certain things that I'm not. But I try to educate her on why I don't think she should.
So I try to use it as an educational piece too for the company, for myself, for the UPS man – the poor guy sometimes. He knows all about what it's like to go green now. [Laughter]. And so I mean I think that that's a good thing. But we're all just gonna have – I love how you said for you it's important to health, you know. That's what you're looking at.
And so everybody's gonna be different on what they find is green or not green, or natural or not natural, or I'm gonna eat organic vegetables, but mean with hormones in it. You know I mean everybody's different.
Moderator: Yes. Can you go to the mike please. Such a great conversation.
Audience: So just for one more take on all of this. I actually have never had a problem of products being sent to me. [Laughter]. I'm DiamondCutLife.org and the theme is more joy, less consumption. And everybody seems here to me to be better than I am at analyzing products, and I actually don't analyze products.
My thrust, which all of our thrusts are really valuable, is we need to just consume less, period. And so I actually am not that interested in products, per se. The kinds of things that I'm writing about are let's have a car-free weekend. I mean my household does have a car, but we typically try to not use it on a weekend.
And we try to not eat meat, and we don't have soda in the house, and we don't have paper napkins. We have a lot of cloth things that we keep on washing all the time. And so the filters that we all have – and it's very legitimate that we all have different filters – for me, it's carbon footprint.
And in Portland, Oregon, we talk a lot about carbon footprint. But it seems to me that the most uncomfortable thing, emotionally, as we blog about green things, is that we just have to consume less of everything across the board if we want to have any kind of impact on climate change.
Moderator: Great. If you would just go to the mike. Thank you, great comment.
Audience: I'm finding this really interesting and so how many of you think about the paper that goes into the books that you read? Okay, so when you think about the books that you read, and maybe you're gonna write a book, do you know that 40 percent of the books from traditional publishers go back to the publisher and get ground up into pulp. So my company is a print-on-demand company, and the reason that I chose print on demand was because, literally, we only print books when people buy them.
Moderator: Could you give us the name of your Website?
Audience: I'm Yvonne DiVita. My Website is Lipsticking.com. It's about women and women's issues. Lipsticking – which doesn't have anything to do with the publishing. And I'm not pitching the publishing company. I am just saying that the reason I'm so passionate – and this is what I'm passionate about – is kinda like saving the trees.
I just have a – I'm not a real big outdoor person, but I still think it's important to save the trees and the environment, and so print on demand is a great way for people who are thinking of publishing a book to go because traditional publishers really don't care how much paper they waste.
Moderator: What I love about this conversation is everyone's sharing their stories, but each one of them is about leadership, which is really what – you know which is about the nature of this panel. And that's a perfect example of leadership. Somebody saw an issue, and stepped up and created this wonderful company to solve the problems. So thanks for sharing that. Did you have –
Audience: Sorry, just ahead of time there. I'm Rachael. I'm from Method. We make natural cleaning products. And I have a question for the panel and it's for people here. Where are you getting your information? Besides reading labels, besides what Jennifer does, calling, getting the NTSDs and calling the companies and asking for specific information, are there resources that you're using?
Are there Websites that are compiling information on companies and brands, and what's been helpful to you? And for the brands that are here, how can we make that information more accessible to you?
Moderator: It seems like a lot of people want to answer that question. [Laughter]. How about if we start with you.
Female 4: I'm gonna start with some of the basic ones that I'm sure you're familiar with and that anyone can chime in. Anyone as for personal product categories I'm sure most of us use, Skin Deep's Environmental Working Groups Cosmetic Safety Database for tests and green lists.
Then there's a national household products database which maintains all the material safety data sheets for most consumer products out there. If you can't find the link on Google, just email me. I'll send it all out to you.
Moderator: Could you say that more slowly? [Crosstalk].
Female 4: I'm sorry. It's the National Household Products Database. It's a government database. I will put it on the blog when I get home. And I actually have WiFi continuously and says bodily, but I will put it on. So those are two resources; one for the beauty products that are used, one for the products inside the house. The problem with household cleaning products is that there's no requirement to list all the ingredients.
So that database is not as complete as the cosmetic product database because those companies are required to list all the ingredients on their products, which the exception of fragrance, which is a catchall. And so they can use that term without actually identifying it.
So I think those are the two resources most people use in terms of identifying what's in products. In terms of scientific resources, I mean there's a wealth of information out there from government databases like the National Toxicology Program, which has profiles of all the chemical ingredients where information is available.
California has the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, OEHHA. It's OEHHA.ca.gov, I think, which has, again, toxological profiles and then summaries of all the regulations, and what data is available under those regulations, and then the endpoint and also to stuff you're probably not really interested in.
But you can tell what the chemical's been assessed for, whether it's reproductive toxicity, carcinogenicity, I mean whatever you're interested in. And so those are just some that I use regularly in terms of sort of more detailed resources as opposed to just the blogs or the news articles about sort of the general stuff that's like just going into specifics. But I'd love to hear what everyone uses and finds useful.
