Activism and Entrepreneurship

From College8CoreWiki

This page explores the actions of people who, knowing full well the enormity of the challenges they face, still choose to act--often with audacity, creativity, and success. It is instructive to know what activist tactics have and have not worked in the past, so some history of previous waves of environmental action is included. Currently, a very promising approach, social entrepreneur, is having a great deal of success by using the very market forces that have historically been so destructive to improve the environment for people and other species. This also involves using the power of six degree social networks and digital technology.

See also eco-heroes and Activism and Social Entrepreneur page

The Story of Change is the latest chapter of the Story of Stuff.

Histories of Environmental Movement

See also History

The U.S. Environmental Movement by Robert J. Brulle Drexel University (pdf).

The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism from the Spotted Owl to the Polar Bear -- Douglas Bevington (more recent history)

Robert Gottlieb, Forcing the Spring: The Transformation of the American Environmental Movement (1993) Review of Gottlieb book that tells alternative history of the environmental movement.

American Environmentalism: The U.S. Environmental Movement, 1970-1990 / edited by Riley E. Dunlap and Angela G. Mertig. Published Philadelphia : Taylor & Francis, c1992 (provides a succinct conventional overview of U.S. environmental movement in introductory chapter)

Philip Shabecoff, A Fierce Green Fire: The American Environmental Movement, Island Press; Revised Edition, 2003

California Environmental History bibliography

US Environmental History bibliography


Earth Days is a fantastic history of the American Environmental Movement. ****

A Fierce Green Fire by Slug Mark Kitchell is in production.

Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah is one of the largest independent film festivals in the world, attracting some 50,000 attendees, created by eco-hero Robert Redford]; One of the standouts premiering at the festival is How to Change the World, about the founding of Greenpeace.

The National Parks is Ken Burns' excellent PBS series that contains much info on pioneering environmentalists such as Muir. All online for free link****

If A Tree Falls traces how the Earth Liberation Front, known for setting fires to draw attention to their cause, became a more intense target for the FBI after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

One of the early debates about the environment was between Preservationists such as John Muir and Conservationists such as Gifford Pinchot is explored in the video The Wilderness Idea, which can be found at McHenry Library (ask for VT2197) Discussion of the evolution of the term "conservation"

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring VT2457

Silkwood VT6062 on nuclear energy

Wild By Law: Bob Marshall, Aldo Leopold, and Howard Zahniser VT7614

The Wilderness Act of 1964 is the legacy of three men: Wilderness Society Founder Bob Marshall, forester-philosopher Aldo Leopold, and activist Howard Zahniser. Looks at how these three men struggled against the current of American thought during industrialization of the 1920s, the war years of the 1940s, and the boom years of the 1950s. Eventually their actions caused a profound shift in American attitudes toward preservation of wild lands. Issues: Dust Bowl, New Deal conservation, tourism, wilderness issues, Wilderness Act of 1964; Leopold and Zahniser's sons and daughters; historians and environmentalists William Cronon, Roderick Nash, Wallace Stegner, Max Oelschlager, Baird Callicott, Floyd Dominy, and David Brower. 1991, 60 min. Review PBS video, Am Exper. Florentine Films

Social Entrepreneurs

See also Social Entrepreneur page

Social entrepreneurship is a new concept, but it weaves together strands that have been around for a long time. It's about forging social relationships and organizing people, but also attempts to work with the market and leverages the power of the Internet. See brilliant video explaining one aspect of this, Web 2.0 issues such as tagging.

Ashoka Foundation provides a good video overview. (See all their videos). Tactics of Hope video also offers a brief overview.

Tesla founder Elon Musk (TEDtalk) has made huge contributions as a designer and entrepreneur because he imagined what was inevitable and caught the wave to that early: Tesla electric cars, private sector spaceflight [(video on founding)] and solar energy two videos). extensive bio interview 1/13 The Future of Energy and Transport (video bio) Oxford 2012. His four heroes.

Anita Roddick, social entrepreneur, founder of The Body Shop, one of the first and most successful socially conscious businesses.

The Skoll Foundation is dedicated to fostering social entrepreneurs. An excellent short video overview. Good resources

Skoll Foundation definition and discussion

Echoing Green has invested nearly $30 million in seed funding to almost 500 social entrepreneurs and their innovative organizations.

An overview/editorial by a student

Social Entrepreneur Corps has summer internships in Central America video

Academic Earth has video lectures from first rate universities on entrepreneurship, some with social aspects. Larry Brilliant on social entrepreneurs. Guy Kawasaki (formerly Apple now His advice on how to write a plan/pitch.

Additional Organizations

Wiser Earth map of socially conscious organizations, many with an social entrepreneur approach.

Google for Entrepreneurs

Global Entrepreneur Week lots of resources and design challenges over $150 million in microloans. Here's a TEDtalk of co-founder Jessica Jackley (former philosophy/poetry major). Here's a list/links to Fellows working in environment.


PBS News Hour has a series on thos topic. For example, Oct. 28, 2009 Fred de Sam Lazaro takes a look at how one organization in the Southeast Asian island of Borneo is trading health care for rainforest preservation.

