Please note: As of Sept. 22, 2020, this page has undergone a major makeover.
Feel free to skip around and explore my website. But if you read nothing else on this page, please read this. This might be my best attempt at coming up with an “elevator pitch.” I think this nails it:
Philanthropic funding sought for pursuing ideas and strategies that collectively may represent our best hope for saving the planet. www.ecoideaman.com
That’s the bottom line. The takeaway. The message I most want to convey.
Also, this might perhaps be helpful. In 2019, my web designer replaced the horizontal navigation bar with a more modern, up-to-date horizontal navigation bar. One problem, though, is that while this makes the website more cell phone-technology friendly, the bunching up into sections (e.g., the Issues and Mission drop-down menus) isn’t something I had ever intended. One way to address this “problem,” is I have recreated the original horizontal navigation bar, below, so you can see how this website was originally designed. In general, there is somewhat of an intended linear order of progression:
After six and a half years [now seven and a half, and counting] of advertising my need for funding, not one potential backer has stepped forward, identifying themselves as such, while expressing an interest in finding out more. I knew I would have more responses from non-potential backers than from potential backers (let’s face it, about 70% of Americans don’t even have $1,000 in savings), but I certainly wouldn’t have anticipated no potential backers would have stepped forward by now.
Therefore, I have decided it’s time to give this page a makeover.
It wasn’t easy. Lack of free time has always been one of my biggest banes. But here goes.
From the beginning, I have had high hopes. I truly believed that all I needed was for ten potential backers to contact me. Just ten. And that would be enough. I would surely be able to persuade at least one — and perhaps even all ten — to provide funding.
But the silence has been deafening. I’m not a magician. How can I convince a potential backer to back me, without there being a potential backer to convince?
That is why, on this page, I am now providing more detail concerning why funding is so crucial. But before I get to that, something else I want to do is to make clear that while I use the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s so-called “Genius Grant” Fellows Program as a reference point (those paragraphs are below, you can scroll down and read them), I am now setting my sights on a much smaller goal (funding wise): $100,000. That considerably broadens the circle of potential backers. There are far more potential individual donors out there capable of gifting 100K, than would be capable of gifting 625K. Or alternatively, a small group of individual private donors, intrigued by the prospect of funding — and perhaps even combining forces with — someone bent on saving the planet (and with brilliant ideas aplenty to match), might combine to form one funding entity. Why 100K? Because that amount would enable me to take a leave of absence from work, for a period of 2-3 years, and devote my time fully towards getting my ideas out there, while simultaneously taking whatever steps I can, to also act on as many of those ideas as possible — to bring them to fruition.[And let me share this: I would be willing to do this for minimum wage. Less than what I’m making now. Because I believe so strongly in what I have to offer. Also, in point of fact, after taxes, if I tried to stretch out that 100K to make it last for the three years I would like to try to make it last, I probably would be working at minimum wage, for this region of the country I’m now living in.]
“But wait, do you really think you can save the planet, with that amount of funding?” you might be wondering.
Yes, and no. While I can’t definitively say I can save the planet with that amount of funding — or any amount of funding — I do believe I have some of the very best ideas for helping achieve that goal. And that’s ultimately what’s most important. Right?
Look what Columbus was able to accomplish with just three manned ships. No, I don’t condone any of the horrible things Columbus did. But just think what he accomplished in terms of showing that there was a whole New World beyond the horizon both sides hitherto didn’t even know existed. Similarly, I would argue there’s another glorious whole New World beyond the horizon, if we could just leapfrog past that paradigm paralysis holding us back from envisioning the potential that’s there. But the key is we need to change our thinking in very significant ways.
