The New Story | Sustainability | Capra & Luisi’s ‘Systemic View’ | Heart Dimension

Sustainability may not be widely discussed in the network news channels, as ‘action’ news stories often focus on human conflicts, disasters and economic problems of immediacy, rather than delving into long-term repercussions or solutions. Often one is not presented with situations from the standpoint of how you, the viewer, can potentially get involved and help to transform the situation.

In fact we have often received information, from the top-down, through a hierarchy of stations delivered by a few news networks, owned by a few individuals. However, even the new story, implies a new way of gleaning information; through social networks. This implies horizontal sharing of information which a person can actively investigate on their own, delving into sources of information that offer alternative views or by talking with one another, sharing ideas or even taking a walk in the woods to contemplate. So rather than being spoon-fed bits of information, it’s a process of actively investigating and sharing. In other words, thinking, for oneself.

You really Are What you Think.

Sustainable Man, A New Story of the People

Sustainable Man A New Story of the People

The “New Story of the People” is narrated breathfully by Charles Eisenstein; his story of ‘a more beautiful world’.

A New Story, being in service to something larger than yourself

A New Story being in service to something larger than yourself

With respect to the ‘Sustainable Human’, Eisenstein talks about how in the last hundred years science has been focused on dissecting and reducing things to their elemental parts in the quest to understand our universe and the matter which makes up our world. Yet during the scientific process, the influence of the subjective viewer has come to be understood as influencing the object of study. In the past, this would have been discounted as something that can not be empirically proven. As the Western World expands beyond its scientific rationalism and objectification of the world in the ‘Industrial Age’ into a new view of the web of connections through the discoveries during the ‘Information Age’, our definitions are changing. And these spill over from the scientific view of the universe, into parallel pursuits in other arenas, such as recognizing that there is really something to the wisdom traditions of Eastern spirituality and mysticism. A perspective that has been compatible to various indigenous people all over the planet for millennium.

Eisenstein metions that “A new paradigm has begun to evolve along with this scientific view that emerged out of physics; a paradigm which sees the universe not as discreet parts with everything distinctly separate, but as interconnected.”

paradigm shift of perception, from separateness to interconnectedness

We are in a paradigm shift of perception, that moves from separateness to interconnectedness

When I was younger, my interest in science as well as consciousness, spirituality and mysticism, drew me to read the book “The Tao of Physics ” written by the physicist Fritjof Capra.

Fritjof Capra, an Austrian-born American physicist, described in this book what the new sciences were disclosing, a completely new way of looking at the universe, particularly looking at the world from the scientist’s perspective of probing the smallest building blocks.

The Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra

The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra

Capra went on to write together with biochemist Pier Luigi Luisi “The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision”. The authors mention that the book primarily deals with the question, “What is Life?”. Their years of research reveal that from bacteria, to cells, to organs, to living organisms from plants and insects to birds and mammals involve networks.

At the core of this paradigm shift, is a perception shift from ‘separateness’ to ‘interconnectedness’.

Rather than looking at isolated events or bodies within its skin or shell, the most obvious characteristic of life are the relationships among networks with other bacteria, cells and creatures as well as relationships between different species, organs and colonies of beings. Life of all kinds, is not a distinct entity which can merely be quantitatively measured and classified into a particular domain, but the very essence of life is a qualitative interconnection between others of its kind and the whole ecological system of relationships between different species.

The common thread of all life is that it is the network. the network is a pattern consistent through all of life, the network is a series of relationships. the science that describes this new perspective is called the ‘Systemic View’. Nature sustains itself in the sense that every organism, from a cell, to an organ, to a body, to the social nature of a species, to the planet itself is an autopoietic system that regenerates itself. This works because it is in a set of relationships within a network system.

Vita e Natura - Life and Nature - video intro of Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi's book - The Systems View of Life A Unifying Vision

Vita e Natura – Life and Nature – video intro of Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi’s book – The Systems View of Life A Unifying Vision

Here is an “essay excerpted from The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision”, presented on the (CEL) website Center for Ecoliteracy, which Capra co-founded.

Capra and Luisi argue “that many of the most important problems we face today – from financial instability to climate change and ecological degradation – reflect our collective inability to appreciate just how the world operates as a holistic, networked system in which every part depends on every other. This is something that can be approached and healed, from the systemic view. We need to live in a way that allows the planet itself to regenerate itself naturally. This leads us to consciousness of ecological sustainability and the intent to build and live in sustainable communities.

