City Hippy

The diary of our struggle to live a green and fair life.

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CityHippy has posted its last post now (I now work for EMP plc, run At Home magazine online and more and personally blog over at Why? Click here to find out. We might be back. Keep our RSS feeds, keep us bookmarked, sign up for the news alert on the right. You never know...

We are dedicated to exploring how to live a greener and more ethical life. City Hippy is a growing collective of writers bringing you two types of content:

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Monday, October 31, 2005

NEWS: Starbucks Challenge Awards

After reading through 133 participating blogs, with 135 challenges taken in 11 countries, 24 states, and Washington DC, City Hippy and green LA girl have each picked a winner for the first month of the Starbucks Challenge.

City Hippy's choice: Thanks for not being a Zombie.
Not-Zombie took loads of challenges -- all with awesome, detailed descriptions and thoughtful commentary. City Hippy found the posts thorough and humourous -- especially the post where Not-Zombie mentioned the "man in colonial dress riding a Segway" -- we spent a good 10 minutes chuckling at that image.

Award: Fair trade yummies (coffee, tea and hot chocolate from

green LA girl's choice: Dirty Greek
In addition to taking a couple challenges himself, Dirty Greek fielded questions (insults?) not only about the Challenge but also about fair trade in general from less-than-knowlegeable people on The Wolf Web. Dirty Greek got a lil help from J_Gatsby, who in frustration ended up calling naysayers "plebian fucks." Tee hee!

Award: A 2 lb bag of Monkey & Son Velvet Hammer fair trade organic coffee.

What did YOU help accomplish through the Starbucks Challenge? Starbucks sat up and took notice, contacted us, then admitted that they weren't living up to their "legendary service" promises. Cindy of Starbucks acknowledged Starbucks had a "break down in customer service."

So all North American stores, regional VPs, and international market presidents got emails "reminding" them about the coffee press policy for customers requesting fair trade. Cindy also forwarded bloggers' feedback to relevant district managers for follow-up.

The effect of these efforts on Starbucks' part? Mixed, to say the least. Some challengers have since noted that their Starbucks has gotten markedly fair-trade friendlier; others, not so much. At the last challenge green LA girl took, the barista flat out lied to avoid French-pressing a cup of fair trade coffee.

Cindy says that she'll present the findings of the Starbucks Challenge to Starbucks' Retail Operations and Communications team, "so we can find a solution." We'll keep you posted on that promise.

So -- The challenge challenges on! New prizes to be announced shortly -- We're determined that one day, Alabama and Utah will participate.

And even if you're not "challenging" any more because your store's passed the test, we hope you'll ask for fair trade coffee every time you go to Starbucks. After all, Starbucks says that if consumers demand it, they'll make fair trade coffee more easily avaliable -- though as of now, we question how Starbucks is measuring this demand....

Have a fair trade day

City Hippy and green LA girl

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Friday, October 28, 2005

NEWS: The carnival begins

Carnival of the Green
Well since TriplePundit & CityHippy launched the Carnival of the Green on Oct 15 the interest has been immense.

We have now booked Carnival hosts way into March 2006 (see the original post for the host list) and new hosts are volunteering all the time. Very exciting.

To host simply email one of us at or

Some of you have already submitted posts for the first carnival to be hosted by City Hippy next Monday.

To submit a post to the Carnival of the Green please send us the following:

a link for the post
the post author
the site name the post appears on
a short (3 lines) summary of the post

Simply email all of that to

For this first carnival anything posted online from 21 Oct until 4 Nov is eligible.

So start submitting now.



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Thursday, October 27, 2005

FEATURE: Activism 2.0?

GreenLAGirl & I started the Starbucks Challenge for a reason: to assess the Starbucks' Fair Trade promise.

Starbucks promise (PDF) is to make Fair Trade coffee for you, any day of the week in more than 20 countries - we wanted to find out just how easy that was.

The goal
For me the goal has always been to engage with Starbucks, to test that promise and to assist Starbucks in delivering on that promise.

I hate Starbucks, Not!
Not my style to hate anyone or anything. I believe in working with companies and people to affect positive change. I believe in the Triple Bottom Line. People. Planet. Profit.

Starbucks: Good or evil
Starbucks have much to be applauded for. They pay a higher price for even their non-Fair Trade coffee. As Triple Pundit recently reported Starbucks are working to make their cups as green as possible. Positive steps.

They are not perfect. They have their critics. But good or evil? It's never that simple, is it?

The Starbucks Challenge: results
According to GreenLAGirl, as of Oct 26th, we have so far motivated 102 blogs to join the call to one degree or another, ranging from simple links or mentions to full-blown encouragement and participation.

That number continues to grow and includes an impressive range of large reputable blogs i.e. Kottke, LifeHacker, Treehugger, MSNBC's Clicked and the Guardian News Link Blog (although now only visible in their account).

So far 111 challenges have been added to the feed monitoring the challenge.

Those 111 challenges have taken place in 10 countries and across the USA in 21 states and Washington DC. From China to London, from Kuala Lumpur to Canada, from LA to New Zealand.

The results have been mixed and very interesting.

Initial conclusions
Starbucks seem interested in the challenge, it took only three days for Cindy from Starbucks CSR to get in touch, and rightly so. Why wouldn't they be interested in feedback from highly-motivated customers, ex-customers and potential customers based around the world?

Starbucks are undoubtedly learning much about their policies; where they succeed and where they fail. Their acceptance of their imperfection is to be applauded and copied.

In Cindy's words from recent emails to GreenLAGirl and myself:

"...thank you and your fellow bloggers for pointing out our miss and helping us provide better service to our customers."

