Tag Archives: sustainability

Sustainability is a movement defined by a taxonomy we created called a content map which organizes all categories and keywords under three elements – overview, planet, people, and prosperity.

The Soul of Sustainability and the Opioid Epidemic

I haven’t posted anything to this blog in over a year. 

My commitment has not waned to increasing sustainability awareness and advancing the voices of those acting on behalf of Mother Earth and her children.  We continue to add these voices to
EarthSayers.tv and are seeking partners to expand the availability of our content on websites that share our commitment. 

Connecting
Rather, my sustainability work turned out to not only include ten years of curating the voices of sustainability from across the globe, but five years of living in a caring community, learning,  getting involved in addressing the issue of safety for all of us, and reframing the neighborhood from an “entertainment” district to caring community.  A second project is intended to change a negative image of our residents to one that is diverse and caring. It got me out of the office and into the streets taking photos of and meeting my neighbors and their dogs. They are published here. It’s also about getting support for an urban dog ballpark in our neighborhood.

Interdependence 
Early in 2017 I came to the realization that the soul of sustainability lies within our interdependence or oneness or kinship. It was a
lesson I was learning locally within my community where I identify as a sustainability advocate.  I live in Portland’s Caring Community, Old Town Chinatown, where a majority, 57% of the housing is dedicated to the homeless in the form of supportive care housing and shelter beds.  Adopted in the 1970’s the housing landscape reflects a model of care that works and is overworked as homelessness increases. 
This is also a place with a high crime rate for narcotic/drug offenses and assaults in a time when our police force is understaffed and those trained to “coordinate the response of Law Enforcement and to aid people in behavioral crisis resulting from known or suspected mental illness and or drug and alcohol addiction” are too few. In Portland this is the mission of the Behavioral Health Unit within the Police Bureau.  A model of policing that works for the situation we find ourselves in – the solution is recovery not jail.  They too are overworked. 

“The biggest deficit that we have in our society and in the world right now              is an empathy deficit. We are in great need of people being able to stand in somebody else’s shoes and see the world through their eyes.” – Barack Obama

Under the banner of sustainability advocate I began to integrate the personal with the professional and in the process discovered that interdependence is the foundation, the principle for acting on behalf of future generations and getting to the heart of
things be they local or global.   I came to think of it as the soul of sustainability.  It also places empathy at the center of all action-taking as we express compassion through our work.

“This problem of addiction is not only a health crisis but a spiritual crisis.

The situation worsens when society sees addiction as a shameful condition — those in need don’t reach out to others for help; the community doesn’t provide treatment services.”  – Paul Steinbroner

Health and Spiritual Crisis
And then came this opioid epidemic. My filmmaker friend, Paul Steinbroner, needed some marketing help in getting his latest film project, Called From Darkness, into distribution.  Paul heads up a publishing and distribution company specializing in multi-media projects related to addiction, neuropharmacology, and brain chemistry. 

“The torrent of people who have died in the opioid crisis has transfixed and horrified the nation, with overdose now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.

The Epidemic
There is a great need for increasing awareness about the epidemic and educating people who may see themselves as disconnected, but know by feel that the situation calls for all hands on deck. Nearly all of us are connected to someone – family member, friend, colleague – who is directly affected by addiction and often homeless on the street.  One doesn’t have to live in a neighborhood that cares for the sheltered and unsheltered to know that a majority of our homeless have a mental illness and/or drug addiction.
In Portland, of the 4,177 homeless people counted, 2,527 (60.5%) reported living with
one or more disability, including a mental disability, chronic physical condition, and/or a substance-use disorder. The number of people with disabling conditions increased by
16.1 percent between the 2015 and the 2017 Point-In-time counts.
Addiction as a healthcare issue is in the realm of social sustainability. It’s of sizable proportions: an epidemic, possibly resulting in hundred of thousands of deaths with economic repercussions that could bankrupt our communities; making the poorest of neighborhoods unlivable; and turning family life into a nightmare.  The New York Times article1 Son, 4 Overdoses, 6 Hours, makes this point:Drug deaths draw the most notice, but more addicted people live than die. For them and their families, life can be a relentless cycle of worry, hope and chaos.”  

