In these crazy times, the need to do something positive and relevant, something that can make a difference and save our planet, is paramount.The original concept of Creating Equilibrium, to stage a festival to celebrate earth and bring positive, intelligent people together to impact global change and address some of the planets more pressing environmental issues, took quite some time and a lot of effort to bring to fruition.The Visions conference at the Resort at Squaw Creek was unequivocally the highlight. The host, YouTube star, Prince EA, and his nine-year-old nephew kicked off the event with an inspiring video, and then walked on stage together. It was a great way to set the tone and to remind us why we all are here.New York Times best-selling author and Creating Equilibrium founder, Steven Kotler, then took over and mesmerized the audience with his very sobering perspective on how our destruction of biodiversity is the greatest problem facing the planet. He then took us on a journey, shedding positive light on how the tide is turning and how, now armed with the incredible pace of the technological breakthroughs that are happening all around us, there is hope.Throughout the day we were introduced to amazing thought leaders from diverse fields from the far reaches of the planet. They all spoke with commitment about a wide range of topics; clean tech investment, 3D printing, the current economic reality of clean energy, and tackling global warming by any and many means, including drones that can plant one billion trees in one year. They opined about the future of food, automated crop management, vertical farming, and the generic engineering of meats as viable alternatives to animal flesh. We got a glimpse of where we are headed with IBM’s Watson and the reality of artificial intelligence in our everyday lives, world health care, climatology, and the evolution and extinction of species…Heady stuff.Each guest spoke from a broad global perspective on the urgency of the environmental crises facing Earth, while at the same time expressing great conviction. In one way or another, they were all armed with a new understanding, fueled by current and coming technology’s promising new tools to make a difference. The diversity and brilliance of the speakers was outstanding, and by the time the day was done my brain was spinning with positive inspiration. Gratefully, it felt like a new beginning, a small but critical first step in waging the critical fight to save our planet for all living creatures. I encourage everyone to visit Visions Conference to learn more about these visionaries and to commit themselves to engage and participate. Hats off to Patricia Wright, John Balbach, Dickson Despommiers, Andrew Hessel, Khuram Mir, Neil Sahota and Robert Suarez. These people truly are amazing; each and every one of them is highly passionate and committed to doing their part to change mankind’s self-destructive path before it’s too late.
Friday night the Village at Squaw Valley filled with folks celebrating and dancing under the stars to the rousing music of Bob Moses, and Saturday night thousands of people gathered in the Village to rock the mountain with Dispatch, and then Secret Stash crushed it, closing out the night with a surprise cameo encore performance by Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider that got the crowd chanting an emphatic “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”On Sunday we returned to the Visions conference and I was honored to participate in a panel with three–world class athletes and three artists. Jamie Wheal, the Executive Director of the Flow Genome Project, did a great job as the moderator, keeping us on point and connecting the dots in a very heartfelt way. On stage with these social/environmental activists: pro kite boarder, Susi Mai; race car driver, Lelani Munter; pro snowboarder, Jeremy Jones; musician, Ryan Miller; and environmental artist, Gilles Cenazandotti was humbling, as well as a wonderful reminder of the incredibly broad personalized perspectives that were brought together for the cause.All of the speakers, while in pursuit of their own passions and creative careers, are finding ways to draw attention to a wide range of environmental issues. Each and every participant on the panel spoke about their personal, even self-indulgent journeys, and how their individual pursuits led them, almost by surprise, to stand up and fight for our Earth. As artists, we all search for ways to amplify our voices and expose our hearts. This message resonated deeply with the audience and tied us all together with passion and renewed inspiration to protect our planet and our way of life. We all need more human immersion in the natural world, and it should be our daily social responsibility to do something, no matter how small, to positively impact the environment.Then came the finale, as legendary environmentalist and award-winning scientist and television host, David Suzuki, graced us with an elder statesman’s perspective on the challenges we all face, and, finally, Prince EA and Steven Kotler wonderfully brought it home for all of us.
We closed the festival with a special gathering at Gallery Keoki. A core audience of the key people who made the festival a reality gathered to give thanks and celebrate the inaugural events’ successful launch. Creating Equilibrium founders, Gabrielle Hull, Antony Randal, and Steven Kotler, and key members of their extensive team took a deep breath and toasted the incredible collective effort that led them to this moment. Their heartfelt investment in the future of the planet was felt by all of us. Matty Reardon of the Squaw Valley Institute was also in attendance and received a well-deserved hat tip for the critical role he played in conceptualizing the event and getting it all started. With many of the featured speakers in attendance, the conversations naturally resonated a tone of hope and inspiration.In closing, Keoki unveiled his newest project, “The Emerald Bay Tea House,” a new translation of the iconic Tahoe landmark’s photo op. After sharing his plans to integrate this new three-dimensional interactive art installation into next year’s Creating Equilibrium festival, everyone came together to reflect on what we had started. With glasses raised, toasts and personal pledges were made to dramatically increase the reach and volume of this vital message. It was a perfect way to close out the opening year of Creating Equilibrium.