Gifford Pinchot: Climate Change is Real. Now Innovate
Aug 25, 2011 2:30 PM ET
By Berit Anderson
Gifford Pinchot III probably isn’t the typical speaker at Seattle’s downtown Morgan Stanley boardroom. But the lesson he taught a group of Chinese undergraduate students gathered in the audience last week couldn’t have been delivered by your average wealth manager.
Pinchot’s presentation, bolstered by his powerful skill as a storyteller, spanned not just the importance of sustainable business and the tenets and successes of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute – the sustainable MBA program he pioneered on Washington’s Bainbridge Island – but his own realization that human relationships and doing good in the world was more likely to make him happy than money.
Pinchot achieved overnight financial success when his first sustainable business book became a bestseller and companies began knocking on his door for consultancies. But even with this sudden financial windfall, he found he wasn’t any happier than he had been just weeks earlier, when he was still struggling to make ends meet. The same few things still mattered most and were most likely to make him happy – the development and maintenance of personal relationships.
Why does Pinchot espouse sustainable business??
He’s a man of science. Along with slides documenting the monumental loss of old-growth forest between now and 2090 and the direct connection between fresh water scarcity and a U.S. naval plan for international conflict (Yes, we PLAN international conflict.), Pinchot shared this telling pair from a recent National Center for Atmospheric Research study:
First, the average worldwide drought conditions today (Blue and green being hospitable living environments with enough food and water for human survival and red being truly inhospitable.)
Berit Anderson develops and executes strategy to encourage the spread of responsible business. Berit manages CSRHUB's social media outreach and develops business and community relationships. Her background in media and community relations runs the gamut from non-profit sustainability magazines to 24-hour corporate news operations and forward-looking tech publishers. When she isn't busy building bridges with language, Berit studies Arabic, explores the great outdoors, or takes to the garden, where she merges her loves of local food, urban agriculture and education. Weaknesses include large, fluffy canines and Reeses peanut butter cups.
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