Start Here
I have observed that to start from the point of “not me, but them” or to draw a line between the personal and the professional, leaving “solutions”  to those in the healthcare sector doesn’t lead to furthering sustainability principles.  I find framing the challenge from the principle of inter-connection and thinking of it as going to the soul of sustainability works. It works for not only knowing what to do next, but having the confidence to move forward despite inexperience or feelings of being overwhelmed or to hear yourself think,  it’s not my problem.

To start, here is a trailer of Called From Darkness by Paul Steinbronner as part of the Called from Darkness film project entitled A Home Boy’s Joy Ride.  It features the voice of artist Fabian Debora and the work of Fr. Greg Boyle the founder of Home Boy Industries and author of Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.

Future blogposts will continue to explore the Soul of Sustainability and the associated topics of the opioid epidemic, homelessness, and livability in our communities including housing and public safety.

Sustainability with Resiliency

Sustainability with resiliency is how I think about these two important concepts working together.  Which is why I started to pay more attention to those talking about resiliency and  then created a new Resiliency and Communities collection on EarthSayers.tv, voices of sustainability.  At first, I recognized that there is quite a bit out there on personal resiliency. Three years ago I interviewed Raz Mason, who is trained as a chaplain, on the topic of sustainability and resiliency. Although I didn’t agree with her that the term sustainability suggests a steady state, I was impressed how she talks about resiliency as it relates to the individual and family.

bookHowever, in terms of community resiliency, I was moved to action by the voice of Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, author of The Resilience Dividend, and one of the world’s leading public thinkers. She was the first voice added to the Resiliency and Communities special collection on EarthSayers.tv.  I discovered that resiliency at the community level incorporates what we traditionally call emergency management yet moves us towards being better able to plan for and then recover from not only the weather, but social and economic shocks.
And exactly how do we do resiliency planning and investment, to prepare, when crisis seems to be the new normal?  How do we revitalize, not just build back our communities?
Well, I recommend you give a listen to Dr. Rodin’s hour long discussion brought to us by The RSA, a London based, British organization committed to finding practical solutions to today’s social challenges. And circulate* an excerpted version (six minutes) of her talk (bit.ly/adaptandgrow) to friends and colleagues who you know are looking for fresh ideas. I let our local emergency management director, Carmen Merlo, know that I had heard Dr. Rodin and was very supportive of Ms. Merlo being Portland’s first Chief Resiliency Officer, a CRO being a recommendation from Dr. Rodin’s experience with the Rockefeller project, 100 Resilient Cities.
Our worldview influences the actions we take and so it’s possible that with crisis being the new normal we all are hearing the call to action to bring resiliency planning to our cities and towns, making it part of every sustainability plan, program, bureau and initiative. We just need help doing it and the courage.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, March 30, 2015, Portland, Oregon.

* Suggested tweets: Our communities and #resiliency benefits of planning explained by Dr. Judith Rodin (video), http://bit.ly/adaptandgrow and/or Advice we need to hear: How to Build Better, More #Resilient Cities with Judith Rodin (video), http://bit.ly/adaptandgrow

The Documentary and Sustainability Awareness

In the last weekend of April I attended the conference, What Is Documentary: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow at the University of Oregon’s Portland campus organized by Gabriela Martinez and Janet Wasko of the School of Journalism and Communication.  As noted in a previous blog post, it was an extremely interesting two days and three evenings of presentations and film screenings. Best of all, I had the opportunity to interview the ethnographic filmmaker David MacDougall.  The interview is in two parts: David MacDougall on Filmmaking and Children in India: Three Places of Learning.

What is Documentary?

In the interview David reminds us there are two kinds of documentary.  Some are made based on pre-existing knowledge and prior research while others are the research process itself, a process using video to discover and explore. He notes with the latter “what you end up doing is a product of what you learned during the making of the film.  The process “often shifts you into an entirely different direction so it’s quite open ended.”

