The Green Stars Project: now with categories!

Hola, amigos! It has been more than a month since my last post; my longest blogging gap since I started the Daily Footprint posts almost two years ago. I wasn’t ignoring my blog (or yours!) – I decided to add categories to this GSP site so that the posts will be somewhat organized. Since every post had to be edited to add it to a category, I ended up reading through them all (71 of them!) and making minor edits / updates. I also wrote a short intro text for each category.

And since I’ve been taking a trip down memory lane I figured I may as well drag you along too! Here are my five shiny new categories and one fairly early post in each one that I think is worth mentioning.

GSP Site Categories:

Anatomy of a green stars review

This “anatomy of” an ethical review of Nestlé’s Kit Kat Matcha was one of my first blog posts. Around three years ago, the Nestlé matcha-flavored Kit Kat was pretty much the top-selling product on the entire Amazon US site (and a huge hit in Japan) so I posted a Green Stars review on Amazon that considered the social and environmental impact of Nestlé. It was not a very easy task: Nestlé is the largest food company in the world and has some impressive controversies and corporate shenanigans under its belt. It’s also a bit tricky telling people (who just wanted to get their hands on the sweet, trendy, Insta-friendly product) some things they probably didn’t really want to hear. At some stage I need to write a post about being tactful versus preachy 😉

Nestlé Kit-Kat, matcha flavor.
        Nestlé Kit-Kat, matcha flavor

Corporate propaganda

In 2016, I wrote a post based on an interesting and well-researched book called Proteinaholic, which looks at the many problems of a diet that’s high in animal protein and the industry that wants you to just relax and eat more meat. While conducting research for the post I came across a pretty clear case of corporate propaganda in the form of a scientific paper. The paper, purporting to analyze a US nutrition survey, was clearly a vehicle to deliver the message that Americans should eat more protein (even though they already eat too much of it). The author, who ran a consulting firm, received funding from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Ethical shopping guide

This is the largest category of posts and includes most of the Daily Footprint posts. The goal is not to provide the definitive ethical shopping guide, but rather to discuss the factors that go into deciding on a Green Stars rating (with examples). My first post in this category was on the social and environmental impact of energy bars. One lesson here for me was to always be skeptical of brand image: in this case, the image that Kind Snacks has carefully nurtured. The other lesson I learned was that energy bars are very easy to make, and also a great way of using up those seeds, lurking in your cupboard 😉

How to measure social and environmental impact

This category is also about how to write Green Stars reviews, but usually asking the question: where do you start? These guides to ethical restaurants in Santa Barbara and Davis, California, provide pointers on how to do a little research, both onsite and online, to help you decide on a rating.

View of Santa Barbara from the County Courthouse
Santa Barbara, California

Social and environmental issues

These posts look at broad issues as they relate to ethical consumerism. This post take a look at the impact of organic versus conventional farming, taking the example of a food staple: bread.

That’s about it for me for now. One last thing: don’t forget that there’s a recurring competition to encourage you to write your own Green Stars reviews! 

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