On August 8th, 2011 one of the cornerstones of my eco-learning triangle, Ray Anderson, passed away. How do I feel? It is a mixture. Pensive and sad for the loss of a great man; grateful and appreciative for the opportunity to observe a life marinated in honesty, courage, and integrity; and on a very human level, uneasy about the loss of a real-life cornerstone. Yes, it always felt safer knowing that the eco-business perspective of Ray Anderson was out there. It also reminded me of my journey:
A little while ago, I experienced a pressing “SoulNudge” to learn as much as I could about the Earth and our beautiful, yet polluted eco-system. My first thoughts were “Oh no, not again”, since my last soul nudge catapulted me out of the socially acceptable high tech sector and into the intangible world of life coaching and alternative medicine. Yes siree, the idea of another supersonic rocket ride into the unknown was daunting, and to be honest … scary.
Then I stumbled upon a video called Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken; shortly after, the work of Ray Anderson, as illustrated in his book Confessions of a Radical Industrialist, captured my interest, and with the rediscovery of David Suzuki, my eco-learning triangle was complete.
On another level, I had no idea of how these three world-class visionaries would change my life from the inside out. Upon reflection, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook also played a role because they provided an open window to a welcoming sense of eco-community … a most treasured resource when charting unfamiliar and unsettling territory.
One year later and centuries wiser, this is what I have learned:
1. “There” is “here”: Let your heart be your guide because your heart understands the natural balance and the ebb flow of things. As annotated by David Suzuki, if you want to learn about Nature, go and live in Nature. Respecting the sentiment, I followed its concourse and found that the hypothesis to be honest and true.
2. Be open. As shared with you, I was hit with the passion, but not the resources. I fretted about being inadequate, whilst in reality; my very inadequacy is my greatest strength. For example, I’m able, at present, to look at the Earth and eco-system with humble “beginner’s eyes”. No eco-affiliation, organization, or corporation owns me, so I dare to be honest and speak my truth.
3. Be magnanimous: The center of the Universe is not exclusively “human”. Every plant and animal has an equal right to be here and an equal claim to fulfill their life purpose and thrive. We have an opportunity to adjust our human manifesto in a healthy, sustainable, and inclusive way. Let’s do it.
As you may discern, I am still learning ... and that in itself is a gift. Maybe this time next year, I’ll have the more “wisdoms” or learnings to add to the list. In the meantime, I will search for one of the stories in Ray Anderson’s writings; the one about the WW2 veteran, the island, the food supply, and the deer (or was it caribou or moose?). It matters not, what does matter is the profound message of a tipping point for eco-sustainability in the story.
Thank you for stepping up to the plate for the Earth, for responsible, environmentally sustainable enterprise, and for your fellow human beings. Mr. Ray Anderson, R.I.P.
Read more about Ray Anderson’s legacy:
1. A True Radical, A Great Man (The Huffington Post)
2. Paul Hawken Pays Tribute to green-biz visionary Ray Anderson (GRIST)
3. Foundation Mourns green business hero and former board member (The David Suzuki Foundation)
4. Ray Anderson, Green Building Pioneer Dead, at 77 (Tree Hugger)
5. Get to Know Ray (Interface Global).
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