Diane MacEachern, age 55
Founder & CEO, Big Green Purse
After struggling for years to help pass environmental bills on Capitol Hill, former communications consultant Diane MacEachern wondered if it would be easier to change how people spend the bills in their wallets. So the mother of two created a Web campaign--with a companion book coming out in late February--to get women to shift $1,000 of their annual spending to ecofriendly products.
Q: Why focus on women?
A: Women are doing most of the household shopping, and they are more sympathetic to environmental issues than men. Women understand that when the planet is in trouble, they're in trouble.
Q: How do you suggest that consumers prioritize their spending?
A: Start by shifting $10 of your weekly grocery budget. For example, cut out bottled water--you're just paying for plastic and transportation--and spend the money you're saving on organic food.
Q: Some people say we can't buy our way to a better planet. Are there limits to what changing consumption patterns can achieve?
A: In a way, I feel that argument is intended to dissuade women from being in control of their own homes, spending, and lives. Money talks, and manufacturers are listening every time you put a product on the checkout conveyor belt.