Join Me in the #WeekToEndTMX!

I’m so excited to be part of the #WeekToEndTMX.

We need the post-carbon energy infrastructure NOW and we don’t need to be ramming more pipelines through Indigenous land. 

New Path Consulting clients will see 60% of their fees going to support Indigenous legal challenges to #StopTMX. Path Consulting is all about helping you be more intentional and proactive in optimizing your work-life-vocation-volunteering balance. We ALL need more of that!

More information about Path Consulting is here and you can sign up with me and support the campaign here.

And a huge shout out to RAVEN for organizing this amazing campaign!

What Should BC’s 2019 Budget Look Like?

Have you submitted your ideas to the BC government’s Budget 2019 consultation process? What do you want to see, fiscally and socially?

You have 1.5 weeks left to submit your ideas: video, audio, written submission, or even just filling out the survey.

You’re a big deal. The government deserves to hear what you think about our future!

Here’s my submission from last year. Much of it will get re-hashed for this year [le sigh], current events have ruined some of my ideas and I have more ideas for new improvements to make BC a more robust, resilient and thriving place for everyone!

2017.10.15 BC Budget 2018 consultation submission – E-B Strategy

#government #bcpoli #budget

2 Days to 2018 – Who Is Your Number One?

You are the consequence of the health of your soul, your integrity, your relationships and your vision.

All of these things are profoundly important, but so often they get subsumed by how we assert ourselves instead of how we live out loud.

I love saying it, even though it can sound greeting card sometimes, but we ARE human beings, not human doings.

Our capacity is constructed by how we choose to live, and those around us.

Who is your Number One? The person who has your back and helps make it all make sense on foggy days.

It is likely NOT the person who builds you up and rolls in your podium or tells you that you’re number one. It’s the person who helps define our identity.

Then I read this piece in the Times the other day, about how self-compassion is more important than self-confidence. Fake it until you make it works sometimes, often maybe. But in the end, the bedrock we build our lives upon comes from those who lift us up as human beings, not human doers. Those who remind us of self-compassion BECAUSE they model it for us, to us.

There are only 2 days left until 2018. Who is your Number One? Who is the person who helps remind you of who you actually are? And are you doing all you can to nurture this relationship, not for the sake of your confidence and your success, but for the reason why you do it all anyway: for your integrity and your relationships and your principles of what you want to make of this world.

Spend these last 2 days mapping out how you can enrich that relationship with your Number One. Don’t let it get lost on Monday, then Tuesday, then January, then it’s February and too late to keep from missing out on December 30 and December 31.

These last 2 days are precious. Embrace them!

3 Days to 2018 – Fair Trade Coffee and Passive Houses

20 years ago I joined a random group of people calling themselves the Vancouver Fair Trade Coffee Network. Our goal was to educate coffee drinkers and purveyors of the value of fair trade coffee, as a way of changing the world from the ground up.

Being a huge fan of hot chocolate, my personal goal was for the fair trade coffee success to generate a spin-off movement for fair trade hot chocolate. That’s been slower than coffee, I get that. I don’t drink that bean so I haven’t benefited from the citizen-led movement, but I know millions have around the world. These days it’s hard to find coffee that isn’t fair trade and usually organic and shade-grown, whatever that means. 🙂

It’s time now, however, to turn similar environmental activism to fixing our municipal building codes, including to follow France by mandating all roofs to be green [solar or plants]. Why aren’t all new homes in Vancouver, heck in BC!, mandated to be passive houses?

Passive House gets character in Vancouver

Read that blog piece above. We’re STARTING to make our way TOWARDS passive houses. What, do we need to study it more? Does it need scientific verification? Do we need a real estate developer to see the light and push it for council to act? No, no, no.

We need people like the Vancouver Fair Trade Coffee Network to start guilting municipalities to fix their climate-useless building codes to fix everything going forward. And the guilting actually happens in reverse at the start: it’s about finding a champion mayor or councilor, or 6, leading into BC’s municipal elections in 10 months. The guilt comes later. 😉

But here’s a tip. Don’t start with Vancouver. Or Burnaby. Neither is terribly progressive when it comes to carbon footprint awareness compared to the lucre of property tax increases from renovictions and increasing density at the expense of affordable housing.

Find a progressive municipality with smart leaders and staff. Some medium sized ones can get it moving. Then the larger ones will feel the shame of not being leaders. Then ONE larger municipality will join and claim to be a leader, which is fine. Then it goes to the Union of BC Municipalities to push the provincial government to amend the Community and Vancouver Charters.

