Why Transparency Matters

The forests are in trouble. The water is, too. The people who make your clothes risk death from the factory, their workplace, collapsing. You leave a building with a headache or a stomachache, and don’t know why. Your food is poisoning you, and the earth. Species and habitats are being irrevocably damaged. Your loved one was diagnosed with cancer. So was your neighbor.

What do these issues have in common? The answer is simple: their complex, ambiguous cause; their result; and their need for change.

Before I dive in, it’s important to acknowledge that most people do not intend to cause harm to others or to damage the environment. Unfortunately, the environmental and health movements are a response to exactly such harm and damage.  To summarize, the forests are in trouble due to overzealous logging and profit focused forest management practices. It’s a complex issue that deeply affects the lives of whole communities and the existence of many species. The water is in trouble due to an onslaught of pollution from agriculture, plastic waste, the chemicals of manufacturing, and old lead pipes (to name a few). The people who make your clothes come to work for low wages in poor conditions because employment options are very limited in many parts of the world, and the pressures of cheap, fast fashion and globalized competition causes manufacturers to pass on the economic squeeze to their workers through lower pay, longer hours, and unsafe workspaces. You leave a building with a headache or stomachache because volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are being released into these spaces, polluting the air you breathe and causing something called Sick Building Syndrome. Your food is sprayed intensely with chemicals, whose long term effects are still not completely known; the animals you eat are fed food with hormones, and drink water that may be polluted or contain trace amounts of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic compounds (PBTs), which make their way up the food chain to you. This accumulation of man-made chemicals and pollution is destroying habitats and pushing more species to distinction. Our political system’s reactive regulation is often too little, too late, with too narrow a focus. There are thousands of man-made chemicals that have never been tested for human and environmental health or impact, and many of them could be making us sick. Continue reading “Why Transparency Matters”

“Nothing is certain, except that the shift to more conscious, cooperative business practices will be hard, and that whatever you do, for good or ill, will matter, wherever you work.”

Yvon Chouinard & Vincent Stanley
The Reponsible Company (p 23)

Book Review: What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming

; Toward A New Psychology of Climate Action by Per Epson Stoknes 

“We need a more compassionate understanding of how our paradoxical, many-voiced psyche is responding to news of the ongoing shifts in the climate.” p 7

Those of us who are wondering WHY others don’t get the message we feel like we’re sharing loud and clear will definitely appreciate the tools psychologist and economist Per Epson Stoknes spells out in this entertaining, easy to understand and to-the-point book. In it, he provides tools to successfully break through apathy and cognitive dissonance Continue reading “Book Review: What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming”

“When it comes to the facts of increasing climate disruption due to our human impact on the earth, there is an ethical obligation to respond. Those who actively give voice to or just passively live out their denial actually support the ongoing human violence to the land and clean air.” – Per Epson Stoknes, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming (p 25)

Meet the LOHAS

I have been reading the book The Responsible Fashion Company: Integrating Ethics and Aesthetics in the Value Chain by Francesca Romana Rinaldi and Salvo Testa  (published 2015) this year, and one consumer description caught my attention that I felt the need to share: the LOHAS, or Lifestyle Of Health And Sustainability!  Continue reading “Meet the LOHAS”

Designing for Waste Reduction

The saying goes that the kitchen is the heart of the home, but what about kitchens in the office? Is the office kitchen an afterthought because it’s not “the money-making room”? How do building designers, owners, and executives really view these spaces? Have you ever thought about the sheer volume of stuff that goes through office kitchens?

Briefly put, we need to bring our mentality of the home kitchen into the office. Easily accessible, adequately sized  office kitchens (plural) with extensive storage will not only yield significant cost savings but also exponentially encourage the wide use of sustainable waste reduction and recycling practices. Here’s how: Continue reading “Designing for Waste Reduction”

As an entry point, start with the things people love…Then engage them in how the things they love can be simpler, smarter and better. Tom’s, Tesla, AirBnB…have simply designed great products and services that people love and intuitively know are better for the world, without having it laboriously spelled out.

-Will Gardner, CEO of Collectively

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