Get in the box

I noticed I had several drafts about the same theme. In all these drafts I was wondering, why do people believe I think outside the box?

Out of the Box thinking is described to be when people think in an original or creative way.

I had always assumed that thinking outside the box meant you were being creative and finding better solutions. I assumed it meant you did not accept traditional norms and that a person thinking outside the box was not doing things the way they were always done. This is accurate, in a sense, however there is more to “Outside the Box Thinking”, at least according to Wikipedia, and it all started with 9-Dot Puzzle.

What Would be “Thinking Outside the Box?

I work in the health field and my focus is on what creates, generates or causes better physical, mental and social well-being. How is that original or out of the box thinking? Couldn’t that represent in the box thinking, just from a different angle? While I don’t go directly at well-being, I focus obliquely on factors associated with improved well-being such as relationships, personal and group development, physical activity and food selection. Although the goal is not specifically well-being, it is pretty direct. We also know that John Kay explained to us why, For Complex, Oblique(Obliquity) is More Effective.

Well-being, life, health and society are about as complex as it gets. This then suggests that traditional and prevailing approaches may not be as effective as they could be. This may also may explain why traditional approaches in health, business and the environment could benefit from a different perspective. From an outsiders view, it seems they started by thinking outside the box and need a better perspective. Lets review:

For Business: thinking generally focuses around how to decrease costs and avoid problems…Instead of thinking how can we serve customers better while we also, simultaneously, clean the air, land and water from their uses. In other words how can we be multipliers of our time (see: Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…) For many, and based on how society has progressed, it appeared our “Take, Make, Waste” system was effective. However, if we take a different perspective in the box, as Ray Anderson did with “Interface”, that takes into account that everyone and everything is connected. Using this approach, Ray demonstrated how we can be even more effective, efficient, profitable as we also improve everyone and everything. (see We Must Make It Better – Saving the Planet not Enough!)

For the Environment: thinking generally focuses on how to clean up problems, using the “Take, Make, Waste” to bend nature to our will….Instead of thinking how an we work with nature as all other creatures on earth has done to live in a way that makes life more livable. The idea of living in ways that generate a “Net Positive” has been outlined by Jane Benyus, Kate Raworth and many others (see: Parallel NOT Linear Means Create Positive AND Prevent Negative, Aim to Thrive, Not Just Grow for a Better Tomorrow)These ideas have also been operationalized by McDonough and Braungart in Cradle to Cradle and Upcycle.

In Health: thinking generally focuses on how to treat diseases and or avoid risk factors…Instead of thinking how can we increase physical, mental and social well-being. The majority of the focus and effort being used by health is how to find disease and treat it. It is as if we are trying to be a day late and a dollar short with regard to improved well-being by “Thinking Outside the Box”. We could be in the box using Antonovsky’s salutogenesis and focusing on what causes health. Many of these ideas are capture here: We Need to Use the 3rd Alternative

As I reviewed this information about “Thinking Outside the Box”, a proverb came to mind:

“To change and to improve are two different things.”

German proverb

Time for a Reboot

Sometimes we need a new start, a reboot. We need a reboot because now some things are backward, upside down and confused. Let’s get in box and use a better perspective. Life is all about probabilities. It is time to turn the tables in our favor by getting “In the Box” and using a better, “Net Positive” focus and perspective that uses oblique factors related to helping everyone and everything.

A “Net Positive” results from using a Selfish, Selfless, Synergy focus. Selfish, Selfless, Synergy efforts help generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or the practice of paneugenesis. Please share you engage in #SelfishSelflessSynergy so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Updated Review of Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City

The April 12, 2021 Op-Ed for the New York Times by Edward Glaeser encouraged me to update my February 2021 post. It seems as things change, Dr. Glaeser’s prophetic work becomes even more relevant.

This article suggests his work and the current Biden agenda should include zoning as a key to enable America to be more productive, equitable and green. Interestingly, he is suggesting allowing more growth is greener and more equitable. I certainly encourage a read of his book. This article is a good complement. Enjoy and please share your thoughts.

