Research Using Crowdsourcing

I want to try an experiment and need the cooperation of those who read this blog. I have been putting together an article on the importance of getting the concept of sustainability right. If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that this is a persistent theme in my writing. Now that I am retired and working from home, I have limited access to the usual resources that frame research and analysis. To substitute for conventional literature searching, I want to try out a process analogous to crowdsourcing for financial capital. Capital for me is intellectual capital–access to sources that bear on whatever I am writing… Read More

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Wow! Systems Thinking Is Cool

Continuing the thread of the last post, this week’s email letter from Gil Friend’s “Natural Logic” business picks up on systems thinking and contains another quote about complexity. He writes: > One big idea:�Systems thinking. [Part 1.] > It’s trending. It’s cool. It’s not a panacea. (Hunter Lovins and I would blast a klaxon horn at our Presidio MBA students whenever they used “systems thinking” as a selling point in their pitch presentations—as though it were a self-explanatory magic bullet—instead of demonstrating how they’d actually use systems thinking to identify and deliver value that would otherwise slip through the cracks of a more traditional, reductionist, compartmentalized, mechanistic approach.) I suppose… Read More

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Yvon Chouinard Speaks

A week or so ago, Gil Friend reported on what Yvon Chouinard said at a recent Greenbiz Forum conference. Here’s the quotes he reported: If all these companies are doing all these great sustainability things, why is the world still going to hell? It’s the obsession with growth!�Companies that have been in business for 500-1000 years focus on three priorities: quality, innovation, and controlled growth….�We’ve been growing 25-30%/year, in a recession, while other companies are hurting. We must be doing something right.�Every time we’ve done the right thing for the planet, we’ve made more money…. [Makower: It’s the hardest thing in the world for companies to be seen as authentic.]… Read More

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Comments Needed or Missing

A month or so, this blog was switched to a new server, creating a flood of spam comments. Shortly thereafter, I added a spam filter to try to manage the flow. I discovered today that the filter was putting everything into the spam file, which I did not monitor carefully before trashing all the contents. So if your comments have not showed up, I apologize. I am “tweaking” the filters to find a happy medium. I would prefer a few false positives, spam getting through, to missing your comments. If you do send me comments that disappear into thin air, you can alert me with an email sent to the… Read More

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We Are All Users

I am currently taking a course named after one of the texts we are using, *The New Jim Crow*, by Michelle Alexander. The main theme is the scandalous mass incarceration of young black men as a result of the “War on Drugs” policies over the past several decades. Bolstered by several Supreme Court decisions that supported police sweeps without significant grounds, the young black male population has become virtually decimated in many urban communities. They have been jailed for either drug possession or drug dealing, most often without a trial, being induced to plea bargain with prosecutors threatening draconian mandatory sentencing guidelines. This issue is, by itself, worth following. I… Read More

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Give Me a Break[down]

Any movement toward sustainability-as-flourishing requires a change in the cognitive structure of the actors involved, as individuals or as part of an organization. If they do not change the beliefs that underpin their normal practices, whatever their “business” is will go on unchanged, continuing to produce the unintended consequences that constitute unsustainability. In the model of human action I believe is the most meaningful in describing intentional behavior, responses to familiar situations arise out of past patterns that have been assessed as satisfactory or effective kept in the ready. These become “ready-to-hand” in Heidegger’s terms, that is, they are pulled out of the actor’s toolbox without consciously thinking what to… Read More

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The Real Debt Crisis

Gil Friend included this info about the recent GreenBiz forum in his periodic newsletter. > One big idea: The standout idea at GreenBiz Forum last week was TruCost’s assessment that paying for environmental and social costs would take out 40-50% of corporate profits. We have always known that externalizing public costs was a standard business practice, but have had few estimates of the scope of this practice. The size of the hit is stunning. The number put forth at the Forum can be found in Green Biz/Trucost’s “State of Green Business” 2013 [report](http://www.trucost.com/published-research/94/state-of-green-business-2013). These costs are real, and will be paid eventually. It’s the eventuality that allows firms to continue… Read More

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Watch This Video!

Watch this video illustrating one of the most serious forms of unsustainability. The file is too large to post, so here is the [link](http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QPKKQnijnsM). Send it to all your friends.

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