Here's the thing. I suffer from a rare movement disorder called dystonia. It affects my ability to type and walk (a little). So I feel grateful for the ability to do whatever I can. Even writing this post makes me feel happy.
Now ... I just posted this on one of my other blogs. If you read that and all the links, you'll see I'm doing really well. All things considered.
41 years after Dr. Seuss wrote this story, the Lorax is back, this time on the big screen as an animated 3-D musical comedy film. The movie is already a big hit, grossing more than $125 million in its first two weeks. According to Box Office Mojo, this is the second best opening for a movie concerned with environmental issues after Avatar. Yet, as some critics would claim, it should not be considered a “green” movie at all, given its massive use for commercial purposes.
The movie has nearly 70 corporate and nonprofit sponsors, including HP, Comcast, DoubleTree by Hilton hotels, IHOP, and Mazda. These sponsorships mean that your chances of seeing this little furry creature outside the theatre are quite high these days, whether it is on Seventh Generation’s diapers, on IHOP’s menu (how about Truffula chip whole wheat pancakes?), or an ad for the Mazda CX-5, the “Truffula tree friendly car”. While some people believe these sponsorships would cause Dr. Seuss to roll in his grave (actually it’s not possible as he was cremated and his ashes were scattered), others believe this is a legitimate use of a great movie to promote green products. So who is right and who is wrong here?
First, let’s look at it from the studio’s perspective. Apparently for them these sorts of tie-ins are essential especially when it comes to children’s animated films. Thom Geier, senior editor at Entertainment Weekly told CNN.com that “without added revenue from movie-themed toys, fast-food tie-in deals, DVDs and related books, family-friendly fare won’t get made.” Universal Pictures added that they tried to look for partners who provided some sort of a good environmental choice for consumers. I guess it would be naïve of anyone to expect the studios to act differently, although I’m curious to know what so green about Truffula chip pancakes at IHOP. Somehow you get the feeling Universal was a bit flexible with its environmental criteria for sponsors, if there was one in the first place.
None of these sponsors was grilled for their use of the Lorax image like Mazda. Its new CX-5 SUV is promoted using The Lorax themes as you can see from its ad. This model is using Skyactiv, Mazda’s innovative technology that improves fuel efficiency without compromising performance, which boasts the car’s highway fuel mileage to 35 mpg. Mazda of course has no problem with using the Lorax to promote its SUV, claiming it’s the most efficient SUV on American highways. As Dan Ryan of Mazda’s government relations office put it: “That’s the kind of car we think the Lorax would like to drive.”
Well, of course. Loraxes love SUVs, don't they?
Yet, the problem is not only with the message (would the Lorax really drive SUV?), but also with the audience. Mazda is bringing now its SUV to elementary schools across the nation as part of the National Education Association’s campaign “Read Across America tour — Driven by Mazda.” The tour, according to Fast Company’s Ariel Schwartz brings a costumed Lorax to elementary schools to read the book to children and gives a $1,000 check (courtesy of Mazda) to the school’s library. Mazda also donates $25 to the NEA’s public school foundation every time a kid convinces one of their parents to take a Mazda test drive at the local dealership. There is also incentive for the kids – entering a contest for a family trip to Universal Studios.
Road trip! In the new SUV. Awesome!
I call shotgun.
“I track school advertising for a living. This is among the most outrageous examples of any school advertisement program I’ve ever heard of,” Josh Golin, associate director of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood told the Washington Post. Golin has a point – this campaign sounds like it is taken from a chapter of No Logo on corporate advertising in schools, and it makes you wonder how a company like Mazda thinks that using the Lorax to promote their cars through elementary school children is a smart move. This sort of behavior seems to cross the fine line between what could be considered by some as a legitimate corporate strategy and inappropriate marketing tactics.
But the Lorax is so fuzzy and so cute. And if he/she/it drives an SUV, it must be okay, right?
The example of Mazda shows that some sponsors may have taken the use of the Lorax a bit too far, making its usage more difficult to justify. This is where stakeholders get into the picture. The only ones who can stop companies from misusing the Lorax are stakeholders who will voice their concerns and show their dissatisfaction from the cynical use of this little furry creature. Eventually they are the key to ensure corporations will be accountable for their actions, not Universal Studios or anyone else. Just like Dr. Seuss says in the Lorax: “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Well, let’s hope it is.
To quote a commenter on YouTube: "My name is the Lorax, I speak for the trees. Not one, not two, not any SUVs."
I find inspiration in the most unusual places. I'm a fiction author and my endeavors are my full-time job. In fact, I run a small fiction writing business.
Blogging is my way of spreading the word and establishing my values and identity, i.e., my brand.
Sustainability is important to me for many reasons. For purposes of this post, I'll confine myself to those related to business.
Now ... I'll get right to the point. This article had the most interesting observations. I thought they could provide proper perspective to aspiring authors.
