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Archive for February, 2007

For the People, by the People: Will Web 2.0 Lead to People Changing Business?

Posted by admin | February 26th, 2007 | Filed under Environmental Change, Positive Change, Sustainability

The folks at Dotherightthing think so. Borrowing from Digg.com, users submit information about how companies impact the world. Then, readers separate the good from the bad by voting. The result is a “social performanceâ€? score. It combines the world of a wiki with the world of a forum.

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The people behind Dotherightthing see an opportunity. In a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer argued that the world needs a better way to measure the social impacts of companies beyond glossy Social Responsibility reports and self appointed scorekeepers. Will Dotherightthing, which has created a system that allows people (consumers, employees, and members of the community) to drive the ranking of companies based on their social impacts, provide a credible alternative?

According to Time Magazine, who wrote that the Person of the Year is you, the answer could be yes. Time says, “The new Web is a very different thing. It’s a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter.â€? Therein lies the potential of Dotherightthing.

Oh yeah, in a gesture of community egalitarianism, along with companies like WalMart, Starbucks and Whole Foods, the community has decided to comment on and evaluate Dotherightthing itself. You gotta love it.

Patagonia Launches Blog

Posted by Rick | February 23rd, 2007 | Filed under Compassionate Capitalism, Design, Outdoor Sport, Positive Change

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Patagonia unveiled their blog “The Cleanest Line” this week and we’d like to be the first to welcome them to the blogosphere. And one of our favorite artists, Geoff McFetridge contributed some killer art for the banner. Bravo!

Be Cool

Posted by Rick | February 21st, 2007 | Filed under Environmental Change, Positive Change, Sustainability

Picture 21.pngLondon and Los Angeles-based Global Cool is using celebrity muscle to spread their message: If they can get one billion people cut their carbon emissions by one metric ton a year for the next ten years, there’s a very good chance that the climactic tipping point — when the Earth succumbs to global warming — can be averted. Supported by such stars as Leonardo DiCaprio and Broken Social Scene, as well as leading environmental scientists, they hope to reach a massive target audience with simple suggestions of cool ways to cut your carbon footprint.

One of our favorite tips from the “Be Coolâ€? page was to “Shower with a really dirty friend,â€? which, by their estimations, could save the average household 290kg of CO2 a year.

People We Admire: Tom Wegener

Posted by hal | February 19th, 2007 | Filed under Positive Change, Who We Are

Just saw a couple of videos on youtube promoting Tom Wegener’s surfboards. Ever since I saw the segment on him and his family in Thomas Campbell’s Sprout, he’s been a major inspiration — not just as a surfer, though he’s definitely one of the more stylish longboarders I’ve seen — but for the way he seems to have integrated his sport, his craft and his love of family into one very happy, healthy existence. I know it’s not right to envy someone else, but if I could pick just one person to trade places with…

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“That’s all I want to do in life: I want to surf a lot, have a nice family, and make these really nice surfboards. It just makes me happy that they’ll last a long long time.” — Tom Wegener

Anyway, If I ever decide to run away from home (again), I’m going straight to Queensland. If I’m lucky, the Wegeners will be open to adoption.

Photos courtesy of Tom Wegener.

What’s $25M Got to Do With Global Warming?

Posted by admin | February 16th, 2007 | Filed under Compassionate Capitalism, Environmental Change, Positive Change, Sustainability

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Richard Branson is the consummate entrepreneur. Perhaps that’s why he announced the Virgin Earth Challenge, a $25 million prize for viable solutions to carbon sequestration. A meaningful prize can direct and focus rigorous inquiry and unleash entrepreneurship for the benefit of the common good. A comparatively small prize can generate significant change.

Given Sir Richard is known for his airline, there is some historical irony in his announcement. Back in 1919, the Orteig Prize offered $25,000 for the first non-stop transatlantic flight from New York to Paris. Eight years of breakneck aviation development passed before Charles Lindbergh made the flight. Raymond Orteig’s philanthropic gesture spurred significant progress. Here we are almost 90 years later. Let’s hope adding a few more zeroes to the prize will yield similar results.

