Will Steger: Polar Explorer, Educator, Environmental Warrior

From his early days climbing trees in his backyard to his pioneering work as a polar explorer, Will Steger discusses the path that led him to be a leader in the battle to save our planet.
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Will Steger

Polar Explorer, Educator, Environmental Warrior

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Highlights

Will Steger grew up idolizing Huck Finn, and he internalized the character’s desire to be an explorer and adventurer.

Will’s first groundbreaking expedition was to the North Pole, leading a team of eight people and 50 dogs on a journey many said couldn’t be done.

For his expedition to Antarctica, Will put together an international team with members from the six most powerful countries on the planet to showcase cooperation and raise global awareness of the need to preserve the environment.

An early advocate on environment issues, Will recently launched the Steger Center for Innovation and Leadership, aimed at bringing together thought leaders from around the world to address the climate crisis.

Transcript

Intro

IVAN STEGIC: You and I are each one of eight billion people on this planet. We are the same in ways that matter, but unique in many other ways, that also matter. Our humanity is what connects each and every one of us. Isn’t that awesome?

This is ONE OF 8 BILLION, a podcast about all of us. I’m your host, Ivan Stegic.

In this podcast, we celebrate humanity! Each episode reveals someone’s journey — one life, one human, one story. Our guests come from around the world, from a variety of backgrounds, each with their own unique path to now. We talk about our shared experiences, our common origins, our struggles, and what connects us. Discover how similar we all really are as you hear from a polar explorer, a meteorologist from America’s Midwest, a software engineer from Argentina and many other fellow humans.

ONE OF 8 BILLION is produced by TEN7, a technology studio whose mission is to Make Things That Matter. Online at ten7.com.

Guest

Our guest today is polar explorer, educator and environmental warrior Will Steger. From his early days climbing trees in his backyard, to his pioneering work as a polar explorer, to his lifelong advocacy on environmental issues, Will Steger has been working to save our planet from a very early age. Besides his groundbreaking expedition to the North Pole, he also put together an international team with members from the six most powerful countries on the planet for another expedition, that time to Antarctica. Join me in this episode in which Will discusses the path that led him to be the leader in the battle to save our planet.

Interview

IVAN: Welcome to ONE OF 8 BILLION, would you please introduce yourself?

WILL STEGER: Yeah, Will Steger, educator and explorer.

IVAN: That's [laughing] explorer? That rolls nicely off the tongue. I've seen your Wikipedia entry, it says you are more than just an explorer, you're a polar explorer. That's amazing. Could you tell me a little bit about your right now? What does life for Will Steger look like right now?

WILL: Right now, I run a non-profit, Climate Generation, which I formed in ‘02, when the Larsen Ice shelf broke up. And we have a staff of 19, and we work in K-12 education, youth organizing and policy. The goal there was, when I came down to the city before Climate Gen was to start the climate movement. And then my other organization, which I’m just launching now is the Steger Center for Innovation and Leadership. I've been incorporated for about six years as a nonprofit, but it's taken that long for me to get it organized. I'm starting to hire on staff now.

And the Steger Center is really about the direction forward. We have a climate now that's out of control. And there's a lot of opportunities, but we're going to have to adapt around it.

It's about bringing the best of minds together. Almost like a wilderness Camp David. Camp David was a model that I used years ago, where you get the higher level decision makers, policymakers, you get them into the wilderness at a unique area. And then you close the door, and you work out these problems.

IVAN: And there certainly are a great deal of problems that we have in the world these days and affecting so many different people all over the planet. Our podcast's name is ONE OF 8 BILLION, and to me it makes me feel very small when I think of myself in terms of 8 billion others. But it also makes me feel very large as well. It makes me feel connected and disconnected at the same time. When I say that you are ONE OF 8 BILLION, just like I am, how does that make you feel? What thoughts come to mind?

WILL: I got a big family out there. A lot of great people and we're all in this together. That’s what I think about we are 8 billion strong, and we really have to rally around the challenges today, and figure out how are we going to live in peace and harmony with nature as 8 million people? That's the question.

