Published by Kerry on 23 Dec 2010 at 08:15 am
This October, WiserEarth editor Narda Azaria Dalgleish visited WiserEarth and attended the Bioneers conference in the Bay Area of California. Her piece below (full piece at the WiserEarth Community Newsletter) weaves together these experiences, and artfully reflects on the current state of sustainability.
Guest post by Narda Azaria Dalgleish
This post was originally published on 12/10/10 on the WiserEarth Community Newsletter.
Right on the Pulse of the Shift
Highlights of my visit to WiserEarth and the Bioneers Conference
(Originally written as a short report for the Beshara Meeting)
San Francisco, October 13-24 2010
Narda Azaria Dalgleish. Posted at December 10, 2010.
“If we raise enough money for you to come to the WiserEarth editors’ annual meeting will you come?”, my online WiserEarth friend Deborah Phelan asked me a few weeks ago. Then, when I hesitated she bribed: “Bioneers Conference!” So just like that, money was pledged within the hour between four more WiserEarth staff members to bring me over. At the request of WiserEarth Executive Director PeggyDuvette, complimentary passes to the conference were kindly arranged to be left for five of us at the entrance by Bioneers founder, Kenny Ausubel himself.
Exactly two years ago I came across WiserEarth – a social network inspired and founded by Paul Hawken (watch). I found it through a link on Nick Yiangou’s article about the Pachamama Alliance Symposium, posted on the old Beshara Webzine. I joined WiserEarth there and then, initially to create an organization page for the Beshara School. Gradually, with the generous tutorials and patience of Bowo, WiserEarth’s Online Community Manager, I learned how to use it’s online technical tools such as tables, colours, alignments and link content in the many group pages I’ve created to highlight visionary themes. I felt like a toddler given paints and paper for the first time, utterly amazed how some mornings I would get up with an idea and an hour or two later it would be out there, either complete or in process.
By the time I joined WiserEarth, I had already watched the documentary The 11th Hour about five times. Unlike any environmental documentary I’ve watched before (or since), this was by far the most exciting, comprehensive ecoliteracy manual and much more. I was so intrigued that I copied the subtitles of the whole film and followed up some of the speakers on YouTube.
It was interesting to notice that many of the videos I watched were from the Bioneers Conferences. Kenny Ausubel, an award-winning social entrepreneur, author, journalist and filmmaker, had launched the annual conference with his wife in 1990. He was a central advisor to Leonardo DiCaprio’s The 11th Hour, its first featured speaker and its presenter at film festivals.
What struck me in the film, perhaps even more than the fresh portrayal of the peak everything called the global crisis, was the scope and scale of humanity’s response to it; noticing for the first time how this man-made crisis and the global response to it, are an exact inverse mirror image – both accelerating exponentially and both historically unprecedented.
Many of the 60 or so expert scientists, designers, architects, environmentalists, politicians, lawyers, industrialists, authors, farmers, peace activists, etc. had become, by their vision and response, a representation and a point of reference to a systems paradigm shift.
See below how industrialists Ray Anderson and Gary Hirshberg, and environmentalist Andy Lipkis are bold examples of systems paradigm shift, proving ‘green business’ is restoring nature’s ecosystems, is healthier, sustainable, provides more jobs and is much more profitable all round.
WiserEarth had sprung organically from Hawken’s research (watch) where he observed the biggest, most diverse, fastest growing social movement the world has ever known. Over 100.000 ORG’s and thousands of groups and individuals on WiserEarth alone, show a commonality of intent, be their focus environmental, new consciousness or social justice. Like an immune system, here is a global emergence of collaboration and convergence of response – a humanity set out to transform the crisis and itself.
There’s a fundamental illusion in the world that somehow people are separated from Nature when the reality is that we are part of Nature – in fact, we ARE Nature. And that’s probably the most fundamental misunderstanding in the world that’s causing all this havoc.”
Kenny Ausubel, The 11th Hour
This sudden magnanimous invitation comes despite drastic reduction in my online voluntary activity over the past few months. I find myself flying to San Francisco bewildered, shocked … nothing is asked of me in return. The thoughts, ‘Why am I invited’, and ‘For what,’ persist. “Befriending the Unknown” comes to mind. Three days before I fly, I dream … can I see this as a ‘password’ to a new kind of reorientation?…
Photos courtesy of Wibowo Sulistio and keithbcg
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