President Obama, you are no longer my leader. ~ Joshua Scott Onysko

Via elephant journal
on Feb 2, 2011
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An Enlightened Society will value Stewardship Over Ownership, and Leadership Over Power (to Barack Obama)

Photo: Oporder

Joshua Scott Onysko

Pangea Organics CEO letter to Barack Obama

February 2011

Dear Mr. President:

As we progress as culture, many changes will take place; things may get worse before they get better, but it will only happen in the shadows of a new world rising. As people, we make choices everyday—sometimes we think about how they effect the world and sometimes we don’t, but regardless, they do.

In general as a culture, we are obsessed with the idea of ownership and power. Why? Well, when we want to own something, we feel like we can control it, but really, when we strive for ownership instead of embracing stewardship, we will find that the things we try to own, own us.

Another plague we face is our need for power; we are constantly in a power struggle with ourselves, with our partners, with our emotions, with pretty much everything. The answer is to let go—really let go. Let the ease of the breath set you free, and shed the oppressive yoke of the ego’s need to lead. (The ego has its place—just not in front).

The future that we seek will embrace stewardship over ownership and leadership over power. What’s the difference? Well, stewardship is that we truly understand that we “own” nothing, yet we embrace our responsibility to the world around us. We will make decisions in every moment to reflect a world in which we wish to be. Leadership is having an understanding that a leader’s true job is to enable and to empower the people who follow him or her. A leader truly understands the importance of leading into the future, for the future.

Innovation that is spawned from ego, that lacks vision and does not create a solution to our cultures wasteful nature, is not true innovation. It’s just marketing. Make no mistakes about it, marketing works and works well; it really has been the driving force that has enabled us to be where we are today. We are blinded by wants and not needs and disregarding our most precious resource: the future that we leave for our children.

For what?

I ask you this Mr. Obama: when you decided to not to take action against genetically modified organisms, have you failed to truly be a steward for us, for our children and our future? Have you misused your power? Have you chosen to lead us to a future that will be unsafe, not just for us but also for all life on earth?

The answer is yes…

Photo Courtesy of Stefrich

Allowing the use of unregulated GMOs into our food supply will cripple our human race and destroy the natural function of the ecosystems that have and continue to give us so much. In exchange, we open ever wider the floodgates to a bio-tech industry that profits from the selling off our future.

Though, I, like most people, fought hard to get you into office, until you embrace true leadership and stewardship, you may be our president, but you are not my leader. I speak for the future, and I only follow those who do as well.

Sincerely yours,

Joshua Scott Onysko


Pangea Organics

Joshua-Scott Onysko, a longtime friend to elephant, is founder and CEO of Pangea Organics. You can read more from Josh here.


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8 Responses to “President Obama, you are no longer my leader. ~ Joshua Scott Onysko”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Waylon Lewis and Waylon Lewis, def jaxxxx. def jaxxxx said: RT @elephantjournal: President Obama, you are no longer my leader. ~ Joshua Scott Onysko […]

  2. Great letter and I sincerely hope it lands in President Obama's lap and that he shares it with Michelle and daughters! I was very upset with our country when at the last elections so many Obama supporters bailed and began to support other entities in hopes of the overnight change that they seemed to be seeking. My tune has changed most recently relative to my support of President Obama, although I am optimistic. I echo Joshua's concerns. Obama's lack of opposition to and, in most probable fact, his support of the recent decision to permit unregulated use of GMO alfalfa, has me very concerned! This is not progressive and neither is it conservative. On the one hand, allowing these types of organisms to enter our edible landscape will clearly negatively impact the many growers of organic food in this country. On the other hand, our rights and choices are being taken away from us in a most methodical and unprecedented manner. Let us not lose sight of the truth that we, the consumers, have the control and that our purchases send the only real message corporations and governments seem to want, profit. If we work to end unnecessary and harmful agriculture subsidies while at the same time supporting our organic farmers through our purchases, I believe a great deal can be accomplished. Let's get our choices back from corporations and demand a healthier future!

  3. Angela says:

    I have newfound appreciation of Joshua and Pangea. Its about time we as a nation refuse to be manipulated and misled.

  4. Joe Yeoman says:

    Dear Joshua,

    While I follow your sentiment about GMOs and the destruction of our diets and the earth, I have a fundamental problem with the base of your argument.

    One, I don't understand how stewardship or ownership connect to genetically modified products. Are you saying we are "stewards" of the land? Or that Obama is a steward of America? And then that directly connects to GMOs?

    Basically, you are arguing on a very specific topic with the use of vague definitions. I would like to know more about how Stewardship connects to GMOs, and what you are specifically doing as a company to be stewards. (Walking the talk, etc.)

    Two, the second fundamental flaw is that you are an owner of a company. You are undermining your argument because you own a business. Here is your quote: "we are obsessed with the idea of ownership and power. Why? Well, when we want to own something, we feel like we can control it, but really, when we strive for ownership instead of embracing stewardship, we will find that the things we try to own, own us."

    Isn't that you? I know you sell organic products, but you are still an owner. I don't understand how you can argue against this fundamental part of your own being (you are a CEO of a company), and then hope that the President sides with you.

    I guess I am wondering how you include yourself in this argument, especially when it comes to your ownership.

    Also, it would be nice to see some specifics about how this problem can be solved.

    Other than that, I completely agree that our future is in jeopardy with this issue.

    Joe Yeoman

  5. joshua onysko says:

    Hi Joe,

    There are a lot of questions here, I'll try to tackle all of them for you,

    The first is how does choosing stewardship over ownership correlate with GMO's,

    Allowing unregulated GMO's into our food supply is not being a good steward for our future as it is not taking into account its affect on our world or our health. A good steward would make decisions based on the best interests for all parties involved, the earth and all of its inhabitants.

    The second is a question asking me if I am an owner of Pangea Organics,

    Yes of course I am, but as an owner I have chosen to be more of a steward for the brand, which means everyday I make decisions based on the effects it will have on all stakeholders. It is my belief that when you decide to start a company, you need to take into account the wellbeing of everybody and everything as we are all affected by the creation of anything on this earth, even if you never buy my product, you are affected by the decisions that I make ever day, from the bottles we use to the way we treat our employees.

    Hope this all helps,



  6. Joe Yeoman says:

    Dear Joshua,

    That answers my questions. I was just making sure since you weren't specific about your role in stewardship as well.

    Thanks man and can't wait to read and dialogue with what you write next.


  7. […] your shoulders. Guess what, Crocs donates more shoes than Toms (and Crocs are vegan and eatable). Pangea Organics, based in Boulder, is a perfect example of local heroics. They stand on their […]