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Bad News and Good News About My Appearance at Slow Money...

Thursday, June 10, 2010, 6:45 AM

I'm writing you from Ålesund, Norway with the urgent update that I will unfortunately not be attending the Slow Money conference and will miss out on the 20-minute panel discussion spot for which I was scheduled on Thursday, June 10. 

Rest assured this has absolutely nothing to do with the Slow Money organization or the conference, which I still give my very highest recommendation to attend.  I find myself in Norway at the Innotown 2010 conference, filling in for Richard Heinberg, who could not attend at the last minute. Richard had a keynote speaking spot which would have left a large gap in the programming, and my presence ensures that Post Carbon Institute (my speaker's bureau and another extremely worthy organization) can fulfill their obligations to Innotown and have a place here at this prestigious conference.

While I'm sorry to miss Slow Money for my own purposes, I feel particularly obliged to anyone who planned to attend the conference in part or in whole to participate in my session with Woody Tasch and Robert Zevin.  To make up for it, I want to personally guarantee that I will hold a special, private session via conference call for anyone who can indicate proof of registration to Slow Money and would like to participate.

We will hold a conference call on Tuesday June 22nd from 5:15pm to 6:00pm.  If you're interested, please email Megan Walsh with your RSVP and registration email/info from Slow Money, and she will send along the call-in details.

For those of you who happen to be in the vicinity of Ålesund, Norway, I invite you to learn more about Innotown and consider attending.  A unique, exciting event in its own rite, Innotown will help get the 3E message out to a new, untapped audience of entrepreneurial innovators and social leaders in the EU; a bridge I'm eager to build.

Once again, I send my apologies and regrets for missing out on this year's Slow Money Conference.  I look forward to working with Woody and Slow Money in the future and to making good on my missed session with its attendees.

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16 Comments

Erik T.'s picture
Erik T.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 1234
Suggestion

Chris,

Congratulations on the prominent gig in Norway. Knock 'em dead!

May I make a suggestion? I think its very respectable that you want to make ammends to those who planned to attend Slow Money partly for the opportunity to meet you. The fact you feel obliged to do right by them stands as yet another testament to your character. But rather than exclude participation in the conference call, why not open the call to all enrolled members, then give the (pre-identified) people who evidenced registration to Slow Money first dibs in terms of asking questions.

Seems to me like the folks that planned to attend Slow Money to meet you most certainly deserve the courtesy you are offering them of a conference call, but what's the downside to letting the enrolled member community listen in?

Just my two cents...

Erik

 

Helix's picture
Helix
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Posts: 76
Mmmmm.... Get a "better offer", eh?

Didn't your mommie ever tell you that a date is a date and you shouldn't bail out on a commitment just because you got a better offer?

that1guy's picture
that1guy
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Re: Mmmmm.... Get a "better offer", eh?
Helix wrote:

Didn't your mommie ever tell you that a date is a date and you shouldn't bail out on a commitment just because you got a better offer?

 

Lol, you cant be serious. The man gets a better opportunity and offer, takes it, while at the same time trying to make good on his first one AND you rag him for it?

..........amazing, truly amazing

capesurvivor's picture
capesurvivor
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Posts: 963
Re: Mmmmm.... Get a "better offer", eh?

Congrats, Chris.

Filling in for Heinberg..doesn't get better than that.

SG

Helix's picture
Helix
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
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Posts: 76
Re: Mmmmm.... Get a "better offer", eh?
that1guy wrote:
Helix wrote:

Didn't your mommie ever tell you that a date is a date and you shouldn't bail out on a commitment just because you got a better offer?

 

Lol, you cant be serious. The man gets a better opportunity and offer, takes it, while at the same time trying to make good on his first one AND you rag him for it?

..........amazing, truly amazing

Call me old-fashioned. Embarassed

Vanityfox451's picture
Vanityfox451
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2008
Posts: 1636
Re: Bad News and Good News About My Appearance at Slow ...

Hei Chris,

For en fantastisk begivenhet, og en slik ære å få tilbud! Jeg er ganske sikker på at du vil fylle Richard Heinbergs støvler pent. Nyt deg selv. Her står i håp om Google Translator ikke ende opp å si noe blodig uhøflig ...