It’s not so much the amount of funding that’s important (though funding certainly is important). It’s about having the right ideas. If someone has literally 100,000 times the amount of funding I’m seeking (or $10 billion), I would argue that doesn’t necessarily mean squat, in terms of their actual ability to save the planet, no matter how good their intentions might be, if they don’t have the right ideas, the right thinking, the right perspective, the right vision and lack the perspicacity to understand what has to be done. Case in point, Joseph Biden has actually proposed a plan that is literally 20,000,000 times that amount (or $2 trillion), and I can tell you that it’s all wrong. It’s the complete opposite of what someone like Trump wants to do, but it’s still wrong. And that’s my point. They’re both wrong. Because they both lack the right vision and the right thinking. Trump’s thinking is completely wrong for more reasons than I have time to get into. Biden’s thinking might be more progressive, but it’s still all wrong just the same, because he leaves so much vitally important stuff out. Would I rather have Biden’s plan than Trump’s non-plan? Of course. But we’d still end up going over the cliff, eventually, either way.
I should also point out that while 100K would enable me to do this work for only a period of 2-3 years, if at some point during that time I am able to obtain sufficient support through a crowdfunding platform (such as Patreon.com), I might be able to continue doing this work indefinitely. Indeed, that would be another aim and a strong incentive for me to get my message out there in as powerfully persuasive and inspiring a way as possible.
Another thing I want to make clear is that you won’t find my best and most brilliant ideas for saving the planet on my Solutions page, nor anywhere else on this website. Those, I keep tightly guarded and close to the vest. If you want to find out what those ideas are, you have to be interested in saving the planet, you have to be a potential backer (and state so — I’m not a mind reader), and you have to contact me. Then, we can take it from there.
Why do I keep my best ideas close to the vest? There are plenty of reasons.
For one thing, I am seeking funding. How would it look if I told a perspective backer that ideas ‘A’ through ‘Z’ are my unique, original ideas — ideas you won’t find anywhere else — if lots of them have popped up all over the place, in one form or another? There are millions of bloggers, authors, speakers, entrepreneurs, “influencers” and podcasters — not to mention opportunists of every stripe — out there. Even our current president, Biden, had to drop out of a previous presidential bid, decades ago, because of a plagiarism scandal; and the previous president, to say the least, obviously has no scruples. The New York Times even published an article reporting on how priests do this sort of thing all the time. Read ” ‘Sermongate’ Prompts a Quandary: Should Pastors Borrow Words From One Another?”
I’m kind of a perfectionist. I want to either do it right and get it right, or not do it at all. And doing it right and getting it right is not easy, it takes work, and that’s just too tall an order for me with a full-time job in tow. That’s in fact one of the reasons I’m seeking funding in the first place. To get my ideas out there and presented in such a way that they have the best chance at succeeding and gaining traction.
Also, as I once stated in a tweet: “One reason I keep most of my v. best ideas v. close to the vest is I don’t see anyone out there I trust. Not politicians, not the general public, not people focused JUST on the climate emergency, not organizations receiving $100s & 100s of millions with virtually nothing to show for it. (Etc.)”
That was the comment I added to a retweet of this quotation: “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” — Robert Swan OBE
Believe me, I don’t hold any such conviction. That “someone else” will save it. I really don’t. Just the opposite. In fact, I strongly believe that if someone like me can’t get funding, our chances of saving the planet are basically zilch. Acquiring funding, comparatively speaking, should be the easy part, the cakewalk part.
Here’s one way to look at it: “If someone like me can’t get funding, if there’s that much lack of interest, lack of curiosity and lack of desire to save the planet, that no one steps forward expressing an interest in finding out more, then why even bother putting those ideas out there in the first place? So people with no interest, no curiosity, no desire to save the planet, can not act on them? No, that’s why I want funding; so I can act on them. I don’t want merely to get my ideas “out there.” I want to put as many of those ideas into action as possible, myself. And write about them. And keep writing about them. And keep doing my best to keep coming up with even bigger and better ideas. And act on those ideas too. And, in effect, keep banging that “drum” as loudly as I can, until we stop racing towards that cliff. But the only way I can do any of that, is with funding. I need to be able to give it my all. I need to be able to present these big ideas in such a way that people don’t have any choice but to sit up and take notice.” And I can’t do any of that while holding a full-time job. Not even close to it.
