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#MeToo better for business, World Bank shuns fossil fuels and Bitcoin > Guiness

December 18, 2017

 

97 Men (and one woman) have fallen to #Metoo Movement

Actress Alyssa Milano created the now famous hashtag "me too" soon after Harvey Weinstein name became associated more with sexual misconduct than good movies.  We might say it was an unfortunate success: 500,000 tweets and 12 million Facebook posts within the first 24 hours. Finally, the abuses that nearly every woman I know suffer have an outlet and some sense of justice.

 

What are companies doing? Or what should they do? I can't answer that here but here are a couple of my favorite lines from a CNN Opinion piece on the topic 

 

Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant make the point that research shows having women in power is good for business: "Start-ups led by women are more likely to succeed; innovative firms with more women in top management are more profitable; and companies with more gender diversity have more revenue, customers, market share and profits."

 

"As Tina Tchen, former executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls said in Forbes: 'for too long, we have viewed issues of gender and race discrimination, sexual harassment, and diversity and inclusion as solely human resource topics, affecting only personnel decision-making and employment law exposure.'"

 

Does Bitcoin mining really use more energy than Ireland?  

According to data from Digiconomist that has been translated (amidst some controversy) to energy use, Bitcoin currently 32.56 terawatt hours (TWh) and Eurostat data from 2015 shows that Ireland consumed 25.07 TWh. (Ireland also consumed a lot of Guiness but that is not figured into the total)  The Twitter-verse has apparently had fun with this but it’s not without its critics.

 

My commentary: for me, the specifics miss the larger point, a reminder of basic ecology: there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Even digital currency comes from somewhere, consumes resources, and its access and beneficiaries are shaped by power and prejudice. The wise take responsibility for it all with eyes wide open. The foolish take the money and run.

 

Hot EVs and some cool charts (PowerPoint alert! If you are putting a deck together, these will look awesome...)

By 2035, there could be 125 million electric cars on the road, up from 2 million last year. The result:  a steep upward swing in demand for batteries and electricity, and a similarly strong decline in global oil demand.

My commentary: the article doesn't discuss where the batteries' precious metals will come from (child labor and batteries?) or what happens to the batteries at end-of-life. Circular economy and closed-loop design principles must be used or we will reassert the old adage: there is no greater source of problems than bad solutions.

 

The World Bank Group will no longer finance oil and gas development, after 2019

that pretty much says it....due to market forces and changes in technology, distributed, renewable energy is more cost-effective.

 

My commentary: we need to make sure the approach is building local capacity and increasing access to markets and information versus giving technology to communities.  We need to invest, create jobs, support entrepreneurs. See books like Toxic Charity and When Helping Hurts for tips on how to not make a mess of it.

 

Barnard College divestment plan: leaving fossil fuels and sharing how they are doing it 

"Barnard unveils criteria it will use to evaluate whether a fossil fuel company is a good or bad actor worthy of its investment. An emphasis is on climate science.

 

They require asking the following six questions about investment options:

* What is the company’s position on climate change?

* What action is the company taking to reduce its carbon footprint?

* Is climate science integral to the governance and oversight of the company?

* What are the company’s affiliations with third parties that spread disinformation on climate science?

* Does the company publicly support the need for climate policies and regulations?

* Has the company been publicly transparent about their position, actions and affiliations with regard to climate science and climate change?"

 

Facebook admits social media can be bad for you (CNBC)

"Facebook said on Friday that there are certain use cases of the social network that can be bad for your health."

 

My commentary: we all knew that of course, but it can be rare for a company to admit the actual or potential evils of their product. This kind of transparency is becoming table stakes in the new economy.  If you don't admit it, you start to look bad, then you look dumb, then you look for customers.  

 

Selma, Alabama. Image credit: Getty Images, Newsweek, 2017

 

UN Investigates U.S. declares Alabama poorest in country

Recent elections in Alabama may have missed another pressing issue in addition to the alleged sexual misconduct of a politician:  poverty and environmental degradation.  A United Nations official investigating poverty in the United States was shocked at the level of environmental degradation in some areas of rural Alabama, saying he had never seen anything like it in the developed world.

 

"According to the Census Bureau, nearly 41 million people in the U.S. live in poverty. That's second-highest rate of poverty among rich countries, as measured by the percentage of people earning less than half the national median income, according to Quartz."

 

"Of particular concern to the UN are specific poverty-related issues that have surfaced across the country in recent years, such as an outbreak of hookworm in Alabama in 2017—a disease typically found in nations with substandard sanitary conditions in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa."

 

New Report Frontiers 2017 Highlights Novel Environmental Challenges

The UN’s latest report on the most novel environmental challenges facing the planet identifies six key emerging issues:

  • antimicrobial resistance

  • nanomaterials: applying the precautionary principle

  • marine protected areas and sustainable development

  • sand and dust storms

  • off-grid solar solutions

  • environmental displacement

 

Pakistan targets schools for sustainability 

Pakistan’s government has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SGGs) as a cornerstone of a recent educational reform.