The Trump Administration appears on the horizon, and Real fear for the present and future sets in. Suddenly, the wolf emerges from under its sheepskin. Nothing could be clearer, the steps we take in these moments will echo into time immemorial. Never has a population lived at such an important impasse between matters of culture, economy, government, race, and environment. How rapidly humans are impacting the environment has far out-stripped the environment’s ability to support us, let alone the rest of the ecosystem and its countless other inhabitants – and then there’s this. Media lied to us. Politicians lied to us. Polls lied to us. They made us forget what it was like to live with a Wolf when we had our cool, suave, friendly POTUS who actually signed deals for Wall Street, lied to the Sioux about how important their sovereignty was, and sent flying killer robots to kill poor brown kids in their beds. We forgot those “unattractive” things because we wanted to believe in the idea that our problems could be fixed with a magic wand. Well, it can’t. Sorry, we have to do it ourselves.
Images coming from the front-lines of the Standing Rock occupation in South Dakota today are disturbing at best, except for that bit when the herd of Buffalo (the work of species rehabilitation in recent years) showed up seemingly in solidarity with the protesters. The Internet is on fire about this, has been for weeks, and only now are mainstream media outlets that were ignoring it for weeks, confident that the blase cover story and re-routing issued by Obama weeks before would hold up and that the Internet phenomenon would die down.
Now major networks and newspapers are touching it finally, but of course choosing to focus on the violent struggles, burning tires, “illegal” road blockades and other noise around the fiasco. Typical. But even though everybody and their sister seem to be talking about this on the Online circles we are already in touch with, there is a deeper systemic issue we’re not talking about. The elephant in the room here is the silence of the masses, and of the candidates, and – until the last 24-72 hours – of the media.
Sustainable and environment-related causes have gotten a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. Some see this as a fad or a craze, as if it were some “health swing” that happens every decade. The real reason this is becoming more popular is that the environment (which we as a species still occupy) is in need of relief, shall we say, from the pressures humankind is putting on it. Nonetheless, our civilization, which has carried on in its mad drive for material profit at an accelerated growth since the Industrial “Revolution”, seems to be at odds with the very place we call home, and, ironically, represents the reserve of natural resources with which Industry must make business happen. Not all businesses or people think this way, and it’s not necessary to link making a buck with this rapacious speed with which we’re eating up reserves and polluting what’s left. There’s a lot of talk about the Triple Bottom Line which amounts to People, Planet, and Profit. I’d like to point out the need to switch thinking, even though it’s nice alliteration, to think of it more as People – Planet – Financial with Profit (actual) being the meeting of these three concepts. In my opinion, actual profit is not achieved until your business creates gains in all three.
If we are going to re-define profit altogether, we need new profit modeling software that allows businesses, individuals and organizations to track, record, and publish their efforts results in real time.
This is probably one of the best ideas for reforestation that you haven’t heard of yet. Have you? Well, if you have, good – because it’s brilliant! This is a group of web programmers turned environmentalist that have set up a search engine that plants a tree every time you make a search! It’s based on a google API so it has all the power you’re used to, but less ads – and the ads you experience also go to fund reforestation! Check out Ecosia.org now to use it as-is or install safe add-ons and search plugins for your browser. We encourage this as well as any and all efforts to use the time we spend on computers and internet devices to do good for the environment!
It tends to appear that money and the environment are at odds. In order to make money, usually you have to participate in a job or investments that actively antagonize the already-unstable global ecosystem. There is a lot of talk about the parasitic “big banks”, “too big to fail”, and the system of toxic corporate financial entities that control the system. Not often enough, however, do people change where they bank in order to change things. Signing up at a credit union is one such way. Credit unions are non-profit organizations that exist for the express purpose of helping ordinary citizens build up credit and actually move forward as a result of keeping a stable balance. They tend to invest in local projects, businesses, governments and housing and thus represent a more direct democratic option in banking. Here’s a government website specifically created to help people find a credit union in their area. There has been a new trend as well in environmental investment banking with banks such as Aspiration opening checking account services to everyday people that allow for investing with a conscience. These banks have come to the conclusion, as many of us have, that the future of business is green, and investments into that future will be lucrative as well as wholesome for all concerned. These maintain a portfolio of investments that rate ecological benefit against monetary profit. They do this by picking “high road companies” vs. “low road companies” and prioritize investments on a scale of how well a company is doing financially and the good they are doing for the planet and humanity in the process.
Moore’s “law” has been steadily improving silicon computing, until just now.
There is an observation which was mis-named a law, which has been guiding the hand of the IT-powered economy since it came up in the 1960’s. Moore’s law (more accurately called Moore’s Observation) describes the seemingly-endless acceleration of computer technology since they first used the semiconductor silicon to replace vacuum tubes. Currently, this prediction is undergoing renovation.
Decades ago, a scientist at Intel observed that the complexity of silicon wafers, used to make computer chips, doubled about every 18 months. This has led the entire industry to rally behind a prediction that has become a form of self-fulfilling prophecy. Think about it. If you didn’t notice, computers and other information technology devices seem to have been getting faster and faster, the power they deliver and the number of features they possess as a result seem to increase as a function of time, relative to how much money it costs to buy them. The physics behind what made this acceleration possible escapes understanding for most, but it’s essential to understanding the next few years of global economic shifting as the silicon trend slows to a standstill, and IT manufacturers find new ways to advance.
Traditionally, sustainability and business would seem to be odd bedfellows. This assumption may stop being true by the end of this decade. In fact it may soon be that the only companies and organizations that can persist, let alone profit, are ones that adopt a sustainable model. Many companies, universities, governments and investment firms are switching to a model that is positive and sustainable – saving money and making profits too. Ivy league universities like Stanford and Yale have been pressured by internal student movements to divest from fossil fuels and opt for renewables instead. Hedge funds around the world are dropping Monsanto, and governments are voting their influence out of their countries. Over the last decade, the largest growth in new jobs was in the nonprofit sector. In 2015, solar and wind energy installations created more jobs than coal and gas combined. The war over solar is the subject of headlines in Forbes and Bloomberg, and some of the biggest names in business are the ones involved in this switch to Renewable Power and transportation. History is being written right now in the green sector, not in fossil fuels and chemical agribusiness.
There is evidence that companies that use socially progressive or environmental business models are increasing in market share and customer loyalty. Positive brand recognition in the present and future will go to companies that go the extra mile for the planet, its people, and their profits. Here are some ways that adopting more sustainable strategies in your homes and organizations can affect your bottom line. You will also boost loyalty and morale, improve your immediate environment, and help the planet.