If you think there’s a chance you can make a dent, GO. – Seth Godin

A few weeks ago I had the great fortune to hear a talk by Seth Godin, Marketing Consultant to the Stars. OK, that’s not his official moniker, but the guy is brilliant. His brilliance struck me not in a “here’s how you make more money” or “here’s how you become famous” way.

He opened my eyes, my mind, my heart – to go. For a long time I’ve been sitting at the station waiting. Waiting for someone, anyone, to give me my itinerary. Waiting for someone chart my trip for me. Standing there holding the bat as pitch after pitch went by, not swinging only hoping that I would get walked to my next destination. No risk involved.

That’s all changed. It’s about risk. It’s about getting something done so much larger than myself. It’s about getting off the bench, getting on the train, and going. Though I don’t know the exact destination, and perhaps I never will.

Don’t ask permission.

They aren’t going to notice the talent you think you have.

They aren’t going to pave the road for you.

They aren’t going to tell you how to reach your creative potential.

You are.

Even if you don’t know where the road it taking you. Jump on the train and go. Rub shoulders with strangers and go with them.

I can’t wait to see you on the journey.

Friday was blog action day.  A day for bloggers around the world to come together and raise awareness about the need for clean water.  I was excited join in to over 5,500 other voices to bring a voice to those who have to walk miles, everyday, for unclean water.

Then life happened.  And for a bunch of reasons I didn’t even fire up my computer that day.  And I missed my chance.  My beautifully written blog post went silent.

Then I realized this day wasn’t about me.  And clean water still maters.  Everyday.  Clean water is still so far out of reach of so many.  And my voice is still needed.  And yours it too.

It’s about the 38,000 children a week, yes a WEEK, who die from unclean drinking water and unsanitary living conditions.  It’s about how everything I interact with in my comfortable, easy life, comes back to the clean water that I have and don’t even think about.  How so much water is used to make my clothes, my latte, building materials… everything.

Be informed about those a world away.   But don’t stop there.  Act.  Use what you have – time, talents, money, your voice – and be a vehicle of change.  Change to help those who so desperately need clean water.

Clean water still maters.  And will continue to matter until everyone, 1.1 billion people, have adequate access to clean drinking water.

Clean water still matters.

Water still matters.

It still matters.

As of late I have become a documentary junkie.  Give me a good turn-what-you-thought-about-the-world-on-its-ear story and I’m hooked.  Inspired to act.  I’ve hopped on the Food, Inc. bandwagon (and if you haven’t hopped on, it’s totally worth the ride) and seen a smattering of films that beg my eco-consciousness to broaden (check out No Impact Man).  I’ve watched films that bring you into the heart of the less fortunate. Pulling you in, for just a moment, to their world.  At which point you see, we are all human and whether we wear a suit or a hole-ridden t-shirt that hasn’t see a laundry machine in weeks, we have the same basic needs.

For those films, I’ve been the student.  Arriving to class, in my living room, awaiting the professor’s well thought out finished product.

Through the instant community of social media and the internet, I’ve had the good fortune to met one of my neighbors.  An aspiring professor in the documentary university.  Someone who is at the precipice of exposing sustainable hope in Haiti.

My neighbor is embarking on the journey to bring a project called Hands That Feed to life.  It is a documentary that aims to highlight the hope that exists in Haiti.  Human ingenuity that will break the cycle of the past through young people who have a fire of hope in their chest.

Through a random meeting with a neighbor in this digital community, I can impact lives a world away.  Join me as I spread the word that assistance comes when we partner with our brothers and sisters.  A partnership that doesn’t start and stop with aid, but transforms lives, expects much, and empowers.

Learn about the project.  Spread the word.  Support the effort.  Be inspired to act.

I debated on writing this post for quite some time.  I’ve kept a pretty healthy distance between my “blogger face” and personal life.  I guess my fear was that in building my personal brand, bringing in anything truly personal would immediately discredit what I was trying to achieve.

Then Haiti filled my heart and the ache became uncontrollable.  What might be more accurate is the Asian Tsunami of 2004 happened first and I remained unchanged.  The Tsunami happened and I watched, read, thought, and prayed about those affected in such an unimaginable way.  And then, over time, the ache dissipated, I forgot about those people – my brothers and sisters half a world away, and I continued to live my mostly inwardly focused life.  Now the tragedy in Haiti is upon us and I feel like my life should be noticeably different.  And maybe should stay that way.

Here comes the personal part, that I have been omitting from my purposefully professional blog.  My relationship with Christ has transformed me and compels me to live a different life.  As a Christian I am called upon to care for the poor, homeless, and loveless.  But yet, here I am a world away in comfort and provision, giving only what seems like a minimal amount.  How should I be changed?  How can I help carry my brother’s burden?  Researching the most eco-friendly diaper seems to be a slap in the face to those people that I am charged to take care of.

Should I completely put the brakes on my life as I know it?  No, I don’t think that’s the appropriate response.  But I struggle with what the right response should be.  As I watch the devastation unfold before me on media of all kinds, in my comfortable chair in my comfortable life, I come to the notion that I should be not only aware of the pain and suffering in the world, but be changed.

