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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.

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Shhhh... Hear that?

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Author: the Inkslinger

Our scent guru, Eva-Marie passed along this link to Just-a-Minute, an organization encouraging us all to take just a minute here and there to quiet our minds and let peace and stillness rush in as a way to maybe get some of it to rub off on the world.

It’s feels so true to me that peacefulness is rapidly becoming an extinct quality. The general pace of human existence, at least here in America, just seems to get more maddening every year, the noise and static that much louder, the collective blood pressure that much higher. We’ve all but lost the ability to sit still and just be. Empty. Unexpectant.

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Good Night & Have a Pleasant Tomorrow…

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Author: the Inkslinger

So remember how I said yesterday I had a mountain of stuff to dig through? I did. Until my e-mail crashed this afternoon precipitating two hours of empty folders where there should have been big piles of blog fodder and triggering a tide of rising panic that threatened my cranium with explosive decompression. It’s all better now thanks to my friend Google and some laborious repairs. But it does make you think…

When I moved this summer to my new house, I found the now ancient memo I wrote to Jeffrey asking permission to spend $30 a month on an internet subscription and an e-mail address for the company. It’s dated June 15, 1995. In it I carefully explain what the World Wide Web is and how it all works and how it’s maybe going to be the Next Big Thing and maybe we could even someday sell our stuff on it. A couple of people were already via these things called “web sites. The idea seemed to have potential, I wrote.

How far we’ve come in just a decade. Now e-mail is a necessity. The net is all. And life without either, as I found out this afternoon, is a bleak nightmare of technological despair in which I don’t really remember how we functioned. We stream. We download. We play. We blog. And we report newly rescued news items like these…

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Butter Nuts

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Author: the Inkslinger

Returning to the blogosphere after a refreshing holiday hiatus spent largely away from all issues green (‘cept for that tree in the middle of my living room…), I’m finding a lot of news and other items to catch up on. For no real reason other than it was the first thing I encountered this morning, I’ll start with this item, which I think aptly illustrates the dubious art of corporate responsibility misdirection.

Here’s the deal: A week or so before Christmas, ConAgra Foods announced that it was joining three other microwave popcorn manufacturers, General Mills, the American Pop Corn Company and Weave Popcorn Company, in removing a butter flavoring ingredient called diacetyl from their products. You may have heard about this. Workers at microwave popcorn factories have been suffering devastating lung disease that’s been traced to diacetyl fumes in the air where they work.

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Can Companies Really Care About Their Customers?

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“Two years ago, Isobella Jade was down on her luck, living on a friend’s couch and struggling to make it as a fashion model when she had the idea of writing a book about her experience as a short woman trying to break into the modeling business.

“Unable to afford a computer, Ms. Jade, 25, began cadging time on a laptop at the Apple store in the SoHo section of Manhattan. Ms. Jade spent hours at a stretch standing in a discreet corner of the store, typing. Within a few months, she had written nearly 300 pages.

“Not only did store employees not mind, but at closing time they often made certain to shut Ms. Jade’s computer down last, to give her a little extra time. A few months later, the store invited her to give an in-store reading from her manuscript.”

When I read that story in the New York Times, it reminded me of how much it’s actually possible for companies to care about their customers. And how the boundaries of that care and the resulting relationships can move totally beyond anything that anyone could ever describe in a how-to-manage-customer-relationships manual.

We live in a world of increasing rules, regulations, and instruction books. Lots of pages filled with what to do and not to do. But in an age where there is a huge hunger for relationships and unbounded possibility, we need to be guided by our values and beliefs. We need to trust those we work with to carry them out as they see fit and in doing so create possibility where none previously existed.

It is in that space of trust, which comes not from a detailed map but an aligned understanding of the direction we’re headed in, that our creativity and compassion can bloom.

In the year ahead, we need to figure out how to build trust and take the handcuffs off those that work for and with us.

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MIPs WITH TIM GREINER

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This year 7th Gen's Corporate Consciousness department (quasi-department) worked with Tim Greiner from Pure Strategies on a traceability study.

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Theory U and Otto Scharmer

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I did the Advanced Theory U workshop last week with Otto Scharmer and his folks from the Presencing Institute.

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Ideas Good, Bad, and Even Ugly

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For the past handful of years, the New York Times Magazine has published an annual theme issue called the Year in Ideas. In the latest issue, 15 of the 70 ideas, or fully 20% had to do with sustainability.

As the issue’s introduction notes, New York Times “editors and writers trawl the oceans of ingenuity, hoping to snag in (their) nets the many curious, inspired, perplexing and sometimes outright illegal innovations of the past 12 months.”

Some of my favorites include:

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Snooze Desk

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Author: the Inkslinger

Been a sleepy news week here at the Enviro Desk. Not a lot going on. I suspect all eco-eyes have been on the climate crisis talks in Bali, where at last report a few hours ago, talks had extended past the deadline and hope remained for some kind of meaningful carbon reduction agreement. That and as we draw closer to Christmas things really start to quiet down. So the combination has created a perfect storm of nothingness on the wires

Still there are a couple of things worth noting as we close out the week….

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What Wisdom & Leadership Look Like

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Author: the Inkslinger

Just in case you’ve forgotten during the last seven years of intellectual, moral, and spriritual darkness…

Watch it and hope. Share it and rally.

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Does Local Equal Greener?

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Truth is, I’ve always accepted the logic that local is best when it comes to produce. And local, organic is always even better. Andrew Martin, one of the New York Times best writers, takes a thoughtful step back
to examine those assumptions.

Do the strawberries that are transported in the back of a pick-up truck from three hours outside of San Francisco to a downtown farmers market have a smaller carbon footprint than strawberries that travel by tractor-trailer to a Chicago supermarket? Not necessarily. As with most things in life, the simple rules we crave do not necessarily hold up to scrutiny.

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