"...after I get the results from your challenge, I will be presenting your findings to our Retail Operations and Communications team so we can find a solution."

They have taken as positive a line as possible for a company under global customer scrutiny. Brave and so clearly the right thing to do.

Bigger than Starbucks: my analysis
Personally the challenge offers other conclusions that any business would be wise to consider.

The Starbucks Challenge represents the devolution and globalisation of activism.

The combination of freely available blogging software and the desire to tackle a consumer issue spells testing times ahead for businesses with something to hide.

Open companies like Starbucks on the other hand have much to gain from embracing their customers.

As blogging is proving, conversations are taking place and, in the case of this Challenge, Starbucks have decided to be a part of the conversation as opposed to just being the subject of it.

Activism 2.0 indeed.

For those companies out there who are:

- taking the PR benefits of a promise without delivering
- living in a pre-internet world of one-way marcomms
- happy pulling the wool over their customers eyes

the Starbucks Challenge serves as a wake-up call.

If knowledge is power then we are witnessing a seismic shift in the corporate-consumer power relationship.

Business and consumers are entering an era of sustainable marketing; where your customers are better informed and better connected than ever before. From now on, honesty really is the best policy.

Companies and brands will live or die on that fact in the future.




ps We (City Hippy that is, can't speak for GreenLAGirl) have other corporate challenges planned, indeed Challenge 2 is set to start in Spring 06. We already have a company in mind.

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NEWS: Wal-mart smarts

Am very excited to hear (via BoingBoing) about a critical documentary about Wal-Mart which is going to be shown in the US, in places of Worship no less, after its debut in theatres in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles next week.

If anyone gets a chance to watch it we would love to hear your thoughts...

Wal-Mart: The High Cost Of Low Price by Robert "Outfoxed" Greenwald, will be screened on November 13 in around 1,000 houses-of-worship.

The Wal-Mart film features interviews with company employees, small-business owners, teachers and others who sharply criticize it with charges of low wages, skimpy health benefits and a poor environmental record. USA Today




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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

NEWS: Let's all FUKC

Greenpeace have a great campaign highlighting how Kimberley Clark and Kleenex are clearcutting ancient forests to produce tissues.

Basically it is a design a t-shirt competition...CH will try and come up with a design...why not have a go yourself?

More info here

Via BoingBoing.



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NEWS: Bottles and Anti-Cola

Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink?
You know...I just do not know who to trust these days...even plastic water bottles are potentially dangerous. Certainly, increasingly, I trust less and less the people who claim to have my interests at heart i.e. corporations in general.

So I just bought two of these Sigg bottles and will never have to use a plastic bottle again.

Should have done this ages ago but been busy and this contamination was the final straw. Plus now I never have to buy water again, ashamed I do it at all. Plus I never have to deal with plastic bottles! Hurrah!

Got the idea from City Hippy reader, Diane Clark of Japan, who asked Penney Poyzer about this in the series of interviews we are doing - Diane's question appears in one of the parts of the interview yet to be posted.

Sigg 1 Litre Drinking Bottles
Manufactured in one piece aluminium, they combine strength with light weight and have a hygienic lining which prevents odours and contamination from the contents of strong drinks such as isotonic or alcoholic!

Also have I mentioned that my new favourite fizzy Anti-Cola drink these days is Santa Cruz Organic Orange & Mango? Awesome drink! Available at my local Sainsbury's and probably yours. Not pricey either. Mmm good!




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Monday, October 24, 2005

NEWS: Life in 2020 - You choose!

- Strict rationing - similar to post-war rationing of food supplies, our energy use could be heavily rationed, with dedicated time-slots allocated to households to carry out tasks requiring energy use to avoid any wastage

- Harsh punitive measures - areas in cities and suburbs where energy usage reach critical levels could see stringently forced energy laws and waste directives imposed. Energy Police with the power to issue penalties and fines for excessive energy consumption could be born.

- Personal power stations - our homes could become mini power stations as we turn to renewable energy sources. By 2020, experts predict that it could be common place to source energy in our own homes with excess energy sold back to the national grid, providing an additional income source for green households

- Prefabulous - Prefabricated homes built offsite using recycled bricks and wood and insulated with sheep's wool and reconstituted paper will become the norm. We will be able to design our homes online and have them delivered and assembled in a week

- Glass houses - the humble conservatory could help save us from the worst effects of climate change 'green' homes will be built so that they are south facing with an attached solar powered conservatory, providing up to 50% of a household's hot water needs

- Green roofs - roofs will be made of peat, bricks and sedum instead of conventional materials. Roof gardens and living roofs will be subsidised, as they will help to improve insulation and air quality

- Carbon trading - households will trade carbon credits and debits, working collectively to reduce our emissions (in the same way as businesses do now)

Who says so?
"Rather than having to rely on harsher measures to urge consumers to take the issue seriously, we are encouraging people to act now and start saving at least 20% of their carbon dioxide emissions. This target is easily achievable by adopting a mix of simple measures such as improving insulation, turning appliances off standby, installing energy saving lightbulbs and turning the thermostat down by just one degree."

Simple changes to your home and the way you use energy can make big savings, both for your pocket and the environment. For example, adopting a range of straightforward measures including filling cavity walls, sufficiently insulating lofts and upgrading to energy saving recommended appliances could reduce your household's emissions by two tonnes of CO2 annually and reduce your energy bills by up to £250.


I know what gets my vote and committment. What are we all waiting for? Armageddon? Thoughts?



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Sunday, October 23, 2005

NEWS: Go on...take a bite!