There were several other aha moments for me throughout the book. A developed a new understanding related to poor people in cities. Dr. Glaeser explained that poor people come to the city because they see it as an opportunity to create a better life, which many are able to do. If people remain poor in a city, then work must be done by that city. If new poor people keep moving in, this can drive improvement. According to Dr. Glaeser, these are the keys to helping a city thrive: a good education system so people become more educated, a good infrastructure with good transportation, clean streets and the rule of law. If these factors are in place, it attracts people and investment. Additionally, with those precursors in place, they can generate an optimized process to yield desirable results for the city and that city can then contribute to the world. If a city wants to thrive, it is Incumbent upon that city to have a good infrastructure so all people can get a good education, be transported to jobs and are likely to meet with and interact with other people. He also documented the cities are good for immigrants and immigrants are good for cities because interactions with a diverse set of people yields even better results. This is an outcome from which we all benefit. Developing new talent through education and interactions is a good investment for the city and the world.

He also caused me to rethink taxing and how it is used. He documented that cities pay higher taxes due to higher salaries and higher productivity but then that tax money goes to less productive areas. Overall, he wasn’t complaining about being taxed just that the tax system now is anti-urban and pro suburban. He also noted a reason this happens. Congress is over represented by suburban areas. Low density states get 2 senators like high density states. He cited 5 states with just 1.2% of the population have 10% of the power in the senate and this creates an imbalance of power for a minority of the population.

Overall, he had an environmental agenda. He questioned this policy because cities are significantly less carbon intensive per person than suburban living. Suburban living generates more emissions per person than city living because suburban living generally requires more driving and bigger houses, each of which requires more energy use. An example of the subsidizing of suburban living was the mortgage tax deduction. I wonder about his thoughts now since the mortgage tax deduction has been eliminated. Another question relates to the recent publication in Scientific American, “U.S. Cities Are Underestimating Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The errors could make it more difficult for cities to meet goals for reducing their planet-warming footprint” (at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/u-s-cities-are-underestimating-their-greenhouse-gas-emissions/)

Overall, it is a good book and a thought provoking. I recommend this book. These ideas all seem to support the practice of paneugenesis because it suggests cities can help generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions with a good infrastructure from which everyone and everything will benefit.

Updated: Achieving Big Goals Requires a Team Effort

A Team Effort…Also One More Thing at the End

A team effort is a coordinated approach when all on the team work together toward the same goal. It is when each team member does their part to help the team achieve its goal, despite their different roles. As Alvin Toffler explained:

We are all citizens of planet earth, so we are all on the same team, despite our different roles. Climate Change is a big issue and a coordinated team effort is necessary for progress. It looks like such an effort is starting. To help all in government who have different roles share the same goal, all posts will now consider how it can have a beneficial impact on the environment.

As described in this Washington Post article, Every Cabinet job is about climate change now, it says President Biden insists that addressing climate change is a job for all, not just the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). World changing quality management expert, Dr. W. Edwards Deming also emphasized that all must work together to achieve an aim. In his 14th point of his famous 14 Points, he explained that organizations must:

Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.

Leadership Sets the Pace

In the snow, once a path is made with a sled, it is easier for others to follow that path.

A path also creates a more predictable future. It is a more predictable future because you can see what is expected to happen if you follow that path. A predictable future helps organizations decide what they should do to be successful. Having a predictable future also means organizations can be more proactive about their choices, such as their decisions about environmental issues. Proactive decisions are better then being forced to react to new legislation or policy. As Mahatma Gandhi reminded us:  

The government is creating a path to follow.

Good leadership creates followers. Governmental leadership may have impacted the recent big change at General Motors. General Motors (GM) aims to end sale of gasoline, diesel-powered cars, SUVs, light trucks by 2035. GM created what some could consider an Idealized Outcome to sell only electric cars by 2035. While this is great, to me this really should be a way to plot progress. Either way, it is an example of how an organization with a different role, selling transportation, shares the same goal of a healthier environment.

