How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
Being in contact with indigenous people from around the world since I have visited really remote communities in South East Asia and later in Latin America has profoundly changed the way I see life.
It also has changed the way I see the future of humankind.
We are living in a period of time we have to decide were we stand.
We have to decide whether we become passive or active mechanical pieces in a vast machinery that will destroy much of our planet's biodiversity and most likely humanity itself, or if we step out of the system and find new social, ecologic and economic ways to realistically change towards a sustainable management of our natural resources.
I have also learned that it is not enough to only criticize others, but important to stand, experiment, fail, stand up and up again and finally succeed in establishing new systems that work towards a sustainable, livable future.
Especially in business, this is a never-ending struggle, but I am convinced that it is the only alternative we have if we do not want to give up and become robotic like the majority of people nowadays. Only God gives us hope, but meeting all those like minded people coming through One World is creating a creative positivity that is growing everyday.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
That his experience was definitely life changing.
After having been with us for about seven month, Kolja Hagenow, who has always been a passionate warrior for conservation, told me that the time with us will change the way he will live and work in the future.
He has told me that, before he came to us at the age of eighteen, he had chained himself as a Greenpeace activist to trees in Checheslovakia at freezing temperatures or immobilized gasoline stations of a famous fossil fuel company in Holland.
Now Kolja believes he will be more effective in his future, working for life on our planet by showing sustainable alternatives to companies and individuals closely.
Kolja is close to do his master in Ecology/Biodiversity Studies and Natural Resource Management.
Another stunning story is of Aki, a Canadian with Russian family background, who now settled close to Puerto Viejo near our Sustainable Community S.E.E.D (a community led by professionals in sustainable sciences).
While we have been overseeing some volunteers from work away, we took a pause and we spotted a group of very rare spider monkeys.
We talked about Costa Rica not having an Army and, during the conversation, we found out that his grandpa was a high officer in the Soviet Army who had to use torture at times to get info from Wehrmacht officers for the Soviet Army.
Both of my biological grandfathers fell in the battle of Stalingrad... The same city were Aki's grandfather served on the opposite side.
Aki and me are still good friends.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
Well, I have to lie a bit now.
It always sounds stupid to talk marvelous things about your own company or organization. I think all my team members believe in their work.
My family, Adolfo (my indigenous right hand), his grandpa (who is a leader of the 38 remaining AWAPA doctors of the Highlands), and each and every project and program we visit and support is worth to be joined.
Many of their students said One World Land's program was the best of all during their experience. They have changed their school rooms together with their teacher with a pirate style sailing ship and visited many countries during half a year around the Atlantic Ocean.
That is not all: they also did serious scientific studies, had helped many sustainable projects and, on top of it, finished all their normal school related duties successfully.
WOW, respect! I know what their team's work must have been-gigantic!
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
Well, our team did not fall from the sky. Over 17 years, me, my family and all the other team members, either staff or befriended projects, had to struggle to get were we are now. Our cooperation had to grow organically. Now we work well together.
We had to overcome cultural, ethnical, educational, spiritual, social and many other differences until we found the right balance to become successful TOGETHER.
Let me put it like this: It is always easy and quick to criticize others, but it is hard work and self analysis to actually really make things better.
For example we are working with another Sustainable Community called S.E.E.D. (Society for Environmental Education and Development). All founders and all participants in this community are coming from totally different backgrounds and believe the only thing that we all really have in common is the wish to find better more sustainable ways to create a better future.
I am especially proud of all those teams that we work with that up to this day we never gave up and continue swimming against the stream.
We need to start a domino effect that in the future others can easier join and change the direction of the stream!
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
The biggest factor of being a successful company means for me changing the way we see success in itself.
If we continue to see success the way universities teach economy, for instance, you see that still we see the goal in gaining maximum profit out of minimum investment.
Natural resources, the well-being of all workers, consumers, entrepreneurs alike, well-being of other species plants and animals... All that is not taken into consideration. Those egocentric, monetary profit focused systems are not sustainable and doomed to collapse. These systems apply as well to agriculture, pharmaceutical industry, security, military and many more.
Without leaving realistic economic business plans out of consideration, we need to find new, integral systems that are based on diversity and coexistence. Nature is our teacher. We are part of nature and a successful company must be based on a realistic use of all natural resources and respecting co existence.