Surprise Live Blog: “Peak Stuff, Baby Pigeons and the Heartbeat of Cats” presented by Adam Werbach

We did another round of live blogging today, this time on keynote speaker Adam Werbach.

Following are the results (in reverse order):

Surprise Live Blog: “Peak Stuff, Baby Pigeons and the Heartbeat of Cats” presented by Adam Werbach

aaand the lights are on. – Stupidgregg

“THE HOPE of the human race lies in its generosity.”

AW has been using computer printers, and their immediate obsolesence as an example of a horrible product that shouldn’t besold. – Stupidgregg

Let’s see if Yerdle can help out with this.

He has found that a lot of things you want to buy are probably already available and unused by a friend.

People don’t realize how much stuff they have that they don’t want, and how much stuff they want, that their friends have but don’t want.  – Stupidgregg

Good point, this is hitting home. I need to look at all the stuff that I have that don’t use.

We had some slight technical difficulty there.

* Technical difficulties *


Sharing is important because many things that we use are designed for obselesence, and we have a lot of crap on our shelves.

The lead designer from Braun was an icon of Jony Ive (Apple Inc.). His design principle was “Less is Better.”

– Stupidgregg


 Updated : 14:49

A concept from Mumbai inspiring Yerdle, a simple sharing platform. Which you can download from iTunes, here.

They want Yerdle to be used as a means for people to share all that junk that is sadly sitting in storage…alone, unused, unandled.

It’s available as an app, free download.

Ah, now we get to know about Yerdle. It’s a sharing platform.

He’s talking about “Saving Circles” around the globe.

Earth clearly can’t sustain us at our current rate of consumption. There’s a lot of clutter in our closets, garages, and the world. Self-storage is growing at an alarming rate. It’s a symbol of what happens when we consume too many thing. For the first time in human history, we have too much rather than too little.

This doesn’t only present a physical problem, “What do I do with all my stuff?” It’s also an emotional problem, hording is being treated as a mental health issue as well.

We, as a country, are begining to become aware of this problem, but other countries have been concerned with it for quite some time.

– Stupidgregg

We’re seeing a picture of a neighborhood of Mumbai, where “Slumdog Millionaire” was filmed.

Hoarding is now a mental condition in the DSM.

We’re storing more and more junk. We’re peaking out with an accumulation of STUFF.

From an ecological standpoint, the earth doesn’t have the resources to sustain us at the rate that we’re consuming.

AW is talking about Sky Mall, everyone’s favorite collection of everything you think you want but know you don’t need.

Historically, savvy marketeers have motivated us to buy stuff. We buy it because it’s the new thing, not because it’s useful.

Pretty funny – pic of peeled and packaged bananas.

AW is tracing the evolution of life on Earth, begining with 4.5B years ago.

After we evolved from single cell organisms, without brains (like Congressional Republicans), humans began migrating across continents.


Neophilia is the irrational need for the thing that is NEW, not the thing that’s practical or helpful.

Look! Human! NEW! The most powerful word in marketing: New.

About 50,000? years ago we developed a novelty gene. Interesting.

The problem (with trying to get away from wanting TV dinners) is our brains have evolved for it.

“We’re still kind of living in the TV dinner age.”

The next generation are entertaininig the same idea, how to make use of everything we have, but now we’re motiviated by limited resources.

– Stupidgregg

Adam is using the TV dinner to talk about, “How we got here.”

Swanson’s ordered too much turkey for the thanksgiving holiday, so they put them on regrigerated rail cars. The company spent months debating what to do with the turkey. They used the concept of cafeteria trays (from the military) and new technology from  Birds-Eye, flash freezing, to create TV dinners.

Oh, oh, I know how this ends. It worked! Then there were brownies.

– Stupidgregg

He’s telling the story of how the TV dinner came into existence. In the first year they sold 10 million units. Within 5 years 300 million. Wonder where we’re at now.

“Let’s talk for a second about how we got here…..the TV dinner.”

They wanted make CD’s out of bamboo. Hah.

AW is talking about how people consider him to be a Sellout when he chose to work with Wal-Mart. He struggled with the decision to work with them. He was persuaded by their promise to switch to 100% renewable energy and to sell only renewable products.

Wal-Mart has removed the stigma from the sustainability conversation, and the perspective that activists and contributors to it, get arrested in fron  of the White House. Sustainability activism is for companies like Wal-Mart too. – Stupidgregg

He was then approached by a record company.

This is interesting, wasn’t expecting the Walmart bit.

Walmart has helped taken away the stigma associated with sustainability.


Wal-Mart contacted Adam, asking for his help. He was very surprised and opposed to it at first.

“If there’s a moment for civil disobedience, perhaps the moment is now.”

 Updated : 14:19

AW says that high elevation storms are causing water vapor to mix with ozon layer-depleting ugliness, which is accelerating global warming. The progressive degeneration requires action. So what do we do about it?

– Stupidgregg

We’ve got a graph of the earth’s atmosphere up right now. We’re getting some technical stuff here.

Even thought the data we’ve seen is pretty dire, a solution is on the way.

AW compared the growth pattern of baby pigeons to the Esustainability movement. We have a fully formed solution, but it’s getting ready to leave the nest.

– Stupidgregg

Oh, here’s the baby pigeon pic.

Found that he has started something called “Yerdle.”

Adam has taken the stage.  He started with a tongue-in-cheek question, Who’s to blame for killing all of the baby pigeons?

TIL, baby pigeons are called “squeakers” and they’re freakin’ ugly. – Stupidgregg

He’s showing us pictures of baby pigeons. They’re definitely not amazingly cute.

What happened to all the baby pigeons?

 Updated : 14:13

In 1996 AW became the youngest person to ever lead the Sierra Club. – Stupidgregg

Scott has taken the stage. Adam’s intro has begun.

Yesterday, Shepard Fairey gave Adam Werbach a lot of credit for inspiring and enabling much of his aco-activist themed art. I wonder if Adam has a similar appreciation for Fairey. – Stupidgregg

 Updated : 14:03

Amazon has his book: “Strategy for Sustainability” – Jeremy

 Updated : 13:59

3 minutes until Adam takes the stage, though these have been starting a bit late. – Jeremy

 Updated : 13:59

We are here live again from Austin, TX, this time live blogging a keynote presented by Adam Werbach. – Jeremy

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