Tag Archives: green america

Sharing, Good for All

Toward a Sharing Economy” in the Green America magazine highlights some of my favorite sharing methods and groups.
Check out these:
Car-sharing: Zipcar, Chicago’s I-Go
Bike sharing: I love this, and I see it all over the SF Bay Area  (the bicycle coalition). There are also amazing groups of volunteers that collect and refurbish old unwanted bikes and give them away.
Crowdfunding: IndieGogo and Kickstarter, with many other local groups. Another essential part of this is loan funding for seed capital from small groups. (It’s a great experience – see Luke’s Toy Factory.)
Free Software Movement: The GNU General Public License, the free LINUX operating system and great efforts by small groups to teach and share knowledge.
Creative Commons: photo sharing, art sharing even necktie sharing. You can have it all, give it away, get some more, enjoy a community of sharing.
Homes, vacations, rentals: This is a fun and lively option, AirBnB and also HomeAway makes it easy. More formal than couch surfing but still a good adventure

Chocolate Scoreboard

This scorecard ranks the chocolate companies, and gives you the story behind the many certification labels, such as the Fair Trade label and the IMO Fair for Life label (the best choices), as well labels from the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, and the organic label. Some chocolate companies, like Godiva, use no label. Thanks Green America! 

Hershey has agreed to many demands after protests, petitions, letters from children, and the removal of their products from shelves. Child labor used during picking is one of the major issues.

PRINT this scorecard and take it with you when you shop. Take a look at the ratings of a dozen companies.

Great Resource – Green America

“Biodegradable” bags, “green” bottled water, “recyclable” plastic products.

These products and more all made our editors’ list of 7 Green(Washed) Things Never to Buy Again, first published in the digital edition of our Green American magazine.

The most recent issue of our magazine explores strategies for going green on a budget, with suggestions in each spending category where Americans spend most of their money:  clothing, food, energy, and transportation.

For example, in the food category:  Do you know the top ten most cost-effective plants for your garden to save money on your grocery bill?  (Answer: Cilantro, arugula, salad mix, chives, dill, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, turnips, large tomatoes, winter squash.)

Below, we link you to more articles from the Green American.  If you’re not already a Green America member, you can receive aGreen American subscription when you join.

Here’s to smart strategies for going green on a budget,
Alisa (signature)
Alisa Gravitz,
President,
Green America

There are many sources for information on responsible stewardship, green thinking, new activities…. this group consistently talks sensibly about what needs doing, and how we can get involved.  It’s a relief to read their newsletter and go to events that they promote. (I just get tired of reading about $250 organic cotton yoga outfits. Right?) — the editor

Action

10 Ways to Join the Sharing Economy

What if you could get what you need for free and make some really great friends in the process? That’s the concept behind what even the mainstream media has started to call “the sharing economy”—where people come together to pool time, talent, and treasure so everyone involved can get what they need. All around the world, people are sharing their extra time and stuff, saving resourcees and building community in the process.

Want to join in the sharing fun? Try one or more of these great ideas, like #2 (Make Your Home a Pop-Up Restaurant), #4 (Bond With Booklovers), or #8 (Share Your Time).

See all 10 sharing-economy ideas »

7 Green(Washed) Things Never to Buy Again

#3 on our list:  “Green” or “Ethical” Bottled Water

What does it cost? $1.75 – $4.50

What’s wrong with it? Bottled water sends approximately two million tons of plastic to landfills each year. Even if all the plastic was recycled, it still represents a huge carbon footprint, especially when you consider how far much of this water must be trucked before it reaches its destination. Plus, plastic downcycles, meaning that you can recycle it once or twice, and then it becomes an unusable mess — which ends up as waste in landfills or the ocean.

Buy this instead: Tap water ($0). If you’re concerned about your local water quality, consider buying a water filter ($30 and up).

See all 7 green(washed) things »

Resources

A Tale of Two T-Shirts

T-ShirtThe shirt at left costs $45.95.  It was responsibly made of US-grown organic cotton by workers in California.  A similar shirt, of conventional cotton, made under more suspect circumstances can cost as little as one-fifth the price.

Tracy Ferndandez Rysavy’s article “A Tale of Two T-shirts” explores how to go green on a budget, support responsible supply chains, and still not break the bank.

Summer People and Planet Awards

Cast your ballot for three ethical-apparel leaders in our Summer People & Planet Awards.