The other benefit is that this change at GM makes them a leader. It also may help GM be a more profitable organization as noted in the NYTimes article, “G.M. Announcement Shakes Up U.S. Automakers’ Transition to Electric Cars: Every carmaker is trying to figure out how to make the leap before governments force it and Tesla and other start-ups lure away drivers.” This could be very impactful as people and organizations choose transportation options that are better for the environment.

To show things coming together, it was announced that “Biden wants an all-electric federal fleet”. From postal trucks to passenger vans, the president wants to convert some 645,000 federal vehicles to electric power. The sticking point: They must be made by union workers from at least 50 percent American-made materials. The linked article explains the plan.

This choice also demonstrates a Selfish, Selfless, Synergistic move. #SelfishSelflessSynergy It is Selfish because it is better for GM, Selfless because it enables others to make helpful choices and supports Synergy because it will enable us all to enjoy a better environment.

Idealized Outcomes Visualize a Better Future

In the Paneugenesis Process, the idealized Outcome should operationalize a better future for all. We all want is a health promoting environment. An even more aggressive goal, or Idealized Outcome, could be what I heard from Toyota, years ago, that their aim was to have cars that clean the air as they operate. As we move forward, good leadership about the environment should help more groups, organizations and people understand that although we all have different roles, we all share the same goal of a clean and healthy environment.

In my role as a citizen, to contribute toward a better environment I have a plant strong eating style, mostly vegan, compost, recycle, bike or walk when I can, and support good environmental laws and candidates so I can create pervasive reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. These actions benefit the environment as they also help me be healthier. I look forward to hearing how you are working to improve your life as you also make contributions to a healthier environment. A strong relationship exists between better personal choices and beneficial environmental actions. A wonderful synergy exists between improved personal and planetary health.

In the tradition of Steve Jobs, One More Thing…

On February 2, 2021 the New York Times Had a Daily podcast was about, Assessing Biden’s Climate Plan: The president has signed several executive orders for environmental policies since taking office. But the real work of reducing America’s emissions has just begun. I encourage you to listen about this plan.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Healthier’s By-Product is Comprehensive Improvements

Selfish-Selfless-Synergy is a Win-WIn-Win strategy because it benefits you, benefits others (friends and enemies alike), and improves the environment. #SelfishSelflessSynergy

Dr. Gregor’s  Nutrition Facts Video explains how eating can be a way to benefit yourself, others and the environment. I encourage you to listen about how and why our food choices help generate all good. In other words, eating provides a way to Be Well’R by practicing paneugenesis.

Enjoy this opportunity to make a contribution to a better life for all. It is exciting to improve our life and well-being in ways that, as a by-product, also generate comprehensive improvements for others and the environment. Make it a Great Day & Week by choosing to be Selfish, Selfless & Synergistic. Remember, there are additional secondary benefits by spreading loving kindness to others. Making these choices benefits you with energy and well-being, the by-product is a spreading of loving kindness to everyone and everything!

Be Well’r,

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

“Smarter Taxes” Can Help Build our Ideal World

I have been reading Kate Raworth’s “Doughnut economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist” and it is fantastic. She indicates more “Undoing” of what seemed correct is needed (see Undoing Needed because Mental Illusions Impact Us and To Improve: “Undoing” Needed to Create Better!).

This book has captured my attention and it is keeping it because there are so many wonderful detailed plans about how to do things in a better way. Instead of just saying why things are wrong, she provides an explanation about better ways and then how and why they are better…with examples. It appears her aim is more good, not just less bad. She provides multiple examples of #SelfishSelflessSynergy.

If you follow me, you know I have been suggesting we should “Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad”. I also suggest we can do this if we “Exceed Expectations” or what I call  +3. I detail this in my YouTube Video’s and my articles. I specifically address this in the “Exceed Expectations” video.


As noted in the title, she also explains how this can be true for taxes. While the idea of “Tax Relief” seems desirable, we need to remember that taxes are great because they enable us to fulfill the desires and needs of our society. Libraries, schools, parks, roads, green areas and all the things that make life better exist because of taxes. These government developed projects are public goods that enhance the well-being of everyone.