Snilleste hilsen,

Paul

guardia's picture
guardia
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Posts: 592
Re: Bad News and Good News About My Appearance at Slow ...
Vanityfox451 wrote:

What a great event and such an honor to offer! I'm pretty sure you will fill Richard Hein's boots nicely. Enjoy yourself. Here's hoping Google Translator does not end up saying something bloody rude ...

It seems to have translated your comment just fine... I'm sure you pressed that "Contribute a better translation" button and corrected it :)

And yes, good luck Chris, and looking forward to your report!

Samuel

Erik T.'s picture
Erik T.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 5 2008
Posts: 1234
Re: Mmmmm.... Get a "better offer", eh?
Helix wrote:
that1guy wrote:
Helix wrote:

Didn't your mommie ever tell you that a date is a date and you shouldn't bail out on a commitment just because you got a better offer?

 

Lol, you cant be serious. The man gets a better opportunity and offer, takes it, while at the same time trying to make good on his first one AND you rag him for it?

..........amazing, truly amazing

Call me old-fashioned. Embarassed

Actually, "old fashioned" isn't the first name that came to mind to call you.

Erik

 

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 5568
Re: Bad News and Good News About My Appearance at Slow ...
Vanityfox451 wrote:

Hei Chris,

For en fantastisk begivenhet, og en slik ære å få tilbud! Jeg er ganske sikker på at du vil fylle Richard Heinbergs støvler pent. Nyt deg selv. Her står i håp om Google Translator ikke ende opp å si noe blodig uhøflig ...

Snilleste hilsen,

Paul

Hei Paul,

Det har vært en fantastisk opplevelse den beste delen som folket. Veldig innbydende.

Chris

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2237
Re: Bad News and Good News About My Appearance at Slow ...
Erik T wrote:
Helix wrote:


that1guy wrote:

 

Helix wrote:

  

Didn't your mommie ever tell you that a date is a date and you shouldn't bail out on a commitment just because you got a better offer?

 

Lol, you cant be serious. The man gets a better opportunity and offer, takes it, while at the same time trying to make good on his first one AND you rag him for it?

..........amazing, truly amazing

  

Call me old-fashioned. Embarassed

Actually, "old fashioned" isn't the first name that came to mind to call you.

Erik

Now, now, folks; it is ok to disagree with Helix, but no need to get uncivil about it!  Helix has a right to his/her opinion too.  I don't think Chris is into us bashing other people in the name of defending his honor. My guess is -if we feel the need to defend his honor- that he would prefer that we DO it honorably (civilly).  And yes, maybe Helix could have phrased his/her opinion in a way that was a little less offensive to others here as well.

Frankly, while I can totally understand Chris's reasons for the choice he made, and am glad from the perspective of one of his proponents that he got that opportunity, I can also see Helix' point.  I have gone to see Chris at a couple of events, and I really valued those opportunities.  If I had been one of the people who had hoped to see Chris at the Slow Money Conference, I would have been very disappointed to have lost that opportunity!  In addition, I might have been upset about it, as I would have had to put in for time-off from work, make sure stuff at work was covered, arranged child care, made reservations at a hotel and potentially made travel arrangements (which on one past occassion I went to see Chris meant an unrefundable air fare).  So I think Chris is right to acknowledge and want to "make it up to" people who experienced both the disappointment of not getting to see him, as well as the personal inconvenience and potential loss of money and time. 

I really didn't want to step into this, and almost didn't.  But I felt both Helix and the people who may have lost out on the opportunity to see Chris at Slow Money deserve the right to express their viewpoint.

that1guy's picture
that1guy
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 11 2009
Posts: 333
Re: Bad News and Good News About My Appearance at Slow ...
pinecarr wrote:
Erik T wrote:
Helix wrote:


that1guy wrote:

 

Helix wrote:

  

Didn't your mommie ever tell you that a date is a date and you shouldn't bail out on a commitment just because you got a better offer?

 

Lol, you cant be serious. The man gets a better opportunity and offer, takes it, while at the same time trying to make good on his first one AND you rag him for it?

..........amazing, truly amazing

  

Call me old-fashioned. Embarassed

Actually, "old fashioned" isn't the first name that came to mind to call you.

Erik

Now, now, folks; it is ok to disagree with Helix, but no need to get uncivil about it!  Helix has a right to his/her opinion too.  I don't think Chris is into us bashing other people in the name of defending his honor. My guess is -if we feel the need to defend his honor- that he would prefer that we DO it honorably (civilly).  And yes, maybe Helix could have phrased his/her opinion in a way that was a little less offensive to others here as well.

