Interview With Joel Makower

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Author of ‘Woodstock: The Oral History‘ Joel Makower has over 20 years of experience in the field of green business. The well-respected writer, speaker, and strategist on topics such as clean technology and green marketing has helped a wide variety of companies take the first steps in becoming green businesses. Woodstock Story recently caught up with the green business guru to discuss a little Woodstock and a lot of green.

Makower represents a generation which was around when people began rethinking how they interacted with the world around them. Woodstock 1969 happened eight months before the first national Earth Day, at the beginning of widespread environmental and social awareness. What began as a change in how American people reacted to the world around them would eventually become the Green Movement.

Woodstock 1969 was part of the push that changed the way that people viewed the world. The American people are again faced with social and environmental strife, and the need for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint has never been more important. Makower explains that technological advances and economic downturn will be what pushes businesses to watch what they do.

Although the Green Movement has its roots during the Woodstock age, environmentally friendly business is not a quick nor easy transition. But why has the movement taken so long to progress if the idea is not so new? The basic answer is technology. The ability to mitigate waste has advanced incredibly in the last five years, and is the backbone for the emergence of green businesses.

“That kind of change takes a generation or two, we couldn’t have done what we’re doing now 5 years ago, let alone 40,” said Makower.

Oddly enough, the challenge of preserving the earth will be met by large businesses. The benefits of being a green business are not only helpful for the environment, but will produce better products at a lower cost. Most people aren’t even aware of the steps that companies have taken in order to reduce their carbon footprint.

“Companies are doing more walking than talking in this instance, most of the steps in going green are being done quietly,” said Makower.

Makower explains that the economic crisis is the catalyst for exponential change. The American consumer is perfectly fine with the state of businesses and the environment as long as their needs and luxuries are met. He explains that the type of crisis of today is exactly what was needed in order to “shake things up”.

Whether it is sparked by a fear of competitors or regulation, businesses will have no choice but to go green. Simply put, the transition leads to better products and less waste. Companies will begin micro managing every aspect of their business in order to find ways to reduce negative impacts on the environment and turn better profits. The auto industry is already being driven in the direction of electric car development, which will be the automotive standard in 10 years. Even the beer that Americans drink comes in a can made with one third less aluminum which mining for is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas.

The federal government is doing a better job of regulating businesses, but still has a long way to go. State and local governments have taken the initiative to ensure that business is going green, but ultimately there is no choice. In order to preserve the business mentality, in a stroke of irony, large companies will spearhead the Green Movement.