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 – 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.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Christine Mason

CHRISTINE MASON is the author of Indivisible, Love in the Face of Everything, & her upcoming Bending the Bow. She’s the cofounder of New Earth, a farm-based retreat center for Integral Activism on Hawai’i. She convenes, hosts and facilitates conferences, salons and events at the intersection of science and tech, spirituality, human optimization, society and institutions. She serves as Editor in Chief of Enter Magazine, sits on the board of GRIP, and is chairman of Now Labs, Inc. She’s a mom, grandmother, and a long time practitioner and teacher of yoga, meditation and tantra. Follow her at xtinem.com, or on Amazon.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Creative. Destructive. True.

3 things Nature taught you? 

All things are interconnected.

We are always provided for.

How elegantly things adapt.

The resonance of beauty

That an ecosystem in balance sounds a harmonic chord, out of balance there is dissonance – as in all systems.

Humility

Awe

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

The golden sunrise rocks in the high desert at Joshua Tree, Southern California.

The long slung white sand beach at Stinson, in Northern California.

The round stone beach at Washington Harbor, on Washington Island in Lake Michigan, surrounded by White Birch forest.

The ice caves above Aspen, Colorado.

The giant rolling dunes in southern Morocco.

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

Surrendered. Integrated. Rebalanced.

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

Peaceful. Quiet. Curious.

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

Alive. Creative. Urgent.

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

Grateful. Potentiated. Connected to all beings.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

Like a child in the summer rains.

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

Lonely

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

I’m a planet earth person.

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

11

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

Cresting a ridge at sunrise on snowshoes, my father next to me, deep fresh snow; the morning light catching the crystalline crust just so, a thousand rainbow prisms refracting in every direction, against a crisp cold bright blue sky; cheeks red, legs strong, eyes wide open; a suspended indelible moment of pure beauty.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Brooke Garnett

BROOKE GARNETT is the founder of MAYAMAYA, which specializes in tailoring seamless, premium journeys around the world. MAYAMAYA is a small boutique company and they work intimately with a select group of loyal and discerning clients. With expansive destination knowledge covering over 50 countries and some of the most remote parts of the globe, Brooke has been recognized as a world leader in the travel industry and recently celebrated her fifth consecutive year on Travel + Leisure’s A-List. While Brooke’s travel adventures would take pages to relate, some of her more recent memorable experiences include learning to fish with an Aboriginal community in the Kimberley, a private weeklong helicopter tour of the Scottish Highlands, trekking with the Gorillas in Rwanda, and exploring the secret treasures of Jordan and Egypt. Brooke loves to cook, paint, and any sort of outdoor adventure. She has worked as a divemaster in Thailand and Honduras and is an accomplished photographer. Many of you have likely seen her GoPro video of an orphaned pelican flying over Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania which has gone viral with almost 6 million views on YouTube.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Powerful, fragile, harmony

3 things Nature taught you? 

Resilience, respect, true beauty

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Great Bear Rainforest, Canada

Hartmann’s Valley, Namib Desert, Namibia

Tasmanian Coast, Australia

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

Tiny

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

Clean

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

Nervous

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

Calm

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

Excited

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

Alive

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

30% desert, 25% Mountain, 25% Ocean, 20% Forest

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

8

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

My grandfather had a large piece of land in the middle of nowhere in Western Pennsylvania. As a child, I went here for every school holiday and it was the best – playing outside all day catching frogs with no structures in sight. There were some buffalo on the property and one day we found a baby buffalo that was left in a ditch. We rescued the buffalo and bottle fed it back to health.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – John Montalbano

JOHN MONTALBANO recently served as  Vice Chairman of RBC Wealth Management and Head of  RBC Global Asset Management during the period of 2008 to 2016. RBC Global Asset Management ranked among the largest 50 asset managers in the world, with more than $375 billion is assets under management. John is a Trustee of the Killam Trusts, and is a director on many community boards, including the foundations of St. Paul’s Hospital, The Vancouver Police, Take a Hike Youth at Risk, Junior Achievement of BC and also chairs the capital campaign for The Vancouver Public Library. Recently appointed to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Asia Pacific Foundation, John holds a finance degree from the University of British Columbia and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Emily Carr University of Art & Design.

3 words to describe Nature?

Miraculous

Precious

Vulnerable

3 things Nature taught you? 

1. Whenever I am in nature, it always re-educates me that there is so much more to life than my urban reality.

2. Nature has taught me to be respectful of it, to relish in it and to rediscover myself with it.

3. Nature has taught me that it rarely lies. If it looks distressed, then it is likely distressed.

3 most treasured spots? 

1. Haida Gwaii

2. A savanna in Botswana

3. The tidal pools off Sonora Island

When I look at the ocean, it makes me feel…?

Whole

When I see a forest it makes me feel…?

The need to get into the trees.

When I see a volcano, it makes me feel…?

Wondrous of what lurks within it.

When I see a sunrise, it makes me feel…?

Renewed; when I see a sunset, it makes me feel… that I have lived to have seen another day in my children’s lives.

When I hear thunder, it makes me feel…?

Unsettled

When I hear the wind howling, it makes me feel…?

Concerned for those who do not have shelter.

Am I an Ocean, Mountain, Forest or Desert person?…?

Vancouver is deep within me, therefore, I am an Ocean, Mountain and Forest person. One is not complete without the others.

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

9- being near an ocean, mountain or forest is important for me to feel grounded.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Growing up in a working class family did not afford us an opportunity to see the world very often. The anticipation of my first overseas vacation had me all excited about the destination, only to find that it was the journey that I remember most. Flying through the clouds, for the first time, at a window seat, left me in awe and feeling like I was flying along side the angels…ok, in truth, I thought I was on a magic carpet, flying above earth and into space; but being raised Catholic, I quickly found myself becoming consumed with guilt because of my indulgent thoughts and, therefore, traded the carpet in for wings. Until that trip, I could never have imagined how beautiful clouds were, or how big, how broad and how bumpy. I have flown over 3 million miles and every take off would bring me back to that magic carpet ride.

 

Proust Nature Questionnaire – David Labistour

DAVID LABISTOUR is the Chief Executive Officer of Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada’s leading outdoor retailer.

