Great Leaders Serve – What’s Your Cause?

Great Leadership is crucial when bringing about positive changes in an organization or a society. Visionaries can inspire, but sometimes lack the skills to truly lead a team to bring that change into fruition.

Charisma can be great but you need more than Charisma to make bring about change. Mark Miller blogged about his experience at the TED Conference and these are some of those visionaries and change agents making the world a better place.

What’s Your Cause?

Last week, I attended the TED Conference. If you don’t know about TED, I’ve written several posts in the past (here’s the most recent). While making my way home, I reviewed my notes from over 100 speakers and was struck by the diversity of causes addressed over the course of the conference.

Here’s a sampling…

Sugata Mitra wants education reform. He says, “Schools are not broken, they are obsolete.” His ideas won him the 2013 TED Prize of $1 million.

Alastair Parvin shared his vision for open source architecture as a way of serving the world.

Bono talked about eliminating extreme poverty from the planet in our lifetime.

Lawrence Lessig shared his passion to reform our political process.

Taylor Wilson – the kid who built a nuclear reactor in his garage at age 14, now 18 and about to graduate high school, shared his plans for American energy independence.

Stewart Brand wants to bring extinct animals back to life. The Woolly Mammoth is on his list – think Jurassic Park.

Allan Savory has found a way to stop global erosion – he calls the process desertification.

Alex Laskey has discovered an ultra-low cost way to cut consumer energy consumption by 20% – peer pressure.

Eleanor Longden represented the People Who Hear Voices movement.

Ben Affleck gave a challenge to assist the people in the Congo.

Not all causes were philanthropic, but they were causes nonetheless…

Elon Musk dreams of interplanetary communities – one of his companies is working to build the rockets to take us there.

Peter Gabriel and friends, want to create an interspecies Internet. Yes – Internet for animals.

There were scores of scientists there too. I had dinner with
Dr. Jimmy Lin – his mission is simple… eradicate all 7,000 known rare diseases!

What’s the point of this recap? As I looked back over the presentations, I began to think about what each of these causes had in common. My answer – a passionate champion.

What idea are you passionate about? What cause are you championing? Your answer may be found in your career and maybe not. Howard Hendricks said:

“Your career is what you’re paid to do, your calling is what you were made to do.”

What is your calling? What were you made to do? What’s stopping you from doing it? Where are you investing your leadership horsepower? When you and I are gone, what cause do we want to have advanced?

What’s your cause?


Vanishing Nations should rise above the sea. Part one.

Extended drought, increased flooding and extreme storms are more the norm than the once every few decade events that they were here in The United States, yet we still have land to claim as ours when the storms have passed. Imagine watching the ocean methodically creeping up towards your home, watching palm trees die as the water table becomes salty. Knowing that eventually you will have nothing, and nowhere to call home. This 21rst Century may be remembered as the century when people fled their homes as Climate Refugees. We have passed the point of being able to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to prevent ocean levels from rising. However, we still have time to turn future refugees into proud citizens of their own nation.

Reading through twitter I was reminded of an architect’s idea that could help prevent the coming wave of Climate Refugees by @Coolrevolution. Vincent Callebaut’s design is energy efficient, allows over 1000 families to grow crops in these modular and beautiful homes. The structure is built on an artificial pier built on seismic piles.

vincent callebaut

There are many designs for floating, raised structures and partially submerged housing that can provide a new life to those suffering the effects caused by the changing climate. These refugees are losing their land and their way of life and will more than likely not be welcomed with open arms to whatever country they move to.

View all of Vincent’s brilliant Ideas at

We don’t need San Onofre, we need a new way to share electricity.


What happens when Californians can’t power their homes. The shut down of San Onofre and the limited options to keep us Californians cool, and our businesses running blows my mind.  Our energy grid infrastructure is outdated and dangerous at best.  Last year’s seven hour power outage in San Diego caused by a glitch near the Arizona border is proof that we need a fix.

