Nature’s Grand Adventure delivers 14 Days of Intensity


The best forward paddler in the world! Imtiaz Moosa.  He 'saw' what a beautiful day this was!
The best forward paddler in the world! Imtiaz Moosa. He ‘saw’ what a beautiful day this was!

I’m writing this post from the Days Inn motel at the small town of Moose Lake, MN, about 100 miles north of the Twin Cities, (Minneapolis St Paul). We finished our fourteen day canoe trip yesterday and leaving The Boundary Waters after a final days’ hard paddle, we drove down the shores of Lake Superior taking a much needed overnight rest stop on the drive back to Imi’s house. Its 5am and I think back to where I was yesterday at 5am, and how so different life can be… Particularly from a One Point Zero perspective?

Yesterday at 5am I was snug in my sleeping bag inside my 2 square metre tent (20 square feet) that has been a more than big enough house for me for the past 14 days. (Yeah that’s just 2m X 1m, compared with the 241 square meters (2600 square feet) of ‘the average’ new USA home built last year.) Why do we need so much space?  More space is one of the biggest contributors to One Point Six and increasing!

Outside the tent, the weather was a bit wild, with thunder rumbles all around, the occasional long flash of lightning, reminding me of the almost forgotten existence of electricity, and then the intermittent rain playing with the mind as it tempted me out of my cosy bliss. With a long day’s paddle and three portages ahead, we had decided to set off as early as possible this last day, and going to bed after a perfect sunset this storm was a bit of a surprise. In the silence between the rain squalls I was calling out to Imi in his tent, and negotiating a new ‘convenient’ time to get up and start the day. With rain gear on, we were soon outside taking down our ‘houses’, and me making breakfast for the day ahead. It’s hard to convince anyone who wasn’t there that this was invigorating, but after fourteen days of being fully exposed to Nature’s Grand Adventure, nothing bugged us anymore, and one sees the vitality in all the faces Nature presents.

Almost perfect!  Canoe empty and home all set up. Just enjoying the intensity of Nature!
Almost perfect! Canoe empty and home all set up. Just enjoying the intensity of Nature!

The Boundary Waters is an amazing wilderness in its size and unique, interconnected lake / forest topography. In the fourteen days we had traversed 30 lakes, doing twenty portages that were sometimes needed to cross from one lake to the next. Sometimes it was a waterfall or challenging waters, or sometimes it was just that there was no water connection between two lakes, but in these portages we had to get out and carry the canoe and all our stuff to the next lake. Over the years Imi and I have developed a great formula where we now does the portage on his own with his backpack and his paddle as his ‘white stick’, and I do the three trips, carrying first the canoe and one backpack, then returning to get the food and supplies pack. Imi is quite incredible how he manages these sometimes tough portages without assistance, and thankfully again without (major) injury.  He shared with me that he was apprehensive this trip as it had been two years since we had done a canoe trip and he wasn’t sure whether ageing and his recently acquired lounge recliner would have affected his toughness and portage confidence. It was just so great that halfway through this trip he shared with me how his confidence had returned and he was so thankful that I trusted him to allow him to take on the solo portage risk. Like me he did have a few battle scars to show from an unplanned encounter with our environment.

Two days it was cold enough for us to 'need' a fire. Imi in heaven for him!
Two days it was cold enough for us to ‘need’ a fire. Imi in heaven for him!

As we moved into the rhythm of the last day, and I started dealing with full on American society just around the corner I reflected on the simple life we had had and how things just move out of control as we enter society.

There we had not needed electricity for fourteen days. No hot showers or baths, in fact no treated water. The average developed world person uses something like 70 litres of water a day of which 40% is heated water, and there we hadn’t used any water other than the natural lake waters. We had no TV’s, no phones, no advertisements pushed in our faces, urging us to buy stuff we don’t need. We hadn’t bought a single thing in fourteen days; in fact neither of us had brought any money along. We’d use less than a litre of fuel for heating and our only form of transport was human powered. Our food was simple yet wholesome, and meal times were both special, and purposeful, and because of the weight constraints we were always at that ‘just enough is enough’ interface, that calls for mindfulness in restraint, but not to the extent that one feels sacrifice or denying oneself of a wholesome life.

I had a small bottle of Yukon Jack, bourbon whisky that lasted three days, and had me even wondering whether it was a good idea that I had brought it along. All this ‘mindful consumption’ makes one realise how so unmindful we have become. As I looked back on the long journey I have come I realised how my definition of success and happiness formula have changed and how ridiculously instant gratification and desiring of excess, extravagance, ‘luxury’ etc I used to be… There was no mindful brake that stopped and made me check my emotive desires to find it whether just following my ‘feelings’ was necessarily best for the whole of me, and helping me aspire to a fully intense human being: One that fits and deserves to fit in Nature’s team?

The full canoe from the helmsman's view!
The full canoe from the helmsman’s view!

Imi with me this trip and now really living One Point Zero and jointly trying to understand what One Point Zero means for society has brought both up very controversial discussions: Discussions about purpose, definition of life success, and what makes a fully intense, ‘Nature approved’, human being? We concluded that there are many symptoms of us humans today that clearly would fit into the ‘non-approved’ box yet we have accepted these as modern society.

After fourteen days living like we did, I felt fitter, healthier and more intense as a human than when we started, and both in our discussions and my further development of my relationship with Nature and our planet I felt I was continuing building something very, very, sacred to me: My belonging with this planet and all that goes with that….  I am a realist and love many parts of modern society and so know that living full time the very simple life I have just experienced is not enough for me, I do need more diversity of relationship with people and society, and my One Point Zero mission would be without purpose in The Boundary Waters. I have had much more intense and longer experiences deep in Nature’s wilderness and my need for these experiences will never go away, but rather deepen my bond and understanding of the hugely challenging relationship to be a full member of Nature’s team while also enjoying the vibrancy of belonging with a society that is far away from being part of Nature’s team. The challenge is to belong to both teams, (Nature’s teal, and The Human team) and to help other see that without belonging to Nature’s team there is no belonging as a full spiritual human, a void much bigger that most of us understand, and without belonging to humans there is no human belonging and a lesser void but one we perceive as greater and in so doing we risk compromise all humanity.

Typical lake with islands off 'our beach' Perfect swimming temperature.
Typical lake with islands off ‘our beach’ Perfect swimming temperature.

Over the next week I’ll be feeding back to you the conclusions and viewpoints regarding the three questions Imi and I set out to discuss. These questions being:

  1. What the ‘hell’ can ‘we’ do to get to One Point Zero?

(Those that know Imi, will know that including the word ‘hell’ is part of Imi’s style and an indication of a topic that is very close and passionate to him!! This ‘we’ isn’t about Imi and me, this is about ‘us’ all humans.

  1. How can we possibly have a Good Life with One Point Zero?                                                                                                 
  1. Should those who have contributed most to the One Point Six and increasing problem ‘pay’ the most for its resolution?

A last thought to challenge one’s paradigms and maybe help the One Point Zero learning process, and what this all means to us today:   In my pondering at The boundary Waters, and using America as my current reference country, I took the Global Footprint Network’s, 2016 data and turned my interpretation upside down coming up with what may be a strange conclusion:   The USA is 54% over populated! Now canoeing around the vastness of The Boundary Waters, and not coming across many people that would seem an impossible fact. Yes experiencing its populous big cities and walking in downtown Manhattan at rush hour may make that seem a bit more of a possible fact. Then travelling right across the country and seeing its vast openness, and many, many huge and magnificent National Parks, one would then be pushed back to saying there is no way the USA is 56% overpopulated!