Victor Kiam once famously said: I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company. Well City Hippy has had a similar moment.

A fellow green blogger,, has invited us to promote their Green Lifestyle Daily Tip newsletter.

The deal is simple: we get people to sign up to their newsletter and they give us a small commission. Seems fair but we would not recommend something to you without checking it out first. So we did just that.

And, having checked it out, like Victor, we buy it. The newsletter, not the company.

Here is why we like the tip and recommend that you sign up for it.

Across about 25 categories (including Clothes, Food, Travel & Home care) these folks are sending out serious tips combining interesting facts / information, practical advice and places to go online for solutions.

Their tips will certainly help us live that greener life we seek. Some things they mention are easy to do whilst some are tough - some cost nothing whilst some require effort and resources.

Looking through their archive I think our favourite is the Want to change the world? Change your shirt to organic cotton or hemp! Hard to pick a fav but that one is just a great example of how easy it is to be an ethical consumer and how that impacts upon our world.

Another good example especially in light of our recent Starbucks Challenge is the sample tip: Feeling a little confused about the different labels you see when buying coffee beans? Very useful.

So we have signed up. We hope you do to: simply click the image below. And if you do sign up City Hippy gets a bit of money love. Which is nice!



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RANT: Hurricane power?

Hurricane equals wind equals energy. Hurricanes are basically full of energy but like lightning we just do not know how to capture and store that energy.

I am no engineer but it seems like we are missing a trick here. Tons of energy and we just watch it blow by.

Recently over at Sustainablog I saw a post about creating mini-tornadoes and harnessing the resulting power.

But instead of creating the wind why not figure out a way to harness what is already there?

There just must be a way to capture the energy of the hurricane winds itself. Not too mention all the tornado energy?

How about if we created a sort of anchored ground-based turbine tunnel that captures and stores serious amounts of energy. Wind blows in and over and turbines turn.

Plant a few of them in hurricane/tornado alley and get some good out of all the wild weather we are having.

Any thoughts?



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Friday, October 21, 2005

NEWS: UK energy shortage?

The UK's ITV News has just reported that British business fears the possibility of energy rationing and even a three day week in the UK this winter.

Seems like this is not really news. See here, here, and here.

The likelihood of this potential crisis rests on three factors:

1) Cold winter - The UK's Met Office has predicted lower temperatures in the UK this winter. They say that the balance of probability is for a winter colder than those experienced since 1995/6. They do however explain that recent winters have been above normal and that this winter may just be colder than those and therefore only relatively worse.

Either way a cold winter equals higher energy use.

Incidentally they also say it is likely to be drier...which is good news for those at risk of flooding.

2) UK Gas sources shrinking - North Sea gas supplies peaked in 2000 and the new pipeline from Norway is not due to come online until 2007/2008.

3) Low gas reserves - The UK gas supply is only capable of lasting 11 days in case of a shortage - in Europe it seems the average is 55 days.

If this winter is as cold as predicted and more gas is needed then business will be the first to be rationed.

Business blames the Government for not standing upto Europe and for poor planning and the Goverment blames business for not investing more in reserve capacity. Surprise surprise.

As a UK citizen this worries me. If we have a bad winter then either our homes will not have enough gas or our employers will have to power down. Seems like the latter will happen first. Either way this is not good for UK residents.

Plus with the UK economy already on a knife edge the last thing we need is further downward pressure.

I would almost prefer to layer-up more at home and have a job to go to. Sad to say but my bills gotta get paid. Reality for most I suspect.

Well the way I see it we should be doing the following:

1) Why not start rationing gas now while we can?
2) Massively communicate the need for major gas efficiency at home and in the business world NOW! Why wait for this crisis to develop? What are the government waiting for? What steps are they taking? None that we can see. Are they prepared for the cost to the economy?

3) Develop safe and sustainable apolitical sources of energy like wind and solar. Nuclear is a sick joke!
4) Get individual energy independence fast! Solar...Wind...whatever!




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Thursday, October 20, 2005

NEWS: The Climate Mash

Image hosted by TinyPic.comTrying to change the world can be hard work and sometimes we just have to take a moment to be both amused and entertained whilst spreading the message.

So crank up the volume, sit back, relax and enjoy!

Thanks to Sustainablog for the link.



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FEATURE: Poyzer Parlay (Pt. 1)

Image hosted by TinyPic.comWell we promised you an interview with Penney Poyzer, the host of the BBC's fabulous 'No Waste Like Home' and we are delighted to be able to deliver.

We have split the interview into three parts as it is quite long and even then it is still quite beefy. We did not want to ask Penney the same old questions and we wanted to give you the chance to ask some questions.

Those of you who get the City Hippy Email Alert newsletter had more time to think about what question you wanted to ask Penney of course but we got some great questions from all of you. Thanks.

There are many benefits to getting our Email Alert newsletter including extra content and thoughts plus special offers. In fact we have got a great money-saving special offer for subscribers coming up in the next one so use the sign up form (see top right) and you won't miss it. We won't give your email to anyone else of course. Anyway...back to business.

City Hippy: Hi Penney, Namaste. First of all it's great to talk to you. The series was awesome and has really raised awareness of how easy it is to be green and how significant small actions by individuals can and do matter! Well done! Our first question is: What first prompted you to be green?

Penney Poyzer: Hi City Hippy. Thanks and Namaste. Lovely to talk to you too.

Well way back me dear, when I was about 8, as a kid, I was very adventurous and went off on long bike rides, to the sea, local rivers, woods or parkland. I loved nature and remember being very young when I first got 'hooked' on the smell of apple blossom.

