Thank you to all who tuned in for the first episode of my new radio show, Tickell Talks where I spoke with a few experts who told us how to make money, improve the economy, and create new innovative ways to stay green and build a sustainable society.
With the question “What can I do with my money that doesn’t cause harm to the planet and still makes money?” in mind, I spoke with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney financial advisor Elana Pianko. Her main focus in the investing world has been Socially Responsible Investing. What is this you ask? Well, according to Elana, these are investors that:
“understand that the way people spend and invest can dramatically influence both the fabric and consciousness of society. They realize that today’s social issues often become tomorrow’s economic problems. They believe that we can make money and make a meaningful difference by consciously directing investment capital toward enterprises that contribute to a clean, healthy environment, treat people fairly, embrace equal opportunity, produce safe and useful products, and support efforts to promote world peace.”
SRI is putting money into companies that are promoting positive ethics and values, and companies that compete on an alpha level. Because more and more investors are adopting and using SRI strategies, they perform as well as or, in some cases better than traditional alpha investments. Socially Responsible Investing is not only catered to the “eco-yuppie” community, but appeals and has participation from everyone across the board. The bottom line is people want to invest in something that will not only make them more money, but also in something that makes them feel good about what they are investing in.
For more information about Socially Responsible Investing, or if you would like to get in contact with Elana, please visit:
My next guest, Dr. Dickson Despommier shed some light on the future of agriculture and the role of genetically modified crops. Using modern technology, Dr. Dickson advocates a new way for us to sustain our rapidly growing population through a system called Vertical Farming. Vertical Farming is exactly as it sounds. It is a method of indoor farming that stacks layers of mini farms on top of each other to create a multiple story building. With this we can not only avoid the ever-changing climate conditions wreaking havoc on our crops, but also produce food at a higher volume and reduce the need for herbicides.
Dr. Dickson’s opinions of GMOs sparked an interesting conversation. As many of you know GMOs generally have a negative connotation. However, nowadays it is rare to consume anything that has not been modified in someway, unless you are fishing in the middle of the ocean. In his opinion, based on this alone, there is no reason to object to GMOs. However, if you are looking at a laboratory based GMO, that aims to only satisfy a small group of people and exploit others then there is an obvious issue of economy disparity enforced through crops or food. For example, plants that are bred to be resistance to herbicides, increase profits for the makers of herbicide by increasing the need for them. This essentially brings more money to specific group of people at the expense of others. The bottom line – there may be two sides to the GMO argument – both worth considering in light of the future of agriculture.