IVAN: It's a great question. So that's the here and now. I'd like to where life started for you. Where were you born? What did life look like when you were first alive?

WILL: Let me talk about my conception first of all. My dad was in World War II, of course. And in 1942, I think it was, he was being shipped off to to San Francisco to fight in the Pacific. My mother was a farm girl, and already had one child. And so, she took the train out alone to San Francisco to visit my dad, and he had a leave.

So when she got there, they canceled the leave, and my father along with two others went under the fence. And the other two got caught, but my dad fortunately got under. And I was conceived that night in the hotel room. And I was given his name. His name is William. They didn't want a Junior, but they gave me his name, William because they didn't know if he was coming back.

And so, he went off to fight. And very fortunately, he returned and had six more children. When I was born was 1944. I’m a war baby. In other words, my father was gone for two years. I didn't see him. I don't recall it. But my mother told me I was really afraid of him when he first came.

And I grew up in the late forties and fifties. I think it was a very good era. Everybody was together as a nation at that time. It was really quite incredible. Lots of opportunities. My dad then started his own business, he's an entrepreneur, and he did raise his nine kids, on his ideas, and so forth. In other words, it really was a serious thing. It wasn't just a business that he could be really relaxing. He had to support. So, it was a serious thing. But he did that on his mind and his inventions and his patents that he did.

So, because of my upbringing, I thank my parents for where I'm at today and every great thing that has come to me, because they gave us kids almost total freedom. We were expected to get a certain grade point average, and we had a stay out of trouble with the law. And then if we wanted to do anything, we had to pay for it. So that was the rules.

And then I really took advantage of that. At 12 years old I told my dad I wanted to go down the Mississippi River. I had read Huck Finn, and he said, Yeah, you can do it. But you have to have a good boat, which meant I worked three or four years saving money. I recruited my brother at 17, and went to New Orleans and then we went all the way back up.

I started climbing when I was 19. And I did major expeditions in my later teens. First ascent at 20,000 feet and so forth, all because I had that freedom. So, I grew up as a youth, not seeing any boundaries. If I wanted to do something, I could do it, I could work hard, I had the discipline. And I wasn't defeated in my mind, my boundaries, because any goal you set your first defeat in your mind, especially larger expeditions like that.

So many great people have this dream, but they just can't get it. Especially when you're challenged in a very severe situation, it's always in your mind that if you're going to survive, you got to really have a good mind that way. So that's what I got from my parents and then I made the rest of my fortune, my good luck with that incredible attitude. My parents also had a very loving relation, which of course, was the most important thing. So, we had a stable family. And we were a very close family.

IVAN: And all of this happened in Minnesota?

WILL: Yes. I was born and raised in my first six years in Mahtomedi, which is almost a rural area just north of North St. Paul. And that was very important to me, because there, across the street, it was really open forest. And to me, the forest was a frontier, and it was actually considerable forest. I was able to live as a child close to nature, climbing trees and all that.

And ever since I could remember, I played with Lincoln Logs, these little log cabins and that's really what I wanted to do with my life. I visualized myself as a pioneer, going over the Rockies and starting a homestead. And that's pretty much what I did with my life.

I followed through with that. But then we moved to Richfield, which was a first string suburb out of South Minneapolis. And that was a typical World War II post-war community. It was once cornfields and right after the war, it was turned into, at that time, an early suburb, because everything was flooded out and so forth, no trees. And that was where most of my life I lived in that area.

But still, at that time, being less than a mile from the regular city, it was still pretty wild there. There were still places to run and have fun, and that's all changed, of course right now. But it was a very good time.

In school, I was what they called a “slow learner,” [laughing], which in grade school wasn't like our people were recognized. The slow learners were dunces, we sat in a certain group in the classroom, and you didn't want to be labeled that. So, I was left-handed, I was dyslexic and so I had trouble with math and English grammar, spelling, the whole works. But I was social enough and athletic enough, because of that I was good at override that social stigma.