One takeaway, that I gained from listening to Tony Robbins, decades ago, is the idea of doing something, every single day, no matter how small, to get closer to your goal. My goals in life have nothing to do with making money or acquiring wealth — as seems to be the case, in my opinion, regarding the majority of those seeking out his help and teachings — but should I receive funding, I definitely plan on using this particular piece of advice. Even if it’s just sending out one email or making one phone call, I don’t ever want even a single, solitary day to ever slip by where I haven’t done something concrete, taken some action, to get mankind moving closer to being on that path we need to be on. Saving the planet might be a longshot — and I think that it is — but by taking some action, each and every single day, the accumulative effect could help take us to that crucial tipping point we need to be at. Again, I don’t follow that particular advice now. Like I said above, if there is zero real interest out there, and zero curiosity, our chances are zero. The odds are mountainously stacked against us. My unique, big ideas and strategies offer us the best chance at success in the long run. I really believe that. But realistically speaking, I need to be able to pour vast amounts of time into doing this work, in order for it to have any real hope of succeeding — and that, unavoidably, requires funding.
The bottom line is this: I have zero faith that we will ever be able to save the planet without the types of ideas and thinking that I am chomping at the bit to do everything I can to push forward in a very big way. I am also well aware that my ability to effectuate change right now is extremely limited. However, with funding, I can alter that equation considerably. Sorry to sound like a broken record concerning that crucial need for funding, but trying to accomplish this without funding would be like trying to land on the moon without a rocket.
Want to know another key reason I keep my very best ideas so close to the vest? Well, quite frankly, because I have more “skin in this game,” more “at stake,” more “invested” in this fight (saving the planet), than anyone else I know. I don’t have a spouse or significant other. I don’t have a family. A home. A career. I won’t someday have grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This is my baby … my life, my spouse, my family, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren. And that, literally, sets me apart from everyone else I know. In fact, I have always found it remarkable, that, literally, I can’t think of a single, solitary environmentalist — besides myself — wholly devoted to saving the planet, in the same way that, for example, priests and nuns, are wholly devoted to their faith, their church, their flock. Every environmentalist that I know of — both living and dead — has or has had, a significant other and has raised a family.
And no, I don’t count someone like Greta Thunberg. Why? Simply because she’s too young to know whether that’s the case or not. Hit the fast-forward button and you might find that in twenty-five years she is indeed married, with children, a career, and a happy, ordinary home life. And has moved on and is doing other things.
Incidentally, I think having a singular focus has helped me a lot, in terms of being able to come up with so many brilliant ideas related to saving the planet. Think of it in terms of Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule. Or look at the success Laszlo Polgar had with his daughters Susan, Sofia and Judit. When you concentrate intensely on something and maintain that singular focus for many years, it’s only natural that will lead to understanding the subject better and more deeply than most.
All my life, I’ve been watching as we keep going in the wrong direction. And the situation hasn’t gotten better, it’s gotten worse. I hate saying it, but so many people — good people (smart people, caring people) — are, in my opinion, clueless, concerning not just how deep and far-reaching the problems are, but how deep and commensurate the solutions must be in order to address these numerous existential threats. It’s not just a matter of promoting recycling, buying different products, slapping solar panels on rooftops, and tossing money into R&D. It’s far more complicated than that. And if we don’t understand that, we don’t even understand the basics.
So many things which should be extremely obvious, we’re completely oblivious to. In the same way that, for example, the immorality of buying and selling fellow human beings should have been patently obvious to our slave-owning founding fathers, but wasn’t. The trajectory we’re on isn’t a good one. And there are numerous factors contributing to that. Anyhow, the bottom line is: I want funding so I can focus day and night on saving the planet. Because no, I don’t believe for one second that “someone else” will save it. Saving the planet can’t happen, and won’t happen, unless and until we start embracing the right ideas, and letting go of the wrong ones. And towards those ends, funding someone like myself, should be a relative no-brainer.
