Proust Nature Questionnaire – Mark Tercek


MARK TERCEK is president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, the global conservation organization known for its intense focus on collaboration and getting things done for the benefit of people and nature. He is the author of the Washington Post and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling book Nature’s Fortune:  How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature.

A former managing director and Partner for Goldman Sachs, where he spent 24 years, Mark brings deep business experience to his role leading the Conservancy. He is a champion of the idea of natural capital — valuing nature for its own sake as well as for the services it provides for people, such as clean air and water, productive soils and a stable climate.

In 2012, Mark was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve on the New York State 2100 Commission, which was created in the wake of Superstorm Sandy to advise the governor and the state on how to make the state’s infrastructure more resilient to future storms. In 2016, Mark was appointed by President Barack Obama to the president’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

Mark is also a member of several boards and councils, including Resources for the Future, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Initiative, and SNAPPTNC’s science joint venture with UC Santa Barbara and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Drawing on his professional background in the financial sector, Mark is leading TNC’s impact capital initiative and serves as board chair of NatureVest.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Inspiring. Spiritual. Valuable

3 things Nature taught you? 

Interconnectedness. Shortcuts don’t work. We’re all (all species) in this together.

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Very difficult – I lead The Nature Conservancy, so it is like asking me who is my favorite child. So I will answer: Mountains, Jungles & Oceans.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…? 

At peace

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…? 

Happy

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…? 

Respectful

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…? 

Calm, happy

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

Like rain is coming.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Like I’m outside

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

All of the above

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

Early in my TNC days and for various reasons, I was feeling stressed about my new job. I had to go to the Great Bear Rain Forest in British Columbia. My anxiety and stress vanished as soon as I arrived and took in the majesty, beauty and glory of the area. I also realized that I had myself a very good job!

Photograph by Emiliano Granado

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Claudia Robaina

Throughout her career, CLAUDIA ROBAINA’s personal mission has been to nurture creative individuals to reach their full potential. Born in Venezuela, and trained as a violist, she has dedicated a decade to classical music management while at Columbia Artists Management and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. At both organizations, she managed and empowered the careers of hundreds of conductors, instrumentalists, and composers. Claudia’s reputation as a thoughtful leader, effective producer, and personable manager has led her to cultivate strong working relationships with Yo-Yo Ma, André Previn, Yefim Bronfman, Colin Currie, and John Williams, among other professional collaborators including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Silk Road Ensemble, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Aspen Ideas Festival.

To broaden her exposure to creative professionals in the fields of science and technology, Claudia joined the MIT Media Lab in 2015 to manage the Director’s Fellows Program, an initiative aimed at connecting thought leaders and creative catalysts from around the globe with the Media Lab’s antidisciplinary vision, encouraging the Fellows to become agents of change and international ambassadors for the Media Lab.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Grand. Life. Powerful

3 things Nature taught you? 

Humility. Beauty. Resilience

3 most treasured Nature spots 

Seating in front of the ocean, on top a mountain, or next to a waterfall.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…? 

Human, fluid, calm

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…? 

Surrounded, protected by wise giants

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…? 

Energized, amazed, powerless

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…? 

Inspired, grateful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

Impermanent, small

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Curious

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

Swimming in a school of fish while visiting the Los Roques archipelago off the coast of Venezuela. It was our chosen vacation spot during my entire childhood.

FEEL THE WILD

FEEL THE WILD is the title of my book and my 3rd official campaign/theme. It is an intimate and powerful story about Nature and our relationship with it, told through stunning photography, captivating film making, and inspiring and thought provoking writing.

To feel is to connect, to experience. It is to perceive and become aware. Our bodies are created with an immense desire to experience the world around us. We are one giant ecosystem of senses living in a universe based on reciprocity. We experience personally and socially, internally and outerly, consciously and unconsciously, willingly and unwillingly.

To “Feel the Wild” is to connect with the wilderness – the untamed Nature, the untamed Us, the essence of Life, through all of our senses and experience everything it has to offer – the physical, the emotional, the philosophical, and the spiritual.

