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Stephen Hawking

Nurture Curiosity

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking died today. Acknowledged as one of humanity’s greatest minds, he gained international fame for his work on black holes and his continued commitment towards asking the “big questions” of the universe. He has certainly been an inspiration to Sustainably Motivated, and his insights remain timely and relevant. With so much misinformation being disseminated, he reminds us that, “the greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” We must therefore stay humble, stay hungry (for knowledge), and stay dedicated to the pursuit of answers. Curiosity and critical thinking are powerful assets, yet they require support and engagement. Thank you for showing us the way Professor Hawking.


Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

Film Recommendation

Tomorrow (2015)

Hope for the Future

I highly recommend this sweet doc that offers viewers both information and inspiration in the struggle to combat climate change and discover better practices and alternatives in our strive for sustainability. It kicks off with the brutal reminder that the planet is currently undergoing its 6th great extinction as a result of destructive industrial practices and human-perpetuated climate change. This planetary pressure is very real, very scary, and has tremendously devastating potential. As parents themselves, the filmmakers (you might recognize Melanie Laurent, a celebrated French actress who also starred in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds), go looking for hope for the future and share with the audience the various solutions that are currently underway.

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A Call to Action

Take Sides

Taking a Stand

There is always an opportunity to do better, to be better. One place to start is where we see something blatantly wrong and unjust. By its very nature the status quo is strongly rooted, but it can be changed! I hope that you too will find strength from Elie Wiesel’s words. His suffering, as well as that of countless others, should be a reminder to us all that, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Whether helping others in your community, or at work. Standing up for and with the socially oppressed, or helping protect the rest of the natural world that does not have a say in its exploitation and destruction. Let your own voice be heard.

A Sustainable Source of Quality Jobs

Book Recommendation

The Green Collar Economy

by Van Jones (2008)

Green Collar

Van Jones makes the case for the renewable energy sector as a force for environmental and economic good. Climate change is indeed a terrible man-made crisis, but it also presents an opportunity for societies to shed their fossil fuel dependency and offer leadership through alternatives and innovation. Globalization has transferred millions of manufacturing jobs away from developed nations towards the developing world. This need not be viewed as a bad thing for the developed states (although labour conditions in the developing world are still in need of dramatic improvement). Rather, it provides the chance for the US, and other prosperous countries, to invest in the future and expand the skills of their citizens.

Jobs in the renewable energy sector, and the “Green” industry at large, represent the new model for blue collar jobs which, by their nature, are both local and better paying. As he explains, The Green Collar Economy can therefore work towards resolving climate change, as well as being a source of meaningful, well-paying jobs that will thereby benefit the economy.  Throughout the book, Jones goes on to back up his vision with impressive facts, as well as powerful community success stories. He is also personally involved in a number of initiatives, as well as being the President & Founder of Green for All, an organization that supports the green economy and seeks to help minorities and poor communities.

We encourage our readers to borrow books when they can, but if you choose to purchase a copy click HERE to order via Amazon, and support this blog in the process. 

Unravelling the Narrative

Film Recommendation

This Changes Everything (2015)

Time for a Rewrite

This documentary reexamines the paradigm of mankind’s dominance over nature, and investigates the impact of fossil fuel demands on both the environment and society.  According to the film, the 400-year-old tale of human science’s conquest of nature, and its application in the quest for limitless economic growth, is false and untenable. The planet can no longer support the status quo, and the consequences of this dated mindset are rapidly catching up. Although potentially heart-wrenching at times, the doc does seek to offer hope to viewers through the numerous activists and organizations that are taking part in the struggle for change.

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We Shall Overcome


We Must Continue Working for the Future We Envision

As we advance our vision of a more just and sustainable world, we doubtlessly encounter countless obstructions, pain, frustration, and perhaps even despair. On those occasions Sustainably Motivated turns to Martin Luther King Jr. and takes solace in his reminder that, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

The Importance of Knowing Where to Start

Book Recommendation

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

by Simon Sinek (2011)

swwAn astute and inspiring book that lays it all out for you in terms of identifying the purpose of your enterprise. Sinek, a gifted communicator, examines the importance of understanding “the why” behind successful individuals and organizations, and the dangers that befall those who don’t. For those that seek to attain leadership, or simply understand it better, this is a great user-friendly read filled with examples and applications.

The author’s case is clearly made, well supported, and connects with the reader at a very primal level. If you happen to have seen him speak (he has a great TED Talk, and an even better 99U Talk – although this one is significantly longer, it’s totally worth it), this book serves to explore in greater detail his investigation of the impetus that can keep you and your organization sustainably motivated.

We encourage our readers to borrow books when they can, but if you choose to purchase a copy click HERE to order via Amazon, and support this blog in the process. 

Recalibrating Our Needs to Get the Most Out of Life

Film Recommendation

Minimalism (2016)

An Alternative Outlook

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, a touching documentary of life out on the road with Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, aka The Minimalists, as they promote their book and the philosophy of minimalism. I’ve had the pleasure of following their blog for some time now, as it syncs wonderfully with the idea of sustainability and the need to reduce our environmental impact, getting the most out of what we spend our precious time and money on.

The idea is to focus on relationships and experiences, and less on the the material. Many in the world today equate success and satisfaction with material possessions, particularly in the United States where consumerism has become a source of patriotism. The Minimalists seek to offer Americans, and indeed the world at large, a reminder of what is truly valuable and the consideration of a possible alternative lifestyle where consumption is not the driver.

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