Each of the finalists below impressed our panel of expert judges* enough to make it into the Top Ten. From recovered fabrics to wind-powered factories to strong support for workers’ rights, see what wowed our judges about each finalist when you click on their profiles below.

Then, go here to vote and reward three of these companies with a $5,000 prize to deepen their green commitment:

AtayneAtayne »
Brunswick, ME
MeheraMehera Shaw »
Chapel Hill, NC
Blue FishBlue Fish Clothing »
Fairfield, IA
Nancy's Gone GreenNancy’s Gone Green »
Framingham, MA
Earth CreationsEarth Creations »
Bessemer, AL
PACTPACT »
San Francisco, CA
Maggie'sMaggie’s Organics »
Ypsilanti, MI
RecoverRecover »
Hickory, NC
Mata TradersMata Traders »
Chicago, IL
VintageVintage Creations »
Seattle, WA

Please share this contest with all your friends who care about finding clothing not made in sweatshops.  Like us on Facebook to share our daily posts about each of the ten finalists.  Voting runs through 5PM EST on Tuesday, September 3; we’ll announce the winners shortly thereafter.

Thank you for helping us invest in the green economy and recognize the greenest businesses! For the stories of past finalists, check out our honor roll online, and cast your People & Planet votes today.

VOTING IS NOW OPEN FOR $5000 Green Small Business Award

Finalists to Compete for Green America Award Recognizing Entrepreneurs With an Overall Green Way of Doing Business and a Commitment to a Sustainable Food System; 10 Small Businesses Located in CA, IN, MA, OH, PA, TX, VA, and Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 6, 2013 – A public voting period is now open for finalists of the fourth Green America “People & Planet” award recognizing America’s best green small businesses. Each of three winners will receive $5,000.

Voting for 10 finalists was opened to the public online beginning May 1, 2013 at http://www.greenamerica.org/green-business-people-and-planet-award/ and will continue until 5 p.m. on May 31, 2013.

What are you waiting for? This is a chance to learn more, get involved and help a great group!! I voted for Archi’s Acres, because I love their idea of putting our amazing Vets to work in a teamwork setting. It’s healthy, green and repeatable in your community! Take a look at the 1o finalists, and click the link above to vote.  You can’t go wrong! It’s quick and easy. –editor

The quarterly “People & Planet Awards” recognize innovative entrepreneurial U.S. businesses that integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. This round of the Awards will focus on businesses that have overall green practices and are committed to a sustainable food system. Votes will be tallied and three quarterly winners will be announced during the week of June 3rd.

The 10 final contenders for this round of People & Planet Awards are: Alter Eco, San Francisco, CA; Archi’s Acres, Escondido, CA; Blue Ridge Produce, Elkwood, VA; The Chile Woman, Bloomington, IN; CleanFish, San Francisco, CA; Flying J Farm, Johnstown, OH; Frankferd Farms Foods, Saxonburg, PA; Green City Growers, Somerville, MA; in.gredients, Austin, TX; and Love & Carrots, Washington, DC.

* Alter Eco, San Francisco, CA., http://www.alterecofoods.com/.  Alter Eco believes whole, healthy, delicious food can make life better for people all over the world. By working directly with small-scale farmers who grow quinoa, rice, sugar, and chocolate, helping them institute Fair Trade and organic practices, and giving them the tools to improve the quality and value of their product, Alter Eco is creating a system that benefits everyone involved. Since their start in 2004, Alter Eco’s co-op partners have enjoyed improved yields, true living wages, profit-sharing, medical insurance and the capital to create better infrastructures, healthcare and conditions in their communities.

* Archi’s Acres, Escondido, CA., http://archisacres.com/.  Through their farm, Colin and Karen Archipley have found a way to support sustainable agriculture while serving our nation’s veterans. Now, Archi’s Acres is rolling out its VSAT program nationwide. This rollout has commenced with the construction of a 30,000 square foot “farm incubator” that can serve as the prototype for job-creating, water-saving, food-producing, veteran-led hydroponic organic greenhouses nationwide. The intention is to create real value and good jobs in countless American communities, by harnessing the power of the 1 percent of Americans who served in the past decade of war.

