About the Author
Rich 'Rico' Leon
I had no idea back then what Lua's Way should be — what form, what style, what plot, what characters, or what cute, catchy title I would use. But I knew that — just as with taking on the daunting project of building a custom 26-foot ocean sailing catamaran by myself — I simply had to start. And I also knew where it had to be written. South Florida has special significance for me beyond any natural loyalty as a native son of Miami. As I write in the book:
"… my relationship with the world had changed dramatically in the short time since Bob and I would blissfully race our feather-weight beach catamarans across the clean, crystal clear shallow waters of Biscayne Bay all those years ago. Today, we face unprecedented global challenges on our warming, crowded, and ecologically stressed planet. We live in troubled times. But it was great to hear his voice again. It brought back a flood of memories of good times, promising futures, and carefree days on beautiful turquoise bays."
What unique assortment of life experiences and insights compels one to write and web-publish a fanciful Life of Pi meets The Bachelor style educational eco-cultural novella like Lua's Way that describes and promotes mindful living, environmental stewardship, and sustainable well-being?
After earning disparate degrees in engineering science and in sociology followed by two extended career treks in electric utility power systems and in Internet software development — including many side interests, projects, and jobs over the years as a: technical writer, marine electrician, scuba diver, beach catamaran racer, ocean sailor, math / chem / physics tutor, guitar / ukulele instructor, performing musician, e-bike builder, and custom wooden boat designer and builder; I sensed an urgency to write a story about many of the alarming trends I had stumbled upon along the way.
Whispers of the calling to write Lua's Way were probably already there, swirling just below the surface of consciousness at the time I was building Morningstar — a Polynesian-style double-canoe sailboat — in my backyard while living for a time in suburban Pennsylvania. After a few sea trials, she would be trailered down to the Florida Keys shortly before my family and I moved back permanently to my beloved South Florida, where I would begin to work out the rough contours of the salty tale I would tell.
As an online, evolving, educational eco-cultural novella, Lua's Way is intended to convey — in a mercifully lighthearted way — the naked truth about our current ethics - energy - economy - environment predicament and how we might re-conceptualize our economy, our society, our world, and our place in it as we continue to pursue human flourishing and well-being on our unique, mysterious, beautiful living planet that nonetheless features clear planetary environmental limits and boundaries.
Today, considering the population + technology + affluence impact on the environment and how we are clearly exceeding Earth's sustainable ‘carrying capacity,’ we can say that our planet is effectively full. We must now begin to live more mindfully 'within our means' and drop the notion of infinite economic growth on a finite planet. We can make this change 'by design,' or have it thrust upon us 'by disaster.' I prefer the former!
As wise Lua expresses it in one of her many songs (strumming along on her ever-present ukulele, of course):
There was a time, not long ago
When folks were few, and change was slow
The Earth a-filled, with Nature’s gifts
No reason then, for pause and thrift
But now, it’s true, the world is full
And money games, have made us dull
We burn too much, we move too fast
We grow, we spread, this cannot last
The Islander, is one who knows
That there are bounds, to all that grows
That there can be, a size just right
That Life can thrive, without a fight
The Islander, has this to say
Yes, there can be, a better way
Yes, Man and Earth, can get along
Yes, there’s still time, to right the wrong
The Islander, whose bounds are real
Would surely say, look, here’s the deal
Find the balance, slow the pace
Lose the greed, or doom you face
The Islander, will tell you straight
Your wasteful ways, will seal your fate
Your wants and needs, are not the same
Your “Living Large,” a foolish game