7GenBlog | Seventh Generation
Skip to Content

7GenBlog

  • Pin It

Life at the Speed of Light

0 comments
Author:

About a week ago, I was in Boston participating in a conference that I had helped to organize with Peter Senge. For two days, the Summit on the Future of the Corporation explored how to redesign the corporation to maximize its positive effect on society. The conference was one of the most stimulating and exciting that I have been to in a long time – and I go to way too many of them.

There were many wonderful speakers that I had never before met including author and organizational behavior specialist Charles Handy; Business Strategist Arie de Geus; Michael Marx , Executive Director of Corporate Ethics International; Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter; and corporate governance expert Robert Monks.

The following day I spoke to the entrepreneurs club at New York University’s Stern Business school, followed by a talk at the
Ad Age idea Conference at the Nokia Theatre, where I felt compelled to challenge the industry to exercise some more control over the recent spate of deceptive “green” advertising. (Inkslinger’s post yesterday has a link to a brief video clip of my presentation.)

See Full Post
  • Pin It

At the Intersection Of Montana and Wyoming

0 comments
Author:

At 10,000 feet, near the peak of Mt. Washburn, the snow leaves a soft dusting on the ground. The silence is totally enveloping. The calls of bear and elk periodically break the silence. Man is incidental to this endless wilderness. Life above the tree line is harshly peaceful.

This is my first adventure into Yellowstone National Park. From the highest peaks, the landscape seems to dwarf the vistas of my home in Vermont. Black bear and bison are hanging out by the roadside.

This was a long way to come for a Greenpeace board meeting, a lot of CO2 emissions to figure out how to slow the emissions of everyone else. But I’m grateful that I came. I had no idea how beautiful the country that often angers me so could be.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Back to the Future

0 comments
Author:

This weekend my family and I returned to New York City for a four-month stay after 15 years in Vermont. Our move was prompted by having two of our three children attend New York University this Fall. Our youngest daughter will spend the semester at the local Rudolf Steiner School.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

In Tofino

0 comments
Author:

From the balcony of the room, one could be atop a giant schooner challenging the 20 – 30 mile an hour winds that fill the ocean with endless whitecaps. This jagged shoreline is relentlessly wild. Rocky points hide coves within coves. The rock is sharp and granular, the beaches packed hard with fine damp sand that never dries. The tides rush in over hundreds of yards of almost flat beach, beaches nearly devoid of shells other then the mussels that have been pried loose from the nests where multitudes grow, more than one could ever harvest or eat. There are carcasses of halibut or salmon cast overboard by fisherman who must only fish with actual fishing lines. And a peculiar type of seaweed that starts with a large, hard, air-filled head, followed by a thick rope-like arm that gradually thins as it extends 10 or 15 feet.

You can run, bicycle, even push a stroller on the hard sand. The water, at less than 50 degrees would seem a deterrent to water sports. Yet Tofino is a surfer’s paradise. You can rent a board and a wetsuit, complete with boots, gloves and a hood at anyone of 20 places. There are almost always waves. Sandy beaches extend for miles. You can always find a spot to your self. I must pass as my arm tries to heal from what is either too much paddling on my last surf trip or to much surfing on the Internet.

I take a long time to slow down. And the empty space of unstructured days reveals a deep well of exhaustion. Exhaustion layered upon itself. Exhaustion that rests deep down upon my soul. Exhaustion left unrecognized. It is easier for me to push a little harder than to slow down. It is a habitual pattern, learned from my father and then re-patterned by me into my very own obsession.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Dharma Dog Phones Home

0 comments
Author: the Inkslinger

Our friend Dharma Dog is back from his journey to and through India and sends us this thought-provoking video postcard about permaculture and the vision of the world held by his traveling partner, Rico Zook.

Back home in Arizona after my eco-odyssey through India, where I
tagged along side permaculture advocate, and sort-of modern-day
Kokopelli, Rico Zook, I capture a slice of his vision for "Heaven On
Earth"

flashvars="videoType=vcc&videoID=23758212&country=us"
pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer"
type="application/x-shockwave-flash" quality="high" height="360"
width="335">

While I reenter the atmosphere of life in the U.S., like an astronaut
adjusting to life under the influence of gravity, I relive the vision
through hours of video footage. Rico, I learned, is something of a
legend throughout the places of India we traveled (though he would
graciously deflect such a description), where villagers welcomed him
as if royalty to their humble, yet culturally rich homes and lives.
The villages or "bustis," as they are called, had newly installed
electricity as recent as 6 months ago! Some of the villagers had
acquired a T.V. two months prior to the arrival of their electricity,
in eager anticipation of the alluring modernity. I found this news a
striking synchronicity to the intent of our trip and ironic
juxtaposition to the modest, one-room dwellings, cradled in the lush
tea-growing region with the majestic Himalayas towering in the
background: The spread of a foreign virus or sign of progress?

