I like thinking of myself as a solutioneer. I feel like part of a network of people spread out across the world, who share a commitment to create a better world. I’ve always liked diving into problems, being the underdog, finding systems where a subtle change repeated hundreds of times results in a transformation
Ben Franklin, Solutioneer
I grew up playing in the woods of the Adirondacks in New York. My family’s house is filled with my kind of toys – books from all over the world, Legos (technics, the kind that can actually make machines) and a basement with tools and materials galore. If I wanted to do something, whether it was building a racecar, making a tree fort, reading about Africa or creating tramlines to carry rocks out of the basement, I did it. There was always something that required thinking and hands and a bit of work.
Most of my time at Williams College was spent building organizations. Getting people together, defining a goal and then finding the pieces we had at our disposal to make something happen. I’ve felt an interesting contrast between the satisfaction of building organizations with people, and building furniture or machines or forts out of wood and rock and metal. One is exciting because of how many people it involves and the transformative process that working in a group can have on individuals. The other is exciting because its precise and tangible and will continue to exist and serve a function even when no one is paying attention. Continue reading
I don’t think that struggle, or having a struggle, is a sign of weakness. I think that struggling is, like so many other less sturdy things people associate with leadership, the capital achievement of anybody living the robust life of an American citizen.
My name is Seth, and I am trying to build the model for the world’s next great discovery. It’s not an engine that turns water into fuel, but ‘struggle’ into ‘triumph.’
Cover of Farmers and Fisherman
Call me Tyler, (I’ve been reading Moby Dick too much lately)
Spring is just starting here in Washington. The birds are out, flowers are blooming and I can feel the Earth getting ready to jump out and say hello! The cycles of nature really amaze me. One day it can feel like winter will never end and then the next screams that spring is here!
For the past few months I’ve been working non-stop on building the infrastructure for a bunch of empowered youth to help facilitate community growth in Omaha, Nebraska. Unlike other organizing I’ve been involved in, this program – called Summer of Solutions – has not worn me out or stressed me to the point of breaking. On the contrary it has helped me fall in love with the people, places and things I am working with and for. Building sustainable forms of action (ways to be an activist with out burning or flaking out) seems far more important, in my humble opinion, than building sustainable communities, but if we can do both at the same time… wow!
Timothy speaking. I’m a very long way into a dark and confused something-or-other and I’m in the long process of real-izing vision. You’re here in this very dark and confused space with me. Let’s figure it out together.
It’s March 6th 2009, I’ve just come back from PowerShift 09, and am trying to launch this program called the Summer of Solutions while keeping track of all my classes and all the other things I have going on. The world is pretty hectic these days: the economy is tanking – another 4% drop in the Dow Jones today, the Obama administration is planning withdrawal from Iraq and a focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and with little notice, methane – a greenhouse gas 21 times stronger than carbon dioxide – is bubbling up from thawing Arctic permafrost. This sounds big and vague, but it’s also about where my friends and I can find a job, real people in Gaza picking up the pieces of their lives, and real leaders working across boundaries to build a green economy.
The global gets personal fast. Untangling the self means untangling the world. No more band-aids. Just solutions.