Initial thoughts : A great collaboration toward greening Ingenuity and raising eco-awareness

Submitted by Sudhir Kade on Tue, 07/18/2006 - 23:07.

Just some overall comments on this past 'Greening Ingenuity' effort:

GREAT thanks go out to you, Zebra Mussel, for so much of the preparatory work, writeups, analysis, etc you played such a pivotal role with.  We must not forget the dialogue never even started until Mike Shafarenko brought the possibility of greening to our attention- Super thanks, Mike!.  Sheer economics (energy costs) made the initial outreach a reality... from there it was simply a matter of calling up and convening the true enviro-experts, those truly experienced with these processes and technologies - At my current level (an MBA from Case with a passion for sustainability) I am certainly not one nor have never claimed to be: I have only studied these processes and their importance at a very general level.  Yet I know there is no issue I have more passion for in my life than the enhancement of quality of life for every living creature on this planet.  We crazy humans, however, are exacerbating and accelerating our own extinction - yet paradoxically are the only ones with the creativity, potential and technology to reverse the problem and not only achieve sustainability but perhaps someday create a place infinitely more generative. 

Regarding this particular issue: greening the Ingenuity Festival -there was simply an amazing opportunity to address and a still-ongoing one to learn from.  After getting the initial call from Mike I am grateful I first reached to you ZM, by nature of your dual membership and support of both Net Impact and your home group of Buckeye Sustainability Institute so much became possible.  It only made sense for a newly formed Net Impact chapter to look to a group that had already provided wonderful expertise and energy to prior events.   Then so many good things started happening once we started pulling together key players.

Collaboration is what really made this work, and what better for one simply wanting to learn to do than convene those together with expertise and thought leadership to both reduce environmental footprint of this event and raise awareness around what I consider to be some of the most important technology of all: that which makes sustainability possible.    We didn't cover them all but addressed so many of the major ones - biofuel, wind, solar, fuel cell, hybrid, and vermitechnology.  And I've learned so much more in each segment already just through engaging in this process- I'm sure we all have.  And now? Free Open Source GIS (FOSS) technology will now play a role as we all share our thoughts and transparently report on our efforts, findings, areas for improvement, and calculations.

So we certainly need to thank the groups we pulled together to represent - The Wright Fuel Cell Group, Green Energy Ohio, Buckeye Sustainability Institute, Net Impact, Repower Solutions (Solar Erika), Dovetail Technologies (via Fletcher Miller), GM.  I was so happy that these technologies gained exposure to many people, and many connections were made that never existed before to create new value - isn't that what this is all about?

For ecological conservation : Ed Hauser was able to rally great support for Whiskey Island, ZM was able to promote the newly developing Mobius Nature Center in Aurora, Steve Tompkins did great eco-analysis, and Jon Cline amused and educated with his vast knowledge of  biodiversity, speciation as well and offered some great GIS information gathered at a recent conference in Vermont.   Several of us have met now and want to help draft some grant proposals soon around some of these efforts to uplift underprivileged communities with a combination of great technology (Open Source GIS / Open Source Social Network Mapping) combined with critical processes of human/group facilitation, engagment and stewardship.   Norm has led and driven such great work in East Cleveland we'd love to support it so that is a logical starting point - but so many communities in NEO help as well.  It would make sense to start there as a model.

And we even supported some eco-retail thanks to ZM's dear friend at Esperanza Threads, who were able to promote and sell their organic wares on Sunday.

Spending much of the four days at our booth, I met students that want to help with community development, electricians who want to work with solar power, computer programmers that want to intern, and people that want to get their buildings to recycle, and folks that want to build a completely organic farm nearby - just to name a few.  We just need to help connect people to the resources they need to succeed in these efforts that move the whole system toward sustainability.

And then of course the collaborative efforts that made the processes possible to impact the event - starting from Mike Shafarenko's designation of an initial recycling coordinator (to meeting with Andrew Watterson to brief him of our BSI/Net Impact plans, and assigning a janitorial service to handle the recyclables to John McGovern's great job coming in to help ensure the initially designated tasks came to fruition around the recycling piece.

Meeting Cassandra Moore of the City of Cleveland's Waste Division was a delight and when you speak of civic activism: what better opportunity now than to proliferate recycling efforts like they never have been before?  More on this later.  For now let's stick to Ingenuity- assessment wrap-up and collect all the thoughts, reflections, and insights we can.   These are just my initial thoughts- there are many more to come as I continue to read, absorb, learn, and apply. 

I can't help but wonder where I'll be five years from now on so much of this - with doctorate in hand and chomping at the bit to teach and apply systems-based action research methodologies (Gestalt, Appreciative Inquiry, Systems Centered Theory) , and help facilitate , promote and effect lasting and sustainable positive change in and by organizations  through teaching, research, and consultation.  Experiences like this are just the beginning.  Though I love NEO the next few steps may begin in Vancouver, BC or University Park, PA - but anything is possible!  I just may be convinced to stay, if things wake up at Case or if some of these initial efforts really take root and grow.   Regardless of the short term, I'll boomerang back at some point.

Special thanks go out to our other volunteers and contributors as well.

Soon I'll be posting a compendium of eco-resources for all to learn from - I am reading just an hour or so each day from these but they are such great primers for anyone that wants to really learn enough about these critical elements that comprise the big picture.   With this generalist background I hope to spend the next several years furthering my organizational development and social network analysis expertise in parallel with efforts to convene and coordinate collaboration toward unprecedented outcomes

Again, so much exciting opportunity awaits!  Let's wrap up this IFest-assessment and push forward from there!