My grandmother says whenever she got me a powered toy, the first thing I would go for was to find its battery, dismantle it, and thrillingly shout: “bati, bati”! She goes on saying that if she knew I wanted the battery more than the toy, she would have just bought me the battery!! In the light of this story, I find it kind of ironic ending up as a fuel cell scientist! If you’re interested to learn about my research activities, you can visit my SFU webpage.
I come from a big family in Iran. The revolution happened when I was 6, and Iran-Iraq war started when I was 8. Growing up in such chaotic times certainly had its fair share of influence on me. Among those, it is perhaps my desire and comfort with change, chaos, and unfamiliar grounds. For example, I get myself lost in the forest from time to time, just to top up my required dosage for uncertainty! Yes, I do get myself into trouble quite often, though I’m growing out of it a bit, at least I think!!
Yet, being comfortable with change also has its benefits. Throughout my career, it has helped me pursue my dreams and not being paralyzed by the undetermined nature of such initiatives. Fast-forwarding to more recent years, I find myself passionate about the opportunities that sustainability challenges have to offer us. I believe it is my comfort with change, coupled with my optimist entrepreneur, which sees an opportunity for better days to come out these tough times. Let me explain a bit more about my somewhat annoying positivity…
Looking back at my childhood years, I recall the days that Iraq started bombarding Tehran. Many people, including my family, left Tehran. We took shed in my aunt’s house that was about an hour outside the city. Ironically, those days are one of the best memories of my childhood, despite the fact that my house was being bombarded! The reason is that I would wake up every morning with all my family around me, sharing life together. The point I want to make is that our state of connection with our community is far more influential in determining the level of our happiness, compared to many other factors.
Fast-forwarding to 2010, I had got divorced from my wife whom was my motivation for immigrating to Canada, and was travelling the world to find myself and my new life. I embarked on a road trip with my cousin from Barcelona and ended up in an electronic music festival in Ozora, Hungary. I was amazed by the entire experience and it fully changed my path in life, especially as it relates to sustainability. I experienced an elevated level of trust and openness with everyone, one that I had previously felt only with my close friends and family. Being in nature and dancing for many hours a day, I also felt a more profound connection with music, nature, and myself. I also noticed that there was only a hand full of booths serving food for the some 20,000 people that were participating in the festival, and some hundred toilets to take care of the outcome! Putting two and two together, I realized how an artful communal lifestyle could improve our Quality of Life as it enriches our experiences, while facilitates reduction in our Ecological Footprint as it provides opportunities to share resources. You should be able to guess the rest by now!
Upon my return to Vancouver, I started a community house and became an active member of the Transformation Dance Community. In 2012, I reflected upon these experiences in Ecotopia Manifesto and used that to produce Tribal Convergence Solutions as a “week long model of the new paradigm lifestyle”. Since then, I’ve been learning and building upon these experiences. This blog is primarily based on my journeys and reflects my vision on how to create an empowering sustainable future for ourselves.
Appreciating your interest and looking forward to sharing more of my life with you ♥
Amir Masoud Niroumand