Many are puzzling over how digital technology can be designed to work more for us than against us. But countless such tools already exist to do that—it’sjust a matter of how we use them. This is a personal example of how individuals orchestrated our public-serving governmental entities and digital creations to improve a community’s quality of life.
On a beautiful day in 1999, a few years after we moved to our newly-built suburban neighborhood near Washington, D.C., I got the urge to walk with my six-year-old son to a nearby park.
This was no ordinary destination, but the serene and meticulously cared-for Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, the only such facility in all of northern Virginia.
Though barely a mile long, the walk itself was tough. We fought through tall grass along winding Beulah Road—surely trespassing on other people’s yards. As we trudged ahead, we noticed a trampled area, replete with the fresh detritus of a car accident.
Sometimes, fate needs to knock you right over to get you to pay attention. That’s what it took for me to be mindful.
It was a winter Saturday morning and I was ready to tackle a long list of home projects, when I took a last peek at my email. A town meeting popped up and suddenly I had to be there. I figured I could also get some exercise if I rode my bike.
The week had been sunny and I was confident the snow that had been covering the trail had melted. I grabbed my foldable, filled the tires and quickly assembled the frame. The latch for the handlebars didn’t look quite right, but it felt secure so I was off and rolling.
Finding the meeting less than scintillating, I grew antsy and was soon rushing back toward home.
By then, the trail was more crowded. Up ahead were a duo of walkers and a small patch of ice. But as I tried to pass between them, my handlebars buckled and I crashed to the pavement.
Stunned and embarrassed, pain searing through my back, I was glad for the help of the pedestrians I had tried to avoid. As one gave me a hand up, the other secured the handlebars—carefully this time. Offering a shaky thanks, I winced my way home with only a cracked rib and a bruised ego.
It took a trip to San Francisco to find out why the accident happened.
I was there for Wisdom 2.0, a conference jammed with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and executives from the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But they weren’t going to talk tech. This gathering was meant to connect people “in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work, and useful to the world.” Since I’ve written a book on that subject, I was curious to know what “ways” they were talking about. Continue reading →
A good way for kids to be durable in the long run is by learning how to get themselves around. Riding the bus certainly helps them to become more self-reliant, but if they walk or bike they also get a good workout, fresh air and a healthy dose of freedom.
Unlike how it was when you were growing up, only 1 in 10 kids today walk or bike to school. To improve those odds, the national Safe Routes to School program sponsors International Bike to School Day in the spring and Walk to School Day in October.