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An 11 Year Old Embraces Change - Unlearning What We've Learned

An 11 Year Old Embraces Change - Unlearning What We've Learned

Posted by Amandeep Grover on Wed , Nov 20, 2013
"Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty...

We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive."

Albert Einstein

Last weekend my two sons and I went camping along with 350+ other dads and sons as part of the YMCA Adventure Guides, between camping with my daughter and two sons I've attended over sixty of these campouts. 

I'm not sure if Albert Einstein ever went camping, but one of the common elements among all of the campouts I've attended is watching the children's innate compassion and desire to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. While it seems to come natural to children, seems we adults have a tougher time.

As a society we've traded our innate compassion to embrace all living creatures for the sake of convenience, and in the process we've ended up changing the whole of nature in its beauty. While our society is starting to recognize how far we've gone astray, gettting 7 billion people to change is a monumnetal task.

In fairness to us, adopting a new manner of thinking is not easy, the challenge we face is in, as Yoda said to Luke, "you must unlearn what you have learned", it would seem if both Einstein and Yoda agree on the solution perhaps we should take notice.

And that got me thinking. What new manner of thinking do I need to create for myself? What new manner of thinking do I need to help my children nurture their curiosity and intellect? What new manner of thinking do I need to to help my local community, my country, or my world?

One way is to seek out those that have already developed a new manner of thinking, or have saught deeper meaning from their existing thoughts and ideas. The greatest source I've found is the events of the TED Organization. Getting to one of these events requires filling out an application and then being selected to attend (which is what I recently did for the Tedx San Diego event on December 1st, 2012). However whether I get to attend or not doesn't really matter as they have all of the speakers videos available for free online.

And they have lots of great speakers, very few of the talks are boring. My all time favorite is "What's Wrong With Our Food System", a talk given by a then 11 year old Birke Baeher. His video has been viewed 560,000 times. This kid has had a greater impact at 11 years old then most people will ever have in their lifetimes. This young boys passion, creativity and knowledge is what Einstein and Yoda were talking about. He's already unlearned alot of what our culture was trying to teach him, seemingly instinctively he knew something was wrong. 

And it is wrong. There's not a single person I know that wants more pollution, more toxic runoff in our oceans, bays, rivers, and streams. It's if as we've shown up at a party, the biggest, baddest party, and we went crazy because it was at someone elses house, but after we woke up it turned out the wild party actually took place in our house, we trashed our own home. 

And that's the challenge, we're just beginning to understand the party is over and we've made a mess. We need to unlearn what we've learned, but embracing change is not easy. We have an entrenched industrial complex that fuels our economy. And while there have been many on the greener side of business for decades, their efforts haven't held back the rampant destruction of natural resources or degraded water quality in many of our oceans, lakes, rivers and streams.

And this is not meant to be a soap box, as I clearly stated in the blog Fifty Shades of Green I'm 100% guilty of participating in this destruction, not willingly of course, but the sad fact is most of us are even if we don't want to be.

Right now I haul my three kids, wife, surfboards, bikes, stand up paddle boards, snowboards or whatever else in an 8 cylinder SUV, all that stuff just won't fit in a Prius. And while I try to rethink these decisions, the truth is I'm not given many alternatives, except to perhaps stay home.

Which I think sums up the pursuit of PuraKai, it's about providing alternatives. After rethinking and researching the environmental impact of every textile fiber, the business processes surrounding the making and distribution of every textile fiber, fabrics, and shirts, the boxes and tape their shipped in, the warehouse they're stored in, fulfillment center they're shipped from, and even the e-commerce server where the order is placed, I think I might be able to provide a viable alternative for some people when it comes to clothing, whether people agree or not remains to be seen.

After watching Ted talk after Ted talk I believe I have to try my best, if I can have even a slight impact it will be worth the effort, and if I can somehow leave the planet in little better condition than it is today, all the better. In the long run the earth has a plan of its own, Mother Nature will always take back her children, but at least while I'm here now I might as well respect my home and try to embrace change, unlearn what I've learned, after all if an eleven year old boy can figure it out how how hard could it be?

To Birke Baeher: Thank you for providing an example of embracing change and teaching me how to unlearn what I've learned. You Rock! 

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