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Earth Deeds Holiday Update

Dear Earth Deeds Supporters,

Peace Joy and LightWe send you warm wishes for a wonderful Holiday Season and a New Year filled with Peace and Happiness.  Just as we have faith that the light will return following the Winter Solstice, so too do we at Earth Deeds have faith that 2014 will be a year marked by greater understanding, compassion, and … Carbon Consciousness!

And with that segue, here’s what’s been happening at Earth Deeds since we last shared:

  • Donate to Earth Deeds: Because folks were asking, we set up a dedicated donations page to support Earth Deeds helping others become carbon conscious and fund projects working for a healthy planet.  Thank you for your generous support!*
  • Transforming Earth Deeds Carbon Emissions: For 2013, we calculated that our business travel emitted 2.96 mT of CO2 (largely due to flights to conferences).  Based on best estimates of the true cost of this carbon, we are donating $107 to the Wind Turbine Project at the Sirius Community.  This donation does not make us “carbon neutral” and we will continue to support this and other projects in every way possible.
  • Updated Language: Informed by insights from 38 survey respondents (thank you if you were one of them!), we are now using the following terminology to describe Earth Deeds in just a few words:
    • Tag Line: “Transforming Carbon Footprints”
    • Ecolabel: “Carbon Conscious Certification”
    • Twitter Pitch: “Earth Deeds offers innovative online tools for understanding and then transforming carbon footprints through supporting sustainability projects.”
  • Pilots: We are excited to be working with CISabroad to help them measure the carbon footprints of all their 2013 programs and donate to 10 projects in their host communities. Upcoming pilots in 2014 include CELL’s Spring Semester in Central America, PLU, and a few Ecovillage Design Education courses.
  • New Videos:  Check out our new 2-Minute Overview video and let us know what you think!  I’m also working on a 5-part video series to help Earth Deeds users better understand climate change and how we can best respond.  We intend to share them with you one by one in early 2014 to get your feedback.
  • Echoing Green: While we haven’t had much luck with entrepreneurial competitions, we’re still applying as they help us better articulate what we do and often offer excellent feedback.  Next up is Echoing Green.  Wish us luck!
  • University Classes: We enjoyed working with a UMass Social Entrepreneurship class that took on Earth Deeds as their case study.  One of their suggestions was to use more social media.  Perhaps I’ll ask my teenage daughter to teach me how to use Instagram!  I also recently offered a 90-minute seminar on climate change via Skype to a group of students studying at Kibbutz Lotan in Israel.  Fun!

That’s all for now.  Thanks again everyone for your incredible support and we’ll be in touch again next year!!

In community,

Daniel Greenberg, Ph.D.
CEO, Earth Deeds

* Please Note: Earth Deeds is a social venture incorporated as a Low-Profit Limited Liability Corporation (L3C).  As such, any donations are not tax deductible.  Please contact us if you would like more information on L3Cs or how donations are used at Earth Deeds.

Earth Deeds Update – 11/7/13

Dear Earth Deeds Supporters,

A quick post-Halloween joke:  Why do ghosts like elevators?  Because they raise their spirits! I hope this Earth Deeds update will raise your spirits as we share what’s been happening with Earth Deeds in the last month or so.

