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WATCH: John Abrams: Earth Is an Employee-Owned Business

In this talk from Bioneers by the Bay 2008, John Abrams (author of The Companies We Keep: Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place) makes the case for an approach to climate change solutions—as well as solutions to other crises—that involves looking at the project in a whole new way: as a cooperative, employee-owned business venture.
But change is coming. I mean, that’s the way we humans are. But change is coming. Whether we’re against it or not, now is the time when we must insist on the future we want and need. Either that, or we’ll let a different future happen to us against our will. One way or another, there will be change. None of us can do it all. All of us can do something. And maybe it’s more than we think. At South Mountain Company—the design, build, and renewable energy company I founded in 1975 that’s been owned and operated by its employees for the past two decades—one of our goals is to make all operations carbon neutral in ten years. We really have not fully defined what that means yet for us, and the depth of that, but we’re moving toward the goal nonetheless. Today we heat our building and run our forklifts with biodiesel, which we make ourselves. Twenty-five percent of our electricity is generated on site. By the end of this fall, that will become 90%. In our work we’re moving closer and closer, sometimes reaching this goal of net zero energy houses, and even our subsidized affordable housing, which is a large part of our work, is built this way to make sure that it’s forever affordable. But so what? How does our fumbling little drop in the bucket matter? It gives us hope.
Watch more author videos at ChelseaGreenTV.


The Future Is Hopeless, So Give it Your All

The never-ending national election in the United States, the “surprise” pro-Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, climate change … the list goes on and on about how easy it can be to lose hope in the future.Like many of life’s frustrations, or overwhelmingly large topics, most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the […] Read More

Climate Change & the End of Stationarity

Just as predicting the rise of Donald Trump as a leading presidential candidate stumped even the best of political analysts (looking at you Nate “FiveThirtyEight” Silver), the advent of the Sixth Great Extinction due to climate change and an increasingly potent mix of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has completely upended how we predict the […] Read More

Use Simple Games to Better Understand Climate Change

How is it that emissions keep growing despite rising concern about the climate change they cause? It is possible to identify several reasons for the paradox, most of which lie outside the scope of The Climate Change Playbook. But one important reason is relevant here: people do not understand the behaviors of the climate system.And […] Read More

Author Petra Kuenkel: The Art of Leading Collectively

More than ever before, there is a focus on new, collective forms of leadership—and an urgency to get collective change processes underway, all over the world. What’s behind the recent push to move collective leadership to the fore? Whether we find ourselves in societal or organizational change, it requires collective energy and drive to bring […] Read More

Author David Stroh: First Steps to Becoming a Systems Thinker

Systems thinking is often seen as something relegated to scientific and business analysis – economics, resource depletion, and climate. However, Systems Thinking for Social Change focuses on how to use systems thinking to make breakthrough progress on intransigent social problems. We asked author David Stroh how this approach can make an impact, and how readers […] Read More
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