MBA in Sustainable Management

What is an MBA in Sustainable Management?  It is business school through the lens of sustainability.  Imagine classes such as Accounting, Operations, and Economics taught from the perspective of questioning the status quo and  applying theory in business such that we can enable all people on Earth a thriving future.   Presidio School of Management based in San Francisco offers one of five such programs across the US.  

Eat veggies to save the world

You can half your family's carbon footprint by eating less meat. The production, preparation and packaging of meat is easily 10 times that of fresh veggies. Give up the meat but not the great taste! Try some very tasty veggie dishes like this one I made for dinner. Israeli couscous paired with green beans and mushroom in wine sauce. I promise you will go back for seconds! It only took 30 min to prepare.

Sautee the israeli couscous in butter with shallots, cinnamon (1/2 stick) and bay leaf (1) till brown. Add vegetable stock and simmer until soft. Remove from heat. Toss with some lemon zest and parsley and voila!
While couscous is simmering, use a different pot to soften green beans in hot water and drain. Then stirfry some mushrooms and greenbeens together. Throw in some wine and let it evaporate. Salt and serve!

Design and function

Here is an example of beautiful design combined with great function. Often great designs can improve sustainability too! In this example the storage becomes more efficient, thereby saving on space and necessary HVAC, lighting, etc. Can you think of other great designs that improve function, aesthetics and sustainability?

What are biofuels, and how could they contribute to sustainability?

Biofuels include any plant generated fuel. Usually the plant, such as corn, is not directly consumed but instead fermented to create ethanol. Ethanol is useful because of it is stored energy and can be transported. Other renewable energies including wind and solar are difficult to store. Thus ethanol plays a niche in the renewable energy portfolio.

Biofuels are net zero in carbon emissions. The plant sequesters carbon during its growing life and releases the same amount of carbon when consumed for fuel.

The disadvantages of biofuels stems from its relation to the food supply. Land previously used to create food supply is now re-purposed for fuel creation. Since corn for fuel rather than for food demands a higher price on the market, farmers would rather grow corn for fuel. This creates an unfavorable economic situation towards feeding the poor parts of the world.

Biofuels continue to be a debate in the renewable energy circle. However, unless storage methods can be found to harness solar and wind effectively, biofuels remains the only easily transportable and renewable energy source.

The Three ways to Home Composting

You can help the environment by home composting.  In a typical home, the garbage ratio is 40% food scraps, 40% food containers and 20% non food related garbage.  Therefore if you can compost your food scraps at home you will eliminate the transportation cost for almost half your garbage stream!  I'm going to describe how I compost at home.

There are several ways to compost at home.  1) Regular pile compost (hot or cold) 2) Dig-a-hole Compost  3) Vermicompost.  OK, I named the second one myself, but it is basically as described.  If you have access to ground (a small yard, somewhere with soil) you can perform the first type types.  If you live in an apartment and have no yard go straight to the Vermicompost description below. To Do #1 or #2 is very simple, all you need are 4 things - GREENS, BROWNS, AIR, WATER.  Greens include any vegetable scraps, green leaves, etc.  Browns include naturally fallen leaves, paper, etc.  You basically want a 1:1 ratio on Green:Brown.  Mix it, put it outside on some soil, and water it once in a while.  I threw some worms on my pile to start and I don't even have to turn the pile.  The pile smells great, like the soil after a rainfall.  If you want to turn the pile once in a while to introduce Air, it helps decomposition, but you don't have to.  If you don't have room and want to hide the compost pile, just dig a hole and drop it all in there.  I do something in between, I dig a shallow hole, mix the veggie scraps with the soil, and put brown leaves on top (see picture) to conceal the food.    It works wonders.  Soft items are gone in a few days.  Banana peels disappear after 1 week.  Corn cobs take several weeks and require me to break it down after it dries.

If you're indoors you can do #3) Vermicomposting, which is composting with worms.   I do this at home as well and you can see my bin in the picture.  It's a bin from Wriggly Wranch and I have decorated it.  I keep this bin inside during the winter to keep the worms alive.  There are other creatures working for you besides the worms, but you mainly only see the worms unless you observe closely.  This one is also very easy and fun, and you only need one ingredient: GREENS for this method.  I bury about 1 cup of food scraps every few days and the worms eat it up.  I don't feed my worms tough to eat stuff like corn cobs or avocado skin.  Nor do they like too much citrus.  The composting speed is slower than the outside pile.  But it works all through the winter.

I hope you will explore home composting, it's fun, educational and green!

Amazing TED talk on a new model for business environments


An amazing talk showing mismatch of today's incentive system to solving today's business problems, and how ROWE- Results based work environment- creates stunning results.