~ Where the Sun Will Never Set on Our liberty ~
After writing about Ethics and Sustainability, the push continues. This time from a chamber of commerce.
An Invite from the Omaha Chamber of Commerce:
ECONOMIC OUTLOOK LUNCHEON
Omaha 2035: The Next Big Things
Featuring Rebecca Ryan, “Futurist, economist and one of America’s most influential though leaders” and “author of ReGENERATION: A Manifesto for America’s Future Leaders.”
Let’s meet her, shall we?...
I wonder…what’s Next Generation Consulting blogging about?...
Will Republicans and the Environmental Movement Die Together?
No one would call today’s GOP and the environmental movement “bedfellows,” but in one important way, they are:
Both the GOP and the traditional environmental movement are filled with older white people, all focused on each other. And if they don’t do something to diversify, they will die.
I’ve written about why Al Gore can’t attract Millennials. (Punchline: he’s negative and angry, and Millennials need solutions and hope.) But the Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund face the same issues:
Wrong Focus: The Sierra Club and EDF focus on national influence and policy, but the real changes are happening in cities, e.g. the greening of NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles. (Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley argue in The Metropolitan Revolution that cities—not the feds—will drive change in the new economy.)
Echo chamber/Ego Chamber: Traditional environmental orgs continue to play to the Baby Boomer cultural war mongers who’ve always been their base. As Boomers have gotten older, they’ve gotten wealthier, and most of the big grant money is concentrated in their aging institutions. They are out of touch with the next generation and New America.
Where is the Pain? While caucasian boomers wave their enviro-flag, it’s nonwhites who are disproportionately affected by pollution: 71 percent of African Americans live in counties in violation of federal air pollution standards, which makes their children twice as likely to have asthma as white children.
Who’s Willing to Pay? African Americans and Latinos are more likely than whites to favor progressive energy policies, and they’re willing to pay for them. A Yale poll from 2010 found Latino’s, African Americans and people of other races and ethnicities were “often the strongest supporters of climate and energy policies and were also more likely to support these policies even if they incurred greater cost.” A 2010 poll found a majority of black Americans would be willing to pay up to $10 per month more in electric rates if the extra charge if it meant climate change was being addressed, and more than 25 percent said they would pay an additional $25 per month.
Realistically, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Al Gore may not be able to adjust their base, their strategies, or their message for New America. That’s okay. It’s a natural part of regeneration and “creative destruction.”
New America is inventing a way around the establishment. It’s called the “environmental justice” movement. It’s powered by the people most affected by environmental mismanagement and works—like all great movements—on a shoestring budget. Learn more about the environmental justice movement in Katie Valentine’s terrific article.
What Climate Crisis? [Book excerpt]
It takes five hundred years to replace one inch of topsoil. At this rate, Iowa would need 3,000 to 5,000 years to replace what’s been lost in less than two hundred years. Why is the soil eroding at such a fast clip? Development is part of it. But many of the farming methods we use to grow our food, such as tilling, are eliminating the very soil in which we grow it.
Topsoil is just one example of climate crisis:
June 2012 was the 328th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the twentieth-century average.
Scientists say that 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. We’re now at 392.
The world’s oceans now have 405 dead zones. Dead zones are caused primarily by nitrogen and phosphorous runoff from farm fields, which kill bottom-dwelling sea crea-tures like crabs, disrupting the food chain and sending predators up higher, into warmer waters.
Most of the world’s drinking water now includes trace amounts of pharmaceuticals like Viagra, birth control drugs, Valium and antipsychotics.
Twenty of the thirty most expensive insured catastrophes worldwide from 1970 to 2011 have occurred since 2001, and all but one (9/11) were natural disasters.
At this rate our kids will inherit arid air and soil, lifeless oceans, medicated drinking water, and storms of increasing frequency and intensity.
What are we doing to ourselves? How did we lose our way?
Throughout American history, God and Creation (or “the environment”) have always battled for the attention of our better angels.In 1606, the First Charter of Virginia was crafted, to incorporate Jamestown. Its official mission was to propagate Christianity, but only three percent of the 3,805 words in the document refer to it. The other ninety-seven percent outlined how the colonists might pillage “all the Lands, Woods, Soul, Grounds, Havens, Ports, Rivers, Mines, Minerals, Marshes, Waters, Fishing, Commodities” using options including but not limited to “dig, mine, and search for all Manner of Mines of Gold, Silver and Copper.”
America conveniently puts God on its masthead but in the fine print, we’ve been treating His creation with disregard.
We’ve invented and championed modern industrialism, the “take-make-waste” economic system where we take natural resources like water to make textiles that we buy and eventually discard or waste. Each year, Americans toss sixty-eight pounds of clothes alone, the equivalent weight of a ten-year-old-kid.
Fortunately, our kids and grandkids know that what we’re doing isn’t sustainable. Their whole lives, they’ve seen images of barges looking for a place to dump their waste, rivers poisoned by factory runoff, birds and fish killed by oil spills and polar bears going extinct.
So they’re working hard to reverse course. They’re taking classes in environmental science, bioethics and sustainability. What they know—and we would all be wise to acknowledge—is that there is no Planet B.
The twist? Nature is more than a silent victim of our recklessness. Nature is our teacher. When ocean temperatures rise, hurricanes are likely. Hurricanes seem destructive to humans, but to nature they are a way of regenerating, of mixing sea and fresh water, and re-oxygenating the ocean’s dead zones. Nature has been regenerating for eons. She will lead us out and through this climate crisis.
If only we’ll pay attention.
The invite from the chamber states:
“Her fast-paced keynote promises hot-off-the-press results of a new, global project call ‘Next Big Things,’ focusing on the future of cities.”
Last month, it was a business ethics alliance meeting on sustainability. Two weeks ago, I received an email from my bank telling me to take shorter showers and turn off the lights. Now this.
The Agenda seems to be gaining steam...quickly.