Read More…

Sahara desert will help provide 90% of energy for 2050

The Deutsche Welle reported on desertecs initiative to save Europeans 40% of their energy costs by building solar and wind energy plants in the Saharan Desert.  The construction of the plants and connecting energy grid would cost 400 Billion Euros, but would save 33 Billion Euros a year in energy costs.

14 years is all that would be required to pay off the initial investment.  Combining Europe’s wind, solar, and tidal RE potential with that of the Sahara Desert’s potential will provide 90% of the Near East, North African, and European 2050 energy demand.

Bucky Fuller would have said “See, this is what I have been saying since the 1960s”. This must be music to the ears of Peter Meisen,  the director of the Global Energy Network Institute, who has been touting the installation of a global energy grid for 25 years.  His work is based on the idea that we can power the world using 100% renewable energy

Drilling for fool’s gold

Ok, I got a little caught up in the election year fever last post.  Back to meat.

I was reading the comments on a poll on Linkedin discussing this next decades most important energy source, and the comments ranged from (as you can guess) yelling and making disparaging remarks toward those who did not believe what the other side does to (and I was shocked) good dialog between people with different views.

The question was not what energy source will be used the most, but rather what will be the most important energy source.  The design and production of alternative fuels and energies to fossil fuels should be the most important.  

The outcome will depend on the next president, the senate, legislature and well lobbyists.  I see fossil fuels winning unless some company comes up with a new technique, design or way to make loads and loads of money off of renewables and the nice people on Wall Street start investing in it. 

As for more U.S. drilling it just won’t help.  This great graph from shows that gas prices keep rising even as the number of operating rigs jumped from 400 to 1200 over the past five years.

We are subject to the whims of a divided nation and companys err I mean people who can lobby the heck out of anything.

Spa break anyone?


Children are left behind, for a few to prosper

Top free market nations not so successful?

Growing a new generation of children that are undereducated,  unhealthy, and apathetic will lead us to a sustainable and prosperous future.

I recently read an article that really puts a damper in the GOP’s mantra of FREE MARKET, FREE MARKET, FREE MARKET.  Turns out that England and the United States, the top two free market countries of the world, have some of the worst population statistics.  The level of education, health care, and freedoms are actually worse than those countries that have higher taxes on the rich, and more substantial social programs.  Children, of course, are the most affected. These are the fuel for the government’s future well being.  America’s innovation and creation machine has stagnated and is being replaced with a service industry based on low income and permatemp jobs.  We are becoming the ultimate consumer society.

  • What happens to children if the market is reigns supreme.
    • Children in the U.S. and Britain are “more likely to skip breakfast, become fat, smoke pot, and have a higher teenage pregnancy rate”.
    • Child Poverty rates are higher
    • U.S. children rankings (out of the 24 OECD countries):
      •  23 of 24 on material well-being
      • 19 of 24 on educational well-being
  • Obesity in the U.S. will soon be at 40%

The DEMs are not 100% right in how they want to run the government either.  The only solution I see for a prosperous America is for us to stop fighting each other at every step.


Modular, Platinum LEED Certified, stylish, and inexpensive homes

If you want to make the world a better place to live, then change the type of home you buy or build to rent.

Modular homes come in many shapes, sizes and materials…some are made from old shipping containers.  If you don’t want to live in a box, then you may be interested in the FIRST production home to be certified as Platinum.  These LivingHomes homes start at $179,000 and if you have a place to plop it down, like shopping in the bulk section and bring your own bags, then don’t waste any time.

( Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times )

By Susan Carpenter

The C6 prefab house from Santa Monica-based LivingHomes is premiering in two locations: Palm Springs, where it is part of a Modernism Week prefab showcase open through Feb. 26, and the TED Conference in Long Beach running through March 2. The Times swung by the Palm Springs installation as workers finished prepping the place for tours.

By Susan Carpenter<br /> The C6 prefab house from Santa Monica-based LivingHomes is premiering in two locations: Palm Springs, where it is part of a Modernism Week prefab showcase open through Feb. 26, and the TED Conference in Long Beach running through March 2. The Times swung by the Palm Springs installation as workers finished prepping the place for tours.


Take a tour!! LivingHomes C6: Prefab targets budget-minded greenies –