It does take a dedicated practice to live the fullness of who I am.
All meaning is self-created. ~ Virginia Satir
When I played with Michael Jordan on the Olympic team, there was a huge gap between his ability and the ability of the other great players on the team. But what impressed me was that he was always the first one on the floor and the last on to leave. ~ Steve Alford
To foster your optimism, this week we site examples of innovative positive things happening around the planet.
They are from the Optimist Daily’s online postings. www.theoptimist.com.
Walla Walla created an environment built on empathy and saw crime decrease
Showing empathy changes society. That’s the story of a small town in the state of Washington. It started at the local high school where the staff created an environment built on empathy acknowledging the presence of childhood trauma in addressing disciplinary issues. A year after the “trauma-informed care” project started the graduation rate increased by about 30 percent and suspensions decreased by almost 85 percent. Today, an electric utility provider, the police department, and other organizations in the town have all committed to raising awareness of traumatic childhood experiences and to providing internal resources to foster a safe and healthy community. Because the town understands that childhood trauma can cause adulthood struggles like lack of focus, alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, and suicide.
As more cities and states consider childhood trauma a public health issue, Walla Walla’s success has transcended this former trading town. It now serves as a model for resilience-building in the burgeoning trauma-informed care movement that is sweeping the nation.
German ministry goes vegetarian to set example for climate policy
Eating less meat is a major contribution to the fight against climate change. Governments should set the example. That’s why Germany’s Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks is only serving vegetarian food at official functions. The food served at official events should also be organic, seasonal, as much as possible local and fair trade. A recent study found that diets of limited meat consumption can cut emissions by a third while saving five million lives.
Post organic? The sustainability of vertical indoor farming
Bowery, a New Jersey farm is championing ‘post organic,’ grows plants indoors in vertical rows without pesticides.
Agriculture consumes 70 percent of available water globally, and over 700 million pounds of pesticides each year in the United States alone. And with a growing world population food production needs to increase in the decades ahead. That is why a New Jersey company advocates sustainable vertical indoor farming. The company currently grows more than 80 different crops and says that indoor farming is 100 times more productive on the same footprint of land than traditional farming.
This one-for-one peanut butter fights famine in South Sudan
The one-for-one business model has caught on in recent years, with Tom’s shoes being one of the more well-known social enterprises in the space. Other companies, including the eyewear company Warby Parker, have tinkered with one-for-one. But many have found other means to fund what they believe are worthy causes. Now another social enterprise, Good Spread, is trying to do its part to address the human catastrophe in South Sudan. For every product the company sells, a portion of the profits are donated to organizations that distribute nutrient packs — which are actually pretty similar to Good Spread peanut butter — across South Sudan. Think of this purchase as a jar purchased here equals a packet of nutrition sent abroad.
Liquid hydrogen may be a way forward for sustainable air travel
Transport makes up around 20 percent of our energy use around the world–and that figure is set to grow, according to the International Energy Agency. With sustainable solutions in mind, a new study published by eminent physicist Jo Hermans in MRS Energy and Sustainability–A Review Journal (MRS E&S) looks at the energy efficiency of current modes of transport–from bicycles to buses, from air transport to cruise ships– and concludes that liquid hydrogen seems to be to be a realistic option for what is probably the most problematic of transportation modes in terms of sustainability, future air travel.
UK startup connects small businesses to “100 Percent renewable British electricity”
Taking a page from the corporate renewable energy purchasing trend, Squeaky aims to help UK small businesses make the move from dirty electricity sources to ‘squeaky clean’ ones, at no additional cost. The UK startup Squeaky sees the business energy market as “broken” and is on a mission to fix it, and to do so in a way that will continue the trend of businesses moving to cleaner electricity, but without any price premiums.
That’s an audacious goal, especially when considering that the company’s focus isn’t big business, where high volumes may help corporations cut good deals, especially on long-term agreements. But the team believes it is well positioned to deliver on its promises, as the principals are experienced in corporate electricity purchasing, and are able to now bring that expertise to bear for “all businesses.”
The magic sauce, so to speak, of Squeaky is in cutting out the middleman, because although there are options for buying renewable energy through existing utility agreements, all too often that comes at a price premium. And for smaller businesses, choosing to make the switch to green electricity, but at a higher cost, is a bit of a hard sell, and one that doesn’t make a whole lot of financial sense. Switching to clean electricity can help UK businesses with their social responsibility goals and their environmental commitments, and perhaps help them in trying to communicate their sustainability efforts, but if it costs more and impacts their bottom line negatively, it’s also one of the first things to go in a financial crunch.
5 green business ideas for profit and the common good
Starting a conventional business today is pretty tough – on the one hand, competition is exorbitant, on the other hand, more and more people are sick of being mere consumers. They would rather like to make a long-term difference in their lives, not just purchase more stuff; and they want businesses to help them make that difference. As an entrepreneur, you’d be wise to cater to the ‘green’ sentiment as the target market continues to expand. Here’re some business ideas to meet the demand for eco-friendly living.
If you have ample funds, you can start up a recycling business. If it’s not yet the case, you still can employ recycling to communicate your commitment to ecology – and to street style. Big-time fashion brands and designers use recycled materials – why not follow their lead and make reusable fabric or PE grocery bags, or T-shirts (with catchy green slogans for good measure), backpacks and handbags? Just make sure to invest a bit in nifty designs – and customers will love your products, for wearing them will be both cool and environmentally responsible.
Highly dubious origin and quality of mass-produced meats, fruits and vegetables are rightly one of the top ecology and health concerns. Animal farms churn out enormous amounts of waste, to say nothing of all the unwholesome things the cattle is fed (and injected with); industrial-grown plants contain probably more poisonous chemicals than nutrients.
As a businessman offering an eco-friendly solution, you can, for instance, start your chicken farm (nowadays, you can get chicken coops of all configurations, some of which don’t even require much space to put up) and sell organic meat and eggs at local markets and to local restaurants. Alternatively, you can become the supplier of such solutions to people – for instance, sell greenhouses and corresponding supplies for home and garden use, as well as design and build rooftop gardens.
The Web is rife with tips about non-toxic, bio-degradable DIY detergents; yet many people who’d gladly ditch aggressive chemicals are too busy (or a bit too lazy) actually to concoct them. Why not jump at this business opportunity?
Make and sell green cleaning products – or, if you manage to gather a qualified enough team, provide a full range of cleaning services (including air duct maintenance, as these accumulate unholy amounts of dust and allergens).
Lush lawns and gardens are many a family’s pride and joy, yet these spots of nature often come under criticism for being too high maintenance regarding water and energy use. Therefore, it can be a viable idea to offer people consulting services on how to make their gardens more sustainable – as well as sell the necessary supplies or carry out actual reconfigurations.
The popularity of bikes and scooters shows no signs of fading away. With more and more people of all ages opting for these means of transport, a bike repair shop will always have clientele – so it’s a great way to start small. A bigger environment-conscious player may choose to provide delivery companies with alternative fuel technological solutions. Another way to contribute is producing and selling vehicle parts from recycled materials.
For quite a long time, technological progress has been causing our planet more harm than good, and booming production of consumer goods still contributes greatly to environmental pollution. Now, sufficient means of reducing the harm are at the disposal of both individuals and businesses – and for the latter, going green doesn’t mean being unprofitable anymore.
Go to www.theoptimist.com and read more of the wonderful things going on around the planet. Consider opting for the Emissary program to get daily updates to enhance your optimistic perspective.