Gandhi said that you must be the change you are trying to create.  The change in my world, I’m realizing, goes beyond creation care and best practices in social media.  The change in my world is to care for the poor, homeless, and loveless and to help carry their burden.  Carry it as long as they do and not just how long the media cares.

Twitter’s exponential, exhilarating growth, seems to have come to an end.  To social-media-marketing-analytics junkies, the “unstoppable” Twitter has lost its luster.  Perhaps to some it never really gained a real luster and instead only gained a lot of hype  – just a bunch of Every Day Joes hopping on to connect with (or more accurately voyeristically follow) their closest celebrity pals.

What these numbers, charts, and pontifications illustrate to me is that many users are missing the point.  The utility and incredible power of Twitter is the way in which you can connect with others.  A connection that knows few obstacles.  In both the social media and eco-conscious realms I have not only meet amazing thinkers but also built meaningful connections with people from all over the map.

The ability to quickly and succinctly find information in real time is an incredibly powerful tool.  Before I start overly singing the praises of Twitter, I believe its current form is only a stepping stone.  This particular format won’t stick around forever.  Instead it will evolve and with that evolution bring more into its fold.

For now, I will continue to meet incredible people, learn new things, and be apart of a fascinating community.  The flatline of new users may be fodder for the ‘I told you so’ers out there and strike fear into the hearts of social media marketers.  To me it’s just fine, there’s still lots of conversation to be had.

What do you think?  Is Twitter on its way out?  Is this just a blip on the radar?  Should be be looking at a totally different metric to gauge its effectiveness?

Stewardship is a tricky thing.  For some good stewardship immediately brings to mind use of our natural resources in a way that isn’t wasteful or greedy.  For others a notion of the way in which we spend, or save, our money is the picture of good stewardship.  For me it’s both.  As of late the stewardship of my money has given me pause on my daily eco ambitions.

What happens when I can’t justify the all natural organic shampoo, when I see that Walmart (or insert any other all-in-one mega store)  has the run-of-the-mill chemical laden kind on sale?  Particularly when that store is just down the street and my local Whole Foods is nearly 30 minutes away?

Making the decision to “go green” can start with an organic, all natural, altruistic bang.   No matter the price, no matter the distance, ordinary products will no longer do.  But as situations change, as they have for many of us this year, how do you keep that focus?

There are do-it-yourself cleaners, local farmers markets, and other ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle that cares for our earth without the need for a bailout on your wallet.  The most important aspect of this quest is balance.   At the heart of good stewardship of resources (natural, finances, etc.) is balance.  Putting yourself in financial peril just to get organic shampoo may not be the right move.  So, what practical steps can you take to protect the environment, your body, and your wallet?  Try these:

  • There are lots of free resources out there with great tips of how to live a greener lifestyle.  Try some of my favorites – Taiga Company, Treehugger, Planet Green, SocialYell.
  • Jump into the conversation!  Get on Twitter, Facebook, or the social media du jour and start a conversation with those who are passionate about eco issues.  You will connect with a great group of people who will be eager to share tips and ideas with you.
  • Be choosy and do your research.  The imported uber-fancy organic (really expensive) face wash might have pretty packaging… but the organic store brand works just as well.  Ask about return policies at the store.  Many stores will offer you a refund on products you purchased if you don’t like them.

What do you do to keep balance in your quest to be green?  Do you feel guilty buying items that aren’t outright eco friendly?  I’d love to hear your comments!  Hit me up on twitter to keep the conversation going – @mjnesta.

Here’s to being green and practical!

I suppose one of the good things about a blog is that it doesn’t literally collect dust.  That might be also one of its down falls.  For the cyber in-tune and RSS fueled the dust here might be more obvious than dust bunnies collecting under furniture.  For a long time I put off starting a blog, paralyzed with the fear that I would fall victim to of the day when it would go dormant.  Nothing is worse than a neglected blog… and then the unimaginable happened.  My very own musings fell silent.

I write this post as a public declaration of accountability to get the dust off and start musing once again.  As the new year approaches, I am excited to see sustainability becoming more common to our general vernacular and the continued evolution of social media.   I’m also excited to see how this blog grows and evolves, hopefully with your input.

Here’s to a year filled with new thoughts, new relationships formed through social media, old relationships growing stronger, and understanding our ever-changing world together.

Blessing to you and your family for a Merry Christmas and a bright New Year!

All over the news, blogs and just about as unavoidable as the healthcare debate, climate change talk is unavoidable.  You reduce the shouting to a dull roar, weed through the extreme thoughts, and find yourself at a place wondering, do I really need to worry about climate change?  I’m comfortable in my house with my central air and heat and don’t see any negative impact in my neighborhood.

I am excited to join bloggers around the world as we participate in Blog Action Day 2009, working together to raise awareness and spur action on global climate change.  But as I sat mulling over just what to write, the questions of the real need for action flooded my thoughts.  How do I explain to my friends, who view me as kind of nuts when it comes to this stuff, that this is really something that we should all be concerned about?

