Inspired by Slow Money
Our global financial markets are totally separated from our environment and social networks. Today, financial decisions are based on profitability and growth. “We are stuck in a nineteenth-century way of thinking that leads to large-scale, centralized production and power generation. We don’t have the mind-set to really invest for the long-term in small-scale solutions that would improve life for billions of people.” (Inventor Dean Kamen speaking at the 25th anniversary celebration for the Rocky Mountain Institute).
In contrast, the Slow Money movement birthed by Woody Tasch reclaims the value of relationships between people and their environment. It considers them as equals in economic transactions. It recognizes that the problems we face with respect to soil fertility, biodiversity, food quality, and local economies are not primarily problems of technology. Instead, they are problems of finance.
We have slipped during the past half century, as if pulled by the gravitational or centripetal forces of population growth, technological innovation, consumerism, and markets, into a food system that treats the soil as if it were nothing more than a medium for holding plant roots so that they can be force-fed a chemical diet.
We have become dependent on technology and synthetic inputs, subsidized by what was, until very recently, cheap oil, which facilitated not only the production of nitrogen fertilizer, but also the management of large-scale, mechanized farms and the energy-intensive system of processing and long-range transportation necessary to bring agricultural products to distant markets. Agriculture accounts for more than 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions—all the more shocking when one realizes that recent science indicates that fertile soil is a potent carbon sink, holding the potential to play a significant role in remediating global warming. …
No, no one ever sat down and designed such a system. Yet it is precisely such a technology-heavy, extractive, intermediation laden food system that we now need to remediate and reform.
Sustainable Industries, September 28, 2010
Mission and Principles
Slow Money’s mission is to build local and national networks, and develop new financial products and services, dedicated to:
- Investing in small food enterprises and local food systems;
- Connecting investors to their local economies; and,
- Building the nurture capital industry.
The goal of the Slow Money movement is to mobilize one million people to invest just 1% of their assets in local food systems…within a decade. Why? This will enhance food security, food safety and food access; improve nutrition and health; promote cultural, ecological and economic diversity; and accelerate the transition from an economy based on extraction and consumption to an economy based on preservation and restoration.
Because the first step is a fundamentally new way of thinking about money, Slow Money’s first step is a campaign to obtain signatories to the Slow Money Principles:
- We must bring money back down to earth.
- There is such a thing as money that is too fast, companies that are too big, finance that is too complex. Therefore, we must slow our money down — not all of it, of course, but enough to matter.
- The 20th Century was the era of Buy Low/Sell High and Wealth Now/Philanthropy Later—what one venture capitalist called “the largest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” The 21st Century will be the era of nurture capital, built around principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place and non-violence.
- We must learn to invest as if food, farms and fertility mattered. We must connect investors to the places where they live, creating vital relationships and new sources of capital for small food enterprises.
- Let us celebrate the new generation of entrepreneurs, consumers and investors who are showing the way from Making A Killing to Making a Living.
- Paul Newman said, “I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what he takes out.” Recognizing the wisdom of these words, let us begin rebuilding our economy from the ground up, asking:
* What would the world be like if we invested 50% of our assets within 50 miles of where we live?
* What if there were a new generation of companies that gave away 50% of their profits?
* What if there were 50% more organic matter in our soil 50 years from now?
You can read more and sign on to the principles by visiting Slow Money’s website. We think that it’s time to think differently about money, and hope that you’ll pass this along and become a member. We did!
Looking to Invest?
If you are looking fora alternative investments that make a difference, click here to learn more. Investment dollars and terms vary, as do the investments, which range include recycling program, protecting fisheries, investing in affordable housing, converting conventional farmland to organic, and much more.