Green Your Routine this week with NBC

nbc-green-logoLast November was NBC’s first stab at its Green Week. For seven days, all NBC Universal’s networks committed to over 150 hours of green-themed programming. And its happening again.

Last night while watching The Biggest Loser, I noticed the NBC peacock in the bottom right corner of the screen was green. Then at the top of the commercial break, Jillian the trainer told me to restrain from using disposable dishes during the holiday season to reduce waste. Two commercial breaks later I was reminded to choose reusable shopping bags.

I choked on my pasta leftovers a little. I’m so glad someone, or conglomerate rather, is using its clout and credibility to speak for the environment.

Happy Treehuggers and Critics
I wasn’t the only eco-friend who was pleasantly surprised. The Green Home Lady blog author said in a post she didn’t see it coming.

“Scripted into all the programs I watched were characters reminding each other to recycle, buy solar energy or turn off lights. It made me giddy, I tell you.”

But as we all know, you can’t please everyone. Some claim nbc-green-is-universalNBC’s showing a bias toward the Blue Party. Anne Simons, author of brandsizzle blog said:

“…the effort was, at best, intrusive and preachy, and at worst,
was evidence of a liberal media conspiracy.”

But my question is, why does the network get labeled liberal if there’s concern for mother earth? Regardless of whether you believe in global warming or not, what’s the harm in helping out the planet? Even if global warming does prove to be bogus, no harm was done.

green-is-universal-logoGreen is Universal site
While the NBC character’s were offering me up some green tips, they also told me about the Green is Univeral Web site. So I went. I listened to Conan O’ Brien’s green tip PSA and built my dream green home. The Web site did exactly what it was designed to do – engaged its audience. I spent upwards of 45 minutes on the site. Here’s a clip of celebrities talking about their green habits.

And the Moral of the Story is…four-people-talking-on-phone1
Some say Green Week doesn’t work for NBC. So what? The way I see it, Green Week is a success because NBC created a conversation. The company engaged its audience on the site with games, information and videos. And I stumbled across numerous blogs loving or hating NBC for its initative. The loving or hating doesn’t matter.

 What matters is NBC got people talking about the green movement and created buzz via print and online. NBC got its key audience to participate and to have a conservsation. And that, my friends, is public relations.

Green tip #4 – Salt drain cleaner and sponge savior
salt-shaker1Household salt has other uses besides flavoring dishes. Equal quantities of salt and hot water poured down a drain can help get rid of nasty smells and dissolve grease, plus slow future buildup. By soaking kitchen sponges in heavily saline solution, it helps kill the bacteria that cause nasty smells.

November 19, 2008 at 11:00 am 9 comments

Salute to eco-friendly companies: saving green while being green

Today, I want to take time to loudly applaud a few companies that go out of their way to be kinder to our planet – Amazon.com, Forest City, and Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Frustration-free packagingpackaging-victim
Amazon surprised me this morning. Thanks to my blogger buddy Chris Hansen, MarketGreener author, I learned about Amazon’s Frustration-free packaging. Thank goodness someone is spearheading this initiative! It always baffled me how toothbrushes are plastic sealed, the kind that’s impossible to open without injury and light bulbs are in a flimsy, sad excuse for cardboard. I don’t get it.

Amazon’s actually invited its consumers to post videos and pictures of packaging horror stories. Some are pretty humorous. The packaging reduction is a unrecyclable-plastic-packagingpart of their enivornmental promise. So not as much of this packaging to the left and more recyclable cardboard packaging.

Hansen also said on his post that this environmental initiative will sway his purchasing decisions.

” I find myself shopping online a lot, and this is just one more reason for me to try Amazon first.”

It’s very true though. I do the same thing. I support companies more that care about the earth. PR students – if your client can, promote its environmental stance. Because it makes a difference. The company looks ethical and boosts image. But for heaven sakes, only when it’s appropriate. Don’t greenwash.

