Issue 004 / Ocean Waste, Equal Pay & Why Trump’s Climate Rollback is Absurd

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

This Week's Five Links

Trump’s Climate Rollback Will Hurt the Economy, Not Help It — Harvard Business Review
Andrew Winston delivers an impassioned point-by-point takedown of Trump’s executive order on climate change. Winston calls Trump’s outdated views “absurd” and “factually wrong,” pointing to the job creation potential of clean energy, the capital and labor factors contributing to the death of coal and the cost — both in dollars and disruption — of climate change impacts as evidence.

Will Wall Street Embrace B Corps?B the Change Magazine
In 2015, Etsy became the first B Corporation (or "B Corp") to go public. Now, in order to remain a B Corp, it must decide whether to change its corporate structure to become a “benefit corporation,” a move that would require a shareholder vote. Confused? Yeah. Marc Gunther breaks down the difference between the two classifications, traces their history and considers their future as they are put to the ultimate test — the financial markets.

Cat Eyes for Climate Change — The Adaptors
I’ve been enjoying "The Adaptors" podcast, which profiles people who are coming up with creative, out-of-the-box ways to adapt to climate change — like Matthew Liao, an NYU philosopher who proposes bio-engineering humans to have more energy-friendly characteristics like meat allergies and — yes — cat eyes. 

The “Ask Cindy Gallop” Chatbot
"Message me to get the absolute goddamn f***ing sh*t tonne of money you deserve," says British advertising consultant and MakeLoveNotPorn creator Cindy Gallop. Click into this Facebook chatbot — a collaborative project launched on Equal Pay Day by R/GA, The Muse, Ladies Get Paid, and PayScale — and Gallop will serve up saucy advice on how women can navigate a salary increase.

The Story of Microfibers
Did you know that 60% of clothing is made from synthetic materials that contain plastic? When these garments are washed, they release microfibers that travel into our rivers, lakes and oceans, poisoning fish and ultimately the humans who eat them. This three-minute video from Story of Stuff’s Annie Leonard gives a primer.

“In other provinces that have adopted western diets you see pretty young girls but when they smile they have rotten teeth, because the sugar has broken down their teeth. We don’t want that to happen here.” 
— Father Luc Dini, a community leader in Torba Province in the Republic of Vanuatu; more in "South Pacific Island Looks To Ban All Imported Junk Food” (GOOD).

Spotlight: Ocean Waste

Over the weekend, I took a trip to Padang-Padang Beach in Bali, where I am currently based for a few months. I had memories from a previous trip of brilliantly blue water, soft white sand and the odd palm tree. Instead, everywhere I looked I saw… trash. Plastic bottles, styrofoam containers, bottle caps, errant flip-flops, glass shards — in the water, on the sand, littering the shrubs rimming the shore. Turns out that during rainy season, the frequent downpours sweep garbage from the island out to sea, where it mingles with ocean waste from other coastal areas and ultimately returns with the tides. It’s heartbreaking to see Bali’s natural beauty choked by this onslaught of rubbish.

But there’s reason to be hopeful. I am inspired by Melati and Isabel Wijsen, the teen-age founders of Bye Bye Plastic Bags, who recently gave an incredible TED Talk on their efforts to ban plastic bags on the island. I am also encouraged by recent innovations — notably in the apparel industry — that find creative uses for ocean plastic, like Adidas’ partnership with Parley to transform Indian Ocean waste into high-performance sportswear, Aquafil’s innovative ECONYL nylon made from discarded fishing nets and Bionic Yarn, a start-up that makes yarn from shoreline plastic and counts Pharrell Williams as a creative director. Though these solutions have an unfortunate byproduct — see the “Story of Microfibers” link above — they are a sign that innovation is at work to tackle this issue and restore the ocean to its natural beauty.

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!