I had to work so much harder than anyone else to get a grade. But I felt it was good for me because first of all it was very humbling as a kid. I come from a humble background too.

And I started climbing walls and rocks as a 17, 18 year old, so I had that sense of I wasn't greater than anyone. I think that was very important to myself. I saw myself always as an equal. I didn't see myself as intelligent, because I couldn't get the big marks. Intelligence was like A, B and C and A you’re intelligent, but I knew I had something that was really unique in myself, I recognized that.

I always had a clear vision in my life. I knew I was going to be a teacher, although I hated school, but I knew that would be my livelihood. And like many kids, I had this incredible adventurous spirit, but because of the freedom I took that so much further than anyone took it at that age, and it was a good life.

The only thing I liked about school was the social part of it. I think all kids relate to that. I had a natural interest and I wanted to be a climatologist. I started keeping weather records when I was eight, back in ’52, I still actually keep records. I had a strong interest in astronomy. In our house you got one big present at Christmas, that was always a really big deal. And I remember in fourth grade underneath the tree was a telescope; I had to assemble it though, four inch reflector. And I will never forget my first views of the heaven of the Orion Nebula, the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter.

I was so inspired. I learned all the constellations. I knew their Greek and Arabic names, and also the history between not only the constellations, but each name. My philosophy of education has always been, we bring the curiosity out of your student or the kid and then you just add content. And that was very typical with me.

I was on fire about astronomy and the kid that couldn't do math was reading Arabic and studying Arabic, because that's where my interest was. And all the weather and astronomy turned out to be very important as I grew up and explored more in my survival dependent on the ability to read weather and navigate by the stars.

I always was really on my groove from the very beginning. When you're a teenager, in your twenties and stuff, you do get out of the groove, you travel, make your mistakes, and so forth. I'm not saying that my life was so straight on up, but I knew where I was going, it was very clear to me. I never talked about anybody, I never even talked about myself about it and then I moved forward.

IVAN: You talked about wanting to be a teacher and an educator, and that you're interested in astronomy and the weather. When did you realize you were an explorer? And that was a thing.

WILL: The first memory I can remember was going outside, maybe four or five. That was it. I was there. I was climbing up big trees. My parents never stopped me from anything. It's amazing. Climbing huge trees just go up and examine the eggs, robin egg or whatever it was that was there I was curious about. So, I think most young kids are explorers at heart. And because of my freedom and because of the environment of that era, I was able to follow through.

IVAN: In your life, have you ever had a memorable leader, a boss you reported to, and what do you think you learned from them?

WILL: My hero was Huck Finn. Again, trouble with reading and being left-handed, I had a book report in fourth grade, and I chose Huck Finn, which was a huge book. And I mean, I was Huck, that’s the same thing. I think with many people, kids that read it, I was Huck. I couldn't put that book down. And so, Huck was my hero. I'd never really had any real mentors, like a boy scout, cub Scout type relationship. I was always after information and knowledge, so I sought out older people for their wisdom.

And my sense of learning how to photograph, I've been photographing since I was eight, I had a little Brownie camera, but I usually went into that, I was a professional photographer in expeditions and that, but I remember when I was, must’ve been 13 or 14, a guy on the next block, made these 16 millimeter movies, and he took me under his wing, and taught me all about settings and exposures and all this.

But I had many men and women that I sought out that taught me, not so much as a teacher thing, but I was after their knowledge. And I've always too, wanted to learn the knowledge of living off the land and being self-sufficient like homesteading. That was a big interest to me and all the old timers.

And then I traveled down the rivers. I kayaked over 10,000 miles in the Arctic area before I was 23. And I went down the McKinsey Yukon, and along the way we met villagers and native people and missionaries and miners and trappers, but I was very interested in these people with the stories that they had to tell.