Being an African, I have heard many people say Africa is overpopulated, and then with Imi’s cultural connection back to India, he vehemently states that India is overpopulated…  One of ‘The Facts’ is ‘Our Crowd Success’, and I have discussed this before in my blogs from the Ship trip, but maybe we should ask what we mean when we say ‘overpopulated’:  In One Point Zero context, overpopulated means that the ecosystem cannot sustainably deal with the level of the population, and their combined lifestyles as it relates to their combined ecological footprints.  So before we can say a piece of our planet is over populated we need to know two things: The ability of that specific part of our planet to deal with the footprint stuff humans create (The bio capacity), and then secondly how much of that footprint stuff the humans that live on that piece of planet actually create every day.  If there is more stuff being created than there is bio capacity then that piece of planet is overcrowded and is in need of some other piece of the planet’s bio capacity land to process its overload.

In the case of the USA it would need the size of the USA to be about 2.5 times the size of the country today.  Or putting it another way, there are some 56% too many people for the bio-capacity of the USA.

I found this quite a profound conclusion and since looking at the ecological problem from this overpopulation perspective, I have randomly asked those I bump into whether they think the USA has an overpopulation problem, and everyone has said “No”. Obviously the overpopulation problem can be corrected by a way of life consumption modification, but this is a huge undertaking and one that is where my work on One Point Zero is directed. How do we get people to see this huge overpopulation problem, take it seriously, and see that it’s not good for them, others, and all of Us?

I guess if there were other nations, or other parts of the planet that had surplus capacity the USA could rent this capacity, but the issue is the whole planet is seriously ecologically overcrowded, so there is no spare space????  Now I bet those real estate developers of you will be excited about thinking about how the undeveloped countries who do have some spare capacity can become overnight ‘zillionaires’ by renting / selling/ time sharing their unused capacity…?

As a real off the wall thought exploration, try and think through your over / under populated situation with you and your family / community:  The basic idea is that we each need enough green / good / natural real estate that has enough bio capacity to support our own life styles and carbon footprint.  Not sure that makes sense to you, and if you will enjoy exploring the concept, but it could lead you on a very interesting journey….

Sunrise or sunset.... Depends on how we want to see everything hey???!!!
Sunrise or sunset…. Depends on how we want to see everything hey???!!!

There were times in The Boundary Waters where I actually got angry about all this as I reflect on how ‘we’ have got ourselves into this position, and over my life how I was ‘shown the way’ by so many people, organisations, and preached belief systems that were all presented as THE only path for Success. Many of these were good people, people I trusted, and maybe even looked up to as people who ‘had Success’. I ask myself how I bucked the trend, and what made me walk away from ‘it all’ to try find ‘Real Success’.  Each time I answer that it was my soul calling me to be true to myself and too seek belonging with nature and our Planet above all as that was where belonging with the soul would be found. Way back then I had no idea that was the reason that that was the real motive, and in presenting this to you I don’t want it to come across as being religious, or new born, or whatever, this has been a path to human belonging: Belonging with our Planet, and it’s manager: Nature.

I assume many of you are going through a startling discovering process like I am going through, but with your unique perspective and situation. I expect that like me you could move between anger, inspiration, and a wonderful feeling of discovery of what human success means and how a sense of oneness with Nature and the whole of humanity is possible and how amazing and life enhancing that could be….

Anyway, there we go, my first post back in civilisation, and as usual straight from the heart….

Lots more to come over the next six weeks, as Trumped by Nature moves into a new phase: Over the next few days I’ll be wrapping up with Imi, and then Monday I plan to renew my relationship with Amtrak and take the train to Montana where I’ll be based for a week or so…. You can expect some fiery stuff to come for these next few weeks….

My container ship leaves from Oakland on 24th August, and it will be about 22 days to Auckland, New Zealand from there.

Thanks to the almost Zero Point Zero life of the past two weeks, I’m well on track for this Trumped by Nature’s goal.  Restraint in the next 3 weeks will be key!


More soon, and thanks for all the emails, and it would be great to see more comments…. This is about exploring together, don’t be shy!


Off to The Boundary Waters:

Desperately needing what Gauguin and Thoreau sought….

I’m writing this from a place called Grand Marais on the banks of Lake Superior that largest lake of The Great Lakes. The town is about 50 miles from the Canadian border. Its just a few miles from here to The Gunflint Trail where our two week canoe expedition will begin. The area is currently experiencing a serious heat wave, so my 115 deg F New Mexico training will come in handy!

Since arriving in the USA I have been deep inside a a society that is very way off One Point Zero and while its been wonderful intense exploring, its also been draining!  It’s time for me to re-energise and wilderness Nature is where I do that the best.

I’m reading ‘The Social Conquest of Earth’ by Edward Wilson, and he uses Paul Gauguin and David Thoreau as examples of people who searched for ‘the answers’ in Simplicity and Nature. Most would know the stories behind these two quite different men, but David Thoreau’s quest outlined below exemplifies what I have found over the past 12 years of my huge transformation:

Thoreau set out alone in Nature:   “To front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach….. To cut a broad swath, and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…


Most of the past 12 years have I powerfully experienced what he describes, and I’m sure many of you have too?  To me, it is here where inspiration and answers for One Point Zero lie, not in Chicago, Minneapolis, London, Sydney, or the same sort of city ‘where evers’….. In that I don’t mean cities are not part of the future, but rather the new visions for cities lie by seeing how far off being intensely human as we ‘should be’, current city life has taken us..

0 Nature and you

The next two weeks will be about that simplicity and connection with raw Nature, for Imi and I…. I can wait to use the intense experiences of the last 6 weeks of Trumped by Nature to reflect and find inspiration for the future of One Point Zero

D typical view from canoe

Imi and I will be going to immerse ourselves in this splendid wilderness, and use the environment to try and answer these three questions:

  1. What the ‘hell’ can ‘we’ do to get to One Point Zero?

(Those that know Imi, will know that including the word ‘hell’ is part of Imi’s style and an indication of a topic that is very close and passionate to him!! This ‘we’ isn’t about Imi and me, this is about ‘us’ all humans.

  1. How can we possibly have a Good Life with One Point Zero?                                                                                                     
  2. Should those who have contributed most to the One Point Six and increasing problem ‘pay’ the most for its resolution?

In setting out these questions, I’m inviting you to engage in your own thinking and debates on the issues and your answers.

When we come back after our two weeks we will share with you are thoughts and maybe the answers we arrive at…

I’ll also share with you some of the intense experiences Imi and I have had already had in exploring Amish and other religious views on One Point Zero.

I hope you also use this time to move Your One Point Zero Challenge forward and I’ll ‘see’ you in just over two weeks…!

Have fun!

Chicago to My Friend Imi……

Arriving in Chicago at 3 pm with a 9 pm connecting Greyhound bus I had time ti walk the streets of Chicago, and feel the vibe.  Well the Amtrak station was hugely busy, but like most of the downtown Chicago the station building is truly impressive. A Huge foyer area with the largest American flag I have ever seen hanging down the one wall.  People seemed stressed and I struggled to find anyone to engage in anything remotely like a One Point Zero conversation….!

Moving to the Greyhound bus terminal I have to say took me into another world of hostility. I’m not trying to be negative, but I have never had to work so hard to get a positive I want to help you approach from staff.  I don’t know what it is, maybe the general tension in the country from all the heavy stuff going on. I never have issues with friendliness to people, but this sternness, almost verging on hostility is pervasive.  

I did wonder if the NZ experience of the past 18 months has set standards so high that I’m expecting too much of strangers. In Nelson when the supermarket cashier asks you ‘How your day is?’, he or she really means it and wants to know….? Yes there are people in the queue behind you, but nobody is stressed and it’s all part of a fully human experience to interact with authenticity and interest.  It’s just so human and I sense how we were supposed to be?

