Please note that as of September 22, 2020, this page has undergone a major makeover. Don’t miss the spillover from this page, which appears at the top of the Solutions page! Thanks for your patience. I apologize there are no hyperlinks yet. That might take a while. In the meantime, just use the navigation bar at the top, in those instances.
Welcome! And welcome to my “new and improved” Read this first! page.
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 I believe, in aggregate, represent our best hope for saving the planet. www.ecoideaman.com
That’s the bottom line. The takeaway. The thing I most want you to remember.
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 (no hyperlinks yet), below, so you can see how this website was originally designed. In general, there is somewhat of an intended linear order of progression:
Read this first!
Nowhere on our radar
After six and a half years of advertising my need for funding, not one potential backer has stepped forward 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, nearly 70% of Americans don’t even have $1,000 in savings), but I certainly wouldn’t have anticipated that 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 expands the circle representing 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 relatively small group or clique of individual private donors, intrigued by the prospect of funding — and perhaps even combining forces with — someone bent on saving the planet, 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.
“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?
Also, 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 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 — and by the way, I would argue there’s another glorious New World beyond the horizon if we just leapfrog past that paradigm paralysis holding us back.
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 the individual or individuals directing that funding, 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 it’s all wrong. It’s the complete opposite of what someone like Trump wants to do, for sure, 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 I would. But we’d still end up going over the cliff, either way, eventually.
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, displayed on my Solutions page. Those, I keep very 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 you have to contact me.
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?
Also, 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 just too tall an order 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.
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 had 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. But furthermore, I also strongly believe that if someone like me can’t get funding, then our chances of saving the planet, to put it extremely mildly, look absolutely abysmal. 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 comes forward expressing an interest in wanting to find 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, I want funding, so I can act on them. And write about them. And keep writing about them. And keep doing my best to come up with even bigger and better ideas. And 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.”
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. But with funding — and this is key — with funding … I can alter that equation, considerably.
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. This is my life, my spouse, my significant other, my family, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren. And that, literally, sets me apart from anyone else that I know. In fact, I have always found it quite remarkable, that literally, I can’t think of one single, solitary environmentalist — besides myself — wholly devoted to the cause, in the same way that, for example, priests and nuns, are wholly devoted to their faith, their church, their flock. Interesting, no?
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 that singular focus, has helped me come up with so many brilliant ideas regarding 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 experience might enable you to understand the subject much more deeply than most.
The corollary might also be worth noting: if concentrating and maintaining a singular focus on something for many years builds acumen and insight, completely lacking that sense of focus might lead to a concomitant lack of depth of understanding. Might this not help to explain the dearth, at the societal level, for possessing a deep sense of eco-consciousness?
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 the problems are, but how deep the solutions must be, in order to address these very serious 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, far more complicated than that. And if we don’t understand that, then we don’t understand even 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 human beings, should have been obvious to our slave-owning founding fathers, but wasn’t. The trajectory we’re on, isn’t a good one. And for quite a lot of reasons. But anyhow, the bottom line is, I want funding, so I can work day and night, on saving the planet. Because no, I don’t believe, for even 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 now jump to the Solutions page. (Please use navigation bar at top.) Specifically, I’ve incorporated that material into the introductory remarks section at the top of that page. If you are a potential backer, especially, I strongly encourage you to read what’s there. It might just open your eyes in terms of seeing what’s possible, if I were able 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 much shortened and streamlined version of how this page used to look.
Since this is the only planet we know of, in the entire universe, capable of supporting life … shouldn’t we be taking much better care of it? I think so. And since dinosaurs survived on this planet for some 165 million years, isn’t it reasonable to assume humankind (given our intelligence), will be able to do likewise? Hmm.
I don’t believe 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. Nation debts are souring. 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, pyrotechnique gender-reveal parties (causing forest fires), 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 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.
It’s possible. But it’s also possible that it’s impossible. (e.g. reference the Schrodinger’s cat thought experiment.)
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 a long time ago, while working for Greenpeace, I heard Helen Caldicott’s “Saving the Planet” speech (Portland, OR, Nov. 12, 1989) broadcast over the radio in the van we were traveling in at the time. I ordered an audio cassette of the 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 relisten 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 (paraphrased below):
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.
I realize this may sound grandiose. But if you read the Afterword section — and then view those thoughts within the context and framework of the entirety of this website — you might better understand the underlying logic behind my choosing this proverb for that analogy.
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.” It’s so true — unfortunately — all environmental victories are erasable and reversible. That’s a profoundly sobering thought. And one that should guide us to the realization that, in reality, no amount of money is ever going to be enough (to insure victory). But this much is true: the more funding I receive, the more I can accomplish — and the more speedily I can set those wheels in motion. Considering the magnitude of the environmental destruction that is unfolding daily, and the frightening trajectory we are on, I would probably sleep better at night if I had the equivalent in financial resources of a Bill Gates at my disposal. However, realistically speaking, something along the level of funding comparable to a MacArthur Fellowship — $625,000 — would both, be more attainable, and yet still be enough to allow me to move forward in a very 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 greater emphasis on selecting individuals engaged in doing “saving the planet”-type work. Concerning the former, I would 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 neither did Greta Thunberg. What was her “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, 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 topic.
In conclusion, and as the familiar 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 so desperately needs right now, but ultimately, you are going to have to make that determination for yourself. Knowing what’s at stake (posterity, the habitability of the planet), I hope you make the right decision. To assist in that endeavor, I have put 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 Contact page). I sincerely thank you for your 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 so true! Just one person, one individual, one philanthropist, one “Yes,” one “little horse shoe nail” … is all it takes! And perhaps you might be that one. If you share my vision … or envision my potential.