You are not distinct from Nature, You Are Nature

This New Story is all about sustainability: the capacity for human individuals and societies to live in a way that reduces the amount of the earth’s resources that they use, to a level that is compatible with the earth’s ability to regenerate itself and maintain a healthy balance.

This recognition of life as a network of relationships that are holistically healthy and regenerative only insofar as each of the interconnected parts are, as articulated in the Systemic View of life, is beginning to emerge in all different aspects of human relationships, as something to aspire to.

• in the individual – recognizing that we are as healthy and strong and happy only insofar as other members of the human community are also compatibly accessing education and opportunities as well as healthy environments
• in the cohesion of the human social community – in which cooperation rather than competition, diversity in participation and sharing between disciplines and groups is a healthy circulatory system
• in the realm of health – towards new ways of gardening and farming as well as the recognition of health sustaining nutrients inherent in foods and spices
• in emotional well-being – bringing the mind and the body into an interactive balance of movement and stillness; movement for healthy circulation, stillness to allow oneself to connect to that dimension which is beyond our immediate focus
• in spiritual continuity – recognizing that diversity is the spice of life; homogeneity breeds incestuous, narrow-mindedness and stagnation
• in economic behavior – towards openness & transparency, collaboration, horizontal sharing of ownership and the subsequent democratization of wealth
• in political systems – the more open and transparent the governing representatives, the more trust and mutual consensus for what is relevant and important in the fabric of existence; which includes humans, a healthy environment and relationship with all species

Diversity is healthy, whereas homogeneity breeds incestuous narrow-mindedness.

The New Story has evolved as our stories about ourselves, and the place of the human being in the world evolves.

You really Are what you Believe.

Ego vs Eco | Ecological Thinking for Business Transformation | The Nature of Business

Ego vs Eco | Ecological Thinking for Business Transformation | The Nature of Business

The premise of the organization “Ecological Thinking for Business Transformation” is that our perception of reality and our worldview has been outdated. “We are witnessing a change in business paradigm from one suited for the industrial era to one suited for the interconnected era.”

In 1995, the physicist Fritjof Capra together with the philanthropist Peter Buckley and think tank director Zenobia Barlow, founded the Center for Ecoliteracy with the intent of sharing the awareness of the systemic view with students, through a series of educational programs that support ecological principles and systems thinking to curricula and projects in habitat restoration, school gardens and cooking classes, partnerships between schools and farms and curricular innovation among K12 schools. Among other things, the center helps to develop projects in habitat restoration, school gardens and cooking classes and partnerships between schools and farms, with the awareness that health begins with a healthy diet.

You really Are what you Eat.

Ecoliteracy dot org Education for Sustainable Living

Ecoliteracy dot org Education for Sustainable Living

Frijof Capra says that he has studied agroecology or regenerative agriculture.
Agroecology or agroforestry combines; forestry, agriculture and livestock. It is beyond sustainable, it is actually regenerative.

Jeremy Wickremer’s mentions in his article for The Ecologist Connecting the Dots: the Big Permaculture Picture ”Just like you need a holistic vision for a healthy mind and body, the same applies for a healthy planet. One way of living that seeks to do this is permaculture. To put it simply, permaculture is agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. It is a design system that mimics nature, where everything in the design supports everything else.”

Syntropyc, Regenerative Agriculture, Ernst Götsch

Syntropyc Regenerative Agriculture, Ernst Götsch

In terms of sustainable and regenerative agriculture, Agroforestry is land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland. It’s another example of replenishing the environment with nutrients and water, without needing chemicals or pesticides. This encourages growth in biodiversity and is healthier for farmers.

Besides the growth of food and the reflection of these sustainable practices on all of the other creatures with whom we share our planet, there are plenty of business solutions that are as well following this New Story, emulating what already clearly works in nature. One group is “Ecological Thinking for Business Transformation” also speak of the “out-dated worldview, a perception of reality inadequate for dealing with the volatile and globally interconnected business world.”

Having attended the “People and Planet First” conference in September of 2015 presented by the (IPS) Institute for Policies Studies in Baltimore, Maryland, the panelists also talked of a “New Story“. Among the speakers were Annie Leonard “The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard” and historian and political economist Gar Alperovitz who mentioned that though this new stream of activity towards cooperative business and horizontally-shared ownership is happening in discrete communities all over the United States, it isn’t being consciously driven, yet.

