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From Woodstock to sustainability — a journey



Tailored from GreenBuzz, a free weekly publication. Subcribe right here.

I’m having a Woodstock second this summer season. And no, I wasn’t in Max Yasgur’s alfalfa discipline in the summertime of 1969. A minimum of, I don’t bear in mind being there.

However I’ve my very own particular connection to the Woodstock Music & Artwork Honest, as it’s formally recognized. In 1988, within the run-up to the occasion’s 20th anniversary, I carried out an oral historical past of the competition, interviewing dozens of the individuals who made Woodstock occur: producers; performers; medical doctors; cops; neighbors; shopkeepers; carpenters; electricians; attorneys; journalists; filmmakers; and an assortment of simply plain people who, by design or circumstance, turned a part of the occasion.

The interviews had been the idea of a e book and audio documentary, printed in 1989 for the 20th anniversary. Each had been re-released in 2009 for the 40th. And this 12 months, they had been key elements of a PBS documentary, airing this month. The unique audio interviews reside within the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame Library and Archives in Cleveland.

This week marks Woodstock’s 50th anniversary, and it’s filled with reflections on the occasion, what it meant to the younger technology of the time and its implications for at this time. I simply needed to weigh in, so I hope you may indulge me.

Furthermore, I’m typically requested how my curiosity in Woodstock pertains to the work I do now. In spite of everything, Woodstock occurred simply eight months earlier than the primary Earth Day, in 1970, marking the daybreak of the trendy environmental motion. There should be some connection.

The Woodstock story is a exceptional one, and far of it has little to do with the music, and a few of it certainly connects with sustainability and the hunt for a greater world throughout difficult instances. Extra on that in a minute.

A catastrophe?

By all measures, Woodstock ought to have been a catastrophe. Legally barred from its deliberate location only a month earlier than its scheduled date, the promoters needed to shortly regroup and relocate — to Max and Miriam Yasgur’s dairy farm in upstate New York. In haste to construct the competition website, there was little time for planning sure amenities and facilities, a few of which fell by the wayside. Among the many lacking objects had been fences and gates, which by no means materialized satisfactorily, and tens of thosuands who confirmed up had been admitted free of charge.

The crowds brought about traffic jams that paralyzed miles of highways, rendering them ineffective and requiring different measures to herald meals,  medication and provides, and to evacuate the injured and sick. The Nationwide Guard and the U.S. Military acquired concerned, as did a variety of group, enterprise and spiritual organizations, from church teams to the close by Catskill resorts. The unconventional left tried to show the entire shebang right into a political protest in opposition to the Vietnam Battle, one thing the competition promoters had been hellbent to thwart. It was, in spite of everything, 1969.

After which it rained. The grounds, already muddy from weeks of summer season showers, turned to muck because the skies opened repeatedly, typically violently, through the competition weekend. Few who got here to Woodstock had been adequately ready to camp out for 3 days even in snug climes, not to mention within the sizzling, humid, intensely overcrowded and soggy circumstances of that East Coast summer season. The fierce storms additionally put the infrastructure — electrical energy, water, sewerage, the stage, the sound system, mild towers — in jeopardy, together with 1000’s in hurt’s approach.

Evidently, none of this aided the well-being of the numerous people who had drunk, smoked or ingested ungodly quantities of licit and illicit substances, lots of whom needed to be ministered to, one among whom died. (However, opposite to the Woodstock delusion, no infants had been born there, as I’ve beforehand famous.)

It’s ironic, albeit not stunning, that many liken being at Woodstock to having been by a struggle.

Consider it as a dry run for a dystopian climate-change future, however with a rousing soundtrack.

And but Woodstock was not a catastrophe. Removed from it. There was a lot pleasure and humanity, and heroics galore. Beginning with a rag-tag crew of idealistic and energetic youth — Woodstock basically was financed and produced by these of their mid- to late 20s — the competition’s staff mushroomed into tons of of hippies, hucksters, handymen and hangers-on. Because the competition unfolded, these folks met the troubles they encountered — the climate, medicine, radical politicos, demanding musicians, irate neighbors, even pretend information — with excessive ranges of ingenuity and integrity.

Resilience and self-reliance

Certainly, Woodstock was a first-rate train in resilience and self-reliance, and within the potential to adapt in actual time to a broad vary of difficult circumstances, together with excessive climate, meals and water shortages, overcrowding and the potential for social and political unrest. Consider it as a dry run for a dystopian climate-change future, however with a rousing soundtrack.

