Posts Tagged ‘Earthkeeper heroes’

Warrior Wyclef

Our thanks to the Earthkeepers who came out to help us celebrate our partnership with Wyclef Jean in New York last week — we’re still recovering.  Those of you who missed it, never fear – we captured a few key moments on film:

For more information on the Timberland / Wyclef collaboration (and to register to be notified when the Yele Haiti boots hit stores), visit Earthkeeper.com .

Our Newest Earthkeeper Hero: Wyclef Jean

If a tree grows in the forest but no one is there to see it … do you still get credit for planting it?

Not according to Timberland’s board of directors, who for a long time have provided the not-so-gentle feedback that everything we do to make the world a better place matters very little if our consumers don’t know we’re doing it.  They’re not advising that we stop acting as a responsible corporate citizen, mind you – just that we need to work harder to connect our civic values with our business goals.  Fair enough feedback, which encouraged us to seek meaningful partnerships with credible voices to help tell our corporate responsibility story in a way that resonates with consumers.

Fast-forward to today, when we’re thrilled to announce a creative collaboration between Timberland and Wyclef Jean – a social entrepreneur, a humanitarian and an Earthkeeper Hero of the highest degree who has invested incredible time and effort in rebuilding and reforesting his native Haiti.  Wyclef also happens to be a Grammy Award-winning musician with fans and followers all over the world – the kind of “voice” that adds considerable volume to our story — but our collaboration runs deeper and richer than some rent-a-celebrity endorsement deal.  We’ve spent a good deal of time over the past year getting to know Wyclef and learning more about his passion for social and environmental justice — and sharing our beliefs and values with him — and we’ve come to the mutual realization that we’ve got the ingredients here for something that could be pretty powerful, and pretty good.

Central to this partnership is our shared interest in reforestation; Timberland is involved in tree-planting programs all over the world, and working with Wyclef’s Yele Haiti Foundation, we’re going to build a tree nursery in Gonaives, a city in northern Haiti devastated by Hurricane Hannah in 2008.  Once up and running, the nursery will be managed by local farmers and trees will be sold (generating revenue with which to buy more trees) or used to reforest the hillsides surrounding the city.

As for telling the story in a powerful way to consumers, we’re going to start with what we know best: building boots.  Beginning next month, consumers will be able to purchase products from Timberland’s Yele Haiti footwear collection – made from recycled and organic materials and featuring design elements we collaborated on with Wyclef himself.  For every pair sold, $2 will be donated to Wyclef’s Yele Haiti Foundation to support the reforestation efforts.  I’m psyched about the collection; it’s a perfect proof point to a conversation we’ve been having for some time with consumers about the fact that you don’t have to compromise – you can buy a pair of good-looking shoes with a good fit at the right price and also help save the world.  The Yele Haiti footwear will allow consumers to do just that.

There are lots of other good ideas wrapped into our partnership with Wyclef – t-shirts designed by Haitian art students that we’ll sell (with a portion of the proceeds going to Yele Haiti); exclusive Wyclef music downloads on our website; other tree-planting events in the US and Europe.  Our hope is that cumulatively, all of these activities will raise our voice on the importance of community building and environmental stewardship, in Haiti as well as the rest of the world … and that by incorporating all these diverse elements – a boot, a shirt, a new music single, a tree-planting event – everyone who comes into contact with the Timberland / Wyclef Jean collaboration will find something to love, something that resonates, something that inspires them to take action with us.

Timberland makes boots, Wyclef makes music – and that wouldn’t change with or without this partnership.  But together we can make money, both for our businesses and for people and communities in need.  And we can make a difference.  This — the intersection of commerce and justice, collaborating for sustainable impact – this is Earthkeeping at its best.  We’re happy to share it with you.

Jeff Swartz
President & CEO, Timberland

Grab a Widget, Help a Hero

So you’ve gotten to know all the 2009 Earthkeeper heroes — here’s your chance to “vote” for your favorite one and help advance their cause.

Now through November 1, our five Earthkeeper heroes will be competing against time and each other to be the first to to receive 100,000 downloads of their “widget” by fans and supporters.  The prize?  A grassroots (some might say guerilla) publicity campaign to help get them and their Earthkeeping mission on national TV. 

