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4619 N. Ravenswood Ave., Ste 305
Chicago, IL 60640


We are a multidisciplinary innovation studio working with diverse partners to understand sustainability challenges and identify holistic, resilient solutions, and we are committed to training the next generation of leaders.


Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.

INSIGHT: Lighting an Elated Fire?

Peter Nicholson

Refusing Refuse
Forget the census. Every ten years, we should be required to spend as much time as it takes to touch and consider everything we own. I know more people who have read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up than have attempted to implement it. Until last Saturday, I was one of them. More than 30 hours later, I’m feeling a bit dizzy from it all. It’s overwhelming, and enlightening, to confront the extent of the materiality of my life in such a condensed period. Too much of it can’t be recycled. Whether worn out shoes, luggage, or skis, the most difficult part wasn’t deciding what to discard, but overcoming the guilt of knowing it was headed to some landfill. While I’ve made my apartment more spacious and neat, I did so at the expense of the place that will eventually assume my discarded clutter. So while I'm enjoying the individual progress, I know it’s within a system still wrought with failure. Linear material flows need to become more circular. Even then, I’m not sure possessing stuff will be the same for me, if only because of having a deeper awareness of what, in Kondo’s vision, sparks joy.