Posted by steve on August 21, 2013
Reflections on my experiences at this year’s Future Perfect festival that brings does and thinkers of sustainability together
Arriving on the island
The Future Perfect Festival, held on the Stockholm archipelago Island of Grinda, wrapped up recently. The event, now in its third year, is designed to provide a space for those engaged emotionally and professionally in sustainability; a space where they can gather, engage in dialogue and co-create.
Future Perfect, the brainchild of John Manoochehri, is a unique kind of festival, and it is badly needed. Even if, like myself, you are engaged in sustainability on an almost daily basis, the topic is far too wide for any one mind to take in. We need to listen to each others perspective. If we as a species are going to successfully transition away from the present counter-sustainable culture we live in we need to do it together. This means talking, listening to each other, sparking ideas off each other, trying ideas out, coming up with ideas together, and developing our perspective by reflecting in the company of those who both agree and disagree with us.
To me it means engaging in double -loop learning. Single loop learning assesses the strategies being used by looking at outcome and trying corrections and then assessing the outcome, trying new corrections and so on. Double-loop learning is to look at outcomes and assess assumptions behind strategies and the values of the outcomes. Just now there is, for example, a huge debate about economic growth. Instead of using the single loop mode of changing taxes, negative incentives to get off unemployment and tax breaks for corporations, the double-loop mode questions (for example) whether economic growth is desirable at all, and if there should not be a minimum wage paid to all regardless of if they work or not.
A fascinating comment on this topic came up in one of the evening debates: one speaker suggested that the transfer of money from one person to another is an expression of that person’s appreciation of the other, and that we did not want to see a reduction in economic transactions as that would mean a reduction in the love and appreciation each of us share.
Anyway, if we are going to have dialogues that move deeper into double loop mode, we need to get to know who we can talk to, and we need a space, even if it is just once a year, that facilitates that. The Future Perfect set-up manages to do just that always in a comfortable, open setting surrounded by the Swedish countryside looking its summer best.
Just a few moments after arriving I was plunged into a fascinating dialogue experience What do young people want? With Kim Jakobsson, Magnus Åkerlind who have toured Swedish Schools to engage youth in sustainability. The session was expertly facilitated by Per Hörberg from http://www.navigatororganisation.se/ and Gustav Elmberger http://www.samutveckling.se/ who got us to sit in a circle, and reflect on the idea that if we were all-powerful, what would we do to connect youth to sustainability.
The breadth and depth of ideas was impressive. It was great to be reminded that it’s is not the lack of solutions, tools or ideas that is stopping us creating the future we want, but the lack of concerted action.
JAK’s Tom Strömberg
After lunch it was my turn to participate in a panel meeting with representatives from JAK bank, including the bank’s ethics representative, Tom Strömberg. I represented the Swedish Transition movement. Transition is a network of people working locally to make their communities resilient to energy shortages, climate change and economic downturn. For me, when asked about local production and consumption I identified three good sustainable reasons to do it:
- The money stays in the community and goes around again, and jobs stay in the community. As money leaks out for the community, for example when you buy fossil fuel, jobs leak with them.
- Producing locally requires less transport and therefore the transport footprint is less
- Doing business with people you know is far different from doing business with strangers from far away: it builds community and community means resilience.
The other things is it is easier to get away from being just a consumer. We all need to be owners, producers and consumers.
It is in the dialogue that you develop your own arguments, and it is fascinating when you think something is self evident and you find yourself finding new ways to explain them. Take the issue of us always having traded with each other. We have had global trade for thousands of years. Would it not be better just create an app that trades everything all over the world? Not so fast. The heavy things in your life are also the basics: a roof over your head and food on the table and social cohesion: a community of 100 or more. The heavy things require fossil-fuel (and cooled) transport. The lighter things that you do not need everyday can of course much easier come from afar. Or heavy things that you only purchase seldom.
Space to book conversations
In my consulting I help with framing strategy that gives real value back to people and the environment while ensuring financial stability. I see how it is getting harder and harder to take on the leadership role, as the challenges mount. I think that the Future Perfect set-up is a good one for leaders. There are several things that Future Perfect does well.
- It creates a space for dialogue. Not just the “mental space” but also the way the programme is organised and the physical meeting spaces encourage dialogue, structured and spontaneous.
- It gets people excited about working on solutions together. Of course we live in a competitive business environment, but true cooperation between government, civic society and business is needed if we are to find ways forward.
- It hosts dialogues well, bringing out the best in its speakers. Future Perfect has knack of identifying just the right speaker and combination of speakers to quickly get to the heart of the matter. And the dialogue forms they have been using and developing – including the quick presentation in the panel and the probing follow-up questions – are enlightening and stimulating to follow.
- It brings people together. As guest speaker Internet Philosopher Alexander Bard said in an interview for the Web-TV channel that broadcast from the festival “I like to see other people involved in the ecological to movement to discuss how we can avoid disaster”.
In grammar, Future Perfect is the name of the tense that I usually explain as “standing in the future looking back”. In English it is expressed in the form of (point in time) + (actor) will have +(event expressed in past tense). This is my “future perfect statement”: In 2030, society will no longer use fossil fuels or emit greenhouse gasses. Future Perfect will have made a pivotal contribution; it will have brought us together and will have helped us have those difficult reflections and conversations that gave us insight and resolve to make the change. What Future Perfect statement would YOU like to make?
Posted by steve on April 6, 2012
No matter if you work with neighbors, in a cooperative, in a Transition Initiative or among volunteers, good relations and social cohesion are critical not only just to success, but maintaining good feelings and energy in the community.
