It’s a thrill to launch a book, and standing room only at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco is not a bad way to do it. That’s the honor that a lively audience gave me Tuesday. With my dear friend Joel Makower, editor of GreenBiz, presiding, Climate Capitalism made its formal debut to sustainability thought leaders like Gil Friend, public servants like Jay Eickenhorst, former Presidio students (and enduring friends), my Madrone colleagues and the bright membership of the Club. Joel introduced me to describe the book’s thesis: Believe in climate change or don’t – it really doesn’t matter if you think the climate crisis is real or not, because acting in ways to solve it is just better business. So let’s stop arguing over the science and get on with making money – oh, and you’ll solve global warming while you’re at it. Panelists Bruce Klafter of Applied Materials, profiled in the book, and David Chen of Equilibrium Capital, backed my claims, describing how their companies are profiting handsomely even in a down economy from rolling out the new energy economy.
To Joel’s probing questions of if all this is true, why isn’t it busting out everywhere, they answered, “It is!” I pointed out that a recent Harris Interactive survey of the Fortune 1,000 found that although corporate executives have a pervasive belief is that no one is implementing sustainability, 88% of the companies answering said that they’re doing it – they just believe they’re an anomaly.
Joel is such a skillful moderator, and from his decisive three raps to open the hour recorded for NPR broadcast til the closing gavel, time sped by. Questions were engaged, the knowledgeable and articulate panel laid out a wealth of content and the Commonwealth Club sold out of books.
Signings done, we repaired to an over-the-top party at the elegant abode of my friend, the intellectual property lawyer Ben Bedi. Overlooking the lights of the Bay Bridge, we sipped great whisky, ate lavishly and reveled in fun conversations of strategy and problem solving. Will Semmes, who until Schwartzenegger stepped down as California Governor was the Chief Deputy Director of the State’s Department of General Services, his beautiful (and MBA-smart) wife Katrina, had pulled together 50 leading clean tech entrepreneurs, influencers, and sustainability thought leaders from across San Francisco to celebrate the book’s launch.
It was 2 AM by the time a gallant Fred Naranjo squired me back to my hotel, excusing himself to go call business associates in China as I set to study the interiors of my eyelids.
But I fell asleep with a grin. The book tour’s begun. The next weeks will take me east to Washington DC, and New York, South to Nashville, back west to Seattle and on to Chicago. Check out the Natural Capitalism calendar if you want to come catch one of my speaking engagements. I’d love to see you, and sure would be honored to sign your very own copy of Climate Capitalism.
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