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#46 Hunter Lovins, Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions

November 6, 2018

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Historically, civilizations collapse when there are high levels of inequality and depleted resources. Hunter Lovins argues that we either solve the climate crisis now, or we lose everything we care about. But the good news is, we CAN build an economy in service to life, one that reverses climate change—at a profit.

Hunter is the President and Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions, a nonprofit dedicated to the development of innovative climate change and sustainability solutions for companies, countries and communities. A renowned author and champion of sustainable development, Hunter has 35-plus years of consulting experience in the realm of sustainable agriculture, energy, business, water, security and climate policy. She lectures regularly to audiences around the globe and serves as a professor of Sustainable Management at Bard MBA. Time Magazine recognized Hunter as a Millennium Hero for the Planet, and Newsweek referred to her as the Green Business Icon.

Today, Hunter joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to discuss her work helping to design MBA programs in sustainability and walk us through the fundamentals of the Bard program in New York City. She share the impetus for her new book, A Finer Future, explaining how we can solve climate change quickly AND at a profit. Listen in for Hunter’s insight on the eight principles of regenerative capitalism, the role of human dignity in Gross National Wellbeing, and what YOU can do to support a regenerative economy in your local community.

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Resources

Natural Capitalism Solutions

A Finer Future: Creating an Economy in Service to Life by Hunter Lovins, Stewart Wallis, Anders Wijkman and John Fullerton

Bard MBA in Sustainability

John Lewis

David Brower

Earth Island Institute

Rocky Mountain Institute

Richard Gray

Presidio Graduate School

Conference of the Parties on Climate Change

Laura Gitman

Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index

IPCC Report on Climate Change

HANDY Thought Experiment

Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity

Dr. Robert Costanza

Jacqueline McGlade

Richard Wilkinson

Kate Pickett

The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

Chris Laszlo

Andrew Winston

Key Takeaways

[1:35] Hunter’s path to reversing climate change

[4:28] Hunter’s work creating MBA programs in sustainability

  • San Francisco in 2002, first accredited program
  • Idea to bake sustainability into all classes (vs. add-on)
  • Eventually created own business school in Bard

[7:08] The fundamentals of the Bard program

  • Diversity of students (Wall Street, entrepreneurs, NGOs)
  • Teaches to drive change in world
  • Use city as living lab (i.e.: sustainability consulting) 

[9:15] The impetus for Hunter’s book, A Finer Future

  • Bhutan’s concept of Gross National Happiness
  • High levels of inequality + overrun resources = collapse
  • Tasked with reinventing global economy
  • Global team of scholars build economy in service to life
  • Solve climate crisis at profit (better business)

[15:28] How to solve climate change quickly at a profit

  • Fall in cost of solar, storage (e.g.: batteries)
  • Electric and driverless cars
  • Carbon storage through regenerative agriculture
  • Apply science of holistic grazing to grasslands

[30:53] Hunter’s take on the appeal to greed

  • Neoliberal narrative of ‘greedy bastards’ is wrong
  • Pre-human species that survived cared for good of whole
  • Move toward genuine equity, safe and just space for all

[33:19] Nori’s aim to blend economics with meaning

  • Humans drives to acquire, defend, bond + make meaning
  • ‘Global weirding’ of weather (i.e.: hurricanes, draught)
  • Solve climate crisis OR lose everything we care about

[36:31] Hunter’s insight on the original neoliberals

  • Good intentions to fight what had trashed planet
  • Missed individual human dignity core to sense of happiness

[38:58] John Fullerton’s eight principles of regenerative capitalism

  1. Right relationship
  2. Holism
  3. Empowered participation
  4. Edge effect abundance
  5. Circularity
  6. Seeks balance
  7. Ability to entrepreneur
  8. Honors place

[45:02] Hunter’s call to action for listeners

  • Join WEAll, build own regenerative economy locally
  • More interconnected = more resilient

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