For as long as I can remember, I have had a very personal connection with our gorgeous, beautiful, perfumed, planet. I love her and and felt she loved me.

She has always provided me with a sense of peace and security - and joy.

City Hippy: Yeah the world is a gorgeous place when ones eyes are open. Having grown up in London I was lucky enough to spend six years in Nova Scotia in Eastern Canada and to be honest it was so beautiful that when I came back to London I realised how lucky I had been.

I felt I had undergone a profound change in my relationship to our world. But it is not always easy and there are plenty of doubters out there to sap our strength. Do you have a mantra to keep yourself focused when opposition to your beliefs threatens to overwhelm? How do you cope in the face of adversity?

Penney Poyzer: Good question. My mantra is "It's all good". It's all for a reason, it's how you deal with stuff that counts. I am blessed and joyful and enjoy a challenge!!!! And being bonkers helps.

City Hippy: Hahahaha yeah being bonkers does help eh? Gotta be able to put up with some crap I guess and just laugh it off some times. OK we have a question for you from Martin C of London.

Martin C: I am a young man earning a normal salary. I care about the state of the world but have no money to spend on organic and fairtrade shopping. How can I be green on a budget?

Penney Poyzer: Hi Martin, thanks for your question. It is about choice. A jar of fairtrade coffee or box of tea is only a few pence more than the non ethical variety. Try to avoid packaged food, try buying a few items in bulk with mates - this will help spread the cost. Cook double quantities on things like home made sauces and freeze the second half. Buy secondhand stuff, be really careful about how much gas/electricity you use. Use less stuff and do more. Transform your care into action and you will feel truly empowered - oh and get rid of the telly!

By the way I have picked you to win the signed copy of my book because I want you to see that you really can be green on a budget. You need it the most.

Image hosted by TinyPic.comMartin wins a signed copy of Penney's book, 'No Waste Like Home' which accompanies the series. You can buy her book (and support City Hippy at the same time) by clicking here.

City Hippy: Awesome Penney, I contacted Martin to tell him he had won and he was over the moon...he promised me he would put some of your tips to the test and report back for the City Hippy readers.

OK another question for you. What is the single most important thing people can do to prevent climate change?

Penney Poyzer: Use less of everything and do more to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. Using everything as efficiently as you can and buying locally produced food will help. Don't fly!

City Hippy: Makes sense...especially the don't fly. Planting trees does not really compensate as they take years to provide the counter-balance. People just have to get out of the flying habit. Until they find a greener way to do it of course.

OK now a question from Sarah B from Bow in East London.

Sarah B: Hi Penney, Love the show. I get a bit down about the state of the world. I try hard to be green but the news can be very disheartening. Loads of people are living ethically but is it too little too late? Do you think we have a chance to prevent global warming or is it now a case of damage limitation? What is your vision of our future?

Penney Poyzer: Hi my love. Don't Panic! ACT! We can't stop it we can only buy ourselves time by taking personal action, right here, right now and converting as many people as we can along the way.

50 years from now, well, it will be a much darker place I fear, Sarah. Cities might not be very nice places to live and London will have suffered several major floods by then. Imagine the smart streets of Chelsea and Knightsbridge under water. But Don't Panic! ACT!

Our supplies of fossil fuels - both gas and oil will be depleted in 60 years, so investing in renewables has never been so important.

Our sense of community must be built up because at the moment, there is very little social glue to hold us together.

Buying ethically is part of the plan, but by no means the answer. It is imperative to buy locally produced food, to grow as much of our own food as we can to generally reduce our consumption across every aspect of our lives. This might sound a huge task, but it is possible and leads to a greater quality of life.

We have lost so many personal skills - we are great on computers, but not so good when it comes to knowing how to be responsible for our own energy production for example.

The economist E F Schumacher, wrote a book called 'Small is beautiful'. It wasn't perfect and simplistic in some areas of argument, but his basic premise was that energy and food production should be as local a possible. Making proper use of Regional Assemblies and devolving budgets and power from central government, decreasing our reliance on centralised services such as energy and water production and digging up golf courses and turning them into allotments might be good too!

Your question is an excellent one, and it would take me a book-long answer to do it justice, so in summary, I believe global warming is irreversible and ultimately will be cataclysmic for billions. The planet is overloaded and we are already reaping the bitter harvest of our insane consumption. Each one of us much take far greater responsibility for our actions and truly learn to love our neighbours - I am not religious, but this commandment has been ringing round my head recently and it is worth meditating on. It means, treat your neighbour as you would wish to be treated. I'm trying to do that and realising it takes much more effort than recycling!

Namaste, sister.

City Hippy: Wow! We are kind of aware of all that but it is nice to hear it from someone else with a lot more understanding of the issues than us. And there is hope...that is the key...I love the Don't Panic! ACT!

More to come...

Tune in to Part 2 of the interview with Penney where we discover exactly what dreams she wishes George W Bush would have and why she thinks the choice between Nuclear and Alternative energy is not the most important question to be asking about energy right now!




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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

NEWS: Another Starbucks Success

Did the challenge at another Starbucks recently - 125 Kings Road, Chelsea, London.

Got my FT coffee no problem...I am three for three right now and am impressed. Plus Starbucks continue to set a new standard for ethical behaviour: Our good friend Nick at Triple Pundit reports that:

Starbucks has recently been honored by the National Recycling Coalition for upping the recycled content in their cups sufficiently to save five million pounds of tree fiber annually.

Of course we know they are not perfect...who is? But we must encourage and reward their positive behaviour. Right? Am sure some of you will agree and others will disagree.




ps we have been in touch with Cindy of Starbucks...will keep you posted...she is a breath of fresh air to talk with.