Here’s how to get in on the action:

  1. Go to the Get Widget page on Changents.com.
  2. Find the widget of the Earthkeeper hero you want to support (hint – they’re in the box on the right side of the page).
  3. Click JOIN and VOTE (big red box) on your selected widget.
  4. Register to win some cool rewards.
  5. Post the widget to your social networking profile or blog.

And don’t worry – if you don’t want to give up your personal information, you can still play by clicking GRAB WIDGET (bottom left of the widget box) and skip the registration piece.

One of the Earthkeeper heroes could hit it big … help us decide which one!

Creative Compassion: Impact Designers

The “Impact Designers” are a dynamic duo of Earthkeeper heroes using their design skills to battle social and environmental problems.  Sami Nerenberg and Nate Bastien first met at the Rhode Island School of Design where Nate was Sami’s star student, and now both are committed to sharing their professional passion and expertise to create positive impact.

While Sami has been managing a 6-week eco-design boot camp, Nate has been busy with his own project — designing environmentally-responsible products for marginalized communities and the organizations that serve them.  First up, a low-cost, durable backpack designed for people experiencing homelessness.  The need behind the design, in Nate’s own words:

“Because the shelters are only open at night, you are forced out on the streets between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm every day.  And don’t expect the shelter to provide any storage for your belongings, the conditions can be so poor and degrading that some individuals actually prefer to sleep on the streets or in a tent.  In both cases, homeless individuals, and all of their belongings, are exposed to the weather every day.  Through these conversations I recognized a design opportunity – displaced individuals need a means to carry their belongings that is affordable, durable, and waterproof.  And why tap into virgin materials when there are heaps of quality materials heading to the landfill right now.”

The result is a waterproof, durable, adjustable Street Pack, made from discarded materials and featuring a multi-functional emergency shelter / solar blanket.  Nate field-tested the pack himself during his 3-day Boston street retreat, and now he’s looking for other volunteers.  If you (or a friend) are currently living on the streets and are interested in testing one of the first production Street Packs, please let Nate know.  Testers will receive a free prototype of the Street Pack, along with a disposable camera … in return, they’ll be asked to use it and provide feedback (via photos and testimonials) on the pack’s functionality and durability. 

Stay tuned as Nate and Sami share their observations and experiences in designing for positive impact both here on Earthkeepers and on their pages at Changents.com.

Portraits of Pollution and Preservation

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Earthkeeper hero Andrea Bakacs has got a lot to say about environmental issues – and solutions – she’s witnessing in New York City.  Photographer and photo editor by trade and Earthkeeper at heart, Andrea has spent the past several years putting her personal and professional passions together to raise environmental awareness.

According to one of Andrea’s latest blog entries, summer in the city is hot, wet and garbage-laden:

“Walk around New York City after some torrential downpours, like the ones we’ve been having more and more recently, and you’ll struggle to find clear swatches of concrete near sidewalks that aren’t drowning in water and floating debris. 1/4 inch of rain and runoff starts pouring into the Hudson via pipes underground. 2 inches of rain and the subways start flooding. Sewers are now totally backed up. Sewage, runoff, and the street garbage that floats in it is carried into the Hudson and the Atlantic. Beach anyone?”

Rest assured that Andrea’s photo adventures take her to cleaner, greener spots of New York as well, including community gardens and salt marshes – busting any myths that the great outdoors can’t be found within city limits.

You can find more of Andrea’s updates and photos on Changents.com – and we’ll continue to share her stories here on Earthkeepers, too.

Heroes Among Us

Step off, G.I. Joe – the heroes have arrived.

We’ve already introduced you to a few of the 2009 Earthkeeper heroes … environmental educator and activist Christopher Swain, swimming 1,000 miles down the east coast in the name of cleaner water; eco-trendspotter Cate Trotter, inspiring others to live and work more sustainably by showcasing all that’s good and green in London; and Project Dirt, connecting eco-conscious Londoners with local greening projects via their website.  By land, by sea and by internet, our heroes are working hard to raise environmental awareness and create Earthkeeping impact.

We’re excited to add to that roster:

Sami Nerenberg and Nate Bastien (a.k.a. the “Impact Designers”) — creating break-through, environmentally friendly design solutions for impoverished and low-income communities.  As part of their Earthkeeping adventures, Nate is creating a ‘Street Pack’ for the homeless made entirely of scrap material, and Sami (one of the youngest teachers to run a program at the Rhode Island School of Design), is busy designing green “makeovers” for environmentally-challenged homes.