FEEL THE WILD is ultimately about learning who we are and our place on this planet, in the Universe. It is a journey of growth told through the lenses of humility, vulnerability, and perspective.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Mario Cyr


MARIO CYR is an internationally renowned expedition leader for Arctic and Antarctic missions. He is a cold-water diving expert and a world-class cinematographer. Cyr has participated in more than 150 films for broadcasters such as National Geographic, Discovery Channel, the BBC, IMAX 3D, Disney Productions, CBC and David Suzuki, la Société Cousteau, France 2, Arte and NHK Japan. In 2011, he won the Palme d’Or at the Festival d’Antibes for Walrus:Toothed Titans. His contribution to Oceans, directed by Jacques Perrin, helped the film win a César for Best Documentary. In 2013, his Ice Bear 3D got an Emmy nomination.

Originally from the Magdalen Islands, located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Mario has become one of the very few specialists of cold water diving, capturing spectacular and unique scenes from marine life in the Arctic and Antarctic poles. In 1991, he pioneered filming wild walrus packs and polar bears at a very close range. His expertise and knowledge has enabled him to film authentic and never-before-seen underwater images of swimming polar bears and a female walrus nursing her young.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Imposing. Splendid. Fragile

3 things Nature taught you? 

Patience. Listening. Time arranges many things

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

The beach Old Harry Magdalen Island

Queen Charlotte Island

Tuvalu Island, South Pacific

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…? 

I feel infinitely small.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…? 

I keep repeating myself that all trees are alive.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…? 

That we are tiny in front of such a power.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…? 

That I am lucky to see such beauty.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

For some reason, I always think of past empires and the fear they instilled through their powerful conquests.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…? 

I return to my childhood when I hid under the patio afraid of the high winds.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory 

My summer on a splendid beach Bluff on the Magdalen Island.

STOP BREATHE RELAX LISTEN

Moving forward, my work will be divided in 3 main themes/campaigns.

Yesterday, I wrote about RANDOM CONNECTEDNESS, a social project which focuses on illustrating how we are all connected, in ways that go beyond social media.

FEEL THE WILD is about my work as a wilderness explorer, photographer and writer – I will write more about this in another post.

The third campaign, STOP BREATHE RELAX LISTEN is related to my mission to help and inspire people in their life’s journey. It is the platform on which my public speaking and coaching are built on. The campaign is about creating a space for introspection, where people can find the answers they are looking for. It is about honoring and welcoming our path, finding peace with our journey on this planet and celebrating who we are as human.

To explain more about it, let me share with you an excerpt from my Adventure Travel Trade Association 2017 Summit Keynote:

… As an artist, Wilderness is my studio, my inspiration. It is where I go to create – to photograph and write. But most importantly, I go there to meet with my mentor and teacher, Nature. My creative process is simple, by welcoming solitude, I open myself and am able to listen and receive the treasures it has to offer.

All this time alone in the wilderness, has led me to experience many epiphanies, moments where I felt that the veil of mystery on some of Life’s most precious secrets had disappeared. I have realized along the way that there was a certain pattern for those revelations to appear, a certain formula that seemed to work as a calling card for these insights to sneak up into my mind and reward me with a “eureka” moment. This pattern that I have observed has translated itself into one of my most powerful mantras – STOP BREATHE RELAX LISTEN. 

These 4 words have transformed me and changed the way I experience life. They have helped me manage my way out of challenging and struggling situations. They have given me a way to connect with life, with the world, and with others. By following them, I have come to understand who I am and who we are, individually and collectively  

STOP BREATHE RELAX LISTEN is about creating boundaries, so that you get a new perspective, which will bring you clarity and in the process allow you to receive the help life is sending your way. STOP and create your boundaries. BREATHE and get a new perspective. RELAX and welcome clarity. LISTEN, not with your ears but with your heart and mind so that you can open yourself to the signs Life is giving you, the guidance it is showing you.

Let me give you a way to visualize the mantra

Imagine that you are like a glass jar filled with water, sand, and floating candy (floating candy don’t really exist but the concept works for this exercise), all contained with the lid tightly on. Now that jar represents you, your own self. The water is the world around you. The sand is your thoughts, you worries, everything that populates your minds. And the candy, they are the insights, the rewards, ideas, those eureka moments. From the second you wake up, and until the very last moment when you fall asleep, you are constantly and frantically shaking that jar. Making a big mess of what’s inside. The water is blurry. The sand is all over. And the candy, well, good luck! They are like shooting stars, tiny dots of color that disappear the second you see them. If you want to see, pick and eat the candy much like if you want to find, receive and apply those insights that help you process your life’s journey, what you need to do is take that jar. Put it on a table, don’t touch it. Let the water stop spinning. Wait for the sand to rest and settle. Then and only then, you will clearly see the candy float up, calm at the surface, ready for you open the lid and pick them up. 

