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The Story of How AHEM Started Interrupting Everything

We all have great ideas, but purposefully making those ideas come to life can be pretty tough. There's a reason people call this kind of task a "labor of love". Like all the obstacles we face in the world today, making the dream of AHEM a reality took more than a good idea: it took a TON of work and a lot of amazing people. In fact, before the idea of AHEM even existed, the founders, Laura Stanik and Chris Blockus, first grappled with evidence about the critical problems we face, analyzed the data, and undertook a serious evaluation of what all that evidence means about our world and the people who live here - including themselves.

With so many serious problems messing up our chances for long-term survival, Laura and Chris found it absurd that people talked about saving the planet when humans are the ones at risk: without habitable surroundings and nurturing societies, there might still be a planet but not one where people can live. They also found it counterproductive to approach problem solving as if all the problems (and solutions) exist independently when evidence proves it’s the exact opposite. Although both held positions in the education/nonprofit sector, the pair often discussed how they could do more to work on solving the serious problems we face.

Late one night in May 2010, they formulated the idea of AHEM. At the time, Laura was finishing graduate school and putting together a presentation about sustainability for the following day. Instead of giving yet another presentation that only laid out a long list of problems, Laura decided she wanted to also outline a solution. That night, Laura did the the initial organizational planning and logo, website, and social media account making, but the core idea for AHEM wasn’t hers alone. In fact, we call Laura the Founder and Chris the Co-Founder because Laura may have done some initial heavy lifting, but Chris had been part of the many conversations leading up to that night. He was even part of the discussion that evening that produced the name “AHEM” and the catch phrase we all know and love, “interrupt everything”. Without the two of them as a team, AHEM would not have launched the next day or evolved into the awesome movement it is today.

Bringing AHEM to life is an ongoing, daily process. It takes a lot of initiative followed up with a LOT of work matched with a knack for cultivating relationships, finding answers (and the people with them), and overcoming complications. Did we mention a TON of work? Fortunately, Laura and Chris are really into what they do and are constantly challenging one another to make great ideas even better. They share a passion for tackling the world's most pressing issues and a drive to make habitable surroundings and nurturing societies a reality for us all. They also understand that the success of interrupting everything - from our mythologies to our lifestyles - is much, much bigger than themselves: it requires all of us collaborating, sharing our expertise, and having some fun along the way.

Read more about Chris Blockus and Laura Stanik.

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