Archive for the ‘Conscious Capitalism’ category

Small Thoughtful Actions

15th 2009f October 2009
Photography by Calvin Cropley

Photography by Calvin Cropley

I can’t remember when I first learned about the danger that we are in of permanently altering the biosphere of our planet. At primary school I was taught to pick up litter and later the importance of recycling and renewable energy sources. Even now, when I watch films like Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” and read articles like this one from National Geographic, I’m shocked by how our actions are changing our world.

It’s depressing sometimes, to contemplate the magnitude of the problem, but you have to remember that it was only small actions that caused it, and it will be the small actions we take every day that solve it.

Things like buying a cheap plastic toy or watering a field seem like harmless every-day activities until we become aware of their environmental cost. When we start to ask, how was it made, where did it come from. It’s through this awareness that we discover the hidden truth behind the calming super-market musak.

Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t hate super-markets. I don’t even begrudge the consumer economy that supports them, hell I’m a part of that economy! That’s where my dilemma begins, I accept that this rat-race is a necessary stage in our evolution, but I’m eager to move on to a greener, more sustainable future.

So I take small, thoughtful actions. I continue to pick up litter, recycle my paper, plastic and glass. I use some hyper-miling techniques to reduce my fuel consumption and monitor the results with a great little iPhone app called AccuFuel. And I dream of the day I’ll be able to take big actions, like buying a hybrid car, putting up solar panels on my roof, travelling to my holiday by sailing yacht or building a wireless Internet infrastructure in Africa and Asia to promote a knowledge economy.

This post is in honour of Blog Action Day 2009 and this years topic: Climate Change.

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A lesson in Entrepreneurship in Seville

28th 2009f May 2009

No two men could be better qualified to teach entrepreneurship than Ken Morse and Bill Aulet. They came to Sevilla from the E-Centre at MIT, to deliver a seminar on “Entrepreneurial Sales and Product Marketing” and they over-delivered.

My expectations were exceeded by far, we were given a rich insight into the growth of high-tech start-up companies. Through case studies of real companies they’ve helped to build, and actual sales forecasts, Bill and
Ken enthralled us with stories from the front-line of entrepreneurship and they lessons they have learned in the process.
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Kiva.org

23rd 2007f June 2007

I was going to write a rambling post about Facebook and social networking sites today, but I found something much more worthwhile to do. I discovered a short video about a site called KIVA through Guy Kawasaki’s blog. Kiva is a P2P micro finance site that connects normal people in developed countries with entrepreneurs and small business owners who are making a difference in their communities in developing nations.

Tsevi from TogoI’ve just joined kiva and contributed $25 towards a $750 loan for Tsèvi Bedzra a 29 year old barber in Togo in Africa. He’s applied for the loan to buy electric clippers and other equipment for his barber shop, he feels this will enable him to be more profitable and better support his son.

All of the entrepreneurs on KIVA are vetted and approved by loan officers from micro-finance organisations on the ground. When Tzevi’s load application was approved his picture was taken and posted to the site with his details, where I found him.

You can go to Kiva’s website and lend to someone in the developing world who needs a loan for their business – like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent – and you get updates letting you know how the business is going. The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back – and Kiva’s loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.


Kiva - loans that change lives