Australia’s One Billion Animals Lost is Only the Beginning

Sadly, Mass Extinctions will Continue

Trends don’t look good for creatures, big and small, around the world. Predictions estimate that Australia’s mass wildfires have now killed one billion animals…and counting.

The knowledge of mass extinctions is not new. The planet’s flora, fauna, animals and natural resources have been under duress for quite sometime. As the number of humans increase-the amount and quality of wildlife habitat decreases.

Dr. Larkin Powell and I discuss this very issue in Episode 27 of the Rural Futures podcast, which can be accessed by going to: https://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/episode-27-researcher-larkin-powell-intersects-humanity-wildlife-ecotourism/

There is nothing that happens in rural landscapes that does not effect wildlife. The tie between human community and the biotic community is tighter than ever before.

Dr. Larkin Powell
Professor of Conversation Biology, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The truth is that we are all connected. Larkin provides an example of seeing flowers being produced in Columbia that are ultimately purchased in places like Nebraska. We also talk about chocolate and coffee. Much of what we consume travels a long way to find our plates!

What does this mean? None of us are removed from the tragic fires in Australia.

Larkin notes that there are long-term concerns about extinctions. I talk about a strategic foresight tool, Future Users, and propose that generations living on the planet today (including that of my children) will see mass extinctions in their lifetimes. Australia is only the beginning. Go ahead and add polar bears, bees, cheetahs, elephants and many, many more to the list.

As we see the continued psychographic (wants, needs and desires) shifts in the human population…

We definitely have to put sustainability at the forefront.

Dr. Connie

We all need to do better, including me and my family. A more prosperous future for all, including women, depends on humanity having -and taking care of- this wonderful planet. The time for future-focused leadership and innovation, with a focus on sustainability, is NOW!

Dr. Jim Cavaye, Professor of Regional Community Development at the University of Southern Queensland, was one of our Faculty Fellows at the Rural Futures Institute. I wish Jim and everyone in Australia all the best as they move forward in this very challenging situation. Jim: We are here for you friend!

I tried to find what legitimate information on to donate to relief efforts in Australia. I found this news site in Australia that may be useful. If you know of legitimate places people can help, please share!

Prayers and Love to You Australia!

Dr. Connie


Check out the interview with Dr. Larkin Powell by clicking on the link below:

https://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/episode-27-researcher-larkin-powell-intersects-humanity-wildlife-ecotourism/

Larkin Powell, Professor of Conservation Biology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, talks with Dr. Connie about the opportunities within ecotourism, humanity’s affect on wildlife and natural landscapes, the benefits of precision agriculture for animal habitats, the possibility of mass extinctions of wildlife in the coming decades and more.

The Future Leadership and Women on Pure Nebraska

I had the wonderful opportunity to stretch myself yesterday on Pure Nebraska with Jon and Taryn Vanderford.  I was all set to discuss the future of leadership with a focus on women.  My goal was to point out the important contributions women have been making for a long time in the area of leadership.  I also wanted to note that their contributions have often gone unrecognized, and that it is time to change the mindset and conversation around women and leadership.   It is critical for us to redefine leadership while realizing  that people want to connect with their purpose and issues that matter to them.  I also wanted to talk about their participation in the growing #GigEconomy.  Research by the National Women’s Business Council noted that 91% of female entrepreneurs are in businesses for themselves.  I related this to their participation in growing #GigEconomy.  Women are participating in the #GigEconomy  in an effort to make economic gains while building lives they enjoy, which often involves balancing income generation with family time.

Let’s just say that the three minute segment went faster than I thought, and I did not make my key points very well.   It was so different from recording videos that are edited. However, it was an amazing experience!  I left thinking about all the ways I should have/could have, etc.  Then, I realized how much of a stretch experience this was for me.  Recording a live, three-minute segment was a first.  I had fun, learned a lot and would love to do it again.

My experience yesterday reminded me of the importance of taking risks and enjoying the ride.  I tend to be very critical of myself but also realize it is hard to do well when taking on new experiences.  The point is to have the new experience!   Being entrepreneurial requires us to take risks, learn, tweak and repeat.  Was it perfect?  No.  Was it cool? Yes!

I am not sure I have been living entrepreneurially lately. The Pure Nebraska interview was a great reminder that I need to intentionally incorporate more risk into my everyday life!  And, I have to live my mantra:  Be You & Do Something Cool!  Life should be lived as an amazing adventure.

Thanks Jon, Taryn and the Pure Nebraska crew for the opportunity!  And, a BIG thanks to the Rural Futures team for your support and help getting the interview out to the world.  You are all amazing!

Go Wild, Take Risks and Have Fun!

-Dr. Connie

PS:  Check out the Pure Nebraska segment below.

