Staying alive and responsive in the face of climate collapse

“Of all the dangers we face, from climate chaos to nuclear war, none is so great as the deadening of our response.” - words from my teacher Joanna Macy.

I read this right after reading of a Work That Reconnects workshop participant:

I was really inspired by it. It was the missing key to unlocking my possibility of playing my part in a positive change. Up until that point I had all the information, and all of the guilt and feelings of pressure but felt totally incapable of acting.

And this is the feedback I hear again and again…

And this all after I wrap up a piece of work I did with Cassie Robinson on researching care and the community care response to climate change, what exists, and what could exist…

We were made for these times

We were made for these times. By Clarissa Pinkola Estes

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

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Positive Deep Adaptation: beginnings of an inquiry

Positive Deep Adaptation (PDA) is the name of academic Jem Bendell's Facebook group for people to discuss their responses to a paper he published a year ago on something called "deep adaptation” (referred from here as DA). If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend you do. The article linked goes into it. The paper can be found here: www.lifeworth.com/deepadaptation.pdf.

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Cyclical patterns and unintentional mentors

It's been very interesting spending a bit of time with this man during his stay in our house in London. What's been fascinating is speaking to someone who had almost exactly the same vision as I have held for a new university, 10 years before, and hear about the wrong-turns and patterns that emerged and I recognised... We need more transfer of experience, "failures", and learning so that we don't just cyclically do the same things again and again.

The Anti-Preneur Manifesto

Something that influenced me a lot in this path of labelling and unlabelling and resisting the pull to become sucked into the labels that “work”.

This piece is written yy Danielle Leduc, from March/April 2013 Adbusters…

Thank you to Andrea for the subscription to Adbusters which continued throughout the years :)

The Anti-Preneur Manifesto

I don’t want to be a designer, a marketer, an illustrator,
a brander, a social media consultant, a multi-platform
guru, an interface wizard, a writer of copy, a technological
assistant, an applicator, an aesthetic king, a notable
user, a profit-maximizer, a bottom-line analyzer, a meme
generator, a hit tracker, a re-poster, a sponsored blogger,
a starred commentator, an online retailer, a viral relayer,
a handle, a font or a page. I don’t want to be linked in,
tuned in, ‘liked’, incorporated, listed or programmed.
I don’t want to be a brand, a representative, an
ambassador, a bestseller or a chart-topper. I don’t want
to be a human resource or part of your human capital.

I don’t want to be an entrepreneur of myself.

Don’t listen to the founders, the employers, the
newspapers, the pundits, the editors, the forecasters,
the researchers, the branders, the career counselors,
the prime minister, the job market, Michel Foucault or
your haughty brother in finance – there’s something else!

I want to be a lover, a teacher, a wanderer, an assembler
of words, a sculptor of immaterial, a maker of instruments,
a Socratic philosopher and an erratic muse. I want to be
a community center, a piece of art, a wonky cursive script
and an old-growth tree! I want to be a disrupter, a creator,
an apocalyptic visionary, a master of reconfiguration,
a hypocritical parent, an illegal download and a choose-
your-own-adventure! I want to be a renegade agitator!
A licker of ice cream! An organizer of mischief! A released
charge! A double jump on the trampoline! A wayward
youth! A volunteer! A partner.

I want to be a curator of myself, an anti-preneur, a person.

Unlimited availabilities. No followers required. Only friends.

5-day Enspiral workshop - through the eyes of a participant

"One week ago, we came to the end of our 5-day Enspiral themed programme at YIP, but the fun didn't stop there. It's a really unique pleasure to be staying longer term at a community as a resident facilitator/mentor, as I am also being given the chance to hear feedback and grow/develop during the weeks here.

It's rare that you get to hear from workshop participants in detail about what worked for them, what didn't, and what they'd like more of next time. In the situation I am in, I also get to continue the work and continue offering sessions to draw out the impact and allow participants to keep practising skills and using tools they have picked up during our week.

Below is a short article written by Robbie Solway, one of the YIP participants, about his experience of the week. He in particular really took on a lot of the skills and tools we offered, and is now working on a fantastic project to build a network of solidarity projects in Toronto and its surrounding area... As well as taking an active role in building the online YIP Alumni network.

Thank you Robbie!

Article:

"What is Enspiral? This question [en]spiralled chaotically around our course last week... alongside our freely moving understandings of social enterprise, money management, network, project incubation and community culture. Regardless of the answer, we learned a lot from the Enspiral course contributors, Silvia Zuur and Phoebe Tickell, about working with each of these themes.

For the week, we each 'dated' one of our projects. These initiatives became the case studies on which we applied Enspiral-y practices, as well as the lenses with which we listened to Silvia’s stories of entrepreneurship. We envisioned our initiatives as social enterprises through the Social Lean Canvas, exchanged our rapid-fire pitches and created financial roadmaps. I noticed my plans becoming increasingly grounded: specific & realistic ideas formed for a series of events to bring together the people, families and communities of Toronto.

What makes Enspiral truly unique, it seems, lies in the eye of the beholder. From my perspective, one particularly unique quality is their jargon: the Enspiral community applies software development terminology like ‘refactor’ and ‘fork’ to projects way beyond their computer screens. I haven’t been quite sure how to fit my computer science background and my YIP experience together thus far, but last week I felt at home when Silvia started sharing her challenges with “merging into the master branch.”

