Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

This mob brings a carrot (not a stick)

Carrot Mob was started in San Francisco by Brent Schulkin, who had the idea to take the boycott model and reverse it, using the "carrot" rather than the "stick" to persuade businesses to make sustainable changes.

This mob brings a carrot (not a stick)

Brent Shulkin mugs for the camera in a frame from the ´Carrot Mob Makes it Rain´ video, to which has been added the Carrotmob logo.
Brent Shulkin mugs for the camera in a frame from the 'Carrot Mob Makes it Rain' video, to which has been added the Carrotmob logo.

Yesterday I posted the last of the audio interviews I had conducted at Philly's Go Green Expo, but there's one that didn't exist in that format, because I only finally caught up with these folks as I was about to get into my car.

"PHILLY CARROT MOB" is what the T-shirts said on a handful of college-age activists who were circulating through the Expo, and I made a note that I would have to check out what their story was. But by the time I started looking for them in earnest, they had left the convention center. Fortunately, I happened to be talking with Paul Glover at the Green Jobs Philly booth, and he had spoken with the people and had the whole story.

Carrot Mob was started in San Francisco by Brent Schulkin, who had the idea to take the boycott model and reverse it: In order to pressure a business into changing something in a more sustainable direction, instead of organizing people to not buy there until a change happened, Schulkin organized people to "flash-mob" a given store once it had agreed to spend the profits from a given day on the needed upgrade. In other words, Carrot-Mobbers who would otherwise have bought whatever they were going to buy at their own regular place go at a targeted time to descend on one store and make one purchase there; it's money they were going to spend anyway, but it's now targeted along with many others to make a big difference for the business in question. It's a win-win - or, since the planet wins as well, a win-win-win scenario.

The most fun and captivating way to learn more about this new model of green activism and the thinking behind it is to watch the video on this page, which, yes, does have a bit more dancing than is necessary to explain the concept, but it still gets the main point across well.

After the Bay Area success, the carrotmob idea is being picked up in other cities. The Philadelphia chapter is headed by Tony Montagnaro, who was one of the white-T-shirted wonders wandering the Expo. He's currently organizing the first Carrot Mob event in Philly, doing creative canvassing events (such as their Go Green Expo fly-through) and getting like-minded individuals together who are ready to do some targeted purchasing, probably in May. If you're in the Delaware Valley and you're interested in joining up or just finding out more, you can e-mail Tony at carrotsofphilly@gmail.com, or stop by Clark Park this Saturday, April 18 (more on this Earth Day-related festival tomorrow) between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and look for anybody wearing a shirt that says PHILLY CARROT MOB. Keep up with the latest local planning and news at philly.carrotmob.org.

If you're reading this from somewhere else but like the idea and want to start a carrot mob in your town, drop a line to info@carrotmob.org and tell 'em Earth to Philly sent you!

P.S. Why did I wait till now to put the word out when I found out about this at the Go Green Expo in mid-March? Well, since Paul Glover is the one who had the scoop, I agreed to wait until his next Green Jobs Philly came out before spilling the beans. And yes, it's out now! Omigod! Go read it! It's full of green goodies galore, as usual.

About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to energy@phillynews.com.


Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.


Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.


Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.


Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.


Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...


Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.


Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.


Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.


In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man





    Earth to Philly
  • Latest Health Videos
    Also on Philly.com:
    Stay Connected