Straight Talk with Tom

Is the US Chamber serious? Or, is this just their attempt at wanting to be perceived as being green?  

As I read “3 Takeaways from the US Chamber’s Sustainability Conference” published by GreenBiz, it made me feel like the US Chamber, an organization that is continually trying to appease its biggest polluting members, speaking out and lobbying against any attempts to regulate environmental degradation of Planet Earth, is now trying to gain goodwill and positive PR by appearing to align with the vast community of sustainability proponents, who DO believe we humans, our processes and consumption, ARE having dramatically-negative effects on our planet’s climate and its sustainability. Kinda looks to me like the US Chamber and its corporate citizenship affiliate the Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) are speaking two distinctly different conversations! So, which is the truth here?

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Heroes of Sustainability: James Balog

James Balog

With adventure comes danger, and James Balog been exposed to plenty of that over the years. He knows that one accidental dip in iceberg-filled water, one slip of the hand on a mountain, one mechanical malfunction of a helicopter high above the land would end the exploration. And yet, he presses on.

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Tim DeChristopher Convicted on Two Felony Charges for Protecting Our Planet

As an environmental activist, I was shocked to learn about the prison sentence facing Tim DeChristopher, a university student who falsely outbid energy producers to block their access to precious Utah Canyonlands. As the President and CEO of Dolphin Blue, a company that strives to preserve our planets most precious resources, I cannot help but ask myself the following question: Should DeChristopher serve prison time for protecting our planet against the hopeless polluters who have little or no regard for it?

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Leaked Emails Suggest Firmer Oversight Needed by Board of US Chamber of Commerce

There is growing evidence that many American businesses are attempting to become more environmentally responsible. Some of those businesses are represented on the board of directors of the US Chamber of Commerce. This suggests that the Chamber should eventually move toward supporting…


Heroes of Sustainability: Riane Eisler

Linking  Social Inequities to the Protecting Our Environment

Studying the world’s injustices is nothing new for Riane Eisler. As a young child, the Vienna-born social scientist, author, attorney, and macro-historian watched a gang of Gestapo men break into her home and capture her father. Bravely, her mother defied convention and stood up to save him, and the family escaped to Cuba with one of the last ships allowed to land there.

The Nazis had taken everything they owned; Eisler’s family lived in the slums of Havana. Her determined parents sent her to the best schools. Each day on her streetcar commute, Eisler couldn’t help but notice the shocking disparity that existed between the neighborhoods where she lived and went to school.

Eisler wasn’t always treated as the extremely bright and capable student she was, even while attending the University of California. Like the disparity between the rich and poor in Havana, she noticed a gender disparity in the recognition students received.

A Life’s Work


Eisler’s personal witness to so many injustices ultimately became the basis of research that’s led to worldwide acclaim, including a spot alongside Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King as one of 20 leaders for world peace in the book Great Peacemakers.

To understand inequality, Eisler looked at how the concepts of “masculine” and “feminine” explain hierarchies in homes and societies. What she found is that a more peaceful, equitable world requires a change in the traditions of domination that exist between men and women, as well as parents and children.

Caring Economics:  Care for People, Care for Earth


How does sustainability tie into all of this? In Eisler’s latest book, The Real Wealth of Nations, she argues for a sustainable and equitable economy that gives value to caring for our greatest economic assets: people and the natural environment. Eisler writes that much of what ails us in modern day is largely fueled by economic systems with the wrong priorities. She points out that when basic human needs aren’t met, social tensions give way to major issues like war, poverty, and environmental ruin. By supporting traditionally female activities such as caring and care giving, we can transcend categories like “capitalist” and “socialist” to reap the benefits of a more humane — and more effective — economic model.

Eisler also believes that in raising the status of women across the globe, overpopulation rates will curb, easing the burden on the earth. In environmental meetings around the world, she explains how the “dominator” mentality that the land is something to plunder and conquer has led to degradation and depletion of our resources to crisis levels. “Caring economics,” as it’s called, not only means caring for ourselves and each other, but also for Mother Earth.

After all, we can’t make the world a better place — ridding it of atrocities like the kind Eisler faced during the Holocaust — if there’s no world on which to live.

For more information about Eisler and her work, visit


Blood, Sweat and T-shirts

I was inspired by the recent BBC series “Blood, Sweat and T-shirts,” which I highly recommend everyone check out. It follows the exploration of six young British fashion enthusiasts

Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts

as they’re exposed to the production of their beloved mass-manufactured clothing. The viewer witnesses their emotional transformation from brazen consumerists to social activists as the cast experiences the industry’s harsh reality of non-existent wages, brutal hours, unhealthy conditions, and child labor. Chances are, 90% of those who see the series (I think I’m being generous here) will sympathize and move on, ignoring reality in exchange for synthetic ignorance. And that’s a shame, a truly horrific shame, because nearly every industry that we interact with on a daily basis has their own version of “Blood, Sweat and T-shirts.”

Being in the business of sustainable office supplies, the show led me to thinking about the abuse of natural resources and our environmental impact. With a few quick substitutions, the analogy holds true.

Poor wages = Little investment in preserving resources, leading to a continually degrading system

Long hours = Over-harvesting of natural resources, leading to diminishing quality and extinction

Unhealthy conditions = Outputs like chemicals and toxins entering other systems like water, air, soil food…

Child labor = Exploiting poorly managed resources without attending to its long-term effect

We need more great series like “Blood, Sweat and T-shirts” to keep these issues present and always important in mainstream media. Please check it out, pass it on to a friend, and then tell a stranger. Every impression is a step in the right direction.

I think we can empower and inform others by taking the same concept and applying it everywhere.

How can you apply the analogy to your industry or cause?

Jeff Eyink is the Marketing Manager of Dolphin Blue. He can be reached via email at