Okay. Now I want to get to the part about why funding is so crucial. But in order to read that newly-added material, you will have to jump to the Solutions page. Specifically, I’ve incorporated that material into the newly-rewritten introductory remarks section at the top of that page. If you are a potential backer, especially, please read what’s there. It might just open your eyes in terms of glimpsing what’s possible. (If I were to acquire funding).
Here is what’s left of the old version
Above, is all new material. A complete redesign of this page. Below is a shortened and streamlined version of how this page once looked. (But with some new material also added.)
This is the only planet we know of, in the entire universe, capable of supporting life. So shouldn’t we be taking much better care of it? I think so. And given our intelligence, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume we should be able to last at least as long as the dinosaurs lasted (some 165 million years)?
A simple question. But unfortunately, this question reminds me of an old episode of The Honeymooners (“The $99,000 Answer”), where Ralph Kramden is absolutely determined to “go all the way,” as a quiz show contestant. Well, [spoiler alert] he couldn’t even make it past the first question. You would think our species would have the intellectual bandwidth to have a longer reign than the dinosaurs. Right? Well, think again. Because, truthfully, we (modern man), might not last even a smidgen as long as they did. Why? Read on.
I don’t believe that we as a species are anywhere near as intelligent as we think we are. There are many reasons why I say that. Just look at all the damage we are wreaking upon this planet. And with such insouciance. Society doesn’t seem to comprehend the enormity of the problems we are facing, or doesn’t care, or doesn’t care enough, or is clueless concerning what humankind needs to be doing differently. Ecosystems all around the world are in decline. Rain forests are shrinking. Species are disappearing. The planet is warming. Coral reefs are dying off at alarming rates. We continue producing mountains of waste. And continue polluting the land, water and air. National debts are soaring. More and more weapons of mass destruction are being mass produced. We are adding close to a million more people to the planet every four days. Nuclear arms technology continues to proliferate. War, torture and the perpetual denial of basic human rights, all around the world, continues to persist.
Additionally, as these problems go largely unaddressed, we continue creating more and more causes for concern. Through gene manipulation, cloning, nanotechnology, microchipping, geoengineering, space tourism, biological weapons research, technology is forever seen as savior, just “have faith in man’s ingenuity.” But look where that’s gotten us — only more and more dependent upon easy fixes and technological solutions. And while proponents of geoengineering matter-of-factly pitch their proposed remedies, the emergence of a pathogen capable of wiping out our species — by design or by accident — grows ever more plausible.
Concerning man’s inaction — in the face of impending doom — perhaps the best analogy I’ve yet seen is the one likening man to a frog sitting in a pot of water atop a stove. Failing to sense the urgency and jump out, the frog gets boiled alive. Our predicament is not nearly as simple to rectify, but our inaction is nearly identical to that of the frog.
I believe it all comes down to this: big problems require big solutions, and big solutions require big changes. We need a sea change in our way of thinking. Basically, we need a paradigm shift of Pangean proportions.
Incidentally, while I tend to use the phrase “saving the planet” to describe what’s at stake, I hope that doesn’t throw you. I know it might sound a bit awkward or abstract, and may even be technically imprecise, but despite its shortcomings, I know of no other phrase that better captures the essence and the urgency of the weighty meaning intended.
Another reason I might embrace this phrase is because decades ago, while working for Greenpeace, I heard Helen Caldicott’s “Saving the Planet” speech (Portland, OR, Nov. 12, 1989) rebroadcast over the radio in the rented van we were traveling in. I ordered an audio cassette tape of that speech — and transcript — soon after. Some statements Caldicott makes aren’t accurate — like when she says “the elephant is almost extinct” — and I don’t agree with everything she says (I don’t share her enthusiasm for making voting compulsory — as is the case in her native Australia), but overall, it is one of the best articulations on the subject of environmentalism that I have heard. There are even a couple points in it where I still get teary-eyed every time I re-listen to it. It never loses that power. [To order a copy of the speech, see the Links page.]
The importance of funding
More than anything else, the one thing that has most held me back, all these years, is lack of funding.
