Joel Makower

What Color Is the Triple Bottom Line?

I recently posted a query on Twitter and Facebook asking a simple but vexing question: "Someone committed to the environment is called an environmentalist. What do you call someone committed to sustainability?"

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Shanghai: A City of Two Tales

I'm writing this en route home from Shanghai, where I've spent most of the past week touring, visiting, meeting, and experiencing this Asian megacity for the first time. The occasion was Expo 2010, the world's fair situated on both sides of the Huangpu River, which runs through the center of China's largest city.

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Who's the Biggest Greenwasher of Them All?

"We're doing everything we can to help the environment. We are reexamining how we operate and are working hard every day to reduce our impacts. We are committed to making the world a better place for our children's grandchildren and beyond. We believe that everyone must do their part to address the serious environmental challenges we face."

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How to Win Green Friends and Influence People

Earth Day is behind us and I'm digging out of my cluttered digital desktop to uncover the nuggets of value that have been hidden amid the countless pitches and come-ons typical of April's environmental hoopla. Among those nuggets: three reports and guidebooks on ... making green pitches and come-ons.

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What's Happened to Earth Day?

I’m old enough to remember the very first Earth Day, in 1970. It was my senior year at Skyline High in Oakland, California. Many of us walked to school that day (as opposed to taking public transit, my normal means of getting to class). There was a student fair with a few rickety card tables displaying information about how to recycle, use less water, pick up litter, stuff like that.

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Earth Day and the Polling of America, 2010: Me First, Planet Later

It's April. The flowers are bursting with color, trees are coming back to life, people are smiling, walking a bit more jauntily; hope abounds. It can mean only one thing: Baseball season has begun.

That, and the latest crop of pre-Earth Day surveys has invaded my in-box.

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When It Comes to Cars, ICE Is Still Hot

If you were to believe the mainstream media, the future of transportation is electric. And so it seems: In the coming year or two, we'll see a parade of electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs) — and probably a few variations on those themes — all of which employ kilowatts where gasoline once reigned. They're coming from both the world's biggest car companies and some of the smallest.

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The Green Consumer, 1990-2010

It wasn't 20 years ago today, but close enough: About this time in 1990, my book, "The Green Consumer," hit the bookstores. The book — the U.S. version of a 1988 U.K. bestseller, "The Green Consumer Guide," by John Elkington and Julia Hailes, which I substantially adapted for U.S. audiences — began with a simple premise:

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Clean Technology's Unstoppable Energy

One of the truly positive stories of the Great Recession is the continued growth of clean technology in general, and clean energy in particular. This isn't the prevailing narrative. According to the mainstream media, the excitement over cleantech has eased, the victim of global economic travails, the dearth of investment capital, and the cooling of political momentum to curb global warming. It's a bubble that, if not burst, has at least depressurized a bit.

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A Tale of Two Countries: Japan, China, and the Low-Carbon Economy

I've had the good fortune to view the world through a Japanese lens over the past 10 days — specifically, the worlds of green business and clean technology, about which I've come to Japan to speak.

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