  • Pilots: We’re continuing to pilot Earth Deeds in order to test and develop our beta-site and we’re ready for more!  Please let us know if you have an event you would like to make Climate Conscious and/or a Project you think others might want to support.  Thanks!
  • Academic Pilots:  We’re particularly excited about dialogues we’ve started with Second Nature, which manages the American College and University President’s Climate Committement (ACUPCC), about using Earth Deeds offering an alternative to “climate neutrality” and a way for campuses to become climate conscious and support campus and community-based sustainability projects.  And Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) has committed to being our first pilot university!
  • Events:I presented Earth Deeds at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference on Oct. 7 and there was lots of interest, especially among campus Sustainability Directors.  I then attended the Social Venture Network conference on Oct. 17-20 where I received excellent advice from some extraordinary entrepreneurs and welcomed a new Core Advisor — Gifford Pinchot, the Founder and President of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.  And Shanti recently received a lot of interest and helpful feedback while talking about Earth Deeds at the Connecting for Change conference from Oct. 25-27.  More to come!
  • Beta-Site: We recently redesigned our home page, incorporated an advanced search of over 112,000 global sustainability projects via the Wiser Earth database, and started a Blog where you can view this and older updates.  Lot’s more to come!
  • Competitions: We were excited to pitch to the Valley Venture Mentors on Sept. 25, but it made us realize we should stick with more sustainability focused competitions and incubators such as the Social Innovation Forum (which we were personally invited to apply to), Echoing Green, and the William James Foundation.  Let us know if you know of others we should consider.
  • Funding: We were thrilled to receive our third infusion of start-up capital a few weeks ago and now have an Executive Overview and Business Plan we feel good about sharing with other potential investors.  Please let us know if you or others might like to see these materials.
  • Valhalla Interview ThumbnailInterview: Check out this video interview by some members of Valhalla, a growing ecovillage in Montreal whose intent is to make sustainability sexy and mainstream!  The first 14 minutes have some crazy video angles as their primary camera had a technical glitch.

Thank you all for your ongoing interest and support of Earth Deeds.  Please let us know if you have any thoughts and/or if you have an Event or Project you would like to pilot with us.  Take care and I look forward to hearing from you.

In community,
– Daniel

Earth Deeds Update – 7/27/13

Hello Earth Deeds Supporters!

GAIA EDU LogoI’m just back from 3 weeks at Findhorn (Scotland) and Schweibenalp (Switzerland) attending the ICSA and GEN-Europe conferences, a Joanna Macy workshop, and Board Meetings of GEN, ICSA, and Gaia Education. Whew! It was exhilarating, inspiring, and also really valuable for Earth Deeds. Here’s some updates:

First Paying Pilot: I was very excited to work with around 50 members of NextGEN , the youth program of GEN to measure the carbon footprint of their travel to Schweibenalp (19.35mT) and to raise over $700 for two NextGEN projects: a Nature Youth Camp in Thailand and a Regional Schools and Collleges Permaculture (ReSCOPE) Programme in Zimbabwe. How cool is that?!

New Partners/Pilots: There’s lots of interest among organizations to work with Earth Deeds! Examples include:

Joanna Macy Endorsement: I felt truly blessed to receive Joanna’s enthusiastic endorsement of Earth Deeds. She really wants to see it succeed and offered the following statement we can use with our materials:

“To all Earth beings wanting to be a part of the Great Turning, Earth Deeds offers invaluable tools to help us measure our ecological impacts and transform them into positive action in our world. I plan to use it.”

Minimal Viable Product: We are continuing to develop our Beta site to make it more functional and easier to use. Some recent new features include tools for Teams to crowdfund beyond their members and the ability for Team Administrators to view all team emissions and contributions at once. Up next are to get our Facebook login working properly and to redesign our homepage. Please let us know if you’d like access to our Beta site.

CTO Mentor: Although we were not selected as semi-finalists in the Clean Tech Open competition, we were still matched with a Mentor, which was a large reason we entered in the first place. We’re excited to be working with Suzanne Oakley from New England CFO Strategies in Boston!

Funding: Last, but far from least, I’m pleased to announce we received another grant that will keep us going for the next few months. I’m also planning a trip to Boulder, CO in September where there has been growing interest among some angel investors. Fingers crossed!

Take care everyone and thanks again for your support! Feel free to contact us with any thoughts, questions, or suggestions!

In community,
– Daniel

Earth Deeds Update – 6/4/13

Dear Earth Deeds Dudes and Dudettes (say that 10x fast!),

Thank you for your ongoing support of Earth Deeds and our efforts to help groups and individuals measure and transform their environmental impacts and support sustainability projects. There’s lots of details happening that I won’t bore you with, but here are some bigger news items.

First Investment. We’re excited and grateful to receive our first actual investment. Woo hoo! Beyond general merriment, this has been a good catalyst for us to create “Term Sheets” with fun phrases like “Convertible Securities” and “Qualified Financing”. We are hopeful we will get to use these documents many times over the coming months.

