lhowell

Archive for October, 2007|Monthly archive page

Does the Chinese Government Hate the Environment?

In China, slave labor, Sustainability on October 14, 2007 at 5:14 am

Pollution has reached epidemic proportions in China, in part because the ruling Communist Party still treats environmental advocates as bigger threats than the degradation of air, water and soil that prompts them to speak out. NY Times, October 14, 2007.

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The Olympic Games will be held in China in 2008. Virtually, every product purchased and components of many important products we need (e.g. computers) are manufactured in China. The allure of high fashion and the imags of being in style and current with the latest fashion also comes from China. The NY Times article read further:

Toxic cyanobacteria, commonly referred to as pond scum, turned the big lake fluorescent green. The stench of decay choked anyone who came within a mile of its shores. At least two million people who live amid the canals, rice paddies and chemical plants around the lake had to stop drinking or cooking with their main source of water. However, if you live in China and say something, complain or write about it, here is what happens to you:

The outbreak confirmed the claims of a crusading peasant, Wu Lihong, who protested for more than a decade that the region’s thriving chemical industry, and its powerful friends in the local government, were destroying one of China’s ecological treasures.

Mr. Wu, however, bore silent witness. Shortly before the algae crisis erupted in May, the authorities here in his hometown arrested him. In mid-August, with a fetid smell still wafting off the lake, a local court sentenced him to three years on an alchemy of charges that smacked of official retribution. And yet, we continue to buy, buy, buy. We continue to overdose on cheap, products that have the perception of value.

Here’s a test: visit a Stein-Mart, Marshalls, Ross or T.J. Maxx and look closely at the difference at products made in China and compare them to countries that have the Made in Mexico, Pakistan, India labels. The quality, fit and overall appearance is simply better. This is why Target continues to improve its earnings and its perception as a preferred place for shopping in comparison to Wal-Mart. Give it a try.

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Nerica: Open Source Rice to Save Lives in Africa

In Uncategorized on October 10, 2007 at 12:58 am

The seeds are a marvel, producing bountiful, aromatic rice crops resistant to drought, pests and disease. But a decade after their introduction, they have spread to only a tiny fraction of the land here in West Africa where they could help millions of farming families escape poverty.

Developed with financing from wealthy countries and private foundations, the New Rices for Africa, or Nericas, are unpatented and freely cultivable by anyone. Yet there is a severe shortage of them in a region where both the private and agricultural sectors are woefully undeveloped.

As I read this, I thought, wow…open source agriculture with the hassles of violating some patent. Yet, problems remain to achieve sustainable growth to feed little bellies.

Finding a sustainable way to supply farmers with seed, he said, “is emerging as the holy grail for agricultural development.”

If this were a business school case study, what should we do?

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Always Believe in Yourself. Period!

In Uncategorized on October 5, 2007 at 3:04 am

I was moved, touched and energized after watching this video.  Self-confidence and assuredness are so fragile for people in this hyper-critical world we live.  When we are not quite sure, we might talk louder to gain attention.  Others, don’t make eye contact.  But let me tell you, when you believe in your purpose and you possess personal integrity, then nothing can stop you.  No matter how a person looks on the outside, we have no room to judge, but to evaluate their abilities, their qualities and what comes from them.  Have a terrific weekend!

Crisis in Pakistan: Does the U.S. Support Dictators

In political analysis on October 3, 2007 at 11:56 pm

The analysis is insightful and honest. Once you look at the video, it will certainly raise some questions to consider. This is Part 1 of a three part interview.

 

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Fair Trade Coffee, Yes You Should Care

In fair trade, mindset 3.0 on October 2, 2007 at 5:04 am

Rafael de Paiva was skeptical at first. If he wanted a “fair trade” certification for his coffee crop, the Brazilian farmer would have to adhere to a long list of rules on pesticides, farming techniques, recycling and other matters. He even had to show that his children were enrolled in school. “I thought, ‘This is difficult,’” recalled the humble farmer. But the 20 percent premium he recently received for his first fair trade harvest made the effort worthwhile, Mr. Paiva said, adding, it “helped us create a decent living.” Excerpt from the NY Times, October 2, 2007

This article is the jumping point for an interesting and important discussion, actually more of a question. Are you willing to pay .50 cents more for a cup of coffee or $1 dollar more per pound for the privilege of grounding your own coffee?

After the video, the answer is hopefully yes.

Wondering about Michelle Wie: She’s Not a Whole Golfer Yet

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Says Pia Nilsson, who coaches several players including Sorenstam: “Michelle’s physical and technical is really good, but she seems so young in the mental, emotional and social components. To become a great player, she needs to find joy and motivation. There’s been so much going on with her from age 13, people pulling her, so you don’t know if she loves it. There are signs that it’s not in her. The people around her have to take that seriously and find a way to keep her growing in the game and in life. Or she will rebel.”

This analysis is very similar to how children are evaluated using the “whole child concept”. There are four areas to consider, which are: physical, social, emotional and intellectual. Educators and physicians are quick to tell you that children do things when they are ready, whether it is taking their first steps, potty training, reading, sharing and so forth.

If you take Ms. Nilsson’s analysis and apply the “whole child concept” the conclusion is simple: Michelle Wie should not be playing professional golf at this point in her life. This was the same conclusion we reached last year when we gave our son the gift of time by delaying is entry to kindergarten. He could clearly do the work and physically he’s a great athlete. But emotionally, and socially being the youngest in his class since pre-school kinda beats you down because you are always trying to keep up and have not gained the confidence required to be successful. Our son is now in kindergarten and he is a little leader now and extremely confident in his abilities. Unfortunately, Michelle Wie’s parents cannot say the same for their daughter. The accountable party at this point are the parents of Michelle Wie. We may never know or witness how great Michelle could become.

The solution: go to college, get a boyfriend, cram for exams, go to Spring break and bring your clothes home for mom to wash just like all great kids. Golf, forget about it for now. Just be a college student and enjoy the experience because in 10 years, nobody wants to hear Michelle say, “I wish I had given college a chance and enjoyed myself.” The time is now to make the smart decision.

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How Good are You at Collaboration and Influence

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2007 at 3:59 pm

The most powerful competency high performing consultants need to make dynamic impacts with clients and internally with peers. This is especially true with more established enterprises where geographic boundaries and roles become multi-purpose, virtual teams to get things done.

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