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David MacDougall

Documentary Takes Money

Organizations that fund research and explorations, foundations in particular, might follow the lead of early adopters such as The Ford Foundation and their initiative, JustFilms.  JustFilms “focuses on film, video and digital works that show courageous people confronting difficult issues and actively pursuing a more just, secure and sustainable world.” Initiative funds are distributed through three distinct paths, two of which point to support of both kinds of documentary cited by David. They are:

Research

  • Collaboration with other Ford Foundation grant-making programs where the introduction of documentary film could help draw attention to an issue or advance a movement, and

Discovery

  • An ongoing open-application process that will help JustFilms stay attuned to fresh ideas and stories wherever they may emerge.

It’s the open-ended, exploratory process that in the past made funders and investors nervous, to the point of excluding documentaries all together, and yet it is through exploration that we are more likely to discover what is working at the personal and community level to insure a future for the next seven generations.  It’s learning from what the filmmaker finds and sees, especially about us.   And it’s understanding that such explorations are part of increasing sustainability awareness in the category, culture and consciousness.

The Story of Usdavid macdougall

Even environmental advocates Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Julia Butterfly Hill talk about the “us.” Kennedy noted in this interview, “…first of all we are not protecting the environment for the sake of the fishes and birds so much as for our own sake” and Hill in this video identifies the greatest threat being our disconnected consciousness. This does not preclude producing well researched documentaries about Mother Earth, about the birds and the bees, but growing a body of work around people’s behavior that goes beyond headlines and newscasts and is not bound by preconceptions imposed by disciplines and ideologies.  David MacDougall’s films are good examples of what I am talking about and you will note in his interview he talks about how the story evolved, taking years, not months, to exploring the emotional and physical lives of children.

The Opportunity

Economist and Pachamama co-founder, John Perkins calls out in this video the prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor, an indigenous prophecy told by first peoples all over the world about a time dominated by an intellectual, masculine, mind-driven consciousness, which is followed by an opportunity for balance between that consciousness to one that is heart-driven, intuitive and feminine. It is a call for a shift in humanity’s relationship to the Earth and our relationship to each other and, according to the prophecy, that time is now.

We need to reconnect with Mother Earth and with one another yet how?

It’s documentary filmmakers, using their skills and experience, who can help show us the way, if we invest in them and their projects that explore “fresh ideas and stories wherever they may emerge.”  And in the process bringing to the fore those in relationship with Mother Earth and community so we can learn from them.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, May 6, 2014, Portland, Oregon.

IPCC Ocean Systems and Oceans Advocacy Part II

On Monday, March 31st, I published a blog post on  a concept video around OceansAdvocacy, proposing a web-based communications infrastructure to support aipccdvocates from all walks of life, but not representing any organizations they might be affiliated with, if they choose to do so.  The advocacy landscape is highly fragmented and many organizations, profit and non-profit, are not being successful at meeting their goals due in a large part to under-financing and being over whelmed by the problems brought upon us by global warming and the continued dislocation of entire countries because of war and  violence.  I think a citizen-rooted network of networks is required if the global village is to be more successful at oceans conservation. I visualized a connected oceans community, based on the Google product’s Maps, Earth, Google+, and YouTube, inspired in part by the recent release of the Global Forest Watch.

To add fuel to my suggestion, this is the final draft of the Ocean Systems, Chapter 6 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report officially release d on March 31st.

The executive summary begins:
“Ocean ecosystems have responded and will continue to respond to climate changes of different rates,magnitudes,and durations (virtually certain). Human societies depend on marine ecosystem services,which are sensitive to climate change(high confidence),in particular the provisioning of food (fisheries and aquaculture) and other natural resources, nutrient recycling,regulation of global climate(including production of oxygen and removal of atmospheric CO2), protection from extreme weather and climate events, aesthetic, cultural, and supporting services.” [6.3, 6.4, 6.5]

I recommend reading the entire Executive Summary and other chapters of interest to you found here on the IPCC site.  As of this morning,  nearly 500 citizens have clicked on my 3/31/14 post, distributed through the 3BL Media Network, some viewing the attached concept video, and I am hoping that this update adds to an understanding of why we are at a critical juncture and heed Jimi Hendrik’s advice:jimmi quote wisdomRuth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate,  April 2, 2014, Portland, Oregon. Call or email comments and suggestions. (ruthann@earthsayers.tv/415-377-1835)

P.S. There is an IPCC video here, Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability by IPCC, in the EarthSayers.tv special (and growing) collection on climate change.