Locally grownforest-city-recycling-materials1
The next two companies, Forest City and Great Lakes Brewing Company are both Cleveland-sprouted sustainable companies.

Forest City Enterprises, Inc. is a realty and development company that ensures its properties and construction are as eco-thoughtful as possible. It all feeds into the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit.

Cheers for beers
The Great Lakes Brewing Co. is brewery and restaurant but also ships its beers elsewhere. This company is ethical down its last hop. Not only does the company love the environment but it also funds non-profit organizations throughout Cleveland. Its Web site has dedicated three pages about how and why the planet is important. It recycles everything; its “Fatty Wagons” (delivery truck and shuttle bus) run off vegetable oil from the great-lakes-logokitchen and paper, cardboard, kitchen scraps and grain are fed to worms to produce organic fertilizer that incubates the herbs and veggies found on the menu. You can read the entire list of its current environmental projects here.

Like I said earlier in the post with Amazon, people are looking for these initiatives and it’ll sway purchasing decisions. Just last night, I bought a bottle of of GLBC’s Christmas Ale – delicious. The company’s promise to beer-with-black-background1the environment was on the bottle asking me to join them in recycling. No worries, it’s already in the bin.

In closing, with the holiday season approaching, support the companies that care about the planet. So go out into the world and buy a frustration-free gift, buy a sustainable home and drink some Christmas Ale for the companies that do their part.

Green tip #3
white-vinegarWhite vinegar is a natural fabric softener. Replace your chemical-filled choice with 1/4 – 1 cup of vinegar next time you wash. It’s cheaper and it doesn’t leave behind a scent. (It really works. I tried it.)

November 12, 2008 at 6:27 pm 4 comments

Salvage – green fashion and design at KSU

Every year, for the past 25-30 years, Kent State Fashion Student Organization, American Institute of Architecture Students and the Interior Design Student Collaboration put on the Beaux Arts Ball. This event serves as a fundraiser for the organizations as well as a fantastic excuse for everyone to drink, jive and watch a fashion show. Not too shabby.display4

This year, the event’s theme is Salvage – a completely green-geared event. It’s Friday, Nov.7 in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. It starts at 8 p.m. and the fashion show starts at 10 p.m.

When my interior design friend, Lindsey Ray told me about the event, I’m pretty sure I clapped my hands in excitement. It just goes to show that there’s a place and demand for green practices in every industry.

runwayTalk the talk and walk the walk
Ray said not only will the fashion show feature natural and recycled material, but the decorations and promotional efforts are also “salvaged.”

“We wanted to really take a holistic approach to this green idea. Last year we printed tons of posters,” said Ray. “This year we only had 160 printed and we’re branching out to more online promotion to save paper.”

Ray said they’re emphasizing word of mouth, Facebook and emails. It’s good to see the green consideration being carried out through all steps of the event. No green posing here.

(more…)

November 6, 2008 at 3:27 pm 2 comments

PRSSA conference in the D and greenwashing

This past weekend, me and seven other PRSSA Kent officers attended the PRSSA national conference in America’s Motor City. Between taking notes at sessions and dodging the other 900-some students, I took notice of the little green efforts.

  1. Save the planet sign inside my hotel room telling me only towels on the floor would be washed in attempt to save water.
  2. Ecotainer cups at breakfast. The cups were biodegradable and compostable.
  3. During the PRSSA sessions, GM gave us the opportunity to test drive a hybrid Escalade or Saturn Vue.

I was the only Kent officer to notice these minute green pushes. Although the hotel wanted its guests to save water, they didn’t recycle. I guess they wanted to sport the green label without any extra effort. And this got me thinking about greenwashing and green posers. (more…)

October 29, 2008 at 5:41 pm 5 comments

Environmental Politics – Where the candidates stand and why Obama won me over.


