Hearts and minds and sustainability
Despite the fact I let the schmaltzy tat-fest that is Valentines Day pass me by in real life, I feel strangely obliged to have something of a heart-shaped theme to today’s blog. But actually, I’ve been mulling on hearts and minds for some weeks after a couple of exchanges on the Guardian Sustainable Business website.
Charles Eisenstein had posted a rather evidence-free piece about sustainability and the profit motive – basically arguing that profit and sustainability was incompatible:
Unfortunately, nine times out of ten, the interests of profit blatantly conflict with the interests of people and planet, at least according to any reasonable calculation.[this sentence originally read “my hunch is…” but has since been modified to take that out and add “by any reasonable calculation” – this is a bit dodgy as I took issue with the word “hunch” in my comment below the piece. But hey…]
Sustainability veteran Hunter Lovins responded to Eisenstein in typically rambunctious style:
It’s hard to know where to start in pointing out all the failings in Charles Eisenstein’s article, other than to say he’s wrong in almost every particular.
There are now more than 50 studies from the likes of those wild-eyed environmentalists at Goldman Sachs showing that the companies that are the leaders in environment, social and good governance policies are financially outperforming their less sustainable peers: http://www.natcapsolutions.org/businesscasereports.pdf. Sustainability IS better business and we can prove it.
But someone calling themselves SecondChance weighed in saying:
Yeah, but at least when you read his article, the voice that jumps off the page is considered, loving, balanced.
When you read your comment, there is too much anger, scorn and derision. Not pretty and it will stop people actually listening to any valid points you make.
No point being right if no one will listen
My first reaction to this last comment was “what a load of twaddle” – basically saying we should believe what we want to believe, whether the evidence supports it or not, but actually that last sentence is quite correct. Being right is not enough – you have to speak to peoples’ hearts to get your message across.