 

 

Are We Afraid to Call It Climate Change?

First, let me raise a few more questions.

greentoesWill we continue to talk about the changes in climate, climate variability, warming temperatures, extreme weather, exceptional drought, or Hurricane Sandy, but not use the term climate change so we as sustainability advocates don’t step on anyone’s toes?  Why are we targeting the 12,000 folks a month using Google to search on, say, climate variability, only a fourth of them from the United States and not the estimated 2,240,000 citizens searching monthly using the term, climate change, 30% of them in the United States?

Should we even care about the 3,600 searchers using the term climate change hoax, considerably less than the 18,000 wanting information on the global warming hoax, a majority of these searchers, 66%, being from the United States?  Are we not at the back of the pack addressing the stragglers when we fail to title, describe, and tag properly our papers, blog posts, reports, and videos addressing global warming and climate change?

Tuesday June 23 Google SpikeThe mainstream media appears to be in the back somewhere.  When on June 25th the President of the United States makes a major address on climate change it doesn’t register on the dial with the press, but it does cause a spike in search traffic, so the Web part of the awareness cycle is working even if TV isn’t.  We need both.

press coverage of speech

Just how much of a snoozer was the President’s speech in terms of “news” was discussed by Bill Moyers and Marty Kaplan, the Norman Lear Professor of Entertainment, Media and Society. Here is a four-minute video clip of their conversation. In the video see how Fox News used a smidgen of the President’s speech as a segue way to the author of Red Hot Lies – a lesson in distraction and manipulation.  Bill Moyers references an infographic by Think Progress that sums it all up as in zero seconds for major programs.

In the case of building awareness, no news is not good news.

Are people afraid to talk directly about climate change? Some may have a good reason to be afraid. There are reports of climatologists loosing jobs because they expressed a belief in climate change, or didn’t, depending on the political climate in their State or their boss.   For a flavor of the pressures professionals can find themselves under listen to This American Life, podcast 495, Hot In My Backyard, May 13, 2013 featuring the story of Colorado’s State Climatologist, Nolan Doesken.

Three years ago I wrote a blog post citing Elizabeth Kolbert reporting in the The New Yorker “a quarter of the TV weather-casters AGREE with the statement ‘global warming is a scam,’ and nearly two-thirds believe that, if warming is occurring, it is caused mostly by natural change.” While I can’t find a study to confirm a shift in the thinking of these folks over the last three years I can appreciate this headline on the Weather Channel last week (Jul 24, 2013) as a sign of a shift, an increasing awareness:

“Poison Ivy is Growing Out of Control, Thanks to Climate Change”

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Robinson

Fortunately, business leaders such as General Motor’s Mike Robinson, Vice President of Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs are openly discussing the importance of preventing climate change. In this video posted by 3BL Media Mike talks about the steps GM is taking to stop climate change and why it is important to address it. The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) hosted a panel, Business in the Age of Climate Change with leaders from the Ford Motor Company and the WWF (video here).  Elected officials including President Obama are stepping up to the plate such as Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s presentation at a state-wide Climate Change Summit, and Mayor Bloomberg”s speech, “A Stronger, More Resilient New York.”

GM Works with Ceres, an advocacy .org for sustainability leadership, “to reduce carbon emissions, improve energy efficiency and increase investment in a clean energy economy.” The Ceres Climate Declaration (full list here) signed by GM and a host of companies makes it clear where they stand on climate science.  Sign the declaration as an individual and/or company here and join with Levi Strauss & Co., The Weather Company, Method, L’Oreal, Nike, AMD, Intel and many more.

