May 26th at 9:00am PST

Hosted by Michael Lerner

“ If you think about this question of “What’s next?”, in no trivial way, what’s next is what we make of it. What we are able to convince others of, what we are able to do, what we are able to show. The morals we set, the ethical examples that we give. These things are passed on to others through global continuous engagement. That’s why the battle of ideas has to be joined, that’s why being on the side-lines is no longer an option for any of us. That’s why we have to engage because if we don’t, others will drive the agenda. We have a responsibility to create the world we want.” 

Ian Goldin, 2018

The Covid pandemic has been considered by many as a crisis event, one of epic proportions that brought society to a grinding halt. It has presented the spectre of a near total collapse of the global economic system and demonstrated the inadequacy of just in time business models and supply chains. It illuminated how global tax “efficiencies” have undermined the robustness of public health systems and the public sector itself most especially in the world’s largest democracies and irrefutably exposed the extent of the fault lines in our society, the inequality, both in the resilience of sectors of society and in the divide between those who grow richer through the virus and those who face dire hardship. Covid’s persistence has perhaps allowed us – or forced us – to consider that the pandemic is demonstrative of a trend, that it reflects cascading, systemic risks making up what is referred to as the polycrisis.

Dr Gary Kendall will present and discuss some thought-provoking perspectives on why our collective reluctance to reconceptualise paradigms commits us to a future of growing systemic risk. He will seek to uncover some of the assumptions about the global polycrisis we face and explore how we think about “wicked problems” and the challenges they bring for a sustainable future.

Dr. Gary Kendall has been working at the intersection of business strategy and systemic risk for more than a decade. Prior to joining Nedbank in November 2013, he was Deputy Director at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership in Cape Town, helping business leaders in Southern Africa to understand the mounting system pressures that will reshape their operating context.

Gary previously served as Executive Director at SustainAbility, a hybrid think-tank and strategy consultancy based in London, advising blue-chip organizations – including Ford, Shell, Nestlé, Novo Nordisk, Anglo American, A.P. Moller-Maersk and Sasol on how to strengthen their business strategies with enhanced systems intelligence. Gary is the author of the WWF publication on electromobility “Plugged In: The End of the Oil Age”. He has a PhD in Physical Chemistry.

RSVP HERE

Commanding Hope Book Cover

By Tad Homer Dixon, Knopf Canada

Commanding Hope marshals a fascinating, accessible argument for reinvigorating our cognitive strengths and belief systems to affect urgent systemic change, strengthen our economies and cultures, and renew our hope in a positive future for everyone on Earth.

Dominoes

by David Bonbright

If you watched the excellent series on the Chernobyl disaster, you can see with perfect hindsight why many say that Chernobyl was the proximate cause for the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

You can see it in the way incentives drove bad decisions, which reinforced each other. This is what complexity science calls a positive feedback loop. The recent winter storms in Texas offer another teachable moment, illustrating how failures in one system cascade over to other systems. Freezing rain and snow break the electric and heating grid. Pipes break and the water system collapses. Transport stalls and stores are not restocked. An already overstrained health system drops more services. The science points to more of these breakdowns – and, let’s be clear, there is no credible dissent to the science. In this light, isn’t it time to prepare for it “just in case”? We’re Living in a Global Polycrisis: It’s Time to Build Resiliency, by David Bonbright, Giving Compass.  

In Kim Stanley Robinson’s anti-dystopian novel, climate change is the crisis that finally forces mankind to deal with global inequality.

New York Review, by Bill McKibben

The prolific science-fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, who is at heart an optimist, opens his newest novel, The Ministry for the Future, with a long set piece as bleak as it is plausible. Somewhere in a small city on the Gangetic Plain in Uttar Pradesh during the summer of 2025, Frank, a young American working for an NGO, wakes up in his room above a clinic to find that an unusually severe pre-monsoon heat wave has grown hotter still and more humid—that the conditions outside are rapidly approaching the limit of human survival. Actually, conditions inside are approaching the same level, because the power has gone out.

