Archive for April, 2009

The Pen is Mightier Than a Kick in the Pants

It’s been one week since Earthkeeper Hero Christopher Swain started his swim journey from Marblehead, MA to Washington DC.  You can catch up on news, photos and Christopher’s own thoughts about the first several days of his project on

Christopher’s dedication, both to the physical challenge of swimming 1,000 miles through some seriously dirty water and to the more intellectual challenge of educating students in over 2,000 classrooms along the way, inspires us.  Guess what inspires him?

Two words of encouragement, written on his nautical chart by his 5-year old daughter Celilo on the morning of his swim:

As if anyone needed more motivation than that.

Good Green Reading: Big Green Purse

Editor’s note: The following excerpt is from Diane MacEachern’s book, “Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World.”  We like the book for its organized information (segemented by categories from personal-care products to appliances and electronics), product/company reviews and easy-to-follow suggestions for greener living … and although it targets women consumers and readers, we found most of the content equally guy-friendly and relevant.

From the moment we get up in the morning until the moment we go to bed, we depend on energy to maintain our busy schedules.  Just flick a switch or push a button.  Alarm clocks and coffeepots buzz to life.  Toasters and TVs feed us body and (occasionally) brain.  Hair dryers and dishwashers whir, computers and Cuisinarts stir.

It’s so easy we probably aren’t even aware that we’re using energy, let alone how it affects the planet.  Take electricity.  Creating kilowatts is the leading cause of industrial air pollution in the United States.  Most of our electricity comes from coal, and it leaves its mark not only on our well-lit households, but also in the smog, soot, acid rain, particulate matter, and other air pollutants that cause asthma and have been linked to increased heart disease among women.  When we shift to power-saving strategies at home, we’re standing up for cleaner air and our right to breathe it.

Abating electricity demand also helps moderate global warming. US households produce 21 percent of the country’s global-warming pollution.  That’s more than the entire heat-trapping output of the United Kingdom, according to Phillips Electronics and Environmental Defense.

Read the rest of this entry »

Changing the World, One Pair at a Time

So maybe you weren’t able to get out and do something nice for the planet on Earth Day.  Or maybe you did your share of Earthkeeping, and ruined your shoes or boots in the process.

Either way, this program is for you: starting today, bring a pair of gently-worn shoes into one of Timberland’s US retail locations and receive 10% off a new pair in return.  All brands of men’s, women’s and children’s footwear will be accepted for donation, and all footwear goes to long-time Timberland partner Soles4Souls to help provide free footwear to those in need, both in the US and around the world.

Since its inception following the Asian tsunami,
Soles4Souls has distributed over 4 million pairs to people in 125 countries.

More than 300 million pairs of shoes are discarded by Americans each year. Donating your old footwear means less shoes in the landfill and more on the feet of those who need them (as an added bonus, there’s also more room in your closet).  What could be better?

Earthkeeping Day

Timberland’s Earthkeepers are out in full force across the globe today, cleaning up beaches and parks, planting trees, clearing brush and celebrating Earth Day the best way we know how — hands on.  Stay tuned for stories and images from our Earthkeeping Day … and in the meantime, enjoy these pics from the Green Apple Festival in Washington DC last weekend.  Our thanks to those of you who came out to join us!








Swain Swims for Clean Water

“Once I finally get in the water and start taking strokes, I often feel relieved.  The hard part is over.  There is nothing left to do but swim.”

- Christopher Swain

For those of you who don’t already know him, we’re pleased to introduce Christopher Swain – environmental educator, activist, and Earthkeeper Hero.  Christopher has spent much of the last 5+ years swimming some of the country’s most notable waterways (including the Columbia River, the Charles River, the Hudson River and Lake Champlain) in the name of cleaner water and water quality education.

Photo courtesy of Carrie Branovan

Christopher recently joined the ranks of the Earthkeeper Heroes — a select group of environmental change agents who, through a partnership between Timberland and, tell their amazing stories in real-time while building a network of fans around the world to help them.

Tomorrow, Christopher will embark on the first leg of his next adventure – a 1,000 mile swim journey from Marblehead, Massachusetts to Washington, DC.  We’ll be providing regular updates and insights from Christopher here on Earthkeepers, and you can follow his journey anytime on

Green Apple Festivalgoers Get a Lift

Those of you planning to attend the Green Apple Festival in Washington, DC over the next few days, rest easy: Timberland is offering free pedicab rides to anyone taking part in the Earth Day weekend activities on the National Mall.  It’s all in the name of greener travel (and supporting weary Earthkeepers at the end of a long service day).

