Archive for May, 2008
Penned by Nick
A friend sent this pic from the Netherlands, which like Bangladesh (though at the opposite end of the economic spectrum), sits well below sea level is poised to suffer first from the effects of rising oceans. At the risk of sounding sentimental, it struck me how tragic it will be lose these daily reminders of beauty. As much as environmental preservation has a moral imperative, there is also an aesthetic one that is often overlooked though ever present. How do we find inspiration without beauty around us? Yet another downward spiral we’re forced to wrestle our way out of when seeking to solve the problem of global warming.
Penned by Nick
The Union of Concerned Scientists today released a powerful statement endorsing regulatory action on climate change. One passage, in particular, resonated deeply with me:
“As temperatures rise further, the scope and severity of global warming impacts will continue to accelerate.
…If emissions continue unabated, our nation and the world will face more sea level rise, heat waves, droughts, wildfires, snowmelt, flood risk, and public health threats, as well as increased rates of plant and animal species extinctions. The longer we wait, the harder and more costly it will be to limit climate change and to adapt to those impacts that will not be avoided. Many emissions reduction strategies can be adopted today that would save consumers and industry money while providing benefits for air quality, energy security, public health, balance of trade, and employment…There is no time to waste. The most risky thing we can do is nothing.”
Straight from the expert’s mouths–hopefully our government listens. “By the people, for the people”?
Posted by Tom:
Although this article is overly simplistic, you’d be amazed at the number of people, even executive-level candidates whom I speak to, who get many of these fundamentally wrong.
Here are a couple I want to highlight.
2 – The best employees always leave on a high note.
5 – I’m not sure about this, if you’re an excellent candidate, you should hold out for something that works for you. Or make it work for you, even if the exact job isn’t necessarily on offer. If you go to a manager or entrepreneur and make it evident that you will bring significant benefit to the company with little fuss, they’d be foolish not to hire you, even if they’re not actively advertising that job.
7 – I press delete on any CV that contains typos, simple. If you make a typo in your CV, you’re going to make typos in key client docs. Check them through 20x and then get your mum to check them too.
11 & 16 – No brainer
And a few other tips include:
a) use tangible real-life examples that are applicable to the job you’re going in for
b) prepare, prepare, prepare.
c) try to match the style of the interviewer
d) anticipate their resistances
e) get someone influential you know to recommend you, or mention you to the company, or find some way in.
f) USE A GOOD RECRUITER
Et voila, the jobs a gooden!
Our friends at Sawdays have recently started a blog called ‘What about China’. It’s worth a peek. Today’s article discusses something we mentioned here a couple of weeks ago. For fear of repeating myself – it’s time to start looking at changing things in the US (20.2 tonnes per person), with the UK closely behind (12 tonnes), before we start pointing our fingers at the Chinese.
Here are the figures:
On average each person in the world is responsible for 4.6 tonnes a year. In Britain each person is responsible for 12 tonnes. A Chinese citizen is below average at 4.2 tonnes and an Indian is well below average at only 1.4 tonnes. An American is responsible for a whopping 20.2 tonnes. It would be reasonable for China to claim that its emissions per person should be allowed to rise in order to lift it’s population out of poverty – particularly since the west has benefited historically from huge emissions over many years and is responsible for 80 per cent of the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Posted by Nick
A friend just send the pic above from a recent water polo trip to compete in Australia. Being environmentally aware has never made so much sense.
Posted by Nick
Social and environmental justice enterprises are beginning to show their true colors as we enter the 21st century. In large part, initiatives like Micro Energy Credits are merely a function of the emergent financial opportunities embedded in bottom of the pyramid, distributed business models focused on modernizing economies.
On another hand, they are reflective of a larger consumer awakening that each purchase need not be a open-loop process of consumption and disposal without regard to the environment or community. Instead, consumers are realizing that these processes can be closed loop, zero-impact, virtuous cycles that benefit not only their bottom line and immediate community, but the long-term health of the planet. This third dimension–sustainability (in some regards time)–which is increasingly held accountable on personal and business balance sheets is quickly changing the financial marketplace worldwide.
