Business Revisited

The biochar event was great; 30+ people showed up, mostly from the west coast of the island. One hour theory and two hours of practice, and lots of time to chat and network in-between. We found out that this was the first workshop at the new sustainability centre in Sóller; Capvespre and the farmers cooperative there. We learned how, why, when, where and with who we can and should make biochar for our gardens and orchards – making our footprint on the planet a little greener, improving the quality and nutritional value of our food, and building community amongst ourselves and nature.

There was another event on the island that same day; presenting the new Tesla Model S (Saloon) car; fully electric, sleek, quiet, yes even silent…

It had all those qualities I would have loved to see in a car, ten years ago. Indeed, I had been fortunate to test drive the Tesla Sportster three years ago in Stockholm, when we did a fundraiser with the Tesla sales office in Denmark. It was such a boost to show how an environmentally friendly car could look, and feel. I still remember the exhilaration at flooring the pedal and going from standstill to 100 kmh in less than 5 seconds – on electric!

Stands to reason, if you have access to renewable electricity like in Sweden, going electric is great, and something the automobile industry should have, and could have embraced a long time ago. Now I’m in Spain, it’s warmer, the growing season longer, the people friendlier. Electricity however comes from the incinerator on the island; that and an oil fired power plant on the north side of the island; both essential to power the 10 million + tourists visiting the island every year, and the million or so permanent residents. So an electric car here is less environmentally friendly here than in other countries with better access to “cheap” and renewable energy.

Or is it so? Can we even allow ourselves to think that way?

My first thought when I saw the new Tesla S, with room for seven passengers, a LCD screen twice as big as my 15 inch computer, plastics, paint, chrome details (plastic) and some very sophisticated hard and software – not to mention the batteries needed to give the car it’s 500 km reach on a full charge. My first thought was: this has to be manufactured – a big factory, transportation, lots and lots of oil to make, transport the pieces, transport the people, and the batteries; an environmental hazard, and a big one. Is this really the answer?

Isn’t it time we took a long, slow, and deep look at what we really NEED?

Can we really afford to have these objects to show off, at the cost of the planet, and humanity?

Because we are there now, heading in no uncertain way towards much more than 2° warming this mid-century, and that puts us past the tipping point – now.

Is there any other business than a business that regenerates, that rebuilds, that brings nourishment to the people and the planet?

How can we even entertain supporting companies that destroy the planet, destroy our ability to live on this planet?

There is only one way, and we need to start weaning ourselves off the addiction to oil, fast. And we need to unplug ourselves from a culture of destruction, now. We need to reconnect to ourselves, to each other, and to nature, now.


About christersoderberg

Living and growing up in nine countries has left strong impressions on the background of Christer Söderberg, helping to create an awareness of the impermanence in life and the uncertain value of knowledge; illustrating the paradox between knowing and what we may do well to “unlearn”. Christer has worked with companies in six countries on four continents, most recently in Brazil where between 1998 and 2002 he started a subsidiary for a Swedish Multinational. Studies in business and a lifetime of social entrepreneurship have further cemented his belief that the only thing we can change is ourselves. This lifelong endeavor expresses itself in creating the conditions for change through places, physical and virtual spaces where the individual can feel safe in him/herself; at least enough to stop, reflect and listen to the world we live in. We exist in our relationship to each other, our environment, and ourselves. Through observation and silence, preferably in close communion with nature, a “zero perspective” can help stimulate the questions surrounding our purpose and a meaningful contribution while on earth. Increased awareness of individual potential plants seeds for long-term success; Open World initiatives help awaken the hidden potential in individuals, creating new perspectives on cooperation and personal development. Increased focus and balance help provide a strong base for individual and business growth, with a deeply ingrained sense of responsibility, respect and awe for the power in nature.
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