Frankly, while I can totally understand Chris's reasons for the choice he made, and am glad from the perspective of one of his proponents that he got that opportunity, I can also see Helix' point.  I have gone to see Chris at a couple of events, and I really valued those opportunities.  If I had been one of the people who had hoped to see Chris at the Slow Money Conference, I would have been very disappointed to have lost that opportunity!  In addition, I might have been upset about it, as I would have had to put in for time-off from work, make sure stuff at work was covered, arranged child care, made reservations at a hotel and potentially made travel arrangements (which on one past occassion I went to see Chris meant an unrefundable air fare).  So I think Chris is right to acknowledge and want to "make it up to" people who experienced both the disappointment of not getting to see him, as well as the personal inconvenience and potential loss of money and time. 

I really didn't want to step into this, and almost didn't.  But I felt both Helix and the people who may have lost out on the opportunity to see Chris at Slow Money deserve the right to express their viewpoint.

I understand what your getting at. All I will say is that it wouldnt have to be just Chris, Frankly anyone getting ragged on like that when they are looking to make good on any particular situation shouldnt be ragged on for it. Good for them for getting a bigger opportunity AND looking to make good on the prior engagment. To me that is awesome, and respectful.

 

In the end though, I know everyone cant be pleased. It will never happen, especially when your talkin about groups as big as the one here. Everyone is entitled to their views, I am ok with that, but it still was a shock to see...........I guess this would be a case of Damned if you do and damned if you dont.

In the end, To each their own...........

Mike

Doug's picture
Doug
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Posts: 3124
Re: Bad News and Good News About My Appearance at Slow ...

I just returned from the Slow Money gathering and can announce there was an audible groan of disappointment when it was announced that Chris wouldn't be there.  A fair proportion of the crowd knew who Chris is and are apparently visitors to the blog.  Also Woody Tasch read Chris's endorsement of the Slow Money to the crowd and was obviously very appreciative of that endorsement.

The setting for the gathering, Selburne Farms, is totally amazing.  It was built by the Vanderbilts back around the turn of the 20th century as a experimental farm.  And, it still functions as a experimental farm.  It's set on 1,400 acres overlooking Lake Champlain with a spectacular view of the Adirondacks (one of my favority places) across the lake.  Even the torrential downpours yesterday didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd.

I have to unpack the car and try to bring some order to my life, so will give a more detailed report later.  I'll just say that those people are living Chris's dream of community.

Doug

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Doug
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Re: Bad News and Good News About My Appearance at Slow ...

I promised I’d post my review of the Slow Money gathering.  Here it is.

The gathering began Wed. evening with some music in downtown Burlington.  It was great.  I particularly recommend Anais Mitchell, who I had never heard of.  I guess the entire concert will be posted at etown.org.  I’ve only briefly checked out the site, but it looks like there may be a lot of good music there.

After registration, breakfast and welcoming remarks on Thursday by Woody Tasch the first speaker was Bill McKibben, noted environmentalist.  He gave out free copies of his latest book Eaarth (not a typo).  Of course his primary topic was climate change and how that interacts with Slow Money.  I thought his presentation was inspirational as well as informative.  It was interesting to note, both during the Q&A and in conversations I had with people when not in session, that no skepticism was expressed about AGW.  The frequent and vociferous protests we see in the blogosphere would suggest there might be more skepticism out there in the public, particularly among those, like farmers, who may be directly impacted.

The next segment “Money: New Thinking and New Action” had three segments, one of which was supposed to be Chris’s.  Woody and Robert Zevin, President of Robert Brooke Zevin Associates, a pioneer in socially responsible investing and an economic historian, were the other two segments.  They basically set the stage for what the rest of the gathering was about.  The fill-in for Chris was a young man named Ari (I didn’t catch his last name) who Woody has taken on to be the intermediary between Slow Money and its various groups around the country.  For a young person he is already quite accomplished and very bright and personable.  He will be a dynamic addition to Woody’s organization.

