I started my business career trying to work for an environmental organization. I say try, because the “job” was to be first a non-paid internship and then maybe later a part time gig, then maybe a relatively low paying position. Not the financial career path I had hoped for after 4 years of college. I had graduated college into the teeth of a recession, something that seems to happen all to frequently in our economy. This was 1982.
So I took a right turn and decided that I needed to be a part of the business world if I wanted to change the environmental and social world. As my father painfully pointed out to me, all of the legislation, all the awareness, may have slowed down the problems — ecological destruction, a boom-bust economy and the attendant societal issues of unemployment, and opportunity inequality — but these problems were still persistent.
And this was in a rich country. My eye-opening travel to Central Africa as a high school student gave me a first hand glimpse of what these problems looked like in a poorer country — a devastated natural world and human survival at the edge. Not attractive.
The economy, ecology and social justice are inextricably linked. You have to be a wealthy enough society to afford environmentalism and to support social causes. For it all to work, people have to live well so that the natural world can also live well.
So with a science and writing education, I entered the business world to understand the most powerful force in our society — our economy.
So my path has been:
- Start a company because there were no attractive jobs;
- Sell it to have enough money to do that again — several times with varying levels of success and setback;
- Get into technology transfer and play with amazing technology from the brilliant minds at several universities and research organizations;
- Try to finance ideas at every level, friends & family, venture, and take a company public;
- Have enough resources to preserve a large piece of property (lifelong dream);
- Realizing that you can’t buy enough property to really protect nature or insulate yourself;
- Deciding media, films, TV, and online content, was a way to get people to think about some of the problems and opportunities in our world differently;
- Combining media (awareness) with solutions (products and services) so we do change things for the better and not just talk about it;
- Finding a project, The Intrinsic Value Exchange (IVE), that gets the environmentalist kid back home to what he loves with the business experience to combine all the caring with the confidence to audaciously try to reset our economy so that our societal and ecological values come together to produce a world where humans together WITH nature can truly thrive — not just sustain.