Sustainability and a Cup o’ Joe

Tina and I read this book a few months ago. It was truly an inspiring read. This is a parable for how flexibility is crucial for true sustainability. Michael Gill Gates literally reinvented himself from scratch…with help from an unlikely source given his background and connections.

Embedded video from CNN Video

It is not a book that will having you pouring over his turns of phrase…and you may find the name dropping a little much, although I have to say it really gave me incredible context for his transformation given the privelege he enjoyed from birth.

It is a quick and thoroughly enjoyable read. Pick it up. You can get a used copy on Amazon for 2 bucks and some change.


Her Morning Elegance

This has not been my favorite week of all time. Very long, tiring and I have had strep. I need something beautiful, soft and surprising to sustain me in these moods.


Reminds me that all that sustains us is not in terms of production, resources and time. We will need the artists to help us remember that there is more. There is always more.


Sustainability and the Workforce of the Future

So, Tina has a marathon mega conference call with a prominent learning professional, who I will not mention here (but whose name rhymes with Melliot Wasie) and a bunch of other learning professionals. When she gets off the call she says the conversation she was participating in was about reskilling and training. Specifically, how to train people in new skills and who was going to pay for it. The more interesting question was, of course, what are these new competencies they are training for…which she brought to the attention of the group. For this, there is no easy answer, so it is not a favored topic of discussion. But it is a topic we better get on quick or buckle up.

So, it occurred to me that this is a PRIME candidate for a sustainability blog. Hey, I have one of those! And, it might surprise you to note, I have opinions on this issue as well…

The world is changing faster than we can keep up with it…at least as individuals. Our future brilliance and viability in the market place is inextricably bound up with our ability to forge community, collaborate, get the right people in the room to brainstorm, connect with people over large distances and form bonds with people we have never met face to face. And, more than ever before, the competencies of flexibility, agility in thought, fast-fail-for-success mentality and the ability to release old structures and ways of doing things will form our value in the coming market.

Or, at least, that is what I believe.

So, that’s all fine and good, except that this is not how we came up in the world. Nor is it the way our children are being educated. The structure of our schools is set up completely contrary to this. Failure is, well, failure…not a path to success. And you alone must memorize the content to be tested or it is cheating. We are still basing our education system on old models that have nothing at all to do with agility in thought or flexibility in thinking. And, It’s not the teachers. I have known many teachers who are really engaged and want to help their students learn to adapt and process information. And, I have met many teachers who have been in the system a while and just given up. Because a well meaning, but hopelessly flawed effort to “leave no child behind” has forced a rigid concentration on standardized testing as a measurement for the success of a school. So the schoolwork naturally focuses on maximum success on these tests. Strategies for taking them…memorization of mnemonic devices for formulas and outlining…practicing endlessly for those days of testing that determine everything about the school. So, what about this is preparing our kids for a wildly changing and enormously challenging future?

Sir Ken Robinson talked to some of this in his 15 minute speech at TED. (if you have never checked out TED talks, go and be amazed.) If you have 15 minutes, check out what he has to say.

The upshot is this, in pursuit of a sustainable future, we must evaluate what of our competencies will truly be important in the face of a wildly changing market place. Where are we going as a culture and how can we shape ourselves and our children into strong players in whatever comes?

I am looking at the sum of my workplace competency building to date and trying to figure out what my path to professional sustainability might look like. Are you looking at yours?


The Story of Stuff

If you will promise to find 20 minutes over the next 48 hour period to take the time to sit down and really watch this, I will promise that my next two posts will be silly and lighthearted. Here is the teaser…

Here is the link:

This is the video that started me down this road for real. It changed the way I look at things. It is pretty heavy stuff. But it sets up everything else on this scramble toward personal sustainability.

I am not gonna be able to check up on you guys…so this will have to be on the honor system.



I have never been much of a resolution maker. But this year, which promises to be one helluva year, I figure I need some solid goals in order to keep up and stay connected to the swirl of change. So, I am jumping in and making it public…to keep me honest.

My resolutions, as well as the primary subject of this blog, will have to do with sustainability of one kind or another. Sustainability has become such a slippery word. For me, sustainability means consuming less and sharing more. This is as true in my relationships as it is in my possessions. I want to make a smaller footprint everywhere.

This blog is going to be a very important part of my journey. I will use it to keep record of this year, from my perspective…keep people I already know connected to what I am doing…and to, hopefully, build a virtual community of people who, like me, are working their way to their own personal connection with sustainability.

For the record, here are my resolutions:

  1. Become wired. I am tweeting (look me up on twitter and follow me!)…facebooking (same thing…search me) and now committed to blogging at least three times a week. This is building and sustaining community.
  2. Meditate, somehow, every day. To sustain peace of mind.
  3. Tweet gratitude once a day, every day. To sustain balance and a sense of gratitude.
  4. Thrift shopping once a month…never done it. Will be a giant adventure! Recycling instead of consuming.
  5. Find and participate in at least one barter session this year. Direct trade, ultimately a more sustainable model than international trade.
  6. Recreate the dinner party “salons” with my local community…this is wonderful, more to come on this later. Sustaining community and sharing.
  7. Learn to knit. A hobby of sustainability.

Most of the blog entries will be about working toward sustainability…but I am thinking my weekend post will be goofy and funny…I won’t be able to maintain my enthusiasm for this if I can’t play a little (I say this as if my posts will be very somber…hard to imagine if you know me.)

I have a very consuming full time job, and we are planning to move the family into town this year, so it is going to be a very busy year.

Bookmark me. It’s gonna be fun.