Confessions of a Radical Industrialist: Profits, People, Purpose
Doing Business By Respecting the Earth
Ray Anderson

Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of Interface, talks about his efforts to
transform his waste-generating commercial carpet company into one that has
no environmental footprint by 2020.  Mr. Anderson spoke at Barnes & Noble
Booksellers in Atlanta.

Ray Anderson founded Interface in Georgia in 1973.  He has been the co-chair
of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development and the Presidential
Climate Action Project.  For more, visit: rayanderson.com.

http://www.booktv.org/Program/10961/Confessions+of+a+Radical+Industrialist+P
rofits+People+Purpose+Doing+Business+By+Respecting+the+Earth.aspx

————————

Ray Anderson is founder and chairman of Interface Inc., the world’s largest
manufacturer of modular carpet for commercial and residential applications
and a leading producer of commercial broadloom and commercial fabrics. He is
“known in environmental circles for his advanced and progressive stance on
industrial ecology and sustainability.” Since 1995, he has reduced
Interface’s waste by a third, and plans to make the company sustainable by
2020.

He defines sustainability as “taking nothing from the earth that is not
rapidly and naturally renewable, and doing no harm to the biosphere.”

For instance, under his leadership, Interface seeks to reduce and then
eliminate “petroleum from its manufacturing processes.” He is pioneering
recycling efforts with nylon and polyester which “is recyclable, leading to
more closed loop technologies for the future.” However, Anderson wasn’t
always a friend of the environment. He had his epiphany in 1994 when he read
The Ecology of Commerce, by Paul Hawken, who argues that [the] industrial
system is destroying the planet and only industry leaders are powerful
enough to stop it.

Anderson is featured in the documentaries The Corporation and The 11th Hour
as well as an interview in The Day After Peace.

Ray Anderson is the author of Mid-Course Correction: Toward a Sustainable
Enterprise: The Interface Model. Inspired by Daniel Quinn’s novel Ishmael,
Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce, and many others, Ray Anderson has
successfully composed a piece that covers his personal journey towards
sustainability in his work.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Anderson_(entrepreneur)

Advertisements

the real struggle with health care is the cannibalism between health and other businesses. Business claims health takes too much, health wants to expand what it takes. Note, there is no reference to health in this struggle.

An economy in real decline (especially when environments are  included along with bad distribution of incomes) will lead people to struggle at the gutter level for scraps. This is completely inevitable with a  culture that stresses money wealth as core value.

Only careful attention to the quality of the whole culture can prevent this scrambling at the margins, and into the core.

Mapping a better world

July 11, 2009


Mapping a better world

Jun 4th 2009
From The Economist print edition

Software: Interest groups around the world are using mapping tools and internet-based information sources to campaign for change
CONVINCING people about the evils of housing segregation can be tough, says Barbara Samuels, a campaigner for fair housing at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland. “People say, ‘What’s so bad about living in an all-black neighbourhood?’ ” she explains. But using a map that displays all the vacant houses in a segregated neighbourhood, how few jobs exist there and how little public transport is available, “you can show graphically how people are segregated from opportunity,” she says. “Maps help you take complex information and portray it in a clear, intuitive manner. You can show segregation in a way that talking about it doesn’t do.”

And compiling such maps is much easier than it used to be, thanks to new mapping tools and sources of information on the internet. Ms Samuels remembers, for example, the tedium of trying to draw basic data on maps by hand in the 1990s. But in 2005 she was able to use maps that displayed 14 indicators of opportunity—created for her by a mapping-technology specialist—to help win a housing-desegregation court case.

For most people it is merely a handy tool to find a nearby pizzeria or get directions to a meeting. But mapping technology has matured into a tool for social justice. Whether it is to promote health, safety, fair politics or a cleaner environment, foundations, non-profit groups and individuals around the world are finding that maps can help them make their case far more intuitively and effectively than speeches, policy papers or press releases.

“Today you are allowed to visualise data in ways you couldn’t even understand just a few years ago,” says Jeff Vining of Gartner, a consulting firm. Along with web-based resources, coalescence around more advanced tools has also helped, such as the emergence of ESRI, based in Redlands, California, as the market leader in mapping software. And the rise of open-source projects such as MapServer, PostGIS and GRASS GIS have made sophisticated mapping available to non-profit groups with limited resources.