The first speaker after lunch was Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farm in Virginia, one of the first alternative farms in the US.  His message was fascinating to me, who has very little knowledge of agriculture and particularly alternative agriculture.  But, many in the audience were already farmers or deeply involved in the movement and to them much of what he said was quite familiar.  He really emphasized the difficulties faced by those trying to grow food on a sustainable, organic and community oriented basis.  He expressed a lot of resentment toward the sometimes ridiculous regulations they have to deal with in local farming because the factory farms have created the need for regulations.  Unfortunately, those regulations are just a nightmare for the small farmer and the local services necessary to create a truly localized infrastructure.  For instance, he mentioned a local abattoir that his farm had used since his parents had the farm.  The owners, however, were in their 80’s and couldn’t keep up with the business.  If they went out of business, Salatin would have had to ship his animals to an industrial scale slaughterhouse far away.  So, he bought it and is still operating it. (If anyone is interested in going into the business, he is interested in selling to someone who will stay there and put up with the paperwork.) 

After Salatin’s presentation there were break out sessions, one of which, a trip to Shelburne Farm’s market garden, was of greatest interest to me.  Of course there was a torrential downpour, so we got to talk to the head gardener under a shelter that overlooks much of the garden area.  It was an interesting introduction to the kind of compromises and ingenuity necessary to operate a successful market garden without oil based fertilizers and pesticides.  He invited anyone who had the desire to come back Friday and talk some more.  So, I did.  He was very generous with his time and was a wealth of information for a relatively small scale gardener like myself.  I came away totally pumped to get my hands back in the soil.

The next speaker was Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield Farm, a long term and successful organic farm.  You might recognize the name associated with their yogurt.  Very inspirational speaker with lots of practical advice.

The final segment of the day was entitled “Soil” with three speakers: Will Rapp, Founder of Gardener’s Supply; Tom Stearns, Founder, High Mowing Seeds; and Eliot Coleman, Founder, Four Season Farm and Author of The New Organic Grower.  Coleman was one of the primary reasons I wanted to attend the gathering as I have dog-eared much taped copy of one of the earlier editions of his book. Soil is fundamental to not only organic growing, but also to sustainable agriculture generally.  All three speakers presented their viewpoints eloquently.

As I mentioned earlier, Friday I went back to the market garden.  Then, I left early because I had a long drive ahead of me.  Therefore, I missed most of that day’s proceedings.  However, here is the capsulized agenda.  I find most of it of little interest personally as those most interested will be those who are farming and those who have the capital, neither of which applies to me.

Representatives of 25 small food enterprises made brief presentations, probably with hope of attracting investment.  Then four social entrepreneurs discussed organizing strategies and networking.  In the afternoon farmland preservation through trusts was discussed as was socially responsible investing more generally.

Parenthetically, while writing the above, I was interrupted by an Intelligence Squared debate on Bloomberg TV on the subject of organic food versus industrial farming.  Specifically, the proposal for debate was that organic food advertising is hype.  Although soil health was briefly mentioned, there was not a word about the oil intensiveness of factory farms or sustainability by either side.  I guess it’s kind of a statement about the general awareness of the general populace about these issues.

Doug

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jpitre
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Re: Bad News and Good News About My Appearance at Slow ...

Chris

If I understand correctly, you were to present/participate in the “Money: New Thinking and New Action” portion of the Slow Money conference. You may have posted your thoughts already, however I would like to know where you stand and what your advice is on the sort of new action that needs to happen insofar as our monetary system is concerned.

It is clear from your teaching and fact gathering that the existing system is unsustainable. Given that you have shown general support for Slow Money, I have a feel for what your thinking may be --  I would appreciate hearing  your specific thoughts about where we need to go from here. Most of us on this site know the system is broken, however I'm not sure that we all have a clear picture of your thoughts as to where we need to go from here.

Would be a great topic for a few insider reports

Jim

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Re: Bad News and Good News About My Appearance at Slow ...

Doug - Thanks for the update on the Slow Money conference. I may have to visit Shelburne Farms in the future. If there's 1 state that is set up for a future with less or no oil, it's definitely Vermont.

Joel Salatin and his farm were also featured in the movie Food, Inc.  Joel also wrote a book called 'Everything I want to do is illegal', which talks in more detail about all of the rules and regulations small farmers have to deal with.

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Doug
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Re: Bad News and Good News About My Appearance at Slow ...

Joemanc

Quote:

I may have to visit Shelburne Farms in the future.

I strongly encourage it.  The place is jaw-droppingly beautiful and the people running the farming operations are very knowledgeable.  They have regularly scheduled tours that cost some money, less than $10 if I remember correctly.

Doug

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