Don't Be Shy. Make a Difference with Horny Toad's 9 in '09 Program

Horny Toad, the Californian maker of the outdoor lifestyle clothing, launched its 9 in '09 Make a Difference program at the start of March. You've heard of the phrase, "blind leading the blind," well, this is more like the 'brave leading the brave.' Customers are encouraged to list, on the 9 in '09 webpage, the steps they have taken to live a more sustainable life. In return they earn $9 in Toad Bucks to spend on clothing at participating Horny Toad dealers or HT's online. Additionally on the 9th and the 19th of each month they'll be drawing names of participants to win a $99 gift certificate, with all going in the draw for a grand prize of $999 worth of Horny Toad gear.

What's inspiring is that almost 200 people have, to date, already logged in to discuss the greening they've committed to for this year. One participant in the 9 in '09 Make a Difference program wrote how they would engage:

All heirloom seeds in the garden this year. Take the kid camping and get her in nature. Refuse to be overwhelmed and afraid in reaction to negative news stories. Smile at people. Give what I can to folks in need.

Another pledged, in part, to:

... recycle all that I can and compost all the vegetable and plant matter to help out with the landfill problems. At Christmas I gave all of my friends grocery bags and will encourage them to use them with all their shopping. I'll buy locally as able and support my CSA weekly. I volunteer at a botanical garden during the summers

And one more said, (complete with enthusiastic spelling errors):

... there is so much we can do, and I am so happy to read all of the good things people are doing. I am excited to have just come together with some of my community members to set up a car pool to school, I will continue to bring the community together and work on a car pooling schedual. as well as overall community organization, a key to sustainabilty. Yeah, good job Horney Toad. Keep this up, we are raising consiousness and getting our voices heard.

To help keep it up, Horny Toad provides a list of nine ways to make a difference in 2009, with web links to further related information. We're flattered that they felt our own primer on paper or plastic shopping bags was worthy of inclusion.

This campaign follows on from the similar Horny Toad's 2008 initiative, "Spread the Warmth," whereby customers received a discount for talking about the clothing they donated to thrift stores.

Admittedly, such programs are marketing initiatives to encourage people to buy more Horny Toad clothining. But that's fair game, as Horny Toad are a for-profit company, not a community charity. But it may be that it's reach into enthusing customers to take environmental action and write about it has far greater benefit than the impact of more purchases. For it has been proven by Community Based Social Marketing that once you get people to commit to something in writing they are more likely to actually follow through, compared to just talking about doing so orally. And further more once they have taken small steps, like those listed by Horny Toad, they are more likely to take on greater significant change.

And besides, Horny Toad make clothes from a range of more eco benign materials. They took under their financial wing the eco-outdoor clothier, Nau. They established a shipping company, Planet Access, that supports employment of adults with developmental disabilities. And more.

Check out ::Horny Toad's 9 in '09 Make a Difference program for yourself.

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Image credit: adapted from Horny Toad

Tags: Biking | Charities | Clothing | Community Supported Agriculture | Consumerism | Recycling | Reusability