Linda Hesthag  Ellwein

Communications, Change, and Photography, Oikonomia, Inc.


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To honor TED speaker, Ray Anderson's impactful life, let's share our ideas and hopes- whether big or small -towards a more sustainable world

The world lost a pioneer in the sustainability movement last week. Ray Anderson took risks few dared to take in industry. He was the founder of Interface Carpets, one of the world's largest carpet manufacturers, and became a sustainability champion after reading Paul Hawken's book, The Ecology of Commerce. He was the first to apply waste reduction, recycling and biodegradability to a large scale industrial corporation.

Hunter Lovins, co-author of Natural Capital, was quoted in the NY Times as saying, "“He was the first to prove that a corporate-wide, systemic commitment to sustainability could increase profitability. Before him, behaving in ways which are responsible to people and the environment were seen as costs for the business rather than a source of profit.”

Share ways you have made changes towards a more sustainable world, or how you'd like to make a difference if you could. Share any idea - no matter how large or small - that others may mimic to bring positive change! These are ideas worth sharing! Also see Ray's TED talk listed here. Ray made great contributions to the world and will be missed by many. Thank you, Ray!

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    Aug 18 2011: I didn't know him, but I enjoyed his talk.


    Turn off the lights.

    Turn off the tap.

    Ride a bike.

    My wife ladles the water out of the sink after she washes her face and we use it to wash the floor.

    Buy good clothes and wear them for a long time. (Forget fashion.)

    Don't eat meat. (Or eat a LOT less of it.)

    Eat less.


    Enjoy life.
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        Aug 24 2011: Yes.

        Let me rephrase that: Forget what is in fashion ... at the moment.

        (Are suits and ties still in fashion?)
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        Aug 24 2011: Do you see many (any - besides me) men wearing suits?

        They seem to have fallen our of favour.
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        Aug 24 2011: No, I'm not kidding.

        In the last month or so I have seen two other guys wearing suits (no ties). Both were caucasian and both were in the Hang Zhou airport - yesterday.

        (Not counting pictures of course -- politicians and models still wear suits and ties.)

        People tease me about wearing suits and ties because no one around here does.

        Some of my suits are 20 years old.
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      Aug 24 2011: Great tips Thomas.

      Some I already do

      Some I want to do ( bicycle&meat)

      Some I cant do because I am too lazy ( taking back the water from sink)

      But all are useful and effective.
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    Aug 26 2011: It would be great if all new buildings were required to be constructed with small-cheap solar arrays. Typically they pay for themselves after eight years, (regardless of size) or sooner if you sell the building. The extra support would greatly aid the future green infrastructure.

    It's not expensive. ($450)

    Buildings should come with solar setups just like they come with fire-walls & plumbing... In every country. It would instantly create higher demand, and more green jobs. In a span of eight years our energy needs would be drastically reduced. The technology will likely have advanced by that point. The two main driving forces of advancement in technology are competition & opportunity. We should use these forces to push green energy into the mainstream. What better way is there to manipulate these forces than to use the government?

    Just an idea!
  • Aug 30 2011: Impose a square footage per person limit on dwelling size. If this sounds crazy, consider the many laws and rules regarding land and building use we have already. Since real estate transactions must go through lawyers in most jurisdictions, this would also be easy to implement.
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    Aug 30 2011: Lets try and make difference.
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    Aug 20 2011: Push the silk industry forward,once the world realises that you can throw it away,eat it without consequences, we will be one step further ahead on the right track.
  • Aug 18 2011: Thanks for bringing attention to this. I had missed Ray's talk and certainly found it encouraging today.

    Here's an observation. Most of us work in offices, and if yours is like most in which I have worked, it's ravaged by obvious environmental red flags. Invisible harms like off-gassing from paint and carpets may be quite bad; but it's the paper not recycled, lights and computers left-on overnight, air conditioners turned low enough to require coats in August, and all of the other examples of easy-to-fix wastefulness that are perhaps most disgraceful.

    So here's a simple idea, useful on several levels. At our next annual review (if not sooner), why don't we offer to do something about it? Perhaps we find a way to get paper recycling bins, if we lack them; or we price-out the cost of installing timed light switches (less that you might think). Maybe we get a green status check added to the monthly meeting agenda, along with the other important items; maybe we do all of these things. But each of us, depending on our seniority, patience, time, and commitment, surely can do at least one of these things, or something more useful. Announcing it at the review compels us to do some homework ahead of time and figure out how to make our efforts cost-neutral or even cost-cutting, and encourages the leadership to get on-board. Heck, it could even help with a raise.

    I'm up for it.