Having conquered radio, print and the Internet, this month, green guru (and MNN columnist) Josh Dorfman expands his Lazy Environmentalist franchise to television with an eponymous weekly program on Sundance Channel, beginning June 16. “The mission of the show is to show people that green can be whatever they want it to be and that you can have fun doing it,” Dorfman sums up. “It’s a serious topic, a serious issue, but the solutions and how we approach them can be enjoyable.”
In episodes of the series, Dorfman will endeavor to help green-ify a hair stylist, interior designer, a private chef, school principal, a bride-to-be and a family of four with doable solutions to their problems. ”I’m not going to tell you to do things that when I leave I know you’re not going to do,” he says. “I look for choices that are easy. If they work for me, I think they’re going to work for a lot of other people, too.”
These include installing an Evolve low-flow showerhead to save water, heating energy and money as a result, switching from bottled water to a Brita water filter or pitcher, and reducing clutter and saving trees by paying Green Dimes to eliminate your junk mail. Dorfman also recommends “good and affordable cleaning products” like Green Works. “They’re natural, biodegradable and they work, so why not make your home healthier?” he adds. And for those who can’t afford to invest in solar paneling their roofs, “There are companies that will install solar for you -- you pay them for the power that the panels produce. If it costs $80 a month and you save $100 on your energy bill, you come out ahead.”
Dorfman, a native New Yorker, did not grow up eco-conscious. While living in China and teaching English, he began working part-time at a bicycle lock company, and came to realize that one billion Chinese would rather be driving cars than riding bikes. The planet-burdening ramifications of that “was my environmental epiphany,” he says. “You can’t stop what we call progress. But how do you bring the economy and people’s lifestyles into balance with nature while recognizing that people will want to improve their quality of life? I did a lot of research and a lot of thinking to understand this issue. But because I am lazy and an environmentalist I started thinking about what I can do in my own life. Can I shop differently? Can I invest my money in a mutual fund that supports eco-friendly companies? Can I buy eco-friendly clothing?” he says, pointing out that his tee shirt and jacket are made from recycled materials.
Dorfman is also the founder of a sustainable contemporary furniture company called Vivavi, and as the self-described “curator,” collects the best pieces green designers have to offer. “People are spending more time at home, nesting more, and I wanted to find esthetically pleasing choices that said ‘green is the best design on the planet,’ because then there’s no sacrifice,” he explains, glad to have a hand in altering the way consumers think about green. “What’s very gratifying is that people come into the showroom and say, ‘Where’s the eco-friendly stuff?’”
In April, Dorfman published The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget, a sequel to his 2007 best seller “with the added filter of price -- solutions that are super stylish but more affordable.” Among his suggestions: Internet sites that promote reusing and recycling goods rather than buying new. These include the fashion exchange site Swapstyle.com, Neighborrow.com, where users lend and borrow goods, Paperbackswap.com, SwapaCD.com, and Goozex.com, a trading community for gamers. “It’s a way to get the things you want, but save money and consume less,” says Dorfman.
What’s next for the eco-friendly entrepreneur? He’s interested in green real estate as possible future venture. “I’d like to live in a community that’s very well designed so you had shared green space, organic gardens,” he says. “It’s probably down the road, but I’m thinking about it.”
Want more Lazy Environmentalist? Check out his columns right here on MNN.
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