Sylvia Earle and Sam Low Win Cronkite Award as Mission Blue Debuts on Martha’s Vineyard by Martha Shaw

What do Walter Cronkite, Sylvia Earle and Sam Low all have in common? They have mastered the might of media on behalf of the sea.

The 2014 Walter Cronkite Award was bestowed on ocean all-stars Dr. Sylvia Earle and Dr. Sam Low by the MVYLI, Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative, which honors people who create positive social change in the world through the power of media.

Like the award recipients, Walter Cronkite was a champion for the 71 percent of Earth’s surface that is the sea—our omnipotent, astonishing, complex, generous and sorely neglected neighbor who rules our planet and keeps us terrestrials alive. Since the industrial revolution, the ocean has been polluted, and literally put through the meat grinder as never before in its 4 billion year history. Walter stirred the hearts of people, young and old, to take an interest not only in the beauty and bounty of our ocean, but in its health and future. The Walter Cronkite Award recognizes leaders who provide this level of inspiration to today’s youth.

Award recipient Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is a world-famous ocean pioneer and former chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who has spent her life exploring the world’s oceans and sharing her boundless curiosity for what lies beneath the surface of sea—once a glass ceiling for women scientists. In 2009, she formed Mission Blue as a collaborative platform to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas large enough to save and restore the “blue heart” of the planet, known as Hope Spots.

“We are at the sweet spot of human history,” said Dr. Earle. “More has been learned about the ocean in the last decade than throughout all of human history. For the first time, we have access to information about our ocean as never before. Now we can actually do something. What will we do with this new knowledge? As a new generation that knows more than anyone has ever known before, what will you do with your future?”

“Walter Cronkite epitomized the spirit of what went up (to space) and what went down (to sea) and as a young scientist that inspired me,” said Earle. “I see his presence is still alive and well on Martha’s Vineyard. I am honored to be receiving this award with Sam Low, who has offered such a boatload of information about the ocean to all of us. I bow low, to Sam Low.”

The co-recipient was Dr. Sam Low, an anthropologist and award-winning storyteller dedicated to island people in their quest to raise awareness of our planet’s fragility, of which islands are most vulnerable. His film, The Navigators—Pathfinders of the Pacific, and recent book,Hawaiki Rising—Hokule’a Nanoa Thompson and the Hawaiian Renaissance, tell the story of the Polynesian settlement of the Pacific and ancient mariners who use native intelligence and natural signs to navigate our ocean. Low has both Vineyard and Hawaiian roots, and will join a global voyage in an ancient Polynesian canoe with the Polynesian Voyagers Society to share and celebrate the ancient wisdom of the sea.

Following the awards presentation, young leaders from MVYLI remarked on how the ocean was bringing everyone together, particularly island people, and shared their ideas for creating a more sustainable blue planet.

At sundown, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival set up a big screen on Menemsha Beach to premiere Mission Blue, the remarkable and breathtakingly beautiful documentary about Dr. Sylvia Earle’s life. The film was directed by Vineyard filmmaker Bob Nixon, and Fisher Stevens, who followed Earle with their crew around the world ocean for more than five years. Island residents and summer visitors laid blankets on the sand to be among the first to see the film, before it goes up on NetFlix on Aug. 15.

Native Vineyard fisherman and advocate for sustainable fisheries, Buddy Vanderhoop, shared his admiration for the mission of Dr. Earle and his support for marine protected areas to allow the depleting local fish population to spawn and populate again, and to prevent massive fish factory ships from destroying what is left. Dr. Earle promised to return to Martha’s Vineyard and work together toward this, in light of NOAA’s recent invitation to communities across the nation to nominate national marine sanctuaries.


Saving our Seas: Tapping into the Wisdom of Ocean Elders by Martha Shaw

Saving our Seas – Tapping into the Wisdom of OceanElders
By Martha Shaw, OCEAN TIMES
(New York, NY) – For 10,000 years, the ocean has been the life support system that has generously supplied us with air, food, and shelter in the embrace of a livable climate. In a perfect world, human beings might have fit nicely into the Earth’s ecosystem, in balance with the rest of nature. Over the last half-century however, that’s not been the case. Since the industrial revolution, man’s effect on the ocean has been likened to an invasive species. Man’s greatest predator has quickly become man himself.
As a species, who will save the day?
One thing working against the ocean is that problems are out of sight, out of mind. Its wounds lie beyond and below our line of vision. Many people have never even seen it except on television, in books and movies, on menus, or in pictures on the packaging of ‘seafood.’ Of those who have seen the ocean, most only see a surface that glitters and shines, and splashes upon the shore in a spectacular show of white frill. What most of the population doesn’t see is that our ocean lies unprotected and exposed, subject to looting, polluting and plundering. As a result, we have depleted the ocean’s fish stocks by 90%, clogged it with trash, saturated it with chemicals, cranked up the temperature, and altered the acidity to the point where seawater is dissolving coral, cartilage and bone.
On a positive note, with new technologies and greater knowledge we now know more about the ocean than ever before. With the advent of these new tools, a woman named Gigi Brisson has become determined to make a difference. After an inspiring Mission Blue expedition with oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle in 2010, she decided to start something that would have the potential to reverse the ocean’s steady, if not alarming, decline. She developed a plan for how people of influence could pool their talents and resources in the best interest of the ocean, and founded OceanElders.
OceanElders combines science, business, philanthropy, art and star-power
Launched in 2012 with its first member Dr. Sylvia Earle, OceanElders now includes H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Sir Richard Branson, Jackson Browne, James Cameron, Dr. Rita Colwell, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jose Maria Figueres, Graeme Kelleher, Sven Lindblad, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Nainoa Thompson, Ted Turner, Captain Don Walsh, and Neil Young. Founder Gigi Brisson said, “These are people with power, experience, success and connections who are all passionate about the ocean and combining efforts to reverse its declining health. The plan is to grow over time and include individuals from Africa, China, India, Japan, and Central and South America.”
The hope is that the OceanElders can get things done together while everyone else is still talking about it, according to Dr. Sylvia Earle. “We used to think that the ocean was too big to fail. Now we’ve learned that it can. We are in a narrow window of human history when we have the knowledge and the technology to tackle these problems — just in time. It’s urgent. The next ten years can be the most important of the next 10,000.”