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Monday, October 17, 2005

NEWS: Organic under attack

Sadly the Organic Consumers Association fears the assault on organic standards is not over. You may have read our previous post on this topic or not. Either way...if you live in the US and like your organic food, well, organic, then read on and act now.

Or do nothing in the safe knowledge that responsible companies like Kraft, Wal-Mart, & Dean Foods along with that champion of the consumer, public health and the environment, President George W Bush, will watch out for your interests.

SOS Update October 14, 2005

Over the past few weeks, Organic Consumers Association network members have deluged the U.S. congress with over 170,000 emails and over 20,000 telephone calls. Thank you for your support. This nearly unprecedented grassroots upsurge has temporarily rattled Congress and the industry, delaying the initial Sneak Attack in the Senate on organic standards, resulting in a compromise amendment (H.R. 2744) September 21 calling for “further study of the issue.”

Unfortunately we expect another, possibly even more serious, Sneak Attack in the House/Senate Conference Committee over the next week as Congress members put the final wording together for the 2006 Congressional Agriculture Appropriations Bill. Therefore OCA is now calling on consumers and the organic community to apply pressure to their House of Representatives members as well as their Senators to stop the Conference Committee from degrading the standards. In addition we urge everyone to start applying pressure to the Organic Trade Association, who are unfortunately spearheading this Sneak Attack. We ask everyone who has read our SOS Action Alert and signed our petition to Congress to call your House of Representative member 202-224-3121, as well as the OTA: 413-774-7511.

Click the above quote to find out how to act to Save Organic Standards!



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Sunday, October 16, 2005

NEWS: Starbucks Responds

GreenLaGirl has just posted some great news.

Starbucks have taken a good first step towards moving to the next level on Fairtrade - the fulfillment of their Fairtrade promise.

First they had to admit there is a problem...they have now done that! Click here to read the "reminder" email sent to all US/Canada company operated stores this week.

So the challenge is working...and now we should start to see more success in North America so keep the challenge going. Go and retest stores already challenged.

For me one small problem though: Cindy from Starbucks has essentially blamed the staff, which is just plain mean really. She told GreenLAGirl that:

"In regards to feedback from our customers, I think it is important to note that it is not a break down in our commitment to Fair Trade or our mission. It happens to be a break down in customer service."

So Starbucks made a promise but the staff are failing to deliver. Surely this is about management giving the staff the motivation, information and tools to do the job. Isn't that what the email seeks to do?

I might be wrong though so I have written to Cindy to find out more on this.

Keep up the good work and remember be nice to the staff, it's not about them as much as it is about Starbucks.



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Saturday, October 15, 2005

FEATURE: Carnival of the Green

Carnival of the GreenUPDATE: Now that CityHippy is not being updated the Carnival of the Green is being managed by Treehugger. For all carnival info and to see the schedule please click here.

City Hippy & TriplePundit are delighted to announce the launch of the Carnival of the Green.

The Carnival of the Green will travel from blog to blog on a weekly basis, like a real carnival. Inspiration came from the Carnival of the Capitalists.

Each week, on mondays, a green blog will host the Carnival of the Green and will provide, in one single and probably large post, a digest of the posts other green bloggers have submitted for consideration during the previous week (friday to friday).

Each Carnival of the Green will also have a link to the previous and next Carnival of the Green hosts as well as a link back to this Launch post (either on City Hippy or Triple Pundit or both if you like).

To submit a post for consideration to the Carnival of the Green (do not submit content - just a link to your post), please email (Subject: Carnival of the Green submission) with the following info:

Post URL
Post Author
Post Summary

This carnival is a summary, a digest, of the green blogosphere. When we say green we mean sustainability issues etc as opposed to plain old general Green Politics. Each host has the right to include whatever they wish, whatever they feel is worthy of being in the carnival.

To add yourself to the list of Carnival of the Green hosts please email one of us at or

As host you will receive, just for your friday to friday week, all email sent to the email address.

It is upto to you to make the Carnival of the Green happen each week. Do whatever you should be fun not stressful!


Nov 7th - City Hippy
Nov 14th - TriplePundit
Nov 21st - Sustainablog
Nov 28th - Great Green Goods

Dec 5th - The Greener Side
Dec 12th - Jen's Green Journal
Dec 19th - Dee's 'Dotes
Dec 26th - Season's greetings - no carnival - Ho Ho Ho!

Jan 2nd - Suhit Anantula
Jan 9th - Skye Creative
Jan 16th - Unplugged Living
Jan 23rd - The Ideal Bite
Jan 30th - Urban Eco

Feb 6th - Ecostreet
Feb 13th - Groovy Green
Feb 20th - Hip & Zen Pen
Feb 27th - The Naked Vegetarian

Mar 6th - EnviroPundit
Mar 13th - Dirty Greek
Mar 20th - BaloghBlog
Mar 27th - Greener Magazine

Apr 3rd - Green Thinkers
Apr 10th - Exuberant Pantaphobia
Apr 17th - Organic Authority
Apr 24th - The Evangelical Ecologist

May 1st - Spiral Visions
May 8th - Hippy Shopper
May 15th - EarthEcho International
May 22nd - Website Design and Promotion
May 29th - Animal Broadcast Network

June 5th - Dee's 'Dotes
June 12th - Science & Politics
June 19th - Savvy Vegetarian
June 26th - Jen's Green Journal

July 3rd - Head Way Youth
July 10th - The Ester Republic
July 17th - Powering Down
July 24th - Mykesweblog
July 31st - Treehugger

August 7th - City Hippy
August 14th - Camden Kiwi
August 21st - Frugal For Life
August 28th - The Disillusioned Kid

September 4th - LA Green Living
September 11th - Worsted Witch
September 18th - Karavans
September 25th - Ecostreet

October 2nd - Greener Miami
October 9th - EnviroPundit
October 16th - TotalTactics
October 23rd - How To Save The World
October 30th - Groovy Green

November 6th - CityHippy
November 13th - TriplePundit
November 20th - Organic Researcher
November 27th - Great Green Goods

December 4th - Urban Eco
December 11th - Organic Authority
December 18th - Cocolico
December 25th - Season's Greetings - No Carnival - Ho Ho Ho!