What’s in a name? When it comes to search and using the Web to educate and inspire, terminology is extremely important. Denial of climate change is what the stragglers are chatting about. Let’s move on. As sustainability advocates target those active in the learning cycle on climate change (searching on Google and YouTube qualifies an individual as active) to increase awareness and emphasize the connections  to the pressing issues of water, energy, and even poison ivy.  Let’s as sustainability advocates emphasize in our conversations and communications the leaders among us who openly discuss climate change and are working to do something about it. Distance yourself and company from organizations associated with skepticism, the Heartland Institute being identified as the most prominent one by the Economist in May 2012, a quote featured  here on the Heartland Website.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, July 29, 2013, Cleveland, Ohio

Video Spotlight on Three Sustainability Leaders

CIWThe ongoing story of the Coalition for Immokalee Workers is a model of place-based community action (grassroots) working through coalition, collaboration, and agreement rather than separation, disagreement and opposition. It’s about CSR, business human rights, and leadership.

It’s how Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland and former UN High robinsonCommissioner of Human Rights, moved beyond “declarations” and used her leadership position and power to bring support to the co-founders Lucas Benitez and Gerardo Reyes-Chavez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

We have added three videos today to EarthSayers.tv, Farming and Food Production special collection, to share our respect for and advance the work of Lucas Benitez, Co-Director, tn_24615Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and that of the workers, friends, members, and colleagues of the Coalition.

The first video is a speech by Mr. Benitez back in 2002 at the Mary Robinson Speaker Series in which he honors Mary Robinson for joining their cause and talks about the Coalition and the Code of Conduct they are successfully enlisting Corporations and growers to sign and adopt.

The second video is a news report from Democracy Now for today, May 20th on the hundreds of farm workers and their supporters who are in New York City ahead of Wendy’s shareholder meeting to ask for improved working conditions for those who pick its tomatoes in the Fair tn_24617Food campaign organized by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.  CIW farmworker and a co-founder with Lucas of the CIW, Gerardo Reyes-Chavez talks about this social responsibility campaign.  So far McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King and Taco Bell have all joined the White House-recognized Social Responsibility Program, agreeing to pay an extra penny per pound of tomatoes to raise wages and only buy from fields where workers’ rights are respected.

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The third is a video record of the fifteen-day, 200-mile March for Rights, Respect, and Fair Food which came to a “loud, colorful, and jubilant end” on Sunday, March 17th outside Publix corporate headquarters in Lakeland, Florida.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, Earthsayers.tv, May 20, 2013, Cleveland, Ohio.

earthsayers ad


Sustainability and Educating Women and Girls

Before becoming a sustainability advocate, I spent most of my career working with technology beginning with a Fire and Emergency Information Reporting System project for the City of Toledo (1975) moving in the early 80’s to technology companies.  I first used an email system and a PC at Computerland (1983), having moved off mini-computers, and in 1999 began to market high tech products and services developing on the Web seminars (now called webinars), database-driven landing pages, and micro environments.

So the eye-catching graphics with heady statistics by Allison Morris of OnlineClasses.org, which I am sharing with you to encourage them being passed on, reminded me of the progress women have made and of the roads still unpaved for women and girls when it comes to the access I have been taking for granted.

The importance of online access, especially from Ms. Morris’ interest in free e-learning sites, should be addressed in all initiatives, products, and programs that have education of women and girls as their focus especially in developing countries. But is this so?

In a blog supporting the University of Waterloo course MSci 442, The Impact of Information Systems on Organisations and Society (1) Peter Carr addresses information technology in the context of economic development, education and in the article I link to, the digital divide. A practicing online learning professor, Dr. Carr cites more stats and notes, “If we accept that the internet has a significant contribution to make to development then there would be an urgent need to tackle this issue.”

Is there urgency when it comes to educating women and girls? Do we accept the internet as a significant contribution?  If not, why not?

Could it be that the big picture of information technology and the issue of the digital divide come into play only when addressing commercial applications and not in terms of educating women and girls? Is it likely that out-dated stereotypes of women, girls, and of the Web itself are the cause and ignorance the driver?

If so, then it’s important to illustrate related facts and spread them far and wide especially among folks like myself who take Internet access for granted and yet understand the importance of educating women and girls to sustainability awareness and adoption.

