October is “Unchi” Flinging Month!


Flickr/Mike "Dakinewavamon" Kline

I think I tend to worry too much about crafting a highly polished message, rather than quickly getting ideas out there for people to chew on.  Starting now, I’m going to try to focus more on the latter.  With that in mind, I’m joining the post-a-day challenge for the month of October.  It might not be pretty, but hopefully it will make you think. (Which is all I ever want.)

Therefore, I’m calling my shot.  October is “Unchi Flinging Month.”  As such, I’ll be flinging as much “unchi” at the wall as I can, and together, we’ll see what sticks.  It may just be a picture, a video, or a quick thought, but my plan is to give you something each day.  Regardless, I hope you’ll take something worthwhile away from it.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments, shares, likes, and good will along the way.  I’ll need all the help I can get!

Signed,

Chris Oestereich

I’ve been dreaming of this moment for three years!


I spent the weekend at the Prairie Festival hosted by the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas.  While there I saw an amazing slate of speakers (Brian Donahue, Kamyar Enshayan, Lisa Grossman, Richard Heinberg, Wes Jackson, Naomi Klein, David Montgomery & Ann Zimmerman) discussing topics as seemingly diverse — but in reality tightly related — as dirt, the global economy, forests, engaging local government, climate change and peak oil.  I highly recommend making the trek to Salina next September.

One of the many points that stuck with me was made by Richard Heinberg, the author of Peak Oil, Peak Everything & most recently, The End of Growth.  In his talk, he made the statement that what we’re seeing is “capitalism trying to profit from its collapse.”  I returned home with this in mind and the very next day saw incredibly brazen evidence to support Mr. Heinberg’s statement:

After watching the previous clip, the following came to mind.

Fortunately, connecting with the speakers and attendees at the Prairie Festival has given me renewed hope.  The problems we face are pushing us into a corner, but good people are working hard on solutions.  As we continue to work towards those solutions, I’ll hold on to my favorite idea from the weekend:

“We know that society can turn ugly quickly, we need to believe it can turn kind.” -Naomi Klein

Elizabeth Warren Explains the Basis of the Social Contract


This is fantastic.  Elizabeth Warren is running for senate in Massachusetts and I could easily see her heading for a higher office a few years down the road.  Check out the video from earlier this week and please share your thoughts in the comments.

Thoughts On “Default: The Student Loan Documentary”


When I was in B-school, there were two groups of students, those that were company-funded and those that were self-funded.  The company-funded students typically had a deal which tied them to their employers for three years or else they had to repay all or part of their education costs.  The self-funded group paid out-of-pocket and/or took out student loans which many will be repaying for the next twenty-five years.  I fell squarely in the latter camp…

I received an invite to view a sneak preview of “Default: The Student Loan Documentary” this afternoon and just finished watching it.  I have to admit this was a bit difficult to watch.  It brought back painful memories of the stock market crash of October 2008.  I was in Shanghai, China at the time, for the international business portion of my MBA program, when the market hit the skids.  My fellow students were glued to their Blackberries as their investments evaporated.  I saw something else evaporating.  Future opportunities.  I had accepted an out-sized student loan with the belief that the economy would continue to grow in the future.  As the market crashed, it constrained my options.  I’ve been fortunate enough to stave off the horrors some others have experienced.   That said, I’m guessing I have far less margin for error than similarly educated professionals from prior generations.  Our society has become a precarious house of cards which will certainly collapse if we continue down the current path.  If you’re not aware of the growing student debt issues in our country, please watch the trailer below and keep an eye out for the release of the full film.  Even if you haven’t been affected by these issues, I assure you many you know are.

DEFAULT – The Student Loan Documentary from Default: the Student Loan Docume on Vimeo.

I don’t see how we can possibly fix our economy while student loan debts mushrooms in this fashion.

The No Impact Chat Wrap (#noimpact)


I planned to partake in today’s #noimpact chat, hosted by the fine folks at Yes! magazine, but got caught up in family time.  (The #noimpact chat was set up to promote the upcoming no impact week, an “experiment that challenge(s) you to live a radically greener and more connected lifestyle—for just one week.” (Click here for more info.)

Since I missed the chat, I decided to review the postings to see what was discussed and thought I’d share some of the interesting findings.  With that, here’s my #noimpact chat wrap:

http://twitter.com/knowthankyou/status/115131650966429696

Side note: for those who find themselves getting caught up in either/or thinking, I recommend reading Roger Martin’s “The Opposable Mind.”