Caring, Green and the GDP: New Economics for Women

11 Nov 2013

Imports. Exports. These are things we know well. We have whole retail chains dedicated to these ideas. As women, we have the buying power and our impact is measured in dollars and cents. But what if there were other ways to measure our impact? We keep the United States’ GDP up and running with our spending; we keep it wealthy. But what about other things that women contribute, such as our time taking care of those around us so, at times, others can be wage earners? What about the “services” the environment offers? Will that be counted as part of a nation’s wealth? The debate has been on for quite some time.

Solar Mamas and their Wild Idea

19 May 2013

They can’t read or write but a couple of brave Bedouin women from Jordan travelled far and wide to help their villages become solar powered. The biggest struggle yet may be with their husbands: We’ve covered this hopeful story of Solar Mamas, Bedouin women from Jordan who went to Barefoot College to learn how to solar power their villages. We’ve interviewed the women from solar mamas, and have reviewed the film Solar Mamas, a documentary movie about their journey.

10 Environmental Victories of 2012

28 Dec 2012

For me, the holidays are a time to reflect on what we’ve achieved over the past year and look ahead to the challenges and possibilities the New Year holds in store. 2012 was a quite a year. Besides the obvious big story – the reelection of President Obama – here’s a list of my ten favorite stories of the year.

Who are the Top Ten Women Of Green?

12 Nov 2012

We sending a BIG SHOUT OUT to our community. That’s you. And your friends. And your friend’s friends. We’re looking for the Top Ten Women Of Green. Women who are stepping out and making a BIG POSITIVE IMPACT on the planet. We know you know one. Send us her name, what she’s up to and why you think she should be on our Top Ten list. The time is now.


The Responsible Entrepreneur: What archetype are you?

28 Aug 2012

Four archetypes of entrepreneurship and how they contribute to a better world.

For four decades I have worked with small business entrepreneurs, helping them grow their businesses by keeping stakeholder success and consciousness of how they do business in the forefront of their minds. I have seen how, by developing the characteristics of what I call The Responsible Entrepreneur, anyone helping to bring new business into the world can fulfill the promise of entrepreneurship and contribute to the creation of a better world.

Every Responsible Entrepreneur represents one of four archetypes, each with a unique role to play in the entrepreneurial system. Cultural anthropologists have identified all four in every healthy culture, and all four are needed to ensure the health of our own evolving social system. Each takes on change differently in search of different outcomes. All four approaches can also be found inside established organizations, among intrapreneurs who lead change.

How the Collective Power of Women Can Change the World (Part 3 of 3)

14 Jun 2012

At a peace summit in Vancouver, the Dalai Lama made an extraordinary statement when he said that the world will be saved by the western women. This proclamation created a tsunami of responses in cyberspace. Can you imagine? The Dalai Lama saying it will be women that will save the world? As remarkable as this was to many, it was “duh” moment for me. I thought, of course, it’ll be women. We purchase 85% of the consumer goods in the United States. We can do right now by what we buy – and don’t buy. That was my “ah-ha” moment. That’s when I decided to write and speak on this topic.

Let’s look at the numbers. It is estimated that American women spend about five trillion dollars annually. That’s over half of the US GDP. We purchase everything from autos to health care. Here are some quick stats on our purchases:

How the Collective Power of Women Can Change the World (Part 2 of 3)

6 Jun 2012

by Carolyn Parrs

This is Part 2 of 3 on “How the Collective Power of Women Can Change the World”

Read Part 1

QUICKIE QUIZ #2: On April 26, 1777, who rode through the towns of New York and Connecticut warning everyone that the British were coming, and gathered enough volunteers to push back the British army the very next day? Not Paul Revere. It was Sybil Luddington who accomplished this feat at the ripe age of 16. Her ride was twice as long as Paul’s but unfortunately most of us never heard of it — or her.

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” says poet, Maya Angelou. How important it is for us to be invited to the table – especially now. “The fortunes of nations are inextricably tied to the fortunes of women,” says Hillary Rodham Clinton in the foreword to The International Human Rights of Women. “It is this simple: where women flourish, her families flourish. And where families flourish, communities and nations flourish. Issues affecting women and their families are not ‘soft’ issues to be relegated to the sidelines of serious debate, rather, they are among the hardest and most important issues we face.”

How the Collective Power of Women Can Change the World (Part 1 of 3)

1 Jun 2012

by Carolyn Parrs

When sleeping women wake, mountains move.

~ Chinese proverb

No sunlight. No fresh air. Enclosed in darkness to plump up in an insanely artificial way. That’s the reality for most chickens being farmed today. And if the farmers under contract with the Big Boys do not agree to raise their livestock that way, “They hold their contract over their heads,” says third generation chicken farmer, Carole Morison. She was mad as hell and just couldn’t take it anymore.

