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The Ecopreneur Next Door: Stefanie Iris Weiss

August 17, 2011

Photo credit: Jonathan Alpeyrie, Hair: Gad Cohen, Makeup: Kristen Arnet

I’m very excited to share with you my first piece for a new series I’ve developed with LA-based called “The Ecopreneur Next Door.” Enjoy!

If you haven’t thought about greening your sex life, you’re still a total environmental disaster.

I read those words in the introduction to Stefanie Iris Weiss’ book Eco-Sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable as I prepped for our interview. I had that “uh-oh” feeling you get when you realize you’ve been doing something naughty. Could I really be an environmental hot mess?

More on that in a moment. We’re thrilled to feature Stefanie as the first of many fascinating American entrepreneurs for our exciting new series, “The Ecopreneur Next Door.” We’ll pay tribute to local green innovators across the country whom Gather Green admires for their remarkable efforts to be kind to Mother Earth, their local community and those who buy from them. Our ecopreneurs’ stories will inspire you and unveil the truths we all need to hear to drive change and create a more sustainable future.

And sometimes the truth might sting a bit!

It did for me. Stefanie and I chatted on a lovely summer Friday, and she delicately explained that even though I purchase organic food and natural products, live meat-free and recycle, my bedroom is a toxic waste dump. And there are many like me.

“I know so many green people and friends who are doing all the right things, like you, but it never translated into their sex lives. It just never crossed their minds. There’s this weird guilt built into us about our sexuality and no one wants to go there,” said Stefanie.

Stefanie went there though with Eco-Sex, and the world is better for it. Here’s why.

What Stefanie wants us all to understand is that our collective eco-endeavors are fruitless if we’re not getting hot and heavy about making love more sustainably.

“I want readers to take a holistic approach to their sexual lives and how they view the world and not be so short-sighted,” she said. “That’s my goal of writing this book.”

It’s not just about the act itself, it’s about our overall health and how we feel about ourselves. Because, when you begin to put the right things in and on your body, better, “greener” sex follows.

The nine-time author did a tremendous amount of research for her latest book and had a hoot doing it, as I’m sure you can imagine. With the help of an intern, she reviewed hundreds of green products, vetted out the greenwashers who are abound, and recommends all the right ones which are sure to recharge your love life. From green sex toys, eco-friendly birth control methods and low-impact lingerie, to fair-trade condoms, bamboo linens and conflict-free diamonds, Stefanie left no stone unturned.

While Stefanie exudes a warmth and charm when she passionately speaks about her desire to help us all lead healthier, greener lives, the wrongs that so many companies do by consumers deeply concern her.

What many consumers don’t realize is that harmful toxins are found in so many of the treasured beauty products we use to appear more appealing to our partners. And once we hit the sheets, sex toys, lubricants and everything in between contain toxic chemicals and “ingredients” that wreak havoc on our personal ecosystems.

“These big companies produce their products with such harmful chemicals but they have strong relationships with magazines and huge ad budgets. These advertising mad men make people believe that they need this or that to be beautiful or healthy.”

It’s the consumer, not the company, who Stefanie wants to wear the proverbial pants in the relationship. And by empowering consumers to make healthier choices in and out of the bedroom, she’s helping to transform our culture from one of consumption to a culture of sustainability. We dig that.

“Consumerism is linked to our lack of holistic thinking.  Everyone keeps buying and buying mindlessly but no one is any happy or healthier, and our self-esteem suffers.  Women have serious responses to cultural ideals, such as eating disorders, and it is a result of this rampant consumerism. If we can’t look like the air-brushed model on the cover of the magazine, then we feel like we’re not good enough.”

Author Stefanie Iris Weiss

What I find to be so powerful about Eco-Sex is that it awakens you to the fact that you needn’t be a tree hugger or card-carrying PETA member to explore eco-sexuality. You don’t have to want to save the planet. But you should become an eco-sexual with Stefanie’s book to save yourself and to be a smarter consumer.

I sort of envisioned Stefanie being raised on fresh-pressed juices, sustained by her family’s organic vegetable garden, but that isn’t the case! Her parents taught her to be kind and compassionate, but she’s a self-made conscious consumer and there was plenty of meat to pass around at the dinner table growing up, (and no organic garden!). She eventually would have an epiphany, as so many of us do at one point or another, which would change her life’s course.

After reading Francis Moore Lappe’s seminal book Diet for a Small Planet, a “thunderbolt of consciousness” struck her and she never ate meat again.  Around that time she began experimenting with DIY beauty concoctions and herbs.

This young gal from Long Island, NY saw the positive changes she could make just by transitioning to vegetarianism and honoring the health of her body. The self-empowering decision she made as a teenager opened up a world of new possibilities for Stefanie and it ignited a desire within her to become a lifelong champion for green causes.

Now a renown author, professor, blogger, journalist, mentor to young women and green living (and loving!) advocate, Stefanie’s the girl next door who’ll teach you how to live more healthfully, enjoy better sex and save our precious planet.

If you’ll be in LA this coming weekend why not join Gather Green and Stefanie for a Sustainable Love event this Saturday at a private residence in the Hollywood Hills!  Meet Stefanie and learn how to sustain love while loving the Earth!

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