• Apr 15, 2020
Social contact is now something we lack in our present situation, yet one thing that stuck with me about this conversation with these awe-inspiring individuals was how tangible a virtual conversation can really be. They could easily be in my living room - each person was able to radiate positivity in a time of intensity and uncertainty.
Our host, Jenny (co-founder of Rewilder) strongly believes that ‘collaboration leads to innovation’ and this afternoon talk with Laura Doss-Hertz, Sean Scott, Ron Finley and Stephanie Choi is living proof of this.
“We cannot think of sustainability but resilience, because now we need to create systems that give back as oppose to equalize.” Laura Doss-Hertz, co-founder of Skysource, and winner of the XPRIZE (2018) is a prime example of creating a system that gives back to the earth, by using biomass energy to create over 2000 liters of water in 24 hours, putting the biotar by-product back into agriculture. Laura’s ground-breaking work needs to happen across the world, as unfortunately sustainability isn’t enough anymore. As Ron remarks, “That word – sustainable – is such bulls***. What we need to talk about now is regenerative systems.”
Ron Finley, a character full of life and worthy of the title ‘Gangsta Gardener’, makes it clear society as a whole has to take a stand in creating change. “We have to make a shift in consciousness; but first and foremost we need a shift in value.”
“As a society, we haven’t been trained to use our resources effectively; only that money is the only resource. We need a new way of thinking…wake up in the morning, in the present, and know that you are successful already.”
Many people around the world are inspired by Ron and his advocacy for freedom through gardening. Now, considering the times, it is most important to recognize the things we really need - our life-force; the air we breathe.
Sean Scott, co-founder of the locally sourced brand ComunityMade replies: “This is first time in our lifetime where there is a mass awareness that materials and money may not be the end game here.”
“We can’t even get people from the educated Western world to see the light, and a third world country is 50 years to getting where we are now, not seeing the light. It’s insurmountable- but it’s becoming painfully obvious that we need to change our behavior.”
People know things can’t return to ‘normal’, and advocates such as Ron are seeing the effects personally: “One thing I’ve found is that people are now interested…and are you listening now? Do I have your attention now?” It has taken something extreme – this pandemic – to see that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option.
“People didn’t have time to listen. You have single moms working three jobs. Everyone tied by a shoestring. Now we are confined to stop, and it’s very clear: we’re the problem. We are the only thing that doesn’t work with Mother Nature.”  Laura says to the group with compassion, “We’re not destroying the planet. We’re destroying ourselves. The planet isn’t going anywhere.”
So HOW as individuals can we learn from this situation and ensure that our home, the earth, is a better and brighter place for the future? Ron hopes that “people can take away skill sets. You need to know how to cook food. Your kids should know how to grow food, because we really don’t understand the true cost of food.”
Sean agrees,”We are so divorced from the creation of products that we consume. We can no longer take our food and our fashion and our air for granted.”
He believes that people are now motivated to do good: “I believe that people who are sincerely interested in doing the right thing now will rise to the top. And I want to take advantage of this to make a change. This conversation is that opportunity.”
Voices of change have never been so loud. Sincerity is priceless. It is time to shift our values - air, water, natural resources, holistic and regenerative systems - and now is the time.
As Ron compassionately said, “The bottom line is: humanity needs to happen, consciousness needs to happen, equity and equality need to happen.”


Our second virtual conversation next week will be with:
David Stover, co-founder of Bureo, created with the intention of developing a sustainable business model in collaboration with Chilean fishing communities and delivering high-quality recycled products to individuals who share their love of the outdoors. 
Stacy Sinclair, Environmental Specialist at Los Angeles Metro Transit Authority.
Cindy Lin , founder of the social entrepreneurial company HOVE Social Good Intelligence. As a mission-to-action lifestyle and technology company, HOVE works to connect people to purchasing with purpose and analyzes data strategically by examining environmental, health and consumer action data together.
What do you think? We want to hear your ideas and thoughts in the comments below, or by email. Please join in this conversation.
  • Imogen Heald

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