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The Economy and the Environment – Us or Them?

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Historically, the environment has been given a bad rap and in some quarters it still is. Much like the early days of ‘Occupational Health & Safety’ and ‘Product Quality’, many still see ‘The Environment’ as the enemy of prosperity, not the root of it.

Understanding our relationship with the environment is a bit like borrowing a lawnmower from your neighbour – there are different ways you can go about it. You could hire a couple of heavies, break down his door, tell him you’re taking the lawnmower and will bring it back when you’re good and ready. Or, you could say nothing, open his garden shed with bolt cutters and make off with the mower, then not return it and leave it out to rust, then sell your house and move when you get sick of the rusting lawnmower spoiling your view. Or, you could knock on the neighbour’s door, ask to borrow his lawnmower just long enough to mow your lawn and promise to return it with a full tank. With this approach he’ll more than likely ask if you want to borrow his line trimmer as well. After mowing the lawn you give the mower a good clean, refill the tank and return it with a six-pack of ale to say thanks.

Obviously, the latter is the preferred option, the reason being that we are all part of the same community and behaving in this way fosters attachment and overall cordial relations, helping society to function more smoothly and making day-to-day life a whole lot more pleasant.

Where the environment is concerned we have become increasingly detached, seeing it as uncooperative in our quest for affluence – unless we use brute force. Further, to maintain the required outcome, we use increasing levels of brute force rather than question the methods used for extracting the required outcome in the first place.

‘The Environment’ is an increasingly pressing issue and in the business community we have not just the opportunity, but also the responsibility, to radically rethink the way we do things. To rescue our environment, planet Earth, and preserve it for future generations, we should be striving not to behave less-badly towards it, but to behave really well.

To establish contact with Simon Waller to discuss our Environment Improvement Program, please contact Lauren Kotze at Integral Development on 6304 8354.

Simon Waller has been developing Integral Development’s environmental tools and maps, and has a keen interest in implementing Integral environmental and social action within organisations.

Ron Cacioppe

Ron Cacioppe is the Managing Director of Integral Development and holds a BSc, an MBA and a PhD. He has taught in the Graduate School of Management at Macquarie University, Curtin University and the University of Western Australia.

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