With a professional experience spanning over 30 years working with companies such as Adidas, Woolworths, one of South Africa’s most successful retailers, and Aritzia – David’s diversified international experience has covered Design and Product Development in apparel, gear and food, retail product management, Brand management and complex Strategic planning and execution. His Management and Leadership experience has developed in Private, Public, Co-op and military environments.

David is MEC’s first CEO to have been appointed from within the 46-year-old organization. In his former capacity as the Senior Manager of Buying and Design, David was part of the Executive team that transformed the MEC Brand and shaped MEC’s award winning recognition as Canada’s Best and Most Trusted Brand whilst equally encompassing sustainability initiatives operation wide.

Outside of MEC he sits on the Board of Aritzia, the BCBC Board of Governors and serves as an Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy.

David lives in Deep Cove with his wife Lianne, sons Liam and Felix and indulges in a “jack of all trades, master of none” approach to a range of activities including such things as skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, kite surfing.

3 words to describe Nature?

Nature is a part of us and we are a part of nature

3 things Nature taught you?

Consider the bigger system of things. Nothing is simple or linear

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Too many to pick one. The world is full of wonder. From your front door to the wildest and remotest of places

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

Like riding a wave

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

Like climbing a tree

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

I have never seen a live volcano up close

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

Sunrise = new possibilities. A beautiful sunset on a warm evening = tranquility/ relaxation

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Depends on what my situation is. In the wild = batten the hatches. At home = energy

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

Depends on my situation. On the beach = time to kite.

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

Ocean first, then mountain.

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

See question 1

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I grew up on a farm in the foothills of the mountains, went to school on a nature reserve and holidayed on the ocean. That was my childhood.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Casey Hanisko

From starting her travel career at a space voyage division of well respective Zegrahm Expeditions to launching new events and business solutions at ATTA (Adventure Travel Trade Association), CASEY HANISKO has spent over 20 years taking bold steps and pushing the boundaries of comfortable. Over the years she has marketed countless new innovative travel itineraries from deep sea submersible trips to in depth expeditions to countries such as Brazil, Japan, and Namibia. A creative and results driven executive, Casey’s roles have included business strategy and development, marketing, communications, and innovative product development.

As president of the business services and events division of the ATTA, Casey manages the strategic direction and dynamic team delivering an ecosystem of events and business solutions for destinations and adventure travel brands around the world. Former head of the ATTA’s marketing and communications efforts, Casey was responsible for communicating the place global adventure travel has in the context of the greater tourism industry. As president, Casey will lead the success of long term partnerships that are built to advance destinations’ efforts to support economic- and community-based initiatives. A speaker at industry events around the globe, Casey shares her expertise on adventure travel trends, branding, and travel’s evolving role in the future of communities, culture, environment, and wildlife around the world.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Unexpected, Beautiful, and Necessary

3 things Nature taught you? 

To be introspective, respectful, and wild

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

My most treasured nature spots are close by because access to nature daily makes me a happier person – so first is a park just down the street in Seattle because I go there daily for walks with my dog, second is the Cascade Mountains in Washington, and third is the Puget Sound because there are small pocket beaches that can be accessed across the city and then also South and North. For years I would scuba dive those waters looking for octopus, ling cod and nudibranchs.

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

Calm

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

Alive

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

Honored

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

Peaceful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

Excited

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

Alert

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? 

I lived in rural New Hampshire when I was young. I used to explore the woods in the back of our house for hours on my own. There were trees back there with vines and I loved to find them and swing on them. It always felt like a treasure because I never remembered where they were. I felt like a female Tarzan swinging in the wild jungle.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Megan Harrison

MEGAN HARRISON is an artist who works in a variety of media and exhibits her work nationally. Most recently she was included in the exhibition Geomagic at NMSU, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Her artwork depends on images and insights from geology, architecture, astronomy and Nature. She explores the complexity of the world around her wherever she is. Watch the video, the Complexity of Scale, made by Walley Films.

3 words to describe Nature?

Compounding complexity

Transformative

Penetrating

3 things Nature taught you?

You don’t have to be lucky enough to travel to exotic places to interact with Nature. Nature is a constant and creative force that pushes itself into every aspect of our world, from the remote and distant wilderness to cracks in the sidewalk.

No matter how big, the drama and story of our individual life pales in comparison to the scale, history and complexity of the world that we belong to.

We are shaped, physically and psychology, by natural forces. Our neurological landscape mirrors that of our physical one, complete with domesticated centers, rural outposts and untouched wilderness.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Rocky Mountains of Colorado, where I grew up.

The North-East coast of the United Stated and into Canada. Instead of sandy beaches you will find huge slabs of ancient granite facing off against a dynamic and pristine ocean.

The wilderness of northern Minnesota (minus the mosquitos). Through all of the water channels and tiny islands you can go and go and go until it feels like you are a million miles away.

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

Salt water, sun kissed, wind-blown – when I look at the ocean I can sense for a brief moment the scale of the planet we live on.

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

I feel like I could spend all day there, listening to the sound of my steps, watching the light through the trees, finding a spot have a snack. I am so at home there.

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

When I see a volcano, it feels like all of my Earth Science textbooks have come to life. I can imagine the Earth’s crust, the lithosphere, the mantle and all of the tectonic plates bobbing around.

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

Seeing the sunset is an experience that usually comes to you. You are moving through your day and look up, and there it is.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

After a flash of lightning, the feeling of anticipation, waiting for that thunder to follow, is so satisfying.

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

Cozy and happy to have a good roof over my head.

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

Today I feel like a Forest person.

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

A 10. In fact, just thinking about nature has positive effects; the idea of wilderness shapes such a large part of the human psyche.

