“I am not a destroyer of companies.
I am a liberator of them!”
Quote by Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglass in the 1987 movie Wall Street
The Greed for Green: Whether it’s Greener Homes, Cars, Computers or Investments, It’s all about Money! Money! Money!
Was Gordon Gekko Right 20 Years Ago?
Some people don’t like to talk money. It’s pretentious, personal, and impolite. Personally, I like money. I like the way it feels, the way it smells, the way it can be a surprise in your washed jeans. I also like the way it can grow in an IRA account; and the way it can motivate individuals, businesses and markets; or the way it can help to address a myriad of health, social and environmental issues…we know we have plenty of those.
Money doesn’t grow on trees. At least that’s what my father said a quarter of a century ago. My father was, and remains right. I can’t go out and pick a Franklin, Hamilton or Grant off of my 80 year old Maple tree. However, in a world that is increasingly constrained by carbon and looking at everything to reforestation to use of waste wood products for biofuel production from conversion of cellulosic material, the notion of money not growing on trees is taking on a new meaning. The modern human relationship with the natural world is disingenuous, distant and devoid of long-term social consequence. We’re the ants, marching one by one, building our financial nests but often forgetting that the interplay between money and markets hinges upon the long-term health and vitality of ecosystems.
We have traditionally placed monetary value on the utility that earths natural resources provides us, but not on their depletion, waste or value to produce. What is the value of the earth producing a gallon of petroleum over geologic time? What is the value of a pristine forest land on the top of a West Virginia mountaintop versus the value of coal removed from mining and earth blasting? These are tough questions, often ignored or avoided altogether by government and industry.