Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Property & Environment Research Center

I have been reading their articles, and posting them on our blog, for several years now, and this article is a look back over their many years working with enviropreneurs—great word, great concept—and this article notes some history.

An excerpt.

“Ten years ago, PERC embarked on a journey that would indelibly impact the lives of many environmentalists, as well as the face and direction of our organization. The idea was borne out of PERC’s passion to bring management principles, economics, property rights, and markets to the environmental movement. PERC’s Enviropreneur™ Institute, formerly known as the Kinship Conservation Institute, is the embodiment of that vision and is now entering its eleventh year. The breadth of interests and organizations represented in the ten incantations of the Institute show a dedication and purpose to environmental conservation and liberty not likely equaled anywhere else in the world. Indeed, the sun never sets on the Enviropreneur Empire!

“As the retiring director of the Institute, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the past and future of this highenergy, hands-on, and often life-changing program. But first thing's first: What exactly is an enviropreneur? It is an entrepreneur who makes environmental assets out of environmental problems. An enviropreneur sees an opportunity where others see waste. An enviropreneur sees a chance to do well while doing good. But how does this all come about?


“So you have spent the past 15 years working a somewhat, but not completely, satisfying job for an environmental organization, when suddenly, you find yourself in Bozeman, Montana, with some group called PERC. Here you greet your fellow enviropreneurs, and before you know it, you’re in a van heading toward the Gallatin Mountains. You are stunned by the simple beauty of the green landscape and the stark contrast of snow-capped peaks in all directions. “Is this real?” you ask yourself, as if the 5,000 foot elevation has you seeing things.

“You head into a canyon that looks like a movie set from A River Runs Through It. You cross the Gallatin River and veer off onto a dirt road—your second thoughts turning to thirds and fourths. You crest a hill to find hundreds of bison roaming on a field of green that runs for miles until it hits the sky. You are now on Ted Turner’s 114,000-acre Flying D Ranch.

“It is here, at a place called Cow Camp, where you spend the next four days with 15 other enviropreneurs, many of whom you develop relationships with that will last your entire career. You rise early to scope for elk, participate in one-on-one discussions with other environmental entrepreneurs, listen to lectures from an array of environmental scholars and business leaders, and take part in honest discussion with your peers on how to make environmental entrepreneurship a reality. As night falls, you crash in your bed as the coyotes howl nearby.”