Historically, much of environmental awareness’s effect on human activity has been in the form of limitation. You can’t cut down the whole forest, your vehicle fleet emissions must go down every year, reduce your energy and water use, don’t dump wastewater there. The success of this strategy is yet to be seen. As you may know, nobody likes being told what not to do.
Most of the time, in these situations, prevention is the right response to chronic environmental abuse and over-exploitation. When someone is doing something wrong – or merely too much of something seemingly fine – they need to dial it back. However, by limiting (literally) the dialogue in this way, environmentalists have positioned themselves as antagonists to business leaders.
Not only does this rivalry turn any discussion sour, but it seeds a greater disconnect between commerce & science.
At Circle, one of our primary goals is to reestablish the link between commerce and ecology. For one thing, this helps bridge the divide between the pursuits of knowledge and of value (recorded as profit). Another great benefit is that it pools together two world-changing disciplines and groups of people. It allows the two globally dominant communities to share best practices and learn from each other.
As someone who has had a foot in each camp my whole life, I believe that nothing but good can come from the union of science and entrepreneurship. From commerce, the scientific community can learn the practices and principles of persuasion, growth, commercialization, value creation, logistics, and management. The greater boon may be to the business world, however. Science deals with observations, theories, and laws of the natural world. It is precisely the lack of understanding of and connection to the natural world that has allowed businesses – often at minimal fault of their own (save ignorance) – to cause an ecological crisis the extent of which has never been experienced by humans in recorded history.
Knowledge of ecology, evolution, physics, genetics, and other basic scientific disciplines allows business leaders to make decisions that are in concordance with natural law, and to gain a true idea of why we must be more responsible as a species.
While the debate (or debacle) of environmentalists vs. business leaders has raged on with fire and fury, the greater picture has been utterly passed over. There are momentous human and economic opportunities being ignored. When will the pursuits of success and of knowledge be fused? Perhaps only time will tell.