Rope Therapy

Posted by hal | February 14th, 2007 | Filed under Outdoor Sport, Personal Reflection, Who We Are

CIMG0270.jpgWe’re in the thick of preparing ourselves for becoming an actual business”launching the commerce part of our website in a matter of weeks and the first of our retail stores over the next couple of months”and we’re all feeling the effects.

As pressures mount, the stress levels do too. Several of us here at the shop have taken to the climbing gym as our particular form of stress release. It’s proven to be much more effective than the therapist’s couch, and much healthier than the two hour liquid lunch. The best part, however, is that it’s allowed us to know one another in a setting far removed from the office and our office roles. When you’ve had the chance to trust a person at the end of your rope, and allowed them the same opportunity, it carries over into your relationship at work.

We’re trying to convince a few more people each week to come join us, with the goal of having at least half the staff strung out on belay by May, at which time, weather permitting, we’ll shift our focus to the outdoor venues of Smith Rock and the local crags.

Surf’s Up for Big Bucks. Why?

Posted by admin | February 12th, 2007 | Filed under Outdoor Sport

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Sunday’s New York Times has a front-page article about the growing popularity of surfing and its transformation from an icon of the counterculture to moneyed mainstream legitimacy. The author, Matt Higgins, states, “it’s unclear why surfing has found a broader respectability.â€?

Good question. So I’m wondering, is it because:

- surfing is the ultimate experience of freedom?
- there is now big money in the sport?
- you can co-opt an image of coolness?
- it’s a cheap/expensive grab for status?

Is this Disneyfication of the waves a good thing? After all, more people are enjoying what the early tribe of surfers enjoyed. And maybe, just maybe, surfing going upscale will translate into better stewardship of our precious oceans. Your thoughts?

Close to It

Posted by admin | February 9th, 2007 | Filed under Outdoor Sport, Personal Reflection

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As far as working in the outdoor industry goes, I’m a novice. But I’ve spent my life playing outdoors, with friends and family I love. Like others who have followed this same path, I’ve lost people I cared about to the passions they pursued. Dying while doing something you love is still death. It leaves a hole in the world of your loved ones, and a host of questions and painful emotions. To be sure, there are far more dangerous fields of work than this. But to work in this industry is to grow close to those who play hard in places where even small mistakes can be deadly.

Last week the industry lost another family member, when Black Diamond Equipment employee Chris Hunnicutt fell to his death while ice climbing. I met Chris once, the night before he died, at the Outdoor Retailer show, where we talked about Nau a little. He had not heard of us, and was immediately excited about what we were doing. His genuine enthusiasm was clear, and I was disappointed I was not joining him and his co-workers for dinner. And that was it.

The next morning I got up and flew home. Chris got up, packed his gear and headed out for a morning of climbing. I cannot claim to miss him as a friend, but I mourn his loss just the same, as I do every time someone does not come home from the mountains, rivers, or oceans where my greater family seeks its challenges and adventures, as well as solace and escape. May all the rock be solid where he is, the ice blue and thick, and the pro all bomber.

Photo of the Year 2006 Winner

Posted by Rick | February 8th, 2007 | Filed under Partnerships, Positive Change, Who We Are

POTY06.jpgA few months ago, we announced our sponsorship of the Photo of the Year Contest and now we have a winner! Congratulations are in order for Kristen Muskat, whose dramatic image of a Zanzibar mangrove tree received the most votes from both judges and attendees of the award ceremony. The gala event generated $13000 for the MESD Outdoor School.

To further support The Outdoor School, purchase a POTY calendar from Ink Promotions: 503-715-3404.

Sign Language

Posted by Rick | February 5th, 2007 | Filed under Who We Are

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Is this crosswalk hand “throwing a goat,” doing a shaka, or signing “I love you”? Any way you look at it, it made us smile when it appeared across the street from the Nau office this week.