* Blue Ridge Produce, Elkwood, VA., http://blueridgeproduce.net/.  Founded two years ago in the Northern Virginia Piedmont Region, Blue Ridge Produce aggregates produce from farms in Virginia for sale to wholesale customers in the Mid-Atlantic. Blue Ridge Produce lets farmers be farmers by giving them a consistent market for their produce and handling the marketing and distribution logistics. By taking the retail headache out of the equation, farmers can spend more time doing what they do best, growing crops in Virginia soil. This system keeps more money in the local economy, and significantly reduces food miles traveled.

* The Chile Woman, Bloomington, IN., http://www.thechilewoman.com/. The Chile Woman is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and growing chile pepper varieties from all over the world, as well as preserving chile pepper biodiversity. The Chile Woman now maintains a seed bank of over 1800 chile pepper varieties, and excludes all hybrid, GMO or bioengineered seeds.  The business was hit by a tornado in May 2011. While the rebuilding has been arduous, there has been an uplifting outcome. Because so much old-growth tree cover was lost, solar power became a possibility. The company is celebrating the installation of a 5.2 K solar array that went online in January of this year.

* CleanFish, San Francisco, CA., http://www.cleanfish.com/.  CleanFish has developed a trusted platform of both wild and farmed fisheries by turning their backs on industrial commodity fish operations. CleanFish looks to the artisanal, or family farm, levels of seafood production. The company has carefully cultivated regional networks of smaller, ethical fish producers whose principles and practices they know well through their proprietary screening and vetting processes. CleanFish has created access to native fisheries, such as Nunavut tribe’s Arctic Char that is uniquely available through CleanFish. They have promoted innovation such as the move to organic production of many fish farms. Additionally, some producers have gone to larger infrastructure innovations such as wind and solar energy powering of their farms

* Flying J Farm, Johnstown, OH., http://www.flyingjfarm.com/.  Flying J Farm believes that sustainability begins with human health and that humans were placed here with brains to care for the rest of creation. Therefore, recycling, waste management, alternative energy production and management, minimizing financial costs, and environmental care are essential to sustaining life on this planet. Highlights of Flying J Farm’s sustainability efforts include: 1) Outdoor wood furnace , 2) Solar thermal water heating, 3) An 11 KW solar electric system, 4) Biodiesel fuel  produced from waste oil and used in most tractors, and much more.

* Frankferd Farms Foods, Saxonburg, PA., http://www.frankferd.com/. “Frankferd Farms Foods has been providing the region with organic, natural, and bulk foods for over 35 years. In 1978, Betty and T. Lyle Ferderber launched Frankferd Farms Milling. They were some of the first organic farmers in the area, receiving just as much praise as they did raised eyebrows. After seven years of growing and milling grains on their 81-acre organic farm, Betty and T.Lyle  expanded to become a food distributorship in 1985. Since then, the food business outgrew its space on the family farm and moved to a much larger warehouse a few miles away. Frankferd is the only company of its kind in the region and serves over 3000 customers in 7 states. Since the business essentially grew out of an organic farm, its ethics are rooted in stewardship to the land.”

* Green City Growers, Somerville, MA., http://growmycitygreen.com/. Green City Growers (GCG) transforms unused space into thriving urban farms, providing clients with immediate access to nutritious food, while revitalizing city landscapes and inspiring self-sufficiency. GCG produces and installs raised-beds, cold frames, and rooftop farms in addition to providing farm maintenance, educational programming, and consulting services for all interested in growing fruits and vegetables.  GCG’s clients include urban and suburban homeowners, corporate wellness programs, schools, healthcare facilities, and restaurant/food service providers, etc. Quality organic produce is expensive and difficult for the average family to procure. By bringing the farm to the consumer, GCG increases access to produce, fostering a stronger connection between people and the food they eat.

* in.gredients, Austin, TX., http://in.gredients.com/. In.gredients is a zero-waste micro-grocer in Austin, Texas providing the community with real, local food. As a business, they are changing the way people shop for groceries. By providing a majority of products in bulk and sourcing from local farmers, ranchers and producers, the store has become a green food leader in the Austin community. Customers can bring their own containers, fill them with high quality, organic GMO-free food and household items and leave without any unnecessary packaging. The store has over 300 products, with a majority of them made and produced in Texas.

* Love & Carrots, Washington, DC., http://www.loveandcarrots.com/. is a home organic gardening service which designs, installs, and maintains vegetable gardens in DC and the surrounding suburbs. Organic, locally grown food and fruitful green spaces are beautiful, healthy, and better for the soul. Founded by ecologist Meredith Sheperd, the vision of Love & Carrots is to educate people about the importance of local food and environmental stewardship through gardens. Love & Carrots promotes the growth of urban agriculture through a home-based garden education service that teaches families, businesses, and organizations how to grow their own food.”

