"There are two forces strong enough to change the world," said Nik Blosser, president of Celilo Group Media, a publishing and consulting firm dedicated to sustainable busi-ness. "One is war, and the other is the marketplace."
Blosser, founder of the Chinook Book, a "green" coupon book celebrating its fourth year in Seattle, chose the marketplace to implement change. A compilation of Seattle's sustainable businesses, the Chinook Book features coupons for restaurants, health products, home improvement alternatives, recreation and gardening.
"I really wanted to help promote businesses that are doing great things and have great products," said Blosser.
Doing "great things" translates to businesses that provide products and services that have significantly reduced environmental impacts compared to their competitors.
"We talk about voting with your dollar," said Blosser, whose background is in aeronautical engineering and English. "I wish that urban folks realized the impact that their purchases have on people and places that might be far away."
The Chinook Book, which was launched in partnership with King County, Seattle Public Utilities and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, offers consumers the incentive to try new products and understand the power behind their spending.
"A lot of the environmental challenges are focused on the impacts that individuals have," continued Blosser. "It really comes down to millions of people making decisions every day, and that is a hard thing to address."
Did you know that the average urban lawn owner uses more pesticides per acre of lawn than farmers use on an acre of farm? Vermiculture, or worm composting, is a low-maintenance way to compost, and you can do it from an apartment or loft. The Chinook Book, in addition to offering valuable coupons, educates its readers about things like natural yard care, buying local and shade-grown coffee.
"We wanted it to be a resource for the public," explained Melissa Willoughby, co-director of the Celilo Group Media office in Sadvertiser I like to do the same."
Margaret Noone, an owner of Sunlight Café and advertiser in the Chinook Book, has recycled at her restaurant since they first opened 28 years ago.
"We like participating in something that reinforces sustainable practices," said Noone.
Available in Washington, Ore-gon and Minnesota, the Chinook Book features both national and locally owned businesses. The Seattle Chinook Book, priced at $20 with more than $5,000 worth of coupons, includes 50 national coupons and 230 coupons from locally owned businesses.
"The sweet spot is trying to find the solutions in the current economic business system that we have," said Blosser. "To figure out how companies can make money and also do the right things as well."
Local vendors include PCC Natural Markets, Twice Sold Tales, Mother Natures on the bottom of Queen Anne and Seattle Children's Theatre. Some popular brands are: Horizon Organics, Pacific Foods and JASON Natural Cosmetics.
"People are at very different places when it comes to their behaviors in consumption and polluting behavior," said Blosser. "We want the Chinook Book to offer as much information as possible."
Need to remove rust? Sprinkle it with salt, add a dash of limejuice and let set for a few hours. Tired of your electric-blue glass cleaner? Try club soda instead; it works better, and the fumes aren't toxic. How about an inspiring quote?
"The Chinook Book includes 50 pages of educational informa-
tion with six chapters that cover
everything from food, dining and entertainment to yards and garden and home improvement," said Willough-by. "We try to tap into all aspects of your life."
The book's available at more than 50 Seattle locations, including in our neighborhood Queen Anne Books, the Q Café and Mother Natures. You can also go to www.chinookbook. net to find more locations and learn more about using it as a fundraising tool.
"When you fundraise with the Chinook Book, you are supporting locally owned businesses," said Willoughby. "The Book is an alternative to the commonly sold unsustainable resources that are not necessarily healthy. And we have a higher profit margin, so it's better all around."
Local school and nonprofit organizations can earn up to 50 percent of the $20 dollar retail price and trade in the knick-knack and candy fundraisers for a healthier option.
"We're not just trying to get people to buy stuff," she explained. "We also want to educate people about things that they can do.
"I think a lot of people view the green movement as just as a way to protect wildlife, but they don't real- ize that having a cleaner environment directly affects human lives, too. Not only will the fish be healthier, but it all comes back to us."
J o h n M u i r , tucked within the Travel and Recrea-tion sectioån of the Chinook Book, shares her sentiment: "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."
So does Nik Blosser: "The more you learn about the state of the world, the science of climate change and energy use ... after you see what is going on, it's negligent to not do anything."
The best part about the Chinook Book i´ås that doing something means using coupons to buy great products from local vendors at a lower price. It helps you realize that where you put your money really does matter and that maybe, if we all think before we spend, we could leave this world a little bit greener after we go.