Awesome Stories 211

This week Awesome Stories brings you solitude, radical ship design, awesomeness, aeroponic gardens and the sharing economy.

Ponderings on Solitude

In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives. The more coherent one becomes within oneself as a creature, the more fully one enters into the communion of all creatures. ~ Wendell Berry

In this article, Maria Popova weaves together her insights from interviewing Wendell Berry, a delightful poet, philosopher, farmer and naturalist. His essential point is that we need solitude, not only to feed our souls and hear our inner voices, but also to create in tune with the larger whole. Too little solitude can lead to self-absorbed creations based solely on novelty, where there is no real value beyond uniqueness. Or too much solitude, wrapped in isolation that can lead to shoddy work with too little hope and connection. Finding the middle ground is the key.

Sailing into the FutureVinskip ship design, Awesome Stories

I think this ship design is awesome. The huge environmental impact of cargo and cruise ships inspired Norwegian designer Terje Lade to create more new ships that are more sustainable and efficient. His “Vinskip” is a radical new hull design that looks almost like a sail and actually pulls the ship forward with wind. Lade estimates that his design would cut carbon emissions by 80 percent and fuel consumption by 60 percent. Radical indeed. He’s talking to ship builders to find a partner willing to build these awesome ships. What do you think?

11 Steps for Awesomeness

Maybe I need to write my own version, but Tess Marshall gives us 11 awesome steps for living a bold and empowered life. I need to remember to lean into fear and find the abundance now, not in some future place or condition. Thanks for the tips and reminders Tess! And of course, we need to enjoy and celebrate along the way to our dreams and goals. Here’s an older post of mine on living with zeal. What are your best tips for being awesome and living fully?

Progress in Chicago

aeroponics, Awesome StoriesChicago’s O’Hare Airport has implemented many sustainability initiatives, including wetlands restoration, green roofs, LEED certification, EV charging and beehives! Their new Aeroponic Food Towers were the first in the country. They actually grow vegetables which are used in the airport’s restaurants. I like how they embody sustainability by saving water, educating the public and feeding travelers. O’Hare is part of Airports Going Green, a group promoting more sustainable airports.

The Dark Side of the Sharing Economy

I’ve been a big fan of the growing sharing economy, which has the good intention to share goods, services and ideas. Nepun Mehta makes some interesting observations about how too often the sharing economy model gets turned into a marketing tool for businesses to sell more stuff. One comment from a woman dedicated to sustainability really hit home. “I started with the hope that we could elevate economic forces to value nature. Instead, what we’ve done is commoditized and devalued nature.” I prefer focusing on quality of life with less stuff, materialism and consumption. His idea is to create a new model based on giving called the “gift ecology” which blends the best of giving and nature to create organic connections that build strength and resiliency.

May we each find joyful ways to express our spirit, gifts and love.  Blessings, Brad 


19 thoughts on “Awesome Stories 211

  1. Enjoyed these, Brad. The ship seemed pretty interesting. I would be interested to understand how much of the emissions savings was due to switching fuels from conventional liquid fuels (e.g. diesel or heavy oil) to the liquified natural gas that was described. That shift alone, even on a conventionally hulled vessel, would potentially yield substantial savings in emissions. The job of the hull it seems would be to offset the cost of using a potentially more expensive fuel, by creating better overall mpg’s… 🙂

    I also was intrigued by the thoughts on the dark side of the sharing economy. I always find these big picture economic issues so difficult to navigate. Is there any other aspect of our collective experience where our projections of blame, judgment, distrust, and scarcity– where our discomforts with our own natures and needs as incarnate beings– are more prevalent? I agree it is important to come from the heart when engaging in sharing, in gifting, in business agreements, in relationships with friends and families, etc. These economic experiments we do strike me as just that. Localized experiments. What is good or bad about them? We see how they are used, what they yield, how they benefit, what they facilitate. What people “should” be doing, the “values” on which they choose to make decisions is not the fault of any trading system. I guess what I’m ultimately saying is we won’t change values by changing systems or mechanics. The values always have to be in place…