If you’re not a pedicab person, at least ride your own bike to the event and bring it to our Bike Valet on the Mall — we’ll keep your ride safe and even give it a complimentary tune-up while you’re off Earthkeeping.

Not planning to spend your weekend in the DC area?  Other Green Apple Festival hubs include Boston, New York,  Miami, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Go forth and green!

Earthkeeper + Apple + Video Camera = Australia*

Those of you who haven’t yet entered our “Shoot an Apple, Save the Earth” video contest might find the inspiration you need in this recent entry**:

Not impressed?  Show us what you’ve got that’s better.  As a refresher, here’s how it works:

1.  Share your thoughts, concern or commentary on the state of the environment in the form of a 15-second video.  Don’t forget to include, in some fashion or form, a real green apple.

2. Video submission deadline is April 27th.  Best flick wins a week in Australia.

And don’t forget to check out the Green Apple Festival activities planned around Earth Day in 10 major cities across the US.  We’d love to see you there!

*IF your video is deemed the most creative, expressive, amazing and winner-worthy by our panel of judges.

**Videos need not include the destruction of green apples.  One apple was harmed in the making of this video.

Climate Change and Survival in the Maldives

Jon Bowermaster is a writer, filmmaker, adventurer and fellow Earthkeeper who has spent the last 20 years exploring remote corners of the globe and documenting his experiences for a variety of national and international magazines, as well as in his own books and documentary films.  We’re honored to feature periodic posts from Jon here on Earthkeepers, and you may follow his travels anytime on his own blog.

The last time I was in the island nation of the Maldives – nearly 400,000 people scattered among 1,200 tiny islands running south for a thousand miles off the tips of Sri Lanka and India – the place was on edge. It was early in 2005 and the tsunami waves had rushed over the islands just a few weeks before. Fortunately for the Maldives a combination of deep channels running between islands and the sizable coral reefs that surround many of them prevented the giant wave from sweeping its entire population into the sea. Only about 100 people were killed, far fewer than drowned on the coast of Somalia hundreds of miles further west.

I came to report on the post-tsunami impacts for the New York Times and as I wandered among the homes badly cracked by the wave and saw decades-old garbage dumps swept into the sea by waters that rushed over the islands – which rise less than six feet above sea level – everyone was talking about the possibility of another such incident.  “What can we do to prevent the next wave from taking us all,” was the collective concern. “What if there is a second wave coming?”

The Maldives new president is talking louder than any elected official in the world about the need to slow the seas from rising.  He obviously has a vested interest.

Read the rest of this entry »

Save the Date: Timberland Talks About Carbon Neutrality

A year ago, Timberland started hosting quarterly calls with a diverse group of stakeholders to focus on key environmental and social issues for our company and our industry.  These calls have proven to be a good way for us to share information about what we’re doing to be a more sustainable organization, and provide valuable feedback which helps shape our efforts going forward.

The topic for our next call is corporate climate strategies — including Timberland’s progress towards our 2010 carbon neutral goal and the role offsets will play in meeting that goal.  Won’t you join us?

Date / Time: April 20, 2009 (11 am – 12:30 pm ET)

Featured speakers:
Jeff Swartz, CEO of Timberland
Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres

Click here to register (deadline April 16)

All calls are recorded and posted online at and, we aim to continue these conversations online after the call at

Can’t listen in but want to share your questions or thoughts on the subject?  Comments are welcome here.

Shoot An Apple, Save the Earth

This month, Timberland is a proud sponsor of the Green Apple Music Festival, America’s largest Earth Day celebration, with a breadth of community service and free concerts taking place concurrently in 10 U.S. cities.

As part of our Festival participation, we’re unveiling the “Shoot an Apple, Save the Earth” consumer-generated video contest through which everyday people (that’s you!) can share innovative ideas about environmental sustainability.

The catch:  Videos must feature, in some form, a real green apple.
The prize:  A 7-day all expense paid trip to Australia … and some Timberland gear to help the winner enjoy their adventure.

All video entries must be received by Noon ET on Monday, April 27th; winners will be announced here on the Earthkeepers blog in late May.  Visit our contest site for complete details and video upload instructions.