George A. Polisner, socially responsible e-shopkeeper, answers questions
What work do you do?
I’m the founder and president/CEO of alonovo.com.
What does your organization do?
We are working to empower people by fully informing their market decisions. We are infusing the online shopping experience with a simple ratings system based upon trusted research data on social responsibility. People can choose from a vast catalog of competitively priced mainstream products and help us drive a new, fair, growing, and sustainable economy.
What do you really do, on a day-to-day basis?
On any particular day, I may be evangelizing the alonovo.com concept with traditional media and blogs, appearing on radio, trying to acquire resources we need (engineering superheroes and proper capitalization), evolving our strategy and road map, and running to make the last shipment of express mail.
What long and winding road led you to your current position?
It has been an amazing journey to bring the alonovo.com concept to the public, and there have been many incredible people who’ve helped shape alonovo.com, for which I am eternally grateful. In November of 2004, flying back from volunteering for Election Protection, the thought of using technology to help catalyze badly needed progressive focus started rolling around in my dark, cavernous mind. In vetting the early alonovo.com concept, I was led to the founders of Electric Embers, a hosting company in Oakland, Calif. Over a great vegetarian meal, they understood and supported the concept and had some excellent recommendations that really put alonovo.com on the right track. I decided to take a block of vacation from my job at Oracle Corp. to devote myself to the founding of alonovo.com. On April 1, I became dedicated to the venture.
Where were you born? Where do you live now?
I was born in L.A. and have been all over, finally settling in Phoenix, where I can see my 15-year-old daughter compete in mock-trial competitions and play catch with my 10-year-old boy (when he is not gleefully beating me at any video game).
What environmental offense has infuriated you the most?
It takes all of my Taoist ability to remain calm when I see a Hummer.
Who is your environmental hero?
Who is your environmental nightmare?
The businesses that plunder our environment without fear of governmental penalties, fines, or other societal remedies and protection.
What’s your environmental vice?
One of the few times I relax is a nice long, hot, high-pressure, knock-you-into-a-wall shower.
What are you reading these days?
What’s your favorite meal?
My staple is a vegan veggie burger on a wheat bun with soy cheddar cheese.
Which stereotype about environmentalists most fits you?
Other than being another L.A.-born vegetarian, probably none.
What’s one thing the environmental movement is doing badly, and how could it be done better?
The American public learns through entertainment. Many people may not sit through several hours of lecture, but make a movie like Silent Running or The Day After Tomorrow and people will watch and develop more understanding of important global environmental concerns.
If you could institute by fiat one environmental reform, what would it be?
I would assess a surcharge and usage fee on any noncommercial SUV or vehicle that is not fuel-efficient and use the funds to provide large tax credits for the purchase of fuel-efficient, super-low-emissions vehicles. Like my Prius, for instance.
What was your favorite band when you were 18? How about now?
18: Elvis Costello. Now: a steady diet of Wyclef Jean, Coldplay, U2, and Laurie Anderson.
What’s your favorite TV show?
My wife Linda dreads Law & Order marathons. Bill Maher, The Daily Show, House.
Henry Fool, The Big Lebowski, The Shawshank Redemption, The Natural.
What are you happy about right now?
The progress my children are making toward being loving, compassionate people who will shape and influence their generation.
If you could have every InterActivist reader do one thing, what would it be?
When shopping online, use alonovo.com and select Grist or other amazing organizations as your beneficiary organization. And tell everybody about us!