About

A large part of the site is dedicated to social and environmental topics, from palm oil and pesticides to less obvious subjects like the Paleo diet and carbs. There are also many case studies on evaluating everyday items in the ethical shopping guide category. All of this is leading to the main goal of the Green Stars Project: to encourage you to think about ethical consumerism as part of daily life, in part by writing Green Stars reviews.

About Me and the Green Stars Project: I have worked as a research scientist (BS in Microbiology, PhD in Molecular Biology) for the last 20 years (Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of California, Berkeley).

I want the project to remain true to its original aim and I have no plans to look for funding. I want it to be a social movement and the whole point is for individuals to express their opinions and a contribute to a collective voice, rather than for any single entity to have control. No revenue is generated from the project.

Goal of the Project:  To amend the widespread gold star rating system by incorporating a second independent green star rating system based on social and environmental impact.

Consequences of this:

  1. It will create a culture where we think about the upstream and downstream impacts of our purchases just as much as quality and price of the product or service.
  2. It will provide a medium that allows us to vote as consumers for the companies and products that we believe represent a better future for the planet and its inhabitants (and influence other consumers in turn).
  3. It will be a highly-visible platform for us to share information on corporate activities that we believe are not beneficial for society and the planet (and again educate and influence other consumers).

What can I do?  Start writing reviews of the products and services you use on whatever website or app you like (e.g, retailers such as Amazon and review sites such as Yelp) incorporating both the traditional gold star rating and the new green star rating. Note: the reviews should be posted on the sites we all use to review products and services (not here) because we want them to be highly visible.  However, you are welcome to also post your review here if you’d like it to serve as an example or to start a discussion.

What are Green Stars?

Overview: The Green Stars Project (GSP) is a simple idea for dealing with unethical corporate practices by impacting companies at their most sensitive point: their revenue. It allows every person with internet access to express their opinion regarding the social and environmental impacts of a product or service on any site that includes customer reviews. The existing ratings scales, usually in the form of gold stars, take into account the quality and price of a product or service. These gold star ratings, whether on retailers such as Amazon or review sites such as Yelp, greatly influence our purchasing decisions as consumers. The introduction of green star ratings will allow us to also take into account the other factors besides quality and price – the factors that determine the quality of life on this planet.

There has been a growth in awareness of the influence of corporate activities on our quality of life over the past few decades, and the level of dissatisfaction with various industries such as food, clothing, electronics, banking, and energy has grown significantly. This is evidenced by the popularity of numerous documentaries and books exposing unethical practices in these industries and, of course, by movements such as Occupy.

So, what are the issues that we mean to address by introducing a green star rating system?

Green Star Rating Criteria

This list is not exhaustive and is presented in no particular order:

  • Unfair working conditions, child labor, and slavery
  • Exploitation of the planet’s resources; deforestation; pollution
  • Excessive greenhouse gas emissions and water usage
  • Use of harmful ingredients and materials
  • Lack of effort to reduce waste generation and increase recyclable or compostable content
  • Enormous salary disparities between upper management and the majority of workers
  • Gender inequality
  • Mistreatment of animals
  • Abuse of corporate power in the form of political lobbying and legal pressure
  • Tax evasion
  • Lack of monitoring of the material supply chain and oversight of subcontractors
  • Negative impacts on local communities

Basically, we are making a statement on whether or not we want to fund these activities. Make no mistake, by buying a company’s products we are endorsing the activities they carry out. There are already specialized sources for information regarding some of the issues above (you’ll find a listing of some good resources here) but there are important reasons why we need a highly visible rating system that represents the voice of the people. A key point of the Green Stars Project is that it allows every person to weigh in with their opinion on the issues that matter most to them. Very few individuals have the specialized knowledge to evaluate all of the social and environmental impacts of a company. That’s why we need opinions from all walks of life: biologists, social scientists, farmers and food industry workers, activists, factory workers, lawyers, chemists, healthcare workers, political and financial analysts, teachers, etc. etc. Some people may have personal experiences dealing with the company in question that could provide valuable insights into company operations and ethics.

Of course, businesses that have a generally positive impact on society will be recognized too (with a 4 or 5 green star rating), so it’s not just a case of pointing out the corporate villains. In the end, the rating will represent a quick snapshot of how people feel about the social and environmental impact of a product or service, backed up by details in the individual reviews. (See the FAQs for more details on why we need a green star rating system and how it works.)

As long as people sit by passively and let things happen to them, the dynamics of the system will drive it in a certain direction—and that direction is towards self-destruction. I don’t think that’s hard to show.

Noam Chomsky, Power Systems, 2013.

25 thoughts on “About

    1. Dear jkaybay and sociolinguini,

      The Green Stars Project (GSP) and the Green Star Rating Criteria (GSRC) are highly commendable!

