Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bookmarked: Thomas Friedman

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman has been the book to define the current American society in which the realities of globalization, terrorism and the slow fall of the US have arisen. Packed with insight, realism and fragile hopefulness, it has given a name, problem and solution to the things the US faces as a nation.

Because of the power behind his words and impeccable instinct, I am excited about his new direction: Green. This New York Times piece of his has been making rounds and hints at things to come from Friedman. It is long and has a lot of information, but all of it is important and he writes in a manner that I believe everyone can enjoy and appreciate. Bookmark this, because we will be reading this in the future, either in happiness or sadness at the accuracy of Friedman's vision.

Reaching Out

Have any of you started something good or know someone who has? An organization, club, event or anything? I'd love to hear about the experience and what you learned. If you're interested in an interview or to write something up, get in touch with me and we'll work something out.

I got a few ideas for posts, so I hopefully have more unique content soon. Lastly, feel free to share any comments/criticism/ideas with me too. Thanks to everyone for checking us out!

Sustainable Sun

I did an article at EcoGeek about Sun Microsystems and Dave Douglas, their resident VP of eco-responsibility said:
[T]his is just good business. "Energy responsibility is about to become a society-wide business imperative," he says. "All my projects have measurable business benefit. You might say the 'eco' in my title is for economics as well as ecology."
Sustainable business really is Good business.

Read it here (CNN Money)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Taking Control

Mahatma Ghandi once said, "you must be the change you want to see in the world." I only took notice of this quote because the project director at my work always had it tagged to the end of her emails. Despite its direct simplicity, this sweet and uncomplicated phrase resonated with me; its significance heightened by corresponding to a prevalent theme in my personal relationship with Mr. W.

When I met W, I was at most a conflicted, confused and emotionally taut person. My fragile brink of tearful oblivion could be at any time tipped over and sent crashing. This hanging balance kept me from doing many things that I wanted to do, but most importantly that needed to be done. When overwrought with mental distress, we let things fester and accumulate from fear--fear of confrontation, and fear of unpredictability.

W is an inspiration. He encouraged me to regain control and take responsibility for the state of my existence. And from there, I learned to do things in order to make life happen, from sending in applications and filing taxes to aspects of grander proportions.

So with this inelaborate philosophy in hand, small changes are only the beginning of my conquest. There are many things wrong in this world, but I learned that dishes don't wash themselves. Therefore when we don't like something, the only thing we can do is to change it.

My first steps of change involve a ticket to Cambodia, a small digital camcorder, and a research design for truth, and the untold stories--the things that never get heard from the people drowned in contemporary social jabber. The further we get away from a forgotten era, the harder it will be to remember it. The longer we wait, the more people age and die off with these stories--stories that, I believe, would offer great insight into the fine line between life and death; hope and despair--stories that people would never hear otherwise--stories that come from the survivors themselves.

I am planning on entering a "First Citizen Journalism Contest" sponsored by an upcoming independent media source. Albeit I have no real journalist experience, I do have something that needs to be said, heard and contemplated. I want to offer explainations, and promote discussion and awareness. I want to show why things are the way they are, how it happened and why it is important to never forget.

I want to make a difference; I want to be the change that I want to see in the world.

Details/progress update pending.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My First Rally – Step It Up 2007 (Seattle, WA)

Continuing my journey to become a force of change, I attended Step It Up 2007 and it was a great success. News coverage of the event estimated over 1,300 people showed up for the march from Occidental Park to Myrtle Edwards Park. The purpose of the event was to get congress to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. This number is commonly lauded as the amount needed for us to stabilize where we are now with the climate crisis and seen as a reachable goal with less than 2% reductions every year needed.

The numbers can be debated but consensus on the problem of climate change has become nearly unanimous and that could be seen by the support for the rally last Saturday. I met up with fellow UW students in Red Square, and after taking a group photo, we all bussed down to Occidental Park to meet up with the main Seattle cause. Reaching our stop, we walked down to the park, passing rows and rows of Seattle PD and their motorcycles, awaiting to escort us. From afar, I saw a large crowd already there and the energy already was palpable. The view comforted me, with a large cross section of Seattle all coming together to march for the planet. It reminded me of Green Drinks, feeling not so much at home, as at ease and proud of the people I live near.

Music, along with signs, filled the air, building up the level of excitement as the time to begin the walk neared. Eventually, volunteers gathered around and started directing us to the march. A row of children led the procession, carrying a sign with our cry, "Step It Up Congress, Cut Carbon 80% by 2050." The march was lively, despite Seattle rain, with various chants and cheers keeping the beat of the cause as we walked along against the piers on Elliot. A few people on the sidelines held signs and shouted support; a special toddler held a sign reading "I hope I can snowboard when I grow up."

A group at Myrtles Edwards Park welcomed us warmly with an audience of applause on our arrival to the solutions fair. A brave person stood in the cold water, dressed as a polar bear and reminding us of what might happen in the future (bringing many smiles too though). Various organizations set up tents and tables with information on their green contributions and educating park goers on their activities. Electric and biodiesel transportation populated the fair, and it was nice to see up close the kinds of alternative transportation being made. Everything from the vegetable oil powered trucks to 100 mpg cars were on display. Other green organizations, from The Sightline Institute to Patagonia to Grist participated in the event also.

CFLs, the twisty lightbulbs of choice today, were handed out and a photo captured a group of us holding them up proudly under the now shining sun. The weather clearing up after the long march, a reward for those that made the trek. Afterwards, I left for home, unfortunately missing out on the speakers lined up for the rally, including Ron Sims, Jay Inslee, and Greg Nickels, among others. The important thing is that the local government is supporting the event though.

Overall, I felt that the day was successful, not just for me, but for the green movement in general. Hopefully events like these will propel the importance of our planet forward and help build the momentum needed to get people and the government to change. At this point though, I am already excited to see what is next.

See more reports of the Seattle event.

A Quote

The heart has its reason which reason does not know.
-Blaise Pascal

Photo credit: rude girl ♥ rsm via FlickR