Moderator: You know I'll say that I have a hierarchy or sources and I start with the federal government. I'm not a bench scientist. And even though I'm very – I think I'm pretty well self-educated, I'm not doing, generally, first-person research. And so when I look at the availability of sources out there, I try and find the sources that are the least assailable, understanding that the research is always a moving target, right.
Results are always changing, and so what is the best available information at the time. And because I have a very public profile, and I have been under attack from time to time, I really have to be able to fall back on sources. If I can say, "It's not me. The federal government is saying this," then it's much harder to attack me for the positions that I take.
So my first – in my hierarchy, I start with the federal government and I look for research, even though you know I often disagree with what the EPA is doing, if push comes to shove, I can say, "The EPA's research shows that we shouldn't have arsenic in drinking water." That's a pretty easy sell. So I start with the federal government.
Then I look at academic institutions where there is active research going on. For example, at the University of Pittsburgh, there's a center there that looked at the relationship between environment and oncology and cancer. They're doing really great research. So then I don't have to do that research and I'll look to them.
I look at non profit organizations and industry groups last, and almost at the same place. Why? Because their research can be thrown into question because of the nature of their individual interests. So the only place where I really rely on industry to generate research that I will sometimes use is in the energy field because they're all so busy now counting how much carbon dioxide they're reducing.
And if I can blog that, in fact, Exxon is taking the equivalent of a million cars off the road, says Exxon, "And we can prove it," then that's a statistic that I write. But if I'm gonna put myself out there and argue in terms of a change that should happen with industry or somebody, it's because I can back it up with pretty good research.
Female 1: And I keep cutting you off, huh? Yeah. [Laughter].
Moderator: And there's a question here.
Female 1: Well, I just – I mean you're a mom. You go to the grocery store to buy a product. You're an eye chemist. You're not gonna have your Internet with you. You're not gonna look up the product. What do the – what do you guys do when you're in the store? How do you know. You go home and then research it. What do you do? I'm curious because [crosstalk].
Moderator: Where's the – get the mike.
Female 4: I usually know what I'm gonna buy before I go to the grocery store. Not only does this help, like, help avoid hazardous materials. It also saves you money 'cause you're not grabbing stuff off the shelves at random. The other thing I try to do – and we're talking a lot about, like, extremely complicated research. Beth does and it sounds extremely mind-boggling.
Usually, when I find a product that's good, that I like, that works, that seems pretty good for the environment, I just stick to that product. You know I don't need to research every single green cleaner out there, especially if you can make your own. But, you know, in general [laughter] – in general, with any one product, it's not like you have to look at every single pair of jeans on the market, and then find the single best one and then buy that.
You know look for what's near you. Look for something that meets certain criteria that you feel comfortable buying. And don't reinvent the wheel every time you go out and buy soap. You know, you can just, if you like ____ water –
Moderator: That's great [crosstalk].
Female 4: – stick to it. [Crosstalk]. Don't complicate it every time. I know that, of course, if you run a blog like yours, of course you want to cover new products that are coming on the market and stuff like that. [Crosstalk]. Yeah, but in general, if you're running more of a personal blog that's like this is how I'm trying to make my life more eco-friendly, move on from soap after you've covered soap. [Crosstalk].
Female: How do I know?
Female 5: Back in like what we trust in research, you made me think about like the federal government versus non profits. Of course I don't always trust the EPA either, but if I can link to their site and say, "Hey, the EPA even says this." You know then people – it gives them more credibility.
And I generally don't blog unless I can find the study. I won't ever just say, "Oh, well, Fox News just reported on a study," especially that stage of it. You know I hate that a study showed and you can't find it anywhere. And you're, like, who says this. You know like what study. And so, I won't blog on something unless the find the study and read it because I think that's really important.
Female 3: What I was gonna say when I rudely interrupted someone – so I apologize – was that if you're blogging about it from maybe not your personal experience, but trying to change, make a movement, advocacy, you do need to maintain credibility. And so having sources that are more unassailable than Fox News, some piece they did is good, although –
Female 4: He had a great interview.
Female: See I actually have satellite Fox News right next to the [crosstalk]. But sometimes the issues we are dealing with are issues where the government may not have caught up with the issue, like FDA, and Pacino A, and polycarbonate plastic and through contact issues. And so I think it is important to link to the study and at least read the abstract of the study yourself.
Don't just rely on someone else's summary 'cause I can't tell you how many times I've read a summary and went, "Oh my God, that's so cool." And then you go, and you read at least the first five paragraphs of the conclusion of the study and it's completely at odds with the news report or the other blogger's summary or something.
Female 3: So to maintain credibility of your – I think you do need to put in your resources and cite them whether they're the government or a non profit, whoever they are.