Many of us took the opportunity to learn from the Enspiral network for reflecting on what the YIP network can also mean. In smaller discussions, we shared excitement around the August gathering, the alumni map, and the possibilities of how as YIP10 we want to enter the space of being YIP alumni. In the Brosbe check-in group, we’re experiencing a taste of what it means to open the relationships we’ve formed over 10 months to the wider community. Our name amalgamates those of Rose, Bruna, and Pheobe - the amazing people who have stepped into the rotating role of the Brosbe OT throughout the year.

We've been with each of them in spaces of deep sharing as well as learning from their work. Rose invited us into the world of Moral Technologies, Bruna brought her care for education & nature with the Amazon Summer School, and now Phoebe has opened us up to the world of collaborative networking through Enspiral. Phoebe’s role as both Enspiral Member and YIP OT invites possibility for how we can all connect even better together. Having Phoebe around as a friend, mentor and visionary brings a lot of excitement to our remaining time in Sweden."

Entrepreneurial mentoring, Enspiral, saunas, fjords and community life

I may have to work on my weekends at the moment, but when I do step outside I find myself taken on all sorts of adventures. And I'm falling quite in love with the participants here. It's going to be tough to leave! Today I read over and checked one of the participants' applications to university, he is 18 years old. I was completely bowled away by the application. It starts with a poem that he's written, and this is the first line:

"If you knew me you would know
that inside this white male body
there is a soul willing to help.
To empower, to teach and learn, to comfort.
A soul willing to heal the planet."

This is coming from an 18 year-old boy who will be going on to study Physics and Aerospace Engineering at a top university. Perhaps we have a chance on Planet Earth afterall.

This is a magical place. Today I decide to take a break and find myself walking with a group to the fjord, getting in a rowboat and crossing the water, arriving at a small ecovillage community who host us in their sauna. It is on the beach of the fjord, and we watch the sun set while dipping in the ice cold salty water after each round of the woodfired sauna. We row back, hike the final leg surrounded by huge boulders, moss and lichen, huge pine trees, a sky alive with pink and orange and the fjord stretching out on our right. 30 minutes later I'm back at my desk ready to finish off what I was working on... It's surreal!

Perhaps a real work/life balance is possible like this? Living in community in a beautiful location which allows you to dip in and out of your own little world... Grateful for the internet allowing all my remote work and digital nomadism right now! Imagining the quality of life that will be possible in the future when we create these new villages and communities outside of cities, with the possibilities to connect easily in...

Day 1 of delivering a course on Collaborative Entrepreneurship inspired by #Enspiral

Without the time to properly write, I have reverted to Twitter to be sharing and open-sourcing what I am doing with the world... I hope to write up something from these shorter snippets soon! But just in case I don't, here they are...

Opening the #Enspiral Week with @SilviaZuur at Youth Initiative Programme - participants answer "Why do I do what I do?" #youth #entrepreneurship #northstar #purpose #work

Some figures - why do we need to change the way we think about work?

Data from the Australian Foundation for #Youth - the average 22 year old will have 17 #jobs and 50% of those #jobs don't exist yet #FutureOfWork #Enspiral #youth #future #work #inspired

What is the plan for our week together?

Day 1 is all about #Projects and #Identity. Where does your #self meet the #world's needs? And how do we actually make sure there is #balance -- not just what makes you come #alive! #Enspiral #YouthInitiativeProgram #YIP

Day 2 we will cover #Business and #SocialEnterprise, getting into the nitty gritty #business #tools - and talk about #money. Silvia will share about her experience starting #DevAcademy. #EnspiralWeek #YIP

Day 3 we move to #Customers, #Users, the #Humans we serve. Here we also focus on the #impact - #positive and unintended #negative #impact of our work. Let's have that conversation... #Enspiral #social #entrepreneurship #stories #masterclasses

Day 4 is all about #COMMUNITY. What is #collaborative, #community #entrepreneurship? What are the #tools we can use to #collaborate and create #value in a #community, #tribe or #team? Using the story of #Enspiral as an example. #socialentrepreneurship #Enspiral

Final day - Day 5 - the theme is #YouTheEntrepreneur - what is life like as an #entrepreneur in the #world - let's talk about #personal #leadership, #freedom, #loneliness, #community, #challenges, #failure, #heartbreak! What is it to be an entrepreneur of your own life? #Enspiral

What is Enspiral?

In #Enspiral, we #prototype and #build #Enspiral itself, and those #tools sometimes become #ventures which go out and have #impact in the world. #network #entrepreneurship #tech #tools

An afternoon of more practical creating...

Jumping into applying the #SocialLeanCanvas #business planning #tool to participant #projects and facing some #realtalk and #metrics... #socialentrepreneurship #Enspiral

Stay tuned for our time together tomorrow!

Important question from my friend Nora Bateson

Important question from my friend Nora Bateson:

"Who are the people who fund complexity / contextual / systems projects? Ideas??"

And some great comments from the discussion:

"System entrepreneurs are catalytic to communities but one step removed from impact and harder to fund."

"How do we fund the projects that shift epistemology but don't make money?"

And something that sounds exciting/hopeful in response:

"We are working on redesigning incentive structure for social entrepreneurship & philanthropy to legitimize and encourage systemic awareness and depth of intervention and use that to change impact metrics and funding criteria in the mainstream. It's the second year we are running the Evolutionary Future Challenge and are getting some very interesting results."

Call out to my network in case you have any leads. For context, Nora is working on tackling complex challenges and systemic problems which require systemic solutions - beyond a 'quick fix' solution or piece of technology to save the day.

You can read more about her work here: International Bateson Institute.

Looking forward to hear from you if you know of anything or have some ideas. :)