EcoIQ

About EcoIQ

A New Vision & A New Purpose

An overall statement of vision and purpose, our Plan To Thrive, provides an overview of our new direction.

Our purpose is to tackle head on how we can significantly improve our social relations and our politics. In truth, nothing less than a national reconciliation is needed. If we are all to remain citizens of one nation, governed by a democratic system tasked with spanning and reconciling our differences, then we must abandon this path of increasingly hostile polarization and restore the feeling that all American's deserve our respect simply because they are our fellow citizens.

Our emphasis going forward will be on making our democracy work, finding common ground, and spotlighting community scale efforts that demonstrate what is possible when citizens work together cooperatively at the local level. If we are going to restore civic feeling and re-grow our dangerously deteriorated capacity for cooperation, a lot of that is likely to spring from successful local efforts to solve problems, meet needs, and grasp opportunities.

As we move forward with developing this new website, the intention is to identify people and organizations working now to promote democracy, expand cooperation, and take advantage of local potentials for cooperative progress.

EcoIQ will shine as much light as we can summon on what is working and give website visitors solid ideas for how they can become engaged. There is an epic struggle underway, and nobody should sit on the sidelines. To save ourselves, and to prevent the wholesale extinction of other species, people everywhere must become actively engaged. Our attitude is embodied in Marshall McLuhan's call to arms, "There are no passengers on spaceship Earth. We are all crew."

By focusing on how much good work is underway, and by explaining how and why that work is succeeding, we can strengthen our collective confidence that together we can do what must be done. We must believe in ourselves, believe that we can rise to meet the challenges we face. We must keep the faith.

As for who's behind all this, Dennis Church remains as the owner and managing editor of EcoIQ. A reconstituted group of Advisors, Contributing Thinkers & Researcher-Writers will provide invaluable assistance as we explore the potentials of this new website. More on helping EcoIQ here.

New Situation, New Approach

When we began our online efforts, the environment had not yet become a partisan issue. The United States as a whole had a political culture in which facts and reason could eventually prevail on the most important things, and in which good faith deliberation could produce program and policy initiatives that honestly attempted to address the nation's and the world's biggest problems and opportunities. Or so it seemed.

Since we began our work online more than two decades ago, our situation has deteriorated. Threats that were then merely very important have passed through a stage of being crises and are now increasingly being recognized as planetary-scale emergencies.

But difficult as our objective situation may be, our political culture has arrived at an even more threatening juncture. We would have at least a shot at addressing our most serious problems if we could just find facts, reason, and cooperate together. That's all. It shouldn't be this hard. Find facts together. Reason together. Then cooperate together to solve problems and seize opportunities. We did it earlier in our nation's history. We should be able to do it again.

We've already lost precious time to our political dysfunction, and increasingly we're taking real loses on the ground. Paradise was a town of nearly 30,000 people, and it burned to the ground in the 2018 California wildfires.

Remember that strangely reverberating quote from a Paradise refugee? "Paradise is gone," the man said. "There is nothing to go back to." This sets off mythic echoes. Paradise Lost, John Milton, the Fall of Man, the story of Genesis and our banishment from the Garden of Eden. This quote seems to suggest that the Genesis story could turn out to be more prophesy than history.

If we fail, our descendents will look back upon the lush jungles, the vast temperate forests, the endless grassy plains, and the living rivers and oceans that very much survive in our time, and envy us as they revile us. They will come to the only conclusion possible. That it was we, you and I, our generation in our time, that destroyed this Garden of Eden, our living Earth, for all who follow us.

We are at risk of a drastic and rapid increase in destruction, because we just can't seem to work together to address even our most threatening problems.

Compounding these losses are the equally incredible missed opportunities. Humans are amazingly inventive, and if we would just develop and employ our innovations on the most important things, both threats and opportunities, our future would be much brighter.

All of this requires a new approach. The most important priority now is to build on cooperative efforts where they are currently unfolding while at the same time systematically fostering a more cooperative approach to public policy decision making in general.

For an extended discussion of what this means, and of what the new EcoIQ will be doing to pursue these objectives, check out our Vision & Purpose Statement.

