As this will be my last official post, I wanted to thank everyone who joined in the conversation. This blog was created to take a crucial look at how the green movement has affected the public relations world, positively and negatively.I wrote about issues that intrigued me and sparked my interest. Hey, I am a blogger now, which makes me arrogant and selfish – deal with it.

In all seriousness, my only goal for this blog was that my passion for both public relations and going green showed through in my writing.

I thoroughly enjoyed blogging and learning more about green tactics. I will go into the professional world, employed as of May 12 by Liggett Stashower (YAY), knowing the difference between strategic green initiatives and greenwashing.

The most important lesson I learned from writing this blog is that going green is not for everyone or every company. If you want to jump on the green bandwagon, the tactics must fit with your goals and objectives, whether it’s from a business or personal standpoint.

Any green initiative that is a far cry from the pillars an entity stands on is not going to strengthen that foundation.Too many people are going green because it is the “trendy” thing to do.

So a sound word of advice from a brand new PR professional: Don’t forget about strategy, green or not green. Success comes from building on what compliments you or your company.

If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t try to squeeze your size 12, black, loafer-wearing foot into a size six, green stiletto. People will instantly realize it’s not a good fit.

For my next to last post, I figured I would spare you from my opinions, my thoughts and my limited knowledge and leave it up to people who are far more knowledgeable and wise than myself.

A list of environmental quotes to inspire the green in all of us:

“I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?”
- Robert Redford

“If we are going to carry on growing, and we will, because no country is going to forfeit its right to economic growth, we have to find a way of doing it sustainably.”
- Tony Blair

“The college idealists who fill the ranks of the environmental movement seem willing to do absolutely anything to save the biosphere, except take science courses and learn something about it.”
- P.J. O’Rourke

“Because we don’t think about future generations, they will never forget us.”
- Henrik Tikkanen

“Nature’s laws affirm instead of prohibit. If you violate her laws you are your own prosecuting attorney, judge, jury, and hangman.”
- Luther Burbank

A plug for my new city, my new home, my new life and my old green interest.
Cleveland is jumping on the green bandwagon with its catchy and wonderful new initiative called GreenCityBlueLake.

Talk about awesome branding, Cleveland hit a homerun with this one.

According to the Web site, “GreenCityBlueLake started as a magical phrase-a phrase that excited people’s imaginations with the possibilities of creating green cities on a blue lake in Northeast Ohio.”

The launch of the GreenCityBlueLake Web site, initially developed by EcoCity, merged last year with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

GreenCityBlueLake has become a sustainability workspace for northeast Ohio. It has “an online presence where the people and organizations advancing sustainability in the region can tell their stories, learn from each other and develop strategies to accelerate the progress.”

The 2006 sponsors include:

  • Richard Shatten Memorial Fund of the Cleveland Foundation
  • Giving Back Gang
  • Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
  • Sears-Swetland Family Foundation
  • Burning River Fest 2007

Positive reputation for the city, green awareness and a great cause: a recipe for successful green public relations and marketing. Here’s to you, Cleveland. I will expect nothing less than greatness from the place I now call home.

I love to tan. I love it. I love it. I love it.I love the way it makes me look. I love they way it makes me feel. I love the smell of the tanning bed. I just love everything about it -except the possibility of skin cancer.

Even though there are several thousands positives to tanning, this one, big negative made me severely cut down on tanning. Lucky for me, there are other options that still provide the glow like Mystic tanning  or sunless tanning lotions. This summer I plan to smother on tons of SPF 30 and have a safe and happy life in the sun without the harmful rays.

But after reading a post on TreeHugger, apparently protecting myself from the sun can not only also cause cancer but could be bad for the environment.

ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?! So, what? Now my only option is to become a recluse in the summer and hide in my apartment alone so sunlight never touches my fair, northern Italian skin. Oh but wait, I can still go outside if I cover myself in heavy black clothing that will block the rays but give me a heat stroke. Ahhh, ok? Ya crazy!

There is one point my friends were sustainability and all this cancer-free, natural, organic bull crap goes a little overboard. When you mess with a woman’s ability to help reduce wrinkles and cancer while still enjoying summer, the line has been crossed.

To pull a quote from the Ecologist reference in the TreeHugger post, “Chemicals that provide sun protection are also potentially irritating to the skin, and irritated skin is more prone to sun damage. Emerging research also suggests that some of these chemicals are oestrogen mimics that persist in the environment and in the body. We still think it’s important to protect our skin, so look for natural sun creams and/or cover up in the sun and stay out of the midday heat.”

Organic, natural sunscreen?

Green movement:
You can have your chemical-ridded flowers; I’ll buy from the organic distributors. You can have your bad food; I like vegan cookies. You can have your gas guzzling cars; I’ll get a Prius. But for the love of God, you can’t have my sunscreen. No, sorry. The green machine for me stops here.

I understand the “protect yourself from the sun or you’ll get cancer or at the very least pre-mature wrinkles” bit. I get it; it’s feasible. So can you leave us the freaking sunscreen to protect ourselves? The answer is: No! Apparently using SPF not only will kill the environment but will kill me as well.

There are only so many things you can do to be sustainable. I, for one, still want to be able to enjoy the environment, while being environmentally friendly. I’ll give up the tanning beds and the hours in the sun with baby oil, but you will never take my non-organic, Banana Boat SPF sunscreen. NEVER.

So I need to tell you all a secret about a small, unusual and bad habit I can’t get rid of: picking public flowers.

Hi! My names Desiree, and I am a flower-pickingaholic (This is your cue to say “HI, DESIREE).