Charlie Rose is an excellent PBS interview series. Here, for example, he discusses foreign aid and development with Peter Singer, author of The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty as well as social entrepreneur Jacqueline Novogratz (additional TEDtalk video by her) and aid critic and Africa scholar Dambisa Moyo.

Academic Earth has video lectures from first rate universities on entrepreneurship, some with social aspects. Larry Brilliant on social entrepreneurs. Guy Kawasaki (Apple).

UCTV has videos about entrepreneurship (not necessarily social).

Short interviews with a variety of folks working on various issues.

The New Heroes (ucsc owns: DVD2816)

sample: Nick Moon & Martin Fisher

Project: ApproTEC (Appropriate Technology for Enterprise Creation)

Location: Nairobi, Kenya, offices in Tanzania, Mali and San Francisco, Calif.

Nick Moon and Martin Fisher founded ApproTEC out of their belief that poor people don't need handouts, they need concrete opportunities to use their skills and initiative. ApproTEC provides these opportunities by specially designing and manufacturing tools that help people work more productively, allowing them to break the cycle of poverty.

Necessary Conditions for Entrepreneurship. (This is part of a series} . In this PARC Forum (legendary R&D) talk, entrepreneur-turned-academic Vivek Wadhwa will share his insights on infrastructures for supporting entrepreneurship. 5/11


The Lean Startup, advice by by entrepreneur Eric Ries. 10/11

New leader of Sierra Club Michael Brune is best known for using civil disobedience and aggressive negotiation tactics as head of the environmental group Rainforest Action Network.(check out what he did with the intercom codes at Home Depot). audio interview 10/10

Iqbal Quadir: "Technology Empowers the Poorest" May 21, 2008 Quadir is the now-legendary founder of GrameenPhone, which transformed his home country of Bangladesh in the 1990s and led the way for the cellphone revolution throughout the developing world. Currently Quadir heads the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT and is building Emergence BioEnergy Inc., a project to develop local electricity for the rural poor, using such devices as a fuel cell that runs on anaerobic bacteria. Linking new technology with the boundless resourcefulness of the poor drives innovation in surprising directions at surprising speed. talk.

Jeff “Free” Luers in 2001 was sentenced to twenty-three years and eight months in prison. His crime? Setting fire to three vehicles in a car dealership to protest global warming. No one was hurt in the fire. In 2007, the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned Jeff’s sentence and reduced it to ten years. Last week, on December 16th, Jeff Luers walked out of prison a free man. In a Democracy Now! global broadcast exclusive, Jeff Luers speaks out in his first interview since his release. We also speak with his attorney, Lauren Regan, executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center.

William Draper, author of The Startup Game. For more than 40 years, Draper has worked with top entrepreneurs in fabled Silicon Valley like Skype. Draper will provide an inside look at how the worlds of venture capital and entre-preneurship work and will reveal lessons for success in both business and life. 2/11 Link. alt link. Tim Draper's venture capital career spans more than 25 years with investments in companies like Skype, Hotmail, Tesla and Meebo. He will discuss the latest trends in venture capital, innovation and competitiveness, and offer survival tips for entrepreneurs.6/11


Soul of a Citizen by Paul Loeb tells many stories of activism. The first excerpt here is on the powerful journey of evangelical global climate change activist Rich Cizik. The second is on Gandhi, King and the traps of the perfect standard. The third is how a self-described party girl became a global warming activist. See also his anthology The Impossible Will Take a While. Audio and video interviews (Realplayer) Here's a sort of Overview.

Rebecca Solnit is the author of many books, including Savage Dreams, Storming the Gates of Paradise. Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities is Solnit's rousing celebration of people who work tirelessly behind the scenes and courageously on the streets for justice and environmental health harmonizes beautifully with Studs Terkel's Hope Dies Last.

Rye Barcott, former Marine and social entrepreneur is co-founder of the global health and development non-profit, Carolina for Kibera. Barcott's eye-opening experience confronting poverty in Kenya started him along the tumultuous journey that led to his non-government organization and book, It Happened on the Way to War. a radio interview 2011. Google talk (video)

How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, by David Bornstein

World Change 2.0 By Scott Sherman.

Vijay Vaitheeswaran, China business and finance editor for The Economist and author of "Need, Speed, and Greed]: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World's Most Wicked Problems" audio interview 3/12

UCSC People / Programs

SPLICE: With $2.2 million in state funding to expand its innovation and entrepreneurship efforts, the Support Program for Long-term Innovation, Commercialization & Entrepreneurship (SPLICE) will include an incubator and an accelerator for start-up companies in Santa Cruz, a Silicon Valley incubator, an entrepreneurial training program for students, an internship program for arts students, and commercialization grants. 1/17

The Entrepreneurship Studies Initiative at the School of Engineering at UCSC is offering courses and other activities in entrepreneurship. This initiative was established by Gideon Shaanan (faculty profile) who also develops and teaches a number of entrepreneurship courses.

Economist Robert Fairlie has written about entrepreneurship.

Course Themes
Ecological and Social Utopias
Literature, Art, and the Environment
Environmental Science and Skeptical Challenges
Activism and Entrepreneurship