Carbon Crusaders

SXSW Sustainability??
March 8, 2008, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

When we learned three weeks ago that we’d had been selected as finalists for a web award, we were ecstatic. Here was not only the excuse we’d been looking for to come down to SXSW, but also a great opportunity to push sustainability at one of the country’s most respected interactive, film and music festivals. We sped up our preparations for an interactive display that we are launching with bands and events this summer. The SXSW “Interactive Carbon Tree” would act as a powerful tool for SXSW conference attendees to participate in grass roots green initiative.


What is alarming is that SXSW is attempting to address sustainability issues, but just not doing a very good job of it. They are purchasing renewable energy credits to offset the conference’s emissions – now standard for any conference wanting to brand itself as “sustainable”. They are also however, consuming the equivalent of acres and acres of trees in useless promotional materials – the life blood of sponsorship commerce that drives these events. We needed only to peek behind the curtain of the gift bag desks to see an entire warehouse filled with thousands more – so big that SXSW volunteers drove around on pitchfork cars to grab bags and bring them to the desks well out of view (not to worry, the electric vehicles’ emissions were probably offset). More troubling, was that these bags were filled with 12 pounds of absolute crap – Isn’t this an INTERACTIVE conference (ok for music and film), you’d be hard press to find a group of people less inclined to look through pounds of paper flyers, handouts and stickers:

The truth is, this is standard for events and making events emerald “green” isn’t going to change the world – the people who attend them and the companies they run will. That is exactly why we wanted to get people engaged in an initiative we designed to reduce our collective environmental impact here and beyond these two weeks in Austin (read more…).

Unfortunately due to the sponsorship issues we were unable to work with SXSW on the initiative because we didn’t have the kind of cash lying around necessary to do anything official…oh, and when we tried to promote the Green Initiative guerrilla style at the event, a SXSW employee was kind enough to tell us security would be called if we didn’t cease doing so, because “people pay a lot of money to promote at SXSW.”

As a result of getting shut down by “the man”, we are looking to promote the event virtually. We have developed html widgets for the SXSW group that track all the users and their respective carbon reductions in real time. If you are interested in mobilizing greening of SXSW from the grassroots, you can help the initiative by embedding the following widget in your blog or site and spread the word:


Code: <script type=”text/javascript”




MakeMeSustainable Officially Launched
July 2, 2007, 8:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hello all,

We are proud to announce that after close to three years of idea grinding and burning the midnight oil (metaphorically and sustainably speaking), Beta opened its doors today. The site was designed to be a vehicle for connecting concern for the environment with behavior. About empowering people to affect change in their lives and communities.

We look forward to seeing you online and we welcome as much feedback as possible (we’re a beta). So please feel free to contact us through the MMS feedback loop on the website. We can also be reached at Now get out there and move, act, and help build this community for change.

Ben, David, and Adam

What is Sustainability?
June 19, 2007, 6:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

A friend recently asked us to define the term “Sustainable.”

What was a rather simple question stimulated 4 hours of debate – a likely result for three people who have devoted the past 3 years to an endeavor that is centered around the concept.

We will not recount the evening of rants and flying objects below. Rather, some thoughts…

To be sustainable is to consciously and systematically strive to improve our environmental, economic and financial future for an individual, family and community. Sustainability reaches beyond our personalized actions. To be sustainable we need to educate, share and empower others to participate in the environmental and economic savings. Sustainability revolves around the idea of spreading the word, gathering the masses and creating avenues for positive change in order to make a lasting difference. Individually each of us is a drop in the bucket. Together we make a splash. This is the importance of infusing the ideas of sustainability into a community movement.

The discussion moved into a debate about the difference between “green” and “sustainable”.

Green connotes environmentally friendly attitudes and actions, but it fails to emphasize a long-term relationship between us and the environment. In addition, key to the concept of “Sustainability” is economic sustainability, and the understanding that many environmentally positive actions are associated with financial savings. Sustainability speaks to the idea that “being green earns you green,” and every unit of energy saved has an economic benefit. The new green awareness is inspiring , but to sustain it’s momentum it will have to be more than an upper-middle class cause.

We then touched on the linkage between “sustainability” and “organic”, “local” and “natural” products.

Organic once meant locally, small scale production goods. This is no longer the case with agribusiness realizing large economies of scale with mass-organic production, while reaping the price premium at the register. Locally produced goods should be championed, both from an environmental and financial perspective. Environmentally, local goods require less transportation, less packaging and less waste. Financially, locally produced goods keep financial benefits and jobs from the production process flowing back into the community (For an excellent read on this subject, see Bill McKibben’s, “Deep Economy.”)

MMS Blog off and Running
June 5, 2007, 4:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Finally! MakeMeSustainable has been off the ground and running, but our blogging skills have been lagging behind. For those of you who do not know us, we are an environmental, action-based website designed to provide individuals and small businesses with the tools necessary to take control of their environmental impact in the face of growing climate uncertainty.

MakeMeSustainable developed out a realization that many of our friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances were concerned about the current state of global warming & climate change, but lacked a resource to gauge where their responsibility started and ultimately how to take action.

We’re excited to unveil our site in the next month. Check back on in June and July for the official launch date.

MakeMeSustainable Founders