Sunday, October 28, 2007


I seem to encounter more and more mouth-opening, head-shaking facts, mostly about the environment. Initially, my lens is remorseful – Wow, that’s too bad. Eventually (if I reread or re-ponder the thought/fact), my lens is opportunistic: That’s too bad … wonder what we can do to remedy it?

Hence, our SFOTW (sobering factoid of the week) commences with this post. My inspiration this week comes from Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. I just finished his autobiography (with thanks to my sister, Jess, for the gift), Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman. Before I get to the SFOTW, here’s an excerpt from the book encapsulating Chouinard’s mantra to “lead an examined life”:

I don’t really believe that humans are evil; it’s just that we are not very intelligent animals. No animal is so stupid and greedy as to foul its own nest – except humans. We are certainly not smart enough to foretell the long-term results of our everyday actions. The brilliant scientist or entrepreneur businessman who invents or develops a new technology is often incapable of seeing the dark side of his ideas, whether it’s atomic energy, television, or farmed salmon.

The problem is a failure of the imagination. In the sycophantic biography of George W. Bush, The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush, by David Frum, the worst thing said about him is that he was “uncurious.” Uncurious people do not lead examined lives; they cannot see causes that lie deeper than the surface. They believe in blind faith, and the most frightening thing about blind faith is that it in turn leads to an inability, even an unwillingness, to accept facts.
He’s singing our tune; no wonder I love his gear and apparel. Which leads me to our sobering factoid of the week from Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, Council of the Canadians, one that tempts the thirst of examined life living entrepreneurs (unless you’re an uncurious, parched, fact-fearing Republican):
Global consumption of water is doubling every 20 years, more than twice the rate of human population growth. If current trends persist, by 2025 the demand for fresh water is expected to rise 56% above the amount that is currently available.


rame said...

Okay mister incubator entrepreneur, how do we get in on the ground floor of the need for clean water?

rame said...

I guess the more enlightened question is how do we reduce consumption, but that ain't gonna happen.