creativity, environment

This just in: My wanderlust is kicking in


Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s the humidity. Maybe it’s the fact that summer just isn’t my season and so it always ignites in me a desire to get away. Yesterday my boss told me about “wwoofing“, a travel phenomenon that involves volunteering to work on organic farms all over the world in exchange for room and board. It stands for “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms”.

I’ve done two volunteer vacations—one in the south of France and one in Costa Rica—and deeply loved those experiences. They made me a different and better person. I came away from them grateful for the blessings and riches in my life, and determined to pay forward all of the goodwill I found in those countries.

This idea of wwoofing has me intrigued. I have a feeling a plan is already in the works.

children, education, environment, learning, nature

This just in: Send me your pictures of kids enjoying time in nature

Nature matters
Nature matters

“Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives.” ~Thomas Berry

Alright friends, I know you take AMAZING photos of the kids in your life. Do you have pics of them enjoying time in nature? I want these kinds of photos to decorate my ed tech company’s office. They will serve as a reminder of why we’re embarking on this venture to help kids realize that the natural world we live in has so much to teach all of us and deserves to be protected.

I’m looking for nature photos in which kids are truly interacting with nature and exploring it. Please send any photos like this to me at and we will gladly credit you in the print!

career, choices, education, environment, health, job

This just in: The career you choose impacts the state of the world

Build a better world by building a better career
Build a better world by building a better career

This week I’m in the midst of many big and heady discussions about industries that demand rapid and radical transformation: healthcare, education, and the state of the planet for starters. We cannot close our eyes to the enormous problems we face as individuals and as a society. The good news is that we have everything we need to change our fortune—technology, know-how, and our imaginations. The trick is to find ways to unleash and connect them on a massive, actionable scale. And that scale lies within all of us building meaningful and impactful careers.

It’s easy to develop a solution that solves part of a problem. We’ll help some people and manage the costs with a relative degree of effectiveness. For a while, the band-aid will hold. We could almost fool ourselves into thinking this is okay, that it’s the best we can do with what we’ve got. Mediocrity is ours for the taking and my suggestion is to shun it with every ounce of strength we’ve got. We can and must do better starting now.

We could watch the news about California’s austerity measures in the face of the most horrible drought in its history and say, “That has nothing to do with me. I live thousands of miles away and I have plenty of water where I am.” The truth is that California is the canary in the coal mine.California will be everyone’s realty if we don’t take action to reverse course now. Think of all that’s been wasted there sustaining thirsty lawns in the middle of a desert for the sake of aesthetics. I actually feel a pain in my heart thinking about it. What have we done? What are we continuing to do by just going through the motions of life as usual? And if we think we have war now, imagine what will happen when we’re fighting over water rights that literally draw the line between life and death. Without water, debates about nukes are irrelevant.

These same kinds of scenarios are also true in education and healthcare. Our public education stats are appalling because we have failed to engage students and care for all of their needs from having enough food to eat to living in a safe neighborhood to nurturing their imaginations. We may be experiencing the rise of a lost generation of talent and potential because of the state of public education, and we can’t afford that. In healthcare, we discard our elders, dismiss patient concerns, and believe that quantity, churn, and lowering costs take precedence over patient experience and compassionate care. How we treat the sick, the young, and the old says a lot about who we are as a society. And I want us to be better because I know we’re capable of it right now.

Let’s stop making excuses and start doing and making things that matter for the long haul. We’ve got all of the technology and know-how we need. We each possess the most marvelous machine ever created – the human mind. Let’s join them and use them to develop career that are callings, callings to build a better, healthier, happier world.

business, courage, environment, nature

This just in: Nature and George Carlin show us how to live our best lives

George Carlin - an advocate for biomimicry
George Carlin – an advocate for biomimicry

“I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so f*ckin’ heroic.” ~George Carlin

Plenty of businesses utilize biomimicry, the art of using nature’s adaptations to create superior products. For example, swimsuit material that replicates the skin of a shark as it efficiently glides through water. George Carlin gives us a different way of looking at biomimicry—replicating the bravery and courage of nature to grow and flourish in a place that seems unlikely if not impossible.

No one tells a flower it can’t grow in a crack in the sidewalk. No one tells a trickle of water that it can’t wear down a stone over time. Nature just finds an opportunity to spread its wings, and goes for it. There’s a lesson from nature we should all take to heart.

business, environment

This Just In: Is there a sweet future in honey for me?

A sweet life in honey
A sweet life in honey

Yesterday I went to a class called “Gardening for Native Pollinators and Honey Bees” at Leu Gardens in Orlando. Now that I have the physical and mental space to actively participate in environmental conservation, I decided to take my first tiny step with this class.

I don’t have a green thumb, but I am fascinated by honey bees and their role in our world. Without them, we would have a difficult time surviving. No chocolate, coffee, or  just about every fruit and vegetable you can think of. They all rely on bees for pollination. Their survival, and ours, is endangered by the rampant use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers. So with our future on the line, I figured I better learn about them and see what I can do to help.

During this class, some ideas started brewing based on the information I learned:

  • As a society we need honey bees to make sure our food production meets the needs of our growing populations
  • As a largely agricultural state, Florida needs more beekeepers to raise and nurture placid bees to convert the wild, aggressive hives (believe it or not, this isn’t difficult to do!)
  • Florida needs more job opportunities, especially for disenfranchised youth and those in lower socioeconomic levels

So why couldn’t there be a company in Florida with a many-fold mission centered around honey bees, honey production, and the many healthy derivatives of honey that meets all of these needs? The wheels in my head are turning…

action, creativity, environment, future, innovation, technology

This Just In: The breakthroughs we need to build the future we want

Our future is in our hands
Our future is in our hands

A brighter and better future is before us because we have no other choice but to evolve and change. Our population is growing and the world is in need of innovative solutions to meet that growing need now more than ever. Our future is literally in our hands.