When asked about being an Ocean Elder, Ted Turner said, “OceanElders are older and supposedly wiser people trying to concentrate on solving the problems of the ocean.” Graeme Kelleher said, “It’s a group of people dedicated to saving the world ocean and the entire biosphere, including humanity. Sven Lindblad described the group as an aggregation of diverse influential voices that can collectively help shape ocean policy. Science advisor Dr. Greg Stone said, “It’s a committed group of people effecting change.” One of the earliest and oldest OceanElders, Captain Don Walsh described the group simply as people who can pick up the phone and do something, or stop something, as the case may be. There are rumors that more star power that can do just that will be added soon.
To date, OceanElders has been effective by partnering with global organizations to support ocean protection in the form of appearances, videos, Op-Eds and letters, including a letter to President Putin in support of Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
The Time is Now, OceanElders Summit 2014
OceanElders (OE) held a summit entitled The Time is Now on the eve of Climate Week 2014 in New York City. Colleagues, who shared the OE mission, gathered to meet one another with the intent to share wisdom and experience, explore new ideas and incite successful collaborations.
Speakers at the event emphasized the need to work together for a new global architecture for the high seas, the half of the world that is beyond national jurisdiction and lies unprotected. Trevor Manuel of the Global Ocean Commission and Dr. Sylvia Earle presented a poster to Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, reading “257,000 people from 111 countries want a new agreement for high seas protection.”
H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco said, “There cannot be social economic development without resilient and productive oceans.” The Prince went on to say, “The Earth’s marine environment provides humanity with a number of important services ranging from the air we breathe, to food security and storm protection. These in turn underpin lives and livelihoods around the globe.”
In reference to one of the biggest problems that plagues the ocean, IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing), Under Secretary of State, Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, Catherine A. Novelli said, “It is only fair that we both level the playing field for honest fishermen and do everything we can to manage fisheries around the globe in a sustainable way.”
Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. shared the wisdom of his island’s ancient tradition of “bul,” which places a moratorium on fishing in order to replenish those stocks and maintain balance. In this tradition he has declared his country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as a marine sanctuary, the first of its kind in the world. “We are on the brink when this free-for-all is coming to an end,” he said.
The event concluded with a brilliant performance by celebrated artist Norah Jones. Dozens of attendees then gathered at a nearby establishment to further the discussion.
Join the discussion
OceanElders invites everyone to join in the discussion at


Conscious Consumers in a Nutshell by Martha Shaw

Conscious Consumers in a Nutshell
Part 1 in Earth Advertising’s 4-Part Series on consumer behavior

Have you heard the one about the early adopter who married a true believer? Their children were 22% reluctant, 32% savvy, 17% enlightened, 29% adverse– and X% prone to little green lies.

Green Consumer Research Reports: It’s a jungle out there

It turns out that when you ask people how environmentally responsible they are, how much they care about polar bears, or what they would sacrifice for clean air, expect creative latitude in their answers. Studies show that studies need more studies to study. Earth Advertising thanks and supports all of our survey colleagues by offering an up-to-date directory of conscious consumer studies upon request. After all, we are all in this together. We are pioneers in the green marketing jungle. The truth is, green consumers are a moving target for media planners and the shelf life of research reports can be shorter than cheese. One poignant news story about risky spinach, an environmental mishap, or shipment of toxic toys, can turn a consumer behavior pattern on its heels.

Research reports on environmentally and socially responsible purchasing attitudes and behaviors are sprouting up everywhere. Marketing professionals have been intent on describing people most likely to shop with an environmental conscience for a decade now. In the early 90′s around the time Earth Advertising’s eFlicks Media published its initial marketing reports on “conscious consumers,” Paul Ray coined the term “cultural creatives” to better define the market potential. Today’s businesses, from Fortune 500′s to start-ups, are hoping to turn research numbers into sales figures. Some are staffing up on sustainability experts to decipher it all. Meanwhile marketing directors struggle to apply consumer research results to brand identity and media spending.

Even more important to some businesses is the amount of adversity they can expect from environmental deficiencies. Companies can no longer rely upon public relations to fix negative press about unsafe products and practices. How much people want to know about a company or product.

is the question many brands ask. Playing it safe, businesses are adopting responsible practices quickly on the chance that green is the new marketing tool.

“Cliff notes” on consumer behavior

Manhattan-based Earth Advertising inventories the landscape of research reports to help our clients get the real dirt on consumer data. Research is the foundation upon which we build strong marketing platforms. From these, we can promote media plans, product trial, brand awareness, loyalty incentive programs, pr, games, sales tools, and eco-tainment to effectively reach the audience with a compelling message. We believe that the most masterful market’eers are those willing to put both sides of the brain into overdrive. We call it research-based creative.
This report is intended to supplement the experience of industry professionals who attend branding conferences religiously, but might miss that one kernel of wisdom that can make the difference. Maybe you were schmoozing in the lounge about climbing gear, swordfish extinction, or why you got into this business in the first place.

Perhaps you dozed off in a lecture or they forgot to send you the power point. Earth Advertising’s 4-part Series is for serious professionals who didn’t know that saving the world would be so boring. This is not meant to discourage conference attendance, but give you the option to hold out for ones in nice places like Hawaii or Aspen. We hope you enjoy our 4-part Series of reports on Green Consumer Research.

Who is conscious about what, when and how much

Exactly how many are really out there? Many studies have competing new terms for customers who are likely to choose responsible products over toxic, polluting ones. Most agree that there are millions of consumers out there willing to pay extra for toxic-free products, and still others willing to make earth-friendly choices purely because they care about the future, other inhabitants, or the planet. The growth in eco-happy products and services is exciting for nearly everybody. There are trillions of dollars (ok, maybe billions) to be made selling good things to informed people.

Environmental policy reform is partly a result of the fact that dirty secrets don’t stay hush, hush as long, and information travels fast. A manufacturer half way around the world can be seen on webcam, and from space! More people know more about what they buy.