Share with us a childhood nature memory

My dad took me on a short camping trip when I was 7 or 8. It was the first time I experienced hiking into a natural space with a pack as opposed to camping next to a car. It felt like we walked for a very long time, though it was probably less than a mile. It was just far enough to feel really surrounded by the landscape. I remember green everywhere, cold mornings, and the smell of the tent. I was amazed watching my dad; he knew all sorts of tricks – how to set up a tent, start a fire, hook a fishing line, cook outside, brush your teeth and clean dishes without running water. I would love to go find that spot again. I am curious to see how my memory has interpreted that space.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Christiana Moss

CHRISTIANA MOSS is managing principal and a founding partner of Studio Ma, the current AIA Arizona Firm of the Year and a recent Architectural Record Design Vanguard Firm. Her interests in advanced environmental design and the relationship between natural and cultural systems inform her design philosophy. She is one of five Studio Ma principals and practices collaboratively with Christopher Alt, Dan Hoffman, Jason Boyer and Tim Keil. The hallmark of studio is a commitment to sustainability and research, seen most recently in Princeton University’s net-zero ready 715-bed Lakeside Graduate Student Community.

As part of the firm’s mission of advancing the practice of sustainable design, Studio Ma has recently developed a “triple net-zero” concept for higher education research buildings and practices using an integrated design process, for its campus, cultural and urban infill projects. Their work on university campuses focuses on student residential life, academic and research projects. Other notable recent projects include Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, a Smithsonian affiliate, Arizona State University’s Manzanita Hall, Northern Arizona University’s Native American Cultural Center, the Cranbrook Institute of Science addition, master planning and cabin prototypes for Summit Powder Mountain, PRD845 and artHAUS, an urban infill development. Studio Ma has received significant recognition for their work, including AIA Arizona Honor awards, the Chicago Athenaeum and SCUP/AIA National Honor for Building Design. Their buildings have been featured in Metropolis, Architectural Record and The New York Times.

Christiana received her Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Essential

Integral

Threatened

3 things Nature taught you? 

Humility

Awe

Self-reflection

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Fire Island

Oak Creek Canyon, AZ

My back yard

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

When I’m looking out to the ocean I feel small and infinite at the same time.

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

When I’m in a forest I feel sheltered, embraced and connected to the earth.

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

I haven’t seen a volcano yet.

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

Thankful for its rising and anxious for its return when it sets.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

Hearing thunder makes me want to seek shelter.

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

I enjoy feeling the wind on my face and prefer to be in it instead of hearing it from the indoors.

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

This is a difficult question. I love them all and they are all connected, perhaps some at different times. I began as an ocean person. The desert was once an ocean and I now enjoy the expanse of sky of both, the silhouette of mountains and the unique life water’s absence creates in the desert. The forest is a place I go to be immersed in the smells and sounds of the earth and I long for this too, perhaps I will become a forest person.

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

1 (being most important)

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

I lived as a child on Fire Island without cars, free to run and swim in the ocean, walking in sand barefoot all summer long, picking blueberries and chasing rabbits. I lost this when I moved to New York when I was 12 and I’ve been longing to return to life without a city ever since.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Ardy Sobhani

ARDY SOBHANI is an entrepreneur and business strategist, energized by ideation, iteration, and systems design. After earning an MBA in Design Strategy from California College of the Arts in 2012, Ardy helped launched Oru Kayak via Kickstarter with his two co-founders. The response to the project was incredible, with over 700 backers supporting the folding kayak company. In three years since, Oru Kayak has grown quickly, from a weekend hobby to young and scrappy startup to international brand. all under the guidance of Sobhani, Oru Kayak‘s CEO.

Today the company markets and sells through a wide variety of channels, has a robust and efficient manufacturing and fulfillment process in Southern California, and has developed key partnerships with , and many other major distributors. Looking forward, the company–which has doubled in growth each year since its founding–is poised for rapid expansion, riding a wave of good fortune and a dedication to the aggressive strategies put forth by Ardy and the rest of the executive team. Oru Kayak‘s dream of changing the way people experience the outdoors is closer than many believe.

As a leader, Ardy is motivated by a desire to use human-centered design to make the outdoors more accessible for all. He believes that clever, forward-thinking solutions will soon create game-changing products and services in the outdoor industry, and that Oru Kayak is position well to be a catalyst for this change. Ardy uses design thinking frameworks to inspire innovative thinking, merging design and business to create and deliver value to the customer and faster growth for the company.

3 words to describe Nature?

Freedom

Fresh

Recharge

3 things Nature taught you?

Ecosystem – Everything has a purpose and nothing is wasted.

Flow – the easiest path forward. Nature always finds it.

All the answers we are looking for are in nature, but they are hard to find.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The waters that surround the cities. We need to utilize these natural water parks!

The Beautiful North of Iran ” Shomal”

My favourite tree in the neighbourhood

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

Calm and at the same time strong. Always there to take care of you and never let go.

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

Respect. Our elders with much wisdom

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

Never seen a volcano in person but it is very powerful. It’s time for the earth to breathe.

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

Another day about to start or end 🙂 Future or the Past. Both are very powerful.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Love it! Louder, please!

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

Something is about to go down! We need to listen closely to what the wind is telling us.

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

I grow up in Tehran, Iran mountains city but lived in California for the most of my life. I love the desert for it vastness and its honesty. I love the ocean as it takes care of us. Mountains for their powerful stand and they are fun to play in. Forest for the oxygen the make. How about mountain forest next to ocean or lake.

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

10. I need more of it.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Camping in the forest of Iran. I LOVED it!

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Brian MacKay-Lyons

BRIAN MACKAY-LYONS received his Bachelor of Architecture from the Technical University of Nova Scotia in 1978 where he was awarded the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Medal. He received his Master of Architecture and Urban Design at U.C.L.A., and was awarded the Dean’s Award for Design. In 1985, he founded the firm Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture Urban Design in Halifax. Twenty years later, Brian partnered with Talbot Sweetapple to form MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited.

The firm has built an international reputation for design excellence confirmed by over 125+ awards, including the Royal Institute of British Architects International Fellowship in 2016, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal in 2015 and Firm Award in 2014, six Governor General Medals, two American Institute of Architects National Honor Awards for Architecture, thirteen Lieutenant Governor’s Medals of Excellence, eight Canadian Architect Awards, four Architectural Record Houses Awards, eight North American Wood Design Awards and in 2017 the firm received the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture. Also in 2017, the firm has been shortlisted for the prestigious Moriyama Award (result pending). A fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (FRAIC), and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA), Brian was named Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (Hon FAIA) in 2001 and International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Int. FRIBA) in 2016.