Eisenstein, in his Sustainable Man video about The New Story, talks of stepping out of this paradigm of control and allowing oneself to be of service to this larger body of which we all are a part. And that as we direct our questions and intent to ask what we can do to serve having a healthier body, mind, well-being, community and world, that indeed, the answers and direction will arise in response to the intention.

step from paradigm of control, ask how you can serve, and the opportunities will arise

When you feel that you are here in service, and bow to that, opportunities will arise to allow you to act on that intention.

Besides the rational means of digesting information, there is the whole realm of the invisible. I’ll call it the domain of the heart. Herein lies the capacity of a person to intuit something and feel whether the information is in alignment with the words. A person can sense whether they feel good around a person, or uneasy. A person can have an impression beyond the rational, about whether the words of another person seem to convey the same as their gestures, or whether something is not quite in synch. One can sense whether something they read or see feels accurate and sound, or whether there is something amiss. Many animals can sense with a heightened capacity – with sense organs much more highly tuned to frequencies beyond those of human beings – to see, hear, detect movements and subtle alternations in the environment.

I mention the heart literally and figuratively as a metaphor. The heart is the central organ in the body – lets just talk about human beings – that is consistently circulating oxygen, nutrients and carrying away wastes throughout the body. The heart pumping station, is also by its nature generating an electromagnetic field which is larger than that produced by the brain. The heart also has a complex system of neurons, cells that are consistently transmitting information to the rest of the body. When the heart is in synch in the individual with feelings of joy and love, this invisible field expands. When an individual is more channeled into negative emotions of fear and anger, this field constricts.

Every Small Gesture Has Significance

The perception of the heart has everything to do with the health of all of the other organs of our body, of individual health in general, of the health of societies, permeating into healthy relationships with other organisms and with the health of the earth, which is an organism just as we are.

The heart is also metaphorically an organ of connection with others. Besides wonder, exuberance, joy and gratitude that a person can feel within him or herself, the words love, compassion and empathy typically imply a connection with another.

no external universe, every action we do, we do  to ourselves

And as we begin to take tiny actions that follow the logic of the heart – which knows that each act is significant – the logic of the mind of the older world begins to be replaced. This power of repetition which can physically build muscles, is what occurs mentally, neurologically. Each time you think differently, you are rewiring your brain. This concept called Neuroplasticity has to do with the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This rewiring allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.

My introduction into the wisdom of the heart probably began through readings of Deepak Chopra. A physician and author, meditation guide and founder of the Chopra Center; who introduced this awareness that has been understood for Millenia in various Eastern spiritual traditions, of the effectiveness of meditation and this connection to the vast unknown dimension of energy. Chopra has teamed more recently with Oprah Winfrey to bring this domain of the spirit, of tapping into the hidden world of energy through stillness and meditation.

I then was introduced to the practice of ‘Heart Rhythm meditation’ which purports a harmonious and healing relationship within oneself and the universe beyond, through simply aligning the rhythm of one’s breathing to the rhythm of one’s heart beat. It is a practice introduced to the West by a Sufi Hazrat inayat Khan who descended from Pashtuns, an ethnic group originally from Afghanistan and Pakistan. This meditation practice was brought to me by a certified AMA physician who understands the multidimensional healing that this practice provides – from reducing stress, to lowering blood pressure, creating a more harmonious heart rate and allowing oneself to access in this stillness, the domain of energy that stretches way beyond the physical heart and body.

It was in this meditative state that I posed questions regarding what I can do of service, which sent me through a leap of faith to Paris during the COP21 Climate talks to the Place to B, an integration of lectures, workshops, panel discussions and barrage of information sharing, attended by 600 people from 40 countries. This sharing of information about climate change and sustainable alternatives took place simultaneously with the COP21 Climate Talks. The Place to B: Place to Brief was conceived of and founded by the journalist and author Anne-Sophie Novel and the director of production Nicolas Bienvenue. They were surrounded by a team of people who coordinated the continuous flurry of learning events and entertainment, with a tremendous group of visiting presenters, entrepreneurs and activists who each delivered their scintillating information and testimonies of successes and inspirational savvy from all corners of the world. 600 people representing 40 countries arrived in Paris to participate in what the Place to B/Place to Brief offered; alternative media, a collective with presentations, speakers and workshops, panel discussions and music and yoga and meditation workshops all happening at one central location throughout the two week duration of the Climate Talks.