It’s not just the flowers growing in downtown Kent in front of the police station I steal. No, it’s every flower I can get my hands on: flowers out of people’s yards, flowers from my neighbors hanging basket on her porch, flowers from the table at a wedding reception. I do believe the addiction to be so great that I won’t allow myself anywhere near a cemetery. Jesus himself would strike me if I stole a flower from a dead person; however, I don’t think I am strong enough to stop myself.

So after understanding my addiction, you have to understand my excitement when I saw National Geographic’s Tip of the Day that read:

“Most of the cut flowers we shower our mothers with on Mother’s Day are imported from Colombia, Ecuador and the Netherlands. While exotic presents from faraway lands are always a success with Mom, when it comes to flowers, you’re better off picking local and organic blooms.”

I thought “picking local blooms” see someone finally gets me. Even though after I read on I realized it didn’t mean showering your mother with stolen, public flowers, it still sparked my interest.

Apparently, even flowers that come from nature can be unfriendly to the environment. According to the article, a majority of the time the flowers you buy for mom from a mainstream shop have to be shipped from some foreign country, which is a waste of energy and very faux in the green world. These flowers are also sprayed with pesticides, which harm the health of the agricultural workers exposed to them and can “linger in the petals, adding a toxic touch to the centerpiece.”

So what’s a environmental advocate to do? In this green era, there is always a better option.

National Geographic suggests seeking out local flower farmers in your area or using an organic delivery service that carries USDA certified organic arrangements grown here in America, such as Diamond Organics or California Organic Flowers.

Talk about pumping up the green PR. Now even flowers aren’t safe from scrutiny. But the good news is, even though it can be considered stealing, my flower-picking addition is sustainable, which is all that matter these days, right?

Happy Mother’s Day MOM! I love you.

I have the pleasure or working with Kent State’s Donate Life Ohio (DLO) team. PRKent is involved in a  statewide college competition of getting people to donate life or in other words sign up to give life after their life has ended.The DLO girls, whom I completely adore, were working on their presentation last night.

The question came up about the whole green movement and the power of recycling. Brittany Thoma, a team member, is an environmental advocate.

After the girls and I had a debate about wasting paper, she asked the question, “how hard is it to recycle?”

I started thinking about that simple question today and realized the answer is – not hard, not that hard at all. But if that’s the case, why don’t I do it?

I utilize the recycling bins at work and often try to separate my beer and pop cans from the rest of the garbage, but I don’t really make an effort to really recycle.

What is it? Am I so busy that I can’t separate the paper from the plastic? After all, I separate the whites from the darks when doing laundry to save my darling white, Express button up from looking dingy.

But there lies the problem. Separating laundry is something I, like the rest of the world, just do. Unfortunately, even after all this green hoopla, recycling doesn’t rest in the “it’s something I just do” category.

Doing informal primary research, I asked some of my friends, between the ages of 21 and 24, if they recycle. All of them answered in a similar way: “If there is a recycle bin, I’ll throw paper in it, but other than that I don’t really make an effort.”

The exception to the rule of course is unless my broke college friends want to make an extra buck. Then, they make sure all the aluminum cans after a party are separated, crushed and taken to the local recycling facility for upwards of $20.

And that’s the real, unenvironmental truth my friends. If we can’t see its initial benefit, it is something that gets put on the backburner. Although some green advocates of my generation will jump through hoops and ladders to save the environment, a large number of them don’t really care to put in the effort.

So I will leave you with one final question. In terms of my generation, how much of an impact is this green movement having on small, daily efforts like recycling? Of course I have heard of people talk about buying green cars or installing a sky light in their first home, but this is all for show. These things are only admirable because they scream “I AM GREEN” to the world. It should be the physical act of being green that counts, not how many expensive items we buy the gives the perception of being green.

How can green marketing and PR shift to make going green “something we just do”?

Does it take a tornado to make a city environment friendly?
The answer is: it doesn’t hurt.

After basically being wiped out by a tornado a year ago, Greensburg, Kan., decided to be one with nature by rebuilding the city equipped with solar panels, wind turbines, tinted windows and other sustainable building products.

I am not sure if sustaining nature’s future will stop it from kicking your butt during the next tornado season, but I think Greenburg might be trying to reconcile.

According to the New York Times article, “environmentalists and civic leaders have seized on the disaster as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-engineer the town.”

What’s the saying? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?

On May 4, 2007 (a date of tragedy well-known to my fellow Kent Staters), a F-5 twister tore through the city, killing 11 of the 1,400 citizens of Greensburg.

Residents who are trying their luck, yet again, in the tornado belt are being encouraged by the city government to utilize energy-efficient designs for their new homes. And the government is actually practicing what it is preaching – for once – by resolving to “erect public buildings that meet the stringent LEED Platinum standards” for sustainability.

According to the article, around 40 homes have been built to environmental standards with increased insulation, compact-fluorescent lights, large windows to draw in sunlight and a recycled lumber and bricks.

The city is labeling its hop on the green bandwagon as “Tragedy to Triumph –
Greensburg Rising.” A memorial of the disaster is being held this Sunday with President Bush delivering the high school commencement address.

Wow, George. This almost makes up for the Hurricane Katrina disaster. One visit to a high school graduation ceremony and Americas will forgot how bad you f’ed up in 2005 in response to natural disasters.

But the current President is another story. As for Greensburg, I am proud of your efforts to rebuild the city into a sustainable, environmentally sound place for your children to grow up in. Even though Mother Nature kinda took a crap on Greensburg, the city government and the residents not only forgave her, but are giving back to the environment that wrecked its city and its homes. The PR lesson here is that Greensburg is not only rebuilding its city physically, but it is rebuilding its reputation and brand. These efforts are getting the city noticed and really putting it in the lime light nationally.  

 

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