Son of Five Rivers Blog

For the advancement of Entrepreneurship, Sustainability & the Ecology of Everyday Life

This Site has Moved to

Click Here to Vist NEW Site:

I’ve been blogging for several months now and I’m glad to have recieved the feedback I have.  I’ve enjoyed the experince and for that reason I’ve decided to take blogging to another level.  I’ll be self hosting my blog and that means you’ll see a lot more creativity in the design, functionality and layout of the new blog.

Check it out:


January 22, 2010 Posted by | 1, A Thought, Ads, Agriculture, Art, Blogging, Books, Brochure, Business, Business Cards, Business Development, Business Model, Carbon Credits, Clean Energy, Co-op, Community Economic Development (CED), Computer Networking, Construction, Creativity, Data Recovery, Definitions, Earth, Economics, Education, Electric Cars, Email, Entrepreneurship, Family, Finance, Geothermal, Government, Grants, Great Ideas, Green Roofs, Human Resources, Information Technology (I.T.), Inspiration, Investment, LEED, Life, Marketing, Micro Credit, Not for Profit, Open Source, Packaging, PDA's, Philanthropy, Photography, Politics, Power Piont, Products, Project Management, Quotes, Sales, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Services, Social Enterprise, Social Media, Solar, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development, Taxes, Venture Capital, Videos, War, Waste, Water, Website | Leave a comment

They went to Jail, I wrote a Letter!

So here’s the story, at the UN Climate Summit last month in Copenhagen.  A group of four managed to get into a dinner party where world leaders were dining with the Queen of Denmark and they held up a banner demanding they take action against global warming.  I’m a Greenpeace member, so I while these people went to jail I sent the letter below when the Executive Director Kumi Naidoo reached out and asked its members.

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
Barack Obama, President of the United States
Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia
José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission
Faced with the unique opportunity to stop climate change in Copenhagen, world leaders offered instead an historic failure.  In sharp contrast, we and the world’s environment, hunger, and justice groups are mobilizing the largest movement civil society has ever witnessed, to demand a fair, ambitious, legally binding climate treaty.
I stand in solidarity with those who have taken non-violent direct action or committed peaceful acts of civil disobedience to demand climate justice. That includes the four Greenpeace activists who were detained without trial in Denmark for holding up banners at a head of state dinner. I have contributed to their action by supporting Greenpeace — financially, morally, or in my day to day life.  If the response of governments to the threat of climate change is going to be preventive detention of those likely to support or commit acts of civil disobedience, count me among the 15 million people you may need to round up.
I urge you to recognise that civil disobedience to demand action against so grave a threat is an act of community service.
Yours faithfully,


The four activists have been released.

January 12, 2010 Posted by | Carbon Credits, Clean Energy, Community Economic Development (CED), Government, Great Ideas, Inspiration, Life, Politics, Social Media, Sustainability, War | , , | Leave a comment

The problem with Centralized Purchasing

Definition of Centralized Purchasing: The control by a central department of all the purchasing undertaken within a large organization. Centralized purchasing is often located in the headquarters and centralization has the advantages of reducing duplication of effort, pooling volume purchases for discounts, enabling more effective inventory control, increasing skills development in purchasing personnel and sometime by consolidating transport loads to achieve lower costs (unless everything has to repackage and shipped to other branches).

The Financial & Administrative Impacts

Organizations are focusing too much on centralized purchasing because of the typical administrative and financial benefits associated.  Economies of scale kicks in when buying bulk and it many cases it is easier to manage.  But here’s the idea; what if executives responsible form Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR & Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) sat together and rethought a strategy that would fulfill not just the bottom line ($) but the triple bottom line (Finance, Social, Environment) while meeting all departmental objectives.

Helping develop the local economy benefits any business operating in that community, the case same would go for the branch location of any multinational.   The decision to decentralize purchasing and purchase from small businesses owned locally would do wonders for multinational CSR and branding.  Logistically it would have less of a carbon footprint because less transportation.