How many conscious consumers does it take to change a lightbulb?

Last year alone hundreds of millions of incandescent bulbs were replaced with compact fluorescents. But was that for environmental reasons? Nobody really knows, even if they say they do. Environmentally conscious consumption is not progressing as fast as some might hope, but it is growing. The burgeoning of triple to quintuple bottom line businesses is a promising sign. The concept of “bottom line” has become multi-dimensional and there are great social entrepreneurs to thank for this. People-planet-profits (but not always in that order)was the rallying marketing cry in 2007. Yet, still the retail economy is dominated by publicly traded companies pressured by quarterly earnings. In the upfront these environmental measures cut into profits. In the end, hopefully they translate into savings and less liability.

It feels like new business standards might be here to stay. Quality of life indicators, socially responsible indices, environmental risk assessment, shareholder activism, corporate transparency and new definitions for ‘standard of living’ can be found on the internet. They are at the fingertips of anyone interested in looking them up. There is a fresh sense of urgency among a strong, yet relatively undersized, group of consumers. Is the model citizen committed to protecting natural resources? Are their values reflected in how they spend their money? We do not believe there is a perfect formula for finding perfect people. Many people trying to do the right thing still can’t decide if it’s ok to go to Starbucks, or not. Are Christmas trees all right? They don’t know.

The most conscious consumers are motivated by health

Earth Advertising distinguishes between a) products that are personally harmful; and b) those that are harmful to the environment and animals at large but do not pose immediate and obvious personal risk. The most heavily populated environmentally conscious consumer group consists of, a) people gravely concerned about their own health and that of their family.
If they have friends or relatives recently touched by cancer, asthma, infertility, or other problems that they suspect are linked to their environment, they are more likely to choose toxic-free products. It starts with what they eat, drink, wear, touch, breathe, or feed the young. Many pregnant moms feel like they are staring right into the headlights, when they brush with chemicals that haven’t even been tested on rats. Not to support animal testing. But, moms are finally questioning the logic of “Keep out of reach of children and small pets” on the cleaners they use in the playroom.

Is level of wealth a good indicator?

One consumer data presentation showed a correlation between lack of education and obesity. According to some experts, this group is the “least” environmentally conscious. When you have only enough money to buy unsafe products, that’s despair not irresponsibility.
It’s more expensive to buy organic food, but if there is a CSA or farmer’s market nearby, you can go out of your way to buy local. By taking extra steps, environmental products can be more affordable—like buying in bulk or in concentration. Generally, green costs more, from non-toxic detergents and recycled paper to driving green cars and living in green buildings. Certain activities that engage in conserving energy, save money, too. If a penny saved is a penny earned, then an unused megawatt, known as a negawatt, is money in the bank.

Consciousness is a mixed bag that is hard to quantify. Motivation is a piece of the puzzle, as are informed or misinformed decisions. How can we classify someone who buys organic but doesn’t recycle? Also, the very workings of the planet are not always well-known. According the National Science Research, for instance, many Americans think the sun revolves the Earth.
For the most part, conscious consumers are not defined by a certain income bracket, ethnicity, geography or demography, but by “psychography.” People most fearful of the harmful effects of dangerous chemicals in food, drink, cleansers, clothes, cosmetics, paint, etc. are most likely to buy non-toxic things if they can afford to.

Please don’t kill the messenger

As it turns out, the household member most likely to make purchasing
decisions is predominately female. This woman is even making the choices when it comes to cars and gadgets. Women are nurturers and gatherers, which in this day and age translates to mothers, matriarchs and “shoppers.” Men are more likely to engage in goal-driven activities such as chasing and catching flying objects like hockey pucks, footballs, and big, powerful paychecks. (Again, we read the surveys, we don’t conduct them.)

Men do make many decisions and are concerned about the state of the planet. Just look at the ratios at conferences. According to most survey they just don’t make everyday-run-of-the-mill-family purchasing decisions like groceries. Power plants and fishing vessels? Yes.
These days it’s not just endangered species capturing the attention of researchers. There is most likely a huge database on each of us somewhere. There is no shortage of research out there on our purchasing patterns either. You could probably search golfers with a 50 handicap who only play on environmentally conscious golf courses, just in the North East, using a Yonex club and surmise quickly what kind of car he (or she) drives. Data is an export product. The Freedom Act probably didn’t hurt. For all we know our stats are sold to Japan. But do they know why you took the bus today? Maybe your car broke down.

Who is conscious about what, and why

One study suggests at least 90% of all people consider themselves conscious consumers. Let’s say it’s true. We must take a serious look at what conscious means. One can be conscious enough not to buy an outdated TV so she won’t have to replace it in two years. This person might, or might not, be worrying about the environmental life cycle of the electronic components. Frugality may be a survival instinct. Conscious shopping can be confusing in a world where media is supported by advertisers telling us to buy, buy, buy. Even the President encouraged everyone to keep shopping after 9-11 in the best interest of our country’s economy.

Yet, overproduction of senseless goods is evident wherever you look. Recently we heard a factoid about plastic ware. Americans alone dispose of enough paper, plastic cups, forks, and spoons every year to circle the equator three times. Does a conscious consumer use disposable utensils just on specials occasions, or whenever it’s more convenient?

Signs do indicate that a kinder, gentler, safer world is what most people want way deep down inside, even if it’s buried under discount mattress sales and factory closeouts. When presented creatively, any and all people of any gender can rise to the occasion of a healthier planet. If we asked dogs, they’d probably give it a “paws up” too.

Media is great when the story is real

People are exposed to media about wars, fossil fuel, over-manufacturing, excess packaging and toxic industrial processes that have wreaked havoc on our natural resources. Until recently, most people didn’t like to talk about it, or hear about it. Now it’s vogue. The digital airwaves are becoming environmental messengers as never before. Leaders both young and old want to engineer a better world moving forward. Environmental heroes have gained status as our society’s celebrities. There is much debate about how these consumers get their information. Most agree that they make decisions from sources in the way of networking and reading, and from “gurus” and medical professionals.