Women Rock in Green and Natural Businesses

7 May 2012


There are a lot of successful big companies out in the business world, many run by women, but there are so many more successful small businesses and those that aspire to becoming a success. According to the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), women own 7.8 million of the 27.2 million small businesses in America. What is even more exciting is when these companies specialize in a niche market like green and natural. Many women create companies born out of a personal mission to improve family, health, lifestyle, environmental issues, etc. which seems to drive them 24/7 to create more than just a product, but a company they can be proud of.

Many originally had jobs outside of the home in other sectors when they decided they wanted to live their passion and others are moms with a great idea born out of necessity. Product categories such as pet, chocolate, vitamins, feminine hygiene, household, food, baby, and full service agencies that can promote them like ADinfinitum are more important than ever.

Sue Taggart, President and Founder of ADinfinitum, originally from England, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis many years ago and was told there was very little that could be done except to be on drugs for the remainder of her life. She was only in her 30’s at the time. Going the traditional medical route and using so many toxic drugs was not acceptable to her. She decided to see an herbalist who turned her life around and taught her to manage her symptoms with natural solutions and dietary changes. Soon after that she started her full service agency, which has been specializing in promoting green and natural brands for over 20 years. In July of 2011, Sue founded to provide online consumers with green and healthy lifestyle information for everyday living.

Diva Cup, an eco friendly alternative to women’s menstrual products is a family business run by Corrine and Francine Chambers , who have not only built a successful business, but have an amazing community of loyal brand advocates. Green Depot, founded by Sarah Beatty in 2005, is the nation’s leading supplier of environmentally friendly building products, services and home solutions with many retail stores. Some companies like Shazi Visram’s Happy Baby Food and Marie Moody’s Stella and Chewy’s pet food have gone on to be multi-million dollar companies.

Biomimicry and teaching business the ‘secrets of life’

26 Apr 2012


Ray Anderson often asked a rhetorical question: does business exist to make a profit, or does business make a profit to exist? With this line of questioning, Ray called upon us to understand that while making a profit is the lifeblood of a company’s survival, it shouldn’t be the only reason for a company to exist.

With his talent for translating lofty vision into everyday reality, Ray would ask: what you would rather get out of bed to do each day: make carpet, or make history?

Making history by making carpet is a unifying sentiment for the people of Interface. How, exactly, are we making history? By proving the business model for sustainability, while taking on Ray’s challenge to eliminate our negative environmental footprint.

Ray believed there must be a better way for business to thrive on our planet, without the assumed ecological and social impacts that our current industrial take-make-waste system creates. With such ambitious goals, where do we look for inspiration in redesigning a system as pervasive and complex as business?

Garden Activists: Bringing green thumbs to urban blight

20 Apr 2012

From Washington Post

by Emily Wax

“Let’s throw some bombs,” a young woman calls out, waterproof floral purse swinging on her shoulder and Laura Ingalls braids flying behind her as a band of 25 followers cheer, “Cool!”

They rush toward a drab vacant lot in Shaw. Some climb up onto the back of a truck to get better aim at their target. But these bombers aren’t likely to appear on any terrorist list or even get arrested. They’re throwing “seed bombs,” golf-ball-size lumps of mud packed with wildflower seeds, clay and a little bit of compost and water, which they just learned to make at a free seed-bombing workshop for Washington’s guerrilla gardeners.

An interview with Green Drinks founder, Margaret Lydecker

30 Mar 2012

From Eco-Chick

Before Margaret Lydecker founded Green Drinks NYC in 2002, there wasn’t a place for Manhattan’s like-minded, eco-conscious professionals to get their networking on. Margaret changed that, and now many of us wouldn’t know what to do without her monthly events.

Whether you’re a dedicated monthly green drinker or not, you’ve in all likelihood heard of Green Drinks NYC, even if you don’t live or work in the Big Apple. Over the years, Margaret has aided in the launch of 200-plus chapters globally (there are now 800-plus chapters worldwide). She’s helped build the global Green Drinks brand, in the coolest way imaginable: by connecting green businesses and professionals at the local level.

I went to the most recent Green Drinks NYC, and observed Margaret calmly and graciously working the room. She’s the face of Green Drinks– never letting a name or a face slip her, which is highly impressive considering she has literally met thousands of individuals at her events over the past 10 years. But Margaret also runs the show, delegates to her staff and Green Drinks volunteers, and ensures every minor detail goes off without a hitch.

I wanted to get to know the woman behind Green Drinks NYC who has effectively connected so many people. Margaret revealed the challenges she’s faced, how her passion for sustainability began, her thoughts on greenwashers, and how she manages to keep it all together.