We could just start with the provincial government, but they’ve shown their capacity for real change is actually regressive after they approved the deeply offensive Site C dam.

I don’t know nearly enough about passive homes and municipal building codes to get this done. But I’m no fool. I can read. I can learn. And just like I don’t drink coffee, I knew 20 years ago that fair trade coffee should be the standard. I also read everything there was to read about straw bale homes on the internet 20 years ago. That was too ahead of its time for a not very green Vancouver.

And if you know about passive homes or building codes or actually progressive developers, we need to have a conversation. 🙂

Because my home isn’t a passive home, I know my next one will be. It will also be off the grid and a net exporter of electricity on a neighbourhood communal car-charging grid. Don’t ask me how just yet. But when it’s time, it’s time.

In the meantime, I’m rolling up my sleeves, looking for a good reading list, and some co-conspirators to find our first half dozen municipalities who also know they need passive houses to be part of their building codes. Because France. [BTW, France has also banned students from having cell phones in school and mandated arts education for all, just going to leave that here. While I consider restoring and enhancing my facility with the French language because my next home? It may be have to be in France.]

So let’s make 2018 the year when we make municipal building codes work for us!

And while straw bale homes make not make my lifeplan, a passive house does, including maybe one that floats:


4 Days to 2018 – Consolidate Your Brand and Posture in 4 Days

The last few days of 2017 is a good time to consolidate all the things you do into WHAT you are for people. Your brand is your identity, values, passion, and posture…all braided into the what of what you do. Let 2018 be a year where you work your brand through the things you do.

Why? Well, when I talk with people and their organizations about their often dreaded mission, vision and values, we get caught up in the muskeg of actions over existence. They want to do things and make things, not live on abstract clouds of organizational design jargon. But we are human beings, not human doings. And while many in the world are overwhelmed with or outright offended by brand ubiquity, we fail if we cannot communicate our existence to others. Beyond the things we make and do.

So, I often use the word posture. Our posture is how we stand, boldly and resolutely, to assert who we are. Our brand, our posture is The Thing that makes us do what we do. We cannot accomplish anything if our stance isn’t credible, strong, confident and facing the right way to do and say the right things.

Along with posture is intentionality. Too often we are caught up generating revenue, meaning, Likes, followers, and various other KPIs that we forget that the theme of it all is who we are and what we want to accomplish in the world, for the world.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher, volunteer, employee, SMB, social enterprise, person who comes up with more ideas in a year than you could possibly pursue, student, in career transition–we all want to make meaning. If we get lost in the things we do instead of investing in self-awareness and converting that into an intentional posture, or brand, we’ll be more scattered than we should be. And more scattered than others are. And they will defeat us.

Emma Watson has moved from Hermione Potter to incredibly deep and meaningful films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, to helping launch the UN’s He for She program [frankly, if you’re a man and haven’t signed on to this, why are you still reading this?]. And she picked up a university degree somewhere too. And she runs an online feminist book club with over 200,000 members.

She’s got a pretty clear sense of herself, her intentionality and her posture. Her brand is pretty coherent. It’s also pretty reflective of her public values.

Everyone has role models we respect and sometimes try to emulate. Consolidating our understanding of the values and coherent intentionality in our role models helps us define for ourselves what we stand for and what we want the world to look like when we’re finished with it.

Path Consulting is all about optimizing [not maximizing anything] our work-life-vocation-volunteering balance. There is no room to optimize if we are not consolidated, not intentional, not self-aware, and not firm in our posture. Basically: if we have a scattered brand.

Your products and services are supposed to manifest your mission and vision and values. And if you’re lucky they always will. But if your brand and posture are shaky and scattered, you won’t be aligned well enough to really succeed and making the world richer because of your existence.

We have 4 days left to 2018. Many of the pieces I’ve posted in my 18 day countdown to 2018 start with the premise that if we wait 4 more days to start new things, we’ll get hip-checked by the minutia and intensity of the day to day to day of 2018.

Spend some time in these last few days having a hot chocolate [with or without Baileys] with someone who knows you, either really well, or just well enough to see at least a little bit of WHO you are.

And get all self-indulgent and have a chat about your brand or posture. We aren’t all Emma Watson or Nelson Mandala or Malala Yousafzai or Terry Fox. But if you give yourself some time to dig into what you really want to change in the world through your vocations, you will certainly have devotions and passions as significant as theirs.

And I will not say you can’t be as significant as those 4 people. Why would I. We all can. And 2018 is the year to start accelerating that.

But don’t wait 4 more days to get into it.

Book time with yourself and your people and create your posture for January 1.

