Reflections on S2C (50 episodes posted)

I have two videos in the hopper to edit, but I feel the need to take a moment and reflect. We have conversed, recorded, produced, and posted 50 sessions of Subject2Change chats. Fifty. 

  • Five – Oh. 
  • A few fewer than my age, and a bunch more than Lauren’s age. 
  • Mid-century modern chats.
  • Fiddy.
  • Less than a metric F-ton, and so much more.
  • 50 nodes of infinite connection.
  • Half a century mark of knowledge.
  • Ten nickles of value.
  • Five dimes of delving.
  • Half a hundred moments of sense.

Take the moment with me, and revel in it.

Lauren and I started this endeavor to connect with each other, and to learn. We realized the time of COVID could restrict us if we let it, or could inspire us if we reached for inspiration. So we started talking to people and recording the conversations. We kept it simple, straightforward, and grounded in curiosity. What are you doing? Why is this important. What do we need to know? What has your experience been like? What have YOU learned?

And it has been fulfilling. Surprising. Interesting. Challenging (see E41 and E50 in particular). And never boring. 

It has been a pain in the butt to book the chats. It has taken significant investment in time to edit them. And I have loved every minute. I believe Lauren has cherished this incredible project as well. And I cannot help thinking: who we can learn from and connect with over the next 50 chats. Who do you want to learn about? Can Lauren and I land some “whales”? Maybe. (And sorry for that expression) This is really all about connections, and we have made quite a few…

Here is a recap of episodes, so you can pick and choose more easily. Check them out. Please, please tell us what you think. We are slowly growing in subscribers and we want to increase that traction, but not for traction’s sake. We want to be challenged more. We want ideas to share. We want to get familiar with language and concepts that can help all of use become more sustainable. We want, above all, inspiration and a community of inspired people. 

How about you?

E1 Both – this was the first video, before we knew how to do anything, A few minutes of Jodi and Lauren talking about what could be…

E2 Jodi – We spent the first couple of videos introducing ourselves. So here’s Jodi, self-described change agent. 

E3 Lauren – A co-host introduction. Meet Lauren, interior designer, business owner, construction manager, teacher.

E4 Diane – Diane was our first real interview, and we learned so much about toxins in materials, advocacy, and the need for education. 

E5 Jim – Carbon is really the language we need to speak, and we learned from Jim the power in designing lower carbon structural systems, and the imperative we face regarding climate. Get to zero! 

E6 Katelyn – Many people we know were surprised that we would speak to a financial advisor, and Katelyn was our first recognition of the fact that sustainability is in everything done well and done with community in mind. This was step one in our ongoing change.

E7 Rick – We talked to Rick about his business, but also about his personal journey in understanding the needs and cost benefits in creating healthy buildings. He also brought up Dr. Joseph Allen, someone on our wish list!

E8 TJ – Ah, T.J. – again, what were we thinking? How does Improv Theatre relate? Watch and learn, folks. Communication, grace, being in the moment. We learned so much from this chat. And…BACON.

E9 George and David – Let’s learn about canals and canal boats, and sing some songs while we’re at it. A bit of Pete Seeger influence, and a respect for quiet motion and innovation. And, boy, weren’t we bold to interview two at once?

E10 Kelly – Kelly is a searcher of personal truth, and her journey connected us to our own searches. It also inspired us to start some book reviews. Wow, another change!

E11 Mark – We learned about the craft soap business, and how personal challenges create innovations that can benefit others. Thank you, Mark and Black Kettle Soap Co.

E12 Melissa – Leading is a challenge, especially good leadership that requires openness and flexibility. This is a better age of leaders….meet Melissa!

E13 Bart – We know that Architects tend to be sort of the Franciscan monks of business, and Bart has made that clear. Science and data reveal truths in fulfillment and emotional health in residence halls, and all of this is grounded, with Bart, in tending the earth and retaining spiritual connections.

