Spheres of Influence
Fall 2015 Virtual Fireside Chat
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015
noon-1pm ET/11am-noon CT/ 9am-10am PT
Harnessing “Human Systems” for Innovation
Featured Global Guests:
Previously a sustainability leadership catalyst at Smart Cities and IBM
co-founder of PresenceAtWork (Netherlands)
Former CEO of Ardanta (Netherlands)
CurrentDirector of Life Insurance at ASR
a global insurance company & pioneer of collective leadership
About Melissa O’Mara:
Melissa O’Mara’s mission is to maximize institutional and cultural response to environmental and economic challenges through activating teams and communities of purpose, accelerating public/private collaboration and innovation, and enabling collective leadership. She founded i3Activate, LLC, as a platform for transforming the way we lead organizations and address today’s complex challenges.
Prior to founding i3Activate, LLC, Melissa was an intrepreneurial corporate leader with 28 years of experience at US Smart Cities, Andersen Consulting, Schneider Electric, and IBM.
About Philippe Wits:
Philippe Wits of the Netherlands is former Director/CEO of Ardanta, a global life insurance company and a pioneer of collective leadership. He currently serves as Director of Life Insurance at ASR. Philippe is focused on continuous improvement through lean and collective leadership to empower employees to reach their full potential, as well as reach the company’s and their own goals.
About Roelien Bokxem:
Based in the Netherlands with background in the Financial Sector, Roelien Bokxem is co-founder of PresenceAtWork. She is a certified coach and systems consultant with broad experience delivering experiential learning for executives and teams. She finds pride and joy in co-designing PresenceAtWork’s collective leadership curriculum.
Listen to Melissa and Roelien here on this podcast. Check out the first 15 minutes in particular. (The start button is on the upper left.)
THIS ONLINE EVENT IS FREE BUT WE WELCOME DONATIONS TO COVER THE COST OF OUR INTERNS!
We hope you can join us for this participatory event!
Contributed by Dr. Sarah
The SilverLeaf was lonely this year when we went on vacation. Again.
Last year we drove to Ohio from Chicago in a rental. This year we drove to the home and studio of the original “organic” architect, Frank Lloyd Wright— Taliesin East— in Spring Green, Wisconsin. In a rental minivan.
The all–electric NissanLEAF could have made it to our launch point for the visit, charming Mineral Point, Wisconsin. In theory.
After all, it’s only 168 miles from Chicago to historic arts community of Mineral Point. And NissanLEAFs have been known to take go as far as 120 miles on a charge. And some drivers have taken trips of over 1000 miles–– with stops to charge along the way, of course.
But… with two restless boys in the backseat, I didn’t want to hassle with stopping to charge. And we were four adults— including my mom who is less hardy these days— in addition to those two young men in the back. There’s no way to squeeze that many bodies in the hatchback LEAF. Hence, the rental of the minivan. This is what I call “eco reality.”
My mom had been longing to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin since she was in college. I was delighted to fulfill that dream for her. And thrilled to learn about not just Frank Lloyd Wright’s remarkable design vision, but his pioneering commitment to sustainable design and architecture.
Here we see his creative re-purposing of gas pipes that were no longer needed as pipes once Taliesin had converted to electricity.
And about two decades before the region had gone electric, Wright brought electricity to his home and studio by creating hydropower from a small dam he created on his property.
How do I feel about the cost of renting a minivan for our vacation? Fine. The rental cost was about what I used to spend on gas in four months. I now have a modest monthly lease payment, no maintenance costs, and I pay about $15 a month for the electricity to run the 100% electric NissanLEAF.
What about the eco footprint of renting that minivan? For the entire trip we emitted about 235 pounds of CO2 (or “global warming pollution”). You can calculate your own car’s “carbon footprint” http://store.shrinkyourfoot.org/carbon-footprint-calculator#driving just as I did. I can live with emitting a couple hundred pounds of CO2 in order to drive a car the rest of the year that saves over 8000 pounds of emissions a year. Just as I can live with The SilverLeaf being lonely while we go on vacation.
P.S. I loved Mineral Point, WI so much that I went back a couple of weeks later with my sweetie. We loved it so much that we’re going back in the fall for an art tour. And my extended family may gather again there next summer.
This is where my beau and I stayed:
Contributed by Dr. Sarah
The essential question posed in our Summer 2015 virtual fireside chat was Does climate change “change everything” in higher education and beyond? The answer, from various vantage points, was a resounding “Yes.”
We had a far ranging conversation that even touched upon the profound reality that climate change changes our sense of time.
Professor Richard Rood set the stage for the conversation. Professor Rood, a climate scientist at University of Michigan who teaches multidisciplinary courses on climate impacts and adaptation, painted a picture of a world in which we are not only seeing droughts and extreme weather events, but severe wild fires in unlikely spots such as Alaska.
Professor Nancy Tuchman, founding Director of Loyola University’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability in Chicago, reminded us that climate change threatens the security and stability of our food system as well– a reality, I would add, that is likely to touch all of our lives to varying degrees, particularly those living in poverty.