Areas with fewer parks vs. obesityparks (lighter rather than darker green) have higher rates of childhood obesity (larger red circles)

All this has made it much easier to create maps that explain—at a glance—something that might otherwise require pages of tables or verbiage. “A percentage or a table is still abstract for people,” says Dan Newman of MAPLight.org, a group based in Berkeley, California that charts the links between politicians and money. “With maps, you can show people how an abstract concept connects to where they live.” Wendy Brawer, founding director of GreenMap.org, a mapping site based in New York used by people in 54 countries, says maps can make a point even if they are in a foreign language. “Maps are really helpful for that ‘Aha!’ moment,” she says.

For example, “The Grim Reaper’s Road Map: An Atlas of Mortality in Britain”, published in 2008, reveals that the places with the highest numbers of smokers also have the highest rates of death from lung cancer. No surprise there. But the collection of maps from a British publisher of public-policy books also shows that cervical cancer is more likely to strike those in the north of England, and brain cancer is more prevalent in the south of Scotland. Such revelations can lead to investigations and eventual health improvements.

The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in Columbus, Ohio, which created the maps used in Ms Samuel’s ACLU court case, has made “opportunity” maps of several American cities. The aim is to help people find neighbourhoods where jobs, health care, safety and public transport are in better supply—or to spur the creation of more such neighbourhoods. Rob Breymaier of MoveSmart.org, a non-profit group that encourages people to “move to opportunity”, recalls using Kirwan’s maps in Chicago in 2006 to help a family of eight. “They ended up finding a place in the north-west suburbs, which is a huge change from Chicago’s south side,” he says. The children ended up in better schools and stayed out of trouble, he says.

Others have used maps to expose violence. Ushahidi.com was launched by four technologists to map citizen reports of post-election violence in Kenya last year using Google Maps. “We’re building a platform that makes it easier to gather information around a crisis so that governments, or whoever is trying to hide the crisis, can’t do it anymore,” says Erik Hersman, Ushahidi’s operations director.

Sequences of maps can also be used to debunk misconceptions. Many in Los Angeles were pleased, for example, to learn that gun violence had decreased since the mid-1990s. But by developing a series of maps showing where shootings continued to happen, a local non-profit group called Healthy City was able to show that for some Los Angelenos, gun violence was as bad as ever.

MAPlight used a similar time-lapse approach to show the influence of money on congressional votes. Starting in January 2007, it tracked which states (those growing sugar-beets and sugar-cane, it turned out) were making the most generous political donations in the run-up to a vote in July 2007 on subsidies for the sugar industry. But once the vote was tallied and the subsidy granted, states that had appeared bright red with political contributions suddenly revert to tan, indicating an instant drop in donations. “We make visible and real something that is usually invisible and abstract,” says Mr Newman.

Changing the way American politics is funded is a tall order. But some map-based campaigns have already produced clear results. For example, the Food Trust, a campaign group based in Philadelphia, used maps as part of its fight to reduce diet-related disease and malnutrition in urban parts of America. “I remember the first supermarket-commission meeting,” says Jennifer Kozlowski, special assistant for the environment to David Paterson, the governor of New York. “Some of the maps in the report mapped obesity-related deaths and access to produce markets. It was as clear as day that something needed to be done.” In January Mr Paterson announced the Healthy Food/Healthy Communities Initiative, including $10m in grants and loans for supermarket projects in under-served communities.

Such examples underscore why campaigners are rushing to make the most of map technology. “We don’t just want to be about mapping,” says John Kim of Healthy City. “Maps don’t change the world—but people who use maps do.”

From: Victoria Hayden [mailto:vahayden@sonic.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 2:58 PM

Support Habitat for Humanity Foreclosure Acquisiting Program Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version Tuesday, June 09 2009 @ 03:21 PM Habitat for Humanity Introduces Foreclosure Acquisition Program; Partners with the City of Menlo Park to Revitalize Neighborhoods Offers beacon of hope in the foreclosure crisis with combined initial investment of $1.0 million with the city for the first five homes

REDWOOD CITY, CALIF., May 27, 2009 — Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco today announced it has begun acquiring bank-owned homes as part of its new Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) — the first of its kind in the San Francisco Bay Area. Habitat has committed $500,000 to launch the program, which will enable new affordable homeownership opportunities for local working families following rehabilitation of the homes by Habitat.

Habitat Greater San Francisco has also entered into a groundbreaking new partnership with the city of Menlo Park, which is investing an additional $500,000 in the program. With this combined initial invest- ment of $1.0 million, Habitat plans to acquire and rehabilitate five vacant bank-owned properties in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park, with a possible program expansion following the initial pilot phase. Habitat made the announcement at the site of the first home under the program in Menlo Park. Habitat hopes to expand the program to other areas hard-hit by the foreclosure crisis.

