MEET THE AUTHOR

Author & ‘EcoShift’ Investor
Rich 'Rico' Leon
(illustrated by Ariana Leon)

I had no idea back then what the story might look like — what form, what style, what plot, what characters, or what catchy compelling title I would use. But I knew that — just as with taking on the daunting project of building a custom 26-foot ocean sailing catamaran by myself — I simply had to start. And I also knew where it had to be written. South Florida has special significance for me beyond any natural loyalty as a native son of Miami. As I write in the story:

"Without a doubt, my relationship with the world had changed dramatically in the time since Bob and I would blissfully race our sleek gleaming feather-weight beach catamarans across the clean, crystal clear shallow waters of Biscayne Bay all those years ago.

 

Today, we face unprecedented global challenges on a warming, crowded, and ecologically ravaged planet. The world is feeling more than a little shaky. Surely, accelerating rates of ecological destruction combined with arrogant techno-optimistic hubris and zany proposals of fanciful geoengineering solutions are deeply worrisome trends.

 

But it was great to hear Bob's voice again. It brought back a flood of memories of good times, promising futures, and carefree days on beautiful turquoise bays."

What does the word thriving mean to you?

 

For me, it's a sweet lifestyle-jazz trio: financial freedom, meaningful work/projects, and authentic community relationships. I've enjoyed all three for most of my adult life by always living well below my financial means, pursuing genuine work/project interests, community volunteering, buy-well-and-hold-long investing in high-quality ethical 'eco-shift' companies, and stubbornly resisting mainstream expectations — and wasteful conspicuous displays — of ‘success’. And that has allowed me to do many interesting (to me) things!

After earning degrees in Engineering Science (Georgia Tech) and in Sociology (UF), I enjoyed two career treks in electric utility power systems and in Internet software development. I also pursued many side interests, projects, and temp gigs: technical writer, private pilot, marine electrician, scuba diver, beach catamaran racer, ocean sailor, math / chem / physics tutor, guitar / ukulele instructor, performing musician, e-bike builder, and custom hybrid-electric wooden boat designer and builder.

 

From all of those experiences — and fueled by my innate curiosity — I learned a lot about how the world is fundamentally changing as a result of our collective impact. And as I am a teacher/educator at heart,  I felt compelled to take on a creative storytelling project about what I believe it will mean to ‘thrive’ in our rapidly emerging global ecological economy. Make no mistake, dear reader, the next 30 years — as we rapidly shift to a more ecologically intelligent global economy — will be profoundly different than the last 30! Are you prepared?

 

Whispers of the calling to write this sea-sprayed eco-shift story of discovery were probably already there, swirling just below the surface of consciousness at the time I was building Morning Star — a Polynesian-style double-canoe sailboat — in my backyard while living for a time in suburban Pennsylvania. After a few sea trials, she would be trailered down to the Florida Keys shortly before my family and I moved back permanently to my beloved South Florida, where I would begin to work out the rough contours of the salty tale I would tell.

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IslandersDelight.com is an ad-free online creative storytelling project intended to convey — in a mercifully lighthearted way — the troubling truth about our current ethics vs energy vs economy vs environment predicament with suggestions on how to thrive in our emerging global ecological economy

 

In a post COVID-19 pandemic world, can we intelligently re-prioritize our personal growth goals, our economy, our society, our world — and our place in it — as we continue to pursue human well-being and biospheric health on this wonder-full, beauty-full living planet that is currently under threat from our collective impact?

 

Today, considering the population x technology x affluence stresses on the environment and how we are clearly exceeding Earth's sustainable ‘carrying capacity,’ we can say that our planet is effectively ‘full’ — of us.

 

We must now begin to live more maturely ‘within our means’ and drop the notion of infinite economic growth on a finite planet. We can make this change by design or by disaster. I prefer the former!

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