We also need to remember that those fantastic innovators at Google and Apple and others were only possible because of the public internet infrastructure built from taxes. From this perspective, taxes are a form of selfish, selfless, synergy or a way to practice paneugenesis and create all good. In other words, taxes can be a way to generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone an everything benefits. Well at least they could be, let me explain.

Kate Raworth’s book helped me see taxes from an even more beneficial perspective. As she explains, taxes change behaviors. By that she means what is taxed causes people to adjust what they do. For example, in the past when they taxed windows, people built houses without windows. Now, because they tax labor with payroll taxes, insurance, etc., corporations work to find ways to eliminate the expense of labor. These efforts have generated the wonderfully innovative invention of artificial intelligence (AI). AI, sometimes as robots, can now perform the actions of humans at a lower cost. In this way, taxes adjusted behaviors.

Behaviors demonstrate that taxes adjust behaviors so less use of what is taxed is substituted for things that are not taxed. Knowing this suggests we must update the tax code so we tax what we want less of and subsidize things we want to increase. Succinctly, she explains we should switch from taxing labor to taxing capital. Right now the taxing system encourages us to be creative to find ways for machines do the work instead of humans. For example:

main image

Autonomous Forklifts Replace Manned Forklifts, One Unit at a Time

The code will subsidize these forklifts, the capital, because their purchase costs will be used to decrease income and related taxes. However, if more employees were hired, this would increase costs and related taxes. To create more good we need to switch from focusing on increasing labor productivity to increasing resource productivity. Doing this means we will tax what we want to get rid of and subsidize what we want to increase and creativity will be used to create better working conditions for humans. The result of this should increase jobs and decrease resource use.

In a related example she discussed the traditional Corporate Response for requests to go green. The first group would do nothing wondering why they should change when their job is to make profits. The second group would only do what pays back, or do what is green if it can earn them more profits. The third group she identifies would only do their fair share. This concerned her because it seemed to subliminally suggest everyone has a right to pollute. The fourth group, with what seems to be good intentions, attempts to only  do no harm or mission zero. While this is good, she cited Will McDonough, of Cradle to Cradle and Upcycle fame (please see Concept: Create More Good, Not Just Less Bad)  who said that is only about being less bad, it is not being good.

Her recommendation is that organizations should focus on being generous. That is they should design their efforts to be regenerative by design. Studies also demonstrate this is a more profitable focus from many perspectives. This means their efforts give back and is what I describe as +3. These efforts aim to be regenerative so they provide biosphere stewardship and the result will be leaving the planet better than they found it.

I look forward to hearing about your generous efforts that will help benefit everyone and everything. Please share your efforts so we can learn from your selfish, selfless, synergistic actions. Thank you.

Be Well’r,

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Net Positive 2018 Appalachian Energy Summit

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 2018 Appalachian Energy Summit.  It was a “Net Positive”.  I am better, and I believe the world is better, because of this event.  To me it fulfilled its theme, “Leadership for Good”.  This was the 7th annual event, if you are interested you can see posts about previous events at the bottom of this post.

At the summit Amory Lovins and David Orr were there again and were amazing. | encourage to learn more about them and read their books.  Their names provide links to some information about them. 

I also learned there has been tremendous progress in clean energy generation with solar and wind. They explained how it is increasing fast and is currently, without even accounting for externalities, is cheaper than oil and gas. Externalities are defined as a side effect or consequence of an activity that has other impacts without being reflected in its costs. Some of this information was provided by Brian O’Hara – Sr VP Strategy and Government Affairs, at Strata Solar and many others. 

The new beneficial economics of clean energy was also explained by Mark Fleming, President & CEO of Conservatives for Clean Energy.  He said he was getting conservatives on board with clean energy using only economic reasons without even mentioning climate change.

It was also interesting to learn about efforts by Mars Incorporated from Ashely Allen, Sustainability Sr Manager for Climate & Land. I was also interested to learn about the We Are Still In Movement which is a group of companies doing what they can to support the Paris Agreement even though Trump pulled the US out.

