Sustainable Enterprises Over 25 Years With Mark Milstein (Episode 108)

sustainable enterprise

Mark Milstein has been thinking and talking about sustainable enterprises for a quarter century.

In this conversation—which continues the Amiel Show’s series on climate change, sustainable business, and clean tech—Mark and I discuss his professional and intellectual journey, how the field of sustainable enterprise has grown, what he’s created at Cornell, why the private sector matters, where sustainability happens inside companies, and who signs up for his classes these days.

Mark and I hadn’t spoken for 15-20 years, so this was also a fun chance to catch up and debate whether or not “Mimbo: The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion” is relevant for people leading in politically complex environments.

If you like what you hear, please share. Podcast listening is a participatory sport!


  • 9:00 Mark is dissatisfied intellectual with his MBA program and adds a second degree
  • 15:00 A professor tells Mark, “I do not like you people.”
  • 20:00 Mark reverses a huge decision at the mailbox
  • 28:00 Are companies the problem and/or the solution?
  • 36:30 Mark creates a curriculum in sustainability at Cornell
  • 52:00 Faculty resistance to talking about sustainable enterprise has broken down
  • 58:00 Different strokes by different folks: CSR, environment management, sustainable enterprise
  • 1:06:00 Unilever, living wages, frontier markets, Base of the Pyramid
  • 1:12:00 What is greenwashing?
  • 1:19:00 Overtourism, ecotourism, and destination managers

Listen to the Podcast


Explore Additional Resources


My Journey With Sustainable Business (Episode 107)

This week, we turn the tables.

Chris Chittenden, senior ontological coach and past podcast guest, interviews me about my journey with sustainable business.

I found the experience liberating.

We discuss why I started a series on climate change, clean technology and sustainable business, the people and ideas who have influenced me, how I work with regret, and how I express these commitments in the life I was given.

I hope that this taste of my journey gives you insight and courage on your own journey.

If you get value from this, please share with friends.

Listen to the Podcast


Climate Change—Walking On A Knife’s Edge With Theo Horesh (Episode 106)

climate change

Thinking about climate change can feel like walking on a knife’s edge.

This week, Theo Horesh brings this perspective and many other fresh insights to my series on sustainable business, climate change, and clean technology.

Theo and I discuss what it is about human brains and human evolution that makes climate change such an elusive topic, how fascism relates to climate change (hey, why stop at one foreboding topic?), why apocalyptic thinking exists and how it looks different on the political left and right, the gifts and limitations of the Go Local movement, and practical tips for expanding our hearts and minds. In the middle of all this, I jump in to explain why today’s progressive is yesterday’s Eisenhower Republican.

Theo is great at explaining complex topics without either squashing their complexity or confusing the listener. And I always end conversations with him feeling wiser and more engaged than when we started.


  • 6:00 How do fascist leaders affect climate change?
  • 12:00 How Amiel’s computer programming ineptitude prevented nuclear war
  • 17:00 Different ways to interpret big storms
  • 23:00 How facing climate change became the structure of Theo’s life
  • 27:30 It’s easy to be vague and apocalyptic
  • 35:00 Varieties of conservative apocalyptic thinking
  • 39:00 True But Partial Challenge—the Go Local movement
  • 41:30 You have to get your inspiration from somewhere
  • 50:00 Amiel redefines the political center
  • 57:30 Reading The Economist gives Theo the “wows”

Listen to the Podcast


Explore Additional Resources


Episode 97: Spiral Dynamics With Jon Freeman

Spiral Dynamics

Waiting four years to discuss Spiral Dynamics on my podcast is like waiting that long on a show about desserts before bringing up chocolate.

Yes, Cindy Wigglesworth used Spiral Dynamics to help us make sense of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, but this week is our first in-depth exploration.

And I’m excited to share it.

Spiral Dynamics is my go-to framework for understanding politics, global events, cultural evolution, and the many big challenges we face as a people and planet. It also explains what happens inside of large organizations, a place where I do most of my coaching and consulting. Whether the topic is global climate change, right wing nationalism, competing economic theories, or race and culture, Spiral Dynamics gives me a way to understand the core worldviews that animate everyday conversations.

That’s why Spiral Dynamics is called the “master code” or code of all codes.

To illuminate this framework, I spoke with Jon Freeman, who, after a long business career, discovered Spiral Dynamics and became one of its leading teachers.


  • 9:30 Small bands roaming the savannah to warlord gangs to rule-bound towns—and beyond
  • 14:30 The worldviews dominant within big companies and organizations
  • 25:30 Why you want all worldviews present in organizations
  • 31:00 Reinterpreting the 2008 financial crisis through the Spiral
  • 39:00 The dangers of ignoring the virtues of Blue rules
  • 50:00 Why the U.S. underestimated China
  • 56:30 Humanity prepares for a momentous leap—the shift to second tier
  • 1:03:00 Reinventing Blue order in big corporations
  • 1:08:00 The rise of mafia enterprises and right wing nationalism
  • 1:15:00 Brexit, immigration, and complexity
  • 1:19:00 Climate change, clean tech, and Spiral Wizards in a time of catastrophe

Listen to the Podcast

Overview of Spiral Dynamics

Explore Additional Resources


Episode 95: The Clean Tech Edge With Ron Pernick

clean tech edge

The story of clean technology is invigorating. The story of global climate change is sobering. What quality of mind and what forms of deliberate practice are needed to hold both stories in place simultaneously—and remain mostly sane?

