Justice for Justice

Posted by: Sara on Friday, March 14, 2014 Comments (1)

My daughter Maya now 10, discovered fashion last year on her 9th birthday. In the year that’s past I’ve learned, “If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” applies 1000% to trying to dress your girl child. Evidence: the perfectly fashionable in-my-eyes sleek, valore, black pants that sat lonely in the drawer, all year, unworn. “Maya, those are really chic New York City style pants. Any classy lady would wear them out on the town for a fancy night ...

Mayor Bloomberg -- Systems Thinking Hero

Posted by: Sara on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 Comments (0)

The day after Hurricane Sandy ravaged our coast, I was on Email with my systems thinking buddies with our age old lament. Why are none of our leaders connecting the dots? Why are people still seeing these merciless weather extremes as isolated events? When will it be “safe” for two presidential candidates to even name the issue in their debates? What will it take for Americans to wake up to the deeper patterns of climate disruption? Enter New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, my ...

Mesa Verde Goes Global

Posted by: Sara on Monday, November 12, 2012 Comments (0)

There’s’ a Mexican place nearby called Mesa Verde that makes great burritos, using local healthy ingredients, at a price that works for our family of 4. I was awed yesterday, when while listening to our small town radio, I heard the owner of Mesa Verde, a woman in her late 30s come on the air with this message (more or less.) “Hi I’m ____ the owner of Mesa Verde. I love to eat at my place because it’s so healthy and affordable. But when I don’t want to eat ...

The Ten Truths of Thank You

Posted by: Sara on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 Comments (1)

I’m presently writing a book 1,000 Thank Yous. To warm up for this I chose to write one thank you note per day for 60 days. The good ol’ fashion long hand kind. I suppose, unknowingly, I “signed up” to do a deep inquiry about the nature of gratitude. What did my 60-day Thank You note practice teach me? What did I learn? Ten Truths of Thank You. 1) Offering gratitude is a BIG gift to those on the receiving end. They are re-minded of the Glory of their true nature. Their ...

River Story: Sustainability from the Inside Out

Posted by: Sara on Thursday, May 3, 2012 Comments (0)

Check out our new webinar. A conversation with Ashley Welch and Sara Schley describing purpose, content, curriculum and more. Take a deep dive into River Story. Learn more about our initation weekend this Aug 23-26 here: For complete description and registration information go to our River Story Initiation page. Thanks!

Welcome to the River Story Initiation!

Posted by: Sara on Friday, March 23, 2012 Comments (0)

Your Time and Place for Sustainability from the Inside Out 4 Day Initiation, Aug 23-26, Wendell, MA The River at our Site A 4-Day gathering, Aug 23-26, Wendell, MA Welcome to our inaugural River Story weekend. We invite you to join us for this unprecedented transformational experience. Together with our master teachers, we'll journey inward and outward, increasing depth, strengthening aspiration: Learn more here.

Thank You Dr. Margulis

Posted by: Sara on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 Comments (0)

Jennifer Margulis, my brilliant, funny, demanding, cheerleading, writing coach and editor (who would hate this opening sentence because there are way too many adjectives; “Show don’t tell!” she’d admonish) is a published author and expert on Mothering. When she first read and critiqued my manuscripts on ecological sustainability, I was surprised by how knowledgeable this woman with a PhD in English Lit was on the sciences of the natural environment. “Oh,” ...

I'm Dreaming of a White Halloween, but this Dream is a Nitemare

Posted by: Sara on Friday, November 4, 2011 Comments (0)

Imagine a grade school aptitude test, “What’s wrong with this picture??” The photo shows pristine blue sky, maple and oak trees in their full glory of burgundy, orange and yellow. Carved pumpkins on the front porch. And 18 inches of fresh snow on the ground. The child would be correct in her answer: “What’s wrong with this picture? You can’t have fall and winter at the same time!” Well not anymore in New England. On October 30th we got slammed with ...

