“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
I will find value in what the world discards.
As a child, I dreaded taking out the compost.
Walking all the way across the yard with a bucket of fresh smelly food for the
compost heap was absolute torture. I couldn't believe that putrid pile would
somehow turn into fertilizer. But the proof was in our yard, which was so much
more alive than my neighbours' dull lawns. It was an urban garden so big, my
sister and I made it our own personal city. We would plant Carrot Road,
daydream while wandering down Sweet Pea Avenue, and feast on the sweet harvest
of Corn Cob Way – every inch nourished by the compost I so detested.
When I look at wastes now, I see their
potential. Most of the world's markets are defined by broken lifecycles – we
extract, manufacture, use, and then abandon. By finding ways to extract the
stored energy from the refuse of our privileged lifestyle, we can fix this
cycle and extend the life of our planet.
There is so much of value locked up in waste
that we throw out, in places that we have abandoned, and in people that we
ignore. Wherever my wild and precious
life takes me, I will look past the superficial and unlock the riches beneath.
But I don't think I'll ever like the smell of
— Kelly O’Neil
Each year we ask our classmates a straightforward, simple question taken from the lines of a poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Mary Oliver.
We share with you intimate and candid responses to this question, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Concept and photography:
Tony Deifell, MBA '02
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Harvard Business SchoolDillon HouseSoldiers Field
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