Every other blogger’s written about the oh-so-close election. And now it’s my chance. First things first – I’m proudly voting for Senator Obama, as a democrat and as an environmentalist. And more than his stance on off-shore drilling, I’m floored by his seamless campaign.

Obama wants my vote
As a PR student analyzing the McCain and Obama camps, Obama blows him out of the water. Even tough college students tend to go blue and this county usually votes blue too, Barack’s still reaching out to me. Every day:

  1. I get at least two emails daily from Joe, Barack, Michelle or someone else. Every email is solely first-name basis – showing informality, a relationship. The first thing I see in the morning for the past year is Obama.
  2. When I sign on to Facebook, Barack’s smiling at me and telling me to vote in Ohio now. And on YouTube and on Pandora Radio. He never lets me forget him.
  3. When I get home, he’s in my mailbox and on a flier slid under my front door.
  4. And Obama messages are on TV while I chow down on my Lean Cuisine. (more…)

October 22, 2008 at 5:28 pm 12 comments

Green strides on a blue and gold campus

It’s one of those days that I’m proud to be a Kent Stater. This past week, I’ve conducted a couple interviews about green initiatives on campus. I first dove into it as an assignment for Flash Communications, the Jim Zentmeyercampus student-run public relations agency. But I’m so ecstatic about all the changes and efforts, I had to blog about it too.

Last week, I spoke to Jim Zentmeyer, associate director of administrative operations and facilities, about green strides in the Residence Services department. This guy really knows his stuff. He was tossing statistics and quotes all over the place, a writer’s dream. Here’s a quick summary of some adjustments they’ve made to be kinder to mother earth:

  1. Replaced 1,300 incandescent light bulbs in two resident halls this past summer to compact fluorescent bulbs. With the switch, Jim said they were able to “increase performance and decrease consumption.”
  2. Switched cleaning products to natural ones. “Ninety-nine percent of our cleaning products have no negative impact on the environment.”
  3. Swapped 190 top-loader washing machines this past summer for front-loader machines. Jim told me that front-loaders are more efficient because “the water goes through the clothes instead of the clothes sitting in water; it reduces water by 60 percent. And the spinning strength is stronger so there’s less drying time required.”

But here’s the best part. Residence Services is making changes, communicating the changes and engaging it’s target audience through participation.
Music to my ears. (more…)

October 15, 2008 at 5:14 pm 10 comments

Community Relations in Tree City

In my last post, I discussed ethanol fuel and its impact on a global level. This time, I’m taking public relations environmentalism down to the local angle.

Weekend in the Kent parks
Sunday, I accidentally stumbled upon the highlight of my weekend – Franklin Mills Riveredge Park. It’s tucked under the Main Street bridge in the middle of downtown Kent with the Cuyahoga River running beside it . While walking around, I started reading the informational signs. When my eyes scanned the words “Clean Water Act” and “water pollution,” I became intrigued. As it turns out, Kent’s park is a little bit of a green public relations success story.

Cuyahoga River helped spur ’70s environmental movement
June 22, 1969, an oil slick and debris caught fire on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland. The Ohio History Central site says that shortly after the fire, TIME reported:

“Some river!  Chocolate-brown, oily, bubbling with subsurface gases, it oozes rather than flows. . . The Federal Water Pollution Control Administration dryly notes: ‘The lower Cuyahoga has no visible signs of life, not even low forms such as leeches and sludge worms that usually thrive on wastes.’ It is also — literally — a fire hazard.”

The Cuyahoga fire helped boost concern for pollution and ultimately played a part in passing the Clean Water Act in 1972. But in 1998, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency proposed a dam restoration project for the Kent Dam to further improve the still under-par water quality. City Council could’ve said “sure, start bulldozing tomorrow.” But they didn’t. And it paid off. (more…)

October 8, 2008 at 4:51 pm 2 comments

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I'm Brittany Thoma, PR pro-in-training. Living greener is my mission. I want to learn, inform and discuss topics cropping up in the green movement and how it relates to public relations.

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