I was reluctant to disembark. Fulfilling a childhood ambition, I spent 4 days last week traveling from Detroit to Duluth aboard an 800 foot lake boat. Viewing issues from one, often narrow, perspective, is one of the pitfalls of working on sustainability challenges. New approaches are often adamantly embraced without having considered the full spectrum of ramifications. The wisdom and experience of those caught in the potential transition can be overlooked. Aboard the ship, I was afforded an intimate, upstream perspective of the "extractive economy” upon which so much of our affluence fundamentally rests. My narrow, consumer-centric perspective was broadened by watching the large-scale mechanics in motion, talking with the crew, including the boat captain, cooks, and engineers responsible for keeping everything working 24/7. Growing up along the Great Lakes, I had long wanted to solve the mystery of these vessels that, like persistent ghosts, haunted my childhood, just offshore, coming and going at all hours, never staying, never within reach. My experience last week didn’t so much elucidate the mystery as infuse it with an abiding respect and nobility. These freighters and their cargoes are fundamental to so much passing before me now, staring out the coffee shop window, safely, however restlessly on land, still trying to comprehend these new depths and shifting currents.
Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.