One of the workshops I attended was the Transformational Media Summit : Storytelling and Media for a Better World. The New Story summit was hosted by Jeremy Wickremer, co-founder of Transformational Media Initiative In his presentation, Jeremy Wickremer spoke of the fact that each of us are potentially change-agents, with the capacity to do actions that can have a big impact on the environment – our own lives, our communities and the larger environment. And that what is more potent than merely drawing up solutions from a logical methodology, is to start with the right questions, which prompts creativity in itself. Specifically, he mentioned that your intention – within the guise of a question – will often be answered. He more recently wrote in an article “Our Invisible World” about the fact that many things which steer human behavior, emotions, health, psychological and spiritual well-being have to do with the energy that lies beneath the actions. And that the common illnesses which affect modern man and the crisis of violence that threat human cultures, have to do with a disconnect. This disconnect is within our own selves, our patterns and habits of how we live our lives. There is a disconnect within ourselves, among one another and that humans have with other creatures and nature; which is presently resulting in the greatest magnitude of habitat destruction, dissemination of species and global ecological balances and health.

The biggest disharmony of all is perhaps our relationship with the natural world.

Daniel Goleman is the psychologist, science journalist and author of “Emotional Intelligence”. He posits that non-cognitive skills can matter as much as a person’s I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient) for workplace success in “Working with Emotional Intelligence”. In 2007, Goleman wrote about “Social Intelligence” and in 2009, “Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything

So called ‘primitive people’, without having had the use of technological tools that more ‘advanced’ civilizations have had at their disposal and for their distraction, have had thousands of years of penetration into the invisible world that the modern Western world has only been starting to grasp is in the last 50 years. And with the spiritual and emotional well-being deficit that modern man has come to feel, this dis-ease of the human spirit, disconnect with oneself, growing obesity, growing psychological disorders and reliance on quick-fixes such as pharmaceuticals, and growing disharmony and feelings of isolation, have reached towards and cherished many ancient traditions that have evolved in the Eastern World to ease their dis-ease and treat their disharmony with something more than a quick fix of treating the symptoms instead of the disorder. They have reached towards practices of meditation, yoga, t’ai chi and walking into nature and silence, with a visceral understanding that these practices have short and long term benefits.

Listening to Intuition is the Wisdom of the Heart.

There is so much we can do, and we do have the ability to consciously act towards sustainability.

Many little voices make a tremendous noise, and many little gestures, create big changes.

Propose a “Humanity Without Borders” Commission made of Collaborative countries to Create Jobs & Place Refugees Worldwide into 1. Renewable Energy Production Operations 2. Affordable Elderly Care Positions

Propose a “Humanity Without Borders” Commission made of Collaborative countries to Create Jobs>Place Refugees Worldwide into 1. Renewable Energy Production Operations (Wind, Solar, Wave, Geothermal) 2. Affordable Elderly Care Positions

renewable energy wordcloud

renewable energy wordcloud

Given: there are as many opinions as there are fingerprints. Some are more molded into particular alignments with a given fraternity, community, language group or identification with a particular religious, political or economic regime. I’ve listened to a number of different opinions in the last 10 days, all pretty educated ones; ranging from the idealistic to the pragmatic. Each provide lessons.

helping hands elderly care

helping hands elderly care

I think that the whole world needs to make some radical, revolutionary changes in response to all of the things happening right now. There is no choice to maintain the status quo of how things are. People need to step out of their comfort zones and into more proactive than reactive stances. Step out of their insular communities and look and act with a larger incentive; that of recapturing a sense that there is more to life than merely the exchange rate and a particular point of view. What is happening now with the climate, the pollution, the higher levels of economic and racial inequality and the dissemination of species and the mass exodus of peoples from lands all over the world due to economic or political crisis, is unprecedented. And that this flow of migration away from the regions with such bleak circumstances is in many ways connected to and because of what is happening or produced and exported – directly or indirectly – from other more powerful nations of the world. This exodus from lower altitude lying countries, along with Carbon Dioxide levels, will only rise, unless we do something about it.

heart wordcloud ederly care

heart wordcloud ederly care

Everyone is going to have to face this challenge. A challenge beyond aeons of fraternal arguing, religious opposition, power mongering and basing everything on the GDP and finance. Man’s energy choices have resulted in the degradation of the earth and all of its creatures, along with more severe extreme weather patterns. And now, amalgamating into a flood of people from their bleak circumstances. The additional challenge is a growing aging population that also deserve the respect and dignity of having their needs met.

