Friday, September 11, 2009


According to there are more than 55,000 environmental nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S. today, and many more green businesses.

Nevertheless, the world-leading American lifestyle remains the largest per capita consumer and polluter.

Back in the States I was part of an outstanding grass-roots nonprofit called The Siskiyou Project. I used to travel around with an Ancient Forest slideshow and solicit support for our efforts to save the forest. I used say, "There are 3 things - from easy to hard. Give money, take political action and, hardest, change your lifestyle." I suspected that most people took the first option and that this was a strong financial base for the world of non-profits. I came to believe that something more was needed.

Worldchanging is now touting a business model of "radical collaboration". And I have always appreciated the thinking of the Lovins team. But I fail to understand how greater efficiencies will halt or reconfigure the inexorable collective march toward greater consumption and exhaustion of the earth's resources.

Are you impressed with the remedy?


Bryce said...

Worldchanging reports on dozens of ideas for more sustainable living every week. Your criticism only makes any sense if that one story was their only idea, if they were saying, "to save the world, we need more cooperation and coordination among non-profits, and nothing else." But I can't see how you would interpret the story that way.

Lou Gold said...

Good point Bryce. I was over-focused on the greater efficiency solution and on the fact that it is so much easier to give money or buy efficiently than to actually cut consumption or really change entrenched behaviors (including poor cooperation among nonprofits).

Of course, Worldchanging presents many ideas and we hope that some may lead to solutions.