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Hitler or Hillary? A Stark Choice

Why we all need to stand up and be counted

jcloud-spainThe mere fact that Donald Trump has been designated the Republican nominee for President should give us all cause for concern. No one with such a clearly authoritarian personality has ever been a plausible candidate for the most powerful office in the world. The campaign that we see unfolding before us is not a reality show, but a sobering reality. It is not unreasonable that we should ask ourselves what would happen if we were to stand by and not speak out against it.
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What the First Annual Survey of New Jersey Business Sustainability Tells Us

polskysm_200By Matt Polsky and Pooja Aravkar

None of the world’s leading companies pursuing sustainability are U.S.-based, reports Oekom Research, a German company in its annual Corporate Responsibility Review. What could we do about this in New Jersey? Researchers from the Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Institute for Sustainable Enterprise(ISE) can offer some ideas. The mission of ISE is to “bring people together to learn how to live and manage sustainably by solving problems and capitalizing on opportunities in ways that simultaneously enhance economic, social, and environmental vitality.” It is the intellectual hub of sustainable business thinking in New Jersey.

ISE’s 2010 report Developing and Implementing a Sustainable Growth Strategy for New Jersey provided several guidelines for developing a “Green Economy” – an economy that includes and extends beyond clean energy, potentially penetrating all business sectors to protect and restore the environment while creating economic growth. The report, which urges all sectors to practice corporate social responsibility and aim towards greater levels of sustainability, concludes that “New Jersey has a unique opportunity to play a leadership role.”

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Seeking Sustainable Growth in the Wake of Sandy

The Center for Regenerative Community Solutions and Regenerative Community Ventures, Inc. have recently circulated a position paper on “Laying a Foundation for Sustainable Growth in New Jersey in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy” with policy makers and community leaders in the state. Here is a final version, and several excerpts. The authors are co-founders of the Center for Leadership in Sustainability, the Sustainable Leadership Forum, and Acumen Technology Group, LLC. Jonathan Cloud is Senior Fellow, Institute for Sustainable Enterprise, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Managing Partner, Acumen Technology Group, LLC.Victoria Zelin is Principal, Regenerative Community Ventures, Inc., a licensee of Unified Field Corporation.

Superstorm Sandy has dramatically altered NJ’s economy as well as its geography for years to come. While there may be a short-­term “bounce” from the money spent on reconstruction, the thinking about how that rebuilding should be carried out is already moving very quickly toward the view that it needs to be substantially more hurricane-­proof and disaster-­resistant, more resilient, and — in a word — more sustainable.

This paper sets out some considerations and recommendations for creating a foundation for sustainable growth in New Jersey, describes some of the initiatives we are taking through our new nonprofit organization, the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions, and makes specific suggestions for policies and programs for state and local government to support these and similar initiatives from other organizations.

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Toward a Sustainable Future for Haiti

JCloudStorerSmThe earthquake in Haiti has been many things – including both a wakeup call for Americans, and an opportunity to demonstrate our compassion – but it has above all been a human tragedy that has revealed the weaknesses and deficiencies that were there before. A 7.5 magnitude earthquake will no doubt cause some damage no matter where it occurs, but it does not always need to cause the extent of devastation that has occurred in Haiti, or to leave the population as unaided.

Some colleagues of ours at the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise met last week to discuss what we could do to contribute to a longer-term recovery, that would try to address the social, environmental, and economic challenges facing this troubled nation. We talked about a great many things, including the fact that many of us feel powerless in the face of such catastrophes, especially those that afflict human beings in distant places. We are all “overcommitted” to many worthwhile and challenging tasks already, and taking on such a monumental task as helping to chart the way forward in Haiti clearly seems to require that we steal time and energy from other causes. But if we can make even a small difference, while honoring our other commitments, this seems a compelling goal. Read the rest of this entry »

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An Open Letter to the President

The Road Not Taken:
A Letter to President Obama
from a Concerned Democrat,
and a Concerned Citizen

Jonathan Cloud (Publisher)

Jonathan Cloud (Publisher)

Dear Mr. President:

I write out of deep concern as to the state of our nation today.

I believe that in the year since your inauguration, an important opportunity has been missed to unify and mobilize the American people in the service of their highest ideals.

I acknowledge the many pressures and challenges that have been thrust upon you by circumstances, and I applaud you for the intelligent and courageous actions you have taken. Your actions have, as almost all economists now recognize, averted an outright collapse of the financial system. And this is but one of many remarkable accomplishments, not the least of which has been changing the tone around America’s role in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Democrats Still Don’t Get It

 

LNaultHi folks:

I copied below a column from tomorrows NYT by Bob Herbert.  This is the story I was yelling about in Sonal’s campaign and you guys were wondering if I was nuts and were full of denial respecting the troubles brewing here and on everybody’s mind.  My specific charge was limousine liberals.

Reading the stuff you two are batting back and forth I wonder if you two are on the same planet as I live on.  The health care legislation is dead.  Cap and trade or any variations of carbon restrictions are dead.   President Nero fiddled while the economy was burning,  hostage as he is to environmental interests as hostile to progress as the republican cabal is to co-operation.  The cart was placed before the donkey.  You can accomplish nothing until the private economy gets back on its feet.  With a robust economy, with unemployment dropping all these other things could be considered rationally. Until then nothing will get done. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Cap and Trade Work?

JCloudStorerSmA couple of years ago I suggested to Frank Felder, Director of Rutgers’ Center for Energy, Environmental, and Economic Policy (CEEEP), that we co-sponsor a debate on the relative merits of cap-and-trade vs. a carbon tax. The idea went nowhere, because the conventional wisdom, then as now, is that anything with the word “tax” in it is a political nonstarter.

I thought this was shortsighted then, and think it is still short-sighted now. If we fail to discuss what may be better alternatives because they are not politically popular, they will never get the chance to become widely considered, and we will have allowed a self-fulfilling prophecy to dictate our fate. Political acceptability is an important factor in choosing a course of action. But it is not the only one. If a carbon tax (or, as some prefer to call it, a “fee”) is a better approach, then we need to figure out how to make it palatable. And if cap-and-trade will, as others claim, do more harm than good, then we need to consider how to de-legitimize it. Read the rest of this entry »

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