Interview with Joe Laur, Senior Manager:
Please roll up your shelves and work with our excellent interview with Joe Laur, Senior Manager, by Willi Paul.

Note: is a Partner with See Willi Paul's Blog.

How many members do you have (or - what is the trend from launch)?

We have around 20,000 registered users on the site right now- and we are just ramping up our formal launch and marketing campaign.

What are some common technical issues for members?

Currently it's the usual bugs you get on a redesigned site- 404 errors, missing links that kind of thing. Most bugs will be resolved by mid October.

Are there common themes in the bloggers at

The conservation of, reuse, recycling, and transforming waste,... into resources. It's a huge issue we have to get right.

How much input / control over content and features does Waste Management corp. have?

Very little - we have editorial independence. That said we strive to keep the message positive and informing. We're not here to bash folks, but show what can be done if we collaborate and learn together.

What online community models did / do you reference?

Facebook at first, but now more Huffington Post - we want people to come here and learn, and track their offline recycling and waste elimination.

How is the new Target="blank">GreenOps program utilizing the WM trash collection system and the web site?

GreenOps is retail recapture and reuse - it's better than ordinary recycling, in that we reward people for doing it via Reward Points on the Greenopolis site, and we track the material so it gets back to the next best use for it. We're also working with product manufacturers to get them their "stuff' back, and WM provides the logistical support.

How are decisions made for the community? What is the "management style" that you have installed?

We work as a team and communicate regularly by email, phone, and in person. It's very free flowing and collegial- some of us are in New England, some Houston, and some LA. We all have roles and domains, but collaborate across them. I sit on marketing, content and management team meetings.

What social justice issues / campaigns are active at the community?

A lot - Vitamin Angels is an NGO that gets vitamins to kids in Africa and elsewhere; Dean's Beans brings fair trade and organic practices to coffee lands world wide. Those are just two examples.

Are you promoting off-site gatherings?

In a small way- we sponsored the dTour concerts this year, and have been active in some sports venues.

Are members getting to know other members in your estimation?

Bit by bit- we are using Facebook Connect, and in my role in Community Engagement and Development, I'm always working to connect partner, users and others.

Who are your heroes, Joe?

Gandhi, Israel Salanter, and anyone who takes the next small step to make a difference.

Do you think that sustainability is like a new religion?

Well, I hate the word sustainability- it's like the word love- depends on who's speaking it. I like resilience, regenerativity. I'll settle for green. Religion literally means to reconnect- the same root as ligament. If it can reconnect us to what's divine and irreplaceable in nature, each other, and in ourselves, it coils serve as a spiritual path. In the original Hebrew, there's a phrase- "The fullness of the earth is God's glory" That's not too bad.

Are you creating new green symbols and myths at

Let' s hope so. We need them desperately. "Waste is food" needs to replace "throw it away", "Live on solar income" needs to replace "drill baby, drill"!

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Corporate Social Responsibility Profile of (Beta) is the first interactive "green" site to bring together individuals, communities, environmental organizations, schools, universities, foundations and corporations to provide a collaborative environment where people can make incremental positive environmental changes in their lives. The user experience offers both online and offline environmental learning activities and rewards programs to promote individual and group actions toward a greener planet. Through (Beta), people can make informed, sustainable changes in their behavior and the environment and receive a Greenopolis badge that tracks their "green" progress. Users can earn points on the site that translate into tangible rewards from our partners. extends an invitation to individuals and organizations to partner with us in helping to make the world a "greener" place. Learn, Act, Reward, Together(TM).

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Bio: Joe Laur

Mr. Laur is Vice President of Content for Greenopolis, a web based social network, media and educational center, marketplace and playground fostering learning and collaborative action on green issues.

Joe was a founding partner of SEED Systems, a consultancy dedicated to learning and action for sustainable enterprise, applying systems thinking, scientific frameworks and organizational learning to foster innovation in companies engaging with environmental and social issues.

In partnership with the Society for Organizational Learning, (SoL) Mr. Laur along with colleagues Peter Senge and Sara Schley established the SoL Sustainability Consortium, an active group of industry leaders in learning and sustainability. He still serves as steward of this consortium, leading collaborative projects among the members as well as coaching individual member projects. This consortium includes members from BP, Ford, Coca Cola, Harley-Davidson, UTC, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Nike, 7th Generation, Waste Management and more.

He is co-author of "Learning for Sustainability", 2007, and the Doubleday book, "The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals And Organizations Are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World" (June 2008) written with Peter Senge, Sara Schley and Brian Smith, and with Sara Schley, co-author of "The Sustainability Challenge," published in The Systems Thinker and "Creating Sustainable Organizations" published in the Pegasus' Innovations in Management Series.

Mr. Laur is one of the designers and Facilitators of SoL's Sustainability Forum on Business Innovation for Sustainability in 2004 & 2007. He has spoken at numerous business gatherings including the Natural Step Conference, The Power of Systems Thinking Conference, and the Systems Thinking in Action conference on issues of sustainable business.


Joe Laur
Senior Manager
Community Engagement and Development
WM Organic Growth Group
313 Farley Rd
Wendell,Ma 01379
Ofc: 978.544.0001
Cell: 978.790.6999
Fax: 978.544.7777
joe_laur at greenopolis dot com