At the core of this effort was the I Buy Different website (no longer in operation as of October 2010, which detailed events in select US cities (Seattle, Washington, and Baltimore, Maryland) such as contests and information shared on local radio stations. For instance, one community participation effort involved asking Baltimore teens to bring their imagination and rhyming skills together to create original raps and songs. Twenty-seven young people wrote and recorded songs that were professionally mastered and were featured online for playing and downloading.
Broadly, the I Buy Different website provided ideas and resources for creating change by shopping with the environment in mind. For example, a Community Action Guide provided 30 activity ideas and step-by-step advice on organising projects to make a difference in one's community. The Buy Different Action Center enabled visitors to decipher how many resources they save when they take 4 simple actions (e.g., cutting back on eating beef at mealtime). In this regard, the project was geared toward making an impact on the environment through day-to-day choices - and the website focused on assessing one's impact. Organisers "encourage you to return to the site once a month to update your actions and to confirm that your previously reported actions are still accurate. But for everyday tracking when you're away from the site, we've created a tracking sheet for you to post at home, in your locker, or wherever works best for you. Print out a personal tracking chart now."
The project motivated people to undertake change in support of the environment through collaboration. Visitors to the website could create a team to see the total impact of their actions, or find out the global impact of the actions of all of those who have registered on the website. The Action Center also offered an interactive message centre and an icard that could be passed along to friends.
Although the campaign was designed for young activists, sections of the website were geared toward educators. Various resources and ideas were presented for people of all ages, including:
- "Develop a green shopping guide for your community.
- Organize a consumer festival.
- Sponsor a contest to Save Trees by Getting Creative with Paper.
- Conduct an energy audit.
- Organize a "Don't Can Your Can" campaign.
- Organize a "Buy Better" campaign.
- Create a green cleaning products "recipe book."
- Sell holiday greeting cards made from homemade paper.
- Organize a green gift-wrapping station in a local mall.
- Organize a paper-recycling event after the holidays.
- Mount a green advertising campaign.
- Hold a T-shirt swap or sale.
- Hold a CD or video game exchange.
- Organize a collection for a local thrift store or charity.
- Organize a carpool system for your school."
Organisers comment that "What we buy and how much we buy have a huge impact on the environment. Although we don't always see the direct effects, we know that every product comes from the Earth and must return to it in one form or another. Your buying choices make a difference and can send a message to companies. By buying differently, you can tell corporations that there's a better way - one that uses less water, trees, and fossil fuels; decreases air and water pollution; and protects wildlife habitat."
This is a joint initiative of World Wildlife Fund and the Center for a New American Dream, made possible by the support of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
The "I Buy Different Hip Hop Contest" described above is a pilot project based in Baltimore, Maryland. Partners in this project included: 92Q-WERQ, The Baltimore Zoo, Ella Bailey Recreation Center (Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks), MC Ogun, Southwest Academy Middle School, Southeast Youth Academy (SEYA), Stemmers Run Middle School, Diggs Johnson Middle School, Casey Family Services, Druid Hill YMCA.