April 19, 2015

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    An Open Letter to My Green-Collar Colleagues

    Dear Fellow Green-Collar Professionals: I’m a sustainability coordinator at a large research institution in Dallas. Like many of you, I attend conferences for inspiration and information on green business practices. Unfortunately, sitting next to some of you at these events makes me feel like I received a detention slip for The Breakfast Club. Please do us all a favor and watch/re-watch the 80s cult classic, identify your character, and take action to combat the negative side of the professional stereotype you are projecting: Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald) – You are pretty in green, uptown girl. Thanks to your fat stack…






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    The Payoff of Paying it Forward

    Being fiscally conservative may have its virtues in our culture of debt, but loosening our attachment to financial security by giving to others can also increase our impact and well-being (think gifts with benefits). According to recent studies, generosity promotes happiness, improves health, strengthens relationships, and can lead to material success. I recently had an opportunity to test these findings. A close friend reached out to me in need of financial assistance for an emergency dental procedure. I told him that I would cover $250 of the $500 he needed for his co-pay, which felt reasonable and generous enough. Later…






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    What Creatives Can Learn from Impressionists

    Exploring French portraiture and sculpture from the late 1850s until the first years of the 20th century, the 74 portraits from special exhibition “Faces of Impressionism: Portraits of the Musee D’Orsay” reflect the origins and flowering of one of the world’s most beloved movements. Road-tripping to Fort Worth to see this rare display, French art history professor Estelle Fonteneau gleefully told me, “I’m getting goose bumps. We’re about to see some of my closest friends!” I had already met some of Estelle’s “friends” on a trip to Paris 17 years ago, but this time I anticipated a more personal encounter….






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    Biomuseo Panama at the ‘Bridge of Life’

    Sitting on the Amador peninsula, with the high-rise towers of Panama City on one side and the ships of the Panama Canal passing on the other, I am mesmerized by the recently opened Biomuseo in Panama City, a ‘must-see’ for anyone visiting the region. The museum is a one-stop for learning about the nature of the land, as well as the urbanization and cultural history of the nation. Walking along the recently completed Cinta Costera urban park from Panama City’s historic 17th Century colonial area Casco Viejo, you first see the vibrant colors of the Biomuseo’s roof stand out against…






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    Johnson & Johnson Catalyzes Eco-Innovation

    Al Iannuzzi took a gamble when he decided to double down on the environmental and health impacts of his company’s products. But Ianuzzi, senior director of environment, health, safety & sustainability for Johnson & Johnson, believed in the need to embed sustainability into the company’s supply chain enough to build a brand around the new process. His team launched Earthwards in 2009, and by our 2011 interview, Iannuzzi’s confidence in the growing product line had soared. “We have 16 now,” he told me in a recent conversation. “Our goal is to produce 60 Earthwards products by 2015.” Today, Iannuzzi’s team…






Book Reviews

Putting 'Responsible Business' out of Business
Posted by Claire Sommer on Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Putting 'Responsible Business' out of BusinessChristine Bader’s book The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: Girl Meets Oil offers hope and practical advice for anyone trying to stimulate meaningful change in our multi-stakeholder, shareholder-beholden, profits-focused world. Doing this kind of work is hard, but then again, pretty much anything ...
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How 9 Companies Are Creating a Culture of Sustainability
Posted by Claire Sommer on Tuesday, February 10, 2015


How 9 Companies Are Creating a Culture of Sustainability Jeana Wirtenberg knows sustainability is about people. Living, caring human beings – who get things done. It’s not “green.” Or “eco.” Not goals or dashboards. Not on their own, at any rate. It’s people who make these things actually happen. Sustainability is people at ...
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The Big Pivot: A Realist's Guide to a Climate-Challenged Present
Posted by Claire Sommer on Tuesday, February 10, 2015


The Big Pivot: A Realist's Guide to a Climate-Challenged PresentIf you’ve ever thought of dropping a book on your boss’s desk, in the hopes of sparking a Ray Anderson-type conversion, here’s a tip. Don’t use the new IPCC report: It’s gloomy, terrifying and a muddle. Try this instead: Andrew Winston’s business transformation book for ...
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Sweat and the City: The Urban Heat Island Effect
Posted by Ann Drumm on Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Sweat and the City: The Urban Heat Island EffectCities are heating up at double the rate of global climate change, with major implications for human health. Managing urban heat is just as important a response as reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the benefits will be felt much sooner.  Cities should ...
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