As information technologies converge, you can expect these people to be more and more influenced by non-commercial media in all forms. Above all, be honest and passionate about your product and your company. It is interesting to your target audience, so be sure it is told by master craftspeople in communication.

A finely told tale can weave in and among all forms of media with a memorable message. This message must be easily understood to be spread by others. Have a clear, redundant mantra that is easy to remember and share. It can even be a factoid. Pass it to hairdressers, teachers, grocers, family, ministers, cab drivers, employees and everyone throughout the supply chain. A rock hits the water with one simple thunk! The hole fills instantly, but the ripples reverberate almost endlessly. Thanks to media coverage and the internet, consumers can get a sneak peak behind the company logo to see what it really stands for. Green washing does not always fail immediately, but it never wins out.

Who do conscious consumers believe?

People in this psychographic tend to believe expert sources. The nickname “guru” here simply refers to people who are focused enough on your product category to have read about related topics or heard things in the news or discovered it at an event or chance encounter.

Words used to describe the “most” conscious consumer can easily be confused with those who talk about products the most. We like to believe the most responsible consumers are the ones who listen the most. They actively look for advice from gurus in all mediums.

In various reports, gurus are otherwise described as “brandvangelists”, “brand stewards”, “product ambassadors”, “diehards”, “conscious consumers”, “cultural creatives”, “enlightened”, “converted”, “true believers”, “environmentalists”, “activists”, “thought leaders” and “the choir” among others. They are people who may or may not have chosen to live healthy lives, but they at least read about it and talk about it. They keep pace with news and statistics on the risks of scary things in our environment.

These gurus are most likely to create the link between a healthy planet and human health in general. If you took the time to read this, you may be a bit of a guru yourself.

There is a gap between how we perceive ourselves and what we really do. A surgeon is still a surgeon even though he rarely wields the knife, and the same may be true for self-proclaimed conscious consumers in varying degrees. This is no excuse to be judgmental toward people. The green movement should focus on helping people help the planet, thus help themselves. The same is true at high levels of government and industry. By all means, it’s more effective when people believe it’s their idea, not somebody guilt-tripping them.

Though media planners are often inclined not to spend media dollars preaching to the choir, this is the very root system from which your brand will grow and gain momentum. Treat your choir with respect or the choir may sing someone else’s tune, and you want them to sing yours. Clearly, loudly, memorably, and often. They are the journalists, the media voices, the industry leaders, the gurus and they are often very vocal and passionate about their opinions.

People are human

There are several sources that would make a healthy addition to any choir, and they are health professionals, scientists, and religious leaders because conscious consumers tend to listen to these ‘experts’ more carefully. The ‘experts’ are not necessarily your consumers, however. An example is the sight of nurses huddled in the cold, smoking outside hospitals after spending the evening caring for a patient dying of lung cancer. It is not always human nature to practice what you preach.

You might find that a family buys organic milk but they eat processed cheese. Parents might see a TV special and link hormones in cows to premature development in their teens. Others are convinced that mercury in fish can cause learning disabilities. They might have solar panels and drive an SUV. One person might respond to Anderson Cooper’s televised blood work showing industrial chemicals in his body by detoxing with lemons for a week. Another might respond to the same thing by reaching for another beer.

It’s easy to pick and choose your customers carefully with new media techniques. In a way, marketing agencies like Earth Advertising are matchmakers bringing customers together with products that align with their belief systems, or will be aligned by the time we’re done.

Bribing for shelf space

If you feel uncomfortable coercing a retailer to put your product at eye level in the store, go outside your comfort zone. Location at point of purchase gives you stature with customers. It is an implied endorsement. If a customer must ask where your organic tomato sauce is, you could lose them to all-natural along the way. Create a campaign directed at store managers and tell your customers what section you’re in. Once a conscious consumer has your product in hand and reads the ingredients, you have made a connection.

Conscious consumers do read packaging. Use positive reinforcement. If McDonald’s posts how many burgers they sold, post how much pesticide you helped to save from groundwater by supporting organic agriculture.

If you want to get your customer’s attention, you must be available. Create an aura around yourself and your company quickly through all mediums. Hand out an award, start a club, give things away, make friends with your consumers.

Media is the message only if the message is done well

In short, the media techniques most effective are news stories, public relations and events, newspapers and magazines, and social networking. You cannot fool your consumer so be respectful and authentic. It’s your only option or your first sale to that customer will be your last. You must penetrate the media with interesting points.

Someone will want to argue about positive vs. negative messaging. The negative effects of dangerous chemicals are not positive. When your colleagues ask why you are being negative, tell them because negative sells when you’re in the non-toxic business. You are asking people to switch over to healthy alternatives from toxic products. Very few people are deliberately trying to poison the environment, although that sector does exist and there’s a name for them not included in this report.

Who does the planet belong to anyway?

How can we instill the thought that the planet belongs to all of us, when we have grown up in a world where companies are to buying water rights, and mining whole countries and mountain ranges for minerals and building materials? This is what Earth Advertising and agencies like us think about most of the time. How to sell the idea of purchasing eco-friendly products not just for one’s own health, but for every one and every things.

There is positive research to support that people do care and given the tools and information, will vote at the cash register for the better good. Some scientists believe that the evolution of man included natural selection for those who care about man as a group.

The dichotomy here is that we have an economic system that prevents people from being able to afford to do the right thing. In schools we teach children about an environment that can be saved by making purchasing decisions that their parents can’t afford. Yes, we can all recycle, but can we afford organic cotton sheets? And yet the pesticides used in cotton industry are some the world’s biggest polluters of soil and groundwater.

Connecting healthy planet to healthy people

In the product categories of environmentally sustainable food, cosmetics, beverage, clothing (particularly baby and maternity) the best media channels and message platforms will be about health to the people who are most concerned about it, and you can expect women to be making the decisions.

The mental process of connecting the health of the environment to human health may have been easier in days gone by when man interacted with the land more intimately in order to survive. Today, a surprising amount of evidence suggests that many people don’t know where drinking water comes from. Many do not drink from water taps, but plastic bottles. Perhaps the intention of the industrial revolution was to make us all more comfortable after surviving the first ten thousand years. Maybe we believed that companies would take care of all our needs no questions asked. Now more people are beginning to notice that many products don’t make any sense to our environment and our survival.