I lived a life of experience, and also meeting people and learning what could I learn from these people. I was wide open as a kid, I could adjust to whatever the social thing I was in. I hitch hiked over 100,000 miles before I was 24, hopped freights, that whole thing in the freight yard, and the hobos, and when I was a teenager, figuring that out. I made my own path. I talked to my parents when they're older and asked them what was it like, raising me?

IVAN: [laughing] Good question. Yes.

WILL: Yeah. I’m glad I asked it when they were older. They were always afraid of climbing. I was on an expedition when I was 20, doing first ascent at 20,000 feet and two men fell and died and we buried them in a crevasse at 18,000 feet. And then they said, we were always concerned, they called it that climbing. I had no idea. They're afraid of me dying, and they never put a barrier in front of me. And that's how cool these parents were.

IVAN: What wonderful things to give you. What a great gift that they enabled you to do that. You’ve traveled so many miles in your life. You're the first person to dog sled up in the Arctic, the first confirmed dog sled journey to the North Pole. And you've done so many things and covered so many miles, I'm sure you've had many struggles and many challenges in your life. What has been your greatest struggle in life? And maybe it's not even related to the trips you've taken?

WILL: Very good question. I would call it part of a struggle; it was activating the vision that I saw for myself. It wasn't for myself, it was really for life on the planet, the preservation of the wild spaces and the animals. And that's why I saw myself as an educator. I was young during the whole Vietnam era episode, from age 18 to 25, if you could make it through to your 25, they wouldn't draft you. And this is all through the height of the war.

And so, I stayed in school, I was going to go to school anyways. But I taught, and what I did is I got my credentials. I needed to be, I felt, certified. I had my undergraduate degree in the sciences, geology, biology with a teaching certificate, which enabled me to then teach. II didn't see myself as a schoolteacher, but I needed that experience. So, I did that, taught for three years and at the same time I got my Masters. And then I had my credentials, I was in Minneapolis.

And then at 25, I left to live in the wilderness. Going to the wilderness was not a reaction to the city. I was fine in the city, and had lots of friends. It wasn't my choice place, I wanted to live in the wilderness. So, at 25, I moved out. And then I started winter school with dog sledding and skiing, but all along my expeditions all were a means to an end to do the Steger Center for Innovation and Leadership, which I'm now just as of 22 now, I'm launching that.

I've been working on that for about six years to get it to the point where I can run it on a professional basis. But to me, it was all about the education. In 2002, the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica collapsed, which was a major event. We'd crossed Antarctica 3,700 miles in 1989/90, and it took us 15 days to cross that.

I taught climate in my classes in the late sixties, but that was my call to action about the climate. I knew the climate. I studied the climate all my life, I knew it, I didn't jump on any bandwagon.

So, I moved to the city from Ely where I was living, to really help start the climate movement. And that was a great struggle to get that going. But it's really, really paid off. It's the work of trying to be most effective with your life, and gradually through expeditions and nonprofits I've worked myself into a position of leadership and having a very unique wilderness setting for the Steger Center, which I've been building now for almost 40 years. Again, not telling anybody what I was really up to. It’s the struggle to preserve the wilderness, to preserve life on the planet. And you’re doing that through education or awareness and creating through innovation and leadership is where I'm always at.

But that's a very good question that you asked. What I learned early on when you're working in the environment seriously, and you're on the very front level of starting whatever it might be, it might be an education program, it might be a movement, I understood that it’s like pushing a big ball up the hill, and sometimes that ball rolls back on your feet and it hurts like hell. But then you just keep going. You just keep going. So, it's not like an actual, where I'm struggling emotionally or anything like that, but it's a constant commitment of purpose towards making my life out of something that will have a purpose in the greater good.

When you die, you die, and you’re not around, your spirits left you where it’s going to go. The idea of having a street or something or an image of yourself perpetuating is really dumb. But to just be part of that energy and part of that spirit, and the best thing is that you do it right, when you go, no one knows what work and whatever, but it carries forward. So that's very important. We have children for that reason. But I see a larger picture than just having children.

