Archive for November, 2010

The Weekly Green: Juice for the Journey #23

photo by: Julie

Week 23

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~ E.B. White

Much as I love his humor, maybe White has set this up as a false dichotomy. What if the best way to save the world is to savor it? The play between spirit and matter is so fascinating and mysterious. Our senses are exquisitely designed to tune in to the world around us, to bring us information and temptation, moment by moment. How can savoring the world help you in your quest to save it?

More: Save or savor? We have much to give thanks for, here in North America. This brief video puts it all in hauntingly beautiful perspective.

Read the Weekly Green from Week 22 here.

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

A film about solutions: Harmony

Prince Charles has a fantastic platform from which to deliver this message: I don’t want my future generations to ask, if you knew what was going on, why the hell didn’t you do something about it? If mankind had the cleverness and power to bring the earth’s ecosystems to the brink of failure, we certainly have the ability to bring them back.

This film, Harmony will air on NBC Friday, Nov. 19 at 10:00 p.m. / 9:00 Central. This preview seems to promise a film about solutions, rather than just more hand-wringing about the state of things. Would love to hear your thoughts if you watch it. Meet you back here after Friday night.

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?

Turning conflict into community


We don’t always remember that social justice plays a key role in sustainability. One of the underlying assumptions of the modern world is that we can throw something we no longer want “away.” Well, there is no “away.” This planet is designed as an exquisitely intricate, interconnected web of life. And we are as much a part of that web as eagles and mushrooms.

As Van Jones, founder of the green-jobs advocacy group Green for All, has observed, there are no throwaway people, either. Our modern criminal justice system has not exactly gotten this message. One of the unexamined assumptions in this complex system is that some people are just too bad to be in society; they need to be locked up and forgotten. Essentially, thrown away.

Lauren Abramson, founder of the Community Conferencing Center, doesn’t buy it. Their work is based on the simple premise that people have the wisdom and compassion to resolve their own conflicts, given the right setting and subtle guidance. In fact, as you will see from watching this video, Conferences have a very high rate of success and the parties involved have quite low rates of re-offending. Conferences are also profound for the participants, binding them together through shared experience.

4 Years. Go.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_6iTCo5Ci8[/youtube]

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?