Live Like You Give a Damn

Have you ever had “a serious coming to Jesus moment” that turned your life upside down??? I did! My upside down experience happened in a huge inflated tent with some 2,000 others at the SOCAP Conference in San Francisco the first weekend in September 2013.

SOCAP Conference in San Francisco.

SOCAP Conference in San Francisco.

Most of the participants seemed to be under 40 and were interested in becoming social entrepreneurs and local community empowerment activists. There were also reps from Silicon Valley and the Bill Gates and Rockefeller foundations. But there were also a few of us that were there simply out of curiosity, asking “What is this movement of new changemaking?”.

Just as I settled in a series of enormous gusts of wind hit the huge tent. Some people rushed for the exit. For a moment it felt like we could be blown into the bay. However, the flurries that were stirred up in my life learning about remarkable new forms of changemaking was much more impacting than the gusts.

D-Lite lamp

D-Lite lamp

For example I learned about a former young Peace Corp member named Sam who collaborated with other students at Stanford to create an alternative to the kerosene lamp in areas of the planet without electrification. They created and marketed a durable solar lamp called D-lite. It provides 4 hours of light in the evening for families. It doesn’t start house fires or pollute. In less than a decade this social enterprise has been scaled up and is now being used by 10 million households in India.

Portage Bay Cafe Seattle

Portage Bay Cafe Seattle

As my wife Christine picked me up at the airport here in Seattle my mind was still reeling by the potential of this new changemaking revolution. On Sunday we routinely go out for breakfast together. This Sunday we went to a local cafe that specializes in sustainable food, the Portage Bay Cafe. As I looked up from my menu I noticed that all of the wait staff were wearing black tee shirts that read “Eat Like You Give a Damn!. I exclaimed, “that’s it!” I want to help wake others in the church live up to the potential of this changemaking revolution! Then I suddenly realized… before I could share what I Iearned I needed to get out of the bleachers and become actively involved again myself.

One of the small ways in which I am leaning into this changemaking revolution is through participating in local empowerment. I have become a volunteer in a community empowerment project in Seattle as my way to join a new generation of changemakers and “live like I give a Damn!”

What are the ways in which we can harness our creativity and innovation to “live like we give a damn”?