I remember back in high school, I had a teacher — Mr Chiavoli, who taught business law — in my senior year, who said: “When you get to be my age, you’ll see that a year goes by “like the blink of an eye.” Naturally, being teenagers, we all laughed. But with each passing year, the wisdom of those words becomes increasingly evident. Time flies. And meanwhile, as I grow older, anxious for the day when I can finally set those “saving the planet” wheels in motion, the problems of the world continue to persist and worsen. This reminds me of a proverb; which goes something like this:
For want of a nail, a shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe, a horse was lost.
For want of a horse, a rider was lost.
For want of a rider, a message was lost.
For want of a message, a battle was lost.
For want of a battle, a kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a little horse shoe nail.
For want of that philanthropic funding I am seeking (that “little horse shoe nail”), this perilously polluted and plundered planet is slowly but steadily whirlpooling down the drain, edging closer towards that cliff, use whatever metaphor you like, but it ain’t pretty.
How much funding do I need?[Again, this is the “older version.” In the newer version — above — I now use 100K as my reference point concerning funding.]
Deciding how best to answer the question “How much capital do you need?” brings to mind the words of American naturalist George Schaller: “There are never victories in conservation. If you want to save a species or a habitat, it’s a fight forevermore. You can never turn your back.”
Yes, it’s sad, but true. No amount of money can insure victory. However, this much I know. The more funding I receive, the more I can do and the more I can accomplish. Considering the magnitude of the environmental destruction that is daily unfolding, and considering the frightening trajectory we are on, I would very much like to have the financial resources of a Bill or Melinda Gates at my disposal. Seriously, some of the really big ideas I would like to get off the ground can use such infusions of funding. However, that said, and probably much more realistically speaking, something along the level of funding comparable to a MacArthur Fellowship Grant ($625,000), would both be more attainable, and would allow me to move forward in a significant way.
Reading through the FAQs related to the MacArthur Fellows Program — on the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation website — years ago, I came to the conclusion that if you take away the “based on a track record of accomplishment” stipulation, all the rest very much describes someone like myself.
Incidentally, while I have great respect for the philosophy behind the MacArthur Fellows Program and how it is set up, I would offer this advice: (a) the “based on a track record of accomplishment” stipulation leaves out those who possess enormous promise, but lack tangible achievements; and (b) I would encourage putting much greater emphasis on selecting individuals focused on doing ‘saving the planet’-type work. Concerning the former, I would simply point out that Bill Gates didn’t have “a track record of accomplishment” when he dropped out of college to pursue his pet project, in his parents’ garage. And did Greta Thunberg have a “track record of accomplishment?” Sometimes fame and obscurity hinge on the wings of luck.
Let me now turn my attention to a delicate subject: religion. In short, I am an atheist. Plain and simple. If you wish to learn more about my views concerning that, you can go to the Quotations and About me pages of this website. In the end portion of the latter, I have assembled a collection of some of my thoughts and observations — some of which, touch upon this subject.
That said, also, (a) please have an open mind; and (b) consider the following. To give an example of why I think this is important, consider some of the points Stan Rowe has made in his book Home Place: Essays on Ecology. In an essay titled “The New Nature,” Rowe writes:
Particularly difficult for people brought up in the Judaeo-Christian tradition is escape from the idea that divinity has departed from the Earth, from Nature. For we have been taught that Pan and Baal and other nature gods are the adversaries of Yahweh, God of justice; that the locus of God’s presence is in human industry, not in the world and least of all in wilderness. Nature gods are taboo, associated with paganism, animism, pantheism and other so-called “primitive” religions.”
Further on, Rowe states that “The genius of Jewish theologians was to take God out of physical place and put him in the heavens, in the whirlwind and the lightning … God is transcendent, above and beyond the reality we know …” However, this comes at a cost. Rowe continues: “such a theology carries a heavy ecological price. For if God’s kingdom is not of this world, if He is not immanent in the grasslands, groves and waterfalls, then their sacredness evaporates. And with us,” that which is not sacred, is not safe. ” Rowe concludes the paragraph by stating that according to a popular Christian belief, “the sacred realizes itself in two ways: in the church and in oppressed and exploited people. Unfortunately this leaves the rest of the world fair game for the entrepreneur and developer.”
