Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Adjusting from the Bubble of BGI


Returning from the wonderful experience that is BGI's monthly Intensives, part of the unique hybrid teaching experience that makes BGI what it is, is VERY hard and emotionally charged each and every time. I return from the bosom of a community of like-minded, committed, creative, intelligent, and incredibly passionate people with myriad backgrounds to a work situation that does not echo this. It's like I'm beamed from the land of enlightenment to the land of repression. I am most certainly biased. I am overjoyed to return and see my wife; being away and not having her there to share in my awe of what I am experiencing is not easy. I want to take BGI with me. I have people with me in spirit, but that's not enough. I want the whole darn thing to be transplanted somewhere in the Northeast. Sure, Marlboro's program is starting in January (at least that's the last I heard), but it wasn't soon enough for me.

The alumni were there this weekend. It was fabulous to see them in all their enthusiasm. Four people that were instrumental in my decision to attend BGI were there, and it was wonderful to meet two of them that I had not met before. It is also wonderful to note that BGI is gaining more attention "out there". Apparently Amory Lovins likes to wear his BGI baseball cap at various events; what an endorsement. At a Boston NetImpact dinner meeting with Peter Kinder of KLD Analytics on December 3rd, I mentioned that I was attending BGI as I asked some questions about SRI. He said something to the effect that the folks that attend BGI are not afraid of the heavy lifting, of asking these hard questions and working to figure them out. That felt good.

As I reflect on what the experience has been for me so far, I see that it is the continuation of the personal transformation I started in November of 2001 when I quit my job and started working in bicycle retail. I now have a place where we are being taught how to become the people we want to be, how to recognize the gap between current reality (both personal and external) and where we want to be. As I commented to a friend of mine met through NetImpact, peeling back the onion of one's self can be quite traumatic; realizing just how far I am from what I would like to be is painful, and owning that gap is hard and easy to ignore with the aid of diversions.

On the academic front, I have most definitely progressed. I can look at balance sheets and make some general observations about the company's performance. I am getting my head around sustainability reporting and what "sustainability" means (a process, not necessarily a destinations). I am becoming more comfortable with the gray areas that make up triple bottom line thinking; it's different for everyone. I have stretched myself (a bit) to look at "me", look at my contribution to the systems within which I function and therefore contribute to, and how I can be a leader in changing business and society in the long run.

December 10, 2007 is a day of two great events...Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize speech (not so much Mr. Gore, though I respect his leadership, but the fact that he has been banging the drum for climate change action for so long, and it was recognized as necessary and important) and the first concert by Led Zeppelin in 15 years at the O2 hall in London. More than 1 million people globally registered to have access to only 15,000 seats. Imagine if could harness that market draw to push for climate change action.

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