Source: OnlineClasses.org
 Girls Online Infographic

For those of my readers who are communicators and have a need for text,  Allison provided this text and like the graphics, use freely, but provide attribution to OnlineClasses.org.  Thank you.

Across the globe, there are an estimated 2.4 billion Internet users. And in Western society, women actually have a stronger web presence than men, according to the infographic “Women & the Web,” posted by OnlineClasses.org. However, this is not the case everywhere. In areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East & North Africa, and South Asia, women’s access to the Internet is significantly lower than for males. In fact, according to statistics, there are 23% fewer women online than men in developing countries across the world.

Considering the benefits women and their families can obtain through Internet access, this is an important topic of discussion. In a survey of women from developing nations who used the web, 50% reported using it to find and apply for a job, and 30% used it to earn additional income for their families. On average, women reinvested 90% of their income into their family. This figure was only 30-40% for men.

In addition, free e-learning opportunities also contributed to the liberating influence of the Internet. Approximately 8 in 10 women with web access in developing nations reported using the Internet to educate themselves. Sites like Coursera and Udacity are particularly popular.

The economic benefits of increasing women’s access to the internet across the world is undeniable. It’s estimated that $13 to $18 billion would be contributed to the annual GDP in 144 developing nations as women improved their ability to generate income and further their education. So, it’s not surprising that 90% of women surveyed said that Internet access should be a basic human right.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, February 26, 2013, San Francisco, California.

(1) The blog posts are content for the course which considers the impact of IT in a number of areas including the digital divide and education. Peter Carr is a professor in the Department of Managements Sciences . His research has focused on online collaboration in business and on collaboration in online learning. Peter lives in Toronto, Canada.

VP of Social and Environmental Sustainability

tn_24020Meet Michael Kobori. He is VP of Social and Environmental Sustainability at Levi Strauss and Company.

He is the person I had in mind when in March of 2011 I wrote a blog post comparing sustainability to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and noted “Up to now the C-level sustainability officer is generally focused on environmental concerns, water and energy being high priorities, and cost reductions.  At the social and environmental sustainability intersection is where companies can begin to examine their role in externalizing risks and costs, a practice and mind set that has greatly harmed the environment and all living beings.”

So look at how Levi’s represents sustainability on their Website.

Screen shot 2012-11-12 at 11.28.28 AM

Follow the leader.

Listen to a video interview of Michael by 3BL Media at the BSR 2012 conference on EarthSayers.tv, voices of sustainability.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, November 12, 2012, Portland Oregon

Seek Out and Learn from Sustainability Leaders

In a recent article, How to Become a Sustainable Company, in the Summer 2012 issue of the MIT/Sloan Management Review they ask the question, “What differentiates sustainable companies from traditional ones?” To the answer in a minute.

Although the article references commitment to sustainability, noting that few companies are born with it, an issue arises for me that goes beyond terminology and suggests a fundamental misunderstanding  – to be a sustainable company is not equal to being a company committed to sustainability. The adjective, sustainable and the noun sustainability are not one in the same. Unfortunately, the former is what is popular in business, both public and private and the answer to the question above demonstrates what I mean. According to the article the differences are:

  • Sustainable organizations are effective at engaging with external stakeholders and employees
  • They have cultures based on innovation and trust
  • They have a track record of implementing large-scale change

These are not unique to sustainability nor to sustainable companies. Petroleum and  toxin-based companies, for example, may be successful at all three and yet have no commitment to sustainability, to the seven generations, mired as their leadership may be in the short term, and, ultimately, in denial about global warming and the inability of an economic system that externalizes risk and costs to ever bounce back.

Sustainability is a goal, a desire, a hope and it signifies the ABILITY to drive change, first, at the personal level. We need sustainability leaders to drive a sustainability culture in their organizations. This point is raised in the MIT/Sloan report:

“When leadership commitment drives the process, it usually comes from the personal resolution of a CEO to create a more sustainable company. In general, top-level executives have the ability to create an enterprise-wide vision and the clout to see that it is realized. Without this commitment, becoming a sustainable company is a “nonstarter.”

