Thursday, December 02, 2010

I'm a big Star Wars fan. And by fan, I really am intending the original usage of the word, a shortened version of 'fanatic.' Quicker to say, but supposed to convey a level of interest that goes beyond a passing appreciation and into the realms of reference quoting, multiple viewings, and overbearing exuberance.

So when Lester Brown begins to discuss in this week's video the current perception held by a lot of people in relation to sustainability, I began to think of a little 900 year old Jedi master. Mr. Brown was detailing the verbiage commonly used when considering the options of sustainability, namely a phrase of something being 'more sustainable' or 'less sustainable.' I immediately heard it in my head: "Do, or do not. There is no try."

To me, sustainability is not a platform-defining political buzzword to be bandied about in hopes of getting the greenies on board. Nor is it another compromise extended to the masses or a great new angle for advertising. To sustain is to do more than just maintain; we're not trying to keep a status quo. There is not an easy way out here. The goal of sustainability is to equilibrate - achieve a balance. Balance implies a natural renewability that does not require outside influences in order to attain that status, and as such, sustainability is a state of being. In order to reach it, our civilization will need to change.

In Leading Change Toward Sustainability, Bob Doppelt conveys that the change necessary is to provide and protect our options. His example of the Northwest salmon was particularly apt to illustrate that sustainability requires more than one solution, and that the beginning steps involve reforming paradigms such as the financial and social benefits inherent in such change. Rather than relegating the philosophical goals of sustainability to the backburner as not being fiscally cognizant, it's important for the worldwide change toward sustainability be encompassing and inclusive in order to succeed.

It really is all about the "Community of Life" as identified in the Earth Charter. All that goes into a community, the people, the location, the goals and accepted behaviors therein, are to be invested in this new world vision. And to sustain that community is of utmost importance. We just have a bit of a drive ahead of us to get there, and one challenge is the communication of the vision.

With so many different definitions of sustainability, from the community idea to the more analytical interpretations, it's hard for people to grasp to what extent such a vast change is needed. Instead, we have social connotations assigned to the movement of hippies, greenies, etc. We have politics and international posturing to overcome. Yet what is clearly important at this critical stage is to clearly convey what we hope to achieve so that we can combat any misconceptions and begin to take meaningful steps at all levels to reach sustainability. For how can we inspire a worldwide restructuring that will affect governments and individuals, economics and religious beliefs, and in fact all aspects of society without a clear definition of what we need to do, why it affects us all, and really, why we cannot fail?

We don't have an X-wing stuck in the swamp to show how our tiny frame can move mountains with the power of our mind alone. But we must do, or do not. There is no try - because Earth doesn't get a sequel.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Conceptualizing a Reconnection

Each raindrop seems so uniform; just part of the wall that's descending from the leaden sky as we are finally tossed into the season of Fall. The showers are varying from light to insistent, but in all cases, the rainy season has begun. So it's easy to contemplate water right now; we're enveloped by it in a meteorological sense, encapsulated by its presence around us.
All this week I've thought about rain and how it can be such a great example of perceived disconnection. Sitting in the living room and watching the cars outside, headlights illuminating the raindrops, their paths punctuated by the sound of the wheels on the wet pavement. Each raindrop appears to be separate, though it is traveling at the same rate, in the same direction, and reflects the same basic physical form as every other raindrop. Project members and proponents tend to do this; seem to be disconnected from the whole when in fact all are moving toward the same goal, so a dual existence is established, one separate, but still connected.
In a project, the members tend to operate from their own space. Maybe it's the whole 'every snowflake is unique' thing, but there are so many instances where this is the case, just like that rainwater that is perceived as separate raindrops.
We separate the oceans, though as William McDonough noted in this week's video, all of the oceans are part of one system, much like a 'toilet that doesn't flush.' We have different names for rivers and streams and lakes, though it's all the same water traveling through those conduits.
So if every goal to be achieved will have some disconnection between the phases of the project, perhaps a lesson is to be learned from the under-appreciated raindrop. It’s let loose from the sky, its existence then determined by the environment around it and anything that will interact with the raindrop.
This could also be the way to establish a project. The design of the project and launch could be exactly like a raindrop leaving the cloud; purposefully and without any fanfare. Since we have learned that an educational approach is not the most successful per the studies conducted, we know that frontloading a project with educational buy-in promotional trappings would be mainly ignored.
For this reason, though I would want to have some educational information available for a project, I wouldn’t need to address everything at inception. Instead, having the educational products be manufactured during creation of the project would help give cause for all invested project members to be involved and cooperating with one another. This would be applied as well to producing the follow-up information and continuation of the project.
Much like how raindrops converge upon striking a surface, pooling immediately, thus would the project members combine to become part of the whole again, which would ensure that the end result is more successful.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

I Am The Sum Of My Endeavors

And right now, my endeavors are play-oriented with one lightning-from-blue-sky caveat.
Mainly I'm having fun with Bejeweled Blitz. So here's a few life lessons from the game:
  • Don't always take the easiest path; it seems easier but you have to work twice as fast and your score will never be as high as when you think things through. Investment/Return.
  • On the other hand, don't overcomplicate things because you'll waste valuable time in planning, not execution.
  • Avoid getting caught up in your own glory when you're ahead; that moment of arrogance can cost you the critical connection that results in a windfall of combos.
  • When you start a new game, take a look around; that first few seconds of assessment will save you floundering later.
  • Make sure you cover all of the board that you can - working one area dry is at first too easy (see #1) and then too hard as you get stuck in one place.
  • Further, avoid becoming too obsessed about making a particular match since you could pass up on even better matches as you struggle to make that one combo happen.
  • If your hand slips and you move the wrong gem, don't brood about it - that's a waste of perfectly good time and that mistake could actually create an even better combo.
  • Never give up the game, no matter how bad it seems; there's more than one way to win (coins & badges), but there's only one way to lose.
  • Once you've gotten a few good combos, don't think the rest of the game will just come naturally; you may have to fight even harder to make connections for a bit but the diligence always pays off.
  • Give yourself a good mix of easy matches and strategy; keep going and watch out for those sweet opportunities that can push you to the next level.