People behave of their own free will

How do people evolve from health conscious to environmentally conscious? On their own free will. They make the mental connection either in a lightning strike moment, or over time. They begin to adopt, enjoy, and take pride in protecting resources as a more fulfilling way of life. You can define them by habits sometimes. Many research reports will tell you the ideal customer is politically active. Or an educated, informed woman with a family, and above average household income, If there is a member of her family with allergies, she’s even a better bet. We wish we could define green conscious consumers by the age, race, color, wealth, political party or astrological sign, but we can’t.

However, we do have clever, innovative ways to reach them. People adopt environmental practices to save face, save themselves or save the world and feel good. We believe people need to come to their own conclusions. Our job is to help them do that.

Upon request, Earth Advertising will provide you with recommendations on how much media to spend where, and how to optimize brand attributes. We offer corporate identity, messaging, and summary reports on market research, and ways to green your business while building team spirit among employees, vendors, suppliers, investors, management team, customers, shareholders and, yes, even the media.

We hope you’ve enjoyed Conscious Consumers in a Nutshell. This is Part 1 in a 4-Part Series on consumer behavior (see list). Ask us for our comprehensive directory of green consumer research. To find out more about how Earth Advertising can help strengthen your brand to resonate in the right places with the right message, contact: Earth Advertising, 44 E 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016 (212) 933-1391.

Earth Advertising’s Consumer Research Reports
Part 1. The conscious consumer in a nutshell
Part 2. Behavioral habits: public transportation, composting, recycling, reducing, water conservation, non-toxic home and lawn care, packaging, activism, green building, and energy efficiency
Part 3. Purchase decisions in clean technology: automobiles, transportation, renewable energy resources, and energy efficient products
Part 4. Tricks for popularizing your brand

What do you think about conscious consumers? Visit our blog at

Earth Advertising in Manhattan is a creative shop specializing in brand management, sales tools, media exposure, and studio production. The first publication about consumer behavior, “Conscious Consumption. Helping People Help the Planet” was published in 1998. Earth Advertising and studio eFlicks Media produce award-winning media campaigns and effective and innovative marketing programs in all mediums for earth- friendly clients.
To find out more about how Earth Advertising can help strengthen your brand to resonate in the right places with the right message, contact: Earth Advertising, 44 E 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016 (212) 933-1391,

Thanks to:
David Wigder
James R. Gregory Hugh Hough The Climate Group
Martha Shaw
Raphael Bemporad & Mitch Baranowski
Jacki Ottman
Green Media Enterprises
The Green Team The Hartman Group Egg Advertising
Steve French and Gwenn Rogers
Natural Food Merchadiser Claudia H Deutsch
Joel Makower Maryellen Molyneaux
Hilary Bromberg Thomas Friedman
A ‘Green Paper’
Bruce C. Ertmann DYG SCANTrend Identification Program
Eco & Co
Marketing Green
CoreBrand Green Team The Climate Group
Earth Advertising eFlicks Media
BBMG J. Ottman Consulting
GME Green Team
Hartman Group Egg Advertising
Natural Marketing Institute
Natural Food Merchandiser New York Times
Trend Watching Food Technology
Egg New York Times
TerraChoice Environmental Marketing Inc.
DYG Agence Conseil en Communication SurL’Environnement et les Questions de Societe
Consumer research references:
A look back at green marketing in 2007 Accounting for Brands as Intangible Assets
Awake & Aware
Carbon Down, Profits Up Conscious Consumption Helping People Help the Planet: marketing to conscious consumers
Conscious Consumers Are Changing the Rules of Marketing. Are you Ready?
Four Green Marketing Tips for 2008
‘Going Green’ Green Communications (Presentation)
Hartman Report on Sustainability Here come The Green Brandgelists
Lohas Market Research Review
New Hope from the Natural Food Merchandiser Now Looking Green is Looking Good
Ten Reasons Why There’s No Green Business Bubble The Changing Face of Organic Consumers
The Conscious Consumer: Marketing Strategies for a Greener World The Power of Green
The Six Sins of Greenwashing Toyota: Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Consumer-Generated Media (Presentation)
Understanding the “Green” Consumer (Presentation)
Who Are the ‘Sustainable Consumers’? (Presentation)

A Call to Action for Global Green Businesses — United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-19) Works to Envision a Global Green Economy by Rio+20. by Martha Shaw


A Call to Action for Global Green Businesses — United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-19) Works to Envision a Global Green Economy by Rio+20
EA reports from the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-19)

Submitted by: Earth Advertising
Categories:Environment, Sustainability
Posted: May 06, 2011 – 04:27 PM EST

contributed by Martha Shaw

NEW YORK, May 06 /CSRwire/ – Much of the action at the CSD-19 takes place in informal discussions in the United Nations Lawn Building’s Vienna Café, its lounge areas and during the various side events.

Because the CSD-19 is concentrating on a global green economy, sustainable consumption and production, and related issues, there is more focus on business than ever before.

I was able to catch up with Felix Dodds, Executive Director of the Stakeholder Forum. It was a good opportunity to get to the bottom of one topic that has been on my mind lately. That is, how the pioneers, leaders, local enterprises and entrepreneurs of triple bottom line businesses could be included in the process, as the Member States struggle to facilitate a new global green economy. I asked Felix how green business leaders might help lead the world closer to a global green economy, the goal of Rio+20 in June 2012.

“I think we need to make it more attractive for companies to become involved as we look at the issues through the different lenses of energy, water, agriculture and food security, and cities,” said Felix Dodds. “There are lots of good positive examples where companies are bringing new ideas to the challenges we face.”

“It’s very difficult to represent global businesses in their many different forms. Note that many global organizations that do exist tend to represent multinational corporations. Entrepreneurs and small and medium sized businesses are less represented without an obvious place to have a voice. But, the approach of the UN is not to exclude the others.”