While leadership commitment is talked about as critical,  the report continues with the language of ” leaders of traditional and sustainable companies” rather than sustainability leaders of companies directing our attention to how things are not working rather than who is working. Our sustainability leaders need to influence their “traditional” peers, first,  to raise their consciousness as quickly as possible.  There are two very effective ways to advance the personal and model the behavior that is desperately needed.

Online Video

Screen shot 2012-06-19 at 11.30.53 AMHere’s an interview with Dominique Conseil , Global President of Aveda and Karl-Henrik Robert founder of the Natural Step, both sustainability leaders. Or listen to The Regeneration Project’s Ray Anderson Memorial video series, here is one video, Why Meaningful Progress Depends on Activists – Spotlight on Civil Society, featuring sustainability leaders Jonathon Porritt, Vandana Shiva, Nitin Desai, Lester Brown, Bill Ford, Kris Gopaladrishman, Yolanda Kakabadse and Gro Harlem Brundtland.

Online Video and Research

Dr. David Hall of Portland State University stepped out of the box and advanced the personal by producing a series of sustainability leadership videos as part of his research called Native Perspectives. Here you can listen to the indigenous voices, sustainability leaders, of the Salmon Nation.

Face-to-Face

The Regeneration Project, between July and October, will host a number of Salons – curated, facilitated conversations sustainability leaderswith influential stakeholders from across industry and sector. These Salons will take place in major international cities across the world. Attendance is to be limited  to approximately 50 people, on an invitation-only basis.  Great work and hopefully the start of something fresh in sustainability awareness, education, and innovation.  The project is an inititiave of GlobeScan, a public opinion research company and Sustainability, a think tank and strategy consultancy.

All of this is to say go ahead and read the research digging into sustainable companies,  but give more time to listening to your peers who are sustainability leaders, pioneers, heroes, and innovators.  Look for research and events that emphasize the personal over organizational. Rely less on processed information when you can now hear directly from the sustainability leadership as found in the hundreds of companies that are for-benefit and in the hundreds of voices of sustainability from across the Web, the reason we invested in bringing together these voices for you in one place, EarthSayers.tv, voices of sustainability.

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, June 19, 2012, Portland, Oregon.

Forty Billion Videos but How Do I Find One I Want to Watch?

ThiFindings question headlines a blog post in MediaPost Publication, VIDblog by Daisy Whitney who hits hard noting “With Americans watching upwards of 40 billion videos online each month and rising, how do you even find anything anymore? Discovery is becoming a huge issue and is regularly cited by advertisers, agencies and programmers as one of the biggest challenges facing the online video business.”

Discovery is when you find something and is not to be equated with searching when it comes to the Web.  Four years ago when we founded EarthSayers.tv, a cause-related site which aggregates and curates videos highlighting the voices of sustainability, a search on Blinkx for the term, sustainaibility, netted 21,000 results.  Today it’s up to 386,000. And, we know from experience that a full 50% of them are duplicates as people upload one video to YouTube, Vimeo, and Blip.tv, sometimes with different titles.

One can understand why “advertisers, agencies and programmers” see discovery as one of the biggest challenges facing the online Screen shot 2011-11-09 at 11.29.56 AMvideo business, but what about cause marketers charged with a task to educate and motivate our citizens to solve complex problems? It’s a big, big problem, but is largely unrecognized by non-profits, large and small, who are barely getting their feet wet with Web 2.0 tools and techniques, let alone addressing the whole finding issue.

Screen shot 2011-11-09 at 11.29.32 AMThe over-commercialization of the Web continues largely unquestioned or challenged by those with an education agenda.  Our strategy in terms of sustainability and citizen education is to aggregate and curate content for interest-led social networks using our content management system and content library, but branded for a specific network or subscriber base.  Portion control based on a taxonomy allows for special collections and using other more traditional ways of organizing books and periodicals to appeal to browsers is basic, but under-utilized by Web publishers.  It works for categories of sustainability such as conservation, design and architecture, eco-economics or other causes involving citizen education.