Category: Inspiration

Don’t Want – Do Want

It seems we are experts at knowing what’s wrong in the world – whether global problems like climate change and poverty, national concerns like the economy and health care, neighborhood issues like the lady down the street whose dogs never stop barking. Even within our own families, we tend to focus on what’s not working.

What happens when we turn and face in another direction? Not to actively ignore or deny those very real problems. But to focus instead on what we want. Do we ever even ask this question of ourselves or others: what sort of world do we want to live in?

Even then, the answers may come back framed in negatives, such as “I want fewer wars” or “to eliminate racism”. The brilliant Hildy Gottlieb first opened my eyes to this habit.

I tested this out one recent summer weekend at our neighborhood shopping area. People were quick to cite the problems: education, the economy, global warming, racism, negativity, stereotyping, war. When asked to say what they want, if they could waive a magic wand and fix everything, they were less confident, sometimes even embarrassed. As if talking that way is not an adult activity.

The danger of dwelling on what’s wrong is that we can become convinced that there’s no hope for us. We’re just a doomed species and blight on the planet. I know many avid and dedicated environmental activists who harbor this secret belief deep within their hearts: that the planet will be better off without us.

And why wouldn’t we reach this conclusion, when all we read about and see around us are the consequences of our bad behavior? The mortgage crisis, countries in the Euro zone so deep in debt they threaten to take the whole thing down with them, giant corporations cutting down the boreal forest in Canada to get at the dirtiest most carbon-intense oil on the planet and then lobbying our government to build a pipeline to cart it to the Gulf of Mexico. Fifty million of nonelderly Americans (18.9%) are without health insurance or access to good health care.

This stuff is senseless. Meaning, try as we might, we can’t make sense of it. I wonder if it’s because, as Einstein famously observed, we cannot solve our problems using the same thinking that created them. So why not try a different way? What happens when we focus instead on what we want, instead of what we don’t want. Try it. You may be surprised at what happens.

Why does this matter? you may be wondering. It turns out that we create the future every moment of every day. A positive vision of a future that we want is the galvanizing force that animates the world-changing work of all the people who will be in the film, “I Want America to Thrive.” Even the title speaks to a positive vision. Why not? It’s a surer way to transcending, rather than merely solving, our problems.

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!

The Weekly Green: Juice for the Journey #25

Thomas Jefferson's

Week 24

I am a warrior, that my son may be a merchant — and his son, a poet. ~ Thomas Jefferson

The Founding Fathers (and Mothers) risked it all – their property, their status, and their very lives – for the sake of honor, duty, and radical ideas about human dignity and freedom. Jefferson reminds us of his abiding concern for future generations, a sentiment shared by many environmentalists and social justice activists in our time. The term, “seventh generation,” has been adopted by some environmentalists from the Iroquois Confederacy, who came to decisions through careful consideration in context of both ancestors and descendents. Interestingly, we are now the seventh generation after Mr. Jefferson. This week, how can your actions demonstrate concern for future generations?

More: Read John Mohawk’s moving essay about the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) approach to peacemaking.

Bonus #1: Read about seventh generation sustainability and the Great Law.

Bonus #2: Thom Hartmann has written many evocative books, including one called “What Would Jefferson Do?”

Read the Weekly Green from Week 24 here.

Don’t miss your Weekly Green! Subscribe to receive via email. Go up on the right column, to the box under the “Search” box, where it says, “Enter your email address.”

We always love to hear from you! How juicy is this quote for you? Leave a comment.

The Weekly Green: Juice for the Journey #24

photo by: Julie

Week 24

Barn’s burnt down. Now I can see the moon.  ~ Masahide

When something unexpected or devastating happens, my first reaction is often to reject it, push it away, or otherwise obsess over it. I might question, fix, analyze, or otherwise seek to minimize the blow. Thinking it’s my fault or something I could have prevented mistakenly puts me at the center in an unrealistically black-and-white world. This week, can you open to a wider view and see a setback as a gift that is simply not yet fully understood?

More: Poets and artists have the gift of vision that allows them to see beauty in the midst of challenge. View the “350 Sky” video by Daniel Dancer. On Dancer’s website is this tagline: “Art Changes People – People Change the World.”

Read the Weekly Green from Week 23 here.

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

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.

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?