Meet Barbara Winter


Barbara J Winter is a pioneering self-employment advocate, writer and teacher who has spent the last twenty-five years pondering the question, “Why aren’t we all self-employed?” Helping others discover the Joyfully Jobless life is her favorite occupation. To readers of Read more

Benvenuto!


Buon viaggio….good journey. How nice to have you along. This blog has been a long time brewing. Hardly a day passes when I don’t come across a fascinating new business idea, inspiring story or useful resource and want to pass Read more

Leave it Better

Barbara Habitats 2 Comments

On Sunday afternoon, three-and-a-half-year-old Zachy and I were out in the backyard searching for bugs. All of a sudden he looked at me and said in his most serious voice, “This is Earth. Earth is our planet.”

I nodded solemnly. “We have to take care of it, don’t we?”  He nodded solemnly, too. We spent a little time talking about what that meant and things we could do, but I wondered what kind of a planet we are leaving for Zachy to take care of.

This is not a new concern of mine.

The most passionate environmentalist  I’ve ever known was Chris Utterback. To her, all offenses were equally serious whether it was defiling a public space with graffiti or chopping down a rain forest.

She cared deeply for the earth and couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t feel the same sense of responsibility.

One day we were driving through the quiet Connecticut countryside where she lived and came across a pile of trash heaped on the roadside. She slammed on her brakes and we jumped out of the car, picked up the litter, bagged it and put it in the back of her station wagon.

As we got back in, I sighed and said, “Planetkeeping is a full-time job.”

Chris looked at me as if I’d said the most  brilliant thing and without saying so, we both volunteered to be Planetkeepers.

Planetkeeping isn’t just a full-time job; it’s a demanding one that requires vigilance and a willingness to do more than our share simply because it’s the moral choice.

Planetkeeping is motivated by a sense of responsibility to nature and other people whether we know them or not. It goes far beyond environmental causes.

It assumes that we’ll take care of whatever is ours to care for no matter how difficult or challenging that may be. Planetkeepers refuse to be influenced by the indifference and apathy of others.

Like courtesy, Planetkeeping is learned behavior. It becomes habitual behavior to those who have determined that they will, indeed, do what they can to leave things better than they found them.

It’s a practice that is worth a closer look. Imagine, for a moment, how quickly things would change if everyone went through their days actively working to improve everything they touch.

What would happen to road rage? To rudeness? To the environment? To self-esteem? To greed? To our communities? To litter? To hunger?

It may be a long time before the majority of world citizens take up the cause to make things better, but that shouldn’t stop us from raising our own standards now.

How can we as small  businessowners improve everything we touch? As family and community members?

Perhaps it starts simply with a willingness followed by a commitment to put such lofty thoughts at the heart of our activities and relationships.

Planetkeeping also demands that we stop withholding our own gifts and talents and put them to work in the service of making the world a better, happier nurturing place.

How to take up the challenge?

As Paulo Coelho reminds us in his marvelous book, The Alchemist, “The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve upon the present, what comes later will also be better.”

Zachy will thank us all.

A Full-time Job

Barbara Postcard from Barbara 2 Comments

The most passionate environmentalist I’ve ever known was Chris Utterback. To her, all offenses were equally serious whether it was defiling a public space with graffiti or chopping down a rain forest. She cared deeply for the earth and couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t feel the same sense of responsibility.

One day we were driving though the quiet Connecticut countryside where she lived and came across a pile of trash heaped on the roadside. She slammed on her brakes and we jumped out of the car, picked up the litter, bagged it and put it on the back of her station wagon. As we got back in, I sighed and said, “Planetkeeping is a full-time job.” Chris looked at me as if I’d said the most brilliant thing and without saying so, we both volunteered to be Planetkeepers. 

Planetkeeping isn’t just a full-time job; it’s a demanding one that requires vigilance and a willingness to do more than our share simply because it’s the moral choice. Planet-keeping is motivated by a sense of responsibility to nature and other people, whether we know them or not. It assumes that we’ll take care of whatever is ours to care for no matter how difficult or challenging that may be. Planetkeepers refuse to be influenced by the indifference or apathy of others.

As Marianne Williamson points out, folks who are part of the solution tend to be more optimistic about solving big problems than those who just fret. Here are a few idea starters for better Planetkeeping.

Master the 30-second commute. If you don’t already work at home, consider how much time and energy you could save if your office was only a few steps, rather than many miles, away from your living space.

Donate, don’t dump. Replacing your cellphone? Find a place that will recycle them or give it to a woman’s shelter. Cars and computers are two other items that can be recycled through community agencies. Start at Earth 911 to find out what’s happening in your part of the world.

Make your office or studio as green as possible. Go to GlobalIdeasBank.org which is a clearinghouse of information and resources. Another favorite of Planetkeepers is the sassy Ideal Bite site. They also send out a tip every day.

Vote for folks who are serious about taking care of the planet. And make a loud noise around those officials who are contributing to the problem—or who are profiting from bad policies.

Follow this example. Take a look at the way Virgin enterprises has involved both their employees and others interested in projects that make a difference.

There’s nothing unbusinesslike about sharing the benefits of your industry with happy, fulfilled people and a planet that is going to be there in all its glory for our children and grandchildren. ~ Richard Branson