Grameen Bank, Micro Energy Credits, and others capitalize on this increasing consumer awareness to great effect, effectively killing two birds with one stone, and in the process, creating positive environmental and social change. Though killing two birds with one stone through market mechanisms is not novel, it has never has it felt so good and so sustainable.
Posted by Nick
Wharton’s online journal recently published a compelling piece (thank you, Marty) that discussed the business hot spots bubbling up in response to climate change. Utilities now have huge regulation targets on their backs due to their (gross) emissions, and their sources of security and funding (insurers and banks) are similarly squaring down with an increased business reality that global warming means global cooling of their businesses, unless they respond and adapt. (Disclaimer, I used to work with utilities, insurers, and banks to finance municipal power plants, and was pleased to see local agencies leading the charge towards renewable, diversified power portfolios).
Wharton’s apparently doing more than just talking about these challenges, it recently launched its Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL), creating a much needed link between the academic, corporate, and government sectors. With the regulatory aparatus poised to take a leadership role in 2009 for the first time in nearly decade–both McCain and Obama have pledged to prioritize the fight against climate change–what many refer to as a cycle response to global warming looks like to finally become institutionalized. Consensus is gathering–good news all around.
I hired a car recently and was told on arrival that because I had booked online that they were upgrading me. Great, thought I, perhaps I’ll get to try a Prius. As a single occupant driving for 4 hours, I really didn’t need room other than for me and my hand-luggage, hence why I’d reserved the smallest car I could find. Instead, I was presented with a 5-door sedan instead of the little mini I’d booked. When I explained that I really didn’t need or want all of that car my polite refusals were met with slight disbelief that I wasn’t chuffed with my upgrade. After looking at me like an ungrateful idiot, I was told that the computer had automatically booked this new car and I had no choice, so I should just appreciate it and get lost.
This mentality is all too common. Does an upgrade really have to mean you get something bigger? How many people in the world still think, despite the crisis that we face, that this kind of upgrade is a good thing?
On flights, people and organisations spend many multiples of economy fares to fly people around. Has anyone noticed that these classes of travel take up double, or triple the room of a economy seat? Therefore a first class passenger, as well as spending a fortune on the ticket, is also responsible for many times the amount of carbon emitted. Perhaps my logic is flawed, but that’s how it seems to me.
Paying an additional few thousands of pounds for 10 or so hours in slight discomfort still confuses me. So, while we’re cost cutting, why don’t we carbon-cut as well and send people economy and give them an extra day off work, or a day to recover at the other end in a nice, responsible, hotel if they really feel that economy is so much more damaging to the soul than a perfectly comfortable seat in the back.
Posted by Nick
My brother in San Diego shared with me a research report that recently came across his desk, which asserted that: “Across all countries surveyed, the research indicates that working for an organization where employees positively view “green” efforts has a significant, favorable impact on how they rate their pride in the organization, overall satisfaction and willingness to recommend it as a place to work. Employees who have favorable views of their company’s “green” activities also have more favorable opinions of their management…[and are] more likely to believe that senior management supports and practices high standards of ethical conduct, and is more trustworthy.”
Generally speaking, in the US we’ve seen the environmental movement begin at the bottom and work its way up into the workplace. Grassroots initiatives–both within the home and the workplace–typically start as pilot projects, and only when management realizes the value of the initiative, integrated more deeply into the corporate DNA. Despite the fact that these initiatives have been in place for decades, research is only now coming to the fore to support what many have long known: doing good by the environment is doing good for one’s business. How long it will take for management worldwide to realize this is not certain–what is certain is that the trend will not relent as more and more research illuminates the business value of going green.
Posted by Nick
The New York Times ran an article that featured biodegradable household products. Worth mentioning, primarily because though one hand more sustainable, there’s also the potential that they deepen our (American) proclivity for conspicuous consumerism under the auspices of responsible shopping. I’m also concerned–as the article duly notes–about the concept of family heirlooms and keepsakes, which deepen family bonds and serve as the physical embodiment of oral traditions. Should everything we physically surround ourselves with eventually go kaput!, one has to wonder whether we find ourselves enjoying inner peace or suffering from utter despair…