Read full review here

The COVID-19 pandemic is widely seen as a potential turning point after which almost everything could be different. Margaret MacMillan, the eminent historian, has compared this crisis to the French and Russian revolutions – points at which the river of history changed course. And it’s almost certain that as a result of this crisis there will be big changes: expectations of the state’s ability to look after its citizens will be higher; the public and financial markets may be more accepting of government borrowing; government will be expected to manage the labour market to provide a minimum level of security for vulnerable workers. It will be a far cry from the free-market, small state policies of the 1980s and 1990s. Yet it is far from obvious that this crisis, even one that is deep and severe, will lead to a turning point of the kind that MacMillan suggests.

Charles Leadbeater, Nesta. Read the full article here…

Restorative Retreat on the Land

facilitated by James Stark and Anna O’Malley

Email Here to Register

It invites reflection on the sacred question “what is mine to do?” 

The great gift of being alive at this planetary moment invites us into walking the path of service–to life, to healing, to community, to justice, to those who come after us. To the Earth. 

As we gradually emerge into a post-pandemic existence, it is a particularly potent time to reflect on how we are living our lives. Are we living with intention? On purpose? What do we do with our precious life energy now? 

On this retreat you will be held by the land in and around the Commonweal Garden as you cleanse and settle into clear presence and receptivity. Held the weekend of Earth Day, this retreat in the nourishing sanctuary of the Garden will support you in clarifying your vision for a resilient, regenerative life on our Earth, and what next steps you’ll take toward living aligned “with life.”

We will weave time with each other with contemplative time connecting with the land. Each participant will have their own intimate space within the garden. Tucked under a redwood, into a plum grove, in a fern glade, or under ceanothus canopy, the camping spots allow for an intimate relationship with place. From this home base we will move between facilitated engagement with each other, with meaning and vision, and with the many forms of medicine that come from a reciprocal relationship with the natural world.

We will provide cleansing food throughout the retreat, largely sourced from the land, including lunch and dinner on Friday, breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. Hot water for tea will be provided throughout the weekend. 

Preparatory materials leading up to the cleanse will allow our bodies to be ready for this experience.

Accommodations:

We have two options: tent platforms (four) or camping on the Earth (six sites). While all of the sites are quite special, the platforms have a bit more space around them. Each site, whether on a platform or on the Earth, has been prepared to allow for privacy and depth of connection.

We will provide a tent and plush sleeping pad. Participants provide their own sleeping bag and pillow.

Registration is limited to ten participants. 

Special consideration is being given to creating a COVID-safe experience for all participants. Thank you for understanding the public health constraints and our commitment to our collective well-being. We ask that all participants have received complete COVID immunization before the retreat.

Dates:
Friday, April 23 at 10 am through Sunday, April 25 at noon

Registration details:

  • On a sliding scale from $400 to $600, which includes all meals.
  • ​Tent and plush sleeping pad are included.
  • Participants supply their own sleeping bags and pillows. 
We do have limited funds to support those in need. Please email Natura to inquire. Please consider donating in support of another participant if you are able and so moved.
Thank you!

We report three major and confronting environmental issues that have received little attention and require urgent action. We especially draw attention to the lack of appreciation of the enormous challenges to creating a sustainable future. The added stresses to human health, wealth, and well-being will perversely diminish our political capacity to mitigate the erosion of ecosystem services on which society depends. The science underlying these issues is strong, but awareness is weak. Without fully appreciating and broadcasting the scale of the problems and the enormity of the solutions required, society will fail to achieve even modest sustainability goals. 

Paul Ehrlich et al., Frontiers in Conservation Science.. Read Full Article

Nate Hagens photo

In this video, Nate Hagens, Director of EnergyandOurFuture.org, covers the state of the economy, environment and human cultural situation in the face of the recent Coronavirus.

The question and answer session from this talk is available here.

Rise of Neo-Feudalism

In this article, Robert Kuttner and Katherine V. Stone delineate how “the private capture of entire legal systems by corporate America goes far beyond neoliberalism. It evokes the private fiefdoms of the Middle Ages.”

waterfall

is a Canadian research centre addressing the full range of humanity’s converging environmental, economic, political, and technological crises. Using advanced methods for mapping and modeling complex global systems, Institute researchers will identify, and where possible help implement, high-leverage interventions that could rapidly shift humanity’s course towards fair and sustainable prosperity.

The Institute is located at Royal Roads University in British Columbia, a leader in training professionals to apply creative solutions to entrenched problems. Its director is Thomas Homer-Dixon, an award-winning scholar and author with deep experience in using complexity science to anticipate, analyze, and respond to global threats.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com