Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Natural Capitalism

The Natural Capital Institute is a direct offshoot of Paul Hawken’s work and writings, in particular his book Ecology of Commerce and Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution co-authored with Amory Lovins. Both books take the environmental and social degradation caused by industry head on. Natural Capitalism specifically addressed the massive waste of energy and material resources and outlined four principles to bring about a whole systems redesign of industries including transportation, construction, agriculture, and energy.

In any system, there are leverage and choke points that allow relatively small initiatives to have a great influence over the entire system. On the surface, our ability to restore our social fabric and the environment are blocked by lack of money, political corruption, and corporate influence. We are told that sustainability and restoration are too expensive. That logic is upside down. The present economic system, one that marginalizes people and the environment, is the most costly system possible and moving towards restorative, sustainable practices is the least cost alternative.


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