I propose “Humanity Without Borders

I say, create the room and motive to solve several crises with the same goal; to relocate people by establishing a Humanity Without Borders board made up of dozens of different membership countries. Their mission: to relocate refugees with dignity, and placement into work.

The world has been watching a flood of refugees from all over the world; central American towards their Northern neighbors, Syria, North, East and Central Africans into Europe, lured by smugglers, who like drug dealers, are mostly intent on making a profit, by any means possible. We’ve been watching as people have been herded into horrific conditions and treated with anger, fright and contempt.

This is something that is bigger than any one nation can handle, and once again, perhaps created because of these foreign lands that they are fleeing towards, indirectly from the financial model and directly because of the CO2 levels rising, affecting the weather patterns to such an extreme that their resources are depleting as the unrest and political turmoil rises. These small-time smugglers are profiteering on delivering people out of their sordid environments as if they’re fugitives.

Yet we could construct something to solve the tensions, perhaps even slow down the desire to abandon their own countries, by creating a global panel representative of a host of different ethnicities and governments worldwide, to join in this emergent “Humanity Without Borders” mission: to place refugees worldwide into working towards the production of renewable energy plants worldwide, and the service of the elderly in the growing populations of elderly and declining birthrates in several nations of the Western World including the USA and Germany as well as Japan and China in the Eastern Hemisphere, to be trained in healthcare.

This would be creating jobs and placing people into sustainable economic conditions, while helping with the crushing demand of restructuring our infrastucture towards renewable and clean energy to curb the pollution and destructive dirty energy practices of oil and coal, and fulfill the need for human assistance to elderly. Empowerment, a growth in quality of life, a renewal of the environment and a cross-generational reach to honor the dignity of life into old age, would be just some of the positive repercussions of this placement.

Perhaps, a mass transformation of building towards renewable and ecologically sustainable production and practices, would dramatically improve the quality of well, everything.

jobs 2012 renewable energy

jobs 2012 renewable energy

There is no shortage of jobs! There is a shortage of the means of funding a complete restructuring of the industries as we know them. But there are examples of great ingenuity and success stories of renewable energy everywhere.

There is no shortage of money! Just look at the amount of campaign money in the United States presidential race. A Choice of Billionaires. There are two categories in demand globally in goods and services: 1. restructuring energy production to put large scale renewable energy systems in place – solar, wind, geothermal, wave, etc. and 2. the service of care, particularly for aging populations in the US, Japan, China etc,

My idea to curtail and meet the worldwide refugee challenge: the creation of a non-denominational, non-politically or religiously aligned panel of members of the world community Humanity Without Borders, based at the UN Headquarters for example.

It can be done. China has exemplified achieving massive construction in an astoundingly short period of time. Though clearly not without experiencing the fallout of industrialization, they have also created some quite green enterprises.

This is my proposal, and if you want to read further, here’s how I arrived at this idea, what influenced me.

green planet renewable energy

green planet renewable energy

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

I listened to Annie Leonard’s Story of Solutions; her response to our Western consumer driven capitalistic mode. I’ve listened to the historian and political economist Gar Alperovitz talk of the growing trends that point to the systemic failures of the current model of Capitalism. His book discusses decentralizing alternatives, leading to the democratization of wealth and ownership. “If you don’t like capitalism or state socialism, what do you want?” He talks of systemic change nurturing principles of Democracy, Ownership, Community and Ecological Sustainability; a Pluralist Commonwealth.

I’ve listened to the Pope and read Daily Kos : excerpts of The Popes Encyclical. Time magazine September 28, 2015 issue with Bernie Sanders on the cover, has an article about the Pope by Elizabeth Dias, “The New Roman Empire”, http://time.com in which she describes his impact in the world. “The Pope’s activism will be put to the test on his visit to the U.S.…seen by many as a wellspring of some of the global ills he has attacked – corporate greed, colonial exploitation, economic inequality – and his pronouncements on everything from climate change to immigration…His climate encyclical scope was wide: it talked about everything from individuals’ air-conditioning use to how environmental degradation is causing poverty and migration…calling for a bold cultural revolution, for example, Francis said the rich and powerful were pushing a model of development based on fossil-fuel consumption that ended up hurting the poor.”

