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Why I’m Starting a Trade Association for Green Marketers

June 24th, 2010 · No Comments · Energy & Sustainability, International Association of Green Marketers, Networking, Shel's Personal Life

For decades, going back to the 1970s, I’ve had two major passions in my life: making the world better (with a particular focus on environmental activism, land-use planning, and the safe energy movement) and marketing/writing. In fact, my earliest published articles were the coverage of peace and environment demonstrations that I wrote for a high school underground newspaper back in 1972, when I was a 15-year-old student. And one of the first articles I sold as a freelancer, in 1977, was coverage of the Seabrook nuclear power station site occupation and the arrest/incarceration of 1414 protesters—including me.

For most of my career, these two passions were both active, but separate. Starting in late 1999, when I formed a group called Save the Mountain to protect the Mount Holyoke Range (near my home in Western Massachusetts) from the desecration of a large housing development, they began to come together. That campaign, running from the housing project’s announcement in November 1999 to our victory in December 2000, harnessed together everything I knew about organizing for social change AND everything I knew about marketing. And also taught me how much I still needed to learn, as we had people in our large group who knew far more than I did about such tactics as lobbying government officials, working with lawyers, and successful visibility marketing.

I wrote about that campaign in my 2003 book, Principled Profit, and I also included sections on various Green visionaries and the kind of world I want to live in. And I began to discover that there were plenty of other people like me who shared those two passions of Green and marketing. This really accelerated in 2010, with the publication by a mainstream house of my eighth book, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet (co-authored with Jay Conrad Levinson). All of a sudden, I’m finding Green marketers everywhere—and most of them feel very alone.

As carbon footprint, global warming (what an innocuous name for such a dreadful phenomenon) and similar issues have finally reached a critical mass to come into mainstream consciousness, the time seems ripe to move our threatened planet forward. And marketers have to be there, leading the charge, marshaling public opinion, and moving from consciousness that we need to save the planet to actually doing it. I envisioned an organization that would not only provide support to each other, but stake out advocacy positions that would enable governments, businesses, nonprofits, and the public to go more Green and do it faster.

Getting this right will take some thinking and planning, and I hope you’ll weigh in with your ideas. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you more. Meanwhile, if you’d like to be on the notification list, you can leave your e-mail address on the “coming soon” website I’ve set up.


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