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Greening America: Talking with Mindful Metropolis Publisher/CEO Richard McGinnis

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I have with me Richard McGinnis, publisher and CEO of Mindful Metropolis. Welcome to OpEdNews, Richard. Can you tell our readers a little about Mindful Metropolis?

Thank you, Joan. Mindful Metropolis hatched out of the ashes of Conscious Choice Magazine in April of this year. Conscious Choice (CC) was a 21 year old, Chicago-based print publication that focused first as a journal of ecology and natural living and then -- through successive purchases by larger and larger corporations -- became more of a Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability (LOHAS) media vehicle. Toward the end of its existence, CC evolved into a true lifestyle magazine partnered with magazines in NY, LA, San Fran and Seattle, as well as web-based media lime.com and gaia.com. The content was homogenized, and, in March of this year, the fairly recent print commodity acquisitions were shuttered by Gaiam, Inc., in favor of larger focus on web.

So, all of us in the print division lost our jobs. Most of us in the Chicago office had been with the company for 10 -- 20 years. Combined, we had about three-quarters of a century of experience in the local sustainability movement and tons of solid relationships in our community. We decided to form Mindful Metropolis and published our first issue in May on the heels of CC's last issue in April. We brought the magazine back to the community that supported it in the beginning.

We provide 40,000 monthly issues for free in the Chicago metro and surrounding areas. We also have a comprehensive website and e-magazine with full archives dating back to the first issue. The mission is really very simple: We bring together communities throughout the Chicago metropolitan and surrounding areas with fresh ways to "be" in a cohesive, high social impact and sustainable environment. We promote businesses, non-profits, local organizations and educational institutions which inspire individuals to act. We attract readers who are engaged and who are committed to growth, who want to make the right decisions (everything from Halloween candy to cleaning products to the Olympics).

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I was sorry to see Conscious Choice go. Is Mindful Metropolis available both online and through an actual hard-copy magazine via subscription?

In some ways, we were also sad to see CC go. It was a good run. But, more importantly, it provided a solid foundation for the formation of Mindful Metropolis. We are much happier with this publication, and so is the community (from what we are hearing). Yes, Mindful Metropolis is available in on-line format, through subscription copies and in over 580 pick-up locations in the metropolitan Chicago area.

And you have the wonderful advantage of utilizing 'recycled' CC personnel with all those years of experience and a long-time connection to Chicago. Give our readers a sense of what they might find in your latest issue.

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We prefer the term "repurposed," thank you!

In the October issue, we have three main features: The cover story is on sustainably-minded couture. It features local designers, fabricators and retailers of eco-chic clothing and accessories as well as a glossary of terms used to marketing green fashion. The couture spread includes great photographs of what is hot in "green."

We have a feature on local wines and day/weekend trips for seeing the fall colors in the area. The feature combines local vineyards, wine tastings, bed & breakfasts, arboretums, bike trails -- all in our area -- with websites and resources for taking advantage of these sustainably minded and priced local luxuries. We have a feature on the Illinois Solar Homes Tour focusing on what residents are doing to cut utility costs and reduce their carbon footprints. We also have our regular spa review, restaurant review, media reviews, local calendar listings and more!

It's so nice that we have evolved far enough for the fashion-conscious to have the best of both worlds - chic and green! Speaking of evolving, what kinds of changes do you see on the environmental consciousness over the last number of years?

That question has a big answer. Without writing an essay, I can simply say environmental consciousness has moved from being a niche concept which impassioned a small percentage of our social sphere to being a much larger agenda item on the minds and lips of the majority. Other than some lunatic fringe, no one thinks global warming is a goofy theory anymore.

People are taking their personal environmental impact very seriously. Much of the publicized force of the current environmental movement began when fuel prices went toward the roof. It was the perfect opportunity to not only appeal to the American wallet, but also to point out how fragile our environment is and the impact of fossil fuels on the planet. The logical progression of dialogue includes agribusiness, plastics, clean air and water, and even spirituality. If you toss in war, recession and healthcare, you have a total social upheaval that makes our media the perfect go-to for information, solutions and cohesion.

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Let's pause here. When we resume our interview, Richard will talk about his farm background and a sampling of the resources out there for people interested in getting a taste of sustainable farming. Please join us.

***

Visit the Mindful Metropolis website

 

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)
 

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