E14 Kenyon – What is more important than education? Not much. And connecting with and supporting our kids in their journey is paramount for Kenyon. Thanks for your love and guidance.

E15 Judith – Judith has the focus, the knowledge, and the dedication to help us all understand the poison in our midst – Plastics. What do we need to do to break free?

E16 Todd – I feel the world needs more generalists (like me) and many many more makers (like Todd). Create, test, learn, iterate, re-create, and grow. We hope to interview Todd again about his newest project, his own container-built home.

E17 Jade – When art becomes the vehicle for expression and community connection, it is real. Meet Jade, who is as real as it gets. Education, expression, connection. 

E18 Reif – Tired of writing for GQ and publishing books? Leave it to Reif to take on the creation of a NFP focused on the value and future of small cities, make a conference in remote-times, and truly change the world.

E19 Kathleen – Artist, business owner, creator, salvager. Kathleen has created a beautiful craft business from pre-consumer cashmere cuts. I, personally, LOVE my one-of a kind sweater. She has also created a community of craftspeople, supporting each other through COVID.

E20 Dave – Dave is a past neighbor, now friend, and previous boss. We reflect with him about his career now that he’s retiring, and gain insights from him about persistence, community, mortgage-free lives, and Redbull Flugtag. Yes, really.

E21 Laura – Laura is a mentor and a coach encouraging the co-support needed to make a difference in a career for yourself and for others. I was also inspired by her sound quality. Yet another change when I bought a mic!

E22 Katelyn + Ryan – We got revisited by Katelyn, along with Ryan, to talk about sustainability planning in the Town of Manlius. The conversation led to insights on education…stay tuned!

E23 TJ, Lauren, Jodi – At 23 episodes, one must take stock. Thanks to T.J. for helping us reflect!

E24 Bob and Cheryl – The Center of Gravity (CoG) in Troy, NY is a maker space that has changed this small city dramatically. Hear the story of is creation, along with its growth and goals.

E25 Suzanne – We thought this talk would be about a winery, and it was. But little did we know the power of this woman: an expert in regenerative soil management and in creating business opportunities throughout the Finger Lakes for vintners and for banks. And we toured her winery, of course.

E26 Eric – Eric Corey Freed is an architect, author, and a visionary who is not afraid to retool his own perspective in his work. This chat is VERY GOOD for architects, planners and owners (watch).

E27 Heather – I was so enchanted with Heather’s peaceful presence even via a zoom link. Her understanding of the dangers of social media, her connections with forest bathing, and her encouragement to breathe through the nose have changed both Lauren and me.  

E28 Brent – Guidance and insights. Not applied but discovered. Brent is an exceptional guide. This was one of the first session where the “focus” that our guest shared took us by surprise, and inspired us all the more.

E29 Lisa – We talked to Lisa about materials, toxins, work, procurement, and families. It was a fun, varied discussion, full of deep info and fantastic resources.

E30  Alie – Alie has been leading work on sustainability for quite some time. It is a puzzle, and she feels herself to be a puzzler, it excites her, and is in her nature. What has she learned? Find out.

E31 Jimmy – Wow, my Swedish Up With People friend, top spa manager, and dynamic personality, on screen. What a great discussion, revealing many differences between our cultures. So gracious. I think we must visit this spa, even though he has since changed jobs.

E32  Kita, Seri, Erik – We were so inspired by several comments in earlier chats about the lack of quality in education that we created this panel to discuss the issue. We included a HS student, a college student heading to Teachers’ College, and a seasoned HS teacher…listen and learn. No test, we promise.

E33 Lauren and Jodi – What’s happening now for us, in this process of change?

E34 Greg – Cave rescues and leadership. A marvelous conversation with storytelling and lessons for all. Calm in crisis, humor through stress.

E35 Sandy – Sandy recently retired from state service as an architect, project leader, and manager. What is it like to be “retired”? What does it mean? How was the journey to now? And, BTW, her house is so cool…and resplendent with stories. 

