Let’s begin by defining ‘enlightened’ within the context of this question regarding business. Enlightened must in this circumstance involve having a wider perspective than what is usually so overwhelmingly important in business, making money and lots of it. The bigger picture must be considered, which can include the basic happiness of all parties involved in the transaction and as many associated parties as well. By this I mean, the people that maybe manufactured the product, transported it, distributed it and everyone else connected to the trade. The earth and the environment needs to be considered, as well, if business is to be adjudged truly enlightened.
Can Business Ever Be Truly Enlightened?
So, as you can see, there are a lot of stake holders involved in every business transaction; and this is only really scratching the surface. A truly holistic understanding traces the chain of production in every direction from beginning to end, including its waste management. There is a small but concerted push amongst some business people to bring this enlightened understanding to business. Businesses like The Body Shop, Planet Ark and to a lesser degree companies like Virgin Airlines, have all attempted to expand the level of holistic responsibility in how they do business around the globe.
There does seem to be a veritable tug of war or elastic band polarity dynamic going back and forth between forces of enlightenment, as embodied by business people like Anita Roddick and Richard Branson and the old school ‘profit before all other things’ type of business people. Global warming has been a recent example of this, with the world jumping up and down to do something about this for a couple of years, before the ‘global financial crisis’ saw the forces of profit first taking over and telling us that we cannot afford to worry about tomorrow.
Is helping people while doing business at the same time a possibility in business or a pipedream? Are those greedy rats in thrall to a pied piper and will we pay the piper when our streets are cleaned of them? Enlightened business is not about ignoring the profit motive, it is really about expanding the whole equation. The cost of production needs to factor in the price of pollution in carbon. It also needs to include the price of the wellbeing of all those involved in producing the product. Cheaper things in the short term often end up costing all of us much more in the long run. They call this new way of counting the costs of doing business, ‘ethical business‘. Business ethics are then priced accordingly to avoid an algorithm which fails our test of enlightenment.
While the world’s industries spew out ever more toxic garbage, is there hope for humankind and our fragile planet? The only hope is if we can unite within our communities and stay strong in the face of rampant capitalism and consumerism. Corporate America and the rest of the global giants only care about profits for their shareholders and themselves. Governments are in thrall to these powerful economic influences and march to their beat, rather than listening to the silent majority. And that may just be the problem; we do not make enough noise.
Can social media formats like Facebook and Twitter become forces for positive social change? Instead of merely being more tools in the corporate arsenal for marketing stuff that we do not really need. Packaging is the single biggest problem in waste management in the twenty first century. Everything we buy comes wrapped up in toxic plastics and waste paper. Christmas time will be screaming with gifts covered in layers of packaging and this will go out into landfill, clogging up the veins of our cities with rubbish and pollution.
Eco-Dreaming: Will the tribes unite to save us with recycling? Ask yourself who is in your tribe? Is it the people in your street or the Eastern Suburbs cleaners in your neighbourhood? Can you gather together with these fellow human beings and do the right thing and recycle? You could start a Facebook Recycling in Your Suburb or District page. Put up a few posters in public places to let your community know. Connect with the local waste management and recycling companies in your area to consult about best practices. Make enquiries toward government agencies in this field and post this information up on the page. Organise a public meeting to create some momentum.
We are all people living on this planet together and when the shit hits the fan we will all go down together. How about doing something right now to avoid that fate? It will empower you and all those who join you in this quest for survival. Recycling is the single biggest environmental solution we have at our disposal. We can all do more to recycle more, educate others and make it easier for them to recycle too. Make a noise; do not go quietly into that gentle night. Fight back and make the earth a better place for our children and their children. Recycling can ease the burden on mother earth.