I think about this question when I read about extreme temperatures, massive flooding, and drought…and then get in my all electric Nissan Leaf that is powered by PV solar panels on the roof of our home and drive by one of Portland’s many LEED Platinum green buildings.

It is exciting to witness the signs of technological progress yet frightening to experience the early days of what could be climate catastrophe.

Things are getting better and things are getting worse.

To make sense of this paradox, I’ve scheduled a series of interviews with thought leaders in sustainable enterprise, global climate change, and clean technology.

To launch the series, I speak this week with the person arguably most responsible for defining the contours of the clean technology economy, Ron Pernick, cofounder of Clean Edge and coauthor of Clean Tech Revolution and Clean Tech Nation.


Join us for this conversation, and let me know what you think.


  • 8:30 Diplomats discard the term “clean tech,” and Ron picks it up
  • 13:00 Ron creates the first clean tech stock index, and Nasdaq wants in
  • 26:00 Why Portland ranked high on the metro index of clean tech
  • 31:00 All electric SUVs are coming soon, and why it’s taken a while
  • 37:00 Clean tech needs to be better than what it is displacing
  • 48:00 The political landscape around clean tech
  • 1:00:00 Making sense of the 2018 IPCC report on climate change

Listen to the Podcast

Explore Additional Resources


Episode 62: Crisis, Healing, Civic Engagement With Terry Patten [The Amiel Show]

Terry nPatten

It’s been two weeks since Trump’s victory shocked the world. An avid reader, I’ve been exploring 101 different interpretations of why he won, what his presidency means for the future, and what actions responsible citizens can take. I know many people who are still in shock even after undertaking practices to heal the body and soul. Yet, at some point, the future calls us to make sense of this complexity.

What are the implications for my family and friends? How might the next 6-12 months play out in terms of public policy, health of our constitutional democracy, and the quality of community life? Some of us are drawn to what previously were known as worst case scenarios. Now they are plausible futures. Other prefer to hope for the best. After all, we’ve survived far worse situations, haven’t we?

Our times call for a quality of thinking and awareness that can embrace all of these perspectives. To explore this, I reached out to Terry Patten, a leading voice in integral evolutionary leadership and spirituality. Terry believes that this moment in history calls for lighthearted sobriety. According to Terry, “Denial (deciding to be optimistic without reckoning seriously with the challenges) is morally indefensible.” Yet because “despair is a self-fulfilling prophesy, optimism is an even more essential moral imperative.”

Terry and I discuss this and more in a wide ranging interview.

Terry describes three ways we can view this moment in history: the beginning of collapse, a healing crisis through which something greater will emerge, and a call to greater civic engagement.

Can we grow our minds, hearts, and bodies sufficiently to embrace all of this—and still smile in amazement at the miracle of our lives?

A bit more about Terry. He coauthored with Ken Wilber the groundbreaking book Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening. He hosts a free webcast called Beyond Awakening and will soon offer a free course called “Befriending Your Overstimulated Brain.” In fall 2017, North Atlantic Books will publish Terry’s new book about the practice of responsible, conscious citizenship of a civilization in crisis.

While talking with Terry I felt my mind physically stretch, my heart soften, and my feet extend deeply into the earth.

Enjoy and share widely to people you care about.


  • 6:30 Facing up to our own subtle superiority
  • 14:30 Exchange with Ken Wilber about the excesses of postmodernism
  • 21:30 Scenarios of ecological and social collapse
  • 30:00 Why immunizing ourselves from crisis won’t work
  • 35:30 The restoration of amazement even amidst collapse
  • 44:00 The redemption in making a “no matter what” commitment
  • 50:00 Citizenship as an American and fellowship with the world

Listen to the Podcast

Download l Listen in new window

Tweet a Quote

To be delivered a higher purpose is an existential gift.

–Terry Patten  Tweet this quote

Explore Additional Resources

New to Podcasts?

Get started here

Subscribe to the Show on iTunes (It’s Easy!)

  1. Sign into iTunes using your ID and password
  2. Search the iTunes store for “Amiel Show”
  3. If you get a screen without a Subscribe button (a screen that looks like this), click on the show logo in the lower left corner
  4. Click on the Subscribe button. It’s in the upper left corner of the screen.

Give Me a Rating or Review on iTunes (It’s Also Easy!)

  1. Sign into iTunes using your ID and password
  2. Search the iTunes store for “Amiel Show”
  3. If you get a screen without “Ratings and Reviews” (a screen that looks like this), click on the show logo in the lower left corner
  4. Click on “Ratings and Reviews”
  5. Give it a rating. Bonus for a review