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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Archive for August, 2006

Paradigm Shift

Posted by hal | August 29th, 2006 | Filed under Outdoor Sport

The model for marketing success in the outdoor industry has long been one of hero worship, centered on peak activities performed by elite athletes. The athletes and the activities themselves are elevated to mythical status, and the featured product is valued in part because it is perceived to be built to withstand the rigors of these extreme situations, but mostly because the purchaser feels that by wearing the same product as the rock star, surf god, or paddling diva who wore that product in the magazine, they would, by association, be perceived as being capable of the same feats.

There’s a new paradigm forming. One in which the aspirational model becomes more about the experience and less about the personality. In place of these sport specific uberathletes, the new role models are those individuals who understand their athleticism as just one part of what makes them who they are, who don’t simply recreate, but are acutely aware of the environment that sustains this recreation. They are multi-sport, multi-season athletes who understand the value in matching their activities to the conditions that exist and the opportunities that are available.

Our participation in the outdoors extends beyond the sports we do. Simply being out there invites an awareness of the fragile ecosystems that exist, and our responsibility to protect them for future generations. The new paradigm is one of a larger, more conscious view of the outdoor experience and how it fits into all aspects of one’s life. A view that includes the peak moments as well as the mundane, one that moves between trail and town, between hard core and hanging out.

It’s time to align ourselves with the values that draw us to the outdoors rather than with the high profile personalities that excel in only one small aspect of the larger outdoor experience.

Welcome to the Thought Kitchen

Posted by admin | August 25th, 2006 | Filed under Who We Are

There’s nothing like the beginning, the fresh start, the clean slate. A newly packed suitcase, a blank notebook”these things hold an undeniable allure, a desire to tap into experience and explore new realms. Here in the Thought Kitchen, we hope to capture some of that feeling and the insights that come along with it. It is our intention to begin not just one, but numerous dialogues, with people for whom working towards positive change in its myriad forms is a central theme, and whose ideas, insights and observations will help drive us toward a more sustainable world. And, we’d like to have a little fun along the way, because while seeking ways to change the world is serious work, it doesn’t mean we have to take ourselves too seriously. That gets old really quickly.

We’ve never done this before. OK, we’ve done some of this before, but not like this, as a true collective, with a real mission behind the work and a desire to embrace heightened dialogue and invite feedback. This site is intended as just one form of that desire. Welcome. Come into our kitchen. Share some recipes, some successes and some failures ripe for dissection. We’ll do the same.

Is sustainability boring?

Posted by hal | August 24th, 2006 | Filed under Sustainability

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Well, yes, I guess in some ways it is. Like fidelity, honesty, integrity or any of the values that require long-term consistent actions and unwavering commitment, sustainability, on first blush, seems like a pretty dull proposition. But it seems to me that the key is in the style with which one approaches any of these things.

Take fidelity for example. I used to believe that the idea of living with one other person, forsaking all others, was tantamount to a life sentence in maximum security. I now realize that fidelity can be a source of immense satisfaction and reward. Finding new ways to describe long held feelings for the same person throughout a lifetime is a creative endeavor worthy of an endowment, and the rewards of having done so are seemingly immeasurable.

It’s the same with sustainability. The notion of being careful not to squander today’s resources, so tomorrow’s generations can have some too. The idea of living within one’s means, and of putting things back. These all seem to be about sacrifice, and doing without. On the other hand, the idea of making careful conscious choices seems to align with the idea of increasing the value of each thing chosen, thereby turning the practice of sustainability into one of curation, of cultivation, of elegant simplicity and discriminating style.