Blog

What follows is a chronological list of all blog posts by NCS staff, interns, and associates. Use the menu to the right to search or restrict your results by author, publication or date.

Turning Passion into Action

NCS 2011 Intern: Bonnie Lucara

NCS 2011 Intern: Bonnie Lucara

NCS Interns: Where Are They Now Series

 My internship at Nat Cap was the first step in turning a passion for environmental stewardship into a new career.  The very talented Nat Cap staff worked side by side with interns, treating us as colleagues, to produce their research and many consulting and education projects. I’ve often referred to the interns as a machine; they are an integral part of the engine that is Natural Capitalism Solutions.  Being an intern from spring through fall, meant an enormously enriching experience, working with many different interns, all from diverse backgrounds. I was also involved with Hunter’s first Sustainability Leadership and Implementation Course at Denver University, which provided further experiential learning and indoctrination on the business case for sustainability. What this experience grew into was the inspiration to turn an idea into a reality. Upon leaving Nat Cap I launched my business, Commute Matters.

The business case for sustainability, so thoroughly ingrained in Nat Cap’s mission, is now the primary tenet on which Commute Matters markets its Employee Commute Optimization System. The seed was planted many years ago when I  commuted from Denver to Boulder, always thinking  “someone on the other side of the highway is doing the same job in Denver and making the opposite commute; couldn’t we just swap jobs?” For years I thought about this.  While at Nat Cap I started talking about the idea and with the encouragement I received, finally started doing something about it.  I took an MBA class – Business Planning for Social Entrepreneurs, and there I realized where job swapping was both possible and made the greatest impact: in chain stores, in retail, food service, banking and hospitality, where the majority of the employees drive past two or three company stores getting to the one where they work.  By relocating workers to closer stores, the workers save time, money, and stress. They arrive more often, on time, and happier.  And they quit less, saving the company substantially on turnover costs.  Best of all, the community sees less traffic and emissions, which leads to a better quality of life.  Government has worked long and hard on solutions to traffic congestion and environmental issues, yet these problems persist. Using commute optimization puts control in the hands of business to solve not only a major talent management issue but to take a leading role in solving major transportation and environmental issues.  One retailer in a city can reduce traffic by 6 million miles and CO2 by 7 million lbs in just one year.  What if they all did?  That’s the mission we’re on.

I’m forever grateful for the great experience and education, incredible colleagues, and unforgettable inspiration I developed through my work with Natural Capitalism Solutions. Thank You!

unnamed

Hunter's Homework Assignments

ISSP Conference | Wisdom Panelimages
Denver, CO
13 November 2014

During the ISSP Conference Wisdom Panel last Thursday, November 13th, if your pen wasn’t flying fast enough you might have missed some of the books, videos, ideas and leaders Hunter thinks worth checking out. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

Videos:

Books:

  • Winning the Story Wars: Jonah Sachs
  • Creating Climate Wealth: Jigar Shah
  • The Spirit Level: Kate Pickett & Richard Wilkinson
  • Limits to Growth: Donella H. Meadows

Leaders:

 

A Small Team Making a Big Difference: An Intern's Look at NCS

By 2014 NCS Intern
Teija Mortvedt

“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” -Steve Jobs

People often think that it takes extraordinary genius, luck, or serendipity to make big things happen. That corporations are untouchable behemoths that rule the world. I had grown up with the preconception that only the ‘big’ could produce big. At Natural Capitalism Solutions, I’ve seen the truth first hand: that businesses everywhere run off of the work of individuals, whose passion and dedication can make change and can influence the world. It is real people, not governments and corporations, who build the things that make up the world around us. While interning at NCS, I felt like a contributing member of a small team making an indisputably large impact. It has always been a dream of mine to make a dent in this world for the better and this experience has made me feel that not only is this dream worth striving for, but it is actually very attainable –an exciting paradigm shift that already changed my approach to work and life. Read more »

Why We Rob Our Childern

WSBill Becker
5 February 2014

 

In 1934 when the FBI asked Willie Sutton why he robbed banks, he reportedly answered, “Because that’s where the money is.”

Today, if you ask an investor in the fossil energy sector to be candid about why he is robbing our children’s future, he would give the same response: That’s where the money is.

Whether we’re talking about government subsidies, or buying stock, or wildcatting for oil, or shoveling coal, or destroying a wetland for economic development, we are investing in things that degrade the future, squander natural capital, and spend our children’s inheritance.

That needs to change not only for moral reasons, but also because investments in things that hurt us tend to become bad bets. The increasing risk of investing in companies that help create climate change or whose profits are threatened by it is the reason the Securities and Exchange Commission wants companies to publicly report their climate risks each year and why most companies apparently don’t want to. Read more »

The Knife's Edge of Cheater Capitalism

CapitalPeak-KnifeEdgeby L. Hunter Lovins
17 October 2013
Commissioned by the United Nations

The Problems

The global economy rests on a knife-edge. It is based on unsustainable assumptions and business practices that are driving societies and ecosystems into successive collapses. There are many palliative “fixes” that can prop the system up – but only for a time.

What is needed is a new development paradigm, one based on recognizing that the economy depends wholly on preserving healthy ecosystems. The current paradigm, based on what Randy Hayes calls Cheater Capitalism,[i] in which individuals are told to make their own way in a dog-eat-dog “free” market, while incumbent technologies and corporate profits are subsidized, losses are socialized, the commons are privatized and the too-big-to-fail are bailed out. Yet we believe the shared story that in capitalism the smartest win, everyone has equal opportunity to get rich, techno-geniuses like Bill Gates have the money, so they will save the world. The unspoken option is to stand with out hands out.[ii]

We need a new strategy of change. Read more »

Welcome to Global Weirding—and we’re not just talking about the weather

By 2013 NCS Intern
Eliza Kovnat

Q: Do you believe in climate disruption?
A: It Depends on the Weather

Human caused climate disruption is real and happening all around us. According to some, however, the conviction that climate disruption is indeed happening, well, depends on the weather.

Figure 1: Snowpack Update 2012 Totals

Figure 1: Snowpack Update 2012 Totals

As Professor Ed Maibach at George Mason University stated in an interview this past May, “People’s assessments of climate change are very susceptible to what they’ve recently experienced in the weather.”[i] It shouldn’t be this way. We ought to be smart enough to know that weather does not equal climate, but Professor Maibach is not alone in his assertion. Numerous  studies conducted by the scientific community show that public opinion of human-caused climate disruption changes after recent extreme weather events.[ii]

Unless you live in a cave, you noticed the extreme weather variability between Spring 2012 and Spring 2013. Figure 1 shows the extreme dryness in Colorado in April 2012. In April 2013, however, residents experienced a completely different story as depicted in  Figure 2. In 2012, most states in the country were gripped by drought, many experienced severe to anomalous levels of dryness.[iii] The drought, of course, contributed to the active fire season last year and such megafires as the High Park Fire near Fort Collins, Colorado and the Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs.[iv] Read more »