A few weeks ago, I was invited to give a talk at an earthship workshop organized by Terraeden Biotecture. The opportunity presented itself rapidly so there wasn’t much time to prepare, but I persisted as best I could. I decided it would be most valuable if I delivered a talk about social enterprise and the power of business to do good.

There are heaps of solutions out there for very real social, environmental and economic challenges that we face today and I see massive opportunity in building sustainable micro enterprises using these solutions. I’ve been blessed to experience a number of solutions , but I’ve discovered the communities that practice these solutions aren’t so excited about anything related to business and money. So, my goal with this presentation was to demonstrate that we can flip the whole business as usual mindset on its head and maybe money isn’t so bad after all.

I’ve had more conversations that I can count related to social enterprise over the last few years. Constructing this presentation was a great challenge in bringing all these conversations together and recognizing the most relevant pieces for the audience at hand. The audience was full of people who had signed up for a workshop to build a small scale earthship. The eartship concept comes from Michael Reynolds and comprises of six simultaneous integrated living systems including:

  1. Building with natural and recycled materials
  2. Thermal/solar heating and cooling
  3. Power from renewable resources
  4. Harvesting and reusing rainwater for
  5. Food production and
  6. Sewerage treatment

Earthship Build

The team was working hard for a week and a half when I arrived one windy evening to the bush mansion and much progress had been made on the project. My talk was slotted to take place after a hard day’s work, after dinner. I learned the importance of timing and that when you do a talk, its best that people are truly ready to receive it. About half the crowd was extremely engaged in what I had to offer and interested in participating, while the other half had checked out and were ready for some much needed rest.

I’m not particularly proud of my performance that night, I let the nerves get to me. I learned that doing a talk is as much about the presenter as it is about the audience. The best talks have a symbiotic relationship going on. I gave it my all, and channeled as much energy as I could from the eager listeners. In the end, it turned out precisely how it was meant to be. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share a new perspective with a new crowd. Below is a clip of some of the key parts of the talk. Here’s to doing business and doing good at the same time!