Minimal Viable Product. Our Beta Site recently got a graphic design makeover and we are now working on our check-out system so we can finally accept financial contributions and send funds directly to sustainability projects!

Competitions: We didn’t get into the finalist round of the Clean Tech Open, but we did qualify for their Team Development Program and are excited for the feedback and mentorship this will provide. We continue to be hopeful about our applications to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, Grand Challenges Explorations, and the Valley Venture Mentors. We’ll also be applying to more competitions in the Fall.

Holacracy. We’re continuing to incorporate this “social technology for purposeful organizations” and were grateful to receive some local coaching to have our first official “Governance” and “Tactical” meetings. It feels a bit clumsy taking these first baby steps, but believe we are creating the foundational skills for a nimble and distributive organization that can continue to evolve over time.

Upcoming Events. Spirit willing, I’ll travel to Findhorn (Scotland) and Switzerland from June 24-July 14 to attend the ICSA and GEN-Europe conferences, a Joanna Macy workshop, and Board Meetings of GEN and Gaia Education. For Earth Deeds, I hope pilot our tools with some Findhorn programs and at the GEN-Europe conference, and to register some projects, especially from some GEN-Africa ecovillages.

Thanks again for your support (like us on Facebook, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter if you haven’t already) and let us know us you have any thoughts or questions.

In community,
– Daniel

Earth Deeds Update – 5/10/13

Dear Earth Deeds Supporters,

We hope you are all well and enjoying the budding leaves of spring. My daughter, Pema, planted two sunflower seeds during Earth Day a few weeks ago and, like Earth Deeds, they are starting to sprout. I am confident they will all grow beautiful and strong.  Okay, here’s what’s new…

Eco-Rep LogoFirst Pilot Completed. The Sustainable Living class I co-taught this semester measured its carbon footprint (39.8 mT), set an “Onsetting” goal of $836 (at a rate of $21/mT), and raised $876 for the UMass Eco-Rep program, which will use these funds to create eco-literacy projects on campus. It worked!! Read all about it here.

Reduction Tools. Also for that project, Shanti and I developed a Carbon Reduction Calculator and students collectively committed to reducing 55.9 mT through simple actions such as washing clothes in cold water and tuning up their cars. This tool helps build users’ “vocabulary” to better understand the carbon footprints of everyday activities and make more informed choices.

Competitions. We were sad to learn we did not make it to the semi-finalist round of MassChallenge, but look forward to receiving judge’s feedback in the next few weeks. We also recently applied to two more competitions: the Clean Tech Open and the Grand Challenges in Global Health. Wish us luck!

Attracting Interest. Our Facebook page now has over 200 followers, and well over 100 people have visited our new Landing Page and Follow-up Survey. Please help promote these to others you feel might be interested. Thanks!

Holacracy. Shanti returned from the intro workshop inspired and we are now intending to incorporate this “social technology for purposeful organizations” into our operating agreements. We’re excited to deepen our understanding and practice over time.

carbon-certificate36New Design. We’re working with a designer to make the beta-site more attractive and user-friendly and also to create our “Carbon Conscious” ecolabel, team and project widgets and other details. Funding. We’ve narrowed down a list of >350 Angel Investors/Groups to around 20 that we intend to start approaching over the coming weeks. Please let us know if you have leads to other potential investors. Thanks!

Thanks again everyone for all your support and insights. Feel free to contact us if you have thoughts or questions.

In community,
– Daniel

1st Teamfunding Request To Sustainable Living Class Spring 2013

Happy Earth Day!  What a perfect day to contribute to our UMass Eco-Reps Teamfunding Campaign to acknowledge our individual and collective carbon footprints from participating in the Sustainable Living class.  As a reminder, your personal footprint is << Test CO2 >> mT and your suggested contribution is << Test Onset >>.

Please go to the campaign and donate at least << Test Onset >> TODAY, so we can meet our goal of $836 this week.  Thanks!!