He is a Professor of Architecture at Dalhousie University where he has taught for over thirty years and has held seventeen endowed academic chairs and given 200+ lectures internationally. In 2004 he was visiting professor for the Ruth and Norman Moore Professorship at Washington University in St. Louis.

Ghost (1994-2011) was a series of international Architectural Research Laboratories that took place on the MacKay-Lyons farm. Ghost was founded by Brian as a meeting place for an international ‘school’ of architects who shared a commitment to: landscape, making, and community. The final installment of Ghost took the form of a three-day historic gathering where the twenty-five invited guests and speakers commiserated over these shared values and their ‘resistance’ to the globalization of Architecture.

The work of the firm has been recognized in 330+ publications including six monographs: Seven Stories from a Village Architect (1996); Brian MacKay-Lyons: Selected Works 1986-1997 (1998); Plain Modern: The Architecture of Brian MacKay-Lyons by Malcolm Quantrill (2005); Ghost: Building an Architectural Vision (2008); Local Architecture: Building Place, Craft, and Community (2014); and Economy as Ethic: The Work of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, authored by Historian Robert McCarter, published April 2017. In addition to these monographs, the work of the firm has been featured in 100+ exhibitions internationally.

3 words to describe Nature?

As a fellow Canadian, Nature is IMMENSE. But, as a Nova Scotian, all Nature is a mixture of both CULTURAL and natural landscapes. As an architect, Nature is the ultimate design MODEL.

3 things Nature taught you?

NATURE WINS. Any attempt to beat nature loses.

ELEGANCE = economy of means.

RYTHM of the seasons.

We learn our manners at home, then take them out into the world. As a child, I have been imprinted by the landscape where my ancestors have dwelled for thousands of years.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

EDGE, where the land meets the sea.

ACADIE, the local Micmac word for the ecologically rich tidal estuaries around the Bay of Fundy, where I hunted and fished as a youth.

DRUMLIN, a hill that points in the direction of the retreating glaciers in the last ice age.

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

I feel connected to the INFINITE. (Prospect)

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

I am ALONE. (Refuge)

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

I see a PORTAL to the center of the earth.

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

A sunrise or sunset is a seasonal CLOCK.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Thunder, universally inspires TERROR.

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

The wind is the weather FORECAST.

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

Clearly an OCEAN person.

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

Nature connection is essential to my/our well-being, or GROUNDING, so it is a 10.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Dip netting spawning gaspereaux at dusk on spring evenings with friends, in the rapids, where the fresh water from the forest drops into the salt tidal estuary water. This is only one of the seasonal RITUALS that marked my PLACE in the world.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Jennine Cohen

JENNINE COHEN is a the Managing Director of the Americas for GeoEx. A trusted adventure, luxury and travel expert, Jennine also supports travel conservation efforts. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the International Galápagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA) and has been featured in Travel & Leisure, Afar, Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, YahooTravel, Fortune, Forbes, ABC, CBS, Travel Weekly, TravelAge West, Recommend Magazine, SmartMeetings, Travel Alliance Media and beyond.  Besides sending people traveling around the world, Cohen advises, coaches and helps small businesses, women entrepreneurs, healers, and business leaders to uncover their everyday magic.

3 words to describe Nature?

Peace, Pachamama, Purity

3 things Nature taught you?

Like nature, I am a force;

Hitting the reset button in nature = clarity;

No regrets for going bigger

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The South Yuba River, Nevada City,

Wrangell Saint Elias National Park – Alaska,

Dead Horse State Park – Utah

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

I want to be out there, in the waves instead of sitting on the shore

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

Like everything is right in the world

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

Mother Earth is amazing

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

Like the days are precious – and we should appreciate and have gratitude for each uniquely beautiful day.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

At home

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

Intrigued

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

Mountain – but love them all deeply

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

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I didn’t have much exposure to the wilderness as a child, and my first real introduction was in college through UCLA’s Outdoor Leadership Program. My first backpacking trip with UCLA was through Sequoia National Forest – it was how I fell in love with the West.

I was surrounded on that trip by much more experienced peers who had spent their childhoods enjoying frequent family camping trips. I on the other hand, didn’t even know how to set up a tent – let alone use topo maps and a compass. Despite this, as we hiked through the mountains and under some of the largest trees on the planet, I felt a deep sense of satisfaction, calm, sense of purpose. Though I was an absolute beginner, but my unbounded excitement for my new found passion over time led to my competence in and eventual addiction to the outdoors. My life was forever changed after that trip, and my career in the adventure travel industry born.

Coincidentally, that same trip happened to fall over 9/11. We had been in the wilderness and seemed to be the last ones on the planet to find out about the terrorist attacks to the World Trade Center – emerging from the woods a full week after the tragic event. Not being surrounded by news all week likely shielded us from the high levels of stress and anxiety that the rest of the country was suffering from.

It is a good reminder about the importance of disconnecting from the noise of today’s anxiety inciting media – in order to intuitively return to the abundance of calm and clarity.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Bruce Poon Tip

Entrepreneur, leader and philanthropist BRUCE POON TIP is the founder of adventure travel company and social enterprise G Adventures, the world’s largest small-group adventure travel company, with 23 offices worldwide offering more than 650 tours on all seven continents and serving 150,000 travellers a year.

Bruce is also the founder of the nonprofit foundation Planeterra in 2003, which harnesses the power of the tourism industry to direct travel dollars into vulnerable and underserved communities around the world. His work with organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), like-minded companies and indigenous people has supported more than 40 unique community development and relief projects around the world, with another 50 in development.

In 2012, Bruce was inducted into the Social Venture Network Hall of Fame, joining celebrated entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines), Anita Roddick (The Body Shop), and Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream). He was also awarded a Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, recognizing significant contributions to society, and was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016, 2006 and 2002.

Bruce’s first book, Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business, a New York Times bestseller, was the first business book to be endorsed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who penned the book’s foreword. In 2015 Bruce released his second book, Do Big Small Things, a gorgeously designed journal about life and travel that takes readers on a journey and invites them to share their own inspiration and creativity.

G Adventures has been named one of the 50 Best Managed Companies for over 10 years and is repeatedly recognized as a “best place to work” in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia.

3 words to describe Nature?

Happiness

Peaceful

Beauty

3 things Nature taught you?