Moderator: Right. If there was a question or comment over – on this side of the room. I've been –
Female 5: Especially if you're gonna break a story because you're out on that social media and the dig and all that stuff. I find that that happens a lot. And I'll get to the top and I'll think it's real, but they really didn't cover all those bases. And they just wanted to get to the top and get the hits. And so that's a big thing too.
Moderator: Commenting or a question.
Audience: I was actually answering the question about what we use when we're shopping everyday. And I have an iPhone and I know a lot of us do. And I love the good guide application because I can literally stand there while I'm looking at different products, and pull up the good guide and find which one is the better product.
And I also keep a copy of the Better World Shopping Guide in my purse because it's, like that thick and maybe that big, and it really helps you determine, "Well, if I'm gonna buy fish, which company do I want to buy fist from?" And I mean it's literally something you can pull out when you're trying to find a product if you don't know a better alternative.
Female 3: And Healthy Child has printable – go on line. They have printable and I think people help create most of them. And they print right out and you can put them in your purse. They're small, and it kinda guides you on some basics. You know the top ten vegetables you should –
Female 4: And is Jennifer _______ in here since you recommend.
Female 3: You access their phone number.
Female 1: They have a guide for an application. You can text in and get information on Sippy Cups and stuff for babies. And then HealthyToys.org has a Website of toys that they've tested using an XRF analyzer, and they've rated all those toys. It's not just recalls. It's all, you know, they've tested, I think, either 1,200 or 12,000 toys actually. I don't remember –
Audience: And _____ test ________.
Female 1: If you give one, and they actually have either a Web or a test application as well. So there are actually a lot more resources out there then sometimes we think about. And you don't obviously go to the toy store, and the fish store and the grocery store, all – well, I hope you don't.; if you do, more power to you – on the same day they make all these decisions. It's usually a little bit more limited than what we're [crosstalk].
Moderator: There's a comment here or question.
Audience: My name's Lisa Nelson Woods. I blog at Condo Blues, and I tend to blog towards those folks that are at the grocery store with the coupons, and in the aisle and the glassy eyes, which is me during all of this conference. And I just basically – I mean I like to – I'm more of a how-to person. So it's how I – how to make cleaners to avoid the fragrance.
When I do write any sort of review or an article about those types of things, I do try to do it more – make sure that I kind of use more of a journalism template, as in making sure that I actually have a credible source that I can link to so I don't have to spin a lot of paragraphs with a lot of big words freaking someone out.
But I can summarize it and say, "Here is – here's the real facts," so that anyone who wants to research it or any other company that gets mad at me and wants to sue me – hopefully not. I mean it's like here's my source and I do – if I don't know and I can't find it, I tell my readers, "I don't know and I can't find it. This is a great product, but it has fragrance, so you have to make up your mind."
Moderator: I think we're supposed to end at 4:15, so you can have the last word out there.
Audience: Last word I promise. And I've not made one shameless plug but I'm going to because it's totally relevant to what you've said. We've worked really hard on this, but we have a Seventh Generation iPhone application for a label-reading guide and it's totally free. And basically our research and development team went and canvassed the entire cleaning aisle of the grocery store.
And so not just our products, but everybody else's cleaning products. And we have catalogued all of the ingredients that you will find on the back of the label. And we've been disclosing ingredients for the past 20 years that we've been in business. And now, we're doing so on the back of our packaging and peel-back labels so you can see exactly what's in the products.
But most of the times you don't understand what those big words mean. So you can look it up online or on your iPhone, and it's our products and conventional products that we've all grown up with. The problem is is that you won't see what's on the conventional products because nobody regulates that and says they need to tell you. So they don't disclose it. So we've – I'm sorry.
Audience: _____________ 2010, all ____ products will have ingredient labels __________ on our Website. It's a regulation. It's how they _______ in Canada. And all the laundry products got together and chose that they're going to do ______ as well. And all the companies are working really, really hard to try to [background noise]. It's a lot of work. [Crosstalk].
Audience: That's great. That's great.
Audience: [Inaudible Comment].
Audience: Is it mandatory?
Moderator: I'm trying to be cognizant of the time here, so –
Audience: And that's great because we need to know that. And I'm very excited about that. And when that happens we'll add those to that as well. The point is we also have warning labels, and you see adequate ventilation and don't maybe understand that that means open the windows. Who really opens the windows when they clean. If you'll – yeah did it proud, tiger, opens her windows and see her clean.
But you might also see terms that you don't understand, maybe a really medical term that says don't pump the stomach. Who really knows what that means on the back of certain toilet cleaners. So I highly suggest that you get this. It's – we've worked really hard on this.
Female 5: The Environmental Working Group has an application too that's similar. The iPhone has a lot of applications to help you in the grocery store.
Audience: Thank you, I've really enjoyed the [crosstalk].
Moderator: All right, two quick things. If anybody wants our business cards, they're all up here. We would love yours if you want to exchange information with us. And Jennifer and I are both doing book signings right now downstairs. The Smart Mama's Green Guide and ______ First. Thank you all for coming and please stay in touch. [Applause].
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