See Full Post
  • Pin It

March 3rd, Back in Vermont

0 comments
Author:

The silence is eerie. After the intensity of Bombay, the endless noise of drivers who rarely remove their hand from their horn, as they literally seem to try and move other cars out of their way, the silence in Vermont is both a refuge and an oddity. In some way I feel as if I have been cast out into the wilderness, isolated from civilization.

The luxury of my home, the vast space, the huge number of possessions, the electronic equipment, is hugely disconcerting. We could comfortable fit some hundreds of people in our house in greater comfort than half the citizens of Bombay. It’s painfully clear how I, we Americans, consume an immensely disproportionate amount of natural resources. Consumption that is blindly unconscious. Blind because it is the norm, what others do. Yet compared to a family living under a plastic tarp of less than 20 square feet, with no running water or electricity, my comfort is slightly sickening.

Too much ain’t enough. I used to see a sign that said that almost every day in New York City. It sat on the roof of the old Lone Star Cafe at Fifth Avenue and 13th Street. How true it is. The endless pursuit of more stuff, of a world filled with artifacts rather than value. How do we stop this madness, or at least slow it down? I fear that its familiarity has made it invisible, has caused us to feel all this stuff is essential. I used to believe I had more than I need, now it seems I have 10 or even 100 times more than I need.

The sun is out. The ground is filled with fresh snow. It’s peaceful and quite depressing.

Sorry, but that’s the way it looks from here.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Mumbai, March 1, 2007

0 comments
Author:

I thought that the politically correct name for the city was Mumbai, but many successful, well educated natives actually still prefer it’s original name, Bombay. This city of 18 million is almost beyond comprehension. Home to both Bollywood, India’s hugely successful movie industry and the world’s largest squatter village of one million people, Bombay is all the contradictions and extremes of India on steroids. Beautiful colonial architecture stands above sidewalks filled with crudely built shacks that house families that effectively are eating, bathing and sleeping on the street in plain view. I was told that almost half the city lives in these structures. I have no idea if it’s true, but where ever you go in this city the poverty is inescapable.

Several hundred yards from the Taj Mahal Hotel, regarded as one of the best in the world, was a sprawling village of tents and corrugated metal structures that housed an untold number of people. At night, to stay cool, people slept scattered about on the ground, one even on the hood of a stray car. The poverty is truly staggering.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Sunday, February 25, 2007 – Jaipur, Rajasthan India

0 comments
Author:

This city of three million, the capital of Rajasthan, was built only several hundred years ago. Outside the city is
the Amber Palace and Fort, one of the most amazing sites we have visited. Unlike the Taj Mahal, the Amber Palace was built as the home to a royal family. Its three foot thick walls hold running water that cools rooms in the summer, and the entire palace collects rain water for the nine month dry season. There was even a system to heat water for bathing.

Construction was started in 1592 by Raja Man Singh I, army commander of Mughal Emperor Akbar and was completed by Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh, over a period of about two centuries. It is a classic fusion of Mughal and Hindu architecture, built in red sandstone and white marble.

Returning to Jaipur I was drawn back to the markets of the old part of the city. There is a similarity to these markets, the food, the inexpensive clothing, shoe repair, spices, fresh fruit and vegetables. There is also a huge amount of people in a very small space. There is often no where to walk that provides protection from the traffic. We are advised not to give money to the beggars and instead to donate to the local charities that provide food and clothing. A minimal level of medical care is free to the poor. For housing, they are on their own, as evidenced by the many tent cities and countless souls simply living by the side of the road.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Thursday, February 22, 2007: The Golden Temple Mail Train from Bharatpur to Sawai Madhopur

0 comments
Author:

Our journey through India continues. While we sit rather comfortably in a sleeping compartment with fans, windows and curtains, just ahead and behind us are cars overflowing with people who have paid about $2.00 for this 2 ½ hour ride. What’s amazing is that on Amtrak a similar trip would cost $50 - $100.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

On the Delhi to Agra Train, 6:00 am, Tuesday

0 comments
Author:

Yesterday in the Old Delhi market, my experience of this culture reached a more visceral level. I enter it with my son Alex and a grade school friend, Peter Graham. On the borders of the market people live with their families and animals. Cots line the edges of the street where people sleep out in the open. They cook, wash, children run naked, barbers offer shaves or haircuts, and people plead for money. This, however, is the exception, not the rule as one might expect. We were the only white faces among the thousands we could see.

As you venture into the heart of the market, you enter the largest recycling facility one can imagine. Everything that can be salvaged is saved and resold: engine parts, metal scraps, old tools, and hundreds of other things we couldn’t even identify. Cabling is painstakingly pounded apart as each individual layer is separated and resold. Everyone is working. Everyone industriously finds something to sell. How one would chose how to buy a single wrench screw from a particular stall among dozens all seemingly offering the same thing is never clear.

See Full Post
  •  
  • page 1 out of 3
  • Next