A decade or so ago, an article appeared in the Palm Beach Post quoting me as saying, “The leaders we have to reach are in diapers today.” I was referring to the largest environmental restoration project in history — the Everglades — and the fact it would take unwavering dedication and stewardship over decades to ensure its success. (I was speaking in my former role as president of The Conservancy of Southwest Florida and co-chair of the Everglades Coalition.) I suppose those once-diapered kids I was referring to are now in elementary school, which is why I was intrigued to hear explorer Scott W. Hamilton, speaking at the Explorers Club Annual Dinner last year, state that “the next commander of a manned mission to Mars is in elementary school today.” The daunting challenges ahead of humanity — whether restoring ecosystems, saving coral reefs, battling climate change or holding the first handful of red sand on Mars — are decades-long efforts that can’t rest on the shoulders of a single generation. So is the next generation more ready than we were to take on such challenges? I’m in the process of finding out. Read more
Sometimes planning is overrated. Sometimes thinking is overrated. Sometimes the best things happen when you just act. That’s what happened on my 50th birthday. Though it’s a concept I had thought about before, what’s become the “50 Years – 50 States – 50 Speeches Expedition” was an idea that literally popped into my head on the morning of my birthday. I knew if I thought about it too much — with all the challenges,
logistics, and complications — I’d talk myself out of it. So I announced the ambitious project to give speeches at no charge to schools in all 50 U.S. states (plus territories), and in so doing, dove into the deep end of a new endeavor that is rapidly taking on a life of its own. And that’s the best part of it.