“I have seen first-hand the impact of foreclosures on Menlo Park and know that we must take immediate action to address the problem” said Heyward Robinson, Mayor of Menlo Park. “I’m grateful that we have a community that is willing to step up and address this challenge when the federal and state governments couldn’t. I am very hopeful that the combined efforts of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco and the City of Menlo Park will prove successful and become a blueprint for other communities attempting to cope with the foreclosure crisis.” Read the rest of this entry »

From: Victoria Hayden [mailto:vahayden@sonic.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 2:58 PM

Support Habitat for Humanity Foreclosure Acquisiting Program Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version Tuesday, June 09 2009 @ 03:21 PM Habitat for Humanity Introduces Foreclosure Acquisition Program; Partners with the City of Menlo Park to Revitalize Neighborhoods Offers beacon of hope in the foreclosure crisis with combined initial investment of $1.0 million with the city for the first five homes

REDWOOD CITY, CALIF., May 27, 2009 — Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco today announced it has begun acquiring bank-owned homes as part of its new Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) — the first of its kind in the San Francisco Bay Area. Habitat has committed $500,000 to launch the program, which will enable new affordable homeownership opportunities for local working families following rehabilitation of the homes by Habitat.

Habitat Greater San Francisco has also entered into a groundbreaking new partnership with the city of Menlo Park, which is investing an additional $500,000 in the program. With this combined initial invest- ment of $1.0 million, Habitat plans to acquire and rehabilitate five vacant bank-owned properties in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park, with a possible program expansion following the initial pilot phase. Habitat made the announcement at the site of the first home under the program in Menlo Park. Habitat hopes to expand the program to other areas hard-hit by the foreclosure crisis.

“I have seen first-hand the impact of foreclosures on Menlo Park and know that we must take immediate action to address the problem” said Heyward Robinson, Mayor of Menlo Park. “I’m grateful that we have a community that is willing to step up and address this challenge when the federal and state governments couldn’t. I am very hopeful that the combined efforts of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco and the City of Menlo Park will prove successful and become a blueprint for other communities attempting to cope with the foreclosure crisis.” Read the rest of this entry »

100 Abandoned Houses

June 2, 2009

This is a visual experience:

http://www.100abandonedhouses.com/

or

http://www.kevinbauman.com/100abandonedhouses/

Review by MICHIKO KAKUTANI

THE AGE OF THE UNTHINKABLE
Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us
and What We Can Do About It
By Joshua Cooper Ramo
280 pages. Little, Brown & Company. $25.99.

The philosopher Isaiah Berlin famously divided thinkers into two categories:
hedgehogs (like Plato, Pascal, Hegel, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Ibsen and
Proust), who know one big thing and tend to view the world through the lens
of a single organizing principle, and foxes (like Herodotus, Shakespeare,
Montaigne, Goethe, Balzac and Joyce), who know many things and who pursue
various unrelated, even contradictory ends.

According to Joshua Cooper Ramo’s provocative new book, “The Age of the
Unthinkable,” one study — in which hundreds of experts in subjects like
economics, foreign policy and politics were asked to make predictions about
the short-term future and whose predictions were evaluated five years later
— showed that foxes, with their wide-ranging curiosity and willingness to
embrace change, tended to be far more accurate in their forecasts than
hedgehogs, eager for closure and keen on applying a few big ideas to an
array of situations.

It’s a finding enthusiastically embraced by Mr. Ramo, who argues in these
pages that today’s complex, interconnected, globalized world requires policy
makers willing to toss out old assumptions (about cause and effect,
deterrence and defense, nation states and balances of power) and embrace
creative new approaches. Today’s world, he suggests, requires resilient
pragmatists who, like the most talented Silicon Valley venture capitalists
on the one hand or the survival-minded leadership of Hezbollah on the other,
possess both an intuitive ability to see problems in a larger context and a
willingness to rejigger their organizations continually to grapple with
ever-shifting challenges and circumstances.

With this volume, Mr. Ramo, managing director at the geostrategic advisory
firm Kissinger Associates and a former editor at Time magazine, seems to
have set out to write a Malcolm Gladwellesque book: a book that popularizes
complicated scientific theories while illustrating its arguments with
colorful case studies and friendly how-to exhortations.

