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Amory Lovins Speaks About Natural Capitalism
Last week, AIA Omaha presented Amory Lovins, one of the authors of Natural Capitalism, who spoke about the concept of Natural Capitalism (the entire book is available online at the Natural Capitalism website).
Natural Capitalism recognizes that there are four types of capital in a functioning economy.
- financial capital, consisting of cash, investments, and monetary instruments
- manufactured capital, including infrastructure, machines, tools, and factories
- natural capital, made up of resources, living systems, and ecosystem services
- human capital, in the form of labor and intelligence, culture, and organization
“Capitalism, as practiced, is a financially profitable, nonsustainable aberration in human development. What might be called “industrial capitalism” does not fully conform to its own accounting principles. It liquidates its capital and calls it income. It neglects to assign any value to the largest stocks of capital it employs—the natural resources and living systems, as well as the social and cultural systems that are the basis of human capital.”
Amory also explains that in the first Industrial Revolution, there was a surplus of resources and a shortage of people, and that in the next Industrial Revolution, there is a surplus of people and a shortage of resources.
I have not read the book yet, but I imagine it presents even more working models of Natural Capitalism than even Amory’s lecture did. One good example was Interface Flooring (yes the same Interface Flooring that I created my first carpet tile sample rug from). When you think about it, you don’t want to own carpet. You just want to use it for awhile. Apparently Interface is now providing flooring services. They’ve developed carpets that can be re-manufactured with no waste. They install the carpet, come back every few months and replace the worn tiles (carpet doesn’t wear evenly, of course), and re-manufacture those tiles. The result is much less impact on the environment, and its even more economically efficient.
Amory Lovins also has a house in Old Snowmass, Colorado that has no mechanical (heating) system. Oh, and he farms bananas in that house, and his energy costs are negative…with technology that is 15 years old.
He is a brilliant speaker, and is clearly brilliant in general and I look forward to learning more about his ideas. I will keep you posted.
Thinking of writing a book?
(for a limited time)