A lot of people talk about social change, few have actually made it in a lasting way, changing not only an issue or a life but a whole system. Even fewer have become wise and remained humble after a lifetime doing it, and are generous with their sharing of what they have learned.

Al Etmanski is a true Canadian gem and a rare elder statesman in our small pond up here, but his work has global connections and implications. I first started working with him over 15 years ago, when he brought an idea, and a funder, into the office of my at that time fledgling web design shop, and together we collaborated on what became Canada’s first interactive and integrated online film project for a documentary. We’ve worked together a dozen times since then, and I learn so much from each interaction.

Now Al has gone and written a book about how we can be smarter with long term IMPACT of our change work.

“Do you want to change the world but feel frustrated by the limited impact you and others have had? You may have mounted a fierce advocacy campaign, seen your public education campaign go viral, pioneered a social program, mobilized new funds or changed a law, but the status quo has barely budged. Social and economic justice hasn’t increased. Power hasn’t shifted. The old paradigm survives. And the sharp, distinctive edges of your social innovation are in danger of being eroded, isolated or forgotten.

The paradox of short-term success versus long-term impact is the central question this book addresses. “

While I haven’t seen my advance copy yet, I’m a chapter in it, and am one of 5 speakers sharing a short story at his book “unlaunch” in Vancouver on April 27, along with former BC Premier Mike Harcourt, Hua Foundation and Shark Truth founder Claudia Li, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (and client) Donald MacPherson and Vancity CEO Tamara Vrooman.

It’s a free event but you have to register. Hope to see you there!

The_Salt_Spring_Forum_1.pngAlso this weekend I’ll be moderating a great panel on philanthropy, the environmental movement, and political freedom at a member-only session of the Salt Spring Forum. The Forum is one of the best parts about living on Salt Spring, as it brings national and internationally relevant speakers like Naomi Klein and Chief Roger William (who had just won the T’shilquotin Supreme Court decision).

If you’re on the island next weekend come on by for what will be an excellent discussion. Tickets are on the Salt Spring Forum website.