May 14th, 2010
Just as we are feeling the impact of one of the worse ecological disasters in history, Senators Kerry and Lieberman introduce a new energy bill. It seems that we are replaying old movies rather than learning from our mistakes and creating policy that will fix current problems and reverse the impact of conspicuous consumption of fossil fuel such as climate change.
Since we aren’t finding new approaches to one of our most pressing issues from the minds of man, where could we look? This week, we explore the simple lessons that nature offers us. Can we observe the way that natural systems evolve and adapt so that we can approach business, social, political and financial problems from a fresh and possibly more effective perspective?
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Janine Benyus is a natural sciences writer, innovation consultant, and author of six books, including her latest − Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. In Biomimicry, she names an emerging discipline that seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s designs and processes (e.g., solar cells that mimic leaves, agriculture that models a prairie, businesses that run like redwood forests).
Janine has cultivated a deep knowledge of the natural world, beginning with direct observation in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, continuing in habitats from Maine to West Virginia where she worked as a backcountry guide, and now, in her home wilds of Montana.
Janine has received several awards including the 2009 Champion of the Earth award in Science & Innovation from the United Nations Environmental Programme, Rachel Carson Environmental Ethics Award, Lud Browman Award for Science Writing, Science Writing in Society Journalism Award, Barrows and Heinz Distinguished Lectureships, and has been honored as one of TIME International’s Heros of the Environment.
Learning from nature will help us think and understand the world differently. Translating this understanding to create new policy and solutions requires the support and wisdom of elders who have learned from their mistakes and now want to help us get things right. One such person is Matt Simmons.
Matthew R. Simmons is the founder and Chairman Emeritus of the world’s largest energy investment banking company, Simmons & Co. International.
He graduated cum laude from the University of Utah and received a Masters degree with distinction in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He then served on the faculty as a research associate for two years. In 1974, he founded Simmons & Company International. He serves as a Board Member of Kerr-McGee Corporation, Brown-Forman Corporation, the Center for Houston’s Future, Houston Technology Center, ICIC and The Atlantic Council of The United States of America. He is also a member of the Counsel of Foreign Relations.
He is author of the book, Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, which examines oil reserve decline rates to help raise awareness of the unreliability of Middle East oil reserves.
Matt has focused his attention on finding alternative approaches to our energy needs. He is the founder of the Ocean Energy Institute. More information about Simmons & Company, as well as recent speeches and papers presented by Matthew can be found here.
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