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MARIUS KARRER: THE AMERICAN DREAM GOES GREEN

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Sustainability Spotlight June 2013
Growing up in Switzerland, the country that leads the world in recycling, Senior Associate Marius grew up with sustainability as a natural part of everyday life. “We had five different trash receptacles in my childhood home,” he explained, “one for each different kind of recycling. So when I came to America 22 years ago it was a complete shock to me that many homes didn’t even have one! I love this beautiful country and it has become my home, but I was disappointed at how behind it was in terms of environmental consciousness.”

That changed significantly in October, when Marius met Senior Director and Associate Sustainability Council member Lauren Leifer while walking his dog. The two started chatting, and when he mentioned that one of the things he liked most about Chicago is that it has become so environmentally friendly that it’s a model for other cities, her ears perked up. As she described Viridian and its opportunity he listened, but didn’t come on board right away: “Raised as a Swiss, I’m cautious,” he laughed. “Still, when I looked at the Viridian web page and learned that electricity is the biggest polluter, I became a Viridian customer right away. I wanted to check it out and make sure they were everything they said they were! I decided to become an Associate in January and it’s been an incredible journey, full of people who have enriched my life so much—especially Lauren, who is an incredible mentor—and a real vessel to change my life back to where I feel most comfortable, which is being green.

“I am taking it further all the time, using reusable containers, buying low­impact products, integrating sustainability wherever I can into my life. When I went to the Amazon with Viridian it was a life­ changing experience. Even though a large group people on the trip had been good friends for a while, they welcomed us right into the “family” and we worked as one big team. Every day was filled with highlights: we were all focused on a totally new level, working toward a common goal. And the reaction of my friends and people I meet has been so heartening, learning that something they use daily can have such a tremendous effect on the world.”

Thanks to Viridian, Marius sees his American Dream coming true—a perfect balance between earning and giving back to others.

“Things happen for a reason. I met Lauren that day because I was ready to change my life. I sleep much better at night knowing that everyone who joins Viridian is helping the environment on a local and global level, and I could not be prouder at being part of such a wonderful movement that will impact this great country so much.”