5 Days to 2018 – Fixing White Fragility at Work

The fragility of white people is massive, and under a microscope. This is good. It’s not persecution, racism or reverse racism, which doesn’t actually exist.

All the work I do in my keynote speaking areas, Path Consulting, organizational design and stakeholder engagement consulting, intriguing new green energy projects, and Health and Wellness for Teachers–all of these encounter this underlying theme of white entitlement being challenged and white people digging in to protect themselves.

That’s why everyone needs to read this:

Why White People Freak Out When They’re Called Out About Race

Not only is the Good Men Project an inspiring, grounding group of wise folks, but calling out racial privilege is essential for any kind of social, political, economic or environmental progress.

From a perspective of a white person, the world looks a certain way. And it’s easy to assume everyone else sees the world like us. But they don’t. It is impossible for us to fully understand how others see it. But it’s our job to do all the work we can to truly hear how others see the world, and the place of white folks in it.

For many people, Eddy Murphy helped start defining white privilege on Saturday Night Live when he dressed up as a white man in 1984, just to see the other side. It was hilarious, partly because it was not exactly so factually accurate [in my experience], but it was profoundly true.

White folks who reject the idea of white privilege/fragility, or minimize it, or try to exempt themselves personally from it all, undermine our overall mission to create a society of equality and justice. Without that shared frame, we cannot accomplish any kind of social, political, economic or environmental progress. We have no common understanding of the issue.

In all of our social, economic, political, environmental activities we need to seek out understanding of how our actions and inactions contribute to injustice. We are seeing this in a clunky fashion in #MeToo versus #NotAllMen and #BlackLivesMatter versus #AllLivesMatter.

Refusing to engage in conversations about privilege and entitlement makes US the impediment, even if we’re nice guys and nice white people. Because in the end, we have no idea the extent of how white or male entitlement got us to where we are, or surrounds all of our actions, inactions and work.

The onus is on us to open up and listen and to encourage our fellow white/male folks to do the work too. It pays off, in ways impossible to predict, but in necessary ways for real change to happen.

6 Days to 2018 – What Could Boxing Day Mean?

I recently saw Give Back Box‘s website. It’s not available in Canada, unlike Boxing Day being a stat for many people, along with many other Commonwealth countries.

While Boxing Day/Week sales seem to be precursor to Black Friday blowout sales, the origins of Boxing Day were about some kind of charity from the 1% to the servant class. Not necessarily as simplistic as taking the boxes left over from Christmas presents and packaging things for the help, I think about the box invasion of Christmas.

Give Back Box isn’t tied to Christmas, but refers to using various boxes that come from online retailers, then filling them with items of value for donating to charity, then getting free shipping to send them off.

But here’s a mission for you, if you choose to accept it as we wind down 2017 and set up for 2018.

If you have a box, fill it with things others could use: clothes you don’t wear much, household items you aren’t using, things you like but could also be called clutter by a dispassionate observer. Step 2: send to charity.

Decluttering your home has profound mental health benefits, and ensures that on your way to a more minimalist lifestyle, you share what you don’t need with those who simply need.

Without using Give Back Box’s model necessarily, all of us could be inspired by any box that enters our home with a mission to pay them forward with what we can fill them. And as a social enterprise, Give Back Box provides IT and logistics services to charities, using box re-purposing as a social good. Sorry for the groan, but you can also think outside of the box by appending a social purpose/activity to your organization, regardless of what you do.

Meanwhile, spend some time in days remaining in 2017 to do a purge. And next year, whenever you flip over your calendar month [if you still have those paper calendar things we hang on walls], look around for the lonely boxes in your life, to re-purpose them.

Make 2018 a year of more intentionality with your “stuff,” as George Carlin puts it.


7 Days to 2018 – All I Want For Christmas

…is innovative green energy projects. Beyond traditional wind, solar, tidal and geothermal, I like looking at far more bleeding edge tech:

  1. Solar roadways: started in Idaho, but should cover all currently paved surfaces exposed to the sun. Shouldn’t every driveway, sidewalk, and road generate electricity for us, just because? Platio has a solar paving system as well.
  2. Kinetic energy: when people walk on sidewalks or floors in shopping malls [like mall-walkers], shouldn’t we not waste the energy created by the actual walking? Pavegen makes one. Here are some more.
  3. How about making energy from another thing that happens every day, water moving downhill in city pipes.

Let’s make 2018 a year where we smash open our infrastructure to make it generate electricity for us, just because.