Jan 1st - Happy New Year - No Carnival - [HIC]
Jan 8th - Hippy Shopper
Jan 15th - One/Change
Jan 22nd - Clay & Wattles
Jan 29th - Jetson Green

Feb 5th - Nonoscience
Feb 12th - Savvy Vegetarian
Feb 19th - Jen's Green Journal
Feb 26th - The Evangelical Ecologist

Mar 5th - The Business of America is Business
Mar 12th - Green Fertility
Mar 19th - The Goode Life
Mar 26th - Camden Kiwi

Apr 2nd - Sludgie
Apr 9th - Philobiblion
Apr 16th - Money and Values
Apr 23rd - The Evangelical Ecologist
Apr 30th - EnviroPundit

May 7th - EcoWorrier
May 14th - Natural Collection
May 21st - EveryDay Trash
May 28th - Available

June 4th - Available
June 11th - Available
June 18th - Available
June 25th - Available

July 2nd - Available
July 9th - The Ester Republic
July 16th - Available
July 23rd - Available
July 30th - Available

Host the Carnival of the Green? Get in touch - To add yourself to the list of Carnival of the Green hosts please email one of us at or



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Friday, October 14, 2005

NEWS: The Ecologist

Just discovered my subscription to The Ecologist had lapsed...SHOCK! Wondered where the latest issue had got to...

Renewed without thought. Don't always agree with everything about it but it is one of the best reads around...very thought provoking! Great news, features and the green pages at the back is a veritable bible of green answers to everyday questions.

Baby might be on the way, belt tightening taking place in every direction...but not giving up my subscription to The Ecologist.

Check it out: The Ecologist

Anyone else a reader? Thoughts?



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Thursday, October 13, 2005

NEWS: Starbucks Success

Stopped off at Starbucks (130 Kings Road, Chelsea, London) on way to work today. Asked for a Tall Fairtrade. Got one without any problem.

Seems like London Starbucks has no problem with Fairtrade...well done impressed. Of course a long way to go though with almost everywhere else ;)

Have you tried the Starbucks Challenge yet?


City Hippy

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

NEWS: Speaking up for Salmon

Got a guest post for you. You know, for me, farmed Salmon seem like battery Hens. Ultimately a bird in a gilded cage is still a bird in a cage. Or in this case, a salmon in a watery cage is still a salmon in a cage. Just not right!

I never seem to be able to grasp how these farmed fish can be as healthy as real salmon left to do their thing. And that is not even considering the environmental impact of intensive farming of any kind.

Instead of overfishing if perhaps we lived more sustainably we would not need to farm fish in this extremely artificial way. But no! Let's change the world rather than change ourselves. Crazy really.

Personally I am trying as hard as possible to cut back on meat and fish as much as possible. Am trying to go vege but have many years of bad carnivore habits to break. Will get there though...every day in every way I go a little vege! Enjoy.

Tonight's episode of Boston Legal continues to make waves first in Canada and now here at home in the US.

The Canadian government has pulled print ads promoting tourism to British Columbia in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

And now, the industry trade association for farmed salmon, Salmon of the Americas (SOTA), has half-page ads scheduled to appear tomorrow in the New York Times, USA Today, Boston Globe, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Click here to view the ad. The ad incorrectly claims wild salmon population are rising, yet their very own web site says differently.

Wild Pacific and Atlantic salmon in the lower 48 states and Canada have seen significant declines over the last several decades, starting long before salmon farming operations occurred. All the evidence points to the fact that the declines were caused by a combination of climate change, over-fishing and freshwater-habitat destruction.

An article appearing in today's Intrafish (Subscriber only sadly) reports on this ad blitz. In the article, Alex Trent, Executive Director of SOTA says that what we care about in this show is not so much the direct impact on consumers. The show, after all, is fiction. What we’re really most concerned about is the thousand or so viewers who are food influencers or journalists who might take this message and put it together with other inaccurate information and rebroadcast."

So instead they're repackaging with their own inaccurate information and rebroadcasting it to the press.

This guest post came from Michelle Novi at the National Environmental Trust. For more information about Salmon Farming and the environmental issues it raises AND to sign their petition calling for greener practices in Salmon farming, I might add, please visit is an international campaign established to address the serious environmental and social problems associated with industrial-scale, salmon farming. These problems include the depletion of wild fish populations for fish feed, high levels of nutrient and chemical pollution, disease transfer, and the escape of farmed fish into the wild.

They get our support!



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Monday, October 10, 2005

NEWS: Le Challenge Starbucks

Max Kaiser from KarmaBanque has filmed the first video entry for the Starbucks Challenge...

Whilst in France Max & Co checked out a local Starbucks to see what would happen when they took the Starbucks Challenge en Francais. Interesting result.

Am sure Starbucks will be happy to do something about it. Indeed as mentioned before we are talking with them today and look forward to working with them to assist them in delivering on their promise. Check back for news soon...

