contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

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

773.271.1990

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.

Blog

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

The Industrial Sublime?

Peter Nicholson

Lake Lessons
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.