Judges for this award include: Katie Galloway & Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Elysa Hammond, Clif Bar; Lisa Stokke, Food Democracy Now; Jenny Burns, Honest Tea;  Kristin Bower, Neighborhood Farm Initiative; Jonathan Reinbold , Organic Valley; John Lively, Preserve (winter winner!); Eric Henry, TS Designs; and Reed Doyle, Seventh Generation; Fran Teplitz & Andrew Korfhage, Green America..

Future rounds of the quarterly small business awards from Green America will focus on workplace innovations, and other sustainability practices.

ABOUT GREEN AMERICA

Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems. http://www.GreenAmerica.org.

List of Finalists in Voting for Quarterly Award

VOTING OPENS FEBRUARY 4 FOR $5000 GREEN SMALL BUSINESS QUARTERLY AWARD

Finalists to Compete for Green America Award Recognizing Green Entrepreneurs With a Focus on Creative Recycling and Waste Management; 10 Small Businesses Located in CA, CO, MA, NC, NY, OR, and WA. WHO WILL WIN!?? Take a look at the contestants!

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 4, 2013 – A public voting period opens today (February 4) for finalists of the third quarterly Green America “People & Planet” award recognizing America’s best green small businesses. Each of three winners will receive $5,000.

Voting for 10 finalists is open to the public online beginning February 4, 2013 at http://www.greenamerica.org/green-business-people-and-planet-award/ until 5 p.m. on February 28, 2013.

The quarterly “People & Planet Awards” recognize innovative entrepreneurial U.S. businesses that integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. This round of the Awards will focus on green businesses that also have a strong commitment to creative recycling and waste management. Votes will be tallied and three quarterly winners will be announced during the week of March 4th.

The 10 final contenders for this round of People & Planet Awards are: American Textile and Supply, Contra Costa, CA; Compost Now, Raleigh, NC; First World Trash, Queens, NY; Green Citizen, San Francisco, CA; Grounds for Change, Poulsbo, WA; Hummingbird Wholesale, Eugene, OR; Preserve, Waltham, MA; Repurposed Materials, Denver, CO; Stay Vocal, Norwell, MA; and Urban Ore, Berkeley, CA.

* American Textile and Supply, Contra Costa, CA., http://www.americantex.com. American Textile & Supply, Inc. reclaims and converts 100% post-consumer textile waste into wiping cloths (rags), reducing the environmental impact on landfills, energy use and water use. The company sources this post-consumer textile waste from charities, hospitals, hotels, commercial laundries and other recyclers. It collects used clothing, linens, sheets, towels and many other materials. However, a majority is not sellable as is and would go to the landfill if American Textile & Supply, Inc. did not make wiping cloths! They are dealing in the true dredges of textiles and helping to promote zero waste.

* CompostNow, Raleigh, NC., http://compostnow.org. CompostNow is a weekly doorstep pick-up service allowing households to divert their food scraps and compostable waste to contribute to the creation of nutrient-rich soil for home and community gardens. We’ve found ourselves at a gap in the urban food system that neglects these valuable resources that can be cleanly and conveniently diverted and utilized in the production of nutritionally complete produce and foods. By bridging this gap and completing this cycle, we reduce waste, improve our health, and deepen our connection to our own food system. Based in Raleigh, NC, CompostNow and its community have intercepted 50,000lbs. of compostable waste contributing to the creation of 25,000lbs. of compost made available to home and community gardens

* First World Trash, Queens, NY., http://www.firstworldtrash.com. Where others see trash, First World Trash (FWT) sees possibilities. FWT is an innovative, blossoming, socially responsible, zero waste bag and accessory company. They offer one-of-a-kind, stylish, eco-friendly accessories by re-using materials that would otherwise contribute to a landfill, such as billboards, automobile seatbelts, tents, and bicycle inner tubes. This waste tends to be out of our collective awareness and abundant. For example, the advertising industry continues to send 10,000 tons of commercial vinyl billboards to landfills annually. This material does not breakdown, it literally fills landfills around the world. FWT provides free recycling to this industry and bring a unique, high quality product to market as a result. They do not manufacture any new material and do not create a new waste stream. They clean up the current waste management streams by “remanufacturing” unconventional materials with a
process that is not energy intensive, does not create new waste or by products, and creates local employment opportunities for artists within the community as products are hand-made. Unlike other major “green” companies, the process of remanufacturing does not leave a manufacturing footprint! From the early stages of the remaking process to the end, FWT utilizes human energy systems, not chemical or physical processes that create more trash and pollution.

