Global Eco Forum (S22-O17) – Times of profound ecological change
Blessed Unrest: The immune system of humanity starting to kick in
(originally posted on September 23 on Indymedia Ireland)
While many view these days with dread; the outset of climate crisis, political corruption and corporate manipulation blocking healthy change, lack of hope that things can change.
Others are starting to see something profound emerging; a re-awakening, an eruption of activity, new and intelligent ways of human interaction. Ecologist Paul Hawken sees this phenoman as “the immune system of humanity finally kicking in” and calls it Blessed Unrest.
As another bubble in all this, yesterday saw the first of 25 days of the first “Global Eco Forum”…
The 1st Global Eco-Forum: Responsibility, sustainability & eco-innovation organized by eco-union with the collaboration of many public and private entities, is an international event to reflect, discuss and generate new ideas for a more sustainable and responsible society.
25 days of the interchanging of ideas on the net, before and after the event, plus one day on site, face to face forum in Barcelona (7/10/08) to reflect, discuss and generate new ideas for a more sustainable and responsible society.
This is the first year so we are learning as we go, but the important thing is that its begun and from that the discussion(s) grow and that they lead to more openings for critical change.
Today is Earth overshoot day:
On September 23rd this year we mark an unfortunate milestone: As of today, humanity will have consumed all the new resources the planet will produce this year, according to Global Footprint Network calculations. For the rest of 2008, we will be in the ecological equivalent of deficit spending, drawing down our resource stocks – in essence, borrowing from the future.
Here are 2 embedded vids to Paul Hawken talking about all this, please take the time to look at them, first is only 5 minutes, the second is an expanded hour long which includes Q + A at the end…
his argument is the following:
It is my belief that we are part of a movement that is greater and deeper and broader than we ourselves know, or can know. It flies under the radar of the media, by and large. It is non violent, it is grassroots; it has no cluster bombs, no armies and no helicopters. It has no central ideology. A male vertebra is not in charge. This unnamed movement is the most diverse movement the world has ever seen. The very word movement, I think, is too small to describe it. No one started this world view, No one is in charge of it, there is no orthodoxy. It is global, classless, unquenchable and tireless. The shared understanding is arising spontaneously from different economic sectors, cultures, regions and cohorts; it is growing and spreading worldwide with no exception. It has many roots, but primarily the origins are indigenous culture, the environment and social justice movements. Those 3 sectors and their sub sectors are intertwining, morphing, enlarging. This is no longer, or simply about resources or infractions on injustice, this is fundamentally a civil rights movement, a human rights movement, this is the democracy movement, it is the coming world.
– Paul Hawken speaks at Bioneers 2006
Authors@Google: Paul Hawken
From that he and his friends have created an amazing resource, a global WIKI directory of social movements and related goodies: WISER Earth: http://www.wiserearth.org
A lot of this stuff is coming from the world of science, looking at, learning from, mimicking what we see that is working in nature. How we communicate has been radically changed by communication tools of recent few years, but we can still learn to communicate better. An interesting essay appeared recently Network organisation for the 21st century , from the recent TURBULENCE magazine (number 4), after talking about how efficient networks function it offers the following advice:
KEY MESSAGES FOR POLITICAL NETWORKS
• Encourage people to become hubs
• Develop other hubs, with dense connections to lots of distant nodes
• Hub redundancy is important — don’t worry about duplicating functions
• Let hubs evolve
• Focus on the long tail: have more limited interactions with the greatest number of people and places
C2C and the design revolution
A few years ago a US architect William McDonough and a German chemist, Michael Braungart, who had been a Greenpeace activist in his earlier days, hooked up and started to completely re-imagine the world; how we build things, how we deal with waste, how we design smartly… Rather than cradle to grave, as is mostly the case today, they imagine and have developed an evergrowing Cradle to Cradle system, from runners to cars, to buildings, to cities… As they state “humans are the only species in which exists the idea of Waste”… or better put, in C2C systems “Waste equals food”
Their book, Cradle to Cradle is…
A manifesto calling for the transformation of human industry through ecologically intelligent design. Through historical sketches on the roots of the industrial revolution; commentary on science, nature and society; descriptions of key design principles; and compelling examples of innovative products and business strategies already reshaping the marketplace, McDonough and Braungart make the case that an industrial system that “takes, makes and wastes” can become a creator of goods and services that generate ecological, social and economic value.
You can watch the 20 min TED talk that Mc Donough gave outlining his philosophy: The wisdom of designing Cradle to Cradle
The Wisdom of designing Cradle to Cradle
So these are just some of the things going on, there are many many more of varying degrees of success and importance. This is just a pointer to things to offer a bit of hope and to call for wider participation in these movements as they grow.
Heres 3 related audio files are recent Radio projects I was working on while in England and Ireland during August, they cover much about the idea of “transitioning”, the transition town movement originated in Kinsale, with Rob Hopkins in the Permaculture college down there. He went back to England but from there this movement is really taking off, all different sorts of people, who would normally never be together, let alone work collectively on a project, are coming together and creating alternatives… Have a listen..
A half hour life radio discussion during climate camp UK 2008. People working with, in or living in eco communities of varying sizes half a loose free flowing conversation.
part 1 – outline some of the principles behind these eco communities
part 2 – now that we have an idea of where we are trying to get to, how do we get there…
As part of the recent climate camp UK we made this radio interview with Edwin Cambell about her experiences with the very successful transition town project in her town, Lewes. The recording was made at the front line that existed beside the police, and sometimes riot squad, she outlined the origins and successs of how their project has taken off and what their dreams are.As part of their project a short film was made, which was shown in the local cinema before all films.
This audio recording was broadcast live on our BOLD internet radio and is a discussion with David Neavyn and Alan Clayton about the idea of transition towns and eco initiaves in the southern Irish town of Kinsale, half hour talk, nice interview, big shout out to Cathie for assisting so much.
On the larger scale, how to make a city more sustainable, we were involved in discussions here, still ongoing, about some radical architectural / eco / urban systems, you can see a lot of those ideas, with many images in our document : Towards a healthier, happier, eco-effective Barcelona
And to finish off, to (re)offer a few ideas on simple ways Dublin city could change please view this old document, now finally online thanks to how strong a tool is WISER Earth: CATALYST @ Botanic Spine (in 2 parts)
Anyway, this is just a start, I look forward to letting this discussion, and assortment of ideas grow…
Regards from Barcelona
Related embedded vid and audio files
– Paul Hawken speaks at Bioneers 2006
– Authors@Google: Paul Hawken
– William McDonough: The wisdom of designing Cradle to Cradle
Below are the following 3 audio files we made
– Transitioning, from climate camp to eco villages to transition towns to eco cities (live climate camp radio show)
– Transition Town Lewes – climate camp radio (part of climate camp radio show, recorded at front line by riot cops)
– Global Eco-Forum
– Global Eco-Forum : Online space for participation
– Global Eco-Forum: on Wiser Earth
– Global Eco-Forum: on EASA
– Dunk on Wiser Earth
– Earth overshoot day
– Network organisation for the 21st century
or else read with original images from online version of TURBULENCE, number 4, pages 55-63
– C2C and the design revolution
Towards a healthier, happier, eco-effective Barcelona
CATALYST @ Botanic Spine