Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature and Climate Change"

Last night I attended an event held by the NYS Writers Institute program at the University at Albany where Elizabeth Kolbert, a journalist for the New Yorker and the New York Times discussed her new book, "Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature and Climate Change."

This book grew out of a series of articles on climate change Kolbert wrote for the New Yorker that hoped to get the full story on climate change or global warming. Kolbert described her experiences in Alaska and Greenland, noting the dramatic changes that have already occurred. She also discussed the disconnect between the scientific community and the lay community. Apparently the majority of the scientific community not doing research sponsored by energy companies, agree that we are in a dire situation that needs immediate attention. The damage we do now will have a knock-on effect that will severely affect our children.

From the point of view of small business, I wondered what if anything was happening. While big business is usually the focus, because of the local nature of small businesses, belonging to communities, they are ideally placed to take non-bureaucratic steps to respond to local environmental issues.

I am listing a few sites that are trying to raise the awareness and support of small business to preserve the planet.

Center for Small Business and the Environment

As such, small business consumes one-half of all energy used for commercial and industrial purposes. One-third to one-half of all the energy consumed by small business is wasted through inefficiency. Small businesses can profit immensely by making investments in energy efficiency.

Climate Biz: The Business Resource for Climate Management
This site points small businesses to what steps they can take to be part of the solution. As they say, it is difficult for small businesses to see how they can make a difference in efforts to control climate change but small businesses together have a fair sized effect.

"Conventional wisdom posits environmentalists and small businesspeople as mortal enemies or, at best, the opposite ends of the political spectrum. In reality, in today's entrepreneurial, high tech, innovative economy, small businesspeople are emerging as effective advocates of environmental protection, pollution prevention, energy efficiency, and resource conservation. For these people, the Center for Small Business and the Environment provides a strong, effective voice." -- Richard C. Herring, President, former Chair National Small Business United

Ceres Investors and Environmentalists for Sustainable Prosperity
A coalition of over 80 organizations, joined to “advance corporate responsibility”
“Ceres’ mission is to move businesses, capital, and markets to advance lasting prosperity valuing the health of the planet and its people.”
They look at emerging opportunities for businesses, something entrepreneurs should care about. They also offer a Corporate Governance Checklist that ranks the performance of 100 top companies on their efforts to address issues affecting climate change.

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