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.