Climate Changers




If one day you’re faced with empty shelves in the store next door, it will not be due to the economic crisis but rather owing to quite an inspiring goal: Saving the earth! You think it is impossible? Read on

Necessity is known to be the mother of invention. Quite right, especially when it comes to the climate.

Brent Schulkin, US-American and Stanford graduate thought the same and invented – disappointed by usual and according to him less effective climate activities – his own eco-movement called carrot mob.

His idea is not even new: If your donkey is not willing to move forward, you can threaten him with a stick or you better lure him with a carrot.

New is however, how Brent Schulkin put it into practice. He thought to himself: “How could we get enterprises to behave sustainably and be eco-friendly? By rewarding them!

Let’s mob the supermarket!

To illustrate it, we’ll select approximately 30 supermarkets of an established district.

A unique increase in turnover (carrot mob activity) will be offered to all of them. In return, the owner of the store agrees to invest a part of its additional turnover in eco friendly furniture (i.e. solar or eco electricity, energy-saving bulbs etc.)

The supermarket willing to invest the highest percentage in eco-friendly reconstruction will be “mobbed”.

Sold out!

“Multikulti” is the name of the German supermarket in Berlin Kreuzberg, which won the raise because the owner agreed to spend 35 % in new lighting systems and energy efficient fridges.

As a result, “Multikulti” was mobbed on Saturday the 13th of June and was almost bought out within three hours.

Several dozen residents of Berlin Kreuzberg (in the vicinity) came to the district supermarket and did their weekend shopping there.

With it they not only supported a good deed but also had a lot of fun and above all an “elucidating, grassroots experience” showing the influence of strategic consumerism – especially regarding sustainability and climate protection.

A win-win situation

Nevertheless, its aim is not to raise the warning finger nor is it about protest, carrot mob wants to rather create a sort of win-win situation for both consumer and supplier as well as for climate activists.

As a case in point, vendors will profit not only by obtaining higher turnover and long-term energy saving methods, but also by gaining gratis PR advertising.

Consumers will support reconstruction in eco-friendly measures by doing nothing more than shopping in a strategic way.

Lastly climate activists attain the direct attention and concrete improvements for climate protection.

Even if “just” 300 people came to the carrot mob Berlin (it was expected to be more because of 1,000 visits on Facebook) the organizing team with initiator Philipp Gloeckler is more than satisfied.

Brent Schulkin, the brain behind the carrot mob.

Huge turnover

Within three hours they generated a turnover that normally is attained within a whole week. The organizing team did everything you can think of in a two month preparation time to gain this result.

Concept a big hit

Due to this, the idea is a big hit in Germany. Hardly one month after the first carrot mob in Berlin took place, there are 7 more carrot mobs being planned in Germany inter alia in Hamburg, Freiburg and Köln.

And that´s not all. It’s additionally successful all over the world in France, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and many other countries.

But there are critics too

Critics however find fault with the small effect on climate protection – in truth it’s not all to change some single energy saving bulbs.

This movement only makes sense “if organizers manage to organize a lot of such projects in many different countries” says Dieter Rucht scientist of protest movements. It’s perfectly obvious that at present carrot mob could be regarded as “a drop in the ocean”.

Its long-term goal should be to grow and address not only supermarkets but rather manufacturers or even big brands.

In any case, Philipp Gloeckler seems to be optimistic. The next carrot mob Berlin will come soon – at the moment the date is being negotiated.

Just one thing remains that hurts Philipp Gloeckler: he actually dreamt of becoming a rock band singer when he was younger but failed due to his singing “talent” or the lack of it.

Right now he fills masses with enthusiasm - not on stage but in the Internet - with its own eco fashion label and his network “eco fashion junkies” – “that’s quite rocking too” states Philipp – first and foremost because of its worldwide appeal.

Angela Woiciechowski was born and raised in Freiburg in Breisgau. She later did her BA in 2008 in Media Management in Paris. After internships at the German Television (ZDF, NDR) and news reporting for the university broadcasting service, she worked for the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin and at the Cultural Section of the Consulate General in Shanghai (China). In 2009, she also did some social work at ‘Fe y Algeria’ in Panama and is currently enrolled at the Erasmus Mundus Masters Programme.

2009 Erasmus Mundus Masters - Journalism and Media within Globalisation. Learn more at