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Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link

By Marie Perriard All economic production depends on our scarce natural resources and we can apply insights from physics and ecology to help us examine our economic system.1 As resources are depleted, waste is generated, and the continuous loop regenerates itself as long as 1) throughput is within capacity of the system and 2) the … Continued

Community Organizing and the Free-Rider Problem

As a community organizer, I am all too familiar with the free rider problem and with economically rational ways to circumvent it. Under the right conditions it’s not as daunting as it first appears. I’ve seen two classical ways around the free rider problem. The first is democracy- everyone makes a decision to invest collectively … Continued

Imperial Death March: Assigning value to ecosystems

We’ve asked and attempted to answer this question may times: What’s the cost of a tree? This question inherently implies that there is a price tag on that tree, and that price is a reflection of what one party is willing to pay for the benefits of the tree, and what another party is willing … Continued

On the Shoulders of Giants

Reflections on Power Politics by Arundhati Roy and the Presidio MBA Program As we move forward and pursue our definition of progress, we must bear with all the “complexities, contradictions and demands” (p.6) that the world bestows upon us. This is no small task. Leaving it to the experts is no longer an option – … Continued

Hot Trends in Social Venture Finance

The world of social capital is small, but it’s hot. With rising uncertainty about both the moral and economic underpinnings of the traditional financial sector, finance for socially conscious enterprises has become a destination for those looking to put their morals behind their money and those who see good social and environmental stewardship as hallmarks … Continued

The Next Leap Forward – Thanks Mr. Nixon

Thank you, Richard Nixon. I’d like to begin this post by thanking Richard Nixon for creating the historic opportunity for the US to work with China on the two most critical global issues challenging our world today: Economy and the Environment. Although current US – China relations have opportunities for improvement, Nixon laid the groundwork … Continued

Hope, Not Fear – A New Relationship to Money and Material

The current financial crisis has made me stop and think about my relationship to money and just what it provides you with. Is it an illusion that having a robust stock portfolio helps you feel secure or that when your 401k is up the future looks more rosy? Now the illusion has been stripped away. … Continued

My Vision of Hospital Sustainability

I envision walking into a med-room, accessing low-toxin medications from a reusable dispenser, and carrying them in a reusable pill cup into a patient room. Our hospital policy strives to minimize pharmaceutical therapy, maximizing use of complimentary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture and guided imagery for symptomatic relief of conditions such as pain and … Continued

Rocks Storing GHG? Part 2

Shripal, your observation that business considerations tend to delay the implementation of carbon sequestering is acute. The ecological value of an implementation now is indeed much greater than in the future, but yet the carbon pricing trend would indicate the reverse. I think this is the classical “Don’t miss it till it’s gone” syndrome.

Rocks Storing GHG? Questioning Our Focus on Technology

I am worried that our reliance on finding large scale technological solutions can potentially stunt the growth of sustainable development. To me, Sustainable Development is the result of integrating Sustainability in our lives, while Sustainability is a set of actions which ensure that living and non-living systems can thrive in perpetuity. Taking this article as … Continued

Purpose vs Profit : Stakeholder Management

The concepts behind stakeholder management seem to be so obvious, yet have been largely ignored for a long time by corporations that are now beginning to see the error of their ways. Taking into account all those that can impact your business as well as those your business impacts would seem to be common sense, … Continued

Beyond Leadership: Focus on the Right Questions

The intuitive visioning section of Beyond Leadership particularly resonated with me due to a number of contributing factors. The sense of pessimism associated with the economic collapse combined with the overwhelming amount of information we’re inundated with on the existing and pending environmental issues leads naturally to questions of self-preservation. As Bennis states the question, … Continued

Dana Meadows Memorial

On Earth Day 2001, Hunter Lovins wrote the following memorial to Dana Meadows, a true hero of the planet. Dana Meadow’s writings can be found at the Sustainability Institute website. Donella (Dana) Meadows (March 13, 1941 – February 20, 2001) On this Earth Day, as we gather to celebrate our love of our home, let … Continued

The Business Case for Sustainability: Intercontinental Hotels

Bob Willard’s video, “The Business Case for Sustainability” explains that companies on the journey towards sustainability move through several stages before reaching a 4th stage, called the “Integrated Strategy”. At this stage, everyone in the organization is involved in eco-efficiency processes, resulting in enhanced company profits. The business case is furthered by a Graves and … Continued

Faith in Greed

I think that I’m beginning to understand why greed is good. Greed provides clarity and focus in a world of steadily increasing and seemingly endless possibilities. When the twin towers go down, gold traders keep on trading gold, and in a global market that needs gold to stabilize itself from the shock maybe that’s a … Continued