10 Mantras For The Planet

By John Tashiro, 1% for the Planet.

We can accomplish more together than we can alone. This has been the driving force behind 1% for the Planet (1% FTP), the world’s largest environmental network, for over a decade. When Yvon Chouinard and Craig Mathews founded 1% FTP, they started with 21 businesses. Ten years later, they’ve channeled over $100 million to environmental organizations and more than 1,200 businesses worldwide are part of the network. But that’s just a start, relative to the challenges facing our planet.

Like galaxies amid clouds of interstellar dust, chunks of sea ice drift through swirls of grease ice in the frigid waters of Foxe Basin near Baffin Island. Courtesy NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Like galaxies amid clouds of interstellar dust, chunks of sea ice drift through swirls of grease ice in the frigid waters of Foxe Basin near Baffin Island. Courtesy NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Evolving their definition of sustainability to include a human element—recognizing that any successful conservation effort must include the wellbeing of people—has allowed 1% FTP to grow its impact and connect with a larger segment of businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Here are a few lessons 1% FTP has learned in the past 10 years about the environmental landscape, evolving sustainability practices, and business, nonprofits, and people in general.

article continues below
1. DOOM AND GLOOM WILL ONLY GET YOU SO FAR.

People want to be part of the solution to the challenges we all know are facing the planet. As Paul Hawken says, “If you look at the data and you don’t feel pessimistic, you don’t understand the data; if you look at the people involved and don’t feel optimistic, then you don’t have a pulse.” Individuals just need accessible, actionable (and yes, easy) ways to start making a difference.

2. COMMUNITY IS KING.

True, it can be lonely in an entrepreneurial world. But we’ve seen our network of innovators and entrepreneurs come together to collaborate, brainstorm and use their collective businesses as a force for change. Provide the opportunity for your partners to innovate and you’ll be amazed what they come up with.

3. DOLLARS PASSED DOES NOT MEAN IMPACT MADE.

Yes, it’s true: our network has given $100 million to date! But that’s the tip of the iceberg. The time is now to elevate the stories behind the dollars, because that’s what inspires action. And action creates change.

4. SIMPLIFY. SIMPLIFY. SIMPLIFY.

The size of the challenges facing our planet and the number of approaches we could take so solving them can be overwhelming. Strip excess away until you have perfection. Complicated does not inspire. P.S. simple is hard.

Petit Col, Gros Morne National Park. Photo by Thierry Caro. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Thierry_Caro
Petit Col, Gros Morne National Park. Photo by Thierry Caro.
5. GOVERNMENT ISN’T GOING TO SOLVE ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS.

Someone has to. And it’s all of us. Individuals, businesses, and nonprofits working together.

6. SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL.

Just because you’re small doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. As our 50th member, Jack Johnson, believes, “an individual action, multiplied by millions, creates global change.” Well said, Jack.

7. LESS JUDGMENT, MORE INCLUSION.

We ask people to do what they can. There is always room for improvement. Your actions don’t have to be perfect; they just have to be better. And they have to keep improving.

8. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTAL EFFICIENCY AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTIVENESS.

Take an ant colony for example: though humans are much larger, collectively their biomass exceeds ours. And though there is almost no place on earth untouched by some species of ant (just like us), ants’ density and productivity is not a problem for the rest of the world. Everything they make and use returns to the cycles of nature.

Like sweeping brushstrokes of pink and green, the Belcher Islands meander across the deep blue of Canada's Hudson Bay. The islands' only inhabitants live in the small town of Sanikiluaq, near the upper end of the middle island. Despite the green hues in this image, these rocky islands are too cold to sustain more than a smattering of low-growing vegetation. Photo Credit: USGS/NASA/Landsat 5   landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/
The Belcher Islands meander across the deep blue of Hudson Bay. Photo Credit: USGS/NASA/Landsat 5

9. TRANSPARENCY IS JUST GOOD BUSINESS. KNOW YOUR ROLE.

The world needs doers and it needs supporters. We need those who help with translation, awareness, engagement and support. Clearly communicate how you’re making a difference in your community and you will be rewarded.

10. TREAT OUR PLANET WELL AND IT WILL TREAT YOUR BUSINESS WELL IN RETURN.

You can work on being best in the world or you can work on being best for the world. Chances are if you put the environment first, it will prove to be a good business decision. Just ask Patagonia.

We really can do more together than we can alone.

Reblogged from 1% for the Planet.

Comments