The original On Desire concept featured two aspiring earth stewards sailing around the Hawaiian Islands aboard the 26′ sloop, Desire. The project title ‘On Desire’ referred both to the central theme of their talks and to their circumstances. The voyage was scheduled for the summer of 2009.

Hawaiian Islands visualization by Thorsten Andresen. Nils Sparwasser, Stephan Reiniger, and Robert Meisner. Source data provided by German Remote Sensing Data Center (DLR), National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC); University of Maryland - Global Land Cover Facility (GLCF); United States Geological Survey (USGS). Thanks to the scientists and the organizations for permission to use this spectacular image.

To facilitate planning and identify the main themes, a project blog was launched in February 2009. With minimal outreach and no search engine indexing, ondesire.com had 10,000 hits in June 2009. Then in July, Desire’s captain Kai Schwarz determined that Desire wasn’t seaworthy for a voyage back to the mainland and filmmaker Dan Kelly realized that he couldn’t travel to Hawaii without compromising the integrity of the project. The defining event was kaput – but the discussion was just getting started!

Sailing around the Hawaiian islands is an event. Events and the discussions they inspire are the primary components of On Desire. An event failure can trigger rigorous and productive discussion. Rather than toss out the project because the Hawaii/Desire event imploded, Kai and Dan decided to open up the discussion and multiply the events.

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