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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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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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Obama-rama

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This month’s cover story in the Atlantic explores why Barack Obama is the presidential candidate who may be uniquely able to move America beyond decades of divisiveness and internal conflict and into a future in which our country begins to fulfill it’s potential as a world leader, a future that both earns the U.S. international respect and heals decades of politics that have polarized the country.

I am not endorsing Obama. At least not yet. But this article offers a brilliant perspective on our country and the opportunities and challenges it faces in a future that will only get more challenging and complex. I guarantee you it’s worth the read.

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Keeping Abreast of Cancer News

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As the father of two young girls and the son of a mother who had breast cancer along with her aunt, back in the days when a radical mastectomy was the only option, breast cancer is a topic of great interest to me. This thoughtful article from New Jersey's Bergen County Record combines new information with practical steps we can take to minimize risk. Information we all need to put into action.

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Just Say Know to Energy

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Author: the Inkslinger

A new survey
out from an environmental marketing firm called EcoAlign has found that a large percentage of Americans lack a basic understanding of the fundamental energy efficiency terms we’ll need to know in order to get smart about energy use.

The survey of 1,000 people asked them to match a handful of key energy terms (Energy Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Demand Response, Smart Energy, Clean Energy) to provided definitions. Then interviewers asked the same respondents to simply define these terms themselves without any help. The results could be seen as slightly alarming. For example, according to EcoAlign’s analysts:

  • Only 13% of respondents think energy efficiency has to do with saving money or cutting down on fuel costs.
  • Just a third of respondents could correctly define “energy conservation” and energy efficiency.”
  • Only about one third, 30%, of Americans understand the term “smart energy” and about the same amount, 32%, say they are not doing enough in terms of “smart energy.”
  • 14% couldn’t match clean energy with its definition.

It’s tempting to look at numbers like these and be slightly if not completely dismayed. But should we be? I don’t think so.

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