* Green Citizen, San Francisco, CA., http://www.greencitizen.com. Electronic waste is the fastest growing, yet one of the most neglected waste streams in the United States. Lack of education, regulation, and recycling options contribute to the dumping of e-waste in local landfills and all over the world, especially in disenfranchised developing countries. These activities cause severe social and environmental consequences when toxins in electronic gadgets leach into our groundwater supply. GreenCitizen was founded to combat the e-waste crisis by developing a sustainable metropolitan model where electronics are reused and recycled within the community they are consumed in- a closed loop system. GreenCitizen adheres to a triple bottom line by deeply integrating social and environmental practices into its strategies and operations. As a result, it earned the only B-Corporation certification in the e-recycling industry. The company currently partners with many buildings in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area to perform regular e-waste pickups. Profits generated are reinvested into community eco-centers in Berkeley, San Francisco, Burlingame, and Mountain View, CA where communities can drop off electronics (TVs, computers, cell phones, media tapes, microwaves etc.) free of charge and learn about the e-waste crisis.

* Grounds for Change, Poulsbo, WA., http://www.groundsforchange.com. Grounds for Change is a small, family-owned coffee roasting business that deals exclusively in organic, shade-grown, Fair Trade coffees. The company has made strong efforts to reduce waste in a variety of ways. All of their roasting by-product (chaff) goes to local farmers who use it as mulch. They compost all unused coffee beans, coffee grounds, filters, compostable cups and utensils, used paper towels (except any used with chemicals), and food waste. They offer compostable cups to all of their wholesale customers and The large burlap bags in which they receive unroasted coffee beans are all reused and/or donated for such activities as the annual International Coastal Clean-Up Day, for stabilizing raised beds at several local farms/CSAs, and as material to be sewn into tote bags by a local farmer to earn extra income in her off-season. In addition to waste-reduction efforts, Grounds for Change is an all-around
green company with both a social justice and environmental sustainability focus. They are dedicated to producing a superior coffee product in a way that shares the monetary benefit with growers and has as little environmental impact on the planet as possible. All of their coffee is organic, which reduces the environmental toll of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and protects the health of coffee workers at the beginning of the supply chain.

* Hummingbird Wholesale, Eugene, OR., http://www.hummingbirdwholesale.com. Hummingbird Wholesale (HW) is a bulk food distributor offering organic, local and regional food crops to over 500 wholesale customers from Seattle to San Francisco. The company is known for their Zero Waste practices, commitment to sustainability, and stellar customer service. Since 2003 Hummingbird Wholesale has established and managed a successful reuse program. One hundred percent of all liquids that are packed and distributed are in glass and plastic reusable containers with deposit for return. Returned containers are washed and reused. After three employees participated in the Lane County Master Recyclers program, they shared this knowledge with HW staff and created an elaborate building-wide system of reuse, recycle and compost bins and accompanying signage. The system goes far beyond what the local recycling hauler will pick up. The total waste generated by HW activities is approximately three 65 gallon containers per month; everything else is recycled or sold for reuse. All local deliveries—except when there is a barrel or orders over 1,000 lbs—are done via bicycle (tri-hauler) specifically designed to carry loads up to 1,000 lbs.

* Preserve, Waltham, MA. http://www.preserveproducts.com. Preserve® makes stylish, eco-friendly products for the home. They strive to combine socially and environmentally responsible business practices with groundbreaking design to create their products. Preserve believes that choosing eco-friendly products doesn’t mean having to sacrifice quality, price, or performance. By using 100% recycled #5 plastic for their products, their approach is already one rooted in waste reduction. Beyond this, they exist to be a catalyst in making positive changes in consumer behavior so that they live within the resources of the planet. They do this through initiatives like the Gimme 5 recycling program, and more recently through the introduction of Preserve Shareware.

* Repurposed Materials, Denver, CO. http://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com. Repurposed Materials is the only company in America whose entire product line is made of “repurposed” items. “Repurposing” is creative Re-use. It is not recycling, which has gotten all the buzz since the 1970s. Recycling requires huge amounts of energy to melt, grind, chip, or shred a waste stream into a useable feedstock to be used as a raw material to manufacture something new. With “repurposing,” Repurposed Materials deals with byproducts and waste that get a second life because they have value “as is.”

