After starting Hawken and Lovins’ Natural Capitalism in late October, I just finished it up today nearly two months later. Amazing book with many insights for the upcoming economist, engineer, architect, manager and leader. Natural Capitalism provides a realistic look on how to develop new business and markets around enhancing our natural capital instead of degrading it. Some interesting insights back in 1999 (when the book was originally published) are only now being realized nationally such as comments about the “Big Three” automakers and non-sustainable nature of credit markets (indirectly commented on).
Finishing this book made me wonder if we’ve been on pause for the last decade. Have we begun to address any of the approaches in this book at a national level? Is it too late? Quite possibly.
However, it has fully re-ignited my interest to have a long and exciting career as an engineer in the field of resource efficiency which I’ll hopefully be able to devote towards policy later on in a local civil elected position.
This book is a must read for anyone interested in making money in a quickly changing market.
My next read? After a brief fiction detour, Hot, Flat and Crowded by Friedman. Will be an interesting contrast to Lovins and Hawken regarding where we are at as the United States, nearly ten years after Natural Capitalism was written. In what I assume will be political commentary and a recommended course of action from Friedman, I’ll look to glean some base reference for what our federal and state policy makers will think as we head into the most crucial 6 months of US history.
This book was a great follow up after reading Cradle to Cradle on the plane to Austria, many of the same concepts were discussed in both books and McKibben was referred to multiple times in Natural Capitalism (NC). However, considering that NC was published first… I have to wonder if this article “outing” McKibben as a fraud and plagarist are true.
The most mentally revolutionary concept from Natural Capitalism? Tunneling through the cost curve,
Essentially, you can reach a point with energy efficiency that it reduces the capital cost of initial purchases. I can’t do the concept justice here but for planners and designers including this idea in college courses could reap immeasurable and exponential benefits the world over.