Thank You and Farewell to Ray Anderson

Posted by: Sara on Thursday, August 18, 2011 Comments (0)

Like so many, I was saddened to hear that Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface Carpets and giant of Sustainability died last week at the young age of 77. Many wonderful tributes have been shared about Ray’s life. I want to add mine. Thank you Ray. You touched my heart deeply. I first learned of Ray through an article that Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael wrote in the early 90s. Quinn described this industrialist who “got” sustainability. At the time I was working with Fortune ...

A Living Systems Approach

Posted by: Sara on Thursday, June 30, 2011 Comments (0)

To create a sustainable world, and to address pressing issues such as vulnerable food systems, climate change, energy demand, environmental degradation and more, requires us to see, understand and be guided by living systems. Yet in school, most of us, including our industry and government leaders, were taught that the best way to understand a subject is to analyze it or break it up into parts. When we don’t see and understand systems, we can find ourselves operating from crisis to ...

Sustainability Inside Out

Posted by: Sara on Thursday, June 30, 2011 Comments (0)

Like many leaders in this field, we believe purposeful, lasting changes on this planet require a clear and compelling vision of sustainability combined with sound principles, guiding frameworks, savvy strategy, and thoughtful, targeted action. This is the outer work of sustainability. And this is only half the story. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” How we “show up” directly impacts the systems we seek to influence. Perhaps the most ...

Systems Maps of Thomas Friedman's article "The Big American Leak"

Posted by: Sara on Monday, December 13, 2010 Comments (1)

Tom Friedman speaks the language of Systems consistently in his NYT articles on the geo-political impact of our petroleum addiction. In the following systems diagrams, I map Mr. Friedman's recent article The Big American Leak. For more on this approach, see Linda Booth Sweeney's Friedman Project. As I said in my submission to the NYT, we use the systems maps because we believe they may make Mr. Friedman’s powerful arguments even more accessible to readers. Note if you are new to ...

Why We Might Fight, 2011 Edition

Posted by: Sara on Monday, December 13, 2010 Comments (0)

By Thom Shanker, New York Times, Week in Review, 12.12.10 Countries thirst for oil, compete for minerals and confront climate change. The American military, with surprising allies, worries that these issues represent a new source of conflict. Introduction: A Need for ‘Natural Security’ Why We Might Fight In 1997, my partner Joe Laur and I along with colleagues from the MIT Organizational Learning Center including HP, Intel, Amoco, Harley Davidson and the US Army War College ...

Radical Renewal: You, Your people, Your Planet

Posted by: Sara on Wednesday, November 24, 2010 Comments (0)

It is Friday afternoon and the deadlines are looming. My 3rd grader, Sam will be getting off the bus at 3:15. Get him and then his twin sister who goes to a different school and is at a friend’s 20 minutes to the west. We’ve just completed our weekly finance meeting and I’m a bit down. How can we make as much money as we are blessed to, and still be in the red every month? Doesn’t seem like we buy stuff or are extravagant. Still. . . .where to earn more revenue or cut ...

The Iceberg Cometh: Leaders for a New Climate

Posted by: Sara on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 Comments (0)

Go Deeper to Go Higher. Reflections from the first gathering of “Leaders for a New Climate.” With Drew Jones and Sara Schley at MIT; Oct 19-21, 2010 It is the evening before the last day of Leaders for a New Climate a workshop that Drew Jones of Climate Interactive and I have created. The title has two meanings by intention: 1) How to be an effective leader in abating Global Climate change and 2) How to create new respectful climates for engagement with others. Others with a ...

Participants reviews of "Leaders for a New Climate" workshop held in October at MIT

Posted by: Sara on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 Comments (0)

Here are some testimonials from participants: The course was excellent with enthusiastic and well-informed instructors presenting cutting edge and needed information. - Walter Zachritz, National Park Service Thanks for all the inspiration, creative tools for looking at the world, and ultimately – hope! - Katie Lund, Graham Institute for Environmental Sustainability As a student studying System Dynamics this was a unique opportunity to learn how people, in various ways, are ...

