This week Awesome Stories brings you bold values, inner teachers, better nursing homes, and forest cities.
Kudos to REI for living their values in an audacious way. In 2015, REI made the bold decision to close on Black Friday, the biggest day of the year for most retailers. They closed their stores and distribution centers, paid their employees, and encouraged them to spend the day outside with the tag #OptOutside. Their risky move paid off in every way with 1.4 million people responding to the campaign, along with 175 other organizations who joined the challenge. Ultimately REI increased sales and profits for the year by putting values and purpose at the forefront of their business. May more companies put people and planet above profits, helping to change the world for the better.
My job is to keep the meaning embodied in the work itself, and therefore alive and capable of change. ~ Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin explores her views on life, words, meaning, and art in her latest book; Words Are My Matter. I haven’t read the book, but I like her idea of good writing as a jumping off point for meaning. They are best when they leave room for interpretation and exploration to find the meaning beyond the message. She tries to avoid writing messages as truth, but rather leaving space for people to find their own truth in her words and stories. She believes art is co-created by the artist and audience revealing something beyond the message. I hope my writing and teaching leave similar room for people to find their own truth. I believe we find our own truth by listening to our inner teacher, experimenting, and paying attention to what works and doesn’t.
Better Nursing Homes
Reform is badly needed in the nursing home industry. After seeing how much his mother aged in just a few days at the nursing home he managed, Barry Berman embarked on a mission to improve nursing homes around the country. He helped create The Leonard Florence Center for Living based on a new approach to elder care called Green House Project that focuses on smaller numbers of residents with more input on their daily food, care, and quality of life. The homes are more residential with 10 -12 private bedrooms with baths clustered around a central living room and dining area. They also feature person-centered care and empowered teams of staff where both residents and staff are generally happier. The bigger challenge is how to apply the principals and aesthetics of Green Homes to the 16,000 nursing homes around the country that house 1.5 million people needing places to live, with that number growing steadily as the US population ages.
China has started construction on what will be the world’s first “forest city” with 1 million plants and 40,000 trees. The futuristic city in Liuzhou, Guangxi Province will be a model of sustainability to fight climate change, running on renewable energy, fully wired, and connected to regional cities by electric cars and trains. Besides emitting oxygen and absorbing oxygen, the plants and trees will help keep the city cooler, quieter, healthier, and improve regional biodiversity. Hopefully, this will become the design standard for cities around the world.
May we work together to create enlightened cities and business that care for people and planet.