Being humble,

Importance of stillness

Awareness that we’re surrounded by beautiful things

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Serengeti, Galapagos and the Geelong Bird Sanctuary

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

Free

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

Small

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

Curious

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

Invincible

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Excited

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

Light

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?

9

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Growing up in Calgary I spent a lot of my spare time in ponds after school, knee-deep in mud. I lost track of time catching frogs and observing tadpoles in transition. I was fascinated by natural biology.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Gary Turk

GARY TURK is an award-winning filmmaker and spoken word artist best known for his viral film ‘Look Up’, attracting over 500 million views worldwide. Through poetry and film, Gary explains how overuse of smartphones and social media can disengage us from real relationships, human interactions and living in the real world.

Look Up’ is currently the most viewed Spoken Word film on YouTube, and went on to win Best Viral Film at Cannes. Scroll down to watch his latest video – IN OUR NATURE

Gary’s work, which has explored our relationships with money, politics and nature has gone on to inspire masses across the globe and gained worldwide coverage including BBC News, Fox News and TIME.

Gary has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sunrise (Australia), among many others.

Gary continues to make short independent films, as well as performing live around the world. He can also be found giving talks, workshops & performances at schools, universities, and corporate events.

3 words to describe Nature?

Boundless

Magnificent

Inspiring

3 things Nature taught you?

 To travel

To take my time

To appreciate the little things

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Looking Glass Rock, Appalachian Mountains, NC.

Cuckmere Haven, South Downs National Park, England.

Beneath the Redwoods, Mendocino CA.

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

Calm

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

Protected

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

Inconsequential

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

Like everyone and everything is connected

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Like looking for lightning

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

Like there’s no point standing still

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

Mountain person – I love being able to take in my surroundings from up high (especially if I can see Oceans, Forests or Deserts from there).

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

An easy 10 – If I ever don’t feel 100%, I know that being in Nature will always make things better, put things into perspective, and provide the answers I need.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

After a long day of trail hiking with my cub-scout, we went to sleep under the stars in our sleeping bags on the forest floor. What I did not realise as we went to sleep was that I still had a cereal bar in the pocket of my shorts. When I woke up I noticed there were lots of tiny pieces of foil wrapper in my sleeping bag. I climbed out to find that my shorts now had a large hole in them leading to my pocket, which had clearly been chewed, and inside my pocket was the remaining foil wrapper and the crumbs of a cereal bar that I had not eaten.

I became immediately certain that I had been attacked by a bear in my sleep, and that I must have somehow slept through the encounter.

Our group leader then reassured me that considering the size of the hole in my shorts, and the fact my sleeping bag and limbs remained intact, it was most likely a mouse that attacked me during the night.

I often remember this moment in nature as a child, as part of me still likes to believe it could have been a bear.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Scott Sampson


SCOTT SAMPSON was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. He is a dinosaur paleontologist, science communicator, and passionate advocate for reimagining cities as places where people and nature thrive. He serves as the President and CEO of Science World British Columbia.

Scott’s scientific research has focused on the ecology and evolution of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs, and he has conducted fieldwork in many countries, including Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Madagascar, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. He has published numerous scientific and popular articles, and regularly speaks to audiences of all ages on topics ranging from dinosaurs and education to sustainability and connecting kids with nature.

Sampson has appeared in many television documentaries and served as a science advisor for a variety of media projects, most recently the BBC movie, Walking With Dinosaurs. He has authored multiple books, including Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life, and How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature. However, he is perhaps best known as “Dr. Scott,” host and science advisor of the Emmy-nominated PBS KIDS television series Dinosaur Train, produced by the Jim Henson Company.

3 words to describe Nature?

Interwoven, Nested, Evolving

3 things Nature taught you?

Wonder, Deep Connection, Humility

3 most treasured Nature spots?

While I have had the pleasure of traveling to a number of countries around the world, my most treasured nature spots have been those that I have been able to return to again and again. They are the ones I know the best, and that resonate with me most deeply.

Long Beach (Tofino area), Vancouver Island

Marin Headlands, California

Red Rock Country, southern Utah

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

Awe (in its vastness)

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

Wonder (in its deep, mostly unseen interconnections)

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

Humbled (by the sheer power it represents from within the Earth)

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

Tiny, and a little off balance (sitting, as I am, on the side of a giant, rolling sphere)

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Resonance (it is as if I feel the thunder more from the inside out, than the outside in)

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

A deep appreciation for shelter

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

Growing up in Vancouver, BC, I was raised at the intersection of ocean, mountain, and forest, so for me they are interwoven. But if I had to pick one only, it would be the ocean.

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

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

While still a child, camping with my family in the interior of British Columbia, I went off on my own (as usual) in search for interesting rocks and (hopefully) fossils. I spent a joyous hour or two on the side of a steep, boulder-strewn slope, turning over rocks and hunting for whatever wonders might be revealed. (I may have rolled a few rocks down the hillside as well.) Eventually I stopped and sat for a long while on a flat rock with a view of the valley below. When I finally headed back to our campsite, I wanted to show my parents where I had been. Late in the day, we walked back to the spot, to find a rattlesnake lounging on the very same flat rock I had sat on just hours earlier. I presume that it was soaking in the last rays of sun before a night of hunting. Although my first reaction was a twinge of fear, my lasting sense was one of interconnection—with the snake, the rock, and that place.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – David Nihill

DAVID NIHILL is the author of the best-selling book Do You Talk Funny? and the Founder of FunnyBizz, a community, writer platform, and conference series, where business meets humor to abolish boring content. His work has been featured in Inc., Lifehacker, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, The Irish Times, WSJ, and Forbes. A graduate of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School he calls San Francisco home when immigration officials permit, and was named on the 2017 Irish America 100 List, which recognizes the accomplishments of the best and the brightest Irish-American and Irish-born leaders.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Inspiring, awe, wonder

3 things Nature taught you? 

Patience, appreciation, fear

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Annanpurna Nepal, Tofu Mozambique, Salt Flats Bolivia

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

Like kiteboarding or swimming

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

Like running but also like stopping

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

In awe

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

Grateful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

Alive

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

Like kiteboarding

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? 

9..but why not 10, it should be 10 🙂

Share with us a childhood nature memory.

