By Alumni Spotlight: Peter Schulte, SEA C13, Founder and Editor at Kindling
Peter is the Founder and Editor of Kindling - an online catalog of humanity's evolution. Through Kindling, Peter showcases humanity's great strides toward peace, justice, and sustainability and shines a light on possibilities for our future. Peter also works for the Pacific Institute supporting companies around the world in advancing sustainable water management. He has a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Bellingham, WA with his partner Sara, and cat Winnie.
Which area of sustainability are you most passionate about and why?
I'm most passionate about understanding and advancing alternatives to our current brand of capitalism on a large scale. While resource efficiencies and new technologies are necessary and quite useful, I don't believe they are enough to get us back on course. The real change we need is fundamentally working from a different set of values and assumptions rooted in serving the common interest.
What is the best advice you ever received?
"Don't take yourself so g***amn seriously!" - Rule #6 from the Art of Possibility
If you could have done anything differently in your career, what would it have been?
Many in the sustainability field - including myself - have spent a lot of time compiling data and developing solutions, as if sustainability is a technical problem to be solved, like fixing a car. To me, the biggest shifts that need to happen in sustainability are in our internal worlds. If I was doing it all over again, I'd focus more deeply on "marketing the new paradigm" - not only understanding what needs to be done but knowing how to get the broader public to connect with and invest in those solutions and ways of being.
How would you describe ‘sustainability’ to a 10-year-old?
Sustainability is being and doing in a way that leaves you and the world around you healthier and brighter than when you started.
What do you think is the most pressing sustainability challenge facing the world today?
The most pressing sustainability challenge facing the world today is the belief that individuals and companies do not have a responsibility to serve those around them. This belief fuels nearly all of the destructive behavior we see today.
Often sustainability responds to large hard problems, what keeps you hopeful and productive?
I really believe that life for humans is better than it ever has been. We are more capable, conscious, and compassionate than at any time in our history. This is not to say that there aren't serious challenges that require our urgent attention. It does, however, allow me to see the progress we've made and that we will continue to make in the years and decades to come. This gives me hope and inspiration.
What's your vision for the sustainable future?
I envision a world where "success" is defined not by accumulating money and titles, but by having a sense of purpose beyond money and living by it.
How has being a Presidian influenced/helped shape who you are today?
My time at PGS helped me understand myself better. Especially through the Leadership and Personal Development (LPD) process. I developed a much better sense of the type of work that really inspires me.
What are the most helpful, or meaningful, connections from Presidio that you have leveraged thus far?
The Alumni Network has been incredibly meaningful to me. Not only has it allowed me to stay connected with friends, but it has been an ongoing source of support, ideas, opportunities, and community for me.
Is there a specific PGS class/experience that helped prepare you for your current work?
The Leadership and Personal Development (LPD) curriculum has been a critical part of me understanding myself and developing meaningful, trust-based professional relationships. Where before I would often find myself in interpersonal drama at work, my work life is now much more harmonious and fulfilling than before.