May 1, 2014
Very interesting thoughts, although there seems to be some paradox here: even if your business is saving the environment, when you get rich you invariably increase your consumption and carbon footprint... Climate change is the main focus here, but we need to keep in mind other important aspects of promoting sustainability. Our planet's resources are finite, some are being depleted, fresh water and arable land are becoming more scarce and food prices continue to rise. Mankind produces about 300 million tons of plastics per year, and only around 3% is recycled :-( We're polluting the air, the soil, the aquifers and the oceans. Even if we could somehow stop or even reverse global warming, we'd still have to slow down our consumption, simply because it's really unsustainable. A significant cultural change is necessary in order to make a meaningful difference. That's never easy or simple, and takes a long time, due to politics and economics. So perhaps the solution may indeed be in private enterprise. Companies around the world may be very motivated to act if they see real potential to make money. We have some big challenges to address, such as plastics and garbage patches in the oceans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ8UfA2zmbc&feature=youtu.be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_garbage_patch Another example is the increase in beef consumption, mainly in the developing countries. Forests in South America are being cut to clear the land for growing grains like soy beans, which are shipped to the other side of the world, to feed cattle. That practice is of course unhealthy and unsustainable. But how can we come up with solutions to such problems, that are effective and profitable?.. It is challenging indeed, but worthwhile. Cheers !..
May 1, 2014
Here's an encouraging example of big companies investing in nature: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/04/29/nature-conservancy-and-jpmorgan-chase?src=linkedin5114
May 1, 2014
The largest paper producer in the world tackles deforestation: http://www.greenbiz.com/video/2014/04/16/studio-c-aida-greenbury-asia-pulp-paper?src=linkedin5114
Manohar Lal Baharani
May 6, 2014
The tribal community finds life support needs from vicinity (forests, water bodies, agriculture etc.)the urban community requires high carbon foot prints for lifestyle. The current lifestyle evolution deserves effective regulators in the governance system. Just an example, school children can either sprinkle the left over drinking water in their bottle in the garden of school while leaving or go home and drop the water in waste water sink. It makes sense to utilize the left over after consumption needs are met. The process calls for education, regulators in governance, self enlightenment in well informed society in global market place.
May 16, 2014
Can there be such an thing as consuming, or human activity in general, without the consumption of resources? Is a truly green economy possible? At least the concept of "Circular Economy" (or Bio Economy) lets us understand that we can learn to recycle anything. Even up to 100%. This concept is somewhat counter-intuitive, alien, unfamiliar and strange. So lets examine this concept further. If we can recycle anything and everything up to a level of 100%, then we can (in theory) make products that don´t consume natural resources, just consume recycled resources. Everything, 100% is circulated within the economy. This would also, for the first time ever, make green growth possible. Now, today, green growth is a myth, nothing more. But without the consumption of resources, suddenly it does not matter if the activity and impact of the humans inside the economy grow or reduce. Zero is a funny number because you can multiply zero with anything and still it remains just zero. Because this concept of consuming without consuming is counter-intuitive, alien, unfamiliar and strange to us, but so critically important to this proposal (and the survival of this planet), lets examine it even further. How would a wood furniture business be 100% carbon neutral AND 100% zero ecological footprint? The furniture still needs wood, trees cut from forests. So, how in the world could a wood furniture manufacturing business utilize Circular Economy? Where does the wood come from? Is it recycled? How can we make new furniture from recycled wood? The wood does not have to be recycled, not necessarily. The wood furniture business, besides using wood as sawdust and making innovations in new materials, can BUY forests of its own as natural wildlife resorts. This way making certain it buys more forestland than what it uses as wood to build the furniture, then the combined value of the furniture is 100% carbon neutral AND 100% zero ecological footprint. Meaning that if all wooden furniture on the planet would be manufactured this way, our combined carbon and ecological footprint from wooden furniture on this planet would be zero. So there are a number of ways, not just through reducing, reusing, up-cycling and recycling in which a economic actor can be active, produce, sell, build a businesses so that his carbon and ecological footprint is actually zero. We are immersed in an environmentalists view of the world, we see human activity as something that destroys and pollutes. But conservatives view the world quite the opposite way. Conservatives view human activity as something preferable and the natural wildlife as something that should be transformed to be more productive to humans. This proposals first difficult concept is that we must unite these two separate world views to mean the same thing. Meaning, when we work, buy, sell, consume, "make the world in our image", at the same time we must take care that the equal opposite happens. The combined carbon footprint and the ecological footprint of our economic decision can and must remain zero. It is a huge mind-twist, I admit, but we CAN consume without consumption. And a great many things depend on this concept. Think of the world we live in a hundred, or a thousand years, from today. With billions of people that have far more advanced technology than we have today, the very survival of the planet depends on the concept of consuming without consumption. That is the only logical conclusion. Now the second unfamiliar concept in this proposal is: "how a METHOD for obtaining a solution is more valuable then a solution". Take science. In science and what science actually IS is the method of how we get objective information and how we improve objective information. The single most valuable discovery in the history of mankind must