When I was 7 years old I went fishing for tadpoles by a small river. I urinated without surveying my surroundings and had an argument with an electrical fence. Exactly as memorable…and painful as it sounds 🙂

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Anique Coffee

ANIQUE COFFEE grew up in the US where she studied Marketing + Entrepreneurial Ventures. After a four-year stint working with Creative Services at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Anique started her own agency, providing a range of services to companies, with a focus on corporate identity and branding. After selling the agency, Anique moved to California and joined the Silicon Valley life in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she helped launch and grow various startups. Anique is driven by relationships and results, and loves connecting with others through shared ideas and celebration of unique differences. Stemming from a love for travel and new cultures, Anique recently relocated to Barcelona, Spain and runs The Collective remotely, embracing the digital nomad lifestyle, enabling her to connect with people and brands all over the globe.

3 words to describe Nature?

Vast. Organic. Expansive.

3 things Nature taught you?

To breathe. To wander. To be open to the things nature shows you when you wander.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The Chuckawalla trail inside Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, near St George Utah

Dipsea Steep Ravine Loop Trail near Stinson Beach, just over the Golden Gate Bridge, north of San Francisco

Monterosso al Mare along the Cinque Terre trail in Italy

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

Calm. I had my energy read a few times and every single reader immediately said that water was my element – the natural element that I use when I’m seeking calming. It’s true.

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

Grateful. Trees are so amazing. They are living, breathing network of organisms that provide oxygen for us to breathe and work WITH each other to survive. I highly recommend this radio lab podcast to understand how amazing forests and trees really are: http://www.radiolab.org/story/from-tree-to-shining-tree/

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

Cautiously optimistic.

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

Renewed.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Homesick. I grew up in Central Florida where thunder and lightning storms are almost a daily occurrence. I used to love sitting on the front porch watching the storms, and when a hurricane was on the way, it would be fun to watch some of the natural debris like Spanish moss whipping around in the huge oak trees in our yard.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you Feel?

Nostalgic for Florida. I have many memories of stormy days and hurricanes there.

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

Can I be all of them? I love the ocean, but frequently crave the quiet mountain life. I love the lush bright green varieties you can find in the forest. I also lived in the desert in St George Utah for a bit and while I won’t live there again, I really miss the red rocks and gorgeous succulents.

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

11. Given our current tech-obsessed culture (which I am often guilty of as a business owner), I find myself craving a hike or a quiet sit on beach weekly. I try to give in to these cravings as much as possible to hit the reset button on myself.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Camping as a family was a big part of my childhood. We’d often pack up the car and caravan with some other friends to a campsite. I specifically remember one evening at dusk – my favorite time of the day – where I found myself in a field, surrounded by fireflies. I had seen and caught them before, but this time was different. Its one of those moments in my life that’s frozen in my memory and was also some kind of out-of-body experience. I can almost see myself swirling around the field, delicately touching the fireflies one by one. Magical bugs. I love them!

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Richard Titus

RICHARD TITUS was named one of the Wired 100 in 2010. Serial entrepreneur and executive, Richard  has a passion for technology & innovation. His startups include Razorfish, Schematic & Videoplaza. Titus’s most recent startup, Prompt.ly, was co-founded in 2013 and sold in 2016 to Breezeworks.

More recently, until February 2017, Richard led customer experience for Samsung Electronics Visual display division globally. While there he led User experience & design globally, and portions of its product planning & new product development functions for Consumer Electronics & Digital Appliance divisions. Richard has been an active blockchain investor & advisor for 5+ years, his most recent ICO’s include Hive and 2030.

Richard previously he held senior leadership roles at the British Broadcasting Corporation (Future Media Controller) where he launched iPlayer and the BBC mobile service and subsequently served as CEO of Associated Northcliffe Digital, the digital holding company of DMGT’s (Daily Mail) digital holding company. He is based in San Francisco, California.

3 words to describe Nature?

Warm (even when cold), Calm, Home

3 things Nature taught you?

Respect for my limitations

Humility around our role on earth

Awe of the complexity, grandeur and ingenuity

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Iceland –  the whole damn thing

Atacama desert, Chile

Yosemite Valley, California – which is magical even now after 10+ visits

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

Mediative effect of the waves

Longing to escape wherever I am (swim away).

Eagerness to jump on a wave.

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

I love the forest for the organic.

The surprise that the bed of pine needles could be so rough, prickly and yet simultaneously soft and welcoming.

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

It’s funny I just saw one in Nicaragua this week. A melding of fear, awe and fascination with the danger & power + warmth of what lies beneath the surface.

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

My house is in the hills and faces east. I watch the sunrise every day its part of my meditation routine. I feel a sense of rebirth, beginning, but also quiet contemplation. Happiness. No sunrise has ever made me feel sad.

Sunset, I always feel a mix of sadness about those things left incomplete and relief from the same burden.

When my daughters were younger, I used to wake them up to watch the sunrise. We pretended we could conduct it! “ok over there lets get a little more opacity on the water now. People work with me there’s too much bloody purple.. ” that kind of thing. They loved it. They still describe those memories as some of their favorites.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Tumultuous Excitement

Expectation

Occasional dread

When my daughters were young, and somewhat afraid of thunder & lightning, I used to lay in their room (high on a hill where we felt on par with the storm) and I would pretend I could “speak storm” – translating the sounds into funny conversation.

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

Anxiety. Its the only storm sound I don’t like. Years of danger rock climbing and camping. Wind was something that could cause significant distress.

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

Mountain for sure. though ocean gets a strong 2nd mention.

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

Nature is where I go to recharge – even nature photos help me center myself.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

As a child we drove from Orange County CA to  Washington DC across the country. Twice.  I remember being astounded at the diversity of landscape, the way it evolved and iterated. I found the land and nature would reflect themselves in the people. The Stoicism of the montana’ians. The Friendliness of the midwest farmers…

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Julie Pointer Adams

JULIE POINTER ADAMS is an artist, floral designer, and most recently, author and photographer of a book on hospitality called Wabi-Sabi Welcome: Learning to embrace the imperfect and entertain with thoughtfulness and ease. She lived in Portland, Oregon for a number of years where she developed and directed the international community events for Kinfolk magazine alongside Editor Nathan Williams. Julie currently resides in Santa Barbara, California with her husband, Ryan.