I’ve been in the US many, many times, other big cities of the world too, and so do know the full on, put walls around yourself, focus and just do what you have to do approach. I was one of ‘them’, but it’s so clear to me how that big city behaviour is so wrong and so non-human yet increasingly become the ‘required’ behaviour for success, or else the ‘desperate’ behaviour of survival.  The people at the Greyhound terminal seemed to have seriously beaten up spirits, and in the last grasps of this desperate survival.

I thought back to my long bus ride from Nelson to Tauranga (see blogs below of early June) and just how so different the staff I interacted had been.  Those people all seemed so happy in the jobs and had capacity to engage, and be helpful and friendly…..   

The only guy I saw smile here was a cleaner and I went up to him, and asked if I could shake his hand?  So surprised I solved his mystery by saying: ” Mate you are the only person I have seen who has smile and looks happy around here”

I do believe this stress I was witness is all related to One Point Six trend and a culture of dog eat dog, to have more and more, faster and faster….  One can see the dogs who are ‘winning’ and the dogs who are ‘being eaten’, and actually both dogs looked stressed for very different reasons… 

The sad thing is that every day the world is moving more to the Chicago (Big city dog eats dog) model, and further away from the New Zealand (old school values) way….   

 I don’t sense we humans were supposed to flourish on this Big City, dog eats dog way of life, and here I was seeing blatant evidence of this!  This is another sign to me that The Success ‘we’ have defined is not ‘Success’, and a One Point Zero would not have that modus operandi…. Mainly because the need more, want more, will get more mind set has to disappear for One Point Zero to be achieved and to stay at One Point Zero. There is a fundamental clash between Nature’s way, and The Western Capitalist way, and with most of the conflicts and stress in the world  today this conflict is at the root cause.  That’s a grand statement that maybe seems out of place and generalising for my One Point Zero purpose, but as I think about things and translate my own transformation the picture is just so clear that the path of society needs a radical change….. We have lost our connection to belonging as a full creature of Nature on this planet. Its like we are deformed in our unnatural struggle to own and dominate everything…

The eight hour bus trip to Minneapolis was as expected and picking up the rental car in Down Town Minneapolis, I was soon crossing the St Croix river into Wisconsin and arrived at Imi’s place in River Falls, to a huge hug. I have stayed at Imi’s place often so this felt like home, and I was soon catching up on lost sleep.


Amtrak delivers a wonderful experience…:

I’m now four hours from Chicago, and without trying to over glamorise the trip, it has been truly wonderful in so many respects: Scenery, fellow passengers, comfort, great pace, and a glimpse of four states and of America, and some of their towns and cities..

Sunset dinner in the dining carriage with an interesting late thirties woman with a 9 month old: She was moving from Los Angeles to a small town in Indiana, after having lived for ten years in New York City, and now totally had enough of the big city values and lifestyle. Moving from NYC she thought California would be better but after trying Los Angeles now, she realised it’s the Big Cities and The System that is ‘the problem’.  Being part of a US Navy family, she’d lived many years overseas when she was younger, and ended by saying: “Maybe I shouldn’t be trying Indiana, but rather be leaving America?

At Raton, New Mexico, a huge contingent of boy scouts joined us at and I ended up immersed in conversation with four of them: Sixteen year olds, having just spent two weeks on a wilderness camp. Well, different to my California experience, here I found young people who had a perspective of Nature that was both confused but surprisingly enlightened for their age. Two of the three had travelled overseas the one had even been to South Africa.

When I asked whether they think humans are part of Nature or something special and different, they said they believed we should be part of Nature, but we have drifted away and aren’t anymore.  I explored more what Nature is and how it works, and they all agreed without doubt that we should be part of Nature, and as they spoke I saw a real pain in their expressions. Almost like they shouldn’t be saying that as they were breaking a promise that they weren’t to tell anyone that??  My eyes welled up, and I shared with them how sad I find this this fact is, but how great it is that they realise this and were sharing their hearts with me…..

They didn’t know about the extent of our ‘One Point Six and ever increasing’ problem, but as I took them through it they got ‘it’ all straight away, and I sensed a huge shock, but interestingly there was also a desire to explore and understand. Unlike many older people, this exchange seemed free of guilt / denial baggage, and there was almost a sense of excitement of a new unknown they were discovering.

Like I have done many times with the younger generation, I then openly apologised to them for what ‘My Generation’ have done. Almost in mitigation highlighting the fact that we are the first generation to actually have ‘The Facts’ that show us ‘for the first time’ what many generations of society have done. It was now for them to decide what to do, and I shared how I was exploring the unknown myself, how to help and what I should do…?

I then moved the conversation to their personal context?  We spent four hours talking through all this and what it could mean for their life / career choices, and this all helped me see that the best thing a young person needs today is to have strong life explorer and a life adventurer skills…. We need a quite different new path, but one that uses the great things from the current path, yet set in a future One Point Zero context, where Nature is Supreme. This requires radical explorers, and extreme adventurers who are fearless for the unknown, and sceptical of passed down truths, and with that mind set the life journey will be Fun, Challenging and Rewarding.

It was a valuable time together for all of us, and I just wondered if any of you reading this have shared One Point Zero with your ‘young adults’ and how you deal with these seemingly difficult discussions. Not having kids, it’s easy for me to have these discussions, but it made me realise that if I did have kids I’d hope they already knew about all this because of my proactive leadership! If they didn’t know then once I knew the One Point Zero story I’d definitely be sharing it and make the sharing and guidance part of my contribution to mitigating my generation’s ‘guilt’…  Or maybe ‘ignorance is bliss’ and keep it all away from ‘them’….?  I can’t see how that is good for anyone, but…. I don’t know?   This is all challenging stuff!

Trumped by Nature is delivering what I envisaged, and if I’d flown from NZ to Minneapolis, it would have just been a day or two, but man I’d never have had the rich and challenging experience I’m currently having…

I’m only one third of the way through the adventure, but already I have no doubt that these three months at the coalface of the One Point Zero interface with Society will have a profound impact on decisions once I’m back in New Zealand, and my future activist journey. For now, let the adventure continue….

The Lonely Road… Inspiration and Credit from a Blind Man!

After three days in Albuquerque, and overloaded with CNN, I felt ready to start the next leg of Trumped by Nature, a US Public Transport experience:  Its 27 hours by Amtrak railway to Chicago, then a 9 hour overnight Greyhound bus connection to Minneapolis, just over the Mississippi River from my Blind friend Imi in Wisconsin.

I hear Imi saying to me: “It would have only taken you half a day from San Diego by air: We could have spent a whole lot more days together and it would have been a lot easier for you?”  In our past three US adventures (See here) I did do the ‘flying thing’ but this time the adventure includes the goal of me trying to do it within my One Point Zero restraints.

My Amtrak home for 27 hours to Chicago
My Amtrak home for 27 hours to Chicago

Knowing that “Easier for me” wasn’t the goal I had to remind myself that I’m exploring sustainable travel, and ask myself how I’m doing so far?  Well I proudly tell people I’m in the USA, having crossed the Pacific Ocean, with no bigger footprint than if I’d stayed in Nelson, NZ, living a ‘normal life’!  But you have just driven 900 miles with Bob in his car, how does that fit in, Howard??

Well I was sort of a hitch-hiker, riding on the back of Bob’s trip to Albuquerque anyway. I can tell you this wasn’t easy, as right up until the last minute I said to Bob: “I ‘d rather take the bus, if you going there just for me, hey?”  This was challenging for me, and tested my One Point Zero priority and resolve. In setting out on this ‘Trumped by Nature’ adventure, I wanted to experience the coalface of the conflict and here it was again. Bob said he wanted to go anyway, so I took a hitch hiker’s credit, and left him with the full footprint cost?