Well the production values were very documentary, his voice is smooth, his franglais is passable, the soundtrack is wicked...but could he get any 'Cafe Equitable' (aka Fairtrade Coffee) in this Paris Starbucks?

Non! Not for three weeks apparently...Max will be checking back in three weeks so watch this space for an update.

You can watch the clip @ KarmaBanque Radio

KarmaBanque Starbucks Challenge

Nice one Max...merci bien!

KarmaBanque is a unique kind of boycott/activist site that I recommend you check out. If boycotts are your chosen method to get companies to understand how you feel then this site will seem like heaven - imagine Gordon Gecko meets Ghandi.



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Saturday, October 08, 2005

NEWS: Starbucks Calling

The US arm of the Starbucks Challenge, greenLAgirl, has received an email from Cindy in the Starbucks Corporate Social Responsibility Unit.

We will keep you posted about any developments. Looks all very positive though.

Watch this space.



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FEATURE: National Downshifting Week

Tracey Smith is a good friend of the City Hippy site and is the person behind National Downshifting Week.

Tracey created National Downshifting Week as a response to our modern malaise: a sped-up, over-consuming, yet strangely less content lifestyle. Counter-intuitively downshifting allows us all to take back a sense of perspective and focus on what is important.

The first National Downshifting Week in April 2005 enjoyed much success and 2006 is gearing up to be much bigger.

PLUS for the first time Tracey is running a sister event in the US and the support for that is growing daily. But she needs your help...

We spoke to Tracey to find out what National Downshifting Week is about:

City Hippy: Hi Tracey...really good to talk with you. National Downshifting Week sounds like a great idea. Tell us what you hope to achieve and how?

Tracey Smith: Hi City Hippy, good talking to you too. Love the site! Well one of my aspirations with National Downshifting Week is for people to get a hold of their energy costs, not simply because they want to spend less and feel happier, but because they also realise, collectively, that individually they can make a difference to the planet through small actions.

City Hippy: Makes perfect sense to us...working together people can be very powerful and can and have changed the world. I think it was Ghandi who said something like lighting one candle lights one corner of a dark room - if everybody lit one candle the world would be full of light. So the aim is for National Downshifting Week to help people realise that they can make a difference.

Tracey Smith: Spot on! We need to encourage people to do the 'right' thing by using bite-sized chunks of information they can digest. Go in too big and their shutters come down. Selling the concept via the ideas and suggestions in National Downshifting Week works. We suggest small ideas...easy ideas...for example cook a meal from scratch using fresh, seasonal ingredients.

For the forthcoming campaigns in the UK and USA, I am going to propose simple events and activities for people to do within their communities and families. The activities will hopefully empower people and give them a good excuse to do something 'green and simple'. Apathy is still a hard nut to crack.

My hope is, that the downshifting philosophy will filter through with permanent energy use changes in houses, offices and schools.

We must individually start to make a difference if we hope to affect change and we must also stop being reliant purely upon governments to make it happen - they can't do that any more than they can make us all wear pink knickers tomorrow.

When folks take back control of their money and their time and run their lives according to what really matters they see the bigger picture. They embrace energy saving and green ideas, because they run parallel to their own 'ditch the stress and slow down' ideas.

Either way, the net result is the important one. Happier people, happier planet.

City Hippy: Brilliant Tracey. City Hippy is 100% behind that philosophy. What can readers do to help, other than check out your site and try the National Downshifting Week ideas now and during National Downshifting Week?

Tracey Smith: If readers feel the concept behind National Downshifting Week is ringing a bell in their head I want them to help me spread the word and lend much needed support.

I want them to kick off debate and post a link back to National Downshifting Week in their favourite forums. If they have a website I would encourage them to post about it and show their support by displaying the National Downshifting Week logo with a link back to the site.

If they are a print, radio or TV journalist then get in touch and interview me or just publish/broadcast something about National Downshifting Week to get people thinking about the issues.

Now that Penney Poyzer's No Waste Like Home has ended after a successful first series people are desperate to continue the debates she kicked off about energy, water, food, shopping, consumption and how we define happiness.

Let's get the message out there and lets make a collective difference.

City Hippy: Awesome Tracey...we have a feeling this years National Downshifting Week is gonna be superb! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Namaste.

Tracey Smith: Thanks City Hippy...really appreciate your help.


City Hippy

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

NEWS: Poyzer Finale

As the credits ran at the end of the last episode of Penney Poyzer's fantastic show, No Waste Like Home, I sat slightly if a good friend who had been staying with us had just got on the train and it was pulling away from the station...I wanted them back. But alas...for now! Tis not to be!

We do have an interview lined up with Penney and will find out what the future holds. are my thoughts about this final episode and my final thoughts about the entire show.

Tonight's show was a great one. It was a quieter show than the others but it packed some serious punches.

The family involved used electricity like you would not believe. Almost three times the national average I recall.

Penney worked her magic and transformed them and their understanding. By the end of the show they got the point. But have they kept it up?

Post Penney's visit, the family have dramatically reduced their energy consumption; electrical appliances are switched off when not in use and the spa, since the time setting and insulation was installed, is now only heated for four hours a day instead of 24.

The family have continued using natural cleaning products in the house and use natural potpourri instead of air fresheners. They're still using the energy-saving light bulbs, but occasionally the girls slip back to their old ways of leaving the lights on at night.

Penney really focused on solutions: wood stove instead of electric heaters, efficient light-bulbs, natural cleaning methods (if people knew what was in regular cleaning products they would run a mile) and even home-made pot pourri instead of plug-in air fresheners.

