This weekend Summer of Solutions enmeshed i in the festivities of Corvallis’s da Vinci Days, self-proclaimed “Oregon’s premier art and science festival.” Under the umbrella of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, we snagged two slots—on Friday and Sunday—to table about our project this summer. The Coalition’s table was the intersection of many very involved people around town; it was cool to see everyone in their element out tabling. Although foot traffic was slow during our sessions, everyone had good conversations with people about our project. Aside from tabling, da Vinci days is just pretty cool. It seems like most of Corvallis comes at some point to see the bizarre contraptions, listen to the various musicians, or to delight in the playful atmosphere of kids and adults reveling at the countless inventions humans have made, and are making. What ideas at the table today will become the next light bulb? With the rapid and exponential pace of new technologies, can there be a singular invention as revolutionary as something like a bulb of glass and a wire filament? Photovoltaic solar panels, wave powered generators? The problems we face today seem far more complex, the world incomprehensibly more interconnected; it seems no invention will be the revolutionary one, only a whole swath of them. What’s more, projects like ours—engaging communities, asking what they need, and teaching them how to organize—seem much more promising than any new technology that can come out ever. People are and will be the greatest invention ever, and the changes we ardently desire can only come from us.
The NICE Summer of Solutions launch week imploded my brain and lassoed my soul, forcing me to reflect on my life in ways I never have, but have always wanted to. The deep and penetrating introspection divulged thoughts I’d never thought, connections I’d never seen, and worldviews I’d never considered. These views exploded outward from within making me feel and see the world in entirely and fundamentally different ways. These trainings lassoed my soul, asking not only what do I want to do, but what I need to do it, and how I am going to. The most powerful realization for me was that I can dream big, big, big, but I never seem to plan how to reach those dreams. This was a pretty amazing realization for me because I’ve always known this, but haven’t felt so determined to overcome it before. But more than introspection, this week was about imagining ourselves in our highest vision and visioning a world beyond the horizon. Loosening the lasso, my soul soared. It’s not so much that I haven’t had visioning sessions before, but that I realized by thinking and stating out loud the world we wished to see, by living it in our thoughts, words, and actions, we created it right where we were. Our training week was spectacular.
You know, clicking on the Summer of Solutions tab on the Grand Aspirations site, I saw our lonesome green balloon in Oregon, signifying our program in Corvallis. Despite being the only SoS program west of the Mississippi, I couldn’t be prouder and happier to be here.