Friday, June 20, 2008

Big Green Purse

by Sarah Van Schagen
Grist
June 20, 2008

Mary Poppins may have had a giant carpetbag from which she could pull coat racks and potted plants. But author Diane MacEachern has something even better: A big, green purse that, she says, carries the power to influence the marketplace to "create a cleaner, greener world."

The concept behind MacEachern's book Big Green Purse is built on the fact that women shell out 85 cents of every dollar spent in the marketplace, and the notion that big business responds faster to consumer demand than any other market force. She says women's consumer power -- they collectively earn $2.7 billion a day, and manage billions more for their households, workplaces, and volunteer organizations -- exceeds the economy of Japan. That's quite the powerful pocketbook.

On her website, MacEachern -- author of the best-selling Save Our Planet: 750 Everyday Ways You Can Help Clean Up the Earth, co-founder of Vanguard Communications, and a longtime conservationist -- urges women to sign up for her One in a Million campaign, a pledge to shift at least $1,000 of the yearly household budget to more sustainable goods. That's a shift, she emphasizes, not an additional expenditure: When choosing fruit, go for organic apples; when buying a bottle of lotion, find one without phthalates or parabens; if you must buy a car, find one that fits your needs but is fuel efficient. Still, her first piece of advice is always buy less.

© Grist Magazine, Inc.

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