Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rory Sutherland condensed

I am becoming a fan of Rory Sutherland. Here is one of his shortest talks, but catch some of his longer ones from TED. The movement of behavioral economics is gaining traction and I see huge implications for environmental advancement. More soon on some projects I am cooking up.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mother Dirt

This morning I sat at Parker Mesa Overlook in Topanga - while resting after a steep hike, I inhaled the curved expanse of Santa Monica Bay. Today was hazy, but the sun was working to break through. It was my fifth time up there in the last couple weeks and I am always intrigued and surprised by the amount of "hellos" and "good mornings" exchanged between fellow hikers.

Why are we more motivated to reach out and say hello on a trail than on a sidewalk? Why does the loose dirt beneath our feet uncover a humanness usually trapped by solid pavement?

I spend most of my day ensuring the cleanliness of my dress shoes, my professionalism - when maybe I should be working to kick around some dirt, scuff up...

This past week, I was in Monterey for the annual Sustainable Brands conference. The most sustainable part of my week came when I hiked through Los Lobos State Park around sunset. A pleasantly shaded hike brought me close to harbor seals, sea otters, sea lions, and a variety of seabirds. As I sat on a rock watching the sun tick down, a family of deer came to feed fifteen feet away.

Again, the dirt under my soles and the welcoming wildlife reminded me that, throughout my day, I primarily worry about the wrong things.

Bringing out and sharing our humanness is whats important.
This dirt, this imperfection - these deer, these wild things help us get there.
What if the role of commerce was to help enliven this humanness, this wildness? rather than suppress it...

And tonight, coincidentally, I just returned from hearing some invigorating words. A very passionate person told us that today presents a moment to "reorder ones life," to focus on whats important and to loosen the grip on those things, those fears that keep us from freedom.

I am very thankful for those reading this blog, the dirt that invites me back, and the wild who step softly - for you help me loosen the grip and search for the courage to fight for open space within myself and within this great earth.

I wrote this two years ago just after finishing my graduate degree, unemployed, struggling to understand this friction between ecological value and economic value - I think it fits...

Mother Earth, diminishing
The echo, that quiet
Rumble of hummingbirds falling dust.

That call of water,
Not pouring, but rippling
On and on

To a time that opens my
A movement of distant meaning
And origin, indeed,
It was her.

Once, yes I faintly feel,
She awakened me before Stromboli
Spewed fire and swallowed blue

And when her olive branch, her secret,
Confirmed Noah’s toil.
The ringing in his ears and the repetition of hammer nailing nail
Were surely en-sync.

The sound trails, from me,
And now only the elephants seek refuge
In the hills, as they
Watch me unknowingly swim towards her
Roaring belly.

What happens when I only hear
The dropping of fresh quarters
Fall from their tightly wrapped paper?
And miss her interjection:
“The caterpillar upon the branch
Does know your name!”

Like the waters of Victoria, or
The stars of Orion, she will
Continue to
Fall and shoot
And will not entirely diminish as much as I
Shoo or squash.

I need sounds that tie my shoes and
Firm my handshake,
Not the inch-by-inch stretch
Of branches around my soul
As if a hug to dull the
I don’t want to hear, or feel.

I walk forward, she remains.
Seducing the premature hairs of my
Inner-ear, and cracking
The jaw of my agape mouth.

There is no doubt she inhibits my progress!
I think,
Maybe she will stop
If I swallow her…

Sunday, May 1, 2011

BaitTank hits Jacksonville Florida!

On Friday, a BaitTank was installed in Jacksonville, Florida. Its a gorgeous location on the Northbank Riverwalk, right next to Riverside Arts Market. This first (of many!) installs was a joint effort led by Sarah Nan, St. Johns Riverkeeper and Keep Jacksonville Beautiful. Many others helped too - thank you!

Sarah reports that several butts were already deposited come Saturday morning!

I look forward to visiting Jacksonville soon to see the BaitTank, to meet all those who made this possible, and to work to place more BaitTanks within the city and in front of businesses.

Thank you!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Today's Rain

Southern California was hit with a pretty big storm last night and today, so I decided to walk to the Santa Monica Pier and check on the BaitTanks. If the BaitTanks can handle this weather, they can handle a lot - and yes, they were doing great!!

However, not so great was my walk back. I came across this mess - a reminder of the tremendous task we have to evolve human litter behavior and work with major brands to redesign their packages!

I am trying to prevent one major form of this pollution (cigarette butts) with the BaitTank - and am up for $25k! Vote once per day for my entry in the Green Awards here!!

Thank you!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A mess!

Main Street in Santa Monica yesterday was a mess! The amount of cigarette butts was alarming and disturbing. There were over 100 butts directly in front of the Irish bar, Finn McCools.

The association that manages Main Street is very open to installing BaitTanks along the popular street; however, many hurdles exist.

The City of Santa Monica's indoor smoking bans do not allow for smoking within 20 feet of an open door. So, the management is concerned that if we place cigarette receptacles within the zone, visitors will be cited for using them.

I understand the concern, but also know the reality that NO ONE is getting cited for smoking within the zone or littering! Butts dominate the gutter, the tree beds, between retail locations, etc.

Smoking bans, while beneficial to air quality, have had unintended (negative) consequences for streets, beaches, and water quality. We need to amend these laws now and allow receptacles to be placed within the zone! If we are going to be Smoke Free, can we also be Litter Free?!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Danielle Richardet inspires, and this short film about her work motivates.

There are many debates around smoking bans, cigarette taxes, personal freedoms vs over regulation; however, I don't think anyone can argue about the problem of cigarette butt pollution - Danielle puts it best in the film: "...there is absolutely no reason that anybody should be able to get this many [cigarette butts] off the beach."

I cannot agree more - and would be amazed if someone stands up to argue her point. Yet, cigarette butts devastate water quality, contaminate marine life, and foul up our communities like no other across the globe!

How can we turn a single action into a collective gain for water, wildlife, and us...?

Indeed, Danielle shows us how...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

recent writeup in Voice of Santa Monica

A big thank you to Natasha from the Voice of Santa Monica for taking the time to learn and write about the new BaitTanks installed on the Santa Monica Pier.

See her article here: Baiting the Butt

If you have not done so yet, become a 'friend' of the BaitTank
on facebook - I promise good things in 2011!