The success stories and highlighting local businesses would be a new approach of viral marketing for the Marketing department.  Financially it would make sense as head office already knows the price targets each branch needs to meet.

The case can be made that centralized purchasing you have fewer suppliers and thats more control.  This is translated into “stronger or better relationships.” If we look at the turnover and promotions within large multinationals do you really think its stronger relationships or is it entirely bottom line driven.

Now imagine an organization that goes away from playing the global market and but instead now develops the local economy.  Now each branch of the multinational would purchase its supplies from local small business community, which in return could generate more business for that branch.  This helps the local economy and all the employees of the multinational.  How does it do that?  Take your wife/husband, kids, neighbours and/ or siblings, then think about where they work and how the development of local business community can effect their lives and your community.  The stronger we make each community the more robust in can grow leading to a great satisfaction of everyday life.   Plus look at the simple economics of the multiplier effect where everyone is buying from small businesses and that same dollar is being spent several times over in the community where before it would have left without anyone even seeing it.  All this can make a HR (Human Resources) department more efficient when you start looking at statistics that community driven and sustainable organization have higher retention rates and higher levels of productivity.

The branch would play a vital part in the local economy and help keep dollars in the pockets of their customers and the employees families, who live work and play in that community.


November 30, 2009 Posted by | Business Model, Community Economic Development (CED), Great Ideas | , | Leave a comment

How Procurement Helps Organizations Stay on Course in a Tough Economic Climate

Recent economic conditions require immediate, measurable, and sustainable cost reductions, and it’s essential
that procurement leads the way in delivering savings. The link below leads to research conducted by SAP in conjunction with the Procurement Leaders Network.  You will find the results of a survey taken in April–May 2009, where over 200 procurement executives about what strategies are working today, in a period of economic free fall.  63% of stakeholders interviewed are responsible for procurement with companies that have annual sales in excess of €1 billion euros.

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Business, Community Economic Development (CED) | , | Leave a comment

Introduction to Green Construction Video 101

studying for my LEED AP Exam so I’ve been hunting for some great resources.

I found this Video helpful as a great introduction to green building.

Hope you enjoy the video, and if your in the process of doing your LEED AP, have a look at this site; I found it helpful:

November 8, 2009 Posted by | Community Economic Development (CED), Construction, LEED, Sustainability | , , , , | Leave a comment

What is Brownfield Redevelopment?


Brownfield redevelopment is a form of sustainable development, offering opportunities to revitalize older neighbourhoods, lower municipal infrastructure costs, increase municipal property tax revenues and lessen urban sprawl. Despite the obstacles facing this type of development, successful redevelopment projects have been built across Canada. These case studies are successful examples of residential projects that have overcome the barriers to brownfield redevelopment

Case Study:

October 30, 2009 Posted by | Community Economic Development (CED), Construction, LEED, Sustainable Community Development | | Leave a comment

Building a Park in Parking Lot

In San Fransisco, its not illegal to occupy a parking stop with something other then motor vehicle.

I like this because it’s playful activism towards the causes that we belive in. Sustainable Urban Planning, Sustainable transportation and the importance of green space.

September 9, 2009 Posted by | Community Economic Development (CED), Inspiration, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development | , , , | Leave a comment

The Daughter Deficit

Saving the World's Women

In the late 1970s, a Ph.D. student named Monica Das Gupta was conducting anthropological fieldwork in Haryana, a state in the north of India. She observed something striking about families there: parents had a fervent preference for male offspring. Women who had given birth to only daughters were desperate for sons and would keep having children until they had one or two. Midwives were even paid less when a girl was born. “It’s something you notice coming from outside,” says Das Gupta, who today studies population and public health in the World Bank’s development research group. “It just leaps out at you.”
Das Gupta saw that educated, independent-minded women shared this prejudice in Haryana, a state that was one of India’s richest and most developed. In fact, the bias against girls was far more pronounced there than in the poorer region in the east of India where Das Gupta was from. She decided to study the issue in Punjab, then India’s richest state, which had a high rate of female literacy and a high average age of marriage. There too the prejudice for sons flourished. Along with Haryana, Punjab had the country’s highest percentage of so-called missing girls — those aborted, killed as newborns or dead in their first few years from neglect.

