Category: Community

Thriving on the threshold


The threshold between stories is the point of no return. From it, I have caught glimpses of many futures, but have yet to fully commit to the path of belonging, connection, and mystery. Not ruling out occasional lapses of courage, the main reason is that I have not finished making my peace with the false beliefs and broken promises that raised me.

Earlier this month, I launched the blog, Thriving on the Threshold, as a place of practice. It is a place to light candles in the darkness and take an honest look at the habits that separate me from the story of abundance, of my kinship and reciprocity with the world beyond the confines of human-made environments and culture. Mostly, it serves to remind me of what I’m here for: to experience joy. Stop by and join the conversation.

I Want America to Thrive

Are you . . .

  • Looking for a thriving future for America – and the world?
  • Frustrated with arguing and finger pointing about the state of our country and the environment?
  • Worried about what kind of world your children and grandchildren will inherit?
  • Tired of hearing that humankind is a doomed, destructive species and blight on this beautiful planet we call home?
  • Wondering what you could possibly do to make a difference, to turn things around in a more positive direction?

So are we!

That’s why we are making this short film, “I Want America to Thrive”

We’ll show you the power of a new story. A story so inspiring that if we just turn up the volume on it, we can drown out the old story of doom and gloom, shame and blame.

This new story involves real people doing great work in pursuit of their vision of a thriving future for America – and the world. People who have taken a good look around, seen the challenges, and rolled up their sleeves in the face of mighty resistance.  They will show us all sorts of innovative things that they’re doing right now to renew the American Dream.

I invite you to imagine the kind of world we would build if we saw just how creative, connected, and compassionate we really are.

Humans have a pretty amazing track record so far: we’ve invented philosophy and penicillin, acupuncture and Shakespeare’s plays, pizza and poetry, the iPhone and the Tesla Roadster. We’ve landed men on the moon, harnessed geothermal energy, and created the National Parks. All of these accomplishments started with an idea. And the understanding that we create the future every day.

Sure, we need to pay attention to the effects of our competitive, industrial way of life on the people and living systems on which we all depend. But warning and scolding is not a great way to motivate people. Rather than curse the darkness, why not light a candle?

One of the great secrets of how architecture works is that together we create a picture of the finished building. And then we build it. That picture is a beacon; it holds us to a higher vision when the inevitable glitches and mistakes crop up. The beacon is essential because it keeps us from getting mired in problems and instead encourages us to be imaginative and collaborate on finding the solutions.

What We Need

It’s important for this film to be visually excellent and high-impact. We’re going to film a wide diversity of real people and ask them to share the ways in which they are helping America to thrive.

Your support will help pay for the necessary expertise and equipment for high quality documentary filmmaking and editing.

We’re also going to work with a well-known animation artist to help make our concepts appealing and easy to understand.

It takes time to put together the latest research about the many ways to do and be good for the environment – and we are committed to using only verifiable, trustworthy sources.

We’re also working with a local musician – the same artist who generously donated the music for this video – to make sure we paint an upbeat, energetic and emotional tone in line with the message.

Go to the campaign page to read more and thank you for helping to spread the word!

Are you asking powerful questions?

Photo by: Julie
Recently, I’ve spoken with several organizations that want to green their operations. There are many good reasons for pursuing this. Of course, efficiency in energy and material use is financially beneficial. A green perspective also unleashes hidden cultural potential. Shared meaning, care for the earth and future generations, and re-connecting with nature are just a few of the sometimes-overlooked benefits. Not to mention increased media exposure, since walking your talk gives you a standout position in your market.

While all this possibility swirls around, it can be a daunting to bring it to a landing and find what truly fits your organization and culture. I have helped several organizations make this transition from a wide, sometimes vague, field of possibility to a clear vision and specific plan of action. Along the way, we engaged interested parties, transforming them from onlookers – even naysayers – to active participants.

Powerful questions are an important tool in this work. There’s a wonderful story on the Towards2060 website that reveals this truth:

An answer is always the part of the road that is behind you. Only questions point to the future.

What do I mean by “powerful questions?” Consider three types of questions that correspond to three purposes of inquiry:

  • To focus attention
  • To connect ideas and find deeper insight
  • To create forward movement

When the purpose is more accurately identified, the questions can be crafted intentionally. This is both more efficient and much more likely to engage people in a lively and productive conversation. Open questions and well-structured brainstorming allows the group to:

  • Create a climate of discovery
  • Suspend premature judgment and premature action
  • Check underlying assumptions and explore beliefs
  • Listen for connections between ideas
  • Encourage diverse perspectives

Here are some examples of powerful questions, related to a project that involves not only extensive building renovations, but also a look at mission and operations.

• What’s important to us about green building; why do we care?

• What opportunities can we see in doing a green renovation?

• What do we know so far and what do we still need to learn about it?