      The age of Anthropocene could indeed be a very short one, as humanity seems to be plunging headlong into creating and facing a ghastly future.

      We should really look after the Earth much better. jkaybay, I have very much enjoyed your avid and informative contributions to the discussion on and consolidation of ethical consumerism. After all, the world ecological crisis is already upon us. In this regard, I have attempted to sum up and reflect deeply the state of affairs in my extensive and analytical post entitled “💬 Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: 🧠 Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity 🦠“, particularly in the last section named “Denouement: Democracy, Education, Legislation & Sustainability“, which has been revised and vastly expanded.

      Wishing both of you a productive week doing or enjoying whatever that satisfies you the most!

      Yours sincerely,
      SoundEagle

        1. Dear jkaybay,

          You are very welcome. I look forward to your visiting and commenting on my said post, as I am certainly very keen and curious about what you will make of it, especially given your interests and expertise, for which I have a lot of respect and admiration.

          By the way, whenever you visit my blog, I would like to recommend using a desktop or laptop computer with a large screen to view the rich multimedia contents available for heightening your multisensory enjoyment at my blog, which could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately.

          Furthermore, since my intricate blog contains advanced styling and multimedia components plus animations, it is advisable to avoid viewing the contents of my blog using the WordPress Reader, which cannot show many of the advanced features in my posts and pages. It is advisable to read the posts and pages directly in my blog so that you will be able to savour and relish all of the refined and glorious details.

          May you find the rest of 2021 very much to your liking and highly conducive to your writing, reading, thinking and composing whatever posts that take your intellectual fancy or show off your imaginative flight and analytical rigour!

          Happy November to you soon!

          Yours sincerely,
          SoundEagle

  1. Hi Sociolinguini – thanks for your comment. It’s a good point – I should post on this subject again soon. I have a section that addresses it here: https://greenstarsproject.org/how-to-evaluate-a-company/. The way I look at it is that each person should just focus on what’s important to them. For example, if you are passionate about animal welfare, veganism, and gender equality, then it would make sense to evaluate products with these criteria in mind (and any other issue that that’s triggered). You don’t have to overthink it; even just taking a look at the product, packaging, ingredients and any statements on the packaging, and ask yourself “How does this product compare to the competition in terms of …. (whatever social and environmental criteria are important to you)?”

    I’ll include links to my profiles on Amazon and Yelp below in case you’d like to see lots of examples. But, even better, if you (or anyone else) would like to write a green star review, please contact me (jmskrb at gmail) and I’ll be thrilled to help out. I do have some specific tips for researching certain topics, so do contact me if you’d like to have a go!
    Amazon Profile: https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/amzn1.account.AGCZLNVCQC56GJKPODOCLWEYF5PQ
    Yelp Profile: https://www.yelp.com/user_details_reviews_self?userid=3y9KA46fe6XULOZSOC2tYA

  2. I love what you’re doing! I’m on my own journey toward being a more ethical consumer, and your system will hopefully help people with less time or motivation to make more informed choices.

  3. A very impressive rating system. I’m disillusioned with the business and ethical practices of most big businesses. I put my MBA in Finance on a shelf years ago. I couldn’t watch how people behaved to each other and to their customers. I was only one lone voice. I hope you achieve your goals.

    1. Thank you Susanne. I understand how you feel – I think that skepticism is healthy. Sometimes its hard to find a company that makes an ethical version of whatever it is you want to buy, but I think there’s almost always a range from bad to (relatively) good. In some cases (e.g., soap, coffee) the good option is actively making the world a better place. In others (petroleum, electronics) its more a case of choosing a “lesser evil.”

      1. Small example. I was food shopping last night. I picked up a package of organic vacuum packaged beets for 3.99 (absurd price for 4small beets). Right next to it – same co. was the same package with a different label for pesticide or gmo beets for 2.99. Beets are also sprayed with roundup ready. So this company doesn’t know if it wants to be responsible to the people or to the soil and making an extra dollar off someone who doesn’t have the knowledge. They are trying to make money from both sides of the fence.

  4. Thanks for reading The Daedelus Files. I enjoyed very much The Green Star Project material and look forward to reading it regularly.
    As I remarked in another location on this blog, “Thanks for doing what needs to be done”

  5. I love this idea. I bumped into this website while googling pictures for Loop company. The feedback given on Loop and LoveHomeBeauty products where very eye-opening articles.
    The work of researching companies on there supplies chain and what there truly environmental impact is, becomes often very exhausting and green stars would be very helpful.

  6. Nice to meet. We have been living a green life before it was popular. My approach has always been to live as close to mother nature as possible. Simplicity is more harmonious with nature. We mostly live off our land, we generate very little garbage and I make everything from scratch. Food tastes better that way.

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