A foot print that would have amounted to 5% of my annual footprint allowance!  Yep, just 3 days of motor car travel with two of us sharing the total footprint. For someone driving solo there and back, or a ‘taxi’ loading the whole footprint onto ‘the passenger’ it would be a scary 20% of their total annual footprint ‘allowance’. The average American drives 13 400 miles a year, and if that’s done alone that person is over their ‘allowance’ just on driving, let alone all the other ‘just living’ footprint generated! Obviously all those miles are not as the only one in the car but I hope you can see the seriousness of ‘our’ problem.  The concept of an ‘allowance’ for each one of us is probably totally foreign to many of ‘you’?

The ‘allowance’ here assumes each of us 7.6 billion humans is allocated equal share of Nature’s scarce regenerative bio-capacity. The very bio capacity that we currently need 60% more of and our planet hasn’t got it. One Point Zero is about living within the single planet capacity Nature has available. Back to the ‘allowance’ of this capacity:

As I often get told: “That’s how you (Howard) have decided to allocate that capacity, but I haven’t agreed with that yet!!”  That’s true, and wondering if ‘they’ have even accepted the fact that that we are 60% over the capacity, I respond:  “Yep, ‘mate’ I accept that and ‘Yep’, I can’t force you to accept how I worked out my capacity allowance, but let me know what planet bio capacity allocation you come up with for You? May be you have a better way that would help me too… ?”

That's my coffee cup still from Los Angeles. That's the morning breakfast bin at the motel I stayed at. It needs to be emptied every half hour over breakfast!
That’s my coffee cup still from Los Angeles. That’s the morning breakfast bin at the motel I stayed at. It needs to be emptied every half hour over breakfast!

This is challenging stuff, but once I accepted ‘My allocation’ I became surprisingly peaceful and it’s now all a fun exploration of how to do it that fits perfectly with my soul!  ‘My allocation’ works out at some 3-5 times lower than what an average developed world citizen uses…..! That’s the extent of ‘Our Challenge’, but I just wish more would see it as OUR challenge….

The great lounge cafe coach on the train for all to share.
The great lounge cafe coach on the train for all to share.

Travel by train and bus both have very low footprint versus flying and so that’s what this current travel leg to Minneapolis and my friend Imi, is about. (Of course the best footprint is not travelling, but I‘m not giving up on what I love yet!) I’m writing this on Amtrak’s Superliner, but in the non-elite, coach class section, and really enjoying the different experience as the New Mexico terrain changes from semi desert to what I’d call more fertile savannah!  Interestingly, all the people I ask why they are going by train, give ‘cost’ and / or ‘just very pleasant’ as the reasons, none about ‘their foot print’.

The skyscrapers of Chicago from the train as I arrived 30 minutes ago!
The skyscrapers of Chicago from the train as I arrived 30 minutes ago!

After arriving in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Imi and I are renting a car to drive from his house in Wisconsin to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota for our two week canoe expedition in its pristine wilderness. The car trip there and back, will be some 800 miles. “Now how does that footprint work for you, Howard?”

For both cost and carbon footprint reasons, we did try to get a bus or lift to the Boundary Waters, but this proved a huge challenge, forcing us into the rental car option, and I had a footprint challenge, that had to be solved.

Well just like the master wheeler dealer, Mr Trump, I came up with a deal. Unlike his one’s which no doubt all increase the planets carbon footprint, and feed his appetite for greed, mine seems footprint legitimate, enables me to be with my buddy, and fits with my soul!

Africa 2 401s
Imi in Bagamoyo on our Tanzania expedition

Imi, (Professor Imtiaz Moosa, Head of Philosophy at Wisconsin University, River Falls) is one of the few people of his socio economic class who is a sub One Point Zero-er, and has been for years, even before the concept came up! I’m always interested in how he managed to avoid be sucked into the western consumption, greed and materialism life? His blindness has helped, reduce temptation of visual marketing, but it all started well before he went blind, and is a complex mixture of cultural upbringing, his philosophical explorations, and an ability to belong with himself which means he is not swayed by the ‘fashions’ required to belong to ‘The Crowd’.

That's Imi's tent at The Boundary Waters a few years back... Simplicity deluxe!
That’s Imi’s tent at The Boundary Waters a few years back… Simplicity deluxe!

From day one on our 2010 Yukon River trip, we just hit it off as two ‘boys’ who value the simple life, and had a pretty common view of Nature, how our planet works and how we humans fit in to it all. Imi sometimes puts me to shame on the simplicity of need, I know that may sounds scary for some of you, but having spent so many months with him in the USA, Canada, Tanzania, and New Zealand, I know Imi is a rare, USA based, icon of low consumption, simplicity of need, and a total abhorrence of conspicuous consumption, and The Good Life ideology.

So in the context of One Point Zero, Imi lives a life that is below ‘the allowance’, and as such is a walking carbon footprint credit!

Imi loves the wilderness, I love the wilderness, Imi and I love sharing time in the wilderness together, and this time I’m constrained by my One Point Zero, ‘allowance’.

I realise Imi has his footprint credit and being blind can’t drive himself to the wilderness? (Yet, amazingly he can navigate me there!) I can help him spend the credit for something we both want, provided I don’t get the footprint loaded on to me? So if he signs ‘my indemnity form’ to say I’m ‘Just his driver’, we have a wonderful win-win-win deal!!

Ha-ha, ‘Donald’ I’m learning from you, man, without paying your rip off ‘University’ tuition fees, but can you see how my deal is all above board and also doesn’t result in some huge footprint generating and Trump enriching result! The carbon fingerprint of a casino is huge, and surely can’t be justified as being necessary for human flourishing in a future One Point Zero world.

Now when Imi reads this he will ‘hit the roof’ as he is an inspiration in independence and self-sufficiency, and so ‘help’ is not a word in his vocabulary!   Anyway given our relationship, I know he will understand the whole intent of this Post!

In sharing the above I sense many will conclude that there are much more fun, important, meaningful things than trying to fit my ‘footprint in my allowance’?  I could see why one could conclude that, but for me the whole mindful step is the most valuable and one that makes me realise I am part of a home that I should care for and Nature’s system that I should respect. I’m mindful of consequences of my decisions to the planet and my fellow humans, both current and future generations.  I know this may sound so cute, stupid or pointless when so many others are not doing this, but I wish I could describe how liberating it feels as I strive to be a mindful, and ‘proper human’, not an arrogant, exploiting, couldn’t care less, anthropocentric one….. And I say that not wanting to come across ‘holier than thou’, but rather from a point of real despair that society can’t see the flaw of its journey to ‘The Facts’ of today.

Fingers crossed for the Republican Convention going without serious incident
Fingers crossed for the Republican Convention going without serious incident


Cowboys, Tombstones, Truth and Consequences

The Now  

A welcomed roadside horizon breaker! Its 46 degrees out there!
A welcomed roadside horizon breaker! Its 46 degrees out there!

San Diego to Albuquerque, a drive that most people would say would be boring, and “best you go as fast as you can”….! With mostly a 75 mph highway speed limit, we could have been there in 11 hours! My brother-in-law Bob, had his own ‘business’ to do beyond Albuquerque, and so in my desire to find the soul of the American South West, I was often playing the ‘bad boy’ handbrake. I was never bored….probably over stimulated…so read on:

Eventually it took us 3 days, crossing California, Arizona, and almost halfway across New Mexico: Taking the southern route going west via Tucson, Tombstone, and then before El Paso, heading north from Los Cruces up to Albuquerque. All in all about 900 miles, in desert and semi desert terrain, and dealing with temperatures that topped 45 degree centigrade (115 F) temperatures.

