Archive for June, 2008
Lots on these last two weeks, apologies for the lack of postings from this (the UK) side of the pond. And it seems we’re not the only ones. Is it just me, or does anybody else get the impression that we are currently living through a somewhat unique period of history? With potential black Presidents, record oil prices, Iranian fears, Chinese Olympics, Zimbabwean disasters, the (once) richest man in the world quitting to run a charity… it seems like there’s rather a lot going on at present. Not to mention signs that our old favourite, the environmental crisis, is more dangerous than it’s ever been – have a look at these articles on sea ice melt, on tornadoes and this.
Could it be that we look back at 2008 as on of the formative years in World history?
Certainly from a personal perspective, I am sure 2008 will be remembered as a pivotal year for us. With Bright Green now at the beginning of its second year, things are really starting to come together in both offices. Although we’re sure the most difficult times still lay ahead, it’s exciting to be here at the present moment in time. My guess is that being present in the current moment is something that many entrepreneurs and politicians struggle with, and that if they could it would help considerably. Given our future looks increasingly uncertain, perhaps it is time to just be?
Penned by Nick
Having just returned from a weekend hiking Half Dome in Yosemite (see picture below), it’s disheartening to see California in the throes of another summer of wicked wildfires. Currently more than 1,000 (yes, one thousand) are burning in the State concurrently, wreaking havoc on the air quality, stretching firefighters dangerously thin, and even more frightening, the weekend heat and dryness promises to bring more fires online despite the fact that only 1/4 are currently contained. All said, we’ve lost nearly 160,000 acres of forest, though thankfully there’ve been relatively few deaths.
So what’s an environmentalist to do? Education is the first step, as it’s important to get a handle on the fact that (a) many of these are annual, natural occuring fires that help to purge deadwood from the forests, and so in some degree are healthy, however (b) the number of fires–much like the number of hurricanes–is increasingly rapidly year-over-year, leading many to speculate that the earth’s essentially being ravaged by environmental cancers and sicknesses.
Next steps beyond that: do something to green your lifestyle, help lower GHG emissions, and lessen your environmental footprint. Small steps like these help take pressure on our immediate, surrounding ecosystem, and allow nature a bit of time to start healing. If you’re really feeling frisky, check this.
Penned by Nick
I stumbled across a 2004 talk at Stanford by Guy Kawasaki, contrarian entrepreneur writ large, who espoused his views on the importance of making meaning first, and then trusting money will follow, as opposed to working in the opposite direction.
What struck me about Guy’s advice was how quickly this lesson has been forgotten as Web 2.0 has exploded. Indeed, my sense is that many are now beginning to wonder, what’s the real value of Facebook or Myspace, besides advertising revenue, when the communit of friends is seemingly so shallow and far removed from everyday life?
The thought that gives me heart right now is the reality that social and environmental entrepreneurs are actually embracing Guy’s lesson, and in the process, creating value that extends beyond an IPO. With some calling for war crimes trials of all CEO’s (a bit extreme, admittedly), there is, especially now in the US, a pressing need to make meaning out of an increasingly confused corporate system, and in the process, begin to be the change we all want to see in the world.
Penned by Nick
San Francisco will finally see bluer skies and lower energy bills, thanks to a solar rebate program that subsidizes individual residences up to $6,000 to install solar panels. As with so many social and environmental challenges–from gay marriage to AB32 to municipal solar–California continues to blaze trails and set the standard that other states often follow. Admittedly there’s a bit of California pride pouring out of me, but it’s definitely good to be in a place where good things are happening. The weather doesn’t hurt, either.
A quick post from me (Tom) today from San Francisco, where I’m visiting our US office, enjoying this wonderful, and suprisingly green city.
Recycling takes on an altogether more manic edge here, where money is offered to people who collect bottles or cans. People get 5c or 10c for each bottle/can they collect, spawning a small army of recyclers. It has huge benefits – the park after a sunny Sunday is picked clean of valuable materials that is then re-used. But it also creates problems, as is mapped out in this interesting video.
Here’s a great meta site we discovered today that collates all the green blogs out there, there’s so much information here it’s hard to know where to start. Also, the Queen continues to be Bright and Green Queen.
There’s something about the Hummer that really irks environmentalists. It’s big, brash, conspicuous and isn’t nearly as good as some of the ‘softer’ 4x4s out there. They send our otherwise placid and enlightened Chairman Paul into fits of tourettes on the road. As such, it’s great to see that people are starting to vote against it with their wallet. Is this the sign that people’s attitudes are finally changing? Here’s the brief article we picked up about it. Bring on the Smart car, the prius and, best of all, the bicycle.
It was also great to see Nick, with photographic evidence of his new streamlined look (in the hair department), finding time to talk in some more detail about Bright Green over in the US.
Finally, here’s a cheeky little advert promoting wind power
Penned by Nick
This evening I attended a Dream Reborn gathering in Oakland, CA that centered around the Green Collar Jobs campaign in California that’s framing out a template for other states and even federal regulation in 2009/10. First, what an inspiring, wonderful event–the green collar jobs movement is real, widespread, and truly changing the socio-economic landscape around the State.
Second, I was struck by how many ways there are to “plug in” to the green jobs movement. Whether your interest in food, fashion, fishing, or foreign policy, there’s a place for you at the table. Organic local grocers are helping to bring quality foods back to disenfranchised communities. Fashion gurus are streamlining their production processes and retooling their raw materials to be more environmentally sustainable, both to lower operating costs and increase marketability to potential customers. Fish–both large and small–are facing fierce environmental change in the water that’s changing behaviour, directly impacting human safety, as we’ve seen along the Pacific coast in recent weeks. Foreign policy, now more than ever, centers around the implicit fact that the solution to pollution requires a systemic approach to foreign policy, whether it be food tariffs and how they affect biofuels production, or population and poverty debates that redress eco-apartheid imbalances.
While walking out of the Dream Reborn gathering, I was struck by the deep realization that though we can’t see it at every turn, the reality of a green revolution is just around the corner, drawing closer every day. 2009 promises to be a watershed year, though it’s incumbent on us to do something today to ensure a brighter, greener future tomorrow.
It seems that there are other ways of getting ahead than fantastic customer service, integrity and working above and beyond the call of duty. Abandon all HR budgets and re-divert them to the canteen.