As background, The Working Group at the CSD-19 which represents business, is called Business and Industry. It is comprised presently of three organizations: International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) and the United States Council for International Business.

For Rio+20, the UN has cast a wider net. Originally under the direction of Chad Holliday, Chairman of the Board of Bank of America, a group called BASD 2012 was created as a coordinating partner for business, a temporary coalition of business organizations to ensure that the voice of business is heard in Rio. BASD 2012 is a joint initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBSD) and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).

So, how can other organizations, like the business supporters and partners of the American Sustainable Business Council, for instance have a voice in the negotiations?

The importance of capturing the triple bottom line vision and perspectives, experiences, ideas, innovations, and policy recommendations of pioneering green business leaders would be an essential contribution to the Earth Summit 2012. The Summit serves as an important opportunity and rallying point for the world community to accelerate and scale-up the transition to a low-carbon, more resource efficient and ecosystem-conserving global green economy. This Guardian article captures both the potential opportunity and possible pitfalls that the Summit represents.

At this juncture, the usual global multinationals, through the various industry associations mentioned, are poised to provide the dominant business perspective and input to the Summit on their vision and recommendations for a transition to the global green economy. What is sorely missing are the lessons and the perspectives of pioneering green business leaders and entrepreneurs who have shown early vision, leadership and commitment to transforming the sustainability of industrial processes:

These companies need to voice and demonstrate that their sustainable ‘green’ business models can drive both the bottom line through consumer demand and the ‘top’ line through innovation, new markets and new business opportunities.

Felix Dodds suggested that new groups should be welcome to join the dialogue, and noted that The Stakeholder Forum was founded to help stakeholders stay informed and become involved in processes such as Rio+20 do (

As the Commission on Sustainable Development works laboriously for two weeks on a framework and set of principles for a green economy, they are blazing new trails through unknown territory, and are bound to face some resistance from some well-funded entities that might be resistant, because of legitimate restraints in our present system, to letting go of business as usual. It’s going to take all hands on deck, and perhaps a major consciousness shift among both consumers and business. An eco-system in which 20% of the people consume 80% of the resources will collapse quickly. This may be the biggest challenge man has faced in evolution.

In wrapping up our conversation, I asked Felix Dodds, who just published his new book Biodiversity-and Ecosystem Insecurity: A Planet in Peril, what a green economy would look like. “I think that no one understands the green economy yet,” said Mr. Dodds. “There are many components and we must put our heads together.” So, there we have it. A call to action, a call to “create a vision” of what a fair and just economy could look like, and what it will take to build it.

CSD-19 Can developed and developing countries find common-ground? by Martha Shaw May 3, 2011 on CSRwire.

About Martha Shaw. M.Sc.

Martha Shaw is a contributing writer in clean technology and other topics. Martha has been named an Adweek Creative All Star and is the winner of international awards in communications, as well as a scientist. She is a member of the Climate Literacy Network, Fellow of the Explorers Club, board member of NYSES and CEO of Earth Advertising.


* Ready for Rio? Find out how your green business can have a voice in the dialogue, and a seat at the table at COP-17 in Durban, South Africa, December 2011, and at Rio +20 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 2012. Learn more about the Green Business Initiative through Earth Advertising.

* We are pleased to welcome our newest clients: New Leaf Paper, the earth’s greenest 100% post-consumer paper, and Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, the largest biosphere in the world. See PBS Frontline World, Rough Cut: Mexico: The Business of Saving Trees.

*Earth Advertising is a green certified, women-owned enterprise, committed to healthy people, a healthy planet, and a healthy economy through 360º media campaigns, webgames, creative tools, and research in consumer conscience.

Meeting of the Minds by Martha Shaw


Business and environmental leaders brainstorm sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest problems.

by Martha Shaw

(San Diego, CA) – May 15, 2013 – What would happen if you sequestered big business leaders and entrepreneurs with environmental thought leaders and encouraged them all to brainstorm ways to reduce our tread on the planet? With a little luck and a lot of work, you get sustainable solutions to some of the world’s toughest challenges.

Fortune Brainstorm Green
Fortune Brainstorm Green opened on April 29 in Laguna Niguel, California with actor Harrison Ford and Peter Seligmann of Conservation International, and continued for twenty-four hours spread out over three days of panels, breakout sessions, meals and soirees. CEOs and sustainability officers of the largest multinational corporations on Earth shared progressive ideas and presented smart solutions in an atmosphere of friendship and goodwill, not to mention breathtaking ocean views. These executives face the challenge of achieving ever-increasing profits for their public companies, while reducing their impact on the environment.

Social Venture Network’s Courageous Conversations
Some of the attendees had just come from Social Venture Network’s Courageous Conversations (SVN) conference in San Diego, April 25-28. At SVN, social entrepreneurs were looking deep into the supply chain to launch and grow businesses that help solve problems that plague the planet and the poor. These eco-preneurs face the challenge of raising capital and gaining distribution while struggling to keep their companies privately held, thus immune to the destructive effects of rapid growth expressed in the quarterly earnings of public companies. Many, in fact, were on their way to the national gathering of Slow Money held in Boulder. Errol Schweizer of Whole Foods inspired the group with excellent examples of mutually beneficial relationships throughout the supply chain that nourish the planet.

Conservation International – a balancing act
Conservation International (CI), a not for profit organization that helps big companies go green, and encourages green companies to grow big, among many other activities, has a vision for an environmentally healthy world with economic security for all. At Fortune Brainstorm Green, CEO and Co-founder Peter Seligmann shared that vision in which Earth’s natural wealth serves as the cornerstone for vibrant, thriving human societies. He cited the need for a global shift in attitudes and actions. As an example of tools available to gauge progress or lack thereof, Deb Zeyen of CI’s Marine Division, revealed the new Ocean Health Index which calculates an annual global score that assesses the condition of marine ecosystems, an indicator for the health of the planet. From fisheries to farms, natural resources are at the root of the supply chain, and many argue that these resources belong to the commons, not the corporations.

