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These are not good times for idealists – and they’re taking it out on everyone else. As Jonathan Alter recently wrote, there are two strains of progressives:  idealists who feel that doing the right thing is everything, and who prefer being right to getting results;  and pragmatists focused on moving forward, who make deals and accept a less than ideal outcome.   Often – too often – those two strains are at war. They certainly are today, a time when any compromise is viewed by idealists as selling...
Ted Turner called it in 1981. That was the first time the media mogul predicted the newspaper industry’s inevitable death, blaming its stale format for its eventual demise. He assumed the death would be quick and painless as more and more readers became viewers of his brand new cable news venture, CNN. Turner gave the newspaper industry 10 years tops. Almost 30 years later, newspapers are still around and people still read them, albeit in smaller numbers. Turner wasn’t entirely wrong though. The industry is dying—a very slow...
Have the arguments for sustainability gotten stale – or left out the most important points? Make no mistake: the need for sustainable solutions has never been greater, and the clock is ticking. But after Earth Day, An Inconvenient Truth, Captain Planet, and endless news stories, is it possible that everyone who’s going to be moved to action by arguments about pollution, water quality, deforestation, and climate change has already been so moved? What appeal do these arguments for sustainability have to people, and corporations...
If there were an easy manual for sustainability, we’d follow it:  western culture loves three easy steps, quick decisions, and technical fixes.  Such a manual is great, for the right problem when we’re dealing with technical problems for which there are known solutions.  But life isn’t a problem to be solved, and neither are people or nature, or sustainability... though we often treat them as if they were. Many well intentioned "sustainability solutions" respond to economic, social and environmental...
Do you know your supply chain? Most people don’t. Most people never think of themselves as consumers, producers, and service providers who use companies and businesses to accomplish their goals. But we are all active members of almost innumerable supply chains, and this has enormous ramifications for the environment. Most supply chains have little regard for conservation and regeneration—and this is as true for big companies as it is for individuals. Non-renewable extraction of our natural resources, non-replenishment of our...

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