A Bit Of Our History

EcoIQ began as a consulting firm in 1989 focused on supporting local government sustainability-related programs. The name, and the tag line "Smart Choices Aligning Economics & Ecology," embodied a central insight. The conventional wisdom that environmental protection and economic prosperity were competing objectives that had to be balanced by policymakers was mostly wrong.

While economy-environment conflicts do arise and can be magnified by poorly designed public policies, the larger and more important truth is that our entire economy is built upon the foundation of the resources provided by the natural environment. Without those resources, there would be no economy. To the extent that damage to the environment drives a broad spectrum of essential natural resources into economic scarcity, our general prosperity will likewise be forced, and to a proportional extent, into decline. Badly damage our environment, and you'll surely badly damage our economy. Pretty simple idea, really.

Turning this issue on its head, the most basic truth today is that protecting and in fact restoring the health of the natural environment must be the backbone of any strategy to achieve and maintain prosperity for the long term. The more damage we do to the living environment, the more we diminish our prospects to sustain prosperity.

But EcoIQ took all of this a critical step further. The argument that the economy and the environment don't conflict in the long run has been made many times. Usually the response from the powers that be is something along the lines of "yes, and in the long run we're all dead." In other words, yes we agree, but the benefits are too uncertain and too far in the future to be very motivating.

EcoIQ's step further was to see and explain that these supposedly conflicting goals could be transformed by smart choices into win-win short-term policies and programs. More specifically, smart choices and well-designed policies and programs could benefit the environment, the local economy, the city's own budgetary interests, and the service needs and wants of neighborhoods. Smart choices and well-designed programs would benefit everyone.

This concept was embraced by the City of San Jose in 1980, and it served as the basis for the ambitious development of that city's "sustainable city" programs. The City, with the assistance of EcoIQ, joined with 100 other U.S. cities to embrace the concept of sustainability in 1990. The San Jose story is told in a 1992 book Saving Cities, Saving Money.

Stepping back for perspective, the path of EcoIQ has always been about calling out false dichotomies and counter-productive and irrational polarizations. That will continue as we move forward. But before we get to that, more history...

Evolving Into A Digital Media Company

In 1996, EcoIQ added a website, and from there, we evolved rapidly into an internet publishing and digital media company focused on sustainability. For a consultancy in the heart of the Silicon Valley, it seemed the natural thing to do.

Over the course of the years that followed, we created a dozen websites on as many "eco" domains, published thousands of web pages and hundreds of articles in EcoIQ Magazine and elsewhere, and branched out to found a speakers bureau, produce videos for speakers, produce and sell video stock footage, and experiment with several other digital services. Each of these ventures remained focused on sustainability.

Overall, our websites were visited by well in excess of 10 million people from more than 100 countries. Our other sustainability media and speaker placement programs reached hundreds of thousands directly. Some of this past work, that part still potentially useful, will continue to be available as an archive here and here.

The work of EcoIQ has been just a very small part of the much larger effort by millions of dedicated people around the world to move humanity onto a sustainable path. While together we have made great strides, we are clearly failing to keep pace with the relentlessly accelerating threats to our future. We cannot just keep doing the same thing and hope for better results. It is time to recalibrate what will be needed if global civilization is to survive, and in time, thrive.

So the new path for EcoIQ reflects a fundamental shift in emphasis. As technical advances have rocketed ahead, many "solutions" have become economically and technically practical. Those emerging opportunities have cast our core problem in sharp relief. It has become very clear that the main obstacle to a future that works, the weak link in our chain of solutions, is how we handle our relations with each other, how we handle our politics.

The EcoIQ Archive

Since publishing our first article online in 1996, our overarching goal has been to promote widespread adoption of more sustainable practices across all sectors of society. We approached that as social entrepreneurs, developing a for-profit business to promote communication about sustainability related issues and opportunities. We created a massive web portal, an online magazine, a syndicated article service, several online stores, a speakers bureau including more than 200 accomplished speakers, a stock video footage service offering thousands of stock video clips, and other media and communication initiatives.

The EcoIQ.com legacy sites will remain online and may be accessed from three directions: 1. Through our Archive Section; 2. Through our longstanding Site Directory; and 3. Through our Navigation Page.

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