Helping people realise that being green is easy is they key. Being green does not mean giving up luxury.

Penney did not want the Dad to give up his luxury spa bath - she just wanted him to put it on a timer instead of leaving it on 24/7 and save energy with an insulated cover. No hardship really!

The series overall has left us with the following thoughts to meditate on - if we could all think about one a month then what a different world we would live in next year:

Think about the electricity you use
Can you be more energy efficient? Why be energy inefficient? Where does your electricity come from? How it is produced? What difference does the energy production process make to the world? How can you find out? Where does it go when you are done with it? Are there alternatives? How would that benefit the planet? How would that benefit you today? What about in 50 years? Are you addicted to electricity? What would happen if your electricity were cut off? Could you live with out it? How? Prove it - take an energy vacation for a weekend!

Think about the water you use
Do you waste water? Why? Would water efficiency benefit you today? What about in 50 years? Where does your water come from? How it is produced? How is it prepared for you? Where does it go when you are done with it? How can you find out? Are you addicted to water wastage? What would happen if the tap ran dry? Where would you get your clean water from? How much water would you need to survive?

Think about the food you eat
Is it natural or processed? Does it have chemicals added to it? Why? What could those chemicals do to you? What could they do to the planet? How can you find out? Where was the food grown or produced? Who produced or grew it? How was it produced or grown? Did producing or growing it harm the environment? Did they get paid a wwage you would consider fair? Why should they get a fair wage? Were any animals mistreated? Could they have been treated better? Could the food have been better produced? What difference would that make to you or the planet? How did it get to your table? Did it travel needlessly around the world to get to the table? Did it have needless plastic packaging? Are there alternatives? What would happen if you had to find food without shops? Where would you go? How and what would you eat?

Think about the stuff you throw away
Why are you throwing it away? Can it be repaired? Can it be recycled? Can it be reused? Could it be useful to someone else? Why not sell it or give it away on Freecycle? Why should someone else have it when you paid for it? Why should you care about running out of landfill space? How can you find out?

Think about the stuff you buy
Who made it? How? How did making it affect the planet? What do they do with the money you give them for it? Do they do things with that money you would not do or want done to you and your world? Do you know? How can you find out? Do you care? Why not? What would make you care? Did you need or want it? If you wanted it why did you want it? Did having it make you feel better? How long did you use it for? Where is it now? Was it worth it? Is there an alternative?

Thanks Penney! See you next year back on our screens hopefully. And for those of you in the US remember to visit and tell them you want this show released. And if you live somewhere else well if you don't ask you won't get! Ask your tv stations to get it.



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Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Don't know what the Starbucks Challenge is? Start here

On our way home via Victoria Station last night we stopped in to the Starbucks in the station facing the public bus station - the ones with all the red buses and not the long distance bus station further up the road.

I asked for a cup of fairtrade coffee and am delighted to say I had absolutely no problem getting a cup of Fairtrade coffee whatsoever.

They had a big tank of it brewing and they did not flinch. Tasted good too. Normally I do not do coffee as I find it gets me this challenge is gonna be fun. WAHOO!

I suspect that as Fairtrade is quite well developed here in the UK getting Fairtrade coffee at Starbucks in the UK is gonna be easier than Green LA Girl has found it to be stateside.

Overall I imagine that the UK experience should be less stressful than the US experience.

The Starbucks Challenge is a kind of global survey of just how easy it is to get a cup of fairtrade coffee in Starbucks. But we need your help. We want you to take part next time you pass a here to find out how to participate, and who is participating, in the Starbucks Challenge.

Any thoughts?



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FEATURE: Starbucks Challenge

Regardless of politics, most of us agree on one thing:

If a company makes a promise, it should stick to it.

According to its own policy, Starbucks will make Fair Trade coffee for you, any day of the week, in any of the 23 countries it is licensed to sell Fair Trade including: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.K. and the U.S.

But just how easy is it to get a Fair Trade coffee in a Starbucks in one of those countries?

We aim to find out.

Join the challenge:
1) Simply visit your local Starbucks and ask: "Could I get a cup of fair trade coffee?"

2) Tell us what happened next. Was it hard or easy to get a cup? Watch out for posts by us and others on this blog.

BLOGGERS: simply blog about what happened and tag it with "starbuckschallenge" (all one word) on (put the Starbucks location in the "extended" description).

To enable us all to easily keep up with contributions to the challenge we have created a feed of all posts about the Starbucks Challenge below.

ALSO help us get feedback by telling people about this challenge on your blogs.

NON-BLOGGERS: tell us what happened by emailing us at Image hosted by or, and we'll do the rest.

Survey results
When the survey has gathered enough feedback we'll get in touch with Starbucks and find out what their response is and how they intend to solve the problem, if any. If there's no problem, then Starbucks gets tons of good free publicity.

Win a prize
Oh yeah…we nearly forgot to mention…we have got a prize to give away, two actually. On Halloween, we'll select two people who contributed to win either:

- A 2 lb bag of Monkey & Son's Velvet Hammer fairtrade organic coffee.
- A selection of fairtrade Tea, Coffee & Hot Chocolate from those lovely people at Clipper Teas.

To win, simply contribute an amusing and informative post/email. Our favorite ones win -- regardless of whether you have a good or bad experience.

Have a fairtrade day

City Hippy and green LA girl

Useful posts:
The Launch, 2.0, 3.0, Activism 2.0 (analysis of new wave of consumer activism), FAQ, challenges ( and finally the ever developing Google Map.

Latest contributions:

(Full feed at:

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