Ecological Intelligence, Pt. 3: Radical Transparency Lost in Translation

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Ecological Intelligence, Pt. 3: Radical Transparency Lost in Translation

Good Guide -- Transparency Yields Opacity
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#food Information Oversimplification by Good Guide? Radical Transparency Yields Opacity. #eco #green #socent #health

Summary is a gift boutique that promotes social justice and eco-consciousness by offering the creations of eco and socially conscious artisans and designers. Elegant Roots makes it Personal by telling the Story of every artisan/designer as well as the product and the vision for People and Planet that it reflects. Elegant Roots supports the transparency movement; we inform so purchases may be aligned with values. Buy less but buy better. Make it meaningful. And we deliver it all exquisite, eco-conscious gift wrap.

Each week, on Elegant Roots' Tuesday tracts, we will recognize one of the artisans/designers whose creations grace the pages of our website. We think you'll find the stories worthy of notice. Occasionally, we tackle another timely topic.



Tuesday, October 6, 2009 - 11:30am



This is the third in a series reviewing Ecological Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Part 1 and Part 2.

Ecological Intelligence should really have been titled "Radical Transparency". The central theme of Ecological Intelligence is how radical transparency can and will change everything. When consumers can know the footprint of a product -- not merely the carbon footprint -- but the full enviro-footprint of every stage from extraction of materials, to converging of materials to production to packaging to shipping through use and disposal for every component of every product (at least for mass produced products) than consumers will begin choosing the better choices from an environmental perspective. Companies, to survive and thrive, will begin to respond to the consumer clatter and make better products. Hence, less impact on the environment.

 Goleman suggests the same will be true on other values -- social justice like labor practices. And health issues.

This process, Goleman argues persuasively, is not only the best, most effective, most powerful way to effect change -- it's the only way to real change.

Goleman holds up as perhaps the most promising example of Radical Transparency at work,  the Good Guide, a beta site accumulating an impressive amount of data about many products -- though it's just a beginning -- and assigning to a product an overall Good Guide rating based on three composite scores: Health, Environment and Society -- roughly translated to Nutrition/Health, Environment, and Social Justice. All the issues of what is "Good" are reduced to three numerical scores on a scale of 100.

 Good Guide has done an impressive amount of work which yields impressive results, especially given it's self-proclaimed "beta" status. And it envisions even more: Imagine strolling the supermarket aisles, using a phone app that scans a product bar code and instantly retrieves these three simple scores -- or simpler yet, one overall score that tells you which is Good, which is Better, which Best.

 Sounds simple? Too Good to be true? My take: this is too much information funneled to such a fine laser point that one is simply blinded by the light.

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Keywords: Daniel Goleman | Ecological Intelligence | Elegant Roots | Health | LCA | Life Cycle Assessments | carbon footprint | environmental | radical transparency | social justice