Archives for posts with tag: Doing Well by Doing Good

buddhisteconomics1It is time to change how humans work and manipulate economics. As human beings it is time to stop prioritizing goods before people. There is a big difference between moneyand wealth and it is time to recognize that difference. There are ways to create wealth for communities and entire nations rather than what we are doing now, brining in money for corporations and the government. There is a 1973 book on exactly this topic byBritish economist, statistician, and theorist, E.F. Schumacher, named Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. In this text, Schumacher groups together essay on ethics, economics, and the environment. His ideas seem related to those of Tolstoy and Gandhi and he delves into ancient wisdom to try to bring back some humanitarian order to the modern world. One of the best essays in the book is title, Buddhist Economics. Here he looks into the moral questions of wealth, writing, “Right Livelihood is one of the requirement of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. It is clear, therefore, that there must be such a thing as Buddhist economics…Spiritual health and material well-being are not enemies: they are natural allies.” We have a right to make money in a job that we feel compelled to do, which then creates wealth. If we keep ourselves in an economy where people don’t matter, just products and consumptions than it results in a lack of purpose or meaning for the people. This means that everyone will avoid work because it is something that they dread doing. On the other hand is the Buddhist idea of what work should be. Schumacher writes, “The Buddhist point of view takes the function of work to be at least threefold: to give a man a chance to utilize and develop his faculties; to enable him to overcome his ego-centeredness by joining with other people in a common task; and to bring forth the goods and services needed for a becoming existence.”

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Story-38-Vivo-Energy--680x365Vivo Energy Ghana is a part of Shell and their primary job is to market and distribute fuel and lubricants that are Shell brand. Now the company is doing more that just dispensing gas as they develop their Community Investment Initiatives. This time their efforts are going towards a school road safety empowerment program that has teamed up with the National Road Safety Commission and the Ghana Education Service. Together these organizations hope to make the roads to children’s schools safer through education.

The program has been named, “My Road Safety, My Life.” The program will encourage and educate children about being safe on the road through good behavior, civilized conduct, and understanding how pedestrians, passenger, and cyclists can work together. The students will learn through classroom work, outdoor and on road experiences and simulation exercises, and more traditional quizzes. As the program begins, they will start small with the most high-risk roads. The Minster for Transport began this program and is encouraged that a corporation is taking steps to help the public as part of their corporate social responsibilities. The Minster, Dzifa Attivor said, “It is for this reason that we shall continue to support in any way possible, any measure that has the potential to contribute to the reduction and prevention of road traffic crashes in the Country.” The Executive Director of the National Road Safety Commission, Ing. May Obiri Yeboah also weighed in on the corporation doing their part, praising Vivo Energy Ghana for helping to educate children to use more caution and smarts when frequenting motorways. Mr. Fred Osoro is the managing director of Vivo Energy Ghana and has publicly promised that the company is determined to stay committed to the project and that they will work with sponsoring stakeholders to keep the implementation moving through its various stages.

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2014-06-10-EntrepreneurPath_FeatImageIt would seem that you should automatically build your business in a way that you can have a profit, but many also want to have a business that does good for the people around them. Now entrepreneurs want more. They want to be able to bring in profits while simultaneously helping others and using their business for a higher purpose to enrich their lives. There are other examples of changing business throughout history. During the Industrial Revolution businesses were expanding as new markets emerged and capitalism was born. Since that point capitalism has evolved, but really only to make more money for those in business. This evolution has occurred without any thought for those that are affected by the business, with the exception of the shareholders.

However, this model of capitalism, which is often taught, does not take into consideration the fact that the businessmen and women may be unsatisfied with the work they do. Is it enough to make piles of money if there is no tangible result of your work or no larger contribution to the world? This shift with those in business wanting to make a positive impact is known as “Second Stage CapitalismTM.” This change and a shift in what capitalism is in this country will surely change entrepreneurship. The new goals of business involves three different perspectives, mainly: yourself, others, and society at large. These perspectives work in stages. Entrepreneurs are primarily focused on themselves and then on the others that they work for and serve and finally society at large. By looking to help others it ultimately empowers businessmen and women because they will want to achieve moreand give more back. This will ultimately morph capitalism into something that is more future-minded, authentic, and heart filled. Really, the more conscious people become the better off the world will be, so bring on the change.

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MC3-Conscious-Business-TenantsThere has been a marked rise in conscious business and now that needs support from conscious consumerism. It is wonderful that many more business are becoming socially responsible but there needs to be some acknowledgment of this from the wider corporate sector so that this can develop into something sustainable in the economy. There are 1,000 businesses around the world that are now classified as B Corporations that really promote sustainable, socially equitable and ethical behavior. They are very promising, but this trend cannot continue without the wider business community’s support. Right now the rest of the business community is stuck with conventional business models, which are not recognizing the huge, looming environment and social problems that await.

The things that these social enterprises or the B Corporations are helping on a micro scale, but cannot really be effective without support throughout the entire business community. Large scale change is the only thing that will address the crises that we are facing as a global community. However, it may not be the fault of those businesses that have not jumped on the B Corporations bandwagon yet. Really, business simply responds to consumer demands, so the real issues is getting consumers to be environmentally and socially conscious and demanding those products and services. It turns out that the Stanford Social Innovation review found that “consumers want to act green, but they expect businesses to lead the way.” So essentially, we have hit a chicken or egg situation. Who is going to act first? Business is waiting for consumer demand and consumers are waiting for business.

There are advantages for business like reducing pollution, waste and energy in order to be green. However, this requires some initial investment and it seems that many are not willing to take that leap. So really, this change overall must come from both the business and the consumer sectors. Someone must educate both consumers and enlighten the business community at the same time. There is mounting evidence that we need to change and a growing global consciousness of our human impact on the earth. Hopefully both consumers and businesses will realize that they need to change their ways before it is too late.