Other things of interest to me from the energy summit included Georgia Tech’s Living Building Challenge.  They are doing what can be done to make living buildings energy producing and comfortable instead of being energy hogs.  Their message was that we can no longer be just less bad, we must cause good so we regenerate and restore our environment.  That message was echoed by Nicole Hagerman Miller from Biomimicry 3.8.  More information about their work is at www.Asknature.org 

Nicole shared some of Jane Benyus’s amazing work related to Biomimicry.  If you do not know of her fantastic work, you can see her TED Presentation and more information at Parallel NOT Linear Means Create Positive AND Prevent Negative. I also strongly recommend her book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature..

Nicole made this message clear by reminding us that Dr. Benyus says we will be sustainable when the city and the forest are functionally indistinguishable.  My favorite part of her speech, however, was when she explained that efforts must be focused on causing a “Net Positive” instead of just working toward the uninspiring 0.  This is the message I try to promote with Exceeding Expectations.

I liked this conference because, for the most part, they did not take the typical approach of showing us or scaring us about how awful things are and that we need to fix it.   That approach, as Chris Anderson of “TED” explains, is emotionally exhausting and causes compassion fatigue.  Often that has been my experience from the many environmental messages I hear.

Overall the summit was about ideas that were interesting.  The summit also provided many possible solutions to help work on the riddle of climate change.  For me this summit was about how to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.  In other words, it provided many ways to Practice Paneugenesis.

Help make it a Great Week for everyone and everything!

***You can see previous summit posts at Energy Summit Reveals Sustainability ContradictionFantastic Energy Summit – Knowledge, Collaboration, Action;  A New State of Energy SummitPost 2 – Presentations from New State of Energy Summit; and Green events Provides Great Practices to Copy

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Contact me at:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

 

Conventional not Organic Farmers Should Pay a Premium

To practice paneugenesis means to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.  Incumbent with these efforts means we will also be redesigning reality.  To redesign reality this means we need to build a better system that supports, encourages, nurtures and reinforces improvements.

To build a better system, a system must have multiple interdependent parts that can function as much on their own as possible while also contributing to making the whole system better. That means that each part contributes to the whole system and does not take from, or is a detriment to it.

This past week I attended the first East Carolina University Sustainability Symposium.  It was excellent.  While being inspired by speakers and from discussions with colleagues, we realized a way we could help redesign reality to improve the system and encourage paneugenesis.  A discussion with Anna Martin, Program Coordinator at the Water Resource s Research Institute, led to this post. The symposium and related discussion yielded these ideas to generate improvements…

Currently, organic farmers pay a premium to grow and sell organic food – while conventional farmers pay nothing additional.  This also translates to a higher cost to consumers for organic food.  Thus it is a deterrent from buying or growing organic food. Despite the premium costs associated with organic foods, reports suggest purchases of organic foods are growing dramatically, over 100% per year.

From a systems perspective, organic farmers are a positive contributing interdependent component of the whole system.  Organic farmers improve the system while contributing to it, by providing healthy food to humans, without taking away from the whole system.  Conventional farmers on the other hand are not able to function without getting external inputs in the form of petroleum fertilizers to be able to produce their output.  The fertilizers then hurt the whole system in many ways such as contributing to climate change, leaching carbon, and by hurting other species such as bee’s and in many other ways. (see figure below)

Assessment of organic farming relative to conventional farming in the four major areas of sustainability.

Assessment of organic farming relative to conventional farming in the four major areas of sustainability. Source: Nature Plants 2, Article number: 15221 (2016) doi:10.1038/nplants.2015.22it

Obviously, having contributing organic farmers pay a premium while damaging conventional farmers pay nothing does not make sense.  After thinking about it, we realized a simple change would yield a better system.  Instead of having organic farmers pay to grow their food, have conventional farmers who pollute the land, water and air with petroleum based insecticides and herbicides pay the premium. Currently conventional farmers defer those costs to consumers and citizens who pay for it with damaged water, air, and land which leads to a lower quality of life and additional disease care costs for all.  In addition this situation creates a system that nudges or encourages people to make unwise choices.

