Body in Flight II: The Psychological
All the possible metaphors. Wanting to do something memorable, I went skydiving on my birthday. It took several hours of circling the idea before committing. My internal resistance sometimes doesn’t evaporate immediately, but requires time to subside. With age comes perspective and, rather than open you up to new experiences, it can motivate just the opposite. Despite renting the car, driving the 70 miles, watching the training video, seeing lots of other experienced jumpers prepare, stepping on the plane, tucking myself snugly in front of the instructor, and even watching others disappear out the door before me, I was in denial.
Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.
Body in Flight II: The Psychological
On July 18, Marriott announced it would stop using plastic straws across its properties over the next year, becoming the latest company to do so in recent weeks. While these types of policies can have unintended negative consequences, as Chicago learned from a past attempt to ban plastic bags, they also serve to surface deeper issues that can lead to more effective future interventions.
Body in Flight I: The Physical
The acceleration jarred me. Sitting at the back of the plane, my feet dangling outside the door 13,500 feet above the ground, the burly instructor secured to my back, my mind went full and blank simultaneously. Courage, fear, determination converged at light speed as we lurched forward, leaving the safe, solid and secure for the unfettered mystery of free fall. Some kind of profound barrier of disbelief shattered as my butt lifted off the airplane floor and out into empty space.
Sustainable Me III
My birthday catches me off guard. I always feel that I should have been anticipating it more, making plans. Instead, I usually end up working, deferring the observation for a later date that sometimes doesn’t come. I’ve been flummoxed about what to do this year. Navigating Foresight’s projects, currently focused on food, agriculture, water, and community development, while simultaneously growing the enterprise, is the primary focus of my life.
An international team of scientists released the first-ever photograph of a planet forming around a star, taken with the Very Large Telescope array. While the birth of a celestial body may seem removed from the day-to-day issues happening here on Earth, it is a reminder of the vast complexity of our universe, which may be beyond full human understanding but is still worth exploring.
Sustainable Me II
Today, 50. In lieu of gifts, please consider a spending time with a friend, we cant do it enough. In lieu of gifts, take a few minutes to deepen your knowledge about a meaningful subject, the world will benefit from greater understanding. In lieu of gifts, ride the bus or train to its terminus, exploring an area that you might not have otherwise encountered. In lieu of gifts, post a compelling poem to social media so that those channels might be more edifying. In lieu of gifts, send a postcard to a friend or family member to invoke the pleasure of conveying and receiving tangible media. In lieu of gifts, take a young person to lunch or coffee and really listen and understand their perspective and concerns, however, haphazard, serious, or inconsequential they may seem; too often we only see the world through an adult’s limited perspective. In lieu of gifts, see a play instead of a movie next weekend, live theater can possess a purpose and visceral immediacy that transcends film. In lieu of gifts, research in what type of companies your retirement funds are invested and see if they align with your values and view of where the future lays. In lieu of gifts, strive to more deeply understand the impact of your actions on the lives of your grandchildren. In lieu of gifts, cultivate generosity, compassion, connection, perspective and love, and share and teach it with to others with the same dedication and vigor to which it was taught to me by my parents, family, friends and, on occasion, random enlightened strangers.
Divvy, Chicago’s bikesharing program, celebrates its fifth anniversary on June 28, and I’ve been grateful for the way it has helped me get around. Efforts to ensure equitable access to bikes, including expansive station geography and the Divvy for Everyone program, have the potential to expand mobility on a truly citywide scale.
Sustainable Me I
I turn 50 next week. I thought I’d feel more grown up by this age. Somewhere along the way, perhaps prematurely, I think I stopped maturing. But I haven’t stopped learning. Sustainability challenges tend to be multifaceted, requiring hybrid approaches integrating different sources, subjects, and perspectives. They've required constant personal and professional growth. Which isn’t to say there aren’t occasional plateaus.
Since May 1 of this year, more rain has fallen in Chicago during this stretch than in any year since 1871, according to the National Weather Service. This spring's downpours (and extreme heat) are another reminder of the local impacts of climate change, which will continue to bring more intense and frequent storm events, and the imperative to pursue both mitigation and adaptation efforts.
On June 14, the University of Chicago announced that it would no longer require SAT or ACT scores for applicants starting in 2023, joining a small but growing set of test-optional colleges and universities. If this trend continues across a wide array of institutions, it could not only reduce high school students’ stress during the application process, but also contribute to more diverse and equitable college admissions.
Lake Lessons 3 (Final)
Four days aboard an 800-foot Great Lakes freighter transporting 30K tons of limestone and iron ore was an unexpectedly rich experience. As with the lessons shared last week, this final batch carries relevancies to other kinds of journeys, including those Foresight undertakes on its projects.
Aided by Harvard scientists, a carbon sequestration company has announced that it has developed a technology to capture atmospheric carbon and convert it into climate-neutral fuel. Only time will reveal the ultimate impact of this breakthrough, and carbon capture technology in general: while it could circumvent many of the economic disruptions of transitioning from fossil fuels, it may also lessen the urgency of shifting to a truly carbon-free economy.