Interview with international green writer and Space Debris guitarist Peter Asmus by Willi Paul
Interview with international green writer and Space Debris guitarist Peter Asmus -- by Willi Paul

"I just packed up a U-Haul and headed to California without a job and a handful of prayers. My first paid employment was writing arts reviews for The Davis Enterprise,. Then I sold ads and served as an editor for Winds of Change, a funky "underground" monthly that included the famed Robert Crumb as staff cartoonist." PA

Green is rapidly becoming a commercial blurr in the media and the global mind; a clique? How do you keep the sustainability movement fresh and focused for your readers?

It is true that "green" has become super-hyped. That's both good and bad. Good, in the sense that advocates such as myself have to spend less time building the case for going green, and instead have to focus more on practical implementation steps. Bad in the sense that now everyone says they are "green," so that for many citizens, the competing claims on concepts such as "sustainable" can indeed become a blurr.

I try to stay fresh by constantly challenging my own beliefs on what is green and what is not, and being open to new ideas and technologies and more radical approaches. I don't believe that technology is a God, but rather an enabler.

Best approach to public education is to site local examples, success stories where benefits to the environment and economy can be verified.

Who are the key enemies of green change in America?

I prefer not to use "enemies" because I think all segments of society -- including government and business -- can be a part of the solution. But, if I look at what has happened in Washington, DC with federal climate bills, you can see that the status quo special interests can still block even the best intentions of folks, such as President Obama.

Nuclear power and coal companies should not be getting any government subsidies, especially in these times of budget deficits. Copenhagen was also a major disappointment. Perhaps the biggest enemy of green is society's tendency to not embrace the inevitability of radical change. The old ways are dying, and it is time for those enlightened to force a new paradigm over the next decade.

What are the top five causes in the green youth movement as you see them?

The top five causes are:
  • global climate change;
  • linking environmental progress with the need to address pressing social issues such as poverty in the developing world;
  • the availability of clean and safe fresh water;
  • deforestation and the destruction of natural biodiversity in farms and ranches;
  • the health of oceans, the last frontier for food and energy sources.

What metrics are you using to measure the impact / effectiveness of your work?

I'm not a numbers person. I judge my success by feedback I get from people reading my articles, listening to my radio show on KWMR and in simple conversations at events and get togethers. Sure, I can track traffic on my website, and also see how successful I can be when placing articles in the corporate media as a free lancer. I limit my own carbon footprint in a variety of ways, including telecommuting, biking and walking, and always purchase products rated green by organizations that I trust.

Tell us about your creative tools for global/personal transformation?

My global tools include writing spiritual poetry that connects my with nature, often on my hikes throughout Mount Tamalpais and throughout the Point Reyes National Seashore. I also write music about the need to switch to renewable energy -- with one song title being "Clean Power -- Right Now." I also have rituals and shamanic tools such as a drum and Tibetan Bowl. To me, just being in nature inspires and sustains me, and fills me with hope that we humans can indeed transform ourselves -- even if it takes a major crisis to wake up and be fully present.

We made it!! The Green Movement is a success!! What do you see now in your home town, Peter?

I've worked as a community organizer and helped several community centers and public agencies out here in West Marin switch to solar energy. I've been networking with local growers of organic foods, and helping them educate themselves and the greater community about new concepts of energy self-sufficiency, such as "microgrids," a "Solar Safety Net" and "community wind and solar." To me, the green movement is growing, but I would not yet declare it a success. There are still many frustrated citizens wanting the tools to do more, and looking outside for help. We can each do quite a bit in our own backyards, but we need government and progressive businesses to work with us to make the kinds of wide-scale changes necessary to save the planet.

What new stories, symbols and myths are you creating / using in your life and writing?

The new stories I use are inspired by the natural world. I am an avid bird watcher, and to me, the ability of birds to sing and express themselves through song is fascinating. I have also spent a lot of time analyzing my dreams, and finding my own personal symbols of both failure and success. With my music, I love to improvise and feed off of the energy that other people I'm playing with bring to the table. In short, I like to serve as a catalyst, not beholden to any one ideology or movement or organization, but rather, slipping in and out of different projects and groups, trying to stir the pot, and encourage people to maximize their skills and talent on behalf of mother earth.

Most of my published work is in the non-fiction and policy/political realm. My goal in the near future is to focus more on my creative side and use poetry, song and various spiritual rituals to spark change, linking art with purpose -- and finding ways to share and create community during these times of vast and often scary changes.

Peter's Short Bio -

Peter Asmus, president of Pathfinder Communications, is an internationally known expert on energy and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) matters. He is also a journalist, community organizer, musician, photographer and poet.

Connections -

Pathfinder Communications
PO Box 436
Stinson Beach, CA 94970
(415) 868-9866
pthfind at earthlink dot net