Before we turned to go north the road followed the Mexican border just tens of miles south, and the enormity and the extent of Mr Trump’s wall was blatantly apparent. There were road checkpoints every now and again, and with our obvious non-Mexican roots, we were waived on with little interest. I could see how this vast border and its close proximity to the highway facilitating the temptations of illegal immigration, and how with the cowboys now almost extinct a wall is being contemplated! Or are the cowboys in revival and is Mr Trump the new ‘Cowboy in town’ barging into the comical saloon’…?? (See more below!)

We left San Diego just days after the Dallas shooting, and so as we travelled the USA was busy working out what this all means for them personally and the nations as a whole. Arriving in Tucson on the day of the police officer funerals, President Obama’s funeral speech, and talking with locals and getting a feel for the South West slant on the situation was enlightening. I sensed that adding this developing racial dimension onto the already unpalatable Clinton and Trump picture is moving American and its people into a place they don’t want to be, and one that is fuelling angst and increasingly divisions. (More below.)

With endless flat pains, bordered by impressive mountain ranges, the cactus vegetation was occasionally interrupted by fertile farmlands kept alive by man’s ingenious connections to Nature’s big rivers: The Colorado, Rio Grande being the most notable. We found much evidence of Man’s greed and misunderstanding of Nature where Nature’s arteries had been sucked dry and the dependent communities forced to leave.

The restored school in Fairbank
The restored school in Fairbank

To my utter amazement one such community, was named Fairbank, and it was the transportation centre for the bustling silver mining area that formed around the neighbour town of Tombstone.

Tombstone was the scene of the Wyatt Earp shoot outs, a Hollywood movie of the same name, and is a true western cowboy town. With its initial attraction of silver mining no more, it is prospering as a tourist hole, for those with an interest in reliving its past. Over the 35 years span of living in and visiting America, I’ve been to many of old US cowboy towns, but with my more enlightened truth searching mind set Tombstone provided some more shocking truths.  (More below)


Soon after our turn to head North we passed through the town named ‘Truth or Consequences’ and I can only but feel that my One Point Zero destiny brought me along this route. To me and Mr Gandhi (“My Life is My Message”), life is just about The Truths, strive to live by them, and dealing with personal integrity the consequences of not living by them.

With my deep One Point Zero thinking time on the ship from New Zealand, followed by the shock of my now two weeks in the US, I feel strongly that Society, The Crowd’, are either being purposely prevented from seeing ‘The Truths’, and or ‘The Crowd’ knows ‘The Truths’ and is in selfish ‘convenient denial’.  Either way the situation deeply concerns me as a person who walks his truths, is deeply concerned about the path of Humanity.

So Truth or Consequences had deep meaning for me, and as we passed through Bob was reluctant to stop, as I’d told him the huge Society and America significance these three simple words meant. I’d had a few very disturbing racially scary interactions with people in Tombstone, and I wondered how much America was in Truth denial, and the disturbing consequences are nor revealing themselves all over the American society. Maybe the truth is that hypocrisy prevails….?

These are the times of real aloneness, when one accepts that silence is more productive than discussing the truths. I spent the next hour seemingly staring at the vast desert  and straight road ahead, but inside me I wondered whether silence was cowardice, and passive belonging with the lies of ‘The Crowd’ that I seemingly openly detest?

This certainly hadn’t been a boring drive as many had intimated it would be…. Exploring ‘The Truths’ and Consequences of Life and Society, can never be boring… To me: “That is Life!”

We soon arrived into the metropolis of Albuquerque, and in with truly amazing team work, Bob and I explored the city without a map or GPS assistance finding the ‘perfect’ motel for our different needs: Bob would leave early in the morning, and I’d be based for rest and exploring, before joining Amtrak on Sunday for my ‘sustainable’ train trip to Chicago. From there it’s Greyhound to Minneapolis, and my blind friend Imtiaz Moosa.

Tombstones, Truth, Consequences and The Future

In the past seven days there have been two major world ‘atrocities’:  The Dallas police killings, and now the Nice, Bastille Day, carnage…..!  Then yesterday the Turkish attempted coup. Three weeks ago was Brexit, and a country is left without a vision for its contested liberty, and rather is left dealing with the crisis ‘vision’ of minimising the damage. Next week is the Republican Convention, to anoint a potential world leader who seemingly has a vision but one associated with that of the lone cowboy. In anticipation of ‘another tragic event’, amongst unprecedented security initiatives, Cleveland has prepared jail facilities for almost 1000 new prisoners, and has set up an almost 24 hour court infrastructure that includes 12 judges be able to work 10 hour shifts for the whole week.

All around me, I feel that with all these happenings, The Nation (The whole world?)  is on tenterhooks. I suspect that for all of us, these events dig into our souls, but we can react by finding distraction, connecting with lies, or searching for the truths and answers for ourselves? . Using the town of Tombstone for its reflecting tombstone significance There were lots of museums and recreations of the past.

Tombstone main street: The unarmed Man from Nature in blue (me) and The Cowboy going for the draw of his 450! That guy does point blank shots to his chest with a 450 on a bullet proof vest 3 times a day! Photo thanks to Bob!
Tombstone main street: The unarmed Man from Nature in blue (me) and The Cowboy going for the draw of his 450! That guy does point blank shots to his chest with a 450 on a bullet proof vest 3 times a day! Photo thanks to Bob!

I struggled to find a deeper message than the obvious cowboy shootout story and its link to courage and lawlessness.  The devastation of the Apaches, and the once vast indigenous wildlife, seemed to have significance only in their insignificant references, and how they added to the positive picture of domination and violent conflict. I even asked Americans in Tombstone what the real message of Tombstone was about, but I never found anything deep and meaningful forthcoming. Messages that could be used positively for the challenges we have in Society today. In fact the shallow messages I got were all supporting domination, power through technology (guns), and winning at all costs….

I was astounded to find both blatant and inferred unapologetic racism I found as I explored. One shopkeeper epitomises the feelings in her telling me that America needs all the blacks out of the country, and that Obama is the cause of all these racial problems. She told me that ‘all of us’ vote for Trump, and said with clarity and conviction that firstly he will keep the Mexicans out, secondly create jobs “so the lazy blacks have to work”, and thirdly he will make America the dominate power over the world again.  I don’t see any value in sharing with you how she described ‘black people’, other than to say it was ‘disgusting’ and reminiscent of the words many white people would have used in South Africa 30 years ago before Mandela took over…..

Having come through apartheid in South Africa  and having transformed my whole orientation on racial issues, colonisation, success, and the real value in traditional cultures I see the hindsight value of ‘tombstones’ in helping me understand what was right and what was wrong with the human course of the past.

Changing racially wired minds is almost impossible without some trauma like I had in South Africa driving personal motivation. Sadly I don’t see the appetite for voluntary trauma at either government or personal level, and maybe the serious compromise option is that the country is best reorganised around the racism truths in each area? Whatever the solutions to this difficult challenge, I sense relying on politically correct hypocrisy or denial of the Truths to smooth over a very real humanitarian failing will lead to more bloodshed and withering souls.

Beyond society, My Transformation then went further with a different ‘tombstone’ as my guiding reference: This ‘tombstone’, one larger than a human creation, a transcendental tombstone. With the past twelve years of looking at ‘Nature’s tombstone’, I realise we humans need to look as much back as we look forward for where we need to go….America seems to only want to look forward and forget the deep messages from The Tombstones….

Maybe as One Point Six, moves rapidly to One Point Seven, and One Point Zero becomes more distant reflecting on our ‘mistakes’ of the past is where we need to be spending more time, and we will find that Nature’s tombstone has the most valuable lessons of where we have gone wrong…. The messages will be painful, but each day we don’t that will get more painful to deal with! We need to find our power not in Domination through wealth and technology, but in our wonderful submission to Nature’s rules. Nature doesn’t have cowboys, nor heroes, just intensity to thrive within the rules with all the other players in Only Real The Game on offer!