As I mentioned, the 400,000 or so individuals got here by it comparatively unscathed. Why? It was undoubtedly a mirrored image of the instances, notably the peace-and-love hippie tradition of the period. Nevertheless it was additionally the start of a technology’s sense of self-reliance — that we might survive, even thrive, on our personal phrases, rooted in collaboration, sharing, adaptation and innovation.

So, what did we be taught? I’m hardly the primary to supply classes from Woodstock, however listed below are seven which have direct implications for sustainability:  

1. There’s unimaginable energy in group. When like-minded folks come collectively to share and resolve issues, the sky’s the restrict. And when the issues are large and sophisticated — assume local weather change — collaboration is the one viable path ahead.

2. Mirror the habits you wish to propagate. The Woodstock producers wanted to calm huge crowds that had been at instances anxious, impatient and excited (to not point out stoned). Creating and modeling the precise vibe would make sure the viewers’s cooperation throughout difficult moments, of which there have been a number of.

3. Essential moments want out-of-the-box concepts. As I mentioned, ingenuity was rampant. One small instance, of many I might share: When Woodstock’s safety chief realized that the Hell’s Angels had been coming en masse to the competition, an ominous signal with huge potential for hassle, he employed them individually as messengers, sending them off in a number of instructions, to be swallowed up and successfully neutralized by the gang.

4. Create a optimistic echo chamber. Because the information media reported that Woodstock was a catastrophe — that tens of 1000’s of hungry hippies had been stranded and ravenous — the organizers fed the viewers these headlines and tales from the stage, making it clear to the attendees that the world was watching. That helped deliver folks collectively to show the media, and the world, fallacious.   

5. Shortage can engender generosity. The shortage of meals helped create a spirit of sharing — once more, inspired from the competition stage. What might have been a mad stampede to seize accessible burgers and sandwiches turned out to be a communal expertise by which attendees shared what they’d with others. No person starved.

6. Adaptivity and resilience are vital. The state of affairs on the competition website saved altering, as hordes poured in, provides ran low, attorneys filed lawsuits and the climate saved shifting. It was one lengthy fireplace drill, a sequence of rolling disasters within the making. It required fixed pivoting and triage, but additionally the power to roll with the second.

7. You’ll be able to survive adversity with humor and humanity. At Woodstock, a lot credit score goes to the Hog Farm, a New Mexico commune employed to assist in numerous methods. They created a free kitchen that fed tens of 1000’s, assisted metropolis dwellers unaccustomed to sleeping underneath the celebs, ministered to drug-addled attendees and customarily engendered a spirit of humor and light-heartedness that was vital in getting by difficult moments.

(See additionally the reflections of my buddy Bob Langert, former sustainability chief at McDonald’s, about his learnings from Woodstock.)

In fact, Woodstock was a mirrored image of the instances, which, suffice to say, have modified. However these had been turbulent instances, too — civil rights, the Vietnam Battle, divisive politics, rampant drug abuse, generational clashes and extra. Nineteen sixty-nine was, amongst different issues, the height 12 months for troops deployed in Southeast Asia, lots of them conscripted involuntarily. It was a society in battle. And but.

Woodstock reminds us that as we lean into a number of the vital environmental and social challenges in at this time’s divisive instances, that there’s a spirit that claims, “We will get by something if we pull along with humanity, generosity and beauty.”

We’ve executed it earlier than.

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Green Technology

Harry Reid on Abolishing the Filibuster and Why the Green New Deal ‘Won’t Happen’



Is abolishing the filibuster crucial to ensure that Congress to go significant local weather laws?

A handful of Democratic presidential candidates have referred to as for throwing out the Senate rule, claiming that it exacerbates gridlock in Washington, D.C.

Former Senate Majority Chief Harry Reid additionally believes that abolishing the filibuster is crucial to passing laws and tackling crucial points dealing with the US, together with local weather change. However might killing the filibuster find yourself making U.S. politics much more risky?

We focus on these points with Senator Reid himself on this week’s episode of Political Local weather. Plus, we get his views on the Inexperienced New Deal and whether or not he sees hyper-partisanship subsiding within the U.S. anytime quickly.

Really useful studying:

NYT: The Filibuster Is Suffocating the Will of the American Individuals

Vox: The Democratic Debate Over Filibuster Reform, Defined

Vice: Harry Reid: ‘Of Course’ Medicare for All and Decriminalizing Border Crossings Are Unhealthy Concepts

Hood to Coast Relay Fundraiser

Political Local weather is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute.