I’ve also learned of the Band of Sisters, the Universe Story & Ecotheology, a transformative view of Catholic priests which is becoming a movement, identifying the supremacy of nature and our place in it as ecotheology. Wherein the quality of life is based on our spiritual relationship to the Earth, as opposed to being economically based.

I listened to my brother in law, Graeam Cohen, a well learned British businessman and historian with knowledge and understanding of the conflicts occurring presently between different religious groups in Europe and the Middle East as well as an historic understanding of the roots of the world as it is today. His pragmatic understanding of the status quo, is that the hegemonies of the world are run through economics and power/money and military might. He points out that the history of western civilization stems back to the Greeks and Romans, in which the military was an irrevocable part of the larger scheme of rule and control. Today, corporations as any other business enterprises are ultimately protected under the sovereignty of the land in which they are incorporated. Corporations don’t have military to protect themselves, they have lobbyists, as do every other group.

He spoke casually of the fallouts of an occasional polluted stream or earth quake as being perhaps burdensome, but inevitable natural consequences of moving ahead with the production of the economic machine, which must, must keep producing and making a profit. This is measuring the world’s teetering economic balance with the stick of the GDP. Easier said, when you aren’t living directly next to a petroleum or coal based industry that borders your back yard. I can understand his points, and don’t doubt that they are exceedingly accurate in capturing what most businessmen would also be inclined to view as what is of utmost importance: economic strength, military might which protects the hegemony in a world which is heavily dependent on finance. A world of business that mostly responds to the urgency of making a profit and often with short-sighted, short-term goals and not much of an inspiration to think beyond that model.

Yet I believe, as the speakers at the New Economy forum and https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/economist-john-maynard-keynes-vision-of-the-wto/, that there are indeed alternatives.

What if, everyone would grow gardens in their back yards, along with town, community and neighborhood gardens. What if fruit and nut trees were planted everywhere – with plants and crops suitable climatically and geographically to that region – with the surplus going directly back into the community? what if a massive infrastructure for recycling, waste, water run-off and transportation overhauls were created > with the intention to create cleaner, safer, less polluted, ecologically sustainable and more attractive communities. What if there was an overhaul in creating green transportation alternatives; bike lanes, bicycles, hydrogen cell/solar/electric/salt water powered automobiles, maglev high speed train lines, clean and energy efficient interregional train systems.

And that a new expedient United Nations driven unilaterally representative group help to expedite the strategic placement of people all over the world.
What if it actually could be done?

Systemic Failure of Consumer-driven Corporate Capitalism births a New Economy

“This economic revolution isn’t being consciously driven, yet, however it’s an option that could prevail”, says Gar Alperovitz. It is spawning and evolving from the discontent and pains that our current system and its failures and lack of alternatives, is giving birth to. We’re at the pre-history, of something quite historic!

earth_digital_flow copy

I sat among the choir. A note about Annie Leonard speaking in Baltimore, an environmental activist whose Story of Stuff first sparked my attention, arrived in my inbox. We attended the “People and Planet First” IPS conference to educate ourselves, exchange information and spread the word. It was hosted at the University of Baltimore, September 19th, 2015. The final session was moderated by ‘Institute for Policy Studies’ Director, John Cavanagh.

The conference looked at our current challenges from a wider perspective; seeing the various systemic problems ensuing from our current corporate capitalism model, as quite interdependent. The environmental problems of mass extinction, pollution and rising carbon dioxide levels along with the social problems of inequality and injustice, are all tied to the current economic model; which maintains and concentrates its wealth by funneling it back to the source (the 1%), instead of redistributing wealth and power (and empowerment) among the citizens and the community. And spoke of an emerging business model from community gardens, composting, water run-off and waste management to setting up local business alliances, local banks, farmer cooperatives and student civic actions that join the local alliances to promote investments in local businesses.

Annie Leonard, US Greenpeace director of ‘Story of Stuff’ fame, presented her more recent informational video “Story of Solutions”. It points to the fact that we need to completely step out of what is driving the capitalism machine of quantity, to an entirely different game which seeks quality of life – equality and freedom for people and quality of life for all creation. A model beyond merely consumption.

Historian and political economist Gar Alperovitz presented his ideas amassed in the preparation for his latest book, “What Then Must We Do by Gar Alperovitz?”, talking of alternatives to Corporate Capitalism and Socialism, as clearly the American empire is in decay. On almost every indicator, there’s a deeper trend over the past decades which reveals that there’s a systemic crisis in the