Taking Care of Business

Nick Aster, founder of the blog Triple Pundit, says the environment, society, and the economy are equally important.

By Susan Cosier

Conversations about business and the environment might leave most people scratching their heads, but with blog posts written in laymen’s terms by MBA candidates, anybody can see how the subjects overlap. When Nick Aster founded Triple Pundit, an environment, business, and society blog, he intended to publish with his peers at the San Francisco-based Presidio School of Management. Plenty talked to Aster about how, three years later, his creation is taking off.

Where did the idea for Triple Pundit come from?

I decided to start Triple Pundit because there was a lack of writing about environmentalism through a business lens. I had just enrolled in business school (about three years ago now) so it was only logical that I take my background in blogging and try to combine it a little bit with what I was doing. I started something up, partly for myself, just so that I could have an outlet to hash out my ideas and write a little bit, but also because I wanted it to be something that I could get other students involved with. I introduced this idea of citizen publishing and democratic media to them and turned it into a little bit of a group project. But now we’ve got a whole group of people involved with it. It’s active and it’s growing. It’s taken on a little life of its own. 

When you started the blog, did you have a clear idea of what you wanted it to be?

The ‘triple’ comes from a three-legged stool idea—meaning society and culture, the environment, and the economy. Each of these is equally important. If you neglect any one of them, the stool falls over and you are basically out of business. So I’ve always tried to have that sort of theme in the background at all times. You don’t want to be a radical capitalist, you don’t want to be a radical environmentalist; you have to kind of find the balance between all that. 

I read that you want Triple Pundit to be more of a digest and not just a blog where people give their opinions. Does this aim make the site unique?

I wanted it to be a number of things. Some of the content is opinions, and some of it is interesting news. But one thing that makes a site like this successful is rich commenting. What you want to do is post something—admit that maybe I’m not totally sure about this, what do you think about this—and then get the community to log on and start commenting. That’s how you get things really rolling: You get community building, you get real discussions happening, and you get real value to the content of the site. Also, I’ve wanted it to be a place to showcase people’s work, give people the opportunity to post their own op-eds, and to post case studies. 

Was it liberating to see it take off on its own?

It’s great. Happily, Pablo [Paster] has sort of taken charge of it. I’m hoping that it evolves soon and even a few more people get involved. Hopefully it’ll be self run. It will probably be mostly Presidio students, but it’s certainly open to anybody who is interested.  

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Just wanted to mention that when it comes to the integration of the economy, society and the environment, the Millennium Institute has been promoting this line of thoughts, in a dynamic mode, since 1983. It has with the support of the Carter Center, UNDP and other donors helped many countries plan for the longer term by promoting a dialogue among the development partners supported by a dynamic scenario simulation model, the T21 that integrates into one single model the three pillars of sustainable development: the economy, society and the environment. For more information and a look at the philosophy of MI and its model go to http://www.millennium-institute.org/

Thanks you Hans R. Herren, President

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