You might wonder what on earth an article about real estate has to do with establishing a career as an author. Well, here are the parts I focused on:
If you’re like most small- to mid-size real estate developers, the idea of going green and sustainable is intriguing, almost sexy at times. But then a fear begins to grow like algae in the back of your mind: additional expenses, hidden costs, dealing with consultants, engineers and green experts. Then if you manage to get through that “green mine field,” the idea of explaining this to your subcontractors, bankers, and investors just gives you a not-so-sustainable feeling in your stomach, and you cave in and build just another building.
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.
The first thing I did was eliminate LEED — yes the North American Holy Grail of sustainable yardsticks — from my business plan. When I discussed this matrixs with people who wish to remain anonymous (almost like “the Emperor has no clothes” fable) I quickly learned that LEED signified “Big Boys Club / P3’s” and “expensive.” I simply didn’t hear the benefits outweighing the negatives.
One man set me on my path. He was an engineer turned developer and he said, “You must decide if you want a plaque on the wall or to be motivated by sustainability and efficiency.” I have never been one for awards, and accolades. Rather, I was driven by the fact that our healthcare industry is in dire need of new, modern and highly efficient facilities. I’m not referring to hospitals. I’m referring to medical offices, day surgery, ultrasound and labs. If I could mitigate their costs, increase their productivity and give them an environment that is truly healthy and keep it cost effective, then I would deliver a better building to the community.
This should be sounding familiar to anyone who's self-published their work. Write to meet readers needs, not to win publishers' hearts or awards. Hello!
Here is my take on these sustainable measuring metrics: they all serve a purpose but they should not be your end goal. The goal is to cost-effectively deliver a sustainable, energy efficient building that benefits the community it serves and enriches the lives of those that use it. To do that you must think clearly and fiscally responsibly. Simple pay-back models cannot be used; when modeling your project you must look at life cost analysis. We must think legacy — of our buildings and our work. Hopefully, yours is longer than five years.
Think legacy -- in your writing, in your professionalism, in your marketing and in your generosity.
When dealing with the matter of recycling plastic, there's always the question of how to handle plastic caps. It's a real mystery.
Part of the problem is that the plastic used to make the bottles is different than that used to make the caps. Another problem is that the caps are so small, they tend to fall through the cracks -- literally.
They can also turn into projectiles during the sorting process. Like little disc-shaped bullets. So not cool.
However, in the US, there are six whole major cities that are recycling plastic bottle caps. Whoa!
To quote the article:
But what are your options if your city’s recycling program does not accept plastic bottle caps?
Aveda stores and salons: You can take your plastic #5 bottle caps to one of Aveda’s stores or salons, where the maker of naturally-derived personal care products will recycle the material into new caps for their own products. In addition to collecting caps from drink and shampoo bottles, Aveda accepts flip-top caps from tubes or food products like ketchup or mayonnaise, as well as laundry detergent and peanut butter lids.
Whole Foods and other natural food stores: Recycle your plastic bottle caps on your next grocery shopping trip, with Preserve’s Gimme 5 program that collects a variety of plastic #5 products at Whole Foods’ locations and other natural food stores. Then shop for toothbrushes, razors and kitchen supplies made out of your old #5 plastics at Preserve’s online shop – because, as the expression goes, you’re not really recycling unless you buy recycled.
Preserve’s Gimme 5 mail-back program: Don’t live near one of Gimme 5’s collection locations? You can mail your #5 plastics in to Preserve’s New York facility and get rewarded with points from Recyclebank that you can use for discounts and perks at local businesses.
Weisenbach Recycled Products’ Caps Can Do program: The Caps Can Do program accepts all plastic #5 caps including caps from drink and shampoo bottles, plastic jar lids, flip caps from tubes and food products, and snap-on lids from yogurt and butter tubs. Mail in your caps to their Ohio facility, and then shop for a wide variety of home, garden and office products made from your recycled plastics at Weisenbach’s online store.
Yeah, I'm sure everyone will gladly collect their caps and drop them off or mail them. No problem!
Using Water For Fuel:The BIOS WaterCar, a project that has increased the gas mileage of a 72 convertible Mustang by 58% and hopes to unlock the secret to making the car run completely on water this year. This is a research project that publishes its finding for the world to use, we will not be filing patents. We need your support to create a better world that uses water for fuel and creates h2o as an emission, while providing power and range capabilities superior to gasoline!
PLEASE HELP Sponsors Needed Now to prepare the car for this years show and World Peace Tour!
I'm the author of the Sam McRae Mystery Series. The first novel IDENTITY CRISIS hit the New York Times ebook bestseller list in 2011. I'm also a Derringer Award nominee, with several short stories published. I'm an attorney, with degrees in journalism and library science. Furthermore, I'm a strong supporter of indie bookstores. For more details, check out my blog at http://debbimackwriter.wordpress.com. My Web site at http://www.debbimack.com is currently undergoing renovations.