• What assumptions do we need to test or challenge here in thinking about a green renovation?

• If success was completely guaranteed, what bold steps might we choose?

• What challenges might come our way and how might we meet them?

[Note: resource for powerful questions]

It gives us great joy to craft questions like this and to lead discussions that help organizations move forward powerfully on a green mission. Let us know how we can help you.

The Weekly Green: Juice for the Journey #22

photo of LEAFHouse team, 2007, by: Julie

Week 22

We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims. ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

How refreshing! The future is not something we passively live into, based on past patterns or trends. The future is something we create. If we aren’t happy with the current state of things, we can choose to examine our underlying assumptions and beliefs. Every single human system on earth is created out of nothing but the stories we tell ourselves about the meaning of life, our relationships with each other and the planet, and our capacities for good or evil. This week: can you identify a limiting belief that keeps you from designing a future that you are fully excited about?

Related quote: “The best way to predict the future is to create it” ~ Peter F. Drucker

More:The Awakening the Dreamer symposium provides excellent background and lays the foundation for this work.

Read the Weekly Green from Week 21 here.

We always love to hear from you! How juicy is this quote for you?

4 Years. Go.


FOUR YEARS. GO. is a campaign to catalyze and empower a fundamental shift in the direction of humanity, inspiring collaborative action, connecting individuals and organizations, and amplifying best practices and successes.

This campaign is inspiring an awareness of the urgency to shift humanity’s trajectory by 2014, before our destructive trends make that shift impossible. They are empowering individuals and organizations to set and reach goals that will cause a positive global tipping point by 2014, setting humanity on a new path toward a socially just, environmentally sustainable, and spiritually fulfilling future.

This may sound like pie-in-the-sky, but — IT’S NOT. It’s entirely possible — as long as we think in terms of possibilities, rather than probabilities. (To paraphrase Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Movement.)

Take a look at this site. Get connected. Join a campaign. Become an allied organization. We just did.

The Weekly Green: Juice for the Journey #21

photo by: Daniel Shea

Week 21

Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand. ~ Confucius

As a teacher, I find this humbling. Given my own education and experience, these three actions and results are listed in order of difficulty. Telling and showing come naturally, but are not very effective to catalyze lasting change. This week, what are some ways you can involve people or at least show them, rather than just tell them what you see?

More: “Switch” is a fantastic book about the power of experience to shape change.

Read the Weekly Green from Week 20 here.

We always love to hear from you! How juicy is this quote for you?

Carbon accounting: restoring the credibility of green business practices

Guest post by Hunter Richards, Accounting Market Analyst at Software Advice.

Greenwash (verb, \ˈgrēn-wȯsh\) – to market a product or service by promoting a deceptive or misleading perception of environmental responsibility.

Businesses have been launching major marketing campaigns to promote eco-friendly products, but many of their environmental claims end up being questionable at best. Green products are beginning to lose their credibility as consumers become more suspicious of greenwashing. To restore the reliability of environmental marketing and prevent greenwashing from getting out of control, we need to increase corporate transparency and adopt a clearly measurable method for determining the environmental record of a business. It turns out that new accounting technology could be a major part of the solution.

The U.S. is a leader in financial accounting, but we need similar strength in environmental accounting to prevent misleading green marketing campaigns.  The recent development of Enterprise Carbon Accounting (ECA) software enables companies to track their carbon emissions and identify opportunities for waste reduction. The full development and mandatory adoption of ECA software will make it much more difficult for businesses to cover up their environmental records. As carbon footprint transparency becomes more widespread, carbon accounting could become the new measure of a company’s environmental impact. When the information is released to the public, green marketing campaigns can cite concrete evidence to regain consumer trust.

But for ECA software and environmental accounting adoption to effectively make greenwashing obsolete, we need constructive action in five main categories:

  • Clear government action on regulations – like increased coverage of the EPA’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, which requires companies that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of greenhouse gases annually to disclose their emissions figures to the EPA;
  • Adoption of carbon accounting principles – stricter requirements for disclosure of standardized corporate emissions for a precise way to examine a company’s environmental record;
  • Expansion of Scope 3 emissions accounting – mandatory inclusion of suppliers’ emissions and other indirect sources (Scope 3) in environmental reports would prevent under-reporting <>  of emissions and more quickly spread general adoption of carbon accounting throughout the supply chain;
  • Better green business incentives – using ECA software to identify more eco-friendly savings opportunities – like tax incentives – can make it cheaper to truly go green, making greenwashing less tempting and putting real sustainability initiatives in the best economic interests of a business;
  • Demanding, informed consumers – demanding the numbers, while boycotting the greenwashers, forces businesses with green marketing campaigns to prove their sincerity. Greenwashers won’t be able to hide any longer when consumers take this final step.

To learn more about ECA software and greenwashing prevention, read the full article, Software to Hold “Greenwashers” Accountable