Greening the supply chain
A supply chain is a series of links that begins with natural resources and the people who live in communities among them, and ends up as a product or service on the market. If that product, for instance, is sold by a public company, the stock market is yanking at the chain. The dichotomy is that without the omnipotent reach and infrastructure of big business, the task of smaller businesses getting products to market is daunting, and investors eventually want their investment returned. This often leads to mergers and acquisitions. SVN member Greg Steltenpohl, founder of Odwalla that sold to Coca-Cola, summed up one advantage of getting healthy green products to mass market by saying, “Thank gawd for Odwalla Superfood in airports!”

An ideal green economy is a complex integration of nature and people within an ecosystem. Much of the talk at sustainability conferences is about how to define an ideal modern day ecosystem. Because of the keen level of sophistication and passion in the room, these conversations often lead to the topic of biomimicry. Ethical Biomimicry Finance™, a joint venture between Biomimicry 3.8 and Ethical Markets, brings Nature to Finance. What can we learn from nature about balance? Everybody is talking about a circular economy.

Circular economy – the new buzz words
The concept of a circular economy is a common theme at business conferences which address a forthcoming scarcity of natural resources. Though reusing, recycling and recovering materials can certainly mitigate some of the environmental degradation, the business cases for a circular economy vary as dramatically as the materials themselves. From local vendors like Jade Planet that uses found objects to make footwear and handbags, to Yerdle’s model of sharing, to Alcoa mining trash for aluminum, one can find a wide range of promising examples where businesses are engaging in the complete life cycle of materials. One has only to view the satellite images of the plastic gyre in the Pacific, or the landfills of Brazil, to agree that it’s not a moment too soon.
The rapid expansion of manufacturing and commerce over the past five decades or so has left rubble on our land, toxics in our water, dead zones in our oceans, and poison in our skies. We discovered that man has a ravenous propensity to accumulate, consume and toss natural resources without thinking much about it. As a species, we are taking a look in the mirror and not liking what we see. The mass population of people on the planet has lost the native intelligence to protect our habitats, unlike bees and other species for example. We don’t live conservatively in a circular economy. At the cash register and on e-commerce sites, we invest our money in conveniences often destined for our oceans, and our own living environments in a linear direction.

Communications and Relationship Building
The tactics of environmental advocacy groups often fail by reprimanding man for acting like man. Though well-meaning, these efforts pale in comparison to the opposing well-funded forces convincing us that we’ll be much happier with more everything. This leaves us alarmingly dependent on businesses to do the right thing and help figure out how ten billion people could potentially be sustained on Earth in a socially equitable fashion. That’s why these business conferences are so important. They create opportunities for collective intelligence that we have not demonstrated on our own, and have stopped seeking from our governments.
From sustainable clothing manufacturers that support women below the poverty line, to juice makers striving to grow healthy local economies, to multinational soda and beer bottlers exploring ways to use their omnipotent presence for good, to shipping companies leading the way in green transportation, there is a lot of business going on in the world to feel good about. Regardless of how people feel about the corporate monopoly on resources, it is generally agreed that relationships are a good thing, and businesses are the real pros at building them. Successful enterprises are dependent on successful relationships. Green conferences are a means to that end. Sharing a coffee or a beat on the dance floor can lead to sharing a point of view. When you see an environmental leader dancing with a stockbroker, there’s the opportunity waiting to happen.

What about the United Nations?
While some look to businesses, others turn to the United Nations. This month, countries from around the world convened at the UN on the subject of protecting the ungoverned high seas, also known as Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), from industrial fishing gone haywire, deep sea mining, and other private interests that have a destructive effect on the health of our planet. But the business working group at the UN is more likely to represent the chemical and extraction industry. While area-based management tools, marine reserves, and environmental impact assessments are critical to our oceans’ future, they represent a restriction to multinational business activity, and to countries hoping to reap the rewards of the sea as though gold mining. A good effort but progress is slow.

While the sustainable consumption movement has high hopes for the general public to become advocates for the environment through purchase choices and lifestyle, the level of activism has yet to reach expectations. For instance, we go through 500 million plastic straws per day in the USA alone and 38,000 per person per lifetime, when all one has to say is “No straw, please.” People like straws and don’t want to give them up despite being environmental hazards. Though the general trend may be toward conservation, it isn’t happening fast enough to keep us and our fellow critters from drowning in our own trash.

Business conferences may be the answer
What do sustainable business conferences lead us to? Evidence that our species has all the brain cells we need to solve most problems. We might have what it takes to create harmony with nature if business relationships are built for the good of the planet. When business people come down from the skyscrapers, out of the factories, off the rigs, and up from the tankers to mingle for the sake of their grandchildren’s future, magic can happen. When the great social entrepreneurs of our time gather to share best practices together, our adrenalin kicks in and we get jazzed. Whether it’s Whole Foods or Unilever, retailers at the gateway can’t go it alone and they don’t want to. Environmental and social professionals working at the bottom link of the supply chain are resolving issues with computer manufacturers and apparel designers. Responsible restaurateurs know they can’t choose which fish to serve without consulting experts. Even at Rio+20 Earth Summit, it was the businesses that made the greatest milestones.

Why teleconferencing can’t cut it
Can virtual conferences replace live meetings so that nobody ever has to leave his or her office? Like all species, we thrive, grow and flourish on personal interaction. Despite new technology, we can’t create fully symbiotic relationships of the magnitude needed online, any more than a coral could Skype a fish to form an interdependent, mutually beneficial relationship in balance with the ecosystem. Living happily ever after as a species requires a determined, concentrated effort to cooperate and mingle together. It’s not just networking, it’s friend making and the joy of belonging to an ecosystem.

The hum
If you step back and listen to the distinctive hum of a happy hour at a sustainability conference, it has a buzz unique to the cross-pollination of ideas. That’s the vibe that may save our species yet.

Missing Voices: Green Business Leaders Discuss Representation at Rio+20

Missing Voices: Green Business Leaders Discuss Representation at Rio+20
Sustainability and Green Leaders Meet with United Nations to offer representation at Rio+20.

