The Business of Saving the Earth

ASHOK OJHA

Long before sustainable development became the mantra of World Bank economists, a hair stylist named Horst Rechelbacher was pulling his resources to develop his business of skin care products based on natural products, and free from chemicals. He was sick of using conventional products in his salons that contained chemicals that were harmful to the human body.

Rechelbacher set out to create a line of natural, sustainable, organic products that would nurture body and spirit. He learned the art of Ayurveda from his guru, Swami Rama. He went to Haridwar, India where he studied the ancient healing science to receive a doctorate in Ayurveda from Gurukul Mahavidyalaya Twalapur, Haridwar University. Back in the USA, he established his plant-based cosmetic company, Aveda, deriving its name from a Sanskrit word meaning “all nature’s knowledge.” The company was a great success, with its products sold in salons and stores throughout the world. Rechelbacher established his business on an ethical and spiritual foundation that was in harmony with nature’s law of interdependence. He was inspired by Indian spirituality, the lives of indigenous Amazon tribes, and other traditions of the world that didn’t conflict with the natural process.

In his book, “Minding Your Business,” Rechelbacher reveals his business secrets and elaborates upon his business model and his personal beliefs. He says, “The latter half of the twentieth century was driven by short-sighted, bottom-line, profit-driven corporate philosophy. In the future, only sustainable will survive. The next evolution of business and technology is being forced by dire urgency, and in some cases looming catastrophe, in social, economic, environmental, and political spheres.”

Rechelbacher advises the reader to follow biodynamic business principles and create holistic companies in order to generate positive, energizing and healing forces in our personal lives, and in our human and environmental ecosystems. He claims to have learned the most important business lesson of his life when he spent time with indigenous Amazonian tribes. He built his business systems around cooperative teams.

The magical secrets of nature haven’t been understood. Rechelbacher wants to create a movement to restore the eco system that has been brutally destroyed by modern businesses and industries. He illustrates, “Consider how snowflakes, one of the most delicate, fragile forms of matter in nature, melt on your palm. But when enough of them stick together and move in the same direction, you get an unstoppable avalanche. Our mission as eco-preneurs and eco-consumers is to become a creative avalanche that reshapes the landscape of our future.” The book reinforces the concept of eco-friendly businesses that provide creative solutions to meet human needs in an ethical, non-exploitive, non-toxic manner.

Emphasizing upon the power of spirituality and prayer, Rechelbacher provides historical success stories of Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha Campaign that relied on the spiritual principle of “non-violence,” and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Civil Rights Movement,” that achieved significant social and political victories using the same spiritual principles.

To understand how far the author and publisher have gone to practice what they preached in the book, it is important to note their promise – Palace Press International, in association with Roots of Peace, will plant two trees for each tree used in manufacturing of this book. Roots of Peace is an internationally renowned humanitarian organization dedicated to eradicating land mines worldwide and converting war-torn lands into productive farms and wildlife habitats. They plan to plant two million fruit and nut trees in Afghanistan and provide farmers there with the skills and support necessary for sustainable land use.

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