Climate change represents not just a threat but an opportunity for new models for innovation and collaboration, however. Professor Tuchman shared the story of how a student-driven enterprise at Loyola to reduce food waste and fossil fuel use has led to Loyola working with other schools, such as Northwestern University and University of Illinois-Chicago, to use waste grease from their kitchens to run campus buses. Such projects not only reduce climate impacts and afford hands-on learning for students, but forge new alliances that can wield more effective levers for necessary collective change to tackle climate change. The sphere of influence of each institution expands by virtue of such collaborations.
Professor Joel Towers, Executive Dean of the Parsons School of Design at The New School in New York, spoke to meta-level effects on our sense of place and time. As a psychologist, I was particularly struck by his remarks about our sense of time being disrupted when what have historically been “100 year storms” become frequent occurrences. Climate change can disorient us.
Professor Towers remarked upon how the urgency of climate change is driving Parsons to a transdisciplinary approach to pedagogy, again underscoring how climate change can crack open new possibilities that may yield benefits beyond environmental sustainability.
Listen here to the conversation among these thoughtful experts about what I call the need to prepare the next generation to work, live and lead in a hot, crowded world:
SPHERES Of INFLUENCE VIRTUAL FIRESIDE CHAT
SUMMER 2015 PROGRAM
Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
12pm-1pm ET / 11am-noon CT / 9am-10am PT
Richard Rood (UMich)
Joel Towers (The New School)
Nancy Tuchman (Loyola-Chicago)
About Richard Rood:
Professor of Atmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences at the University of Michigan
Dow Sustainability Distinguished Faculty Fellow
Professor Rood’s primary research interest is in the interface of climate change with all aspects of society.
A biologist by training, Professor Tuchman’s specializations include Global Climate Change and Human Impacts.
Thanks in part to Professor Tuchman’s vision, Loyola University Chicago has been ranked the greenest university in the Midwest in the Sierra Club’s annual ranking.
Contributed by Dr. Sarah
A year ago I made the leap I’d been promising to take by buying the greenest car I could afford: I bought the all-electric NissanLEAF, and launched the SilverLEAF Chronicles blog series.
The SilverLEAF is celebrating its first birthday with our family.
Now that we’ve weathered a summer and a (hard) Chicago winter, here are my honest reflections on what I love — and what I would change if I were Nissan.
What I love about the NissanLEAF:
1. It’s green
First and foremost, I love what I expected to love, it’s green-ness.
I now drive knowing that the eco impact of my car is minimal. In my previous Toyota Avalon, I used to plan my trips carefully and take mass transit when I could.
The LEAF car has no emissions. None.
My passion for living green– and voting green– is inspired by my love for my two young kids. Driving this car is an act of fierce love. As a parent, that feels good.
2. The cost
Between tax rebates and no cost for gas, this car pretty much pays for itself.
You can get a top of the line LEAF for around $300 a month, and basic model for around $200 a month.
And you never pay for gas. Ever.
I charge at home about half the time, and the electric bills have not gone up noticeably.
And, the car is virtually maintenance-free– no oil to change, no belts to replace.
I’ve met LEAF owners who say that they pay less per month to own a LEAF than they paid for gas in their conventional car.
From a sheer cost standpoint, it’s a no-brainer.
3. It’s sporty
The SilverLEAF is peppy! I test drove the Prius, and it was sluggish.
For reasons having to do with electric motor technology, the LEAF has a lot of pick up. And it handles well. It’s fun to drive!
I met a LEAF owner who said he feels like he’s driving a sports car.
My ten-year-old son thinks it looks cool, too!
4. LEAFs build community
When LEAF owners pass each other on the road, we wave at each other.
We talk to each other when we run into each other, sharing stories about the car.
I had no idea I would be joining a community when I got this car. It’s an unexpected perk!
What I would change about the NissanLEAF:
1. The engine sound
In a state of nature, an electric motor is silent. Wisely, Nissan has added a high pitched tone that is emitted when the car is driving under 15 MPH to cue pedestrians that a car is coming.
The problem is, it doesn’t sound like a car motor, so pedestrians wander out in front of it without looking. (There are other reasons at this point in history, having to do with things like walking into the street on our SmartPhones!)
I get why Nissan would want it’s electric car to have a unique sound that differentiates it from a gas powered car.
But this is a safety matter.
2. The battery range
We’ve driven this car– without stopping to charge–close to 100 miles (on its first day with us!)
If you learn how to drive very efficiently, which I’m still working on, it can be driven well over 100 miles.
Longer battery range would make it work more readily beyond local driving, which would be great. Some of us suffer from “range anxiety,” especially when we’re having to run either heat or air conditioning, which drain the battery.
I hear that Nissan– and other companies– are working on new battery technology which will give it about 30% greater range. That will be wonderful.
Would I buy a NissanLEAF again?
Absolutely. I plan to swap out my current leased NissanLEAF for the new model in two years– when longer battery range comes on line.
Happy Birthday, SilverLEAF!