Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Social Entrepreneurship Targets Climate Change & Poverty

Social entrepreneurs kill two birds with one stone: poverty and climate change

Increasingly intense storms threaten to damage homes and scorching hot droughts will wear thin the water supply of many nations. Take your pick, social entrepreneurship can be an effective method to mitigate the effects of climate change. Social entrepreneurship can help lower carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency, and provide safe means of carrying out daily chores while being very cost effective.

Social entrepreneurship is defined as the addressing of a social problem through an entrepreneurial venture. In other words: A sustainable business venture that seeks to impact society in a positive way. It is distinguishable from a charity in the sense that a social entrepreneurship venture strives to make gains and profits in order to provide more good to the people either in the form of services or products. There seems to be no bigger and more widespread threat to society nowadays than climate change.

Poor countries are going to be the hardest hit by climate change and that is because they don't have the money to protect themselves from global warming and its many side effects. By addressing the problem now, social entrepreneurs are filling needs of these people while also improving their local environment. A most popular example of all social entrepreneur ventures is d.light design, which addresses the dangers and environmental impact of kerosene lamps by replacing them with much safer, carbon neutral solar lamps. Another great venture is development of cheap solar stoves that harness the power of the sun to replace the need to burn wood or coal for cooking, thus eliminating tons of carbon emissions a year. As water resources become scarcer, need for access to fresh water will deepen and cheap filtration will be a big part of the solution. Electricity, heat, and water, delivered, in an environmentally sustainable way.

By offering a cheap product to the potential billions of people in developing countries social entrepreneurship can certainly be profitable. This revenue could provide the kind of money needed by countries to begin renewable energy projects to lower emissions or the development of infrastructure to safeguard from severe storms and flooding. Jobs would be created and the war on poverty would be one step closer to being won.

However, like all business ventures it will take the relentless dedication of social entrepreneurs to pour their hearts out creating meaningful solutions and products worth buying. Any such endeavors will take time to grow and it is uncertain if that growth can be fast enough to provide changes in the environment on a scale that is required. Even if social entrepreneurship isn't the end all solution to climate change it certainly provides the indispensable result of increasing awareness for climate change in every corner of the globe.

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