Archive for October, 2008
Penned by Nick
The City of Oakland today announced the launch of its Green Job Corps. This is a new initiative designed to solve a few problems:
1) Generate jobs for low- and middle-income individuals;
2) Increase access to job training for these same folks;
3) Ensure Oakland sits at the forefront of the green jobs revolution.
It’s an inspiring first step, and one that’s poised to inspire other, similar legislation throughout CA and the nation. For Bright Green, it’s a great sign that the green jobs revolution is going to be an inclusive one–we’re proponents of a “bottom of the pyramid” approach to the green jobs movement, and convinced that it’s “the more, the merrier” as far as this movement goes.
We’ve nearly notched a year at BG US, and already much has changed. We’ve poured blood, sweat, and tears into our first year, and hope to come out optimistic on the other side. Right now, despite the state of the world, we see blue skies ahead for all. That said, the fall has brought us a time to reflect on lessons learned, and look to horizons ahead. We’ve shed a few leaves at BG US this week, and it’s been hard. We’re now assessing what we’ve learned, and trying to integrate the best practices into an evolutionary enviroprise (you heard it here first?). Sustainable business seems counter intuitive–in many ways, we’re aiming to put ourselves out of business once we’ve served our core purpose. I hope we’re on to something more than just self-destructive here. I figure we’ll see it here first–hopefully we have a first hand experience in the coming blue sky renaissance.
Penned by Nick
As ever, my favorite NY Times published an Op-Ed that, for the first time in my reading, elucidated the dark corners of just what the hell is going on on Wall Street.
What was interesting was the way in which this piece was connected to the climate crisis, with the connective tissue being our insatiable desire to consume now, ask questions later. As we draw deeper into the climate crisis, largely without understanding our own fate that’s being daily determined by our actions, I can’t help but want to just give it all up at times. The education, the effort, the daily slog against those who just don’t believe it’s anything but business as usual out there–it’s enough to make an ecopreneur want to cash in, go for the easy money, and not think twice about the future. I’m far from a moral high-hogger, but insistent that, at least, we agree to start giving real science a chance and educate our children so that we can see with fresh eyes the problem-solving, will power, and genius of a generation truly committed to self preservation.
Ruminated on by Nick
The NY Times today ran a story that documents one of the larger shifts in Chinese economic policy in recent memory: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/13/world/asia/13china.html
Bringing this number of peasant farmers into the land banking system strikes me as a profound, forward-thinking move. Knowing little about Chinese policies, it does strike me that folks should have some ability to have direct ownership of essential assets–mostly free from government interest–but that the government should have some oversight. Though not a full, free-market reform like we enjoy in the States, I think this may be a positive first step in the process of decoupling economic from political freedoms that was first initiated in Tianeman Square.
Stern warnings by Tom:
What is the biggest issue threatening the global economy right now? I imagine almost anyone who has access to global news will tell you it’s the financial crisis. Wrong!
Perhaps the financial meltdown will affect each of us over the coming years? The speed of the crisis, coupled with the related financial tendrils that creep into each of our lives is surely cause for concern. Yet there is another crisis that dwarfs this, which the world has largely ignored as we’ve gorged on cheap money – the environmental crisis.
Let’s look at the figures – if we still believe that economic drivers are really the most important measure of development? (For a good counter, check out Development as Freedom):
Each year, by some estimates, we loose $2-5 trillion simply through forest loss (compared with an estimated $1-1.5 trillion lost in the financial crisis). That’s just forests! We’ve got climate change too, which could risk reducing global GDP by 20%, marine issues… the issues and the costs pile up. By some reports, the annual (yes annual) loss in ecosystem services from biodiversity loss could exceed 14 trillion Euros by 2050.
As the financial crisis clearly demonstrates, it doesn’t pay to panic. Instead, we need to commit, daily, to greening the world in which we live as we grow our companies and economies. That’s why we here at Bright Green, and many of our clients, are looking beyond the financial crisis and continuing to find bright, green talent to stay competitive in our uncertain future.
So go for a walk in a park or in the countryside as the autumnal leaves colour, as they’ve been doing for millions of years, and bring yourself back to act on the real crisis at hand.
Reminded by Tom:
We all work pretty hard here at Bright Green Talent. When you’re building an organisation that you believe can help contribute to mitigating issues such as climate change, pollution etc – it’s hard not to deeply, or sometimes over commit yourself.
If you’re starting a new job, or building a business, it’s vital to remember that you can only do so much. Each day offers an opportunity to push yourself along the journey and to learn and grow, but if you retire to bed each evening musing on all the things you’ve yet to achieve, rather than those you have, you’ll struggle to maintain that energy over time. Perhaps this is a necessary by-product of getting off the ground, but I believe that it’s unsustainable. Certainly many of the entrepreneurs I’ve spoken to admit to over-committing in the early stages of their businesses.
How is it possible to maintain a work-life balance when you’re bringing an organisation to life, or starting in a new role that you love? Here are some of the ways we keep ourselves sane here at Bright Green:
- Learn to turn your emails off. Whether at the weekend, the evening, or on your blackberry – you need time to reflect without constantly reacting to the barrage of other people’s thoughts.
- Reduce your emails!
- Turn off your phone when you’re busy, or when you’re spending quality time with your self and others and don’t want to be disturbed.
- Work smart – be effective, it’s your productivity, not your hours that will help you achieve what you want to achieve.
- Take time to breathe, follow the advice of our founder Paul in his first book.
- Work each day at a time, don’t worry about tomorrow’s work till tomorrow, unless you can mitigate that worry today.
- Take a walk – get up and out of the office if you’re feeling hemmed in.
- Meet on the hoof – if you have to have a meeting with someone, do it whilst walking rather than sitting at a table.
- Take regular holidays
- Remember that your family, your health and your loved-ones are all more important than your job, no matter how important you are.
None of this will come as a lightening bolt… but very few people have truly found the balance.