In drawing upon chaos science (explored in detail in James Gleick’s 1987
book, “Chaos”), complexity theory and the theory of disruptive innovation
(pioneered by the Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen),
Mr. Ramo does a nimble job of showing how such theories shed light on the
current political and economic climate while avoiding the worst pitfalls
(like an overreliance on suggestion and innuendo and the use of
unrepresentative examples) of Mr. Gladwell’s clumsy last book, “Outliers.”

But if Mr. Ramo is adept at assessing the precarious state of today’s
post-cold-war world — in which nation states face asymmetric threats from
the likes of terrorists, drug cartels and computer hackers — he proves much
less convincing in articulating practical means of grappling with such
daunting problems.

The central image that Mr. Ramo uses to evoke what he calls this “age of
surprise” is Per Bak’s sand pile — that is, a sand pile described some two
decades ago by the Danish-American physicist Per Bak, who argued that if
grains of sand were dropped on a pile one at a time, the pile, at some
point, would enter a critical state in which another grain of sand could
cause a large avalanche — or nothing at all. It’s a hypothesis that shows
that a small event can have momentous consequences and that seemingly stable
systems can behave in highly unpredictable ways.

It’s also a hypothesis that Mr. Ramo employs in this book as a metaphor for
a complex world in which changes — in politics, ecosystems or financial
markets — take place not in smooth, linear progressions but as sequences of
fast, sometimes catastrophic events.

Real-life sand-pile avalanches, like the collapse of the Soviet Union or the
1929 crash of the stock market, Mr. Ramo declares, demand “a complete
remapping of the world”: policymakers must junk a lot of their old thinking
to cope with this unpredictable new order.

For instance, many of the assumptions of the realist school of
foreign-policy making — which focused on nation states, “assumed countries
were rational, and made the bet that pure power was the solution to any
problem” — have been undercut by the irrationalities and contingencies that
have recently multiplied on the world stage.

As Mr. Ramo observes, “Theories that involve only armies and diplomats don’t
have much use” when “confronted with the peculiar nature of a financially
interconnected world, where danger, risk and profit are linked in ways that
can be impossible to spot and manage.”

To make matters even more complicated, Mr. Ramo continues, complex systems
“tend to become more complex as time goes on”:

“The systems never get simpler. There was no moment at which they would
evaporate or condense into a single, easy-to-spot target such as the
U.S.S.R. The 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, for example, was a single very
knotty event that, in turn, gave birth to hundreds of jihadist groups, each
of which developed different methods of terror, particular techniques of
attack and destruction, which themselves were always changing and evolving.”

In this sand-pile world, a small group of terrorists armed with box cutters
can inflict a terrible blow on a superpower — as Al Qaeda did on 9/11, just
as bands of insurgents in Iraq managed to keep the mighty United States
military at bay for three long years.

Iraq, Mr. Ramo astutely notes, is a war that showcased all of America’s most
“maladaptive” tendencies. It was inaugurated on the premise of flawed idées
fixes: that it would have “a clean, fast end” and would lead to a democratic
regime that would transform the Middle East in a positive fashion. And the
certainty of Bush administration officials not only led to incorrect
assumptions (like the bet that “the ‘ecosystem’ of Iraq would settle into
something stable that could be left to run itself”) but also resulted in an
ill-planned and rigid occupation that was “incapable of the speedy
refiguring that life in a war zone” inevitably requires.

So how should leaders cope with the sand-pile world? How can they learn to
“ride the earthquake” and protect their countries from the worst fallout of
such tremors? Mr. Ramo suggests that they must learn to build resilient
societies with strong immune systems: instead of undertaking the impossible
task of trying to prepare for every possible contingency, they ought to
focus on things like “national health care, construction of a better
transport infrastructure and investment in education.”

He suggests that leaders should develop ways of looking at problems that
focus more on context than on reductive answers. And he talks about people
learning to become gardeners instead of architects, of embracing Eastern
ideas of indirection instead of Western patterns of confrontation, of seeing
“threats as systems, not objects.”

Though Mr. Ramo sounds annoyingly fuzzy and vaguely New Agey when he tries
to outline tactics for dealing with “the age of the unthinkable,” he’s at
least managed, in this stimulating volume, to make the reader seriously
contemplate the alarming nature of a rapidly changing world — a world in
which uncertainty and indeterminacy are givens, and avalanches, negative
cascades and tectonic shifts are ever-present dangers.

April 28, 2009
Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/books/28kaku.html