* Stay Vocal, Norwell, MA., http://www.stayvocal.com. Stay Vocal is a Green America certified ReUse apparel brand that is 100% remade in the USA. The company rescues t-shirts and gives them a second life with a new design. The apparel line is made with brand new shirts that were set to be destroyed and also pre-worn shirts, allowing Stay Vocal to offer unique items to customers. Orders and labels are printed on blank sides of scrap paper from local businesses and are shipped in used packaging like cereal boxes. All computers, equipment, displays, and other materials are pre-owned.

* Urban Ore, Berkeley, CA., http://urbanore.com. Urban Ore began in 1980 as a bootstrap business that identified value in discarded objects; sorted, cleaned, priced, and organized them; and presented them as merchandise. They started by salvaging at the dump, mining the landfill instead of the land. When the landfill closed, they moved into town. Today Urban Ore is a cultural fulcrum point that prevents waste, creates jobs, puts cash and refined resources into the community’s hands, collects and pays sales, payroll, and property taxes for the public benefit, and provides worldly goods at bargain prices. Preventing pollution supports the community’s real property and standard of living. Urban Ore diverts about 7,000 discarded tons from landfill a year.

Judges for this award include: Katie Galloway & Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Desiree Reese, Clean Currents (fall winner!); Elysa Hammond, Clif Bar; Cheryl Newman, Honest Tea; Theresa Marquez, Organic Valley; Eric Henry, TS Designs; and Reed Doyle, Seventh Generation; Lauren Ornelas, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition; Michelle Greenfield, Third Sun Solar (fall winner!); and Fran Teplitz & Andrew Korfhage, Green America.

Future rounds of the quarterly small business awards from Green America will focus on workplace innovations, healthy food, and other sustainability practices.

ABOUT GREEN AMERICA

Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems. http://www.GreenAmerica.org.

Banking and the Green Community

This is from a Green America newsletter. It has great suggestions and advocates two things that are near and dear to my heart: VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLARS and GET INVOLVED IN YOUR COMMUNITY. Read it, enjoy it and take action. I am a long time Wells Fargo fan, they are very community oriented, however, there are some great credit unions (USAA) and green investment companies in the Bay Area  (Nelson Capital Management) – check out your options. Do your research!  -Jacqueline

recycle

Here is the article/newsletter:

Since our e-newsletter last Tuesday, urging Green Americans join our Break Up With Your Mega-Bank campaign, we’ve heard from readers coast to coast who are taking a stand against Wall Street just as bold and powerful as the Occupy protestors.

Brad Nahill posted on our Facebook wall: “I broke up with Key Bank and joined Unitus Community Credit Union thanks to Green America’s encouragement!”

Stefan Hajek posted to our blog: “Fed up with the banking/financial system at large, finally got smart and walked out on my corporate institutional bank today. Goodbye, US Bank, and hello to the neighborhood credit union.”

And Larry Bonner e-mailed our corporate responsibility director:”I broke up with my mega-bank and moved my business banking to a local credit union. It felt so good that I’m planning to move my other accounts very soon. I’m dumping them all and loving it!”

Here are the top 6 ways you can break up with your corporate mega-bank today, and use your money to power the new green economy, instead of the old, corrupt, Wall-Street economy:

1. Open new checking and savings accounts — Close your old mega-bank accounts, and find a new community development bank or credit union that matches your values better. Find your new community bank or credit union (for either your personal or business accounts) on page 20 of the clickable online version of ourCommunity Investing Guide. Find more options via the Community Development Bankers’ Association (www.cdbanks.org) and the Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (www.cdcu.coop). Remember to tell your old bank why you left.

2. Find a greener credit card — Cut up your mega-bank credit cards and mail them back to the bank with a note about why you’re leaving. Find greener credit card options affiliated with community development banks. The Green America credit card helps support our green economy programs. Other greener credit cards supportlocal permaculture projects, protect the bioregion of the Pacific Northwest, or supportcarbon offset programs. (Find a list of greener credit cards in this article from the Green American.)

3. Get your faith community involved — If you have influence over how your faith community or other community group does its banking, you can encourage them to also break up with their mega-bank, and shift their institutional banking to a community development institution. Our allies the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing offer a free downloadable toolkit (scroll down the page to find it).

