Archive for category Sustainability

Why We’re Asking

JCloudStorerSmAsking for money is one of the more challenging things that every charity has to do. The first question we need to answer, however, is “Why are we asking?” If we don’t have a clear and compelling answer, we’re handicapping ourselves from the start.

So here’s why.

  • It’s to give people the opportunity to contribute to the world they believe in.
  • It’s to give us the ability to keep working on creating a world that works, by providing “regenerative community solutions,” i.e., practical ways of restoring and building communities that last and become self-reinforcing and self-sustaining.
  • Ultimately, it’s to empower the world of generosity, the you-and-me world, rather than the you-or-me world.

In The Soul of Money, Lynne Twist, who has raised more than $150 million in individual contributions, tells the story of her own first monetary contribution:
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Crowdfunding for PACE in New Jersey

JCloudStorerSmThe challenges we face in New Jersey as a result of climate change are significant, and so therefore are the opportunities. The experience of Superstorm Sandy showed us just how ill-prepared we are for the more frequent recurrence of extreme weather; and how important it is that we set an example for taking action to mitigate our own greenhouse gas emissions, as other states are doing around us. And there’s also no doubt about the urgency of it — as you can see from this remarkable video:
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Jigar Shah’s Creating Climate Wealth (2013)

jigar-shahJigar Shah has a disarmingly powerful message for today’s young capitalists: fixing the climate crisis is the biggest financial opportunity of our lifetimes. Indeed, Shah is on track to become a role model for a new generation of entrepreneurs who are committed to leveraging mainstream investment for social transformation.

In Creating Climate Wealth, Shah makes the case that clean energy represents a ten trillion dollar investment opportunity—if we are just willing to look at what already makes economic sense in addressing the impacts of climate change. The premise of his book, as he states it in a recent video interview, is that 50% of the climate challenge can be tackled profitably with existing technologies, if we have the right business models.

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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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Regenerating NJ Shore Communities

JCloudStorerSmThrough our new nonprofit, the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions (CRCS), we have begun the work of rebuilding NJ’s shore communities in a more sustainable way. As part of the basis for this work, we’ve published the following article, originally posted January 12, 2013, and most recently revised February 11, 2012: RegeneratingNewJerseyShoreCommunitiesJan2013r

We’ve also been sharing the following message with a number of Shore-based and statewide nonprofits:

CRCS is looking to partner with other nonprofit and civic organizations to host a series of community dialogs regarding the long term sustainable reconstruction of the NJ shore. Our team has substantial experience and expertise in community engagement, urban planning, anthropology, organization development, project management, leadership development, finance, and permaculture, as well as the broad topics of sea level rise, coastal ecosystem integrity, and climate change.

While we are a newly registered entity, CRCS comes out of work that we’ve done for a number of years through the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise at Fairleigh Dickinson University, the Center for Leadership in Sustainability, and through several other nonprofits.

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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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