be how the method works in which we acquire objective information. With this method we can build jets, skyscrapers, satellites and mobile phones. With this method we learn how to travel to Mars. So, a method of obtaining solutions (that have more accurate information then the choices) is more valuable then a single (however brilliant) solution. This proposal generates a method in which green business, that truly go 100%, WIN. Winning means that if two businesses are in competition for markets/customers the one that went 100% will win, and the other one will die. This means that if such an furniture company was in business when we get this method to finally work, then IKEA would loose, and the sustainable wood furniture business would win. (Or IKEA would itself be forced to become 100%, which in itself would be a HUGE victory, don´t you agree) The side effect of this very method: "how green business must be able to eat out the competition" is also, that we as a human civilization can keep our free will and freedom. Now, think about this. If a hundred years from now, or a thousand years, we still live in a "free" market economy. Then we are either dead or we are using this method. Explanation: "Free" markets have always had one serious flaw. One fundamental and earth shattering flaw. All decisions are made by humans. Not only humans but all information that a "free" market processes is based on one dollar one vote principal. The natural wildlife does not use dollars, at all. Zero information is processed by our "free" market system that is based on the world of natural wildlife. Only, and single mindedly so, our "free" market economy is flawed at the most fundamental of levels. It does not care if our planet survives. You have got to agree that that happens to be one major flaw. This means two things. In one hundred years we either learn to live in harmony with nature, using this proposals method, this way we still get to keep our free will and freedom. And the second option is that yes, we remain alive, but because our human nature is fundamentally flawed, our "free" market is fundamentally flawed, we loose our freedom one way or another. If freedom leads to the destruction of a civilization, there can be a number of ways in which our freedom and free will can be taken away from us. Tyrants, Artificial Intelligence, oppressive governments, military operations, economic downturns - catastrophic meltdowns of the global banking infrastructure etc. The way in which our freedom and free will is taken away from us is not important. What is important, is to forever prevent the need to do so. Human nature maybe flawed (we care more about our selfish needs and our family well being then of the need for the planet to survive), but the future is always open, if we can remain free spirits able to explore and wander the universe. Therefore we must prevent the need to take free will and freedom away from us. Forever. These are BIG questions. Difficult concepts. Agreed. But this responsibility to answer these big questions befell our generation, so we must be up to the task and start answering them. This means we must be able to tackle the difficult concepts. And, No, science has not gotten this far yet, these are questions that science has not answered because science can only answer after it hears what we have to say. Every long journey starts with a single step, but we can not be afraid to take that step, where ever that next (logical) step might be leading us.
Jun 17, 2014
I admire your enthusiasm for this BIG idea and agree as commented above that for both climate change mitigation and sustainability, reductions in consumption will be necessary. We may agree on the WHAT (our goal) but I do not follow your voluminous explanation of the HOW. So I'll make some comments that I hope you'll find useful in making your pitch clearer. First, I doubt that we'll ever be 100% carbon free and I do not know the science that says this is necessary. Certainly the principal GHG emitters need to reduce emissions rapidly and by something like 80% to avoid "dangerous climate change". I see no prospect of sufficient reductions internationally or my individual nations despite some promises (which most countries expect to be able to renege on with impunity). Equally I see no prospect of companies voluntarily reducing carbon content. Having researched submissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project I see no evidence that the multinationals that are most capable of reductions are keeping up with even the modest GHG reductions that Kyoto required. Few if any governments are interested in regulation carbon out of the economy. Second, I see a minimal probability that enough people will be motivated by altruistic impulses to voluntarily reduce their carbon consumption by enough to make a difference. However, 'ceteris paribus' many may choose product E that is more environmentally congenial that product D that is environmentally damaging (in source or sink consumption) if they had the information to make that choice. A service that could be relied on to deliver that information may encourage more of is to make the choice. With respect to jobs, service industry jobs often provide an income with low carbon emissions. It ism I believe, Orangutans who service each other by picking insects out of each other fur. This is a carbon free activity. In much the same way many modern service industries are about serving other people without consuming many resources. You have the gist of this idea but you can sharpen up your argument. However, the principal obstructions are that many service industry jobs are low paid and not attractive and what we may call skilled-attentive jobs (teacher, nurse, etc.) are underpaid for their social utility. Lawyers are overpaid! The value of jobs in a capitalist economy is determined primarily through supply and demand but the market has no eyes or ears to see or hear morality or to sense environmental harm or social good. Finally, on consumption generally this is something I have been researching and my view is now that we can all reduce our consumption and increase our well-being by realizing that consumption beyond basic needs does not satisfy our psychological needs (see Sustainable Capitalism and the Pursuit of Well-Being published by Routledge this year).
Aug 5, 2014
We liked reading your proposal, it has many good ideas. Unfortunately, the proposal was lacking concreteness in many areas, so it's difficult to judge its feasibility. We feel that it could be improved a lot, if the steps were outlined in more detail, especially the initial steps.