4. Get your alma mater involved — The Responsible Endowment Coalition’s “Move Your Money” Campaign provides resources and a handbook for shifting your college or university toward community development banking and investing.

5. Find a new financial planner — If you use a financial planner that does not offer socially responsible options, investigate your options from more responsible financial networks like First Affirmative Financial Network or Progressive Asset Management. Or search for a financial planner near you at our GreenPages.org.

6. Invest in responsible mutual funds and loan funds — Find options with a special emphasis on strengthening local communities beginning on page 21 of our clickable online Community Investing Guide, or search for other responsible mutual funds at our GreenPages.org.

Breaking up with your mega-bank sends a message as loud and clear as a bullhorn in the middle of Wall Street itself. You’re shifting power and money away from Wall Street to Main Street — to the green economy.

Tell your break-up story on our blog or Facebook page.

Here’s to breaking up with the mega-banks,

Alisa Gravitz,
Executive Director,
Green America

P.S. Your donation today will accelerate our “Break up with Your Mega-Bank Campaign,” getting our practical resources, like the Community Investing Guide into the hands of the millions of people who are waking up, and ready to take action. Help power the shift to the new, green economy!

Vote today for Green Business of the Year

The top ten most popular green business nominations are in. See what other Green Amreicans are saying about the businesses, check out their Web sites, and vote for your favorite before October 6.

1. Brittanie’s Thyme
Cedar Springs, MI | www.brittaniesthyme.com
“Small, upcoming company providing USDA-certified organic skin-care that is safe, economical and truthfully green. No excess packaging, reasonable prices, great natural products for your skin (and they work!).”
—Freyja G., La Grange, IL

2. Digital Hub
Chicago, IL | www.digitalhubchicago.com
“I work with dozens of printers as a marketing professional. Digital Hub stands out in its choices to voluntarily reduce its carbon footprint and preserve the Earth while continuing to deliver a great product.”
—Nicholas Q., Homewood, IL

3. Ecobunga
San Carlos, CA| www.ecobunga.com
“This site works to help consumers save money and to encourage purchasing of greener products. They really work hard to find the best green deals and keep the site up to date with the latest green discounts.”
—Elizabeth L., Swissvale, PA

4. Faerie’s Dance
Harbor City, CA | http://www.faeriesdance.com/

“This one-woman company offers affordable, beautiful, sustainable organic clothing, all beneficial for the consumer and environment (with the widest range of eco-intimates I’ve ever seen!)”
Trisha F., Raleigh, NC

5. gDiapers
Portland, OR | http://www.gdiapers.com/
“50 million diapers get tossed each day and each one takes up to 500 years to biodegrade. Ick. Home compost, toss, or flush the biodegradable gRefill for the smallest footprint on earth. gDiapers break down in 50-150 days.”
Rob D., Lake Oswego, OR

6. Grounds for Change
Poulsbo, WA | http://www.groundsforchange.com/
“Fresh roasted high quality coffee. Organic, Fair Trade, shade grown, carbon-free certified, 1% For the Planet. They are always looking for ways to reduce their business’ impact on the planet and improve the lives of those that live on it. ”
Jodi R., Bethel Park, PA

7. Hazelnut Kids
Traverse City, MI | http://www.hazelnutkids.com/
“This is by far my favorite green toy store: incredible customer service and a great selection. Easy- to-navigate site, divided for browsing by age, brand, category. Eco-friendly and a tree planted for every toy sold. ”
Mare D., Sag Harbor, NY

8. Stay Vocal
Norwell, MA | www.stayvocal.com
“Not only are they re-styling t-shirts that will just be thrown away, they ALSO package in recycled boxes! Repurposing stuff that is landfill bound is a great thing to do… best re-use project I’ve ever seen. ”
Jennifer V., Las Vegas, NV

9. Theo Chocolate
Seattle, WA | http://www.theochocolate.com/
“I’m continually amazed at how deeply Theo cares about their community making sure the farmers are being paid well through transparent processes, letting farmers voice their needs, and educating the public about Fair Trade.”
Cat G., Corvallis, OR

10. We Add Up
Wickliffe, OH | www.weaddup.com

“They use 100-percent certified organic cotton for their tees, are a carbon-neutral company, offer carbon-free shipping, and they donate 12 percentof their sales to environmental non-profits.”
Hollie Ann H., Canton, OH