What a SocialEarth is saying about Earth Day and beyond
Earth Day was a big success this year. Countless corporations and organizations took to the streets, the parks, the internet, and more to demonstrate that they/we/you care about our planet. But just because the day is over doesn’t mean that people have stopped thinking about what the future of the planet holds. Some argue that Earth Day may be missing the point…. See below to read more.
Take stock of your business and personal values when it comes to the environment. Are they in agreement? Whether you started out as an “ecopreneur” (a term coined by John Ivanko and Lisa Kiviris in their 2009 book, Ecopreneuring: Putting Purpose and Planet before Profits) with a clear environmental mission, or as an entrepreneur who gradually came to see the importance and value of adopting more sustainable practices, your customers or other business stakeholders will probably expect your personal and business approach to environmental concerns to be aligned at some level.
If you didn’t start your business with a specific environmental mission in mind, it shouldn’t be all that surprising if your customers, employees, and people in your business network ask:“Why now?” What sparked your recently awakened concern for the environment? And, how do your values span your business and personal life.
Genevieve is the co-founder of Night Owls Press, an indie digital publishing company for small businesses and organizations. In a former life, she worked as an economics researcher for international organizations (Asian Development Bank, United Nations, Innovations for Poverty Action, and several NGOs), writing extensively on the business environment. Night Owls Press publishes books on business innovation, social entrepreneurship, the collaborative economy, D-I-Y culture, and education.
I believe in climate change. I ride my bike everywhere, I work at a solar company, I buy organic and local when I can. I am young, liberal and idealistic. But I’m not an environmentalist. And I’m not alone.
Over the past decade the number of Americans who identify as environmentalists has steadily declined, from a peak in 1990 of 75 percent to less than halfof Americans today. For most of the past three decades, a strong majority of Americans prioritized the environment, even at the risk of curbing economic growth. But since 2009, most of us have been unwilling to make that trade-off.
At the same time, as the New York Times recently reported, a large majority of Americans believe that the weird weather of late is at least partially caused by global warming. Another poll showed that 83% of Americans want more government support for clean energy. Yet another showed that three in four Americans recycle, have reduced their household energy use and buy environmentally friendly products.
Lisa Curtis is currently a Program Leader for the Summer of Solutions in Oakland. A native of California, her experience ranges from working in the White House to serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a rural Nigerien village.
Whilst Earth Day is an excellent opportunity to push forward both the green economy and global sustainability agendas, it is never an inappropriate time to raise the issue of affordable housing considering the sheer magnitude of ongoing rural to urban migration patterns. However, what arguably often does not get alerted to is the apparent lack of cohesive action to move forward effectively.
The massive environmental strain that the uncontrollable growth of slum expansion brings is well known: despite many base of the pyramid communities being highly resourceful in their own right, waste pollution, poor sanitation and undersupplied water are just a handful of the problems that continue to boost the increasingly unhealthy state of developing world cities. The lack of enforceable control and complementary infrastructure further exacerbates the problem – with many slums located in highly vulnerable areas close to flooding, earthquakes zones and other natural dangers.
What makes the situation particularly frustrating is the lack of dialogue and debate over genuinely workable solutions. The handful of NGO and impact investment interests involved in the sector remain staunch supporters of initiatives such as housing microfinance, slum improvement technical support and peripheral single storey house creation – failing to acknowledge the downsides of these objectives, particularly in the long term. Whilst rarely admitted openly, developing world slums are now considered part of our global future and plans of revolutionising the sector with new paradigms are viewed as an “impossibility”. The developed world continually fails to provide the necessary support beyond financially feeding NGOs who, whilst applying noble efforts, lack the capacity or commercial know-how to project the sector where it needs to be.
KEYWORDS: Business & Trade, Eco-Living, Consumption & Travel, People, Social Action & Community Engagement, sustainability, affordable housing, Environmentalism, earth day, small business, best practices, beyond environmentalism