Archive for the 'Projects' Category

“A World that Works for No One”

February 23rd, 2014

Diary of the Future — February 23, 2014

83David_Korten

Unless people of good will join in common cause to build a truly democratic world that works for all, we will find ourselves living in a world that works for no one. —David Korten (2000)

There is a sense in which we already find ourselves living in “a world that works for no one”: not the rich, and certainly not the poor; not the believer or the agnostic, not the Ph.D. or the high school drop-out, not the pop celebrity or the homeless veteran still suffering from PTSD. It’s not just that the rich are as depressed, confused, and cynical as the rest of us, which is certainly true in many cases; or that the world we live in seems to be unravelling in a dozen different ways, which has certainly been the case during all of our lifetimes. It’s that the world cannot work for anyone unless it at least begins to work for everyone.

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Doing Business Differently

November 30th, 2012

This item first appeared in Dead River Journal, 11/29/2012:

We know that the new economic and ecological realities we face require us to do something different in business, which in some cases also means doing business differently.

Certainly it’s possible to use a conventional business model to manufacture and install solar panels, build windfarms, etc., and we certainly need these kinds of things “at scale,” as they say, sufficient to offset the energy we get from coal, oil, and nuclear. But other kinds of businesses — local, community-based businesses focusing on food, energy conservation, community banking, and other elements of local “economic, social, environmental, and cultural development” — these it seems need a different approach to doing business altogether.

For one thing, getting people to invest in local projects is surprisingly difficult under the conventional business model. It’s just much easier, and assumed to be much safer and more profitable, to “diversify your investments” by putting them in mutual funds, bonds, and publicly-traded companies. What we need are local investments that are either super-secure, or where the risk can be spread over many different enterprises and investors.

Focusing attention on the local economy is one of the central tenets of “financial permaculture,” a movement that is growing out of the tradition of permaculture derived from the work of Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in Tasmania in the 1970s.

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A Common Framework for Global Change?

November 26th, 2012

On several other sites I’ve posted articles calling for the development of a “Common Framework” for global change, the kind of change that we really can believe in, and can work to bring about ourselves regardless of who’s in Washington.

(You can find the original article here: Demanding Change, and the experimental work on the new economy here: Altonomy.com. I welcome your thoughts and comments.)

This idea grew out of thinking about the development of a “Common Currency” and a “Common Currency Exchange” (and coincidentally trying to find a way to unite and evolve the energies of the Occupy Movement). What if we had a way to convert local and alternative currencies to each other and to the established national currencies of the mainstream world? What if we had a way to establish and provide abstract value that did not depend on control by the wealthy, but was in fact engineered to produce “the greatest benefit for the greatest number”? Wouldn’t people want to migrate to it?

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Latest Thoughts and Interests

November 5th, 2012

Here’s a link to my article for the EuroCharity Yearbook 2011 (which actually appeared in August of 2012, and was presented to the European Parliament on October 29, 2012): Leading the Change to a Sustainable Future (2011).

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One of the consequences of having so many projects is that most of my work is now elsewhere, and I don’t have time to update this “vanity” site on a regular basis. (Who needs a vanity site anyway, if the real goal is getting things done?). But it’s probably still worth listing some of these things out here, if only for my own interest. And this is where I turn when I’m not sure where an item or an article belongs.

Take the Dead River Journal, for example. My last post there is A Common Framework for Global Change? — from around this time last year. I started something on going after the Tea Party crazies, like the one I ran into at a clean energy seminar in Old Bridge, but couldn’t see the need to actually publish it.

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State of the Sustainability Movement 2011, Part 2

December 20th, 2010

As soon as I wrote the original post, of course, I started discovering new signs of our times that are not adequately reflected in my earlier assessment. Let’s consider a few examples, and see what conclusions we can draw about where we are in the process, and where we might be going from here.

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Financial Permaculture Course and Green Business Summit in Hohenwald, TN

November 3rd, 2008

I’ve just returned from a five-day workshop in Hohenwald, TN, a remarkable and inspiring event that sought to provide both an introduction to “financial permaculture” and the launch of several new enterprises – including a green incubator – in rural Lewis County (population <15,000).

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Green Blog

September 7th, 2007

Right now I’m working on what seems like a half-dozen “sustainability” initiatives – and finding an overwhelming amount of new information and initiatives that relate to these in some way. At times, this level of activity is almost overwhelming – there is already way more happening all over the world than any single human being can keep track of – and yet when you venture outside into any ordinary American neighborhood, you can’t yet see much of difference being made.

So although I’m already running a half-dozen web sites to support these initiatives (not to mention 30 or 40 others, for clients, political groups, my neighborhood – and for many of my other innovative ideas, some of which are necessarily “on the shelf”), it seems to me that there is still room for a way of keeping a record of some of the more interesting and useful ideas, sites, and opportunities I am finding along the way.

Here are some of the things I’m already working on:

Here are some interesting discoveries along the way:

Shaklee has reinvented itself as a completely green company. It is still using all the old MLM techniques, and signing up distributors to promote it both as a product company and as a business opportunity, but the pitch has some unique angles, and the company seems to be serious about being “the first certified climate neutral company in the world” (in 2002).

I don’t know if it’s kosher to link to the video that is at the heart of its current promo campaign, but I’m going to do so anyway – until someone tells me not to – and if you’re interested in getting connected to the operation I’ll refer you to someone else, until and unless we decide to use and promote these products ourselves. We’ve had such bad experiences with MLM lately, however, that even this pitch may not be enough to get us to buy into another one – even though we like the products, we find they’re costly and the business opportunity is, if not entirely illusory, so onerous and time-consuming as to be uneconomic….

http://www.mygreensuccess.com (- enter code 15725282 in the left or center boxes)

It’s the message in the video – past the segment from Oprah – that, much more than the marketing hype, is what’s interesting.

My Worlds

December 4th, 2006

All of us live in many different worlds, some of which intersect or overlap with the worlds of others. Over time, we gravitate toward those situations (realities, experiential contexts) that most appeal to us, and try to avoid those we find distasteful or dangerous.

My goal in these pages is to create a mental map of my worlds, in a form that is both creative and functionally useful, as well as providing a record of my experience and my thinking. It is also designed to allow for the assignment of priority rankings, categories, and commentaries. Read more…

There’s also the question of where we’ve been, what we’ve done, and what we have experienced. In 1985 I received a UN Environment Award for work in the community (at that time Ottawa) promoting renewable energy and conservation. I don’t remember thinking it was much of a big deal at the time, and maybe it wasn’t; but I’ve held onto it since then, and here’s a scan of it:

UN Environment Award (1985)

I was 40 years old, and had been working on environmental issues for more than ten years at the time.