Despite a system that gives organic food a disadvantage, consumers are choosing organic foods and science indicates it is better for the people, land, water, and air.  To improve the system, shouldn’t the polluters, so-called conventional farmers, rather than the organic food producers, be the farmers who pay the premium?  Costs to grow organic food are rightly used for inspections and the certification process.  It seems it would make more sense to charge farmers who choose to pollute the food and land to pay for inspections and certifications.  This then means they could avoid that premium by growing food organically instead of growing food by adding ecologically damaging petroleum based herbicides and insecticides.

If  polluters paid a premium, the system would change from encouraging the use of polluting methods to supporting, encouraging, nurturing and reinforcing health promoting practices.  Such a change could have dramatic positive effects on the quality of our personal and planetary health. This change would also make organic, not petroleum laced food, the less expensive and natural, or default choice.

Contact your senators and the USDA to advocate for smart policies like this that support, encourage and reinforce agriculture practices that contribute to healthier personal and planetary health. Thank you.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Great Documentary to Watch: “Food Choices”

I watched “Food Choices” on Netflix (it is available through many sources). I thought it was a great documentary about how to make good choices and the impact of food choices on personal and planetary well-being.

I liked it because it was not heavy handed. I posted two trailers below. I encourage you to watch it and share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

Fantastic Energy Summit – Knowledge, Collaboration, Action

I am not sure what happened, but for some reason I never posted this after the summit this past summer. For those interested in creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits, this is a great conference to learn how.

summitheader

To me, with my efforts to generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits, how we live in our environment is key. Living in a sustainable way is the focus of the summit.

From July 18-20, 2016 I had the opportunity to attend the 5th Appalachian Energy Summit. The theme this year was Knowledge, Collaboration and Action, a great motto for what we must do. Once again I was able to learn from wonderful speakers. Amory Lovins and David Orr shared their vast knowledge and we also had the opportunity to hear Bill McKibbin of 350.org. Unfortunately some of the news is sad and scary, however there is hope and the message I got loud in clear is there also must be URGENCY with our efforts.

I love this conference because it is like the National Wellness Conference (NWC) because its focus is on how to help each of us be the best versions of ourselves with the overall aim of improving the common good. Coincidentally, or maybe not, the theme at this years NWC was “Spotlight on Sustainability”.An outcome from which everyone and everything benefits. Another very impressive part of the conference is that not only does it teach us how to be stewards of the environment, the conference is green. Linked description of specific efforts to green the event (also bel0w) are made in regards to Energy, Food Services (and the foods is outstanding), zero waste, water stewardship.

UpcycleCover_webC2C-English_med-e1365807753836UpCycle Chart

This conference demonstrates it is not about doing less, but doing it better and not using traditional methods. There are better ways and McDonough and Braungart explain in Epicycle and Cradle to Cradle (see post here). With regard to this conference, here is an explanation about how they practice what they preach:

Greening of the Summit

Our pristine mountain environment attracts a community of people dedicated to good stewardship. A walk across our campus is proof of our commitment to sustainability: a student-funded on-campus wind turbine, zero waste management initiatives, native landscaping and healthy buildings are among the most obvious indicators.

In good faith and commitment, Appalachian engages in the following activities which contribute to a sustainable summit.

   

Greening Initiatives

Carbon Neutral Event

Like last year, our 2016 Appalachian Energy Summit will be a carbon neutral event. First we will work to reduce our carbon emissions and \ will purchase renewable energy credits (RECS) and carbon offsets. These offset conference operations, accommodations, car and air travel, and food preparation. We have worked with Shift Equity and NC Greenpower to calculate and offset these emissions.

Housing Conferences & Institutes

  • Many participants will be housed in hotel-like accommodations at Mountaineer Residence hall, a LEED® gold certified residence hall

Energy Plemmons Student Union

  • Summit space utilizes building automation to increase HVAC efficiency
  • Summit space has temperature setbacks
  • Summit space and hotel-like accommodations have commercial solar thermal systems
  • Energy efficient high output lighting, including use of LED technology
  • Use of lighting motion sensors

Food Services Appalachian Food Services

  • All meals served will have local and organic content
  • China, silverware, glassware, and cloth used
  • Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free options offered
  • All unopened leftovers donated to the local food shelter
  • Bulk items used (condiments, sweeteners, creamers, etc.)

