Celebrate Interdependence on Independence Day

As a dual citizen, UK/USA, I am always slightly torn on Independence Day.  Some of my US friends tell me tongue in cheek they call it Good Riddance Day! But given the ongoing relationship between the UK and the USA and the extent to which the citizens of both countries seem to aspire to each other’s ways of life in so many respects, I think it should be renamed Interdependence Day.  And for more reasons than the relationship between the US and the UK.

In my review of Paul Gilding’s book The Great Disruption I mention his reference to the old way of seeing the environment as something ‘over there’ that we strive to keep pristine so we can visit it at weekends. The new way is understanding that the environment, with its climate, biodiversity and resources is the basis for all the products, services and nutrition we depend upon for business and for the lives we lead. We are dependent on the environment.

Similarly, as I have written about before,  the terminology ‘giving back to the community’ is the old way that implies that business and finance are over here, and community is over there. The new way is understanding the reality that the two circles  overlap enormously.  Business depends directly on the community for investors, customers and employees and indirectly, via government, for the license to operate.  Society, as we know it, depends on business as one if its key enablers and so the two are interdependent.

Environment is not a place we go visit at the weekend, it is the critical resource for the society we know.   Community is not a thing business gives back to on occasions. Community and business are interdependent.

On this Independence day let us remember the dependency society has on the environment and the interdependency between community and business, lest one day the environment celebrates Good Riddance Day of us.




  1. Comments 2

  2. Peter T. Knight 7:03 am on July 6, 2011

    Kevin, I much prefer to disagree with you. But on this occasion I have to agree that Interdependence is by far the best name for the day. As a South African with Dutch, English, Welsh and French roots who lived in the UK for three decades and now resides in the USA, the notion of independence is attractive, but the idea of interdependence far more fetching. We at Context America have been helping a global client communicate to their employees the vital role of ecosystem services to their business. The interdependence of economies and nature comes as a revelation to those who spend their lives tracking prices on a screen, even if it's commodities like cocoa and coffee they're buying. Here's to a greater recognition of Interdependence!

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