3 words to describe Nature?

Healing, calming, worshipful

3 things Nature taught you?

To let go of worry; to be still and listening; to find beauty in unsuspecting places.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Sauvie Island, Oregon; St. John River, New Brunswick, Canada; beaches along the Santa Barbara, California coastline

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

Powerless and grateful

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

Quiet

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

Small and temporal

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

Happy-sad and hopeful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Grounded

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

Alive and reflective, as if a change is coming.

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?

Most summers as a child were spent visiting my mother’s extended family in New Brunswick, Canada along the St. John River. I remember long days spent outside swimming, canoeing and exploring, but I particularly recall one day sitting hidden in the midst of tall grasses on a sloping hillside, shaded by birch trees. I felt in that moment that nature would always be a safe hiding place—a place to retreat to and be cradled by.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Davis Smith

DAVIS SMITH is the founder and CEO of Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear brand with a humanitarian mission. He is also a member of the eight-person United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council. Davis is a serial entrepreneur who previously started Baby.com.br, Brazil’s Startup of the Year in 2012. Davis holds an MBA from the Wharton School, an MA from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA from BYU. Davis is an adventurer who has visited 70 countries. He has floated down the Amazon on a self-made raft, camped in the Sahara Desert, kayaked from Cuba to Florida, and explored North Korea.

3 words to describe Nature?

Raw, Fragile, Inspiring

3 things Nature taught you?

I began spending time in the outdoors before I can remember, but some of my first lessons learned while adventuring with my father are that:

1. Nature needs to be respected because while infinitely beautiful, it will eat you alive.

2. In my lowest moments, nature has lifted me up and inspired me.

3. I’ve always felt that nature has shown me that there is something bigger than myself. Spending time in the outdoors connects me with things that are truly important.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

1. The red rock canyons of Southern Bolivia, where I lived for a number of years as a young adult.

2. Cotopaxi national park in Ecuador, where I spent some of my childhood and early teen years.

3. The Wasatch Mountains that tower above Salt Lake City, where I currently live.

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

Small and vulnerable.

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

Safe, overwhelmed with beautiful sounds, smells and sights.

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

Humbled and melancholy (I grew up in the Andes surrounded by amazing volcanos which I often summited with my father).

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

Overwhelming joy. Is there anything that can fill a heart or bring a smile faster?

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

An urge to run and duck for cover!

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

Somewhat intimidated, but I love the sound when I’m in a tent.

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

I’ve spent eight years living in the Caribbean, so I’m obsessed with the ocean. I love kayak touring, diving, snorkeling, spearfishing and camping on the beach. That said, I’ve lived in Utah for a number of years now and have really grown to love the mountains.

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

8. I love the outdoors, but I own an outdoor gear brand and have a small family, both which keep me indoors quite often. I’ve found that surrounded by people I love, I can also get immense joy even when not outdoors.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Some of my fondest memories as a child were spending time adventuring with my dad. We once built our own raft and floated down the Amazon river fishing for piranha. We also survived on uninhabited islands in the Caribbean, spearing fish with home-made spears. My brother and I spent hours every day exploring and building forts in the jungle behind our home when we lived in Puerto Rico. My childhood is full of memories in nature. Most incredibly pleasant, but some memories are of times that were terrifying and scary. It was those moments, however, that gave me such a deep respect for nature and taught me to respect it and always be prepared for the worst.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – My mother

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Families are complicated. After 15 years of tumultuous and often absent communication, my mother and I have mended our differences and picked up where we left off, back to a time when our relationship was what one of a mother-son should be. A lot of who I am today is because of her, even my love of nature.  As a young boy, she always made sure that we spent as much time exploring the shores of the St-Lawrence river or roaming the local woods. I am really grateful for the values and skills she taught me. Thank you mother.

3 words to describe Nature?

Beauty, Respect and Strength

3 things Nature taught you?

That beauty doesn’t cost a thing. That it is the best place for your mind to wander and meditate. That we need to respect it because, simply, we are part of it.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Close to water so that I can hear the sound of waves or the sound of a running creek. Leaning against a tree so that I can feel its energy. Walking under the rain, even better when it is warm.

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

In peace, meditative, and small.

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

If alone, I am a bit worried. If I am with others, I feel in harmony, I feel the energy.

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

In awe… from far away. But also insecure.

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

Happy, calm, mesmerized by the perfect beauty. I am fascinated by how it changes, how it evolves – the colors, shades and forms.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

I simply love hearing thunder! It is so delightful! It is exciting! I want to run outside and watch the storm… from sitting on a chair on a veranda though!

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

I love falling asleep to the sound of the wind whistling. That said, I wouldn’t want to be in a hurricane or tornado – terrifying!

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

Water!! Whether the ocean, a river, or a creek.

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

10. But at the same time, I am not dependant on it to be happy.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

One memory I have is at my grand parents’ chalet, there was a vast field nearby where we gathered wild berries. Another one is by the St-Lawrence River where I spent countless hours playing in tide pools looking for little fish and shells. I also remember loving relaxing in a hammock, looking up to the sky and the top of trees, just letting my imagination run free.

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Proust Nature Questionnaire – Charlene Winfred

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CHARLENE WINDFRED is a Fujifilm X-Photographer who captures exquisitely the byproduct of a life in perpetual transit. She was born and raised in Singapore. She lived for 15 years in Australia. In 2013, she sold everything and began the life of a nomad.

3 words to describe Nature?

Overwhelming, longing, life

3 things Nature taught you?

That life persists. That death comes for us all. That to be able to walk, to test my body against the earth, is one of the finest abilities I am lucky enough to take for granted (at the moment, anyway)

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Arches National Park. The open ocean. Any inner city park, being the closest I normally get to Nature… sad but true!

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

Overwhelmed and calmed at the same time

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

Like I want to go for a very long walk and look at everything. This very rarely happens, however.

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

I’ve never actually seen one, so I’ll get back to you when I do!

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

Sunrise – it’s been a while since I’ve seen one of those. Next! Sunset – whenever I’m in a position to see an entire sunset vista, it honestly makes me feel like having a glass of wine.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Glad to be inside!

