7GenBlog | Seventh Generation
Skip to Content

7GenBlog

The latest news, food for thought, recipes you’ll love, great advice on everything from raising kids to nurturing bees, plus videos designed to entertain, educate and enlighten. If you’d like to find out what’s on our mind – or let us know what’s on yours -- this is place to be.

  • Pin It

Thy Neighbors Cash

0 comments
Author:

In the August 5, 2007 New York Times Book review of Robert H. Frank’s new book Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class, reviewer Daniel Gross notes:

Knowing that Steve Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group made almost $400 million last year, or that he spent $3 million last February on his 60th-birthday party, doesn’t simply make the typical American green with envy, and hence unhappy. Rather, Frank argues, the problem is that extreme consumption — at which Schwarzman excels — helps shape norms for the whole society, not just his fellow plutocrats.

This theme, which is also the focus of much of Deep Economy by Bill McKibben, is wrapped in a sobering view of just how concentrated wealth is becoming. What sounds fascinating about Gross’ book is how this effects our dreams and aspirations, and causes us to plummet ever faster toward an unsustainable future. Gross’s review continues:

In an economy where the wealthy set the norms for consumption and people at every rung strain to maintain the consumption of those just above them, that spells trouble. In today’s arms race, the top 1 percent are armed to the teeth and everybody else is scavenging for ammunition. Between 1980 and 2001, Frank notes, the median size of new homes in the United States rose from 1,600 to 2,100 square feet, “despite the fact that the median family’s real income had changed little in the intervening years.” The end result? Frank methodically presents data showing that the typical American now works more, saves less, commutes longer and borrows more to maintain what he or she views as an appropriate standard of living.

Because the gains have been so lopsided — the richest 1 percent have seen their share of national income rise from 8.2 percent in 1980 to 17.4 percent in 2005.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Swimming With the Black Swan

0 comments
Author:

"My major hobby is teasing people who take themselves & the quality of their knowledge too seriously & those who don’t have the guts to sometimes say: I don’t know.... (You may not be able to change the world but can at least get some entertainment & make a living out of the epistemic arrogance of the human race)." ?Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Every once in a while a book comes along that jolts you awake like a swift slap in the face over a strong cup of coffee,a book that makes you rethink your thinking and realize that if you want to think well, you will need be a little more (actually a lot more!) careful and intentional. The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb is such a book.

I’m not done. I’m only on page 81, but so far this has been a pretty amazing read filled with insights.

”You know what is wrong with a lot more confidence than what is right.”

”How can we figure out the properties of the (infinite) unknown based on the (finite) known?”

This is a book that in many respects is impossible to describe with out reproducing large portions of it. The Guardian newspaper review notes:

“Why are we so bad at acknowledging life's unpredictability? Things happen, and surprise us. Afterwards, we act as if they were explicable all along. Then we use those explanations to pretend we can control the future: act boldly, and you'll become rich; keep an eye on loners, and you'll prevent massacres. "There's just much, much more luck than we think," Taleb says, rocking excitably on his chair in a London cafe.”

If you want to get lucky with your summer reading, read this one.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Bisphenol-Freakin’ A

0 comments
Author: the Inkslinger

ScienceMan sent me a great article this morning on bisphenol-A. As he said in his e-mail, “It confirms our worst fears about the chemical, the chemical industry, and our regulatory system.”

Now right away I know what everyone’s thinking… “Bisphenol what? Oh good lord… Spare me. I can’t even pronounce it let alone summon the necessary gumption to read an entire article about all this crap. Please just shoot me first.”

I dig the sentiment. It’s quite legit. Diving into this stuff will harsh your mellow, kill your buzz, rain on your parade, and wilt your will to live like it was a plucked flower in a pizza oven.

But here’s the thing: Everybody’s gotta start keying into this whole chemical contamination thing. Because it’s really right up there with the climate crisis in terms of the things we gotta fix yesterday if not sooner. People have to understand that what you can’t see can hurt you and it’s everywhere these days. In our food. In our water. In our soil. In ourselves. And it’s literally killing us softly with its discordant song.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Green Is Gold According to Goldman

0 comments
Author:

A new report released by Goldman Sachs on July 5th found that companies that are considered leaders in environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies are also leading the pack in stock market performance—by an average of 25 percent. That’s right – 25%, a margin so huge as to be almost hard to believe, but considering the source I’ll assume they did the math right.

In an analysis of more than 120 ESG leaders from five different industries—energy, metals and mining, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and European media—Goldman found that companies in four of the sectors outperformed the Morgan Stanley Capital International World Index.

Check out this article about the report or go straight to the source and read the whole thing.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

All Communities Are Not Created Equal

0 comments
Author:

On July 28, 2007, the Chicago Tribune reported a story that happens every day but rarely makes the headlines:

"All communities are not created equal," said Robert Bullard, director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University, who has been documenting racial and environmental disparities for more than 20 years. "If a community is low-income and comprised mostly of people of color, it generally gets more than its fair share of those things that people don't want."

What brought the story to light in this case was the release of a new study by the University of Texas School of Public Health, which showed that children living within 2 miles of the heavily industrialized Houston Ship Channel have a 56 percent greater risk of contracting acute lymphocytic leukemia than children living farther away.

The study echoes others in the past. For example, one analysis of data collected by the federal Environmental Protection Agency conducted by The Associated Press in 2005 found that blacks are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of posing the greatest health danger.

Facts like these show that environmental racism is still very much alive and an issue that needs attention from all of us. We won't live in a truly just and equitable world until we solve it

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Can This Man Save The World?

0 comments
Author:

Several weeks ago, my wife was emptying out her family’s home in Providence, Rhode Island, and she found this picture among the things her father had saved. On August 10, 1989, it appeared on the cover of the second section of New York Newsday, a daily newspaper in New York City. I hadn’t looked at it for many years.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Friday Ha-Ha

0 comments
Tags: ,
Author: the Inkslinger

Courtesy of the comedic genuises at the Onion, here’s a mighty giggle on which to end the week.

I’d be laughing a lot harder if I didn’t think we lived in a country where there’s a chance a story like this could actually come true…

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Living in the Here & Now

0 comments
Author:

In case anyone missed it, I recently recorded a segment for the NPR series “This I Believe” about my late brother Peter. For those of you who haven’t ever heard it on the air, “This I Believe” is an international audio project based on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Profile: Sarah A - 7th Gener

0 comments
Tags:
Author:

Thought I would start profiling people who work at 7th Gen. Good people, making things happen. Sarah A, our internal newsletter producer, is up first...WR

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Bottled Water

0 comments
Author: scienceman

It is not my intention to nag or blame bottled water drinkers, but it is my intention to create a more eco-conscious and aware consumer. If we want to turn around the way things are going on this earth, we need to take responsibility for our own actions and be more thoughtful when making choices. I can understand bottled water.

See Full Post