But that opportunity thing happened - I was just wandering around the local community college website and stumbled across a grant that I spontaneously applied for and then...received. Eeep! Exciting stuff and a bit daunting as my path is once again laid out for me in the coming months. However, it's Energy Management and all about sustainability without compromising technological standards with a vein of physics yumminess. So I'm looking forward to it and wondering just how crazy I am to get into another new round of school with 60+ hours at the clinic.

Yet it's all about the experiences, right? Any time that I don't have something planned, I squander my free time anyway. So I might as well push the envelope and try to accomplish what I can with the time I have. There's just a tiny spark of hope that this could mean that I do something that has an impact; what a pretty little flame that could be...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Where did that year go? Oh, yes - Oxford

Hey ~ that was a quick year. I had thought I'd posted at least once this past year after the last post and kept meaning to come back and check. But no.

Oxford obviously was a happy experience. The only residual sadness is that we couldn't go to England for me to collect my diploma, unfortunately. I don't have any backup at work and the trip would be either frustratingly frugal (hence no real touristy fun) or waaay too expensive.

Yet I am now trying to figure out the next step. Like always. After a major chapter closes and the horizon beckons with promise, I'm trying to fit the wings to my shoes so I can take off. But I haven't been able to identify what I can do for once.

Work is so draining - I have no energy for anything right now. I've hypothesized that it is the nature of existence right now (for a host of reasons, forthcoming) after checking in with a plethora of friends who report similar attitudes.

We have had quite a few major disasters and natural phenomena that have lent us a feeling of environmental unease coupled with a global economy that is just a dervish going for the table's edge. Spinning and spinning. Added to that are the rumbles of unrest between China & India, UK and Israel, US and China, Iran and Iran ~ you couple those with the regular heavy hitters of wars simmering in Africa and the Middle East and there is not a part of the world that is exonerated from political brow furrowing.

Our domestic fears engage from employment and housing markets that aren't stabilizing as much as we thought they would by now and, of course, the health care bill just being passed.

Speaking from one in the medical industry, we clapped on our blinders mid last year and have just peeked out now and again to see how the bill has changed. And it's been like clay, my friends. It was shaped with the public option and has been baked into a gambling tabletop with chips dancing and cards up sleeves. So much brokering has gone on that no one quite knows the implications, and like '93, I am sure (with every beat of my cynical little heart) that 980+B is a mild estimate and it will sound so much more effective than it ever will be.

HIPAA alone took 15 years to implement and is now accompanied by an eyeroll for all who have to deal with the clauses and regulations, which were common sense in origin and pure bureaucratic nonesense in execution. And since there is STILL usage of other provider identification numbers beyond NPI, the useful impact of this legislation to assist electronic billing and standardization is nullified. So what sort of trauma and terror awaits us now?

The credit card 'fix' last year resulted in the companies having enough time before implementation to discern creative new ways to gouge their customers. During the time it takes for the insurance companies to reel and roll with the new regs coming from this bill, they, too, shall have the opportunity to recoup their profits in more creative ways. Oh, wait. Nevermind. They already have with the requirement that small businesses carry the load for required insurance offerings. I haven't read the bill of course, but I don't recall there being any limit on the cost of these insurance plans that small businesses will now be required to subsidize. Oh, the modern American way. How fantastic.

Sorry - there are aspects of the bill of which I wholeheartedly approve such as making sure that the less fortunate in the country have medical care. That's the most important thing. Not only the homeless and poor, but those stuck in the middle that cannot apply for public assistance but aren't really getting by, either. I grew up in that atmosphere and it sucks. So I'm really glad that we're moving in the right direction.

But I'm really not keen on the idea that our deficit just keeps growing (which is funded mainly by China and has been tying our hands a bit too much lately on that front for my comfort - I hate being nervous about upsetting the foremost country of human rights violations) while we parcel out these substandard attempts at correcting our social issues. The economic bailout didn't patch the ship, it's just a bucket (albiet a very, very pricey one) that's shoveling water and debt into the ocean of America's economic landscape. And right now, health care reform is looking so much like health care rearrangement, just passing the responsibilities around to placate the masses and make our current government feel accomplished, that I'm disheartened.

So I guess my hypothesis for the level of apathy in myself and friends is that it's a social depression for which we're not yet getting counseling and taking our meds. My Rx is that we need more exercise as a holistic option: 1. Our minds need a daily workout ~ I need to stay involved in everything I can to keep my focus 2. We need to increase our endorphins through more smiles achieved each day ~ I need to make myself do the fun stuff instead of sacrificing the fun stuff to be productive. I just might find I can be more productive when I start having fun again! 3. Get outside and take advantage of the season ~ Spring is all about rebirth.

I've noted that the center will not hold. But I still find beauty in asymmetry, value reconstruction, and can make this work. I just don't know if I want to take part on a more public level yet or not.