Here was a puzzle: Development seemed to have not only failed to help many Indian girls but to have made things worse.

It is rarely good to be female anywhere in the developing world today, but in India and China the situation is dire: in those countries, more than 1.5 million fewer girls are born each year than demographics would predict, and more girls die before they turn 5 than would be expected. (In China in 2007, there were 17.3 million births — and a million missing girls.) Millions more grow up stunted, physically and intellectually, because they are denied the health care and the education that their brothers receive.

Among policymakers, the conventional wisdom is that such selective brutality toward girls can be mitigated by two factors. One is development: surely the wealthier the home, the more educated the parents, the more plugged in to the modern economy, the more a family will invest in its girls. The other is focusing aid on women. The idea is that a mother who has more money, knowledge and authority in the family will direct her resources toward all her children’s health and education. She will fight for her girls.

Yet these strategies — though invaluable — underestimate the complexity of the situation in certain countries. To be sure, China and India are poor. But in both nations, girls are actually more likely to be missing in richer areas than in poorer ones, and in cities than in rural areas. Having more money, a better education and (in India) belonging to a higher caste all raise the probability that a family will discriminate against its daughters. The bias against girls applies in some of the wealthiest and best-educated nations in the world, including, in recent years, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. It also holds among Indian immigrants in Britain and among Chinese, Indian and South Korean immigrants in the United States. In the last few years, the percentage of missing girls has been among the highest in the middle-income, high-education nations of the Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Nor does a rise in a woman’s autonomy or power in the family necessarily counteract prejudice against girls. Researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute have found that while increasing women’s decision-making power would reduce discrimination against girls in some parts of South Asia, it would make things worse in the north and west of India. “When women’s power is increased,” wrote Lisa C. Smith and Elizabeth M. Byron, “they use it to favor boys.”

Why should this be? A clue lies in what Das Gupta uncovered in her research in Punjab in the 1980s. At the time, it was assumed that parents in certain societies simply did not value girls. And in important ways, this was true. But Das Gupta complicated this picture. She found that it was not true that all daughters were mistreated equally. A firstborn daughter was not typically subjected to inferior treatment; she was treated like her brothers. But a subsequent daughter born to an educated mother was 2.36 times as likely to die before her fifth birthday as her siblings were to die before theirs — mainly because she was less likely to see a doctor. It turned out that a kind of economic logic was at work: with a firstborn girl, families still had plenty of chances to have a boy; but with each additional girl, the pressure to have a son increased. The effect of birth order that Das Gupta discovered has now been confirmed in subsequent studies of missing girls.

What unites communities with historically high rates of discrimination against girls is a rigid patriarchal culture that makes having a son a financial and social necessity. When a daughter grows up and marries, she essentially becomes chattel in her husband’s parents’ home and has very limited contact with her natal family. Even if she earns a good living, it will be of no help to her own parents in their old age. So for parents, investing in a daughter is truly, in the Hindi expression, planting a seed in the neighbor’s garden. Sons, by contrast, provide a kind of social security. A family with only daughters will also likely lose its land when the father dies: although women can legally inherit property, in areas of north India and China, they risk ostracism or even murder if they claim what is theirs. And sons are particularly important to mothers, who acquire power and authority when they have married sons. Sons, according to Chinese custom, are also needed to care for the souls of dead ancestors.

What Das Gupta discovered is that wealthier and more educated women face this same imperative to have boys as uneducated poor women — but they have smaller families, thus increasing the felt urgency of each birth. In a family that expects to have seven children, the birth of a girl is a disappointment; in a family that anticipates only two or three children, it is a tragedy.

