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Joel Makower

Chairman and Executive Editor,
GreenBiz Group

Oakland, United States

Over the next 100 years, we have an opportunity to shape a new story, a positive vision of what it means to live sustainably in our world.

My dream is that our leaders — political, business, civic — possess and communicate a vision of what success looks like; the story of a world in which we achieve our ambitious sustainability goals. We’ve all heard stories of what happens if we fail in our journey — the cataclysmic outcomes of a polluted, resource-scarce, conflict-ridden world. We all know some version of that story.

Over the next 100 years, we have an opportunity to shape a new story, a positive vision of what it means to live sustainably in our world. There can be tremendous power in such a story, one that brings together all that we hold dear: a robust economy, personal well-being, clean air and water, safe and healthy communities, energy security, food security, housing security, and personal security. In a word: abundance. Such a story can unite unlikely allies and create common purpose. It can make the idea of sustainability irresistible.

We collectively have yet to define and articulate that vision, let alone to work toward achieving it. Our leaders today are bereft of such a story. Indeed, the stories they tell about “sustainability” are sometimes negative ones.

That must be our quest for the century ahead: to create a story of success, a shared vision of what happens — what’s possible — if we get things right.

Joel Makower Bio:

For more than 20 years, Joel Makower has been a well-respected voice on business, the environment, and the bottom line. As an entrepreneur, bestselling author and leading voice on the greening of mainstream business, he has helped a wide range of companies align environmental goals with business strategy. He is executive editor GreenBiz.com and events and business information services produced by GreenBiz Group Inc., of which he is co-founder and chairman. He also hosts GreenBiz’s annual State of Green Business Forums, its annual VERGE DC conference, and other events.

A former nationally syndicated columnist, Joel is author of more than a dozen books, including Strategies for the Green Economy (2008). Previous books include Beyond the Bottom Line: Putting Social Responsibility to Work for Your Business and the World, about the profit and potential of socially responsible business practices; The E-Factor: The Bottom-Line Approach to Environmentally Responsible Business, on how companies are responding to environmental challenges in positive and profitable ways, and The Green Consumer, a best-selling guide to the environmental marketplace.

The Associated Press has called him "The guru of green business practices."