Subscribe to the Political Local weather podcast by way of Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Overcast or any of those different companies.

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Green Technology

Top 10 Suicide Survival Blogs and Websites To Follow in 2019.



1. Alliance of Hope

About Weblog The Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors supplies therapeutic assist for individuals who have misplaced family members to suicide. The web site is full of data to assist survivors. Observe to maintain up with our weblog.
Frequency about 2 posts monthly.
Since Dec 2016
Fb followers 18,819. Twitter followers 277.

2. Our Aspect of Suicide

Chicago and Grand Rapids About Weblog Our Aspect of Suicide affords hope, inspiration, and assist to those that have misplaced a beloved one to suicide. It’s a survivor of a suicide group. Observe us to maintain up with our weblog.
Frequency about 1 publish monthly.
Since Jun 2013
Fb followers 6,688. Twitter followers 662.

3. The Reward of Second

About Weblog The Reward of Second is for those that have misplaced a beloved one to suicide. We would like it to be a spot for anybody affected by this large loss to search out hope, encouragement, understanding, and neighborhood. Observe us to maintain up with our weblog.
Frequency about 1 publish monthly.
Since Oct 2015
Fb followers 1,257. Twitter followers 226.

4. American Basis for Suicide Prevention

USA About Weblog The American Basis for Suicide Prevention is the nation’s largest non-profit devoted to saving lives and bringing hope to these affected by suicide. Observe us to get the most recent updates.
Frequency about 2 posts per week.
Since Jun 2019
Fb followers 446,354. Twitter followers 88,674.

5. Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide – Information

United Kingdom About Weblog Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide exist to interrupt the isolation skilled by many bereaved by suicide. The group works to assist and help purchasers to make a transition from vulnerability and fragmented emotions to these of elevated self-worth and confidence. Observe to beat the isolation of individuals bereaved by suicide
Frequency about 1 publish monthly.
Since Feb 2014
Fb followers 4,174. Twitter followers 1,270.

6. Conscious Survivor » suicide

Basingstoke UK About Weblog I am a psychological well being blogger, making an attempt to lift consciousness by way of my writing. My weblog is my area to precise my musings, I often simply discuss my expertise. Observe to get the updates.
Frequency about 1 publish monthly.
Fb followers 105. Twitter followers 477.

7. Stay Via This

Philadelphia, PA About Weblog Stay Via It is a assortment of portraits and true tales of suicide try survivors throughout america. Observe us to maintain up with our weblog.
Frequency about 1 publish monthly.
Fb followers 16,111. Twitter followers 12,569.

8. Surviving After a Suicide Loss

Naples, FL About Weblog Our weekly peer-run Suicide Loss Help Group in Naples is a protected place for survivors of suicide loss to course of grief, obtain assist and heal in time. Observe Surviving After a Suicide Loss to get the most recent updates.
Frequency about 1 publish per week.
Since Feb 2019
Fb followers 10. Twitter followers 5.

9. Letters To Brian Weblog

Austin, TX About Weblog I misplaced my solely sibling, my brother Brian, to suicide in 2010. Since then I have been writing letters to him to doc my persevering with grief course of. Observe Letters To Brian Weblog to know my story.
Frequency about 1 publish monthly.
Since Mar 2011
Fb followers 265. Twitter followers 24.

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Green Technology

Entrepreneur Jigar Shah reflects on clean energy finance, the importance of plain speaking



This text is customized from the Vitality Weekly publication, working Thursdays. Subscribe right here. 

If you happen to’ve ever heard Jigar Shah discuss, it received’t shock you that he has a pair opinions a few couple issues. And his monitor file reveals he is likely to be onto one thing. 

The co-founder of Generate Capital has been following and shaping the clear power sector for many years. His weapon of alternative: monetary mechanisms to open up new clear power choices. 

Amongst Shah’s declare to fame is founding SunEdison in 2003, the place he designed the primary no-money-down photo voltaic contract, and heading up Richard Branson’s Carbon Battle Room to help entrepreneurs engaged on local weather options. He’s additionally shot into earned podcast fame along with his no-nonsense type on The Vitality Gang. 

I had an opportunity to speak with Jigar and discuss his communication type, his inspiration and what the non-public sector can do to leverage clear power extra and higher. The transcription of our interview is edited for size and readability. 

You put on a number of totally different hats — enterprise, finance, podcaster — how do you determine your self? 

