September 14, 2007
Social Entrepreneurship is one of the most interesting part of the environmental movement for me. It allows people to be creative, powerful, and smart all while taking the health of their economy and society into their own hands. Environmentalists are often hammered with arguments that our stance on issues do not mesh with free enterprise, that we want regulation where if people left to their own devises will create fairer ways of doing business and therefore providing a more fair society. I think this is a complicated issue I’ll admit I am not prepared to really tackle right now for several reasons. One because I just finished three days of training in Amsterdam with my international Greenpeace colleagues and don’t have the energy. (I’m still in Amsterdam — if you haven’t been, take a look at any postcard of the city, that is exactly how it looks – I swear – it’s incredible) Two because it is usually being spouted by executives who are trying to get away with poisoning neighborhoods that they don’t have to live in and care nothing about and sometimes these people are just not worth replying to because everyone sees straight through them.
So briefly I’ll say, I do think that people are creative enough to come up with businesses that are good for our communities, bodies, and land. I also think that organizations like Greenpeace are important to this system because we have the ability and knowledge to highlight when business is NOT doing this. When they are pumping obscene amounts of money into shady political campaigns and helping to write bad legislation. It is when business and society work together through a transparent relationship that the free market is able to truly benefit us all. In order for this to happen, we all need to keep up the pressure. Even though people are good, they often times need to be reminded how to do good.
On Monday Sept 10, Anita Roddick passed away. She is the founder of The Body Shop. A body health care shop that focused not only on looking, smelling and feeling good, but on making sure that our decisions do not harm the communities, bodies, and land around us. She participated in the WTO protests in Seattle, she spoke around the world on how business can and has the obligation to be environmentally responsible, and she wrote an amazing book that has inspired countless entrepreneurs to create businesses that make money and take responsibility for leaving this land in better condition than when we found it.
So . . cheers to one great environmentalist, woman, and business leader!
Take care, Renee.