There's a wonderful thing about traveling through the world of sustainability with an open and hungry mind. It's this--the chance to meet people who are able to teach us to think differently. People who can turn convention right on its head to reveal ways of solving problems that we might otherwise have just blown by.
Consider, for example, what we might accomplish by simply looking to the designs and processes of the natural world...
* Creating molecular sized batteries, modeled on the way plants convert and store energy from the sun
* Removing carbon dioxide from the air by literally changing it into usable and solid building material
* Emulating natural processes to enable growing fruits and vegetables year-round in cold, northern climates
* Developing closed-loop agricultural parks that run entirely on waste input and produce no waste output
Indeed, nature has the potential to show us how to remove toxins, eliminate waste, and live in a world where we need only a small fraction of the resources we now take from the earth.
I think it's fair to say that thinking differently, and getting others to do likewise, was a key takeaway from this past weekend's Bioneers by the Bay/ Connecting for Change conference at the Dartmouth campus of the University of Massachusetts. It's an event where non-profits, climate scientists, activists of one stripe or another, anthropologists, spiritual leaders, and sustainable business experts came together--both literally and figuratively.
The event took place concurrently with a Bioneers conference on the west coast and satellite sessions in between, and was hosted by the Marion Institute. Three days of plenaries and workshops gave plenty of time to connect with sustainability movers and shakers like Janine Benyus, Ray Anderson, Gunter Pauli, John and Nancy Todd, Lynn Margulis, and Paul Hawken.
I'll close by encouraging you to visit Bioneers on line and consider stepping 'into the green box' next time around. It was a weekend full of inspiring learning and growing. It was a conference I'll never forget.
For your reading enlightenment, I would strongly recommend:
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, by Janine Benyus
A Safe and Sustainable World: The Promise of Ecological Design, by Nancy and John Todd
Mid-Course Correction: Toward a Sustainable Enterprise--The Interface Model, by Ray Anderson
...and anything by Paul Hawken. These are only a few of the books that jumped out at me while at Bioneers. Happy reading.