Read an interview with Margaret Lydecker at Eco-Chick

Liberty Phoenix Lord’s Secret and Solace

6 Mar 2012

This podcast is worthy of a rerun. Liberty Phoenix Lord took a deeply painful experience, the death of her baby due to toxic outgassing in his nursery, and started a green building store so no other parent would have to ever experience what she did. Ever. Liberty’s transparency and willingness to tell her story is deeply moving.

FYI: Liberty is the sister of River and Joaquin Phoenix, and this podcast is the first time she has spoken about her tragedy in public. Listen to her unbelievably moving story right here on Women Of Green.

About my guest: Liberty Phoenix Lord has been a resident of Gainesville, FL since 1989. She is married and has 3 beautiful children; and is on the Board of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC the heart of Florida chapter). Liberty owns and runs INDIGOGreen, a Green Building supply store. The mission of INDIGO is based on her commitment to the environment and the health of our planet.

Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman’s Guide to a Sustainable Career

5 Mar 2012

From the United States Department of Labor

Ensuring women are prepared to succeed in a 21st century changing economy is critical to the financial stability of women, their families, and our country. Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman’s Guide to a Sustainable Career is a comprehensive manual designed to assist women with job training and career development as they enter into innovative and nontraditional jobs. The guide also provides vulnerable women a pathway to higher paying jobs, and serves as a tool to help fight job segregation. It offers women resources and information they need to enter and succeed in jobs in the emerging green economy. The guide was created to help women at all stages of their careers — whether they are newly entering the workforce, transitioning to new careers, or returning to the workforce — identify and take advantage of opportunities in the clean energy economy. It will help training providers, educators, counselors, and other workforce development professionals promote the recruitment and retention of women in green career paths.

The guide is organized into the following chapters:

  • Introduction to the Guide
  • Why Is Green Good for Women
  • Green Occupations: A Look at What’s Out There
  • Educating Yourself for a Green Career
  • Finding Your Green Job
  • Green Entrepreneurship
  • Women Succeeding in Green Jobs
  • Overcoming Challenges on Your Career Path
  • Planning Your Green Career
  • Glossary of Terms

Check it out and then check back here. Was this guide helpful? Or more of the same?

Who are the Social Entrepreneurs?

1 Mar 2012

From Forbes

On the day Steve Jobs died last fall, Occupy Wall Street organized the first massive march down though the Canyon of Heroes in New York, in the opposite direction of the route the New York Giants would take four months later. Swollen by busloads of stoic union troops, the small and somewhat ragged OWS band melded with a much larger crowd and dominated lower Manhattan from Foley Square to Trinity Church, a patch of turf Washington and Hamilton would surely still recognize for its geographic and economic centrality to the nation, if not for the shadows of the modern buildings and mounted police officers in riot gear.That news of Apple‘s

Women and the Arab uprising: 8 change agents to follow

27 Feb 2012

Women have been at the forefront of the uprisings that started in Tunisia and soon cascaded west to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and across the Gulf. Over the past year, Arab women have relished the promise of a change — and found a new sense of equality long suppressed under sclerotic patriarchal regimes.

But many women activists fear that promise is now receding; and that women’s rights are being left on the political back-burner. In Egypt’s first post-Mubarak parliamentary elections — largely seen as the nation’s first free and fair vote — only nine of the newly elected 498 parliamentarians are women.

Popular Egyptian activist blogger Dalia Zaida says shortly before the elections, she conducted an informal poll of 1,400 voters across Cairo and found not a single person, male or female, who said he or she would vote for a female presidential candidate. Women across the region worry about this growing chasm between the reality of women’s unyielding participation on the streets and their stark absence from the formal political process.

Some secular female activists also fear that the rise of Islamist parties, whatever their professed moderation, will curtail their political space.

In Egypt, women have faced brutal treatment at the hands of the caretakers of the revolution — the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Activists describe its handling of protests as incompetent at best, and malevolent at its worst. Back in March, when the military forcibly expelled protestors from Tahrir Square — the epicenter of pro-democracy protests — 18 female activists were arrested, 17 of whom say they were forced to undergo “virginity tests,” (the military has claimed the tests were done to protect the army from possible allegations of rape).

Recently, hundreds of women from across the Middle East attended a conference in Egypt to discuss how technology and the Internet, namely social media, can be used to protect and advance women’s goals in the region. The Egyptian-American pundit Mona Eltahaway moderated the conference, taking the stage with both arms in casts. In November, she was sexually assaulted and beaten by soldiers near Tahrir Square. The plaster didn’t preclude her from articulating her message: “The most revolutionary thing a woman can do is share her experience as if it matters.”

As countries across the region struggle to dismantle inequitable systems and build civil society anew, these are just a few of the female “agents of change” who are sharing their experiences and have no intention of backing down.