8 Days to 2018 – We Wish You A…What?

The True Meaning of Christmas

I’ve been thinking about this comic for days. Especially when people in organizations keep flipping out about whether to wish people a Merry Christmas or alternates. And Starbucks cup controversies, and the wisdom in this flowchart:

The Character Therapist: Merry Christmas vs. Merry Winter Solstice?

This guy was always my favourite reindeer. Regardless of the politics of what to say to whom and when, and how not to be unintentionally ironic, we need to reflect on intention a bit here.

Seinfeld suggested “you are so good looking” as a way more socially productive thing to say when someone sneezes.

Intentionality again.

With 8 days left in 2017 and with Christmas tomorrow [or now if you’re over there], we want to express our hopes for people to be happy. I get that.

But growing up I was always saddened by how easy it is for our society to switch back to poor bashing, selfishness and social decay just days after Christmas. Then Boxing Day sales turned into Boxing Week mayhem. Then Black Friday and Cyber Monday degradations bookended the season. No wonder Buy Nothing Day won’t go away.

Why can’t people keep the Christmas spirit for 52 weeks of the year. As an innocent kid I really thought I’d figure out the answer to that when I grew up. I don’t like the answer, it turns out. Then I picked up a couple political science degrees and I like all of the extra-grueling answers even less.

So, to bring it all home:

  1. Meta Christmas means the process of seeking and sharing meaning at this time of year may be most important in all of it.
  2. Intent matters and we shouldn’t waste time trying to see if we should feel offended.
  3. The 52-week dignity thing where we hope people’s lives are better: that, THAT, is the elusive thing we should spend time on. Then we act on manifesting that hope.

In 2018, [as I’m remembering back to what I wrote yesterday] tip your servers more, but in 2018, tip them another Christmastime big tip. “Why?” they will ask. Like most others, they have Christmas/whatever debt to pay off.

Plus, it will remind you that we need to put in that kind of work to recognize and enhance dignity for 52 weeks.

Every hour of work I do in 2018 is all about organizational development, stakeholder engagement, green energy, Path Consulting, Health and Wellness for Teachers, Modern Labour Activism…all the things, all the ways of ensuring I hit all 3 of those home run ideas above.

Frankly, my time is worth too much to do anything that doesn’t meet those goals.

How about you? Dig in and join me.

9 Days to 2018 – Social Enterprises vs. Capitalism

It’s not a cage match. It’s way more subtle. And it’s the core focus of my work in 2018, and it shoudl be yours too.

Some workplaces close down between Christmas and New Year’s. This year, the idiocies of the calendar lead to that being just a 3 day shutdown [because Boxing Day is a thing in Canada].

Far more offices merely have skeleton staffs working because those with more seniority and sufficient vacation days just take late December off.

Now that about only 50% of Canadians work full-time, the previous 2 paragraphs are increasingly meaningless to an increasing number of people. They’ll be working a lot over the next 2 weeks. And generally we’re still assuming they get time off, or something. And here I am, writing 18 reflections leading into 2018 because I DON’T have the have 3 jobs to get more than 1 present under the tree for each kid.

We need to be thinking that more and more people are becoming the precariat, the precarious proletariat. The underemployed, the sub-minimum wage workers. The struggling, those with too many jobs. Those who can’t afford to live in the cities they work in, so they waste an extra 350-700 hours a year commuting because they don’t earn enough to have just one job and walk to work. What couldn’t YOU do if someone too just 300 hours a year from you for extra commuting time?

Who are these people?

They’re not teens looking for spending money. They’re increasingly not just Millennials but Echos, and Gen Xers and yes, Boomers. And I’ll add this, yes they’re older than the Boomers, often called the Traditionalists, but the poorest group of them: the people who have no workplace pension and they’ll work until the illness or decay that will eventually end their life, initially prevents them from going to work one day. Then it’s all downhill from there.

Social enterprises, including B corps and co-ops, are a secret revolutionary device. Some neoliberal 1% folk are already targeting these do-gooders as undermining free market, deregulated capitalism. They’re not wrong. But we need to pick a side. But which side!

Capitalism started with Adam Smith when he published the Wealth of Nations in 1776, a year you likely remember for another kind of revolution, a political one.

But economics, trade, commerce…Smith didn’t invent these. He helped usher in an era of deep economic greed, exploitation and maximizing shareholder wealth. Period. He’s largely why Karl Marx is famous.

We can’t reform capitalism. Why? Maximizing shareholder wealth. Period.

Co-ops dream, through their Principle 6, to create a new global economy among co-operative enterprises, where workplace democracy is the starting point.