I never had any children of my own, I raised a couple children with Patti Steger. We homeschool them in the wilderness, which was a lot of fun. But I come of a big family, so I'm very secure. I feel I don't need to reproduce, I have that great family. But my commitment really in my life is to the children. I always look at the children of the world as my children. And children grow up but there's that perpetual spirit of a child, it stays the same, like three or four years, five years, whatever the child is, that child will move out of that, but that spirit of a childhood is something that's always there as part of humanity. And so, that's where I've been. That's how I look at things.

IVAN: That's beautiful. You mentioned the 3,700 mile Trans-Antarctic Expedition that you took. Why did you do that? What was the purpose of that?

WILL: The purpose was incredible. You talked about the North Pole expedition. That was my first major expedition. And all the experts said you could not reach the North Pole from land to the Pole unsupported, which meant carrying all your food and everything. But we also navigated by sexton, it was before the GPS, I organized 50 dogs, eight people, and we set off to do that. It was 500 miles from land to the Pole.

We were about 200 miles, a month into the expedition, we're on moving ice, the size of the Arctic ocean, the size of Mexico and the U.S. The ice is breaking up and moving and you can't see any more than half a mile. But by rare coincidence, there's only one other person out there, a French physician by the name of Jean-Louis Étienne, left to do a solo expedition. The year before he tried it and made it 18 miles. I knew he was attempting it, but I didn't think he’d make it very far. But we literally ran into each other in the middle of the Arctic Ocean by this incredible Stanley Livingston, chances of one of eight billion of that happening.

And then I met in his tent. Explorers come together, they talk about first your present trip and then he goes immediately what are you doing next? So, I pulled out a map that I had, with the longest possible route across Antarctica, something I don't think anyone even imagined could be possible.

And I said, “If I succeed on this expedition, this is what I'm going to do next.” And he looked at that. And he was just speechless for a bit. And then he looked up to me and he said, “Will, I think you'll need a doctor on this expedition.” So that was our commitment. And we talked in the tent about, we were doing a personal best that we were really tired of doing the personal best and even both of us thought we might have to move on away from expeditions.

But the discussion that came was, in 1989/90, the Antarctic Treaty that set aside Antarctica was signed in 1960 during the Cold War and it set the continent for science only, international cooperation, open inspections. No territory, no military and no nuclear, which was an incredible treaty. But in 1960, they said, we'll open it up and review it in 1990. So, the Antarctic Treaty was up for review in ‘90 and we met now in ‘86. But we knew them, the treaty nations, 29 of them, at that time, had just met and behind closed doors, they were going to open up Antarctica for exploration for minerals. So that would have been the beginning of the end of that environment. That just happened. Behind closed doors. We knew, because we’re privy to the polar stuff, we knew the inside on that. So right then and there we said we would form an international expedition.

We decided that we would do six countries of the most powerful countries, which were the US, France, England, Japan, the Soviet Union, and China, and then we would do the long route and attract huge media attention to make Antarctica famous, basically, and to draw attention to this Treaty.

The expedition itself, we almost perished a number of times, we were beyond anything I've ever experienced. But some providence was with us because I had a sense we would not die, because of what we were doing. And so many countries came along on this during the three years of organization. So, we made it across, we made over 2.5 billion media impressions around the world where everyone around the world was talking about it.

So, then we met with the world leaders, President Bush, President of China, President Mitterrand, the Prime Minister of Japan, the Prime Minister of Australia. We needed all 29 votes, and then in the end, we got all 29 votes and Antarctica was preserved.

And it was important because back in 1989/90, we knew that something was changing in Antarctica. We knew it was climate change, but we didn't have the data. But if this Treaty would have went the other way, and they started mining, all the science would have went into exploring for commercial.

But in ‘89/’90 it was imperative that we get the data that we needed in order to build a policy, because when you're building a climate policy, you have to have scientific data. So that's why this Treaty was also important, to get the data, so we could do the policy, so we could start addressing through policies here the climate change.