Truthfully, I’m not as familiar with Stan Rowe’s writings as I would like to be. (A huge understatement.) There are many things I wish I had more time for, and reading is a biggie. But here is something else that Rowe wrote. It is on-topic and helps illustrate how stacked the odds are against us. This comes from Earth Alive: Essays on Ecology, which was published posthumously. Specifically, this excerpt comes from a book review Rowe wrote concerning Evan Eisenberg’s The Ecology of Eden (originally published in The Structurist, No. 39/40, 1999-2000, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, a notation states that it was edited for the Earth Alive collection of essays). Rowe writes:
Humans fixated on their own welfare, whether on their body/minds in this world or on their souls in the next, cannot help but be injurious to the rest of creation. History shows that people have again and again ruined that land that supported them because their leaders lacked foresight or because hard times forced liquidation of “resources” for the gratification of the moment. Today Earth’s capital of soil, air, water, plants and animals is sacrificed to make jobs, to provide the necessities for a population out of control, to make a minority rich, to satisfy frivolous wants. The message is writ large in the current economic system that discounts the future and encourages grabbing what you can now, because “for me the world was made” and I want my slice of it right now.
There’s a lot to agree with there. Humans are indeed fixated on self-interest. And many do see this planet as a mere speedbump on their journey to the Kingdom of Heaven. Politicians aren’t making the right decisions. And “hard times” are driving some of those bad decisions. In general, man sees himself as standing apart from nature and sees Nature as nothing but an oasis of resources that’s there for the picking. Take, take, take. Good paying jobs, that’s what’s important. Right? A population “out of control,” indeed. And as the rich get richer, so much of humanity is feeding at that trough of frivolous wants. Grab all that you can, now. After all, the world was put here for us. It’s all there for the taking. Live for today! Sound familiar? Just look around you. Turn on the radio. Turn on the TV. What’s trending on Google right now? On Bing, Twitter, Facebook? Who are currently the biggest “influencers” (oh, how I hate that word)? No, saving the planet isn’t going to be easy. And this doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface as to enumerating all the reasons why.
Additionally, the fact that on Amazon I see only two reviews showing for Earth Alive (2006) and zero reviews for Home Place (2002), further evidences this point. It is exactly the sort of thing I see as a kind of “canary in a coalmine” warning sign that I suspect most people wouldn’t even notice or pay any attention to. But think about it. Comparatively speaking, choose any Stephen King novel at random, for example, and you’ll see thousands if not tens of thousands of reviews. And yet, combined, these two books have only two reviews (they’re both five stars, by the way). If we were genuinely living in an age where people were actively engaged in actually wanting to save the planet, do you really think that would be the case?
In conclusion, as the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” I can tell you I am precisely the type of thinker the environmental movement desperately needs right now, but ultimately, you’re going to have to make that determination for yourself. Knowing what’s at stake, I hope you make the right decision. To assist in that endeavor, I have put together this website. I believe you will find the About me, Solutions and Afterword pages particularly helpful in that regard. If you wish to contact me, please do so (see the Contact page). I sincerely thank you for your shared concern regarding what humankind is doing to the planet, and greatly appreciate your taking the time to visit my website.
Paul A. Reinicke
P.S.: Years ago, I heard a woman being interviewed on a radio program, recalling words of encouragement her father shared with her back when she was endeavoring to enter into the almost exclusively male-dominated field of sports broadcasting — and this equally applies to me, now, regarding my striving for philanthropic backing. This is what her father said to her: “You only need one ‘Yes.’ You only need one person to believe in you.”
That is soooo true! Just one person, one individual, one philanthropist, one “Yes” … is all that it takes! And perhaps, you might be that one. If you share my vision, or envision my potential.