When your entire economic model is entrenched in a bunch of things, none of which is maximizing shareholder wealth, then we can create a new economic not based on Adam Smith and the economic tyrants whose 1% ways led to them having as much wealth as the poorest 50% of all humans.

Income inequality. The Occupy Wall Street movement was all over that, including the term, the 1%. A massive international hegemonic action quashed Occupy, but we’re left with everyone talking about the 1%, including deep, committed city-states of neoliberal capitalism: the WTO, the OECD and the IMF. They’re not stupid. They know that increased income inequality leads to global revolution. Then it’s Dr. Zhivago. They don’t want that, so now their playing with valves and optics to try to release some pressure before the volcano blows.

Be suspicious when the hyper-wealthy, and their think tanks and international economic organizations start to champion the plight of the poor and precarious. They can’t maximize shareholder wealth inside a global political, social and economic revolution.

But social enterprises are different. Sure, some of them have as much integrity as a lima bean. But they’re usually easy to spot. They’re all about the optics and promoting their massive CSR.

The rest of them know that everything they’re doing accomplishes one or more social goods relating to economic, social, environmental or political justice.

To celebrate the start of 2018 I’ll be receiving a starter pack of goodies from Capuli Club, a Seattle social enterprise that ticks quite a few boxes of awesome. And when I go see my Ottawa people next month, I’m sharing another Capuli Club pack. Along with some ChopValue coasters, the ones with the Vancouver skyline on them. ChopValue is awesome in so many ways, but beyond actually being carbon neutral, they are a negative carbon solution.

Once upon a time, we started recycling paper. Then we started separating paper from recyclable plastics, compost and [sadly] landfill trash. Then we embraced taking our own hot beverage mug to coffee shops, which themselves never used to exist. And we started going with fair trade and organic coffee. And we took cloth bags to grocery stores when civil society astonishingly forced the stores to charge a nickel for every plastic bag we used. Then came Nada, where we level up again. And we’re all skipping drinking straws for 2018, right? Including in the remain days of 2017.

You see this trend. It’s the do-gooder thing on small scales. Being more intentional and aware of our impact. Now, we need to embrace the co-ops’ Principle 6 by stopping having economic relationships with companies that aren’t social enterprises.

You can’t accomplish it all in 2018, but there are SOOOOO many low hanging fruit. One a month is probably easy to do. That means pick 12 social enterprises and use them to replace less constructive relationships. And when you switch, do it forever. And drag your friends along. I’m not yet know as the ” no more drinking straws” guy, but I’m close I think.

Stephen Colbert Calls for Boycott on Amazon on Behalf of Hachette Authors - IGNAnd while Whole Foods wasn’t perfect, Amazon gobbled it up. They’re no social enterprise. And we’ll see traditional capitalist companies confronting their own shame buy undermining social enterprises.

Organic-chart-Jan-2016Just think about organic food companies. Who owns them now? Are any still independent, or did a non-organic [or even anti-organic] company buy them. Sure, maybe we can reform capitalists by injecting righteousness into them because it’s profitable. But leopards, spots and maximizing shareholder wealth may endure longer than reform efforts. We’ll see.

But here’s what I think we need to see.

We need to remember who’s working their asses off over the next 9 days to finish off this year. We need to tip them more, smile at them more, be patient with their workload more, we need to wish them a better 2018. We need to ask them if they have any hope that 2018 will be better.

Beyond switching our personal and corporate supply chains from capitalist to social enterprises, we need to do more than just give people a higher tip at Christmastime. We need to start 2018 tipping not 10-15%, but a flat 20%. And if your jurisdiction has embraced a $15 minimum wage, keep tipping 20%. And if you aren’t at $15, phone your political leaders and shame them.

Then figure out how to convert your company into a worker co-op, or a B corp, or a living wage employer. And if that just can’t happen, maybe you and a few folks should quit and do that yourselves. You’re pretty talented. Remember how everyone is talking about a side hustle; make yours spectacular!

Find all the social enterprises around you, particularly in sectors that aren’t yours and ask them for mentorship and support. And build your Principle 6 bridges early.

But really, I’m mostly joking. Capitalists busy exploiting your labour to maximize shareholder wealth will not, WILL NOT, find ways of helping you undermine their profitability by spawning a social enterprise and converting themselves into that. It starts on the ground with people who care.

And you care. You’re here.

So make 2018 a year where your economic activity cultivates justice, opportunity and hope for others. It used to be harder, but it’s pretty easy today. And it’s only going to get easier, so get in on it.

Most of what I’m doing in 2018 will be about enhancing the potential of social enterprises to wedge out the 1% for the sake of the 99% and the planet.

We’re all in this together!