The Esalen Institute: Illuminating the Nexus of Sustainability Consciousness

Effortlessly perched along the spectacular coastline of Big Sur, California, along the winding Highway 1, rests the Esalen Institute. While waves crash upon the rocky cliffs, up to 250 people per day participate in enriching workshops or research activities, often followed by a soak in the hot mineral baths tucked in a cliffside crevice. Since 1962, the nonprofit educational institute has provided transformational workshops for people eager to explore and realize human potential through experience, education and research. My journeys…

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Green Dreams: Starting a Green Graphic Design Business

Starting a business takes a lot of time, effort, and planning. An entrepreneur has to wear many hats, juggle several tasks at a time, and be incredibly organized. So why would any business owner want to add protecting the environment and saving the planet to their already endless to-do lists? It’s all about the dream. Which brings me to my dream. It combines two of my favorite things, graphic design and the environment. My goal is to start my own…

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To Consume, or Not to Consume?

Unless you’re hidden deep in a cave in Afghanistan, you’re probably aware just how popular and prevalent green businesses are, as well as the greening of existing ones. And in many ways, this is to be applauded. Companies seem to be falling over themselves to find ways to be more efficient, as in the VW Polo Bluemotion car, a Prius beater without the hybrid geewhizery. And then there’s Walmart, which seems to have turned over a green leaf in convincing…

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How to Finance a Green Business

We received an email last week from an inventor in upstate New York, who has designed a green product that she wants to bring to market, and she would like some ideas of how she can raise money to manufacture and market the product. I am going to present several ideas for financing a green business startup, not all of which may be perfect for her situation, but which are generally options for ecoentrepreneurs. Please comment on this post if…

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Take your Business Off-Grid, or Become a Net Producer of Energy: Learn How at the MREA’s Renewable Energy Fair

All businesses have “variable expenses” related to energy, right? Not always. There’s nothing in the IRS tax code preventing businesses from investing in renewable energy systems (and energy conservation/efficiency) that allow these businesses to operate more efficiently, sustainably, and green. In fact, often there are tax credits and other incentives to encourage these kinds of investments. Some businesses, like ours, generate a surplus of energy, essentially wiping out energy costs not to mention cutting carbon emissions (more on this another…

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Attack The Ingredient Not The Brand – Is Burt’s Bees’ New Campaign On The Right Track?

Burts Bees and their corporate parent, Clorox, will launch a new advertising campaign this month : Burt’s Bees will debut a breakthrough advertising campaign, “Natural Vs.” in early February 2008. Created to address confusion among consumers over what constitutes a truly natural product, …each (ad will) depict the difference between benefits of natural ingredients in Burt’s Bees products vs. the surprising — even shocking — ingredients found in non-natural personal care products. The two ads are specific in naming ingredients…

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How to Green Your Business, Free

This is not exactly advance notice, but tomorrow evening the Small Business Administration in San Francisco is offering a free workshop called “Running & Operating a ‘Green’ Business”. The reason I even bother noting such a last-minute event is that the SBA often repeats popular workshops, and it offers similar programs in different cities. You might want to check out the SBA schedule in your area. The description of the event in San Francisco is certainly compelling for business owners…

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Get Started With Your New Green Business, No Matter How Small the Start

Revolution Foods is a fascinating start up — a for-profit company focused on a public health issue (obesity), in a highly regulated “industry” (meals served in schools), with venture capital funding. When I heard that co-founder and CEO Kristin Groos Richmond was going to speak about the founding of her green company, I had to go hear how she got the idea, how she got Whole Foods to become a partner before Revolution Foods was even off the ground, and…

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Carbon Offsets: Creating Something Real from Hot Air

You’ve probably heard about carbon offsets. They’re everywhere these days, and it seems not a week goes that I don’t hear about a company pledging to go carbon neutral. And yet, it all seems so…full of hot air. What’s real? What do they really do? Which will make the most impact? How are the different purveyors, well, different? I have a suggestion: Take a look at LiveNeutral. Why? Well on a basic, financial level, they are a non-profit. And? And…

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