Each one of my larger expeditions were platforms, platforms for something environmental in the polar regions. So, we were able through the internet then, to bring that real time to the public, and that’s pretty much my life there.

IVAN: The Trans-Antarctic Expedition sounds like an inflection point in the world. And it sounds like it could have gone the other way had you not done this. Do you feel like there have been other inflection points since then? Is there one happening right now?

WILL: That's a good question, too. In 1990, ironically, the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere reached 350 parts per million. And this is the threshold that the climate scientists predicted, 350 parts per million, the ice would start melting on the planet. And that essentially was the beginning of climate change. And right now it's about 420 parts per million, it's really in the danger red zone. But that was the tipping point, actually for the climate, was 1990, at 350, because once the ice started melting, that then changed everything.

And ironically, in my history, I spent the first 25/30 years in the Arctic regions when it was cold and normal and then the last 30 years now, I've experienced it. I've literally been on the ice in both polar areas, and when the ice is melting and breaking up. For example, the Arctic Ocean, which we crossed in 1986, you no longer can reach the North Pole from land, all the ice shelves, both North Pole and South Pole that I’ve crossed are all gone. All the routes that I've done, are not possible to ever do it again, because they don't exist. 1990 was the beginning.

And then the ice shelf started breaking up there, the Larsen that we crossed in ’02, the Larsen Ice Shelf broke which was part of the Antarctic Expedition. And then it all started. It just wasn't until the big change happened maybe six, seven years ago, when we were, for the first time, really seeing the changes in civilization. And people became their own eyewitnesses now.

Last summer, there was a point that I didn't know if I'd be living when this happened. But I feel the summer we got the message that the climate is now going out of control, and that's another pivotal time for humankind now, to face this issue. And I think it's important that we look at it and face up to it. And most of us are adults and we can take on some bad news. And we have to look at, okay, this is the situation now and this is not going to be reversed. How do we start cooperating and moving forward?

It doesn't even have a solution in some ways, but we have to adapt. It's all about adaptation. We have all the technology on hand. We have all the tools here to pull this out. There's going to be consequences, the sea level. I wouldn't buy any property in Miami; Miami is not going to be around 50 years from now. It's all going to change. That all started in 1990, all the changes and now it’s all seeing it.

IVAN: So, what I think I just heard you say which is sobering and sad and worrying is that there really isn't a way to reverse this? That as a humanity, we need to adapt to what's coming and make intelligent decisions based on the fact that it won't change?

WILL: There is no reversing it. Period. We will not go back to the winters and the seasons and that. We're humans. We're adaptable. And we're overpopulated, 8 billion. That’s an issue. But we’re just going to have to adapt.

But like I say, there's the incredible miracles of science and technologies and everything that's coming about, you never know. There is even a possibility of starting slowly to reverse this, but we first have to level out our carbon.

It’ll be a great day when we're leveling our carbon, so the carbon dioxide is not increasing. That's going to be a hallmark, because that is going to be the success, and then we have to look at reducing it. But there will even be, in the future, I don't think it'll be in our future, but the ability of taking some of this carbon out. And over the long run, there could be a possibility then of our survival.

IVAN: I like the idea of us surviving.

WILL: Yeah, I like the idea of us surviving, too.

IVAN: Oh, I was just going to comment on that. It's a nice idea that we survive. And I appreciate the focus on reality, and the things that we need to do to make things better. But I would like to ask you something, that's maybe a little different, and that is what brings you joy these days? What actually makes you smile?

WILL: Yeah, that's the challenge. That's always a challenge. Because how do you keep your joy and your happiness intact when you're looking at overwhelming things? That's the key to life. And the key to life is living in the moment and not being taken down by whatever's going on around you. I'm just trying to think how to explain that. I do look at that, I look at that myself. For myself what's happening, I consider it more as an active observer, because I'm trying to do something about it, but at the same time we have to keep a positive mind. Like I mentioned from my parents, what I've learned, because they gave me the freedom, I didn't see barriers.

