Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Speth is someone who writes books I consider seminal. I stayed up until 2 am reading his latest book "Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, Environment and Crossing the Crisis to Sustainability." I like happy endings so I flipped to the back of the book for the answers.

Reading all these different sustainability perspectives was like looking at Michaelangelo's David sculpture in Florence. It never looses the beauty or intrigue for me. Sustainability, an art form?
Michaelango said he could look at a block from the quarry and "see" the figure that needed to be released from it. I think sustainability is like that. It is inside all of us waiting for the ignorance and apathy to be chipped away to reveal a beautiful world. At least, this is my hope.

Monday, July 20, 2009

All-You-Can-Learn Buffet

16 weeks of 16 gourmet dishes! That is how I see Sustainability curriculum. Not everyone is going to like every dish, but there are so many distinct flavors and ways to serve Sustainability that each semester becomes a buffet of topics.

I like to try new recipes and new ingredients in an effort to continuously improve. My students are like my tasters. From them I learn how to make the topics tasty. To them I am grateful.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thinking about the Future

Today was a good day for thinking. I met with my marketing advisor and together we pondered some good questions. His specialty is personality traits so we discussed if there were radio talk shows in Europe that influenced the politics and science. The one that stumped me was "can a far right wing conservative known to be low on openness ever become a sustainability advocate?" I'd like to say everyone can hold their exact beliefs, maintain their lifestyle choices, and just snap their fingers and become sustainable. But I don't think that is possible.
Can I overspend daily and build a savings account?
Can I eat like a pig and remain slim?

No, we probably can't ask people to change but I predict a gradual evolution across society will occur over the coming decades that will create a more widespread mindset rather than the polar opposites that paralyze progress today. I think our children will be as ashamed of our ignorance as we are of our ancestor's discrimination.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

CO2 per minute of fun

On Friday night I saw the new movie "Transformers" and on Saturday night I attended an outdoor wedding at the lake followed by a band and dance at the picnic pavilion. Reflecting on my weekend entertainment choices I had to ask myself how much CO2 was emitted in the production of this multi-million dollar film vs. how much the simple little country wedding created. Like MPG, maybe there should be a carbon-per-unit of fun measurement. I'm pretty sure I had more fun watching real people sing and dance and hug under the moonlight than watching computer animated robots explode for two hours.

A low-carbon economy might just be a high-fun society to live!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Edge vs. the Top

It is NOT lonely at the top, it is lonely at the edge -- the cutting edge. At the top everyone wants to be your friend, at the edge you stand alone. They also call it the bleeding edge which is the second clue it is a painful place to be. When I spoke in front of the city council tonight I was bringing mainstream global thinking to mainstreet middle America where it is viewed with great suspicion as cutting edge risky propositions. Ironically the sustainability knowledge I shared with my local government officials is not even cutting edge in other parts of the country. Opportunity doesn’t keep knocking until we are ready, it moves on to receptive people willing to open their doors.

My friends tell me I am once again too far ahead of the curve and that I should not waste my time. Dress rehearsals are important. Citizenship is rarely a waste of time; it is a privilege and responsibility. Some people confuse this as leadership, but that is not accurate. An innovator invents for the love of creation; followership is not required. The innovator sees a way to make the world a better place and expressing that vision is an absolute joy. I have special knowledge I shared with my city tonight. They may have to hear it ten times before it becomes familiar and acceptable. And I really don’t mind paving the way for that tenth person who will be heard. Who knows, I may even get back in the queue and be that tenth person. The point is to persevere toward progress because it doesn’t happen by accident or apathy.