The Last Supper…!

Before saying our goodbyes, Bob and I had a sentimental ‘last supper’ at a Mexican restaurant nearby our motel, and I was just astounded at the volume of food we were given. Bob could only manage half, and when the waiter came and asked if he wanted to take ‘it’ away, and Bob said “No” I asked the waiter what he would do with ‘it’? In a very matter of fact way he said: “Throw ‘it’ away”.  With the waiter having left I turned to Bob and sought his agreement in the culture confronting statement, “That’s disgusting, mate, it really is?”  Bob sensed I meant his wastage, but I explained I meant the culture of just loading up servings and all the waste. I looked around and without exaggerating 60% of the people in the restaurant would have qualified as overweight, or significantly overweight… This whole experience wasn’t a once off this aberration, this has been the norm since arriving and a norm I have always experienced in America, but now I have my One Point Zero activist hat on!  This story is not about judging the individuals involved. We are all casualties. This is about The Facts that something serious is deeply wrong in The Success that is making all these casualties. It’s almost a crime by ‘the architects’ and I feel sad for the casualties who know no better of what is REALLY wrong.


The planet is suffering, the people are suffering, the blacks and whites are at war, the cowboys are returning, and ‘The Game’ of the world’s most powerful Nation just gets finessed to ‘improve’ it’s not negotiable ‘winning’ formula and definition of Success!


‘Nobody’ is looking back at the message from Tombstones and from Nature and questioning the path ahead, and what could be wrong? Questioning our success is failure? ‘Nobody’ is seeing that the wins are not real for Real Human Success. The more ‘the lies’ continue the more the human soul withers and loses its vital influence on the direction. (Read more here) Maybe this is the strategy of ‘The Architects’?

Man, I struggle with all this, and cannot for the life of me see where I’m going wrong in desiring a One Point Zero world for everyone!  This is not about Me, nor Sustainability this is about Living as a ‘proper human’ within Nature’s ‘rules’ for Human Success, Present and Future: A success that is surely the most fundamental criteria for unselfish success for every single human?

If one is God fearing and believes Nature is a creation of God, then maybe God set up Nature as the ultimate ‘test game’ to see if all humans can work together irrespective of social class, culture, or creed to ensure human current and future success and existence.

Surely as an individual knowing living a One point Six life (or maybe even worse a Five Point Zero, wealthy high life?) isn’t going to get that ticket through the Pearly gates. Surely even worse, being a walk the talk for that life and promoting a world that is ever moving outside God’s game is a basis for not even getting a pearly gates interview?  Surely the test for each of us irrespective of a desire to enter the pearly gates or not, is whether we individually lived within the resource constraints of the game of Nature?

I hope you feel that this isn’t judgement or criticism but rather a desperate call of despair…..

Bye for now…..


Early Stock Take: Shocking America


My time in San Diego has come to an end, in five hours I’ll be saying good bye to my sister Ros, and Jen and Jason, and Bob (my brother-in-law) and I head to Albuquerque.  I have just come back from a sunrise, ‘last run’ with my sister, in the state park  near where she lives.  Real good Sister / Brother bonding that stuff that’s hard to describe, and I felt how I our bond had received some more rich flourishing food.

Over dinner last night we spoke about the intensity of the 9 days we have spent together: how great it has been to be with family who are so different yet just accept each other for who they are. Knowing my intensity and zest for life, combined with a radically different One Point Zero way of life our time together could have been difficult. I thanked them for not only ‘putting up’ with me but allowing Me to be Me, and for Them being Themselves. Our relationship had flourished and yet we had covered some very challenging ground, and we raised glasses filled with local Californian red, and toasted that success we had achieved. Jason and Jen independently arrived later and I was touched when both asked what time I was leaving in the morning as they wanted to be up to say good bye!

My sister and her family live a lifestyle that fits with their ‘wealthy 1%’ Californian status. and live in an icon neighbourhood that appears to me to closer to the 0.5% wealthy in their huge houses and obvious following of the conspicuous consumption ideology: One that I gave up many years ago and now see as a fundamental cause of our One Point Zero problem.

From the time I bicycled up the long driveway up to my sister’s home, I have been in a serious ‘way of life’ conflict. When I set out from New Zealand I knew this was going to be the case, and even discussed the possible ramifications with my sister. I told her that dealing with this conflict is part of what My One Point Zero Challenge is about and also what ‘Trumped by Nature’ was about.

So in many ways I had the support of both Ros and Bob to explore the values conflicts as a family, but I was fully aware that they would probably not know how challenging this would be. I knew that in managing the conflict I would be testing my ‘Walking the Talk’ of a One Point Zero value system and how it could challenge the relationship bonds.

In this context these past nine days have been very intense and have made me see that Our One point Zero Challenge is even more challenging than I thought.

Here in San Diego, I was with family who are real good ‘people’ at heart, and really want to be good citizens of America, good humans within mankind, and good followers of the Christian faith. Yet by the time I left, I sense One Point Zero will still not become anymore a guiding beacon in their lives than before I arrived.

Because of the frank and extensive exploring, both personally and within their community we did, I can see it wasn’t just about Ros and Bob.

If it was just ‘them’ that was ‘the problem’ I wouldn’t be sharing this seemingly intimate family content with you. In the many interactions with members of their community I came across the very same ‘disinterest’ in our One Point Six and growing problem!

In these nine days I was privileged to be given a window into an affluent Californian culture and values system that flies directly in the face of One Point Zero, and has little or no care for that fact.

Knowing the intense discussions we had, and their love and care for me, yet the reluctance to change has been a huge wake up call for me.  I knew the whole One Point Zero picture would be confronting and not easy, but I had expected that in us being able to thrash out ‘The Facts’, and eventually connect ‘the human obligation’ within us to doing something about it.   But disinterest to change once one knows ‘The Facts‘ and one’s personal contribution to making them worse, was a huge wake up call for me.

Beyond my family time, I have to say from the bottom of my heart that since I have arrived in the USA, I have not met one person who has any remote interest in doing something about Our One Point Zero Challenge. I have had many, many interactions with people, from young to old, some fairly casual, some very intense, and my shock has been the extremely low level of awareness. I compare this to my experience in South Island New Zealand and the high level of awareness I usually encounter, and I am shocked. One of the worst contributors to Our One Point Zero Challenge seems to be the least aware, and the most disinterested.

As I reflect on my 18 months in New Zealand, I realise how really Nature and Planet aware most New Zealanders are. I compare the many discussions regarding how Nature works, Sustainability, Human responsibility, etc., that I have had with school leavers in New Zealand, to the one I had with my San Diego educated nephew, and the gap is enormous. This wasn’t about Jason, my nephew this was seemingly about a society and education system that is void of any interest or priority in these areas. Its early days, and this seems a harsh and impossible conclusion…..

I’m taking this information as early day stock taking information, and as I leave California, the ‘Trumped by Nature’ exploration will move continue with a desperately open mind hoping that my Californian sample was a non-representative outlier!

In closing this post, I wonder how you relate to ‘The Facts‘, and Our One Point Zero Challenge.  Maybe you don’t understand it all?  Maybe you don’t know why we should care? Maybe you don’t know how trying to live a One Point Zero life would benefit you? Maybe you think I’m mad trying to do it, or that I do it because of some stupid duty, or moral law, and that I’m not doing it because I prefer that way of life, but because I want to suffer?   Being with Ros and Bob, it was so clear to me that I have moved so far down a One Point Zero path that I don’t like their life style and much prefer mine. We discussed this and they did agree that they would like to have a simple, ethical life, but the change just seems so huge and impossible…..  I said I read into what they are saying as being that they can’t see a good enough reason for them personally to change…  This all leads to one’s soul…. I find it hard to believe that anyone can be at one and peaceful with their soul as a human and a member of the broader Humankind, if they are a contributor to the destruction of our home. As ‘The Facts‘ show, most of us who live in the Western world are not just contributors, but the biggest contributors and in many case the leaders of the destruction…..