E36 Paul – Paul is a professor at SUNY EFS, teaching construction management and moving the state and region toward greater use of mass timber. We learn a ton of technical info, and reflect on some issue with the higher education system of today.

E37 Doug and Emma – This conversation about the 2041 Project, along with some chatting about the impact of board games, is so rich with insights on sustainability, future-casting, spiritual health, community, education….you’ll need to watch it a few times, then look up the 2041 Project. Please.

E38 Roy – From songwriter and performer to customer service and data mining guru. These are just a few of Roy Atkinson’s skills and careers. And what’s more? He’s an excellent conversationalist!

E39 John— Another winery, but a bit different. In an old barn, this winery was created from a backyard hobby. John reveals some unknown-to-us history and the joy of connection to that history. And who knew about Birch Tree Wine or the Craft Beverage Trail in NY state?

E40 Suzanne – Flowers, food, connections, and passion. That’s it, and that’s a LOT.

E41 Jaqueline – this was one of the biggest challenges in our interview library. Inspiring, unnerving, and transformational. So…I’m eating a plant-based diet, now, and Lauren is not too far behind!

E42 Shannon – This discussion ranged over a lot of red-lined territory. Learn about how communities have developed separate and unequal, where academia is still racist, and how experiences can open minds.

E43 Kerry + Stefanie – In this chat with two administrators from Onondaga Community College we learn how networking, especially the cross generational connection of women, can support education and greater success. 

E44 Ron – What a joy to chat with Ron, engineer, leader, poet, and farmer. His respect for community-grown solutions is what we need everywhere and as soon as possible. Spend some time with the written word.

E45 Joost – One way you can see your own challenges is to hear about another, entirely different political system, (the multi-party Dutch system) especially from someone who studies that system and predicts electoral outcomes. Wow. Disclosure, he’s my brother-in-law.

E46 Rex – Another author, leader, change agent, Rex is focused on systems and data to help us understand what works and what doesn’t. In this chat, we talk about the evolution of design, our broken educational system, and personal growth.

E47 Geoff – Come sing a chantey with us! Geoff is a chantey man, sharing the songs of the sea. He has led the Sea Music Festival at Mystic Seaport for decades and has recently had to reinvent it, outside of the seaport, to keep this international gem afloat. History in song.

E48 Practitioners – we get together occasionally with some other architects and engineers to talk shop, including our challenges. Join me, Lauren, Roxanne, and Mark in discussing how late we all are to the carbon party.

E49 Lisa – Specifiers are under appreciated. These professionals put the language together to define products and materials in our built environment. They are pivotal in our avoiding toxins and in reduction carbon. And Lisa knows the steps and the why behind them!

E50 Bill – A marvelous 50th video posting with Bill Reed of Regenesis. He is a foundational practitioner of regenerative practice, which, he reveals to us from his personal journey and reflections, is a dance. Learn to dance.

Okay, so that was a very long moment, but I hope listing these all out will give you a chance to find videos that inspire and intrigue you. Go to our YouTube channel. and poke around a bit. There are deep dives on each of the chats, and 2min videos focusing on heroes and the focus each speaker recommends to us. There are also some special cuts and architecture specific pieces. And book reviews (which we plan to beef up soon).

Here we have listed the first 50 chats we have posted. And what have we learned about sustainability? I note a few things below…

  • It can heal broken systems
  • It is about value
  • It is resilient 
  • It is full of history and about the future
  • It is about health
  • It is eminently respectful
  • It is inclusive
  • It is financially smart
  • It is creative
  • It is aggressively anti-racist and anti-sexist
  • It is passionate
  • It is playful
  • It is curious
  • It is not finished
  • It is a journey
  • It is a dance

And it has been fulfilling. Surprising. Interesting. Challenging (see E41 and E50 in particular). And never boring.

Gee – I wonder what we will learn next, and wonder if you will join us. Hope to welcome you to Subject2Change – sustainability, soon. 

Lauren and Jodi, seeking to always be open to potential, and change.

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