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"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, waterbugs, tadpoles, frogs & turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, hickory nuts, trees to climb, animals to pet, hayfields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets – and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education." -Luther Burbank 1849 - 1926
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Green Businesses -- why?

"Business is the only mechanism on the planet today powerful enough to produce the changes necessary to reverse global environmental and social degradation." Paul Hawken

I'm not quite as sure as Paul Hawken that business is the only powerful force on earth -- I still believe families are the foundational change agent. But I do agree that business is a powerful contributor. And that's why I am building my business, California Green Solutions, a robust website (in the tradition of this one) to bring tips and techniques to transform workplaces and products into greener, more sustainable environments.

As we took basic life support services out of the home and turned them into businesses, this sector of society became more powerful. So, given that families and businesses are interlocked, let's look at how to support one another in tending the business of life support.

Choose your strategy, and philosophy

Just as one family has different goals and ways of working together than another family across the street or across the country -- so we have personalized consumer goals and ways of working. Some like to shop at farmers markets. Some support neighborhood businesses. Some encourage franchise businesses to buy local, and support local community activities. What is your strategy to support business as it supports life support for families?

How you spend your dollars

You vote for community change with every dollar you spend. One dollar, one vote. When you buy organic, you not only get the personal benefits of the product you buy, but you support a whole system of production that focuses on sustainable land, air and water processes. Organic means that harmful chemicals are not put into the ground water or air. Organic means that organic materials are put back into the soil rather than burning them. Organic means that alternative energy and fuel are used whenever possible to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Organic has often meant local support, local freshness of food supplies, and with local distribution -- less transportation resources used.

Productive work for all

Productive work doesn't always mean jobs. Parental care of an infant isn't a "job" -- but it is productive work. Home gardening is an alternative that makes life affirming sense. Volunteer work with community children and seniors and struggling adults. Learning about how nature works so you can respect and protect it... all these choices of how we spend our time and energy are productive work. And life requires that we ALL engage in productive work -- there is not easy ride without someone else -- or some things else -- bearing the brunt of our life resources. While productivity is a responsiblity, it can also be our deepest joy as we exercise our human capabilities and bond with the world in which we live.

Size matters

Size is such a relative matter. We think that big businesses can't do good. Or that small businesses can be too small to be productive. Yet when we look at nature as our model of productivity, we have the scale of the ocean and the rainforest...and the scale of bird eggs and bacteria. Size is so relative to the process at hand.

System thinking

When we name animals or plants, we put them into little boxes. When they cross breed, they shatter our systematic simplification. All animals. All plants. All humans are part of systems. When we strive to think in terms of the system in which we live and work and play and worship and love and live and die -- we sing the song of nature.

Business success

Statistics tell us that half of all businesses started also fail within their first year. That's a staggering statistic. But when you look at that productive endeavor as part of a system, you also see that the individuals learned new skills that will be with them for a long time. They met new people. They inspired other people to create new ways and ideas. They exchanged one natural resource for another. They spread their message in ways they will never be able to measure. Every productive activity contributes to the successful business (and life) system in our community. By respecting those who try -- we strengthen our business system with human and life sustaining spiritual power.

So why green business? Because green is a spirit of living in harmony with our natural systems. And business is modeled on the productivity of nature. By getting in step with nature, we live more sustainably and leave a nurturing home for our children.