Movers and Shakers

26 Aug

The recent earthquake in Virginia and Ms. Hurricane Irene that is threatening the East Coast at the moment has led me to start thinking about the extreme weather that has been plaguing the world over the past several years and climate change.  Sure, we’ve always had hurricanes, tsunamis, quakes and tornadoes in the past, but this decade it feels different.

Perhaps, it’s because it’s hard to ignore the increasing consistency and severity of mother nature’s wrath, or because we’re all becoming a little more aware of the consequences that our carbon-rich lifestyles have on the climate. I, for one, see our extreme weather patterns as a direct result of society’s greenhouse gasiness.

I don’t think I’m alone here. I’m sure there are plenty of others who think that we’ve pushed mama nature’s buttons to her tipping point. I’m not suggesting this is armagedon, but it could be the glimpse of a very grim 10-50 year forecast. Unless of course, we start getting serious about cutting out carbon from our diets.

Our current infrastructures for just about everything – from food production to transportation – are heavily reliant on fossil fuels, the lifeblood of our national and international economy, and trying to cut back on carbon emitting habits is difficult when there are ways to cheat with the temptation of convenience all around us.  Which is why I salute the movers and shakers (and you thought I was referring to the earthquake) of this decade and decades past that are pushing to ingrain sustainable practices, technologies, awareness and foresight into the heart of our society and our economy, in order to make it possible for all of us to get on a low-carb(on) diet.

When I think about the real movers and shakers of environmental sustainability, my mind drifts to the iconic environmentalists of the past – Rachel Carson, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and even this generation’s Al Gore.  These individuals realized the value of our natural resources, and sought to  protect them through their own means.  There is no doubt that these figures have influenced, either directly or indirectly, a large population of today’s environmentally conscious citizens.

Rachel Carson: Biologist, Conservationist, Mover & Shaker

As people become more concerned with the state of our environment and the hard to ignore realities of climate change, so must business.  In today’s capitalist society, corporations and organizations are starting to reflect the role of the individual environmentalist, building their business on the principles of environmental responsibility. After all, we vote with our dollars and if there’s a way for us to have our cake and eat it too – indulging in the pleasures and convenience of the 21st century’s culture and innovations, while being a responsible citizen to the earth – then we’re willing to pay a little extra for it.

More and more companies are making it their mission to incorporate environmentally sustainable business practices into their daily operations. Large and small, from Stoneyfield Farms to  Starbucks, companies are listening to their customers, leading with their conscience, and making a difference.  International companies like GE and Honda are putting energy efficiency and emission reduction at the top of their agendas, all in the name of curbing climate change.

Yet, today’s real movers and shakers might just be the everyday Joe and Janes that buy organic and support sustainable agriculture,  spend extra money for products and services that reuse and recycle materials, bike to work, or invest in companies that are committed to using clean energy. In whatever form it may be, it’s the average consumer that is really pushing to make a difference. Just as Thoreau and Carson have influenced us to be environmentally conscious, we too can influence companies and, perhaps even the global economy, to  move to a low-carb(on) diet, and begin to curb climate change together.

At it’s worst, “sustainability”  is a buzz word. At it’s best, sustainability is a movement – a rise in public consciousness, which puts the health of the environment and every living being on earth at the forefront of our daily thoughts and actions.  You are a mover and a shaker – so let’s shake things up so that our climate doesn’t have to.

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3 Responses to “Movers and Shakers”

  1. terrasphere August 30, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    This article, found on the GOOD website (http://www.good.is/), supports the idea behind what I was getting at (beneath all the rambling) in the post above – corporations making sustainability and environmental & social responsibility the core of their mission.

    http://www.good.is/post/new-california-law-will-boost-businesses-mixing-profit-with-social-good/?utm_content=headline&utm_medium=hp_carousel&utm_source=slide_2

    This proactive approach to business is admirable, and really shows that some companies and organizations are looking to separate themselves from the “greenwashers”.

    • terrasphere October 26, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

      Another example of ethically-minded business, Project 7, who is finding success in selling the masses a simple way to make a change in the world, and have fresh breath while doing it.

      http://www.good.is/post/will-walmart-shoppers-buy-ethically-branded-products/

      “The move from health food grocery store to big-box emporium represents an effort to court lower-income consumers to ethically-branded stuff.”

      “Ethical buying is becoming big business, but few manufacturers have floated charitable business models that target consumers beyond the progressive elite. “

  2. Brian September 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    Vertical agriculture, so dizzy with its grand, futuristic urban planning creativity, that it fails to realize that the centralization of food production/distribution and immense, volume-driven food-production systems that are uncoupled from soil, pollinators, and water systems are the planet’s two biggest food production problems.

    De-centralize vertical ag by designing homes, restaurants, shops, and commercial buildings to have glass walls, trellises, and green roofs: many small farms, not few massive factories.

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