I’m an issue solver. Usually, I’d say that my go-to software is finance, simply because I believe that prospects don’t actually need to pay money for stuff. So finance is the important thing to getting over a lot of the hurdles that I see. However that’s been my life — listening to individuals describe their challenges and stepping as much as the plate to unravel them. 

How a lot capital have you ever facilitated in your skilled profession?

I’ve by no means considered it, however I’ve heard individuals say that the mannequin that we created at SunEdison has been used to finance over $1 trillion in belongings. That makes me really feel fairly rattling extraordinary. 

At GreenBiz, one of many levers we have a look at are the collaborations wanted to make large modifications occur. What collaborations between what sectors and gamers could be wanted to actually scale the power transition and handle the local weather disaster?

I believe the efforts which can be being taken by the Fortune 1000 to actually lead issues by signing as much as EV100 or RE100 or Web Zero Waste or Web Zero Vitality Buildings are frankly essential to the demand creation mandatory for all these applied sciences to hit scale. The collaboration with the tip shopper is essential to getting issues achieved. 

it’s essential for people to listen to plainly what’s promotional converse and what’s aspirational converse and what’s actuality.

I believe the federal government rules are essential. Quite a lot of the Fortune 1000 corporations, they aren’t going to implement these options if it places them at any form of drawback to their rivals, so leveling the enjoying area by making everybody do what’s technologically and cost-competitive already is essential. 

What do you need to talk to the non-public sector about how one can tackle this problem? 

I believe what you’re speaking about there may be the tip customers, they usually really want to set the bar. They need to say, “If you happen to can resolve the issue with this type of resolution, with this minimal disruption, at this value level, then we’re all in.” 

I believe that proper now, they’re hesitant to do this, as a result of they assume if they offer individuals an excessive amount of data, then might [end up paying more]. That lack of transparency is resulting in inaction and inertia that isn’t being overcome. What the tip prospects can do is say, “Look, these enter prices are literally a small a part of our general price construction, let’s be clear about it, let’s present the info, and have individuals rise to the event.” If that occurred, we might see extra deployment extra shortly

You’re identified to your type of giving no-nonsense opinions concerning the clear power trade, saying how the trade has every thing it wants for achievement. 

I don’t know if it’s a character flaw or if I’ve been sufficiently empowered as a result of I don’t have bosses to appease, however I’ve been extra free to talk plainly. 

A part of the rationale I do it, although, is as a result of I used to be a kind of individuals who mortgaged his home in an effort to begin an organization. If you happen to don’t have somebody that’s speaking plainly to these entrepreneurs, a lot of them will mortgage their home and lose their home as a result of they thought {that a} development available in the market place was actual and able to transact on. So it’s essential for people to listen to plainly what’s promotional converse and what’s aspirational converse and what’s actuality. 

I believe the identical factor is true on the opposite facet of the ledger. You’ve corporations in the present day who actually do have mandates from their bosses round attaining main sustainability objectives, and plenty of of them really feel uninformed, which is what GreenBiz does so nicely, about what is feasible. Being clear about what is feasible issues. 

You’re credited with a number of firsts. It at all times looks as if you had been within the room the place it occurred. Are there any calls you want you made, or belongings you acquired improper? 

I definitely acquired a number of issues improper through the years. As an example, I solely labored on industrial and industrial photo voltaic, not residential photo voltaic. And residential photo voltaic proved to be so much simpler to scale than industrial. Frankly, utility-scale is extra scalable than industrial. Business continues to lag. 

The larger factor for me, what I like to do is locate somebody that’s tremendous inspirational who has been working their butt off on one thing, and to the extent that I can, present a little bit little bit of assist or help and get their greatest concepts unlocked. That brings me nice pleasure. 

It’d really feel like I’m Forrest Gump and was at all times on the proper place on the proper time, and I definitely really feel that method so much, however it’s as a result of I’ve been in a position to get to individuals who had been actual change-makers to ask me into the room to assist them obtain their desires.

Which accomplishment are you most proud of?

That’s a straightforward query. I’ve employed a whole bunch of individuals in my profession, and after I see so many corporations led in the present day that acquired there formative coaching at SunEdison, it warms my coronary heart. You concentrate on all of the alumni — after I was working SunEdison from 2003 to 2008 — and the place they’ve gotten to of their careers and the way a lot change they’ve been in a position to make on this planet round them, it simply makes you are feeling like every thing was price it.

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