Sometimes you can get more done with a carrot than a stick. An angry mob with sticks can get their way, but so can a friendly mob with carrots.
The carrots in this case are shopping dollars. The friendly mob is made up of environmental activists. Their target is a Minneapolis hardware store that is very happy to be attacked. So much so, it bid higher than any other hardware store for the privilege.
Organizers of Carrotmob Minneapolis asked five Minneapolis hardware stores to commit a portion of the sales from one day to making environmentally friendly changes to their stores. The winner was Guse Hardware which promised it would dedicate 100% of its sales on October 24th to making changes that would reduce the carbon footprint of its store at 4602 Bryant Avenue South.
Using social media such as Facebook and Twitter, Carrotmob Minneapolis hopes to flood the store with customers at exactly 3:50pm on October 24th. The significance of the time and date? October 24th just happens to the International Day of Climate Change for 350.org. The number 350 is what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
According to 350.org, leading climatologists have issued a series of studies showing that the planet faces both human and natural disaster if atmospheric concentrations of CO2 remaine above 350 parts per million. Right now there are 390 parts per million of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere.
“This is really exciting” says Carrotmob Minneapolis organizer Natalie Gille “We’ve had the opportunity to engage a lot of people”.
Gille says that in less than a month, about 120 people have become “fans” of the Carrotmob event on facebook. That doesn’t mean they’ll all show up on October 24th. But it is an indicator of the level of interest in the event.
“It’s positive. It’s local. It’s engaging the community and we’re helping small businesses.”
Gille and Esther Callahan explain more about how things will work in this video interview done by Craig Stellmacher.