Thus development can worsen, not improve, traditional discrimination. This can happen in other ways too. With the access it brings to cutting-edge technology, development can also offer more sophisticated and easier options for exercising old-fashioned prejudice. In China and in the north and west of India, for instance, the spread of ultrasound technology, which can inform parents of the sex of their fetus, has turned a pool of missing girls into an ocean. The birth of girls has long been avoided through infanticide, which is still practiced often in China. But there are even more couples who would abort a pregnancy than would kill a newborn. Ultrasound has been advertised in India as “pay 5,000 rupees today and save 500,000 rupees tomorrow.” In both countries, it is illegal to inform parents of the sex of their fetus, and sex-selective abortion is banned. But it is practiced widely and rarely punished.

Finally, because higher education and income levels generate more resources, development offers new opportunities to discriminate against living girls. After all, if people are very poor, boys and girls are necessarily deprived equally — there is little to dole out to anyone. But as parents gain the tools to help their children survive and thrive (and indeed, all children do better as their parents’ education and income levels advance), they allocate advantages like doctor visits to boys and firstborn girls, leaving subsequent daughters behind.

To be sure, development can eventually lead to more equal treatment for girls: South Korea’s birth ratios are now approaching normality. But policymakers need to realize that this type of development works slowly and mainly indirectly, by softening a son-centered culture. The solution is not to abandon development or to stop providing, say, microcredit to women. But these efforts should be joined by an awareness of the unintended consequences of development and by efforts, aimed at parents, to weaken the cultural preference for sons.

The lesson here is subtle but critical: Development brings about immense and valuable cultural change — much of it swiftly — but it doesn’t necessarily change all aspects of a culture at the same rate. (India and China have myriad laws outlawing discrimination against girls that are widely ignored. And how to explain the persistence of missing girls among Asian immigrants in America?) In the short and medium terms, the resulting clashes between modern capabilities and old prejudices can make some aspects of life worse before they make them better.

Tina Rosenberg is a contributing writer for the Times magazine.

September 9, 2009 Posted by | Community Economic Development (CED) | , , , , | Leave a comment

20/20 vision for 1 billion by the year 2020

Atomic physicist Joshua Silver invented liquid-filled optical lenses to produce low-cost, adjustable glasses, giving sight to millions without access to an optometrist.

This is an amazing vision for someone to have….

Let me introduce you to the man himself.  His name is Josh Silver and he’s going to delivers his brilliantly simple solution for correcting vision at the lowest cost possible — adjustable, liquid-filled lenses.

More than 30,000 of his lenses have been distributed in 15 countries, and a new model will scale that number up to millions.

September 4, 2009 Posted by | Community Economic Development (CED), Life, Philanthropy, Videos | , , , | Leave a comment

Microinsurance for the Poor

Tsunami insurance for the poor

A new health insurance plan will enable the poor in India to buy health insurance for less than 10 cents a month, and it will cover natural disasters including Tsunamis.

The new program is a partnership between and aid group, CARE International, and a private insurer, Allianz. It is expected that over 200,000 customers will buy insurance within a year. According to Allianz, the communities have been involved in designing the new policies, which will cover death, medical treatment for injuries in accidents, help with funeral and hospital expenses, as well as paying wages during illness.

“Microinsurance provides a comprehensive measure of social security in an area which desperately needs this sort of protection against accidents and shocks that can push poor communities right to the limit,” said Wolfgang Jamman, national director of CARE Germany.

But don’t be so quick in calling this charity work. With an estimated market of 250 million policy holders in India, there sure is a buck or two to be made.

Posted by Alan Pereira (World Bank Private Deveopment Secotor Blog)

August 29, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Model, Community Economic Development (CED), Creativity, Economics, Government, Philanthropy | , , , , , | Leave a comment