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the very thorough responses Michael. I was surprised the ship energy savings weren’t higher given all the eco-features. I agree that our values drive behaviors and big picture economic issues are very hard to address, both for the systems and decisions to gain broad acceptance and implementation. I guess enough people must want and value the change, and this is why we write and proselytize. 🙂


  3. Sailing into the future resonated with me on this go around Brad. I really do like the idea of moving forward – to improve efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint. But, I don’t want to lose touch with history either. I have one foot in the future, and one planted in the era of nostalgic Viking ships from the past. I have always been fascinated by the life of Norwegians and would love to visit Norway someday. The stories, the architecture, the culture is simply enchanting – to me, at least. I guess I want to have my cake and eat it too 🙂 I would like to see technology used to improve the health of our planet, but I would like to see history improve the health of our minds. Thanks for sharing and providing a very thought-provoking conversation – in my own mind, at least 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • LOL Dave. Your creative mind is a whole other post! Thanks for the nostalgic Viking visions- they were awesome sailors with very cool ships. No doubt that we can and should learn from history. Let’s have both; new and old blended in love, creativity and care for the planet. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. An interesting and varied collection of stories Brad (no tear jerkers this time !). The importance of solitude is not widely understood, but we can all enjoy it to immense benefit even if we allow ourselves only a short time each day; whether we actively meditate or just have a period of quiet and introspection.
    Love the article about the ship design. So many of these kind of ideas have sprung up, lets hope we start using them sooner rather than later 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As I head out tomorrow to fly my six days in a row (self-imposed nutty schedule) of connecting with my lovely peeps, I shall treasure my solitude even more than usual. Ha! Love the ship design! I had no idea about the “aeroponic food towers” in O’Hare — who’d have thunk??? Wish we flew there. As for steps to awesomeness, I think yours are every bit as fabulous as Tess’s. Love the notion that we don’t have to wait for some “ideal” moment in time — we can take action right this very minute!!! Have a fabulous week, Brad!! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re a dedicated friend and flight attendant! 🙂 Last week you promised to hug more, now practice solitude in the midst of busy work! I’m surprised you don’t fly to O’Hare. Are you trying to bribe me with all the compliments? XD Name it; more hugs, crazy stories, poems! 🙂 Have a beautiful week.


  7. Brad… first Love your new theme.. and I just wonder how long before that new Hull design will come in handy when the Ocean rises 🙂 And I can no fault you on Focussing ” I prefer focusing on quality of life with less stuff, materialism and consumption”… And couldn’t agree more..
    I have been in the process of de cluttering recently.. Very empowering both to de-clutter the home and the mind!..
    Wonderful offerings you have given us again Brad.. I thank you so much for sharing your awesomeness ..
    Blessings your way xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes, there is a business side to this ‘sustainability’ and ‘green business’ side of things that is frustrating. Definitely a marketing tool for businesses to sell more stuff, as I see it in my industry. Also, there are companies making untold millions certifying “green labels or blue labels” that some companies are forced to pay with zero real benefit to anyone (except the executives of these ‘certification’ companies). A strange time we are living in.

    However, on the flip side, this new ship & hull design is exciting…now that is something that really is a positive story environmentally 🙂 Cheers to a great week Brad!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Randall. Those are exactly the author’s points about even the “sharing economy”. We need a new model that is more about sharing and ecology. Hopefully, we all do what we can personally and collectively, moving us closer to living in harmony with nature.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. All these stories chime with my own thoughts. As to the sharing economy I recently heard of a heartening new ‘unsale’ model by producers (this on BBC world Service radio). The UK developer of a hydrogen fuelled car, (hopefully to be launched in a year’s time) has no intention of selling these. Instead, people will lease the use of the cars, which will remain in the company’s ownership. I think this deal includes everything – insurance, refuelling etc. The idea is that if manufacturers keep ownership of their goods, they will have a vested interest in only making stuff that will last, be most efficient, have easily replaceable parts, and when eventually it is worn out, will be made of materials that can be harvested and recycled by the same company. Apparently a similar approach is being researched for cell phones – to stop people continually buying new ones and wastefully leaving old ones in drawers. All of which means the earth’s resources can be used more responsibly and at less cost to us and the planet. Sounds too good to be true really.


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