My simple, small mind, says to me:    Once one knows and accepts the above, then starting a journey to Your One Point Zero becomes the path to real Freedom and Belonging with the Soul. A Moral /Ethically based Freedom and Belonging that surely is at, or close to, the highest level one can seek to achieve as a human?

Coming up…..  

My next Post will be on the America of Now:

How I am feeling America as it deals with the Police shootings, the Presidential elections, etc….. As I explore I’m getting a rich picture of America toady, and its pulse, and I’ll share that with you in the next day or so….

Near the Arizona / California border. less than 50 miles south of here the Colorada river stops in the desert!  All its water taken from it before it reaches the sea! This is one of the canals taking water to California. Anthropocentricism..... and exploiting Nature to the limit...for all of 'Us'
Near the Arizona / California border. less than 50 miles south of here the Colorada river stops in the desert! All its water taken from it before it reaches the sea! This is one of the canals taking water to California. Anthropocentricism….. and exploiting Nature to the limit…for all of ‘Us’


San Diego: Wimbledon, Competition, and One Point Zero

The Now  (and my ‘Other Now’)   

No photo trickery: Downtown San Diego: I took this wondering if I will ever fly again??????
No photo trickery: Downtown San Diego: I took this wondering if I will ever fly again??????

My ‘Trumped by Nature’ adventure has entered a new (for me) blogging phase. Maybe you old hand, avid ‘Facebook-ers’ dealt with this a long time ago:

Just so I don’t disappoint you:   This blog is not about sharing my everyday life and all its intimate personal experiences. Rather this One Point Zero Blog is part of my work as an activist. The blog is where I share my 3 month ‘Trumped by Nature’ adventure experiences only as they relate to this work:   Our, My and Your, One Point Zero Challenge.  Imagine you blogging your work, and what you would and wouldn’t share….?  I’d honestly love to share some of the many dimensions of my time here in San Diego, suffice to say, I’m having a wonderful family, San Diego, and Howard, time!

Wimbledon Today in San Diego

Wimbledon players' Lounge 2002
Wimbledon players’ Lounge 2002

In that restrictive context, I sit here typing this blog to you surrounded by Wimbledon memorabilia, a 2002 photograph of my two nephews with Roger Federer in the Wimbledon Players’ lounge, two huge glass encased Wimbledon Tennis balls, autographed  by the world’s top tennis players of the day, and today is Wimbledon Men’s Final day.


I have had hours of reminiscing with my sister of the times she played centre court and her views of Wimbledon, Professional Tennis, and the loneliness of the professional in her day versus the professional today with their big entourages.

Then getting closer to One Point Zero, I press her on our society’s obsession with competition whether she things being paid to win, with the such high stakes of today has ‘turned us’ into a better society?  Her husband Bob, as one of the top sports psychologists for many years, joins in the discussion and my loneliness increases as I challenge them both as we explore the truths on the role of Competition and Professional sport in Society today.

When I left society in 2004 on my Journey to the Truths,  I vowed to myself was that I was not going to compete again: Competition had made me too focused on the endpoint of winning, and I sensed in the process I had become too rational, almost Machiavellian ‘non-human’, and was missing the learning in the relationship, spiritual and emotional journey dimensions. This was a huge change for me, coming from very competitive orientated family, and then always immersed in the competition of business, and many different competitive sports. I still set goals, but they weren’t about winning, making money, climbing social ladders, and records etc.

As I transformed more I became to see a goal as merely a beacon that defines ‘My Journey’, and actually while this beacon is important in setting the journey, I should be open and prepared to revisit the beacon and maybe move it if the learning indicated that best. The winning that the beacon supposedly stood for was not the idol.

In the twelve years where I dropped my competitive pursuits, society appears to have significantly increased its competitive focus, and the winning at all costs mind set, across business, sport and even at a social status level.  Competition has a place in society, but I sense it’s grown too big, and we need to  put it ‘back in its place’.

I see the huge problems of Corruption, Drugs / cheating in Sport, unethical Capitalism, and the increasing gap between the rich and poor as all signs that Competition has lost its ‘proper’ place in society. It’s not just the competition it’s how us, The Crowd, the spectators have been sucked into a huge industry that is centred on making money from the ‘entertainment of the competition’. The goal is a greedy capitalist one: How to make the most money, fame and power from ‘The Competition’ and this in the process has disproportionately increased these rewards to the winners, increasing the spiral  the point that this is now a major contributor to Our One Point Zero Challenge.

Just like with all other creatures in Nature, Competition should have a natural, and very healthy role to play in the ‘human creature’ society. I believe that readjusting this out of control position of current society is part of what is needed for a Future One Point Zero world.

Rolling Stones cover band last night! The 60/70's were just about Freedom ? anarchy...Wasn't life just simple, man?
Rolling Stones cover band last night! The 60/70’s were just about Freedom ? anarchy…Wasn’t life just simple, man?

San Diego: Hamburgers, Gentlemen Clubs, and ‘In ‘n Outs’

The Now    

A sign in a diner on the way to San Diego.... Made me wonder what sweeter meant????
A sign in a diner on the way to San Diego…. Made me wonder what sweeter meant????


It was very special riding my bicycle up the driveway into my Sister’s home. And this on 4th of July. It had been a long hot day, and being excluded from the highway arteries I ended up doing quite a few more miles than the ‘lucky’ motorist with GPS navigation would have done. I only got ‘lost’ once, and so there we go the NZ to San Diego leg of Trumped by Nature done as sustainably as I knew how….!

Wild San Diego
Wild San Diego

Many have a sense that I’d have been immersed in gridlock traffic most of the way, but I have to say, the roads were very bicycle friendly mostly with generous bicycle lanes, and the last 10km had a great dirt track that I had all to myself. My sister lives about 25 miles NE of downtown, and pretty nice natural area.

Hamburger time!
Hamburger time!







Early the day before my sister had asked me if I ate hamburgers, I know trying to find out how serious I was with my commitment to ‘No Meat for One Point Zero’?  I had decided to give One Point Zero a rest day, go with the flow and just embrace the warmth and 4th of July hospitality of being with my sister and her family.

True to the 4th July spirit it was full on gourmet BBQ’d hamburgers, and catching up on life in San Diego and in all its stories. It suddenly dawned on me how the Whole American culture is threatened at a very simple level with One Point Zero:  Hamburgers, man?  Wow, why had that taken me so long to realise that even the smallish step of stopping meat consumption would have a huge impact on America’s fast food business, but even more importantly challenge a key element of American culture.

Well as I am rapidly finding out this US Machine has no intention of changing, and McDonalds don’t seem to feel that a One Point Zero scenario is a threat!

This is what I got from the internet re rankings of vegetarian fast food offering, and how McDonalds stacks up:

McDonald’s doesn’t have much for vegetarians. Their fries are not vegetarian, they don’t have veggie burgers—it’s not even slim pickings, it’s no pickings. They do mention on their website that items can be ordered without meat, so at least there’s that.  (This article was from September 2015, maybe since then the company’s Strategy Department have changed things to accommodate a ‘One Point Zero’ business case scenario!

Read more at  here

‘In n Out’, and Round about!

