Thursday, January 22, 2009

"millions of small beginnings"

I wish I could take credit for conceptualizing and penning the title of this post. But I can't. And I won't.

These words belong to a much, much wiser and impactful man than I (but I'm getting there - we're getting there - and The Gumboot is our voice). On Wednesday, January 21 I was lucky enough to hear Goran Carstedt - former CEO of Volvo and IKEA, currently working with the Clinton Foundation on its Climate Action Project - present on the topic of Leadership and Climate Change. Inspiring stuff, let me tell you.

And here's why. It was because of the "millions of small beginnings" concept he eloquently espoused to the audience.

I'll just let that sink in for a sec.

Got it?


Dr. Carstedt was talking about the "millions of small beginnings" as they related to the Industrial Revolution - an event that pulled so many of us in the Western world out of poverty and into delicious modernity. Yes...I recognize the profound complexity of the previous statement because of the industrialized warfare, technological manipulation and moral poverty that modernism has also thrust upon us. Think about it, though, today the world - in spite of what so many sensational people in the media and on street corners (and even my friend, The Professor, at the Commercial/Broadway Skytrain Station) - is actually more peaceful than it's ever been. And, clearly, many of us are eating pretty darn well. And we've got a collective disposable income - as well as access to credit - that has allowed us to grow our businesses, families, intellect, communities, and our worldly experiences to incredible new levels. We've connected ourselves in amazing ways and have made our planet smaller. And the best thing about the Industrial Revolution is that it was not mandated by a government or an oligarchical collective of powerful businessmen or by workers of the world. It came from millions of small beginnings. Organically. Democratically. Beautifully.

And then there's the flip side. There's the part of the story where we went and fucked it all up. Organically. Democratically. Beautifully.

Poison and poverty plague our planet. And so many of us out there work in jobs we don't like to buy things we don't need. Our economy is volatile (as it turns out Adam Smith's invisible hand seems to be corrupt, incompetent, ignorant and is constantly touching parts of Milton Friedman's lingering spirit in the dirtiest of ways) and our leaders care more about getting re-elected than they do about big picture, long-term strategies that will save our planet. And some people have lost hope.

But we shouldn't. You shouldn't. Because right now. Today. Right here. From the hallowed confines of The Gumboot to electric-free villages in Zambia. There are millions of small beginnings. It's happening right now. Together, as a community, with our ideas from everywhere we are sewing the seeds and laying the groundwork for a new kind of ecological, economic and anthropological stewardship for this poor little planet of ours. I'm excited to see what happens. You should be too.

Oh and, um, to all my teammates out there. Let's not fuck this one up. Time's a bit of an issue...

Be a great day.


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