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google-apple-logoMedicine has struggled to keep up with the amount of Alzheimer’s disease in this country and around the world. There is still no cure and very little medicine to reduce symptoms. Even more shocking is that Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth largest killer in the United States. Fortunately, tech companies like Apple and Google have been working to create products and services that will keep patients with Alzheimer’s more comfortable and safe.

Google has been working with Google Glass so that it is useful for those affected by Alzheimer’s. The device will use facial recognition software to tell the patient who is in front of them by alerting them to their name and their relationship. Additionally the Glass device can give the patients reminders like when to take their medicine or when they have to go to the doctor. Glass, along with wearable devices can track Alzheimer’s patients and their movements throughout the house and beyond. If a patient wanders away, as is known to happen with over 60% of Alzheimer’s patients, the wearable devices will indicate where they are.

In addition to health concerns and knowing who people are, tech experts have been working on therapeutic games. The pharmaceutical company Pfizer is working with game developer Akili Interactive Labs to create and test a game called Project EVO for Apple’s iPhones and iPads. The point of the game is to keep up memory through therapeutic activities and it also tracks the development of the Alzheimer’s patients disease symptoms and how rapidly they changing. Pfizer is currently working on a clinical trial that will test 100 people both with and without brain plaque, one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s. They are looking to see whether Project EVO can be a biomarker for the disease. All of these companies are working to help those who are affected and offering solutions in the meantime while medical experts continue to search for the cause and cure for the disease.

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resnick_instituteThe most imminent threat facing us today is climate change and Caltech is looking to do something about it. The Caltech Resnick sustainability Institute is raising money to help support scientists and their research in renewable energy. So far, Caltech has received $15 million in gifts for the researchers to deal with the realities of climate change.

The Caltech organization has its home in Pasadena, California campus of the California Institute of Technology. They are publically announcing their contributors to drum up support. Lynda and Stewart Resnick gifted the latest donation to the cause. The fund was started by a donation from the co-owners of Roll Global that own POM Wonderful and Wonderful Pistachios. In 2009 they donated $21 million and that helped to kick start the institute as a whole.

The scientists are using the funds to explore many options for sustainable technologies and sources of energy. So far they have examined wind energy, fuel cells and batteries, smart grid systems, solar photovoltaics, and biofuels, among others. The executive director of Resnick, Neil Fromer says of the work, “we style ourselves as a studio for sustainability. Our goal is to capitalize on the unique culture at Caltech of interdisciplinary collaboration and playful scientific exploration to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the world, in terms of how do we use energy and natural resources in ways that can sustain our future?” The fossil fuels that we are currently using to get energy are filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gasses. Scientists have noted that we have already crossed a dangerous threshold so we must come up with other ways of harnessing energy for our purpose so we stop harming the planet to ease the consequences. Currently, the use of fossil fuels is causing the loss of species, rising sea levels, severe weather, and international conflict. The work that Caltech is investing in may be the only option to help stop this process and start the world on a healthier path for

sustainability.

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Stress_GridStress has different ways of debilitating people. Some are jittery and anxious when they are affected by stress and some because extremely shut off and lethargic. However, there is an ancient science known as Ayurveda that can help you determine your stress type so that you are more aware of your stressors and how you need to handle them. Even if three different people are under the same stressful situation they will respond to it very differently. In the West, the typical general response to stress is to find relaxers that are touted to help everybody, like a hot bath, brisk walk, or a trip to the beach. The difference in eastern medicine, especially in the healing system Ayurveda, is that it looks to reduce stress based on the individual. There are many stress-relief strategies that can be customized to what you need. This Ayurveda lifestyle uses individualized strategies based on dietary, herbal and yogic solutions.

Ayurveda is a healing system, related to Yoga that synthesizes physiology, emotional disposition, and spiritual outlook. It began over 5,000 years ago in India and is documented in ancient Sanskrit texts. Ayurveda considers all different kinds of stressors and responses. It recognizes seasonal stress and planetary changes that affect our bodies as well as physical tendencies and thought patterns. Although there are many ways to explore and study Ayurveda, the bare bones of the healing system is to race your stress back to the source and then find lasting ways to change the patterns that cause that stress.

Stress comes from disorder of the rajas (passion or undirected activity). How we respond to stressors puts us into different Ayurvedic principles like vata (air), pitta (fire), and kapha (earth). No matter what your imbalance of these elements happens to be, having a clear understanding of what is influencing you can help you understand how to deal with your stress and prevent it from happening again.

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This is a truly beautiful story out of Idaho. For this father, being an organ donor meant saving his daughter’s life. Matt Kortz gave his daughter, Lexi, one of his kidneys. His daughter was diagnosed with a rare genetic syndrome called Joubert Syndrome. After the diagnosis, doctors found that Lexi was in stage-4 kidney failure.

“She’s my daughter, so I’m just going to get it done,” Kortz told KTVB. “I can’t have my little girl go away.”

Devastated by the situation, Kortz said he wanted to do whatever he could to help his daughter. The Kortz family said that the successful transplant brought color back to Lexi’s face.

Lexi is now at kindergarten at Frontier Elementary School in Meridian, and the family couldn’t be prouder of Matt. ”He is truly our hero,” said his wife, Lori.

It’s news like this that really gives you hope in humanity as well as makes you remember that good things happen every day. Let’s not forget to cherish one another and know that nobody can get through life without any help. The help from a father to a daughter is just as valued as the help of a friend to a friend, and furthermore, a stranger to a stranger.

Let’s not forget to be good to one another, and that good deeds never go unnoticed.

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