And I faced so many overwhelming odds in my life, survival or otherwise, and it's always the mental part of being positive, being if you can joyful and happy, because it's within that positive state of mind.

And that's in the moment, is where the solutions and adaptation comes. But the issue right now is if we're facing an overwhelming challenge, the average person will just give up. And that's the exact opposite of where we need to go.

It's not the end of the world. It's not the end of humans. It's not the end of life. But we got adaptation of our species all the way through, I'm sure, if you can figure out how far back, we go and face the more overwhelming issues then what we face right now.

IVAN: One final question. What do you hope you'll see in your lifetime?

WILL: I would like to see in my lifetime cooperation, peace, but there's always going to be some disruptions. But I’d like to see people cooperate. And we saw that, we demonstrated that in Antarctica, when all the countries came together around that, it was an incredible thing to be part of that.

And the most discouraging thing right now for me is that we're divided. And therefore, the most encouraging thing for me to see is that we're all working together and figuring out how are we going to do this? How are we going to adapt?

And the future is great for us because we have to change literally moving forward and it's not just our energy systems, but we’re using technology and so forth, we're going to be living in a different world which is going to be a little simpler but much higher quality.

Twenty years from now, I’m in Minneapolis here, there won't be any pollution. Even the air in Minneapolis seems clean, but I'm not running too much in it, inhaling deeply and Minneapolis is a clean city. But 20 years from now, we're going to live in a much cleaner world. Civilization advances, it advances and retreats and back and forth, and there's a good world to come through, but we all have to be part of being positive and educating ourselves but doing what we can.

But I would say, in conclusion, we’re lacking I think today is tolerance. We really have to have more respect for each other and the world of tolerance is so important, so we can be together.

In Antarctica, we mentioned we almost perished a number of times, and we had a saying amongst ourselves, If we were one straw standing in this wind, we would perish. But we were six straws so therefore we survived. And the solutions going forward, of course, is the social engagement in being together. If we’re together, we’ll figure this out.

And the economic possibilities are enormous, all the investment in clean energy and everything else, this is a huge employer. If it were economically dire straits we’re moving into, it would be really tough, but it’s the opposite. We've got so many opportunities.

My father, who was an entrepreneur, if he would be living today, boy, he would be excited and all over about these possibilities. The possibilities of working and doing things that are making a difference and helping people and retaining our life and our wilderness at the same time.

IVAN: I feel inspired and humbled by what you’ve said. I thank you for being on the show. I thank you for being ONE OF 8 BILLION with me. Thank you for your time. It's precious. And I'm grateful that you spent it with me, and I really enjoy talking with you.

Preview

IVAN: In the next episode of ONE OF 8 BILLION, we visit with Kristen Womack, a Principal Program Manager Lead at Microsoft.

KRISTEN WOMACK: What connects us all? For me, I think that it is that we depend on each other. We’re created in this way, or we exist in this way that it's difficult, if not impossible to exist without your community or your group of other humans. To be in community and to work to build something requires togetherness. And the sooner that we move into that sort of as an acceptance, and realize that we benefit from helping others, and we also benefit from accepting help from others, and that we're happiest when we're working together with each other. Cooperation.

IVAN: I hope you’ll join us.

Outro

This has been ONE OF 8 BILLION, a podcast about all of us... online at 1of8b.com. Join us again next time as we celebrate humanity together!

I’m Ivan Stegic. Thank you for listening.

ONE OF 8 BILLION is produced by TEN7, a technology studio whose mission is to Make Things That Matter. Find out more at ten7.com.

Credits

This is episode 126 of ONE OF 8 BILLION. It was recorded on December 2, 2021, and first published on February 2, 2022. Audio length is 38 minutes. Transcription by Roxanne Chumucas. Summary, highlights and editing by Brian Lucas. Music by Lexfunk. Produced by Jonathan Freed.

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