Waste Reduction Zero Waste

  • We are making every effort to be a zero waste event
  • Recycling containers available at all summit locations and meeting spaces
  • Pre and post-consumer food waste collection at all meal events
  • Use of bulk items rather than individual items such as condiments, sugar, cream, etc.
  • Use of reusable food service items when possible
  • Disseminate conference info and other information electronically
  • Promotion of ‘BYO beverage’ container

Water Stewardship

Plemmons Student Union and Building Services

  • Low-flow sink aerators
  • Dual-flush toilets
  • Green cleaning supplies

Transportation Parking and TrafficZimride and AppalCART

  • Carpooling platform created using Zimride to make it easy for participants to share the ride
  • AppalCART provides free and convenient in-town mass transit transportation for participants

Communication

  • “These come from trees” signs on bathroom paper towel dispensers in Plemmons Student Union
  • Renewable energy kiosk in Plemmons Student Union
  • Electronic invites, announcements, registration, advertising
  • Any printed material (Leadership Luncheon only) is sugar cane-based

I look forward to more conferences, functions and organizations taking similar actions. Please share your efforts and how this can be done even better.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Advanced Potty Training to Benefit Everyone & Everything

From what I have learned, some of this is happening. I hope this post encourages more action to benefit everyone and everything.

UpcycleCover_web C2C-English_med-e1365807753836

Molly Winter’s interesting TED Presentation, “The Taboo Secret to Better Health” discusses the “Taboo” subject of Advanced Potty Training. I was fascinated by her explanation about how we could treat our Pee and Poo differently so we benefit everyone and everything. Her plans explain how reusing Pee & Poo by designing  a system to do what McDonough and Braungart describe as  “Cradle to Cradle” so we “Upcycle” waste. This technique provides a way to convert what was waste into a valuable resource for its next use, which is Upcycling. The techniques she describes also cleans the water, land and air and this negates the need for aded chemicals and fossil fuels. In other words, everyone and everything benefits.

In this post I am happy to highlight innovative solutions that demonstrate how to practice paneugenesis. Winters “Advanced Potty Training” generates comprehensive improvements that have pervasive, reciprocal positive impacts by creating selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

I encourage you to learn about these innovations and how you may want to help them get implemented in your area…

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Harvest Current, Not Ancient Energy

**I would like to thank Alex Hsain,undergraduate researcher in energy harvesting systems at NC State University, for her collaboration in this post.

Harvest_Energy_Trust_logo.svg

At the recent 2016 Appalachian Energy Summit, I attended Alex Hsain’s “Energy Scavenging: Small Steps, Big Impacts” presentation about how she was harvesting ambient energy for portable electronic devices and it caused an epiphany, or sudden insight for me. Harvesting energy or energy scavenging is the process by which energy is obtained from  the surrounding environment in order to power small wireless devices. My question, why is  this not what we always do? Let me explain my thoughts.

Harvesting is a process of gathering, collecting or obtaining a resource for future use. Isn’t that what we do when we gather, collect, and obtain energy from the sun or wind to use to power our needs? According to multiple sources, the sun delivers more than enough harvestable energy every day to meet any possible needs. If we also collect wind energy, and energy that can be harvested from ocean currents, we will greatly exceed our energy needs with clean sources.

Instead of harvesting what is delivered to us daily, free of charge, we have embarked on an adventure to dig up hidden energy delivered millions of years ago that we have to burn it to use. Knowing that conserving energy is an evolutionary trait innate to humans, does this make sense? We are seeking the most indirect form of energy by using ancient fossil fuels instead of looking right in our backyard. The motion of our footsteps, the heat our body produces, the acoustics of our voice – all have the possibility to make us more energy independent.

Why are we doing this? An analogy would be to be given food to eat, like picking an apple from a tree, but instead of using that food we choose to find an animal gut, cook and eat. Beyond the data that documents whole food plant based eating provides more personal and planetary health benefits for humans than animal sources, why take the extra effort?

