Dirk's 2014 Greeting of Gratitude: Building an Ecological Civilization

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Dirk's 2014 Greeting of Gratitude: Building an Ecological Civilization


By Dirk Brinkman, CEO and Co-Founder Brinkman Group

It is with great gratitude for the incredible individuals with which I am privileged to work, that I awoke into the first workday of 2014. By virtue of your incredible capacity, dedication, integrity and commitment, the Brinkman Group continues to lead local sustainable solutions for some 40 years and more.

My party costume for Fred & Brigitte's New Year's Eve bacchanal was a Baruoca medicine man mask of displeasure. The Baruoca mask was designed to will the Conquistadors out of Costa Rica. But we are all here to stay. An afternoon of cleansing in the clean Pacific surf refreshed the gratitude with which I know that we are all welcome here today.

Still the world felt some crude shocks in 2013. One example was the largest super-typhoon, bred in the pollution warmed Pacific Ocean, which utterly devastated parts of the Philippines. Like 2013 after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, we enter 2014 after Typhoon Haiyan, joined by a few more people who share the urgency of avoiding the unintended side-effects of our industrial civilization.

The Challenges may be global, but solutions are always local. From the early days, where our band of alternative entrepreneurs began reforesting BC's devastated "take the best and wreck the rest" clearcut logging, we have planted hope. In the logging slash we became the highest quality, most efficient, reforestation service. That commitment carried us through epic adventures, earning many friends along the way. Today we have complex partnerships with local indigenous communities that are built on simple ideas: trust, responsibilty and tangible benefits for local people on the front line of resource development. It has been a great privilege to witness with gratitude through our many epics, how this remarkable group of adventurers matched up and scaled up to meet these local and regional sustainability challenges.

Profoundly, that privilege was ratcheted up in the last ten days of 2013 as I entered the enchantment of our first grandchild's intense awareness, amazement and pleasure, reminding me again how we are building for the next generations. It is always good to get a glimpse of where all of our unique collective initiative is headed.

For me this glimpse came from a surprising place. In the spring of 2013, newly appointed President Xi of China, challenged his newly ‘elected’ (within the Central Party's process) government, to create an "ecological civilization". A Chinese sustainable development review at the end of the year, likened this moment in their history, to the darkness at noon in the city of London in the eighteenth century at the height of heating with coal, when the air was so dark with pollution you could scarcely see the horse on your carriage.

Today's London England may have clean air and tomorrow's China may no longer have melting glaciers, drying rivers, polluted soil, air and water and dust storms that shut down their airports. Someday, perhaps not long after that, the rest of the world's biodiversity may once again rebound within re-stabilized earth systems--stable climate, de-acidified oceans, recharged fresh water and re-built healthy soils.

But I know, because of your dedication, integrity and commitment, the incredibly challenging transformation from an industrial to an ecological civilization will be more certain. And I know that this transformation will retain the culturally unique balance found through the wisdom of local indigenous and traditional communities, because of your sensitivity, pragmatism and vision.

And it is for that certainty, as I begin working with you in 2014, that I am most grateful.

May each of you enjoy the best of 2014.




Greetings from Hannah and Opa Dirk