The subjects around the BBQ moved around from the ‘old peoples’ reminiscing to our attempts to find connections beyond the niceties to the passions and interests of the younger generation of Jen and Jason. I was fascinated at what got engagement and what didn’t, and as the subject moved to beef, burgers, and zero point one, I decided to enjoy my rest day’ forgo the One Point Zero stuff, and explore the fun side. Never having had kids, but having been in many parent- young adult social situations, it often hits me how the pace of change in society is creating this huge interest disconnect between generations. All you parents out there will know this much better than me, and I sense many of you have your effective strategies to engage.


Sensing the burger story having run its course, and the disinterest gap growing I decided to throw caution to the wind and explore a bridging interest:  I asked if anyone knew about ‘In n’ Out’ and showed them the photo below, and said that the night before I’d stayed in an area of Oceanside that must have been seedy, because right next to my motel was ‘Main Attraction’ Gentlemen’s club, and next to it ‘In ‘n Out’.  I told them I’d been and decided to explore, and the logo for In ‘n Out’ was so much more clear in explaining its offering! I saw Jen and Jason, looking at me as though I’m crazy, and Ros and Bob looking at me with “Surely Howard doesn’t go to those places’ look, and then Ros moving as the ‘protective parent wondering “Hey I wonder where this going? I said and when I walked in I saw this sign and then new I was in the best place of the two….:


A burger joint!

Oh well, everybody laughed and all for different reasons, and that was so wonderful to experience. Exploring further Jen and Jason told me that contrary to me thinking it was a one off / small burger chain it was huge, growing and maybe even the coolest of the plethora of burger franchises.  Well as an old school simpleton, I suggested that was because of the provocative name and suitably matched logo…  The ‘young adults’ were in not quite aligned on that, and in their debate they did confirm that many do see the ‘clever’ conations of the name and Logo and it is discussed by their crowd!!  Being a real fan of ‘In n Out’, Jason asked me if I’d ordered their ‘Double-double’ burger? I now know its their special of the specials, and said “Yes, I did too, Jason and it was amazing!” One of the older adults was shaking their head, and “surely you didn’t Howard, I thought you were off beef, because of One Point Zero?” I said to her: Don’t worry sister of course I wandered next door and tried out the ‘competitors ‘In ’n Out’ offering at the Gentleman’s Club!  Well that certainly had us all bonded as a family in some bizarre common interest way!

So there you go I did have a full day off……!

Yesterday was back full on living the life and dealing with the challenge of even thinking about being a One Point Zero-er in a society that is so slick and organised that one is so easily swept up in its ‘Two-Point-Zero’ plus momentum…..

I knew ‘Trumped by Nature’ would hit its next challenge in dealing with how my ‘struggle’ for a One-Point-Zero life will conflict with my sister’s and her family life, and we discussed this up front and are ready for open discussion and debate.  This is all part of trying to live within society but also aligned with my soul, but then adding the additional family challenge, as my sister is my sister and not just society….!  Not that there are huge issues, but where there are way of life conflicts I’m being forced to bring them up and have us talk about them. This has all been very valuable, and we all have learnt a lot and are growing in the process. I’ll share more as appropriate, because managing relationships as one moves to a “Without Nature, we are Nothing” way of life, I have found I hit some fundamental conflicts with Western norms, and this is when the going can get quite painful.

AAAh, life on the Cap Capricorn was so simple hey!

Next blog will be in 3 or so days….

4th July 2016 Independence Day: ‘Brexit’ 230 Years Ago!

The Now, The Past, and The Future!

Here I am ‘immersed’ in the spirit of 4th of July, Independence Day.

I decided to reflect on these 230 years and the impact they have had on The World and my life:

“Independence Day of the United States, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth in the U.S., is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire.”  Wikipedia

America stood then for Freedom, and many Americans that I have ask today and in the recent past, what America stands for still say that same ‘Freedom’.

From my readings, the other belief encapsulated in the spirit of those days was that ‘Every Man is Equal’…..

I can see how these two elements together have created a country where you can’t blame anyone but yourself if you don’t have ‘The Good Life’.

Back then apparently the population was around 2.5 million, but I sense that excluded Native Americans who were scattered all over ‘their country’.

Well we all know the America of Today: The powerhouse country with today a population of some 325 million people. The list is endless of the firsts the country has brought into our world. What America has achieved can only be described as ‘Absolutely Amazing’ in terms of Human Endeavour, and harnessing the full intensity of Human Rational capability.

America had a Vision, and Strategy, a Plan, and went ahead and ‘made it happen’.  In my past ‘small world’ of business, where I focused on significant corporate turnarounds and then later start-ups, I always used this ‘Vision, Strategy, and Plan, and then Execute’ approach. In my little worlds I quickly realised that one cannot do great things unless one has the Vision, Strategy and Plan for Great things. As difficult and challenging as getting those three right, the Execution is where the most challenging ‘Human Element’ lies. This requires so many of the attributes an Extreme adventurer requires, and as today I reflect on the path of America and what the ‘Human Element’ behind all that must have been and still is, I am in awe and humbled by my insignificance. I however do see the core Human Element for this Success in myself, and soon to meet my sister in San Diego, I know that these core elements were instilled by our parents.

I found the book ‘The Triple Package: What Really determines Success’ (Jed Rubenfeld and Amy Chua) very useful in helping me understand the spirit and Human traits of the original Visionaries of America, and those that followed in the early days and ‘Made it Happen’. It helped me understand how I pulled my way through the survival times of my life adventures, and what is keeping me fired up for this ‘Toughest of The Tough’, activist path.

That book concedes that its context of “Success” is defined as the “Conventional, Prestige, orientated Success. A success associated with Financial, Material, and Power through Achievement Success.  This is the Success of The Western Society and the same Success that has brought the picture of ‘The Facts’.

What we need today is that same Vision, Strategy, Plan but for a New Success’, one that is not competitively exclusive, not based on consumerism, and materialism, nor exploitation of the many for the benefit of the Few.  Most of all the Vision needs to put Nature First, Human’s second, and have the huge Challenge of One Point Zero as its highest level context.

Interestingly it would require exactly the same extraordinary Human Capability to deliver the Success that America in the past 230 years has shown is possible from The Human. The simple switch is to change the Vision and aim at a New Success, a Success all humanity can be proud of and one that allows us ALL to belong to our Home, The Planet.  I sense 230 years down the road, those around would look with even MORE awe at what humans have done to change the ‘wrong’ course of Humanity back in 2016!

We need help those new leaders to stand up, and to support them at all cost, because unlike back in 1776, there was a blank sheet of paper. We know have a rich set of books, that need to be used to find the truths, so that the new Vision can avoid the same ‘Human Greed’ failing, and see the Ultimate Value of Restraint within a much larger than Human, Nature Context.

There we go….. In 20 minutes I’ll be on the bicycle for the last section of dealing with the enormous Success of Henry Ford’s Vision, Strategy, Plan, and Execution!

And yeah, I’m using a product of Baron Von Drais’s 1817 Vision!

If you think I’m finding this all easy to write, I’m not!!  Maybe my strange humour is the way I’m dealing with my own challenge. This all challenges My Very Core, and without exaggerating I almost feel sick inside me with the turmoil!

All good though, this is what Human Intensity is about: We need to feel all our human ‘sides’ the dark side of sickness too…. Strangely, sickness means I’m alive!

I REALLY do feel I’m intensely alive, and the spirit still burning max flame, GUYS!

Helmut on and Off I go…  Or should I take up that last offer from My Sister to pick me up?????

Quote of the moment: 

“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”

― Gaylord Nelson founder of Earth Day

Like I’m finding out with my Cap Capricorn experience, maybe what one thinks is a path requiring sacrifice, is not only a path that’s good for the soul, but also one with more ‘pleasure’!