Myths of Flatness

"The anger that comes with a sense of injustice, that life is deeply unfair, is powerful and dangerous."
-Katherine Marshall

The Push Conference is over but the posts will continue. I think the best types of conferences are ones where you have new ideas to chew on indefinitely. The session on Flatness was an interesting contrast between the rest of the world's view of U.S. consumerism and how some U.S. companies are working to develop ethical brands. Chandran Nair started the session with an overview of how the exportation of U.S. culture is an unsustainable global nightmare and yet it would be unfair for the U.S. to tell the rest of the world that they can't enjoy the same level of consumerism that we take for granted everyday. If every person in China began driving and eating the amount of seafood that U.S. citizens do, the air would be unbreathable and the oceans would be emptied of fish (or at least the delicious ones). His suggestion was an increase of environmental planning worldwide.

Other speakers on this topic included Jonathan Greenblatt and Katherine Marshall. Jonathan talked about how corporations are trying to buy authenticity through their social responsibility efforts. He gave some examples of when this has worked well (Ethos Water, Good Magazine, Tesla sportscar, and Living Homes) but it can also go bad like the Red Campaign. My favorite quote from Jonathan was "moving people from consumer to advocate is the best way to engage people." This is evidenced by the organic movement and consumer's push to get store to stop using plastic bags. Jonathan is now working for Good Magazine, who's YouTube videos have been extremely popular (they have been described as Sesame Street for grownups) so I have shared one below.