May 18 Questions: Kari Warberg Block

by Sue Taggart

Each month we ask a new eco-maven 18 questions about his or her life, occupation, and advice for other like-minded people. This month we connected with Kari Warberg Block, Founder & CEO of Earth-Kind, Inc.

1.What is your name?

Kari Warberg Block ( age:52)


2.What is your occupation?

Founder & CEO Earth-Kind, Inc.; product developer, designer, and bio-manufacturing pioneer.


3.When did you become interested in living a greener lifestyle

As a young child. I’ve been green for as long as I can remember.


4.Who/What inspires you to be more “green” in your life?

When I was 5 years old, my father took me on a field trip to Kills Dump, Staten Island, NJ, to show me where ‘away’ was. It changed my beliefs when I learned that plastics and consumer product chemicals did not biodegrade; and that this would be a severe problem in my lifetime. Ever since then, I’ve been a minimalist, creating my own concoctions to prevent the need to throw away plastics, or apply or consume chemicals anywhere near my body or living space.


5.Where on the “green scale” do you fall? 

Personally, we live a small footprint lifestyle, and both reduce, reuse, and re-purpose everything possible. The company I founded, Earth-Kind, operates on a 2% carbon footprint, and the products we manufacture offer EPA’s gold standard of efficacy without the use of hazardous chemicals, and non-biodegradable plastics for packaging. All in all, I think I’d fall within the dark green segment. LOL.


6.What are the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your job?

The most rewarding part is the joy I get from working with, and for, those with different abilities: see video that Lowe’s made:

The most challenging part is to balance the short term needs with my long term vision. It’s always been my long term goal to reduce the need for poison and plastic use in the home through business. When I started earthkind® brands, the pest control category was 98% poison, and today it’s closer to 90%. That’s real progress, but it is very slow moving because of education and policy needs.


7.As a green business leader, do feel that consumers believe “greener” products are effective?

In 2000, when I incorporated my business, Earth-Kind, I was consulted NOT to use this name publicly, as it had a negative connotation (ie:pot smoking hippies). Today, 16 years later, it’s spot-on with current sentiments and embodies our products, culture, and mission- all in two words. (I’ve always been ‘weird’ and way ahead of my time)


8.Where do you turn for your news?

I don’t watch or read the news. My husband is a news junkie and happily keeps me informed.


9.What is your favorite meal?

Chips, salsa, and guacamole.


10.What is one environmental change you vow to make in this year?

To purchase bio-degradable coffee cups for churches in my, and my employees, communities.


11.If you could trade places with one person from any time in history (past or present) for one day—who would it be and why? 

Myself, 5 years from today. I think it would be fun to see where my thoughts and circumstances take me.


12.What do you think is impeding the process of a cleaner and greener environment?

In the pest control category, retailers are filling the shelf with 90% poison, yet 68% of the population would prefer non-toxic -assuming it works. The retailers are being misinformed about the true demand since most of the sales are still toxic in nature. I see this in the household chemicals/cleaning category as well. As a retailer, Lowe’s is leading the change, and reducing their SKU’s of toxic products, as well as asking manufacturers to voluntarily list safety/warnings on displays.


13.What advice would you give to someone who is struggling to become more eco-friendly, whether it be due to money or time?

Go to Pinterest for ideas.


14.If there was one industry/product that you could make more eco-friendly, what would it be?

Pest control of course 🙂


15.Where in the world would you most like to be right now?

Right here and now, but more aware.


16.What is the best book you have read recently?

Joy, Inc.


17.What makes you cringe?

The sound of heavy metal equipment when running.


18.What do you want your legacy to be?  

A kinder earth from my having been here.

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