Posted by: jmtoriel | November 14, 2007

Lights, camera…

We “environmentalists” need to get past the awareness stage and into action.
I’ve personally devoted my life to it. A recent article from Businessweek ( focusses on one
corporate sustainability advocate that is frustrated by the lagging
suport to take real action towards truly green initiatives while curbing
the company’s footprint. Aspen has all the reason to invest in
reducing emissions and they could do a heck of a lot more. Whistler is
a way better example in this regard. They have incoporated The Natural
Step into their municipal mandate.

A friend recently wrote:”We need to make it easier to assess the “greenness” of our
everyday (or every minute) lifestyle choices ( and business decisions)
in a more comprehensive manner. Understanding the effect of the
choices we make – which are directly related to the underlying
productivity ‘progress’, technological advances, and carbon reliance
we reward and expect – is where the real work begins.”

The good news is that it HAS begun. I could list you a number of
individuals and companies that are really making a genuine difference
and driving much of the change — and not just from purhasing RECs
(check out

For larger corporations, changing the culture is very difficult. For
smaller entrepreneurships and small business, it is instilled into the
culture. We cannot expect these companies to do it on their own. There
must be rewards and punishments for behaviours that limit and curb our
emissions or they will simply not happen (not profitable enough to take
action). In business, things are changing.

Evolution, not revolution.

We are shifting into a culture that is first reacting, then acting on the merits of changing.
I like to compare our reaction to climate changes existence much like
psychologists have framed the human reaction to crisis or death. Those 5
Stages are: Denial, Fear, Anger, Depression and finally Reorganization.

First comes denial (Exxon paid millions to confuse consumers on the
merits of global warming and attempted to disprove its existence for
example). Then came fear (Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” and countless books by countless authors) followed closely with anger (Katrina and aftermath or simply place recent local natural disaster here) and depression (people feel helpless to the huge problems and the lack of action by our leaders) –
We are here.

Some of us have moved onto reorganization, but it is not
yet a collective, global effort. We have entered a new realm. There
are so many good news stories that are unmentioned… Toyota, for
example, has slowly become the largest and most profitable car
manufacturer in the world by reducing their waste and becoming
closed-loop in their operations. They have incorporated the changes
into their cuture — but they still make cars! Regulations to federal
CAFE standards dictate the fuel efficiency of vehicles. Hopefully the Californian regulations will help to push for cleaner technologies and less combustable engines. ZENN electric
cars, made in Canada and exported globally, cannot even sell in Canada because Transport Canada
has not accomodated their demands to adapt to the current (archaic) standards.

Some companies get it, others still don’t — just like governments and political parties…

We must find mechanisms to create the change that needs to happen. It is
not anti-capitalist or idealistic, as the Businessweek article seems to imply, but
the real crux of he matter. It is the need for business and government to adapting to the current reality.


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