UCLA's Nurit Katz and Gia Machlin of EcoPlum

This episode originally aired on August 27, 2010


Nurit Katz is University of California – Los Angeles' very first sustainability coordinator. UCLA has taken a growing interest in sustaining and conserving across its campus, and Katz's role is to make sure this mega-university continues to grow the green way. Katz helps oversee the Sustainability Committee at the school, spreading green thinking around the campus and beyond.

"UCLA is like a small city in scope," Katz says. "We must walk the walk by showing that it is possible to reduce greenhouse emissions while saving money in a tough budget climate — showing the 'nuts and bolts' of sustainability while educating the leaders of tomorrow."

Katz notes that the current generation of collegians — both at UCLA and other campuses around the country — is the most green-minded yet, choosing to focus their studies with a green slant, helping to establish green businesses and bring sustainability to the nonprofit sector and green various governmental branches.

In 2007, Gia Machlin founded EcoPlum, a green shopping rewards site, after finding that she wanted to do something greener and more rewarding. Machlin, who has worked in a variety of fields, realized she could conserve most in the area of consumerism — the site's tagline is "Where it pays to buy green," and it's a practice she abides by.

Machlin writes a blog on the site called "Confessions of a Reformed Consumer" detailing her transition from waste-producing consumer to educated environmentalist. The site covers everything from organic cooking to green conservation topics — and everything in between — aimed toward converting consumers to a more eco-friendly mindset.

"[EcoPlum] is interested in reaching the consumer where they work and getting them to think about and change their habits," Machlin explains. "We want to help businesses with their green engagement programs."