Smartliving Guide:Treehugging goes Mass Market

We often worry and wonder how to take the message of sustainability and living a green lifestyle mainstream. In our local market, we see that others share this view- a non-profit charitable organization Eneract has been established "to act as a catalyst and implementer of a sustainable energy future for the Toronto area". Bundled with our local lifestyle mag's end-of-year "stars, scandals, mischief and mayhem" issue was this little smartliving guide, full of socially responsible investments, our favourite electricity supplier Bullfrog, treehugger finds like Grassroots and many others that dear readers will learn about soon. There is barely a greenwasher among the advertisers and many of the local companies are well-known and reputable. (we bought our Christmas Eve dinner from the Healthy Butcher and it was the best we ever had).

It is an interesting approach- they call it smart living, happy home, low key, being socially responsible is easy. We are really excited that our bank has invested in it and every subscriber to Toronto Life has received it.

On the downside, while the idea of taking sustainablilty mainstream is wonderful, the execution is not. Graphically and organizationally the website and the magazine are less than exciting. So many people are doing wonderful online marketing but the website is sooo three years ago and dry as dust. As for the handbook, It doesn't sell, it lectures- "The decisions you make when buying products and services are very important. They impact on you, your health and our planet." That makes us just want to run out and shop green (although we run from anyone who uses impact as a verb). They should farm it out next year to the Toronto Life City Guide people, whose restaurant and shopping guides still fill our drawers from years ago- If Green is going to go mainstream it has to be cool, fun and make you just want to be part of it. This booklet and website do not. ::SmartLiving Guide