TB: Thanks for visiting with us at The Thorn Bu$h! What’s going on at PlanetShifter.com?
WP: PlanetShifter.com just evolved again; a change in scope and scale. The site continues to be powered by a customized Drupal data base engine but is now Willi Paul’s blog and contract for services site. Guest bloggers are welcome and make up a much reduced “community set” now. Fair to say that my original goal to bring together artists, writers, musicians and innovators via MySpace, Facebook and other invite/transfer sites was too ambitious. While it is precisely these people who need access to sustainability knowledge, they are too busy in their creative corners to participate in the complexity that I created and launched on Earth Day 2009.
TB: What made you decide to blog on the environment?
WP: I get this question a lot in interviews! I always allude to my Boy Scout Eagle badge experience and my summer teaching ecology at Scout Camp in Rhinelander, WI at age 15. My B.S. is in Ecology, my Masters in Urban / Community Planning. But my interest have always been the human / natural interface and how we are dealing with impact on the planet and what our children will inherit when we pass.
My focus in 2009 has evolved into an arts and sustainability intersection. One of my major efforts this fall was to synthesize my works in mythology and the green movement: “The PlanetShifter.com Survival Guide to 2010: Curriculum Plans, Thought Leader Interviews and Big Green Ideas,” based on the Event Circle Interviews.
To me, it is critical to push beyond the current fight to “save the planet” from corrupt bankers, Wall Street trash and myopic oil companies like Chevron. We have to vision a victory for the planet and create the new global DNA to make this happen.
TB: “PlanetShifter.com” is an attention-grabbing name. How did you come up with it?
WP: I coined this back in 2008 when I created an ugly site with images from Oakland. Much of the best work in my portfolio comes in lightning bolts, the ideas just “show up!” From this humble spark, and my goal to post something valuable per day, the site now gets an average of 8000 hits and 1020 views a day. The Event Circle series has over 100 in-depth interviews with thought leaders and continues into 2010 with a focus on youth.
As a budding brand, PlanetShifter.com is poised to support new media and sustainable products in 2010.
TB: What’s your background? What makes you uniquely qualified to do what you’re doing?
WP: In addition to my response to the second question, my journey into the arts and sustainability auger stems from my classical viola training and early art work as a child. I published six + poetry books in my early twenties and continue to tap and report this source today. I also believe that my bipolar condition plays a role in my 24/7 creative drive, meditation and implementations.
TB: Who else in the environmental/ecological movement is doing what you’re doing?
WP: In terms of my work in connecting mythology, alchemy, arts and sustainability, I can only point to a few percolating efforts including the Alchemy Guild, maybe the Joseph Campbell Foundation and few rock musicians like Steve Kilbey and a wondrous new friend and British Columbia painter named Simon Haiduk.
TB: What are you hoping to accomplish?
WP: That’s a loaded question, Wilma! At this point, I am having an impact through my posts and interviews but there are products to construct and market in 2010. I have this ongoing struggle in my head and heart about “earth vs. people.” So much of my angst stems from a human race that is out of control and likely headed to extinction. This is a bad thing? Can I stop this?
My aim is to challenge and re-ignite the excellence offered up by Campbell and some other mythologists and alchemists into a new set of sustainable practices and principles to make the humans worthy again of the Earth’s ageless spirit and harmonies.
TB: Knowing that environmental education needs to be taught practically from the cradle up, what sort of educational impact do you hope to have on the elementary, junior and senior high school children that might be interested in learning more about sustainable living and lifestyles?
WP: First, these are the folks that I want to use my search tool at PlanetShifter.com. This knowledge base is for the children.
Second, I have a second project ready to go called PlanetShifterKids.com that is a project-based, open architecture for all kids to share their new green stories and environmental justice solutions in their localities.
Last, my day-to-day example needs to be in the best Light in a most challenging time.
TB: Who are your corporate supporters, if any?
WP: I currently re-post on the following green community sites: (1) GreenWala.com, (2) Cooltribe.com, (3) Dezuma.com, (4) Greenopolis.com , (5) transitionus.ning.com, (6) enviro-space.com (and over 35 LinkedIn.com groups).
I am seeking advertisers.
TB: Are there any other people involved with the day-to-day running of the site other than yourself? Specifically, is this a labor of love?
WP: I have folks who add posts occasionally and tons of intelligence and daily love from my partner Malou Carreon. Then, it’s just me and the “Yogi Four:”
TB: You’ve said, in an earlier interview, that your spiritual life informs your work as an environmentalist. Please explain this, and also please tell me how your vision quest has changed/grown/expanded since Planet Shifter got started.
WP: As college kid, I turned to the Quakers for relief from the soft-core nonsense from the same old Christian Sundays. My green life is very much anti-materialism and supports my love of sacrifice for a healthier planet. To me environmentalism is just another ingredient in a life with purpose, embracing what the Quakers call The Light.
My vision quest is to light this source in everyone. Ending war would be nice, too.
TB: Why is it important to have a spiritual component in the sustainable living movement?
TB: You have fiction on PlanetShifter.com. Tell us about it!
“LAO from GreenLoc, CA - A Story for Our Youth,” asks readers to travel to a time beyond the crash of 2012 into a location of resources and high tech espionage.
My current work in progress, “Darwin 23.05.889:: The Sequence One”, is about a magic island off of Vancouver, a sky wizard and a seer in a satellite.
Willi Paul - Art and Sustainability Consultant