Till 2010

It’s hard to believe, but I have been blogging for over a year. I’m still learning the rhythm and the pace. This has been both an easy and difficult year. It’s been easy to find targets for criticism, irony, or satire. It’s been much harder to find positive trends and events. My Internet feed readers were overwhelmed everyday with incessant ballyhoo about the potential profits to made in “sustainability” In earlier days, “plastics” was the road to riches. At least it propelled Dustin Hoffman to stardom in *The Graduate*. The [year-end summary of the 20 most read](http://www.greenbiz.com/news/2009/12/29/20-most-popular-stories-2009?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Greenbuzz+%28GreenBiz+Feed%29) (green business) stories in Greenbiz is almost laughable. Joel Makower who publishes the… Read More

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A Toast to Sustainability

Here’s to Old Year past, with all its doom and gloom. Let’s sweep out its remnants with a brand new broom And bury old troubles in a tightly sealed tomb. The new days of 2010 have begun to loom As they begin to fly from Future’s womb With a resounding swish and echoing vroom. It helps little to look back in anger, and fume, But complacency and denial lurks in my room. Even as I’ve avoided the swine flu’s rheum, I worry about the next coal-fired smoke plume, And all that needless junk we rush to consume. I wonder if the progressive ideas of Hume Can still guide us, as… Read More

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Season Greetings

I’ll be taking a few days off to visit family in Maine and to give my faithful readers a break as well. It’s difficult to leave with an upbeat message with hopes for real progress on the sustainability front scattered to the winds in Copenhagen. I have tried to find something to cheer about, but even those who have reached far to find something positive are not convincing. Tom Friedman’s c[olumn today](http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/opinion/23friedman.html?ref=opinion) was a great example of good and bad news. The bad news was that Copenhagen “was a bust.” The good news is that the Danes have been able to create a sensible energy economy, based largely on raising… Read More

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[Un]social Media

One of my colleagues in the change community sent me a [link to a video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8), extolling the explosion in social media activities. The rapidity of adoption is truly astronomical, but growth doesn’t necessarily mean improvement. Numbers are always a diminished indicator of the consequences of whatever has been growing. Growing GDP does not mean higher quality of life, and now appears to be causing just the opposite, as the social and natural structures that create that growth are being strained beyond their capacity to recover from inevitable stresses on the system. I am concerned we will come to realize a similar danger as social networks replace more tradition ways of… Read More

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Learning from the Past

Atul Gawande has a fascinating piece in the New Yorker with an unusual argument on how to do health reform. I see the piece as also an insightful window on any of our “big” problems, like climate change, or even sustainability. He argues, against all the talk coming out of Washington, that the present messy Senate bill is built on a sound and successful precedent, although not deliberately or maybe even without any sense of the past. His reference is the history of reforms to our (and other) agricultural systems. His central message is > So what does the reform package do about it? Turn to page 621 of the… Read More

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Strategy and “Collapse”

Driving home from the weekend at Marlboro College, I started reflecting on the experience. Unlike texting while driving, I can keep my attention on the road while thinking. The last class I attended was a wrap-up of a course on Strategy Synthesis with an emphasis on integrating sustainability. The time was spent debriefing and discussing the experience of the three student projects. One of the questions that ran through all three was, essentially, what is strategic? Looking at standard business school strategy courses is not terribly helpful in the sustainability context. Most interestingly, the first assignment in this course was to read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Strategy is… Read More

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Happy to Be Teaching Again

This weekend, I’m back at Marlboro College teaching in their MBA in Managing Sustainability Program. It’s the end of the journey for the first cohort to enter the program two years ago. I listened to five of the group present their capstone project reports.One of their cohort is over in Copenhagen and presented her work earlier. Now this is not MIT where I taught for some time before retiring, but the quality of the work was quite on par with many of the Master’s students I worked with while I was there. What I learned in a short time working with this program, and earlier with a similar program at… Read More

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Remembering the Wizard of Oz

I have been away for a few days visiting my daughter and family in Arlington, VA. I rarely read the Washington Post, but find it a good read whenever I am there. On last Sunday, I saw an [article](http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/04/AR2009120402605_pf.html) on the front page that jumped out at me. The headline read, “To really save the planet, stop going green.” Given all the ballyhoo about greening in the business news and environmental media, I thought for a moment that this was some ironic device to catch the readers’ attention. No, the author, Mike Tidwell, was serious. The gist follows a line I have been writing about for just about ever. Greening… Read More

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