Deep Water

Posted by: Sara on Friday, July 2, 2010 Comments (0)

Imagine you are a Petroleum executive in the CEO – Suite. It’s the end of the 3rd Quarter and your company’s numbers don’t look good. You didn’t make your revenue targets. Wall Street is not impressed and your price per share is going down. Share holder pressure is up. Meantime you know that Oil reservoirs are decreasing world-wide. The proverbial low hanging fruit has been picked and you have to invest in exploration in uncharted territory. With the ...

Design for a New World: The Bucky Fuller Convergence

Posted by: Sara on Monday, June 7, 2010 Comments (0)

Last week I had the privilege of attending the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), “Design Science Revolution Convergence,” in Washington DC. “Bucky,” the affectionate term by which Fuller is known, was a pioneering systems thinker, visionary, inventor, and an inspiration to many. I’d heard the rough outline of his life’s epiphany and found it described as follows on the web: "In 1927, at the age of 32, Buckminster Fuller stood on the shores of Lake ...

Save the Date!

Posted by: Sara on Friday, May 28, 2010 Comments (0)

Climate Interactive’s Drew Jones and Seed Systems’ Sara Schley invite you to join us for a new Workshop: Leaders for a New Climate: Systems Thinking and the C-ROADS Simulation October 19-21 Boston, MA For more information or to register now please go direct to: Attend to develop your capacities in: Systems thinking: Causal loop and stock-flow diagramming. Leadership and learning: Vision, reflective conversation, consensus ...

Goldi-locks' Crown Part 2

Posted by: Sara on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 Comments (0)

What do the ancestors know? What do the indigenous peoples of this planet who have lived sustainably for millennia know? What do the Grandmothers know? What do our sacred wisdom traditions from around the world -- the Mayans, the Kabbalists, the Tibetan Buddhists, the Lakota, the Taosists and so many more -- know? What is science telling us – from the biology of the world wide web of micro-organisms, to the physics of the butterfly’s wings, to the astronomy of the cosmos -- about ...

Goldi-locks' Crown: Kabbalah, Cosmology and Consciousness for a New Climate

Posted by: Sara on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 Comments (0)

I’m writing from our Gazebo, a hand-made, wooden, screened-in Octagon, surrounded by the baby green maple, birch, and oak leaves of early spring. The stream flows below us lending that primordial sound of the womb. A soothing vibration that evokes an exhale. My shoulders drop, my belly softens, I breathe in the promise of spring. It is lady slipper season in Western Massachusetts and so we’ve come out to the Gazebo to see the expansive field of these flowers. They are ...

Gulf Spill as Obama's 9/11 opportunity. Tom Friedman NY Times Op-Ed. Right on in my view

Posted by: Sara on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 Comments (0)

Friedman encourages President Obama to sieze this moment in the Gulf to inspire a new energy and climate vision.

The Theory of AND, Part 1

Posted by: Sara on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 Comments (0)

The Theory of And “You think you know two, because you know one, and one and one equals two. But you fail to know ‘and.’” -- Sufi teacher as quoted by Donella Meadows in Beyond the Limits I recently attended a board meeting for a Washington, D.C. based non profit whose mission is to support agriculture production that enhances the ecosystems on which all life depends. In other words, how do you feed 7 billion people without poisoning the environment. The board is ...

Wickett Pond: Introducing the "8S" Path

Posted by: Sara on Monday, March 15, 2010 Comments (0)

“Mara and I are perfecting the art of living,” I tell my husband Joe. I am literally crunching granola as I speak. And I almost hugged a tree this morning. At least I hugged my butt to a south-facing icy rock. Soaking the surprisingly strong rays of a mid-February New England sunrise. Mara and I have just skied through the woods in to Wickett Pond, a mile long expanse of snow covered ice in this season. I checked the depth with my ski pole crunching through a hole left on the ...

Climate and Consciousness

Posted by: Sara on Monday, March 15, 2010 Comments (0)

Last fall I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Beth Sawin of give her most recent presentation of the Climate Change simulator she’s co-created with partners Drew Jones and Tom Fiddamin. I’ve known Beth for many years and have deep respect for her professional brilliance and personal integrity. Beth is a student of the late Donella Meadows, and like her mentor she is loath to get on a plane so as not to increase her contribution to Carbon footprint, even if ...