 

Eco-photographer Andrea Bakacs is harnessing the power of photography to deliver eco-messages, capturing on film amazing pockets of nature and a host of green projects across New York City.  Ever seen Manhattan’s composting nuns?  How about a farm (complete with goats and chickens) located on an east village rooftop? Andrea is creating a visual story of green NYC, one photo at a time.

Passionate, powerful, environmentally-committed individuals excited about sharing their talent for the good of the planet?  We feel safer already.

You can follow the Earthkeeper heroes and read / hear / watch their adventures in real time on Changents.com.

Countdown to Climate Action

“The clock is ticking and we’ve got a planet to save.”
- Jamie Henn, 350.org

Last year, we introduced Jamie Henn as “Agent 350” – one of our original Earthkeeper heroes and lead member of the 350.org team, working to create a global movement to solve the climate crisis by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million (that’s the number leading scientists say is the safe “upper limit” if we’re to avoid critical climate destruction).

Jamie and 350.org are back and better than ever, calling for conscious, creative involvement from Earthkeepers everywhere on the International Day of Climate Action, October 24th.  Think Earth Day with an edge … this is your opportunity to be part of thousands of simultaneous actions around the world, leveraging local effort for global change.

Here’s Jamie’s call to action, in his own words:

For more details and to register your event as part of the International Day of Climate Action, visit 350.org.  Got a great action event planned?  Share it with us here!

Sustainability on the Big Screen

As if Earthkeeper hero Cate Trotter doesn’t have enough on her plate, what with uncovering all the hottest green trends and scenes in London, her latest green vision involves creating a film about sustainability, to further inspire people to live more sustainable lives by showing them exactly what those lives would look like.  Think An Inconvenient Truth … only with a lot more optimism.

Given Cate’s passion for the mission and the power of film, we’re betting this is an idea that could really fly.  But to get it off the ground, Cate’s looking for some help from her fellow Earthkeepers.  Specifically:

  • Do you know someone who might be interested / able to make such a video?
  • Do you have any business world friends who might be willing to “sponsor” (ahem, bankroll) the project?
  • Do you have any NGO or government body contacts who might want to take on such a project themselves?

If so, please let Cate know directly, or feel free to leave your info here.  If you don’t have the connections but still want to help, consider forwarding or tweeting this post to get others out there excited and enthused about the idea.  And, if you’ve got other suggestions on how Cate might bring her great green idea into reality, by all means let us know.

London’s Ethical Oasis: Neal’s Yard

Earthkeeper Hero Cate Trotter turned us on to this green gem in the heart of London:

A colorful, cozy corner of Covent Garden, Neal’s Yard was started in the late 70s by “alternative activist” Nicholas Saunders.  After successfully launching a wholefoods shop, café and dairy in the space, Saunders invited other ethical businesses to join him in the Yard.

Today, Neal’s Yard retailers offer everything from vegan ice cream and Fairtrade skin products to homeopathic medicines … a beautiful, bountiful shopping haven for Earthkeepers (living or visiting) in London.

To learn more about Cate’s favorite green spots, shops and experiences, visit her page on Changents.com.

Sustainable London from the Inside

Enthusiasm for all things “sexy and sustainable” led Earthkeeper hero Cate Trotter to launch Insider Trends – a consulting business that combines the London-based entrepreneur’s knowledge of what’s great and green with her marketing strategy expertise.

The philosophy is hands on – by way of walking tour, Cate’s clients (business leaders, tourists, student groups, conference delegates) get a first-hand glimpse of the best green initiatives in the city – visiting London’s first five-star green hotel, shopping for ethical fashion, admiring eco-architecture and traveling by hydrogen fuel cell bus.  The goal of this unique eco-show and tell?  To inspire tour-takers to make their own green work smarter, better and more successful.

Here’s feedback from one of Cate’s satisfied customers in her own words:

To learn more about the good work Cate is doing to inspire more sustainable living and working in London, follow her story on Changents.com.  Until we find a way to clone Cate and put one of her in every major city, you’ll have to travel to London to get the “insider experience,” but it’s worth the trip – to register for your own personal tour, visit her website.