We live in an age of clever portmanteaus. They’ve integrated into popular culture with varying levels of success: I am a major fan of the jackalope, for example, but if I have to hear about glamping or broetry one more time I might disown the internet and live out the rest of my life in a tree. Well that might happen anyway.
Life goals aside, the only real drawback to a portmanteau is that it’s heavily based upon one’s assumptions about where exactly the two words intersect.
That’s all well and good when we’re being silly — I mean, it doesn’t take much to infer the meaning of “glamping” — but when we we’re using these charming descriptors in spheres like environmental sustainability, it’s of the utmost importance to be sure we have a shared understanding of the definition.
That brings us to our word of the day. What is a Naturepreneur?
Members of the We Are Wildness founded, Nature-Based Business Network on Facebook came together to define ‘Naturepreneur’ in all its nuance. The process revealed a continuously evolving word constructed from a mixture of modern and ancient reverence for nature, the need for a respectful partnership between economic endeavors and the environment, and a deep desire to do better. While the term itself is new, Naturepreneurs have been around since the beginning of human history. The only difference is that now, they’re getting organized.
We will start our exploration with the self-actualizing manifesto from the Nature-Based Business Network:
Who are Naturepreneurs?
“Naturepreneurs are business owners, doing business that not only serves people, but the planet as well. They offer products and services with the health and well-being of the planet in mind, working in partnership with nature, rather than at the expense of Nature. They are artists, healers, educators, inventors, nourishers, builders, designers, innovators, consultants, writers, caretakers, and everything in between.
They work for an ethical profit that benefits their businesses as well as the planet and all other life forms we share it with, unlike many of the businesses and corporations operating against those values today.”
What is a Naturepreneur?
A Naturepreneur’s first priority is to be of benefit to the planet. Of course, one must make a profit to stay in business and continue doing good work, but it is of the utmost importance that the drive for profit never flips into justification for harming the natural world.
If it becomes impossible to work in a given profession without negatively impacting the environment, then it is the job of a Naturepreneur to call for a paradigm shift.
The movement is essentially one that calls upon business people to shift their thought-framework to that of an NGO first, a non-governmental environmental organization, and a capitalist second. The concept is best described by environmental MPA educators: “Environmental NGOs are unique in that their focus is not on directly improving the wellbeing of humans, but rather on improving the consequences of their decisions.” Simply put, it’s not all about us. Applying that concept to business takes a lot of patience and ingenuity, but at the very least shifting towards that way of thinking is our best recourse for nursing the planet back to health.
Where are Naturepreneurs?
A person doesn’t have to own a recycled-goods boutique or lead a conservation team in order to be in this movement. That’s great, of course, but the movement is not exclusive to those in fields typically considered sustainable. Environmentalism is for everyone, affects every living soul on earth, and it’s important that we all continue to follow our passions and strengths in the pursuit of it.
Some of the most powerful voices for change come from within industries that are decidedly non-environmental when it comes to resources. Those are the people who make change from the inside. They’re the ones with the capacity to bring the movement from a homespun-dream to a global reality. It takes involvement from all sorts. Here’s an example from the lumber industry. I come from a lumber town, and there’s no denying that my home would not be here if not for the logging history of the area. I’m not proud of the gross overuse and clear cutting of my ancestors, but it is a reality. Today, people in the lumber business are focusing on timber waste reduction and dedicating their energy to sustainable harvesting practices, more so than ever before.
When are Naturepreneurs Needed?
Today. Tomorrow. And yesterday.
Feel the Calling to Join the Movement?
Helping make the shift to sustainable societies, in balance with the natural world is important work. It might not seem easy (nothing worth doing ever is!), but you’ll be contributing to a paradigm shift that we’re only in the beginning phase of.
If you’re already business owner maybe you can make changes in your current business in order to give back to nature. There are a growing number of examples out there of businesses successfully achieving a net positive benefit to the environment though sometimes the impact isn’t always fully tangible as social change is harder to measure than say, the number of trees planted.
If you aren’t an entrepreneur but want to be, then consider how you can create a company with a business model that has nature in mind from the start.
Not in business? There are still ways you can contribute to the movement. We know it’s not easy to just change what you do for a living, look for a new job, and take on the risks involved in doing so, but if you’re feeling the calling then know that there are opportunities out there to do work that helps the planet, in almost all fields. You as an induvidual can help influence change in the company you work for, your industry, and your job role.
Think…how can things be done with nature in mind. Small changes add up.
The next step is to join the greater community on Facebook here: facebook.com/groups/naturebasedbusiness
Share this post with other Naturepreneurs if you know any. Help the movement grow, because together we can change the way business is done!
Do you have a nature based business? Leave a comment below with a link so we can check it out!