Really, the proper study of economics is fulfilment, not consumption... It doesn't even matter if it's a green product or a green house... It's still consumption. What matters in this world is the fulfilment of people's needs and the fulfilment of their aspirations.
We're trained to see the world in terms of charismatic organizations and charismatic people. That's who we look to for leadership and change, for transformation. We're awaiting the next J.F.K., the next Martin Luther King, the next Gandhi, the next Nelson Mandela.
Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.
We need to revise our economic thinking to give full value to our natural resources. This revised economics will stabilize both the theory and the practice of free-market capitalism. It will provide business and public policy with a powerful new tool for economic development, profitability, and the promotion of the public good.
The responses that environmentalists evoke - fear, anxiety, numbness, despair - are not helpful, even if they are understandable. It should be fascinating, even enthralling, to be in the milieu of environmental change.
We have the capacity to create a remarkably different economy: one that can restore ecosystems and protect the environment while bringing forth innovation, prosperity, meaningful work, and true security.
We assume that everything's becoming more efficient, and in an immediate sense that's true; our lives are better in many ways. But that improvement has been gained through a massively inefficient use of natural resources.
It is possible for the assembly-line worker consigned to tightening the bolts on the transmission and the office worker who processes medical insurance claims to work with pride and efficiency, but it's not easy to maintain that attitude.
For the developed world, there is a choice to be made: to promote economic policies that despoil indigenous lands or to support cultures and the remaining biological sanctuaries.
The atmosphere does not fathom whether CO2 comes from U.S. oil or Chinese coal, nor do hurricanes lose force because the Heritage Foundation doesn't believe global warming is a problem. Living systems operate on laws over which we have no say.
When cattle ranchers clear rain forests to raise beef to sell to fast-food chains that make hamburgers to sell to Americans, who have the highest rate of heart disease in the world (and spend the most money per GNP on health care), we can say easily that business is no longer developing the world. We have become its predator.
Businesses who are members of Businesses for Social Responsibility or the Social Venture Network are internalizing costs on a voluntary basis and therefore raising their costs of doing business, but their competitors are not required to.
Hindered by asthma since I was six weeks old, I had begun experimenting with my diet and discovered a disquieting correlation. When I stopped eating the normal American diet of sugar, fats, alcohol, chemicals, and additives, I felt better. I could breathe freely. When I tried to sneak in a hamburger and a Coke, my body rebelled.
Natural capital is easy to overlook because it is the pond we swim in. One can live perfectly well without ever giving a thought to the sulfur cycle or wetland functions. Only when the benefits nature provides are disrupted do we take notice.
Commercial institutions, proud of their achievements, do not see that healthy living systems - clean air and water, healthy soil, stable climates - are integral to a functioning economy. As our living systems deteriorate, traditional forecasting and business economics become the equivalent of house rules on a sinking cruise ship.
We have to ask ourselves, 'What kind of world is it where a baby-food executive substitutes artificial flavoring and sugar for apple juice? What kind of businesses have we created when we even lie to infants?'
Writing is my way of diving deep into an issue. My approach is to watch, read and listen - sometimes for years - in order to grasp the dynamics, resistance and patterns of thought that repeat and impede progress and breakthrough.
Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor.
Throughout the industrial era, economists considered manufactured capital - money, factories, etc. - the principal factor in industrial production, and perceived natural capital as a marginal contributor. The exclusion of natural capital from balance sheets was an understandable omission. There was so much of it, it didn't seem worth counting.
If, as is natural, you focus on the corruption and on those threatened institutions that are trying to prevent change - even though they don't really know what they're trying to prevent - then you can get pessimistic.