The Podmob is Upon Us

I hit the streets on Friday afternoon with the goal to convince sushi restaurants in the West End to become more environmentally friendly. I was hoping they’d adopt some menu labeling and items from Seafood Watch’s new sustainable sushi guide, and make some operational changes to “green” their business. Obviously, you can’t walk into a business and demand changes like this, and expect to be taken seriously. I had a plan that I was sure would work, and it’s called the Podmob.

Podmob = everyday people’s consumer power organized to do good things.

Easy-peasy, right?

Picture this. Friday afternoon, pouring rain, crowded sushi restaurant, random-soaking-wet girl walks in and asks to talk to the manager. Although friendly and obviously excitable, she is rambling on about “sustainable sushi, Oceanwise certification, Podmobs, people, the restaurant, more customers, more money, environmentally friendly, changes, composting!” WTF.

I was actually more composed then the picture I just painted, but I suppose me and my Podmob idea came out of no where, and most of the managers of these sushi restaurants brushed the idea off and told me that they’d talk to the owners about it. I managed to stop in at 15 of the 20 sushi restaurants that are in easy walking distance from my apartment. About 5 of them showed a genuine interest, but all of them asked for more information. Customers that overheard me talking about the Podmob stopped me on my way out. “What were you talking about? It sounds really interesting!” They were all totally into it, and added their names to the list of supporters.

My favorite stop was my last that afternoon. It was a sushi spot I’d never even noticed before! I spoke with the head chef for a few minutes, and then he invited me to sit down with him and explain more. We sipped tea, and had an interesting conversation.

He asked me why I was doing the Podmob.

I told him that I want to help businesses become environmentally friendly, and show consumers that they can create positive change in businesses.

He asked me what I would consider “sustainable sushi” .

I gave the example of farmed salmon versus wild salmon.

He threw his hands up in exasperation! WHY?! Why do people care if it is farmed or wild?!

Ummm…. salmon farms are evil  – that has been ingrained into the minds of most West Coasters – although, not an appropriate answer to his question. Out came my facts about the impact of sea lice on wild salmon, use of antibiotics and chemicals in fish farms, the difference between Pacific and Atlantic species, and why it was bad to bring a new species to our coast.

He nodded… Ahhhh, now I understand.

That was good enough for me. I could have stopped the whole project right then and there. I was able to explain why I care about where my salmon comes from, and convince him to care too. *Sigh*

A handful of restaurants “interested” is great, but it’s not enough to make this really successful. I went back to the drawing board to come up with a clear way to describe the concept and benefits of the Podmob.

Originally posted at


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Filed under Climate Change, People Power

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