The second victory of George W. Bush inspired S.B. businessman Steve Knaub to do something good for the environment, since it appeared nobody in national politics was about to pursue such a task. Knaub was already looking to invest in a business, and decided he might as well make it one that, in some way, had a positive effect on the earth. So he teamed up with his friend of 35 years, Andy Atkins, a Santa Barbara artist and filmmaker, and together the pair went into the green online greeting card business.

The company, Three Leaf Cards, launched in August, and now the Web site,, features more than 150 greeting cards. Actually, the “cards” are 30-second slots of moving footage and music-smart, well-polished, beautifully orchestrated pieces of art-each of which has a direct or indirect environmental message.

“We’re not too in-your-face about the environmental aspect,” said Knaub. “We want to connect with as many people as possible and leave some of it to their interpretation.”

The video cards are tailored toward birthdays, anniversaries, thank-yous, love, holidays, and more, and the accompanying soundtracks may be changed, as can the headings and quotes of wisdom that precede and follow the videos. An annual membership of $19 allows one to give an unlimited number of the video cards via email, and 10 percent of the fee goes to a nonprofit organization of the buyer’s choice.

Most significantly, perhaps, these electronic cards can be sent without the waste that surrounds traditional paper cards. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, 100,000 paper greeting cards require more than 4.5 tons of wood and create four tons of greenhouse gases-and Americans will send more than 7 billion such cards this year. Knaub acknowledges that Three Leaf Cards has its own ecological impact. Atkins must drive to shoot their footage, and they utilize electricity to power their office, but the theme and monetary proceeds of their video cards will hopefully have a net positive effect, he said.

“Most cards are holiday cards, so we’re really looking forward to this holiday season. Hopefully we’ll get noticed and begin to make some difference,” Knaub said


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