Ecoprener

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International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences May 2013, Vol. 3, No. 5 ISSN: 2222-6990

Ecopreneurship as a Solution to Environmental Problems: Implications for College Level Entrepreneurship Education Thaddeus McEwen
Department of Management, North Carolina A&T State University, USA Email: mcewent@ncat.edu Abstract Given the present environmental problems facing the world, it is clear that past strategies used to address these challenges have failed to prevent environmental degradation. It is therefore time to pay attention to the role that entrepreneurs can play in solving our environmental problems. Scholars agree that entrepreneurs can help preserve our ecosystems, counteract climate change, improve fresh water supply, maintain biodiversity, and reduce environmental degradation and deforestation (Cohen and Winn, 2007; Dean and McMullen, 2007). This paper focuses on how to harness the innovative potential of environmentally conscious entrepreneurs, called ecopreneurs, to encourage more startups that would create the environmental technologies needed to address our environmental problems. It also discussed the role of entrepreneurship education in promoting ecopreneurial behavior and presented an outline for a possible ecopreneurship course that could be integrated into college-level entrepreneurship education. Keywords: Ecopreneurship, Entrepreneurship Education Introduction Environmental degradation is perhaps the most prominent global issue of the 21 st century. Academics, policymakers, nongovernmental agencies and governments are all concerned about the increasing levels of land degradation, soil erosion, deforestation, and industrial toxins (Volery, 2002). In addition, there are very serious concerns about the negative consequences of ozone depletion, climate change, nuclear radiation, and the destruction of biodiversity (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2007; United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), 2004, World Resources Institute, 2004). A recent joint report by the World Resources Institute, the World Bank, and the United Nations show the diminishing capacity of five of earth’s most critical ecosystems (Table 1). Environmental Problems, Environmental degradation,

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International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences May 2013, Vol. 3, No. 5 ISSN: 2222-6990

Table 1: Diminishing Capacity of Critical Global Ecosystems Ecosystem Agriculture Costal Diminishing Capacity 40% of agricultural lands worldwide have been severely degraded through erosion, salinization, nutrient depletion, biological degradation, and pollution.  20% of fish and shellfish has been diminished due to overfishing, destructive trawling techniques, and destruction of nursery habitat.  Pollution problems have plagued coastal lands because of use of synthetic chemicals and fertilizers.  Global warming impacts ecosystem through rising sea levels, warming of the ocean temperatures and changing storm frequency.  More than 20% of global forest cover has been removed due to logging and conversion to other land uses.  Deforestation has significant impact on biodiversity, e.g., loss of unique plant and animal species. Humans currently use more than 50% of all accessible fresh water; by 2025 demand will reach 70%. Road building, land conservation, and human induced fires have caused significant loss of grassland and thus loss of biodiversity.

Forest

Fresh Water Grassland

(World Resources Institute (2000) and Cohen and Winn (2007, pg. 34). “Environmental degradation is a serious threat to the lives of people, plant, and animals” (SEEN Environmental Learning, n.d. p.1). It has not only brought natural disasters, such as storms, heat waves, droughts, etc., but it has also diminished the vitality and sustainability of the economy. The long term economic and financial impact of environmental degradation, therefore, may be very substantial...
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