Gina Murphy-Darling, a.k.a, Mrs. Green, is in a rush to save the planet. For her, this translates into working from morning to night on her multimedia company, Mrs. Green’s World. Her “all-platform green information machine,” which began just 4 1/2 years ago as a local radio show, is expanding in all directions. The force behind its growth is her boundless enthusiasm for her mission.
“In January 2008, at the age of 58, I started doing what I truly believe I was meant to do in life—informing as many people as possible about the impact that they can have on the health of the planet. It’s like caffeine—I wake up every morning buzzing.”
She was no slouch before. Over the years, Murphy-Darling has led a number of Tucson organizations, including chairing Angel Charity for Children, one of the biggest nonpaid jobs in Tucson. At the beginning of 2008, though, after two life-changing trips to the rain forest, she was inspired to put her (all-renewable) energy and network of local connections to work promoting environmental consciousness and sustainable living to the widest possible audience.
Despite having no radio experience, she rapidly secured a sponsor and sold the idea of a midday Saturday talk show to the management at KNST 790 AM. From there, the project grew to include a website, calendar, blog, newsletter, Twitter and a Facebook page that boasts more that 3,500 followers. “It blossomed organically, one medium at a time,” Murphy-Darling says.
Sponsors, ads, videos, innumerable personal appearances, a broadcast devoted to local and regional topics, a team of six, and a book about her mid-life transformation into the most likable of eco-warriors followed.
Last July, Murphy-Darling finished building her own studio—“That was huge”—and moved the Mrs. Green’s World show online.
“People everywhere can listen, but you need to let them know what you offer without spending a fortune. At first, listenership dropped, but it’s been building ever since. Now the show is available as a podcast on iTunes, which gives people another, very modern way to hear our message.”
That message is upbeat—“Small changes, big results”—and nonpolitical. “We don’t tell you what to think, we just want you to,” Murphy-Darling says. She has interviewed dozens of national leaders about topics ranging from climate change to safe cosmetics and cleaning products to unregulated hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” for natural gas in upstate New York. She’s declared her own private war on plastic bags caught in trees and cacti along Tucson streets.
“Just this morning I was at the gym, picking plastic water bottles out of the trash for recycling. It’s just unawareness, and unawareness is what I’m working so hard to change.”
Murphy-Darling attributes her commitment to sustainability to her parents. “They had those careful, Depression-era ways—what I see now is that they lived consciously. They loathed waste, ate leftovers and reused things like aluminum foil. We need to return to those simple, old-fashioned values. They’re the ones that will save us.