Among the inherent contradictions of capitalism, according to Karl Marx, is that private profit rests on the backs of workers who gain little from the arrangement, other than perpetuating the wealth of those to whom they sell their labor. But there is a movement afoot to mitigate that contradiction. In business schools, and increasingly in actual capital enterprises, people are talking about, and working toward a “triple bottom line” which considers not only private profit but creating positive social and environmental impact. This week on Sea Change Radio, we talk with two professionals involved in this new way of doing business. First we take a look at a small textile entrepreneur who’s cultivating responsible sourcing for the clothes we wear. Next, we talk to a sustainability consultant about how he helps businesses employ alternative ways to define success.
Often when we cover agriculture, we look at what and how farmers are growing. But the infrastructure that undergirds every farm in America is finance. This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, author Dean Kuipers, explores how farms get the money they need to grow the food we eat. In his recently published Orion magazine article, “Buying the Farm,” Kuipers picks apart the financial landscape of agriculture and compares financing for big agri-business versus smaller sustainable farming. Today we delve into the different models for financing agriculture not only in the U.S. but globally, examine how one small San Francisco bank is backing sustainable farmers, and take a peek at how an Illinois-based organic bean farmer is getting a leg up on the competition.
Children learn that lying is wrong, often in kindergarten. Apparently, somewhere on the road to becoming corporate leaders, they un-learn that lesson, especially if they are running multinational oil companies. Today on Sea Change Radio we talk with The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg who has been leading the charge in explaining the significance of an email which shows Exxon has been aware of the link between its operations and climate change for quite some time. As one of the leading environmental journalists today Goldenberg puts the email and the subsequent climate denial campaign in context. We talk about the history of climate change awareness, the responsibilities of large fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil, and the devastating environmental consequences of a corporation that plays fast and loose with the truth.
Imagine a world where every window-laden skyscraper generates its own solar power, where the skylights in your ceiling are a source of light and electricity, and where your iphone charges itself through the power of the sun. What could make this imagined world possible? Photovoltaic solar cells that are as transparent as regular glass. Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Prof. Richard Lunt, the lead researcher on the MIT team that developed the technology, an assistant professor at Michigan State University, and co-founder of Ubiquitous Energy, the commercial enterprise through which this energy-capturing glassy-film will be distributed. Lunt talks about the science behind “transparent luminescent solar concentrators” and the opportunities ahead with applications ranging from power-generating car and building windows, to use on every device you can think of, from smart phones to store signs.