Green Business Forum July 12th Shanghai

The folks from Next Step hosted Green Business Forum on July 12th. This is the first of what we expect and hope will be more such exchanges of likeminded companies and individuals interested in what we can do to apply sustainable principles to our lives and our work.

The first group of speakers included, Peggy Liu of JUCCCE, speaking about their Clean Lighting program and plans to scale up via schools and students. Meng Meng Cui of Emissions Zero, shared specfics about carbon offsets and how the audit and credit process works in China.

Scott Barrack presented the journey to get his project, Urbn Hotel (which we have previously written about here), a green building designed by our friends at AOO who are also collaborating with us at Nest..

I think the highlight for me was the late addition of Bill McKibben to the group. Bill is a well known author of numerous books and white papers on the environment. We first became familiar with Bill from his frequent contributions to Grist, written about here in one of our first Like Minds posts here.

I like the term he shared. Instead of Global Warming, it's more accurately called, Global Weirding. A time when weather changes and reactions to greater CO emissions creates effects on our planet in more sinister ways than simply warmer temperatures.

Bill is a no-nonsense speaker and has an amazing capacity for understanding and grasping the complicated issues around the environment, distilling it down and communicating it simply. Simply, the toll we're putting on the environment is massive and unsustainable. But Bill didn't come here and wag his finger at China. In fact, pointed out that the US, in fact is by a long shot the #1 carbon dioxide emitter in the world on a per capita basis. By far. And that China has long long ways to go to win that dubious honor.

More interesting were his positive impressions after visiting China about the progress the people are making in environmental improvement initiatives. In fact, that was largely the content of the day.

But the thing that Bill shared with us that had the most impact was a number. The number 350. And why 350 was a number we should all know. There is a good article in the Washington Post that explains it in more detail. (

But for a really simple animation clip that uses no words and presents the concept of 350 wonderfully, watch this brilliant little film.


We hope that starts a necessary movement and builds a groundswell everywhere.

The afternoon closed out with our design and architect friends Stephen Protz of Arc8x Design and Raefer Wallis of A00 sharing their poignant views on responsible designing.

The common theme of the day was, Make Something Better. And we all have the capacity for that.

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