Archive for August, 2005

bio-fueled coffee

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

It’s finally here–the world’s first biodiesel-run coffee roaster–right here in our own backyard! We first heard about this project at the beginning of the year, when we were looking to release Greg Pahl’s Biodiesel book. I’ve got to admit, I kind of had doubts about whether the roaster would ever come to be….but Vermont Coffee unveiled the machine this week, and hopes to talk it up next month at the Natural Products Expo in DC. The Addison Independent ran a story on Vermont Coffee and the roaster yesterday, and I was surprised to read how much the company has grown recently. Apart from being 30% more fuel efficient, the new roaster is supposed to help VT Coffee meet their needs without running their two older roasters 12 hours a day.

Normally when you hear about sustainable coffee you hear about organically grown beans or fair trade, but the bio-fueled roaster could be another answer to the question:What is Sustainable Coffee?

Smells like Social Responsibility

Thursday, August 25th, 2005

Business Ethics honored John Abrams’ South Mountain Company this week with the magazine’s 17th Annual Employee Ownership Award. John, recent author of The Company We Keep, is delighted (as he should be). After hearing that SoMoCo won this year’s award, I checked out the Business Ethics site and learned that our neighbors to the North, King Arthur Flour, were last year’s winners. Maybe there’s something in the water in New England…

Cindy Sheehan Gives Me Hope

Monday, August 15th, 2005

Enduring fire ants and attacks from pro-Bush media and pundits who are fighting as though they have been cornered, Cindy Sheehan presses on for a second week at Bush’s Crawford ranch. She is one of the few who is brave enough to tell the truth and demand the truth from an administration that has repeatedly lied to us about The Bush War. She has stepped in where the media and Congress have failed. She is exposing the lies and not accepting the administrations party line of Bush’s War being a “noble cause.”

Thank you Cindy for prodding us out of our complacency, for showing us that while the media and corporate America do control a lot of what goes on in our government, the voice of the people can rise above the talking heads. We must band together and refuse to accept their rhetoric.

Cindy has given me hope that perhaps democracy isn’t dead in America:

We are here at the Crawford Peace House now. I came here so angry and I have been so encouraged and overwhelmed by the support from all over. I was thinking that there is no reason for us progressive liberals to be angry anymore. We have the power. One mom has shown that ordinary citizens can make a difference. We the people have to hold George Bush accountable. We have to make sure he answers to us. If he doesn’t have to answer to Congress, or the media, we will force him to answer to us.

Read more from Cindy at The Huffington Post.

Meet Chelsea Green, Part 4: Megabytes, Graphics and Fulfillment

Friday, August 12th, 2005

For Boyd Hayes – Dartmouth College grad with an English major, then 20 years working in sleep laboratories at Dartmouth, Stanford and Harvard – it was a long and winding (and unlikely) road to his station as Chelsea Green’s director of information technology.

You know – the guy who understands all that stuff about servers and bytes and information sinks – stuff you’d never understand if you spent the rest of your life trying. Stuff that somebody had better understand, or the whole business comes to a screeching halt.

Meet Chelsea Green, Part 3: Hello, Out There

Friday, August 12th, 2005

In a sense, publishing and printing 1,000 copies of a book is the easy part. If you can’t convince 1,000 people that the book is worth buying, here’s what you’ve got:


Boxes of stuff that’s good for keeping a ship from keeling over, perhaps, but not much good at saving the world – or, for that matter, paying the bills.

A Little Chest Thumping

Friday, August 12th, 2005

The Web site Liberal “Progressive” Chrystie – subtitled “Progressive, Conservative & Liberal and all things in between! Formerly, revenge of a liberal!” – has some nice things to say about Chelsea Green, describing our site as “remarkable” and urging its readers to check us out.

We always admire that in a Web site. We’re not alone, folks.

Meet Chelsea Green, Part 2: One Word at a Time

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

Editor-in-chief, managing editor, editor-at-large, contributing editor. Anybody confused yet?

“Editing” is a big umbrella, with all kinds of widely diverse stuff under it: poring over manuscripts, trolling for new books and authors, drawing up contracts, setting deadlines, etc.

Perched atop the editorial food chain at Chelsea Green is editor-in-chief John Barstow, a survivor of the New York City publishing-industry mosh pit. After 10 years of commuting from his Middlebury, Vt., home to W.W. Norton in New York, he was weary of the road. He was also being pressured to relocate to New York. He didn’t want to.

My Moral Heroes

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

This morning I read an article about Bunnatine Greenhouse, Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It was a story about “Bunny’s” refusal to sanction Halliburton’s outrageous overcharging for everything from soda to laundry. She has publicly questioned why Halliburton is awarded over 50 percent of the contracts for rebuilding Iraq without any competitive bidding. Her high-level job mandates that she get the best prices for the best quality she can find, but she has been consistently overruled in her pursuit of that goal. Bunny Greenhouse is a person who believes in doing the right thing and for that she has been demoted and sidelined by her superiors.
This is not a new story, but something about Bunny’s role in it made me think about the meaning of morality. I don’t think it means the same thing to me as it does to those in power.

Bunny is a staunch defender of “doing the right thing”. She was charged with doing a job that if done correctly and fairly would benefit everyone. As she said, “I have never gone along to get along.” She’s a moral hero. But our culture and our leaders don’t include that in their definition of morality. Their “morality” revolves almost exclusively around the judgement of sexual mores. They have made the private public and the public private, meddling in the private affairs of individuals while privatizing what should be benefiting the public good, and they have done this for their own enrichment. Worse, they’ve led the public down this dangerous path; too many are willing to “go along to get along” and too few have the courage to stand up and say no.

My moral heroes, like Bunny Greenhouse and Diane Wilson, are those that know the right thing always benefits the common good, not just a select few. They know that if we weren’t trading the welfare of one group for the benefit of another and that if we operated on a truly moral basis, there would be no want in the world, there would be no war.

My moral heroes stand up and express their outrage at injustice, whatever the personal cost. They tell the truth. They are whistleblowers. We need more moral heroes, and we all need to be moral heroes.

Meet Chelsea Green, Part One: The Faces Behind the Pages

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

As I flack shamelessly for a publisher whose mission coincides with my own values (not everyone in public relations can say that), I often marvel at how little I used to think about the process that delivered a book into my hands.

But every inch of the way – as a book transmogrifies from an idea in someone’s head into, say, a 6,000-pound elephant on the New York Times best-seller list – decisions are being made: which manuscripts to accept, which to reject, how long this paragraph should be, whether this word would be better than that one, what type face to use, what the cover should look like, what to name the book, how you get the public to notice that it exists and get it into bookstores (or into the tender embrace of, etc.

Take an imaginary glance around the offices of Chelsea Green Publishing Co. – a compact, brightly lit hive of office space in one corner of a former bakery in White River Junction, Vt., where a dozen or so people strive to advance “the politics and practice of sustainable living,” and a couple of questions may come to mind:

Who are these people, and what exactly do they do, anyway?

Bloggers Role in Progressive Politics

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

On August 4, the New Politics Institute hosted a discussion with Joe Trippi and Markos Moulitsas about the emerging role of the Internet in progressive politics. A video of the event is available for download at their web site. It will be well worth your while to take a look.

You can also read more about it in this Newsweek article where writer Eleanor Clift refers to Kos as “Moses leading Democrats to the promised land.”

Markos is a new Chelsea Green author and we will be publishing his and Jerome Armstrong’s book, Donkey Fall in early 2006.

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