Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vermont family launches GreenFoot car magnets

A homeschooling family in Vermont has launched Go Greenfoot, a campaign to build awareness around reducing one's carbon footprint. They have designed car magnets, available for $6 each or 2 for $10, that announce to the world that you are working to reduce your "footprint."

What started out as a school project to raise environmental awareness has turned into a business for the Emmons family, who created the "Greenfoot" car magnet. David Emmons, his wife Janet, and their three children, Maxson, 19, Katie, 13, and Abbie, 11, are using this project to spread the message of the importance of living “Green”.

As a school project that applied hands-on practical application, the girls were asked to think of a way to raise awareness on the impact an individual's lifestyle can have on the environment and to let people know how easy it can be to reduce a person's carbon footprint. After considering billboards and other ideas, the family decided to work together on creating car magnets. "We all figured it would be something you could see all the time," Janet Emmons said.

The family went right to work. “Our daily life became all about artwork, trademarks, copyrights, packaging, displays, and more artwork, we each had a part to play in this creative process,” David said.

“We determined from the start that we would have everything made locally so that the children would see first hand the positive impact you can have on our own community,” their mother said. With the help of a local print shop to print the package the magnet is sold with and a Hubbardton blacksmith to make displays out of recycled products, the children were able to watch every step of the process.

Through the process the family incorporated school and life lessons in art, marketing, advertising and much more, but what the family learned most was the importance of living green and the impact individuals can have on the world.

"I learned that by doing little things in your daily life, little things like recycling and turning off lights when you leave a room, can really help," Katie said. “I’ve always tried to recycle … but now I really think about things like ‘I should probably turn this off,’” she said. “I’m definitely more aware of it now.”

Maxson said one thing he learned was the effect anyone, including families in small-town Vermont, can have on their world. “It’s been exciting to watch this whole thing take off,” he added.

The lessons learned were exactly what their mother said she had hoped for at the beginning of the project.
”The main thing I wanted them to learn is that they can make a difference. So many times people feel powerless in the world and I think they learned that everybody doing a little can affect the world,” she said.

Since hitting store shelves in June, the “Greenfoot” magnets’ popularity is growing. The family routinely spots the magnets as they travel around Vermont, David Emmons said. Although he said it is exciting to see magnets on what he calls “vehicles of awareness,” the family sees this as the beginning wave of people committing to a lifestyle of living “green”. “Our dream is to raise awareness all across the country,” their father said.

To help make this dream come true, the family has constructed a Web site at www.gogreenfoot.com. The site allows people to share what they are doing to live a “greener” life, get tips on what they can do to help and learn more about the project. You can buy your Greenfoot magnet on the site and storeowners will find information on how to order them for their stores.

No comments: