Individual Leadership

Transformational Leadership for Sustainability

We are the generation that must lead the change.

Those of us now alive on Earth will either be its saviors, or the witnesses to its collapse – at least as we know it.

The “smart money” – the money of investors and fund managers who spend their professional lives focused on what’s worth investing in – is now starting to be invested not just in renewable energy and other carbon-mitigating technologies to “adaptation.” In short, the world’s leading-edge financial thinkers are accepting that we will not turn things around quickly enough to avert climate change.

If this is the case, and we must think about sea-level rise, species displacement and migration, water depletion, and many other consequences, widely-distributed leadership becomes critically important.

As we see things today, America has elected a new world leader who is certainly articulating the need for fundamental change. We may or may not agree with what the Administration is proposing. But clearly this is not enough, by itself, to make a difference “on the ground.” We need leadership at every level, looking at what is required, and taking action to make it happen.

Companies that have made serious strides toward sustainability have discovered several things. One is that they can save serious money but cutting out waste, reducing the use of toxic materials, and cutting energy costs. Another is that the employees are more creative, more productive, and more engaged when they are invited to drive the process.

We now need to transfer these discoveries to society at large. If we can show people how to live better, save money, and fulfill their natural aspirations, they will become more involved. If we can empower and enable people to undertake the major tasks that are in front of us, we can begin to make important inroads into the problem. Without this we will fail.

Apparently, people (especially Americans) don’t like to hear this. We are an optimistic, entrepreneurial, and enormously innovative people, convinced that once again we can lead the world from darkness into light, and convinced that there is a “formula” that will work. A group in California called the Breakthrough Institute, is devoted to the proposition that “scaring people” is the wrong approach; encouraging them, and giving them the tools, is the right one. Founded in 2003 as a “small think tank with big ideas,” it has gone on to create the Apollo Alliance and to promote the idea that lowering the cost of renewable energy and other environmentally-sound technologies is the key to success. It one level this seems obvious: unless renewable energy is cheap enough, accessible enough, and available to everyone, it is not likely to become universal – which is what’s needed if we are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a tolerable level. At the same time, we would argue, the rest of us have to drive this through “consumer demand.”

We put quotes around this because we also need to re-invent the “consumer” – as investor, as global citizen, and as environmental steward – and empower people to make better purchasing decisions. We think we can do this, in part, by getting people to pool some of their resources, and make better decisions as to how to use them to make a difference in the world. Our Program Investment Fund is both an example of leadership and a real-world playground for its emergence. We invite you to co-invest, to co-create, and to co-lead the sustainability revolution. Our signature program, Transformational Leadership for Sustainability, will provide a foundation for this initiative – not “another” thing to do, but one that supports each and every one of us in being our highest and best self in the service of conscious evolution.

Elsewhere, we have described this program as designed to help members:

  • Deepen our awareness of the challenges we face, the tools at our disposal, and the opportunities we have for both individual and collective action
  • Experience breakthroughs in power, understanding, leadership, and the expression of our shared vision of a sustainable future
  • Work with others to forge a new possibility for human beings and for sentient life on the plant
  • Assist each other in real-world challenges, opportunities, and initiatives, so as to seed the work of global transformation we see as needed everywhere on the planet
  • Commit to actions which will bring about significant, immediate, and scalable change.

Here’s an overview outline of the program:

  • Breakthroughs
  • Urgency: the Race between Two Tipping Points
  • Science and Society
  • The Godgame
  • Plausible future scenarios: ecosystem collapse, technological utopia, relocalization, sustainable development
  • Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream
  • What we know about Leadership, Transformation, and Sustainability
  • Types of Leadership: Business, Community, Academic, Inspirational
  • Organizing for Transformation
  • To Fear or Not to Fear
  • The Challenge
  • The Opportunities
  • A Growing Demand
  • Trimtabs and Leverage
  • The Tipping Points
  • Beyond Sustainability
  • Regeneration, Revitalization, Restoration
  • Environmental Justice and Social Sustainability
  • A World that Works for Everyone
  • Permaculture
  • Transition
  • The New Cosmology
  • Conscious Evolution
  • Conscious Revolution
  • Gaia vs. Spaceship Earth
  • Epilogue: Changing Course in Today’s World
To register for this program, please visit our Registration page.

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Past Events

Correction: We'll be hosting this year's holiday potluck — "Bringing Solar Power Home for the Holidays" — on Saturday, December 15, from 4 to 9 p.m. Click here for more details. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, November 17, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Sustainable Neighborhood & Community Conversations (III).
Saturday, October 13, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods and Communities II.
Saturday, September 8, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods & Communities.
Saturday, June 16, 2012: SLF Potluck June 16: Sustainable Living Communities.
The Sustainable Haiti Conference took place April 23-25, 2012 in Miami.
"Inside Job" Movie Party. Saturday, February 11th, 6:00 PM, Liberty Ridge, The Hills, Bernards Twp, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920.
2nd 'Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti Conference', January 26, 2012, Karibe Convention Center, Petion Ville, Haiti
Dec 11 SLF Potluck: "Bringing Sustainability Home for the Holidays" Basking Ridge, NJ. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, July 9, 2011, 4 p.m. Open House Party & Potluck, Saturday, July 9, 4 p.m., Basking Ridge, NJ.
RSVP to [email protected]
Saturday, May 21, 1-4 p.m. EcoCenter Update. At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960.
Saturday, April 16, 1-4 p.m. "Haiti & Us: The Leading Edge of Sustainable Development." At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960. A copy of the update presentation has been posted here.
Saturday, March 19, 1-4 p.m. "Creating the Morristown EcoCenter." Held at 55 Bank Street, Morristown, the site of the proposed EcoCenter.
Saturday, February 19, 1-4 p.m. Monthly meeting, ""A Profound Transformation in Consciousness," Morris County Library, Whippany, NJ. Click here for details.
Saturday, January 15, 1-4 p.m. Putting Idealism into Practice: Tour of Half Moon House. Click here for details.
Saturday, December 18, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "Reinventing Wealth," followed by our annual "Potluck for the Planet" from 4 to 8. Click here for details.
Saturday, November 20, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "How Do We Measure Sustainable Value?". Click here for details.
Saturday, October 16, 1-4 p.m. Challenge and Strategy Session: "Toward a Sustainable Growth Strategy for New Jersey".
Download the slide presentation here, and the discussion paper here.

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Leadership Quotes

"Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That's not the place to become discouraged."
(Thomas A. Edison—thanks to Regan Caton)

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” (G.B. Shaw)

"There is the true joy of life: to be used by a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; to be thoroughly worn out before being thrown on the scrap heap; to be a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that life will not devote itself to making you happy." (G.B. Shaw)

"Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed." (Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya - thanks to Christine Comaford, Rules for Renegades)