We’ve taken the best of what is available and put together an introductory training that prepares you to introduce or develop the circle meeting form in your community or organization.
This course is for you who are active in a group or eco-village and want to experience circle way potential and learn how to get started with it.
If you would like to have one of these sessions in your community, town or country, please contact one of our social entrepreneurs who will help you arrange it or contact Stephen Hinton directly.
Click on the picture on the left or here CircleCall_ENGLISH_DATASHEET.pdf to download the factsheet.
Posted by steve on
Anyone intereted in understanding the complexities of sustainable world food and water situation should watch this film. It carefull goes over the importance of theat which we give a negative namen to – dirt that may well be the most important piece of technology we have available to us!
Follow this link here for a fuller explanation
Posted by steve on April 1, 2012
Photo: Meridith_farmer on Flickr
In the conference room, standing barefoot in a circle, holding hands together we wait for Medicine Story to speak:
“In the old ways, the tribe does everything in a circle.”
“The circle is what keeps us together, and in keeping together we survive.”
WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by steve on April 30, 2011
A class on sustainability on PP
Perfect Paradise (PP) is virtual community in Second life (SL) focussed on learning about community and sustainability. I joined early on. My aim was to learn about community to be able to transfer the knowledge to my real-life (RL) community, now called Änggärdet.
Below is an account, written for the Island Newsletter, of why I joined and what happend during the first couple of years.
How I came to Perfect Paradise
For me, it all started when I read Dave Pollard’s blog suggesting that we needed to explore and develop as community beings (or that’s the way I read it.) His idea was to use the 3D role-playing platform Second Life to, in a safe environment, try things out.
For almost a century western culture has been becoming more individualist, material and money centric. We have been moving away from a culture of community, supportiveness, mutuality.
At the same time we have become mineral and fossil-fuel dependent, and despite the rise of pornography and laxer moral standards – less happy and less satisfied with intimate relations.
More and more people see the need to move forward, but the tricky question is how, when you are so entrenched in your daily life you need to find a temporary escape door. And I mean more forward to create a more sustainable way of life in the emotional, energy, economy and environmental.
Some people “get it”. These are the people to create a tribe with. When financial capital fails, and the bubble WILL burst in our lifetimes if we live to a statistical old age, when oil leaves us and it WILL in our lifetime, we need to be good at creating social capital. We will be at a point when we need each other like we have never needed people before. To me, if you “get” this, then you “get” PP.
At the same time I was working to establish a Real Life community, an eco village of the eco-unit type. I figured I could learn stuff in PP that could be applied to the eco-unit.
The parallels were amazing. The first thing was looking for land. I joined Harps and Mira on some expeditions. At the same time we were looking in RL for land.
The other parallel was the prospectus. Our little RL group got together to write one as an exercise in creating a common vision. Harps and Soj and I and several more started one for PP.
And the website of course. I started one on NING for PP and one for the RL group.
In terms of more social inventions the RL community introduced talking stick. We had some fun trying to get that to work in SL. We tried *passes the stick to Mira* and even wearing a Tibetan prayer wheel as the stick.
It was pretty amusing to see the parallels emerge in the two communities. Sometimes SL had come further, sometimes we had established more in RL.
One that sticks in my mind is the introduction of consensus. This was difficult in RL and equally difficult in SL. The material Harps and Sara did for SL though helped our RL community.
The other really difficult thing, probably still not resolved in either SL or RL is division of duties and responsibilities. I have heard complaints SL about “having to go and clear up prims people leave behind” and RL “why is it always me that gets lumbered with cutting the grass?”.
So here we are, three years on and PP is going strong, and our eco-village initiative has resulted in us buying land, forming a cooperative and starting to build an eco-house on it.
Perfect Paradise has been on the radio, and now our RL community has been featured in a radio programme.
There is a lot more to reflect on from my time in PP I will take a break here and leave you with some pictures contrasting PP and the eco-village.
Posted by steve on August 19, 2010
Many people dream of living in a way that burdens neither nature nor their personal finances. They seek a sense of closeness to and connection with nature. We have developed a course to help.
WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by steve on August 16, 2010
The evenings of Thursday 2 and 9 September, Open World Café , Stockholm hosts an exclusive Imagestreaming training with Stephen Hinton.
(The book Inventing for the Sustainable Planet was written using Imagestreaming)
The workshop is designed to give you the latest ” behind the eyes” techniques to access your hidden creativity to apply to problem solving and inventing.
You will leave with a tool-box of ways to come up with and implement innovations. And, depending on what you choose to work on during the workshop, maybe a whole new innovation.
WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by steve on August 6, 2010
Accenture report A New Era of Sustainability
Corporations are poised to enter a new era where environmental, social and corporate governance issues are embedded throughout operations, the supply chain and subsidiaries.
This according to a new report from the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture, based on a global survey of more than 750 CEOs and in-depth interviews with 50 of the world’s foremost CEOs in a range of industries and geographies.
- 86% of CEOs believe that companies should invest in enhanced training of managers to integrate sustainability into strategy and operations
- A large number of the CEOs responding believe that “business that is both sustainable and profitable requires efforts by people at all levels of the corporation; thus engaging employees in the sustainability agenda is vital to success.”
- Within the decade, a tipping point will be reached that brings sustainability from the periphery to the core.
Training for sustainability is vital. We from AVBP offer our sustainability briefings to get your organisation quickly up to speed.
Download UN Global Compact–Accenture CEO Study 2010 [PDF, 2.7MB]