 

 

Watch more on Pure Nebraska here:  http://www.1011now.com/purenebraska

Also, connect with the Rural Futures Institute at RuralFutures.Nebraska.edu and Nebraska’s Community Vitality Team at CVI.UNL.EDU

 

Megatrend 3: Decentralized Global Marketplace

Distance learning is in the age of the “Empowered Consumer-Learner” who has a buffet of educational choices.   The empowered consumer-learner decides what educational experiences and knowledge they need, when they need it and how they want to experience it.  The wide-array of non-credit and for credit choices makes for a very competitive marketplace but also a field of new opportunities.

Venture capitalists continue to invest in distance education because of the return on investment potential.  Big Data is being used to develop marketing campaigns, study human behaviors and determine patterns.  It is also being used to examine various areas of teaching and learning.  Data can help create bite-sized, customized courses and programs that are both personalized and interactive (Koller, 2012). Technology enables the delivery of information and education anytime, anywhere and from anyone in a way that makes sense to the learner while adding value to their lives.

It’s no longer necessary for people to enroll in college, formal classes or workshops to learn.  They are learning what they want to know from their networks and resources they find on the Web, through Apps or in iTunes.  People will increasingly be able to create and print their ideas from wherever they choose with 3D printing.  Technology, combined with the continued growth of self-expression and meaning, will continue to change education at a rapid pace.

Value is becoming less about college credit and more about meaningful outcomes and self-expression through enhanced skills and evolving abilities.  The world is fast-becoming an “Add to Cart” society for anything and everything, including educational experiences.  Individuals are creating local, national and global communities of meaning and change that are self-selected and self-formed.  Many of these same individuals are transforming distance learning in new and innovative ways.  Technology, combined with the need for meaning, self-expression and self-actualization, has created an increasingly decentralized marketplace.

People are choosing how to meet virtually, when, where and whether-or-not to meet face-to-face and connecting over common causes.  Education, along with so many other areas of life, is becoming increasingly decentralized.  Savvy consumers seek and create the value they crave to transform their lives.   They are choosing whether or not they want a badge, certificate, credit hour or degree, and their demands are shaping the marketplace and future trends.  The Empowered Consumer-Learner wants a unique experience that adds value to their life.  Future-focused leaders who ask and answer not, “What is the lifetime value of a customer?” but rather, “What value can we add to a lifetime?” will be in a better position to compete in the increasingly decentralized marketplace.

Innovation Retreat: New Ideas and New Dollars on April 29!
As educators, what is the value we can add to a lifetime?

Megatrend 1: The Rise of the #GigEconomy

The rise of the entrepreneurial individual, and what is currently referred to as the Gig Economy, will create new challenges and opportunities for distance learning administrators.  How can institutions of education help learners create value for traditional employers and for their individual brands?   If not as many people are investing in education to land a full-time job, what does this mean for higher education?

An emerging trend, the rise of global joblessness (International Labour Office, 2014), is supporting the growth of the Gig Economy while creating a need for the marketing of talents and skills in new and meaningful ways.   The number of large employers is predicted to shrink in the future causing people to find new and inventive ways to make a living.  The ability to sell, purchase and promote goods and services as well as individual brands on the Web has created a need for education to add value to the lives of learners in innovative ways.  People are increasingly defining success for themselves, which does not always include a college degree and a 9-5 job.  In many ways, it is now much cooler to be a successful start-up entrepreneur, famous blogger or YouTube sensation than a person working in a full-time job.

One common denominator will remain the same:  People need to be found on the already crowded World Wide Web.  They have to build their brands and levels of influence to strengthen both credibility and success.  Educational institutions should keep a close eye on the rise of businesses like Fiverr.com and the use of Twesumes (Twitter + Resume = Twesume = a resume in 140 characters or less) to land jobs or gigs (thus, the #GigEconomy).

Leaders should also consider building their brands, as well as those of students, faculty and alumni.  The rise of social networks and technology has enabled people to both learn and teach at anytime from any place.  These same tools have helped people create their own businesses and design their lives in ways that best suit them, which supports the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend.  Life purpose is shaping everything from healthcare to education.

Future-Focused Leadership Paper Accepted!

Received this great email today…

“Congratulations! The Conference Committee of the DLA2014 Distance Learning Administration Conference has reviewed your proposal “Future-Focused Leadership: Mega-Trends Influencing Distance Learning Administration” and accepted it for presentation. We received a record number of quality proposals for this conference, and are most pleased that you are among our presenters.”

Yes!!!  Now, I have to get to work and write a smashing paper!!  This is one of my favorite conferences for a number of reasons.  The first paper I submitted to this conference, A Framework for Entrepreneurial Learner of the 21st Century, earned a Best Paper Award in 2005. The atmosphere is great, and I always learns a lot from the other attendees.

I would love to hear from all of you.  What mega-trends are shaping distance learning and education?

I am planning to celebrate this great news with my family this weekend with some fun…not in the sun but possibly in the snow!  🙂   The sun will have to wait until the conference!!

I know my Friday has been awesome, and I hope yours has been too.

Go Wild with Learning!

-Dr. Connie

PS:  Thank you Distance Learning Administration Conference Committee!

Child's Shovel and Pail at the Beach