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Common Sense Business Solutions ~ What's beyond GREEN?

common sense business decisions vs jump the sharkLeaders must face the fact that "green" has jumped the shark. What's next? And why?

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As editor of several publications on green, sustainability and high-performance business solutions, I watch trends, progress, impact and potential of environmental endeavors. I'm finding that "Green" isn't enough. When "green chic" and "big green" become the focus of our efforts, something is still missing.

I saw a media kit of one of the largest "green media companies" recently say that they're better than the "mom and pop" green media they deserve the advertising of green organizations. Ouch. Isn't that just traditional business wanting a larger share of the pie? Isn't that counter to the sustainability of ecosystems in which ALL participants have a role? Where are the "Common Sense Business Solutions?"

And a hypster-type motivational speaker who publishes millions of paper-based books is being asked to speak at a national sustainability conference.

Has "green" jumped the shark?

Have you heard the entertainment industry, "It's jumped the shark!" ?

This phrase refers to "The Fonz" when he literally rode the back of a shark. It was a ludicrous grasping at straws for a plot that was totally unbeliveable. The show ended shortly thereafter.

I'm concerned that green might be jumping the shark!

That's why I'm asking, "What's beyond green?"

What's beyond green? Common Sense Business Solutions

Why does green matter? Why does sustainability matter? What are the results of individual actions? Where is this focus on environmental and natural systems protection and restoration leading us?

In my opinion, "green" is a shorthand term that brings a focus back to COMMON SENSE. We've let big money, big glitz and glamor, big .... just BIG take over our values and goals. We honor BIG with awards and speaking gigs and bail-outs. And LITTLE struggles on by itself to handle the realworld problems and opportunities that face us every day.

We're seeing the result of that BIG attitude in the Gulf of Mexico as 500 barrels -- that's 250,000 gallons -- of raw oil spew into an already fragile ecosystem -- every day. And the big oil companies don't know what to do to stop this disaster that was deemed "never likely to happen" by our governmental representatives, regulators and corporate leaders. It's big.... a BIG disaster based on BIG hubris.

We're seeing the result of BIG in the financial crisis. In the health care crisis. In the unemployment crisis. BIG is not so big on solutions. What's needed? Common Sense Business Solutions.

Solutions come back to grassroots common sense. That's the basis of democracy. Every LITTLE vote matters. Every participating citizen in their local community matters.

A growing movement of hair dressers and individuals are collecting human, dog and even llama hair to hand-make booms to help collect oil washing onto the Gulf's beaches.

Families are preparing to care for their aging Boomer parents.

Individuals are looking at their diet, and the diet of their children at school and looking for common sense ways to improve the quality of the "big agri" food available. And they are planting gardens ... organic gardens. There is a gardening and canning crescendo happening across the country.

That's grassroots green. And it's common sense solutions.

What's next? Common sense.

My father was an organic gardener in the early 1940s -- when I was born. One of the only magazines I remember seeing in my home was an early issue of "Organic Farmer". But he didn't call it organic farming. He wasn't certified. He didn't go to school for it. He called it "common sense farming."

He and my mother used every bit of creative thinking, natural manure, waste, collaboration with nature and human energy they could muster to care for six children and a grandmother ... and themselves to the ripe old age of 92 on that tiny farm.

My parents worked hard, and they rested on Sunday. Common sense.

They fed us good, fresh food, and sent us out out to do chores and be productive and learn skills. Common sense.

They helped their neighbors when they were asked for help. Common sense.

The six children provided field labor for neighbors with strawberries and grapes and earned a little income that took the place of urban "allowances". Common sense.

We practiced our religion and didn't overdo it. Common sense.

And they made some mistakes. My father took his two oldest children out of middle school because the school system was teaching them "to love money." Common sense? I'm not sure about that tactic ... but come to think of it, children today are dropping out by themselves because the school system isn't serving their real needs. Common sense?

Life isn't easy. That's common sense.

Life has been twisted and distorted by big business, big government, big populations, big farming, big equipment, big salaries ... big.

There's a concept I've always been drawn to that's called "human scale". For humans, we need human scale. For elephants and forests, we need natural system scale. That's the kind of common sense thinking we need to graduate to. After green has been co-opted by BIG and jumped the shark.

Scale. Natural systems. System-scale thinking. Common Sense Business Solutions.

We need businesses of ALL SIZES. We need problem solving skills that match the potential problems we are creating. Drilling oil MILES under the ocean is a BIG problem that needs BIG risk management. Apparently we don't have that scale of problem solving in place.

What are the components of COMMON SENSE?

That's our next step in the evolution of our human society upon this earth. It includes "green". And green washing. And sustainability. And natural systems. And human scale. And hubris. And humility. And risk management. And thinking hard about hard work and honorable work. And self discipline to make the "right decisions" based on a finely honed common sense.

Common sense isn't any easier than "green". And "green" is hard.

But common sense is essential for our survival and thriving as billions of additional people spew forth across the earth like an invasive species - hmmmm ... what common sense is needed here?

And common sense is learning from nature ... natural systems.

And common sense is rearing one's own children. And resting on a weekly day of rest. And speaking kindly to people who are struggling.

We have new challenges facing us that require the best each of us has to offer -- and more. We must continue to do better tomorrow than we did yesterday, and we do that by making really good, common sense choices TODAY.

That's the next movement we need. Risk management. Common sense home, community and business solutions for natural-scale results. And yes, some re-examination of our values and who (and what) we admire and lust after. We vote with our dollars. And our everyday choices.

Senior Editor

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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