BioCycle June 2017
Mother Nature is apolitical. She is not red, blue or purple. But in order to sustain human and ecosystem life on this planet, Mother Nature needs a fair amount of help right now. And being realistic, she knows that this help comes with a price — as well as a profit. We would venture to say that Mother Earth is a huge fan of enterprising ecologically.
Jerome (Jerry) Goldstein, founder of BioCycle, recognized the economic opportunities imbedded in environmentally sound technologies and systems, decades before companies and institutions created corporate sustainability departments. “Is it possible to manage your company ecologically?,” he asked in the introduction to his 1970 book, How To Manage Your Company Ecologically. “Being an optimist and having decided to plunge ahead, I maintain that you can manage your company ecologically — or at least, in a much more ecological manner than in the past. There are many, many things that can be done — once you’re sensitive to the problems of the environmental crisis.”
One of the examples was how to expand public transportation between the Lehigh Valley, where we are based, and New York City. Jerry proposed developing a high-speed train that’s low-cost, comfortable, on time and runs often. And, he added, accompany that with a law that prevents cars from going into the city unless it’s by special permit for medical reasons. “And how will that happen? Easy,” wrote Jerry, pointing out the economic opportunities for those that may be vested in business as usual. “It’s self-defeating to contemplate the development of a mass transit system in this country without figuring out a way for General Motors and other carmakers to profit from such a development.”
Hmmm. Good for Mother Earth and Good for the Economy? Dear Mr. President and elected climate deniers: This is not a novel idea! It is why utilities are investing in solar and wind power. It is why Walmart just launched Project Gigaton. And for all we know, it is probably why Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon Mobil, was pushing the president to stay in the Paris Climate Treaty. There’s money in Mother Nature-friendly solutions. Could be why China is more than willing to stay in the treaty.
For almost 60 years, BioCycle and our readers have been forced to make the economic case for organics recycling solutions in a landscape that typically seeks the least costly option, regardless of environmental impact. Proving ourselves economically and environmentally has yielded cost-effective, efficient and reliable technologies and systems (when properly executed and managed). In turn, these technologies and systems yield products that are proven alternatives to fossil fuels, chemical fertilizers, methane-belching landfills, and ineffective storm water management products.
The bottom line is that going into a climate-ignorant cocoon is not just unfortunate for Mother Nature. It’s unfortunate for the U.S. economy, and the job-creating opportunities that are imbedded in organics recycling (and related sectors) solutions. It’s unfortunate for public health and well-being. The climate-ignorant cocoon may be penny-wise for the fossil fuel sector, but it is Gigaton foolish for humanity, and all the living creatures and ecosystems that support us.