By Martha Shaw and Aman Singh

Nearly 100 sustainable business leaders crowded onto the 10th floor of the UN Church Center in New York City on May 1st to join a conversation with Chantal Line Carpentier, Sustainable Development Officer and Major Groups Program Coordinator of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and other UN representatives.

The topic: To hear from the “missing voices” of over 200,000 entrepreneurs from organizations including the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), Social Venture Network, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), B Lab, CSRwire, Green America and ‘buy local’ green business networks.

The meeting was hosted by The Temple of Understanding, and organized by Martha Shaw, to explore ways that founders of socially- and environmentally-responsible ‘triple bottom line” businesses might bring their voices to Rio+20, and beyond.

“We Must Raise Our Voice Now”
ASBC’s David Levine started the conversation by stressing that the gathered entrepreneurs are conscious of their global counterparts who are also running businesses that presuppose green practices and help serve social needs while making money.

“Whether they are social enterprises, micro enterprises, women’s groups or development groups, they all carry the same sensibilities of a triple bottom line. They are finding a balance between profits, social and environmental goals,” he said. “This voice is missing in our country today because a monolithic voice led by multinationals dominates all dialogues.”

Levine ended by emphasizing that this is the opportunity for the entrepreneurs to market their leadership and present their pioneering work on a global stage as a way of creating shared value. “This voice is new and we must raise it,” he ended.

“Define Sustainable and Green Business”
Green Map System’s Wendy Brawer picked up where Levine left by adding that until we define what “sustainable business” means, creating this coherent voice will be hard.

Jumping into the dialogue, CSRwire CEO Joe Sibilia made it clear that “any business that integrates the human condition into its operations, whether you call it humanity or spirituality, is sustainable. These entrepreneurs are using business to create a values-driven and sustainable world,” he said. “Financial gains cannot be the only objective. It’s that simple.”

Eco-preneurs at Rio+20
Temple of Understanding’s Grove Harris interjected by adding that it is “practices like the ones Joe is highlighting that need to be voiced at Rio+20. It is important to bring these issues to the table by showing business practices that manifest in social value.” She also added that traditionally, non-governmental organizations have not proven sophisticated enough to support our future and voices. “We need business to be there.”

More examples of mission-driven business enterprises solving many social and environmental problems, including the eradication of poverty, were offered, as was a comparison to the restraints of multinational corporations who are bound by law to act in the best interest of stockholder profits.

Though Sibilia, Harris, Brawer and B Lab’s Peter Strugatz offered several examples of supply chain relationships among green businesses and corporations going green, they also pointed out that many other models exist for ways the world can do business outside the restrictions of a corporation.

United Nations: Collaborate & Lead The Conversation
After hearing everyone out, Chantal Line Carpentier, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Officer and Major Groups Program Coordinator, took the floor to urge the attendees to work with the UN in representing their issues at Rio+20.

She also emphasized clarifying ambiguous language about sustainability and suggested that the sector come to an agreement on what “private public partnerships mean” and “how you can help influence policy and regulatory frameworks.”

“Consider this as a strong call for leadership. There is a lot of talk about business doing more but how? Show us, offer best practices, define CSR, and align practices with the United Nations Global Compact guidelines,” she said.

Carpentier also recommended that the entrepreneurs make an effort to demystify the language around lifecycles, supply chain analysis and sustainability.

Finally, Tess Mateo, an advisor to the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), pointed out that the Women, and Indigenous People Major Groups would be good allies and recommended that we remain cognizant of working together with the other enterprises in promoting our voice on the global stage.

SBNYC, New York City’s Network Of Locally Owned Businesses, Joins BALLE National Initiative To Support Local Living Economies. by Martha Shaw

SBNYC, New York City’s Network Of Locally Owned Businesses, Joins BALLE National Initiative To Support Local Living Economies. by Martha Shaw

NEW YORK, Sep. 02 /CSRwire/ – September 2, 2008 – A major milestone toward becoming the world’s greenest city, New York City’s new network of sustainable local businesses has gained international clout. The Sustainable Business Network of New York City founded in January 2008 has been accepted as a member to national BALLE– Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.

“SBNYC was founded to support what has always made NYC distinct— its locally owned and operated businesses. These give meaning to our daily lives, offering a sense of community and local jobs,” says Sandi Franklin, Director of the Center for Urban Environment, which is the headquarters for SBNYC. “Acceptance to BALLE gives members in NYC’s five boroughs access to a wealth of resources designed to help them prosper, network, mentor one another, and build the kind of leadership we need for a strong and sustainable local economy.”

To welcome New York City as BALLE’s newest member, Judy Wicks from Philadelphia’s White Dog Cafe and Foundation addressed SBNYC and affirmed the importance of local business, the “backbone of a just society.” BALLE, which now has over 50 networks and 30,000 members nationwide, is the brainchild Ms. Wicks and other members of the Social Venture Network.

SBNYC founders, members and staff attended the 6th Annual BALLE Conference in Boston on June 6 where hundreds of independent business owners, local government officials, and community leaders gathered for four days to share strategies and ideas on how to grow community wealth through strong locally-owned businesses. Among the speakers were Majora Carter, Sustainable South Bronx founder and the author of Greening the Ghetto, and Bill McKibben, founder of Step It Up and the author of Deep Economy.

Membership to SBNYC is open to locally owned and operated businesses who recognize their role as agents of change and who are dedicated to creating innovative solutions that result in lasting improvements to local and global communities. Membership in New York City has grown to 65 businesses with concentrations in areas such as renewable energy, local manufacturing, local & sustainable food, independent retail, and green construction and design.

SBNYC’s mission is to connect New York City’s local entrepreneurs, to provide expertise on how to implement a triple bottom line for people-planet-profits, and to increase awareness among New Yorkers about the tremendous impact of how and with whom they do business.

SBNYC builds on the energy of its members and the successful model of BALLE. Membership benefits include bi-monthly networking events, seminars and mentorship circles, inclusion in a local resource directory, website presence, and participation in a new Think Local First public outreach campaign to educate New Yorkers about the environmental, personal and community benefits of buying local goods and services.

To find out more about the benefits of SBNYC membership or to learn about upcoming events, visit or write to