I read a report yesterday entitled “The 50 most critical scientific and technological breakthroughs required for sustainable global development”. If you are an entrepreneur, or just someone concerned about the future of our planet, this report is full of ideas to apply our creativity and efforts to build a better world. Many of the solutions center around energy, farming, and technology. Here are some of my favorites:

1. The need to desalinate our increasingly salty water around the globe.

2. E-textbooks that dynamically adapt content for different skill levels, languages and
other user-specific needs.

3. Truly smart smartphones that are cheap, need almost zero power, and do anything a computer can do. And truly smart homes that are cheap, built in urban environments, sturdy in the face of natural disasters and storms, and require very little power to be comfortable and functional.

4. New long-lasting chemical mosquito repellents delivered in novel ways. (As someone who is violently allergic to mosquitoes, I want these little buggers out of all of our lives!)

5. Solar-powered everything from medical devices to appliances to irrigation pumps to mini energy grids.

We start creating the future today. Let’s do it sustainably.

Earth Day, environment, nature

Leap: Play a Part in Saving the Planet

My friend, Javi, is inspired to help people save the world. Literally save the world. To that end, he’s started his own site that offers tips on environmental protection and activism. I’m always glad to support friends who are doing good works. Check out his site, connect, and get those green gears turning. Happy Earth Month!

Photo from Pinterest member
books, dreams, environment, film, movie

Leap: Advice on the Power of Perseverance from The Lorax

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ~ The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

The Lorax makes its way from children’s book to the big screen today and not a moment too soon.

The end of trees
Its tale of environmental woe is all too familiar; eerily so. Written over 40 years ago, the grim future of the natural world that it lays out in sad, grey detail is the world that is unfolding around us every day.

When echoed back to us by Dr. Seuss, our excuses of the products we “need” and the lengths we are willing to go to get them – the generation of smog, pollution, deforestation, and species – seem so foolish, selfish, and reckless. And yet we continue to make them, and will continue to make them until everything’s lost. Unless…we do something else: care.

It’s always personal
It’s true for the environment, education, healthcare, foreign relations, and any other humanitarian effort imaginable. It all starts with one person who sees something they don’t like and cares enough to change it. These are enormous issues that need armies of minds and hearts to solve them, but every movement starts within one person who gets angry, just like the Lorax, and decides to do something about it rather than just sit there and let it happen.

At the very end of the book the curious child who wanted to hear the story of the Lorax is given the very last seed from the very last tree. He’s told to water it, nurture it, and see to it that its survival was not in vain. He’s told to go make good of what little hope the world, and the trees, have left.

What’s your tree?
You have a seed, too. You have within you something right now that needs nurturing. An idea, a passion, that wants so much to make its way to the surface. Don’t let it languish without getting to see the light of day. You are the only one who can breathe life into it, who can help us understand why it’s so powerful and why we should all care about its future.“Speak for the trees” as the Lorax did, whatever your trees may be, and don’t back down. Make some noise.

The world is counting on you.

creativity, design, environment, imagination, innovation, inspiration

Leap: New York Begins Its Quest for the LowLine, an Underground Park on the LES

Image courtesy of Delancey Underground

Is it technically “leap” or “jump” – as in down the rabbit hole below Delancey Street?

You’ve got 37 more days to back an incredible public works project known as the LowLine that promises to bring a year-round underground park to New York’s Lower East Side. The project envisions a re-purposing of a long-abandoned trolley terminal into a wonderland of green space, a badly needed amenity in that part of town.

When I read the article in GOOD yesterday, the concept was brand new to my ears and I jumped up out of my chair from excitement. It’s quite possibly the most innovative use of public space I’ve ever seen. The idea alone is enough to make any and every New Yorker crack open their wallets to support the vision. Go to the site to see the proposed images and the deal is sealed.  And that’s just the reaction that the founding team is hoping for!

Founder Dan Barasch and James Ramsey posted the project on Kickstarter (where it seems that all good project ideas are housed these days) they need our help to gain $100,000 in collective funding by April 6th to show local government that New Yorkers want to see this vision brought to life.

Join the effort for Delancey Underground and support it with as little as a buck. Let’s get this done!

entrepreneurship, environment, work, worry

Leap: We All Need Soil and Rain, or How to Never Be Intimidated

“No matter how wondrous our works, we have to remember that our very existence depends upon 6 inches of soil and the fact that it rains now and then.” ~ Dan Lufkin

I found this quote on a park bench, literally. Phin and I were taking a walk in Central Park and there are four metal plaques on a string of benches that have this quote. I don’t know who Dan Lufkin is, but when I read his words, I tossed up a stream of gratitude. They were the words I needed.

Starting a business, pitching partners and investors, can be a scary endeavor. I feel stark naked all the time! In pitching them, I’m really pitching me – my talents, my experiences, and my abilities. Self-promotion is just about my least favorite task. I’d rather do the dishes and clean my bathroom than pitch myself, but neither of those tasks are going to help me live the life I imagine. (But they do help me to keep a neat and tidy home, where I do most of my planning work for Compass Yoga!)

In pitching, it’s important to remember that the person across the table is just a person, just like you and me. They have to eat food, have shelter, and breathe air, just like us. They, too, had to start somewhere. We weren’t born with our current set of circumstances. For the most part, we made them, one way or another.

With that in mind, I feel a little less naked, a little more confident, and a lot more hopeful, in life and in pitching.