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

Like I want to be outside, running around like a crazy person.

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

Of the 4, the Ocean has been the only one I can say I’ve been to enough to be familiar with its many moods. I like to think I’d be a mountain person, because I find rocks strangely comforting to be around (and climbing is one of the things I’ve wished I could afford to do since I was a kid), but that could be me romanticizing both mountains and my affinity for them! Again, will get back to you if/when that actually happens.

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

10, because it’s everything. We can’t live without nature can we?

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

There are no maritime background, or lineage of proud/rogue sailors in my family’s runaway past. My father was a mad keen fisherman though, and that’s probably where my draw to the ocean started. Dad would disappear for days on these extended fishing trips in the South China sea when I was little, bringing back ice chests full of all sorts of fish and a bunch of awesome stories each time (he was a sensational story teller). I begged to go for years and kept being told it would happen as soon as I was old enough.

So that was my 8th birthday present. My parents worried for their small, sickly child out at sea during the onset of the monsoon season, but as Dad would recall about 20 years later, I’d positively flourished in those 5 days. That was the beginning of yearly trips in Malaysian waters.

The things I remember about being at sea: Stormy days – large approaching masses of angry water waiting to eat the boat, securing anything that would fly when being tossed around. Listening to the boat creak and moan woefully in the thrash. Afterwards, small fish roiling on the water as the clouds moved away, far as the eye could see in every direction; a lone marlin worrying a frantic ball of its prey in the water, the glorious still-frame of a sailfish in flight, a line of sunlight gleaming off its saltwater lacquered dorsal fin, down curved flank and flashing off its sickle of tail. The curious, heady mix of brine and diesel fumes (and in this case, old fish) that to me, will always mean “port.”

But what I retain most about those days is staring up at clouds puffing into existence, wavering shards of sunlight converging conical to a point in the water, or at a horizon that was never really still, the way it is on land. I never took to fishing, but it allowed me to spend days dreaming in any available spot on the boat, with or without a rod in hand.

charlene

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Kedyn Sierra

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-10-03-36-amKEDYN SIERRA is W.I.L.D.‘s 1st scholarship recipient. He is an Adventure & Commercial Photographer and Filmmaker, a proud brand ambassador for Guayaki Yerba Mate and sponsored photographer for SOG Knives, Kokatat, Klean Kanteen, Confluence among others. His work has been featured by DPR Construction, NOLS, Voltaic Systems, The Leader, National Geographic Student Expeditions, Environmental Traveling Companions, Klean Kanteen, Sierra Designs, and The Wild Image Project.

3 things Nature taught you?

Humbleness, responsibility, self-worth

3 most treasured Nature spots?

I met a weasel by a small creek in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness, I feel absolutely upset that I can’t pinpoint it. The second spot is Raymond Lake on the PCT Trail. I’ve never felt utter pain and exhaustion from a hike so for that it takes second. The last place that comes to mind is Avalas Beach, a small patch where people can kayak into while on Tomales Bay. Avalas shows you the meeting point of the bay and the great pacific ocean.

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

I feel calmness from the tranquility of the water. I realize I am simply a piece to a greater magnificent piece of life.

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

The forests make me feel immersed.

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

When I saw a Volcano (sleeping volcano) I felt on top of the world. 360 view of the landscape definitely feels phenomenal.

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

I feel short on time. The minute the sun sets, the day has ended or begun depending on what’s happening. Sunrises make me appreciate everything because I rarely get to see those.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Thunder makes me feel refreshed.

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

When the wind howls it focuses me.

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

A Forest person – conditions tend to be unfavorable in the Forest though it’s the only place you can truly feel the way everything is connected to one another.

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

I would put a 10 to Nature for my well-being. Without it, I can’t seem to understand anything.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

My family was born into a minimalist lifestyle in the middle of the Yucatan peninsula. I was raised around animals, cows, turkeys, chickens, ducks, cats, dogs amongst others. It wasn’t in a farm environment but rather heavy forest. The memory of the endless roaming with the imagination of a bliss kid was absolutely phenomenal and short lived.

kedyn

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Chip Conley

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At the end of the nineteenth century, a teenage Marcel Proust answered a series of questions in a confession album that belong to his friend Antoinette, daughter of future French President Félix Faure. The original manuscript of his answers, titled “by Marcel Proust himself” was discovered in 1924 and auctioned for €102,000 on May 27, 2003.

The format of the questionnaire has since became a popular reference when wanting to find out more about the personality of an interviewee. The questions have been used by French television host Bernard Pivot, James Lipton from the Actor’s Studio and the magazine Vanity Fair.

I decided to adapt the questions with the goal of finding out what Nature means to people.

Starting today, and for every Friday forward, I will be publishing the PROUST NATURE QUESTIONNAIRE.

To begin this new project, here is hospitality entrepreneur, bestselling author and TED Featured Speaker, Chip Conley.

Honored with the 2012 Pioneer Award – hospitality’s highest accolade – The San Francisco Business Times named Chip the Most Innovative CEO. He received his BA and MBA from Stanford University and holds an Honorary Doctorate in Psychology from Saybrook University. Chip served on the Glide Memorial Board for nearly a decade and received its Cecil Williams Legacy Award in 2015. He is now on the boards of the Burning Man Project and the Esalen Institute, where the Conley Bookstore opened in 2016.

3 words to describe Nature?

Spiritual, cleansing, awe-provoking

3 things Nature taught you? 

Animism: everything has spirit; there are forces way bigger than me; “discover the pace of nature”

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

A deserted beach in Baja, the Ventana wilderness in Big Sur, a quiet rice paddy field in Baja

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

The vastness: there’s so much above and below the surface to explore, I wish I had many lifetimes to do this

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

Trees breathing with me and the phenomenally complex and beautiful eco-system

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

Metaphor for powerful human emotions

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

The end is also the beginning

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

There is nowhere to hide

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

I’m reminded of the stunning scene in American Beauty when the two teenagers are staring at the video of the plastic bag in the wind…wind creates life

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

I can’t say I’m only one of these but if I had to choose one, it would be Ocean.

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

9

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

I remember staring at a live starfish on the beach I’d found and realized how much life was under the sea.

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