Aug 23, 2010

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Shopping for a cleaner environment

Shopping for a cleaner environment

One Washington resident is hoping to spur women to join together and harness the "power of the purse" to help reverse global warming.

After a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro in 1983, Tacoma Park resident Diane MacEachern was awed by its glaciers and heaps of snow. However, a return trip in 2000 with her husband and children provided a dramatic contrast – the snowfields had nearly all melted, the Washington Post reports. Since then, she has lobbied Congress to adopt policies addressing climate change. However, it wasn’t until 3 years ago that she hit upon her idea.

American women overwhelmingly control today’s marketplace – spending 85 cents of every dollar. If MacEachern could utilize their buying power and convince women to choose environmentally friendly products, they could potentially change the consumer landscape.

"Women can use that power in a way that can’t be ignored," MacEachern told the paper. To spur women to begin shopping green, she launched a website that helps them think about how their spending impacts the environment.

Currently, about 5,100 men and women have joined her "One in a Million" campaign that asks households to pledge to shift $1,000 of their budget to green products and services.

"Women are looking for safer cosmetics, baby bottles, greener cleaners, safer health care, and for the most part they’ve only recently understood that something that’s more environmentally friendly and green is likely to be safer and healthier," MacEachern said.

However, MacEachern has run into some obstacles – convenience, quality and cost often discourage shoppers from buying more responsibly, the Post explains. She hopes that her book, Big Green Purse, and its accompanying website will show shoppers that everyone can make a difference – big or small.

There are a number of websites that offer consumers a completely green buying experience with everything from books and DVDs to baby food and dish detergent. Sites like Greenshopper.com and Greatgreenfoods.com help buyers shop with the environment in mind.

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