February 4, 2016

Hawaii's Recent Leap of Faith


At the southernmost point of the United States, a 20 something named Alex stands atop a 30 foot cliff of hardened lava. The Pacific Ocean slaps below against the black rock, as the young man's friends count down: 5-4-3-2-1...Jump! But he doesn't. He may hear them but he isn't listening. He is looking inward, summoning the courage to overcome his fears.


Hawai'i, or the Big Island, is by far the biggest island of the volcanic chain that makes up our nation's 50th and most recently added state (1959).  It is also the...

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November 27, 2015

SustyBiz15 and the Progression of Sustainability

  As the "old year" drew to a close and the new year approached, my inbox was deluged by dozens of sustainability "Top 10" lists. Some were of the year past and some were focused on the year ahead. But they were all “Top 10,” and we probably have David Letterman to thank.

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December 19, 2014

The Leaders and Laggards of Sustainability Goals

Imagine that you arrive to take your first flying lesson. The instructing pilot asks, “How much fuel do you guess we should put in the tank?” You think: “Guess? Come again? Shouldn’t we calculate the distance between where we are and where we are going, and then determine the fuel needed (and add in some extra fuel for peace of mind)?”
Yes. And the same is true for sustainability goals.
For the great majority of the Fortune Global 200, sustainability goals appear to be based on incremental improvements and/or what the...

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October 7, 2014

The Shores of Sustainability

It was a windy walk last week along the Charles River from my hotel to the MIT campus. I arrived at the Student Center, in search of a t-shirt or hat to take home with me. It was my first time ever on campus, and I was excited to bring back a souvenir from my dad's alma mater.

I noticed an interesting shirt that had a bunch of periodic table elements and other math-related symbols, like the  imaginary number "i". I asked the student next to me, "hey, what does this shirt mean?". He responded immediately and quickly: "Science"!

I felt like a dunce. Of...

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August 18, 2014

In Memory of Garbage Cans

Before moving to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt, I lived in DC, where one of my favorite spots was the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. This sprawling cave of a building contains fantastic relics of our country’s history -- like the adding machine, the telegraph, and other items that were once so ubiquitous it would have been hard to imagine a world without them. One could spend days, even weeks, exploring this treasure trove of things gone by.

 Wandering this great building once, I wondered what highly common item used today in society might appear...

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