I understand there are taste issues with food, but why are we not only expending more effort than necessary to meet our energy needs, we also are giving energy companies the power to control our lives. Of course the even more important, often ignored issue is that the extra effort we must expend to get to the ancient energy or for that matter animal based foods, causes more damage than benefits received. I support energy independence that comes from utilizing a network of key technologies, working in parallel.

Lets all become independent energy generates or Robert F. Kennedy Jr. often discusses. Hear Kennedy’s presentation here from the 2015 Appalachian Energy Summit.

 

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Growing Healthier Food, People, & Communities

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Urban Farmer Creates Growing Power

The success story of Will Allen is similar to my former post, Urban Farmer Puts Selfish, Selfless, Synergy in Action. This post however is about former basketball star Will Allen’s Growing Power organization. His book, The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People and Communities provides more detailed information about this successful ongoing project.

His efforts, some outlined in video’s below, demonstrates how someone can take action to create healthy food, provide jobs, nutrition, self-worth and value in ways that benefit everyone. His persistence toward creating the greater good has created a movement that benefits all and gives back to our environment.

A super impressive part of these efforts is how he grows healthy soil and also uses it to provide heat and energy without any waste – like nature. I encourage all to learn more about his beneficial efforts to see how he is generating comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

 

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Post 2 – Presentations from New State of Energy Summit

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My previous post described the fantastic energy summit at UNC’s Appalachian State University. As noted, I am making the presentations by the speakers available. The 2015 Appalachian Energy Summit was amazing, educational, inspiring and scary. Not only was it highly educational, it practiced what it preached by being a zero waste event while making it a higher quality event than most. At the summit Amory Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute, environmental activist Robert Kennedy, Jr. of RiverKeeper and other organizations, and author and presenter David Orr of Oberlin College provided stunning and valuable information.

This links the speaker page and below are links to their summit presentations.  I encourage you to listen their presentations:

Robert Kennedy Jr.: Keynote Address, Armchair Discussion

David Orr: Address

Amory Lovins: Armchair Discussion, Panel Discussion

After listening, please post your thoughts as you work to Generate Comprehensive Improvements by Creating Interactions so Everyone & Everything Benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Scaring Doesn’t Work – Focus on Better! 👍🏻

Energy and Environment
James Hansen’s controversial sea level rise paper has now been published online

For years I have been hearing about problems associated with sea level rise. It seems they are trying to scare us into action. Scaring however has been shown time and time again when removed by time, it doesn’t work. Scaring may create an immediate reaction but it does not lead to the long-term change and dedication needed. Movement toward a better outcome and a better world – something everyone desires – does manifest commitment, adherence, and better performance.

Of course a sea level rise would be a problem, however, instead of focusing on what to do make a better world, most of these articles, including one linked above, focuses on who agrees or does not agree this will happen. Who cares? If it happens we all lose, nobody benefits. Instead why don’t we think about how to make things better in ways that are helpful to enabling everyone and everything to benefit.

As I learned last week and posted here, we have the technology and know how to have a better world without reliance on fossil fuels, what many say is the main culprit  in global warming.  My point, however is that even if all the experts are wrong and it is not fossil fuels that are causing the problem, the solution toward a more democratized, stable, fulfilling world is more likely if we decarbonize our economy. Why shouldn’t we move in that direction to make things better.

In other words, lets stop arguing about what is the cause and instead just focus our efforts on how to generate comprehensive benefits by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits. This means creating all good or the practice of paneugenesis with selfish, selfless, synergy (described in video below). I look forward to how we can create more good, not just less bad – also in previous post. Make it a great day, year, life! If you want to learn more, you can review this longer presentation.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Cowspiracy – The Movie

Cowspiracy provides an important message and you can get the movie for $1 this week. Buy it or gift it!

This is the film that environmental organizations don’t want you to see.

AS EYE-OPENING AS “BLACKFISH” AND AS INSPIRING AS “AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH”, THIS SHOCKING YET HUMOROUS DOCUMENTARY REVEALS THE ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ONE INDUSTRY HAS ON OUR PLANET.

Here are the facts from the movie:

 

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker, PhD

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

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