Experiencing the world through the lenses of humility, reciprocity, and vulnerability opens the path to so many treasures and priceless discoveries. Transforming our struggles and pain into growth not only brings us happiness and peace, but it also make us celebrate what it is to be human. Life is not easy. Life is not fair. It is not meant to be fair. It is not meant to be perfect. It is meant to be lived, to be experienced, to learn and grow from it. 

And what is there to learn today, in 2017? Well, there is no need to shame the human race with guilt, constantly pointing the finger at ourselves on how bad of a species we are and have been. How could we do the things we have done in the past. Simple, we have done them because in that moment we thought it was best. Some of them were good and some turned out to be real bad. And that is ok. We learn through feeling the consequences of our actions. And now we are feeling them. But remember, change is hard. Nobody wants change. The reason why we are 7 billions on the planet is not because we are a bad species, but because we are extremely good at learning from our mistakes, we rise in face of challenges, we shine and figure our way out when the shit hits the fan. This is who we are, this is what we do.

STOP and lets create our boundaries. BREATHE so that we can get a new perspective. RELAX and lets welcome clarity. LISTEN, not with our ears but with our hearts and minds so that together, united, we can become better humans, protecting and caring for this world, leading towards a bright and inspiring future.”

Random Connectedness

RANDOM CONNECTEDNESS is an on-going photography project through which I illustrate the random connectivity of the human species.

I ask a person to choose a character of the alphabet with which they want to be photographed. With all the photos of people and letters, I combine the portraits and make words, sentences, paragraphs.

My goal is to have thousands of portraits/letters and present them in a “MANIFESTO OF HUMANITY” exhibit, all displayed on a HUGE mural.

I will also use my project to put a human face(s) on social issues and cultural realities our world is currently dealing with. More information on this will soon be revealed.

The letters are RED, because of the Chinese legend of the Red Thread of Fate. According to Chinese mythology, the Gods tie an invisible red cord around the ankles of those that are destined to meet one another in a certain situation or help each other in a certain way.

In time, an Instagram account will feature daily portraits and “Word” campaigns. You can take the lead and follow the Instagram site by clicking here.

Recently, the project was used to feature the residents of Juneau and why they have chosen to live there. Read story THE SPIRIT OF JUNEAU here.

An embossed silicone wrist bracelets – #IAMCONNECTED will be given to each participant, solidifying the community, loyalty, participation and reach.

Here are some examples from RANDOM CONNECTEDNESS.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Max Stossel


MAX STOSSEL is an award winning poet + filmmaker, and one of the leaders of Time Well Spent, a movement to align technology with our humanity. His work has spanned across 14 languages,  has won two Webby Awards, multiple film festivals, consistently goes viral, and influenced the way digital media organizations tell the stories of mass murder in the news.

Before entering the worlds of poetry, film & digital activism, Max was a media strategist with an extensive background in social. He ran social for Budweiser, where he drove a 3,400% increase in average engagement, before being trained by Gary Vaynerchuk and creating social strategies for Dove and several Fortune 100 brands. He has written on the subject for Quartz and The Huffington Post.

The merging of these fields allows Max to provide a fascinating perspective on modern content and culture. He is currently helping select brands tell their stories in his style via video, speaking at schools, corporations, & events and helping content-focused brands stop wasting their money and start focusing their content resources effectively.

3 words to describe Nature?

Beautiful, Peaceful, Evolution

3 things Nature taught you?

Balance, Adaptation, that everything has it’s opposite

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Kauai, Inca Trail, San Blas Islands

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Calm

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Breath-y

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Awe

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Small

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Alive

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Warm

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

5

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

When I was at summer camp as a kid a skunk got caught in the baseball batting cage net. My friend and I went to try and free it and SURPRISE! It sprayed us. We had to bathe in tomato juice and every room I went in before that smelled for the rest of the summer.