Fritjof Capra, Systems Thinking and Barrio Solar

Last month, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Fritjof Capra, renowned physicist, author and systems thinker.

In the world of systems thinking, Fritjof's books are well known... In fact, the Systems View of Life is almost like a core textbook at Schumacher College. Other books include the Tao of Physics, which draws the similarities between ancient spiritual traditions and the new paradigm physics (of the 1970s!), and also a series of books on Leonardo Da Vinci's works, and his truly systems-thinking lens, work around nature, engineering and essentially biomimicry! Something that's crazy to think about is what modern day science would be like if we had discovered Da Vinci's manuscripts earlier.

We chatted about science, spirituality, new ways of learning, the networked future and why systems thinking is more important now than ever before. We also caught up on Schumacher and the connections between both of our works.

On top of that, we also connected over our joint paths in activism. Which brings me round to...

One of Fritjof's latest projects: Barrio Solar. A self-organising, on the ground, solar network serving hard-hit communities in Puerto Rico.

This is a really worthwhile project that Fritjof co-founded with his wife, Elizabeth Hawk, and Indira Cortez, an engineer from Puerto Rico.

Barrio Solar was created on September 21st, the day after Hurricane Maria devastated the island nation of Puerto Rico.

The idea is to purchase small, off the grid, solar units (battery packs/portable solar panels and gravity lamps) and distribute them directly via partner distribution networks on the ground in Puerto Rico.

The solar devices to be shipped to Puerto Rico will be collected and distributed by a network of 35 women’s shelters and aid organizations under the leadership of Paz para la Mujer. By partnering with these women’s networks, we will be avoiding the risk of black market profiteering and, as we are at this moment a fully volunteer network, the entire distribution effort will be done for free.

They will be sent to communities hit the hardest on the island... Distributed to shelters, community centres and homes - especially the small towns in the centre and south of the island - where immediate aid and reconstructed power sources are least likely to be deployed.

What is being shipped: solar kits (solar panels), a gravity power lamp (it has a slowly descending weight that drives an electric generator). The aim: to help rural communities in Puerto Rico get back on their feet and provide lights and electric outlets.

$90 will buy a gravity lamp and $350 will buy a solar unit.

Please consider giving to the Crowdfunding campaign! They are $16,000 of the way to $25,000 and it seems like a really direct way to support what's happened in Puerto Rico.