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Archive for April, 2009

Lessons For An Optimist – Earth Day

Posted by Gordon | April 28th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

To be an entrepreneur is to be an optimist and I try to live by one of my favorite sayings, “Pessimists are usually right and optimists are usually wrong but all the great changes have been accomplished by optimists.” Thomas L. Friedman

gordonThis post is the maiden voyage of an idea that our team had for me to share weekly thoughts and observations with our family of friends and fans. Every Monday you can count on an observation from the prior week through a glass half full lens. My objective is to share experiences as we navigate this fast changing world and encourage your participation and commentary in those adventures.

My subject this week – Earth Day. I know, you’ve heard it all by now, but don’t you think it’s amazing how ubiquitous this previously little known celebration of environmental awareness has become in recent years.

Why is that? Is it that we have finally embraced the evidence of global warming and have entered survival mode. Has the recent financial turmoil reminded us to cherish green places and the simple things. Maybe it is that green has become synonymous with economic potential. Or, perhaps, Earth Day has simply accomplished its purpose over the last four decades and converted the masses. Like most things, it is most likely a combination of these and many other factors that have all contributed to a major shift in awareness, perspective and practices.

I sleep at night because although we’ve left an environmental mess for our children, our youth today has been born with awareness. It is almost like our DNA was altered sometime in the last two decades and kids are teaching adults how to be green. I am regularly impressed by how aware and engaged my 9- and 11-year old daughters are. My wife and I try pretty hard to be good stewards, but our girls often point out how we can do better.

Finally, kudos to Google for understanding this long before many of us – shocker. They understand that youth gets it and launched a program several years ago to solidify Earth Day in the schools. Grades K-12 are asked to have their students design an Earth Day inspired home page Google logo and contest winners in various age categories were awarded $10K for college tuition and $25K grants to the schools of those winners. What a great way to get teachers, students and parents talking about some of the most important and relevant issues of today in the name of Google. Nice thinking!

Thanks for reading.

Playing For Change

Posted by Gordon | April 24th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

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Once in a while you are lucky enough to come across something that fills your soul with that special feeling.  You know the one that looks like Grinch’s heart growing three sizes bigger.  Great music with inspiring lyrics has provided many of those moments for me so I always try to get my regular dose of our friends Michael Franti, Chris Pierce and Brett Dennen.  This video struck me in that same deep and meaningful way.

A director went around the world and looked for various street performers and recorded them singing different songs.  This is of Stand By Me.  He used rudimentary battery operated equipment to record them live.  Then, went on to the next performer and let them listen to the music and they added to the recording.  The song is mixed with various street artists who have never met and just sang or played along to other artists:

What a connected and inspiring world we live in and what great way to remind us how we can collectively make the world a better place.  I hope you enjoy It as I much as I did and share it with your families and friends.

One of a Billion

Posted by Josie | April 22nd, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

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According to CNN, one billion (1,000,000,000) people are expected to celebrate Earth Day today. One billion people around the world simultaneously coming together as activists for the same cause is kind of a big deal.

I saw Thomas Friedman speak at PSU a couple months ago, and he said “I’m so sick of Earth Day events- my conscious is raised”. Mine is too, but I’m still going to join the party.

Night Rider

Posted by David | April 17th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

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YouTube Direkt

As an Oregon transplant from California, I’m being introduced to all sorts of new things: constant rain, driving 55 mph, and not being walking distance from the beach. I’ve always been up for trying new things-whether it’s food, drinks, activities…whatever. So when my fellow Nau employee, and Oregon native, Libby took me night-boarding on Wednesday I felt like a kid with a new toy. With what seemed like all of Ski Bowl to ourselves, we rode fresh (albeit hard) snow all night. This was quite a nice change from the crowded lines of Tahoe that I am used to. We even made a little stop in the warming hut for a pitcher of beer! I’ve found that night boarding is one of my new favorite activities! Too bad the season is just about over… Here’s a little video clip from one of our lift rides…this is also my first experience with video editing…

Power to the Plants: Community Gardens Take Back Urban Landscapes

Posted by admin | April 14th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

fall09-5047Let’s do some word association. When I say L.A. what do you think? Among some of the words I’ve heard are: Hollywood, movies, stars, traffic, palm trees, glamorous, beaches, earthquakes, big buildings and concrete. Los Angeles has many redeeming qualities, however, the over abundance of highways, freeway and byways has quite literally made this urban landscape fecund with concrete … miles and miles of it stretching on to the setting southern California sun.

That said, on a recent trip to Los Angeles, a group of us went to go visit a community garden to get the scoop on urban community gardening projects. The one we choose to visit is nestled next to and on top of the 110 freeway – literally. Here in the most unlikely spot to see veggies, flowers and fruit trees thriving, the five acres of the Solano Canyon Community Garden serves as an amazing example of the power of community to change a wasteland to a paradise.

Nearly 10 years ago, this same five acres was an empty plot of land, with the seemingly dead soil covered in broken glass and trash with plastic bags clinging to a chain link fence. It wasn’t until a group of local gardeners got together and started tilling the soil, planting, and season by season began rejuvenating and reclaiming the terra firma at Solano Canyon.

Fast forward, and it is hard to believe that the garden hasn’t always been there. Busy bees, which are kept on the property by a local beekeeper, buzz by to pollinate the copious amounts of fresh fruits, veggies and flowers that grow on the property. Two thirds of the space is devoted to an orchard and hillside planting beds for local farmers who sell the produce in farmers markets and the like. The remainder consists of common areas and 30 individual garden plots.

Dark, rich soil stains the hands of India and Sebastian, a husband/wife team that help manage the property. India, an urban girl through and through, met Sebastian, a transplant himself from Chile, at a salsa bar. Sebastian’s quiet yet steady resolve to be in nature has brought India into the world of gardening, something she had no idea would have such a positive effect on their lives together. India said this about the garden, “I always thought my food came from a clean, well-lit shelf in a grocery store, but now I know the power of growing your own food is transformative not only for the land and body, but for your soul.”

Community gardens do more than restore the urban landscape. They tap into a deep seeded – arguably genetic – desire for us to get our hands into the earth, reconnect, and grow! They are the road (sans concrete) back to community.

This is my bike: #5 in a series

Posted by admin | April 9th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

libby_bike3Once a year my family gets together in Melbourne Beach, Florida for a Smith family reunion. Our days are filled with fishing, surfing, and building things. Usually there are injuries….. occasionally somebody ends up in jail. All in all our reunions are the stuff of legends.There are a lot of very wealthy people here that like to throw away perfectly usable items. My uncles take advantage of this by cruising around on trash night looking for treasure. As a result of these midnight adventures we have amassed a whole fleet of bikes. The shining star of the gang is my beloved Rio Cruz. The salty ocean air has completely rusted her curvy frame. You can tell that once she used to be a brilliant shade of purple. Personally I love the rust. It makes her look like a seasoned pirate among all the shiny new beach cruisers. Her best feature is the rusty basket on her handle bars. A flawless design that fits a 12 pack of High Life like a match made in heaven. When I take her to the nearby dive bar the locals nod in approval at my ride.

All year I dream about coming back here and riding my Rio Cruz. She embodies all that is good in a beach cruiser. I like things with a little history…….and a lot of rust!

Plastic Fantastic

Posted by Caitlin | April 3rd, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

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Reduce, reuse, recycle.  It’s a pretty simple concept that most of us think about on a daily basis but for some reason, when it comes to the “reuse” part, I’m stumped. The great people at Real Simple magazine have a feature called “New Uses for Old Things” highlighting creative ways to reuse every day items. Check out their latest “10 New Uses for Old Plastic Bags.”