It boils down to a fundamental belief of mine that we are our brother’s keeper.  While some are motivated to save a variety of species great and small, the heart of my concern is for the least advantaged.  Those who walk miles for clean water.  Those who survive day-to-day in harsh environments.  These are the people who will be affected the most by us – cozy in (most likely) fossil fueled homes.

Is there a natural ebb and flow to water levels and temperature on the globe?  Yes, of course.  The complexities of our world are great.  What cannot be overlooked or ignored is the impact that we have on our environment.  Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should – when it comes to living with reckless impact on our environment.

Want to learn more or find easy and tangible next steps?  Check out these great resources:

Guest post by Meghan Nesta, who blogs at Meghan Nesta’s Musings. All views in the post are the author’s alone.

If you’re interested in guest posting on the Sustainable Marketing Blog, please read the guidelines, and let’s take it from there. Thanks!

***

At first glance the pairing seems as divergent as camping in a tent and enjoying fine wine. However, they are more closely related and more complementary than you may think.

If you have spent time really engaging in social media, not just sitting on the side-lines and listening to everyone else, you have most likely noticed two interesting things:  The increasing force of the sustainability movement and a unique engagement of consumers with the brands they buy.  Perhaps you have heard a little bit about greenwashing or some commentary on personal sustainability choices. Maybe you were able to resolve an issue with your Comcast account on Twitter. Or, more likely if you have found your way to this blog, you have a peaked interest in sustainability and marketing, and you know a seismic shift is occurring.

Both sustainability and social media put tradition on its digital ear. Companies are being forced to become more transparent in both their stewardship of our earth and in their marketing practices.

In the social media business and marketing world, consumers are gaining unprecedented access into what once seemed only as the man behind the green curtain – the omnipresent corporate brand. The way in which brands do business has forever changed. While the platform will surely evolve, (It seems at least plausible that Twitter may fizzle out in a few years according to some recent studies, one of which cites “5% of Twitter users account for 75% of all activity“, the expectation of the consumer to have the ability to not only interact with but also garner a personal response will continue. Perhaps it is the marketing circle of life. The days of the family-owned community shoe store, thriving on downtown Main Street, where customer service was paramount to success, has now been replaced by the global brand (read: “Zappos“) which is thriving on those same fundamental principles – customer understanding and providing the service that this understanding demands.

Climate change and other eco-issues are becoming more prominent political topics, and the average Joe is becoming more aware of the impact of his decisions. A community of consumers is connecting and is compelled to act. News travels at mach speed: blogs and news bits encourage and require debate. In my case, they compel change.

Here at the intersection of sustainability and social media, real change is happening. Not just a political shift or some sort of cultural fad. Our expectations and the ways in which we communicate are evolving. It’s sure to be an exciting ride.

Come stop by my tent and enjoy a glass of organic wine.

Meghan Nesta is a student of sustainability and social media. You can follow her on Twitter.

***

Image credit: wharman

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2009 at 2:56 am. You can follow comments to this entry through the comments RSS feed. You can leave a comment, or trackback from your own site.

Posted via web from Just Meghan

Below is a blog of mine featured on SocialYell’s blog.

If you tuned into SocialYell last week, you got a primer on fauxganics.  At its most basic level, organic foods, particularly whole foods (those that come right off the vine, branch, etc.), may not be as pure as you think.  Prepare to get even more befuddled.

Slide a few aisles down in the supermarket and hit processed foods – for the purposes of this post, anything that isn’t a whole food (see aforementioned definition).  From crackers to frozen meals and everything in between, there is a seemingly endless variety of organic foods.

There are many reputable organic food manufacturers out there.  Keep in mind it’s also a growing industry which forces competition… and adherence to rules, but perhaps only the specific rules laid out to attain organic certification (through myriad certifying entities).  So, your picture of what is organic may not be an entirely full picture.

Consider this, from an LA Times article, USDA Organics Label Comes Under Fire:

Grated organic cheese, for example, contains wood starch to prevent clumping. Organic beer can be made from non-organic hops.

True organics are better for you and the earth and are better tasting.  We need to vote with our forks and purchase foods that are sustainably produced.  Take few extra minutes to be sure what you are eating really is organic and not fauxganic.  How do you do that?  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. READ – Flip the package over and take a quick scan of the ingredients.  You may be surprised at what is actually in those crackers you are about to buy.  The list starts of with organic ingredients, but there could be other (very hard to pronounce) ingredients as well.
  2. GET IN THE KITCHEN – Start with organic whole foods that are locally grown.  Starting from fresh ingredients that you put together is the best way to ensure you are eating the freshest food.
  3. BE EDUCATED – Take steps like you are right now, reading blog posts, articles, and books.  Spend some of the time that you might be educating yourself on the latest tech gadget, on what you are putting in your body.
  4. CONNECT – Connect with local farmers.  Find a farmers market or buy into a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  Surrounding yourself with like minded individuals will help you understand the food you are buying and eating.
  5. FIND - Sustainable farms on SocialYell.  If you know of a great, local organic farm, add it!

Meghan Nesta is a sustainability and social media nut residing in the Philadelphia, PA metro area and loves to connect with other greenies on twitter.

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