a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Archive for January, 2011

Failing to Fall — thought for all those New Year’s resolute -rs

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Ever been asked about your “greatest failures”? I was the other night. This is what I realized:

Failing is simply another way to spell, “Falling”. The only falling/failing that isn’t great is one where you don’t get back up.

Agtivists Strike Again

Friday, January 21st, 2011

The Agtivists are changing the world. Or maybe it’s that change is creating agtivists?

And in one of those “wish I had thought of that” stories, Nikhil Arora and Alex Velez, both students at UC Berkeley found themselves doing a little of both. While nearing graduation, as well as big money job offers in banking investment, they each had an ah-ha moment during business ethics class and came together to pursue a entrepreneurial, good for the world opportunity as mushroom farmers.

It turns out, you can grow mushrooms abundantly in coffee grounds and what a better place to do that than in a caffeine-addicted society? Where they could “turn waste into something of value and have a huge impact” while encouraging people to grow their own food, even if it’s on their kitchen counters.

They did their homework and contacted the well-known mycologist, Paul Stamets for advice.
A lot of hard but passionate work later, their business, Back to the Roots, was up and running online and in Whole Foods Markets. They turn coffee grounds into food, first as mushrooms they sell wholesale and then as grow-your-own gourmet mushroom kits for any household.

“We want to show people in households across the country that it’s not hard to live sustainably, to think about waste and grow your own food at home,” says Arora. “You get great food out of it, yes, but it’s more about understanding tangibly what this whole sustainability buzzword means.”

This story isn’t completely new. Recall the Princeton students that started TerraCycle worm poop and more? And well, you don’t need the college degrees to get the work done. I think it’s passion and pluck that makes an entrepreneur tick.

See the whole cool story on Back to the Roots on Grist, here.

Do More. Have More. SplitStuff.

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

I was sad when my local video store closed last month. They included had a great Indie and foreign selection, the employees knew movies, they allowed dogs inside and asked mine to sit for their complimentary biscuits. We don’t watch movies as often as some, but I mostly loved being spontaneous on a Summer night and walking over after dinner to check things out. I’m sad that the employees will have to look for other jobs.

It turns out, my housemate has a NetFlix account, so we are splitting it. And, yes, I know it’s more convenient, cheaper and more sustainable. I can still mourn my store. But, in fact, with 4 people in a household, we often split a lot of stuff, save some money and time. Best of both worlds. More stuff and experience for each person, yet less stuff in the waste stream overall.

And these entrepreneur-types were bound to catch on to this yet un-tapped opportunity. They did, and birthed an online community called SplitStuff. Go past the obvious split items and the possibilities are almost endless…

Trying to drive less? Split a car and share expenses.

Trying to eat better? Split a CSA membership.

Eating better by growing your own food? Split a garden plot, including work time and tools.

Love animals but work too much? Split pet care. I even saw a share a horse Split.

I still love to receive magazines – anyone want to split subscriptions?

Split bulk orders of pet food or diapers.

Ski or surf a couple times a year? Split equipment.

On and On. Change happens. Be sad for a moment if you need to, then get back on that [shared] horse.

Year of Getting Shit Done

Monday, January 3rd, 2011


My astrological reading for this week reminded me of something important:

“We have to believe in Free Will. We have no choice.”

If you turn this statement around, it still says the same thing.

We all choose a path, manifest things we want and need, as well as things we don’t want and don’t need. That doesn’t necessarily mean we have a choice in any of it. So, how do we reconcile all of this? We don’t.

But we can get a whole lotta shit done trying.

So, no matter how many things go right, go wrong, or go away. Keep looking for the next piece to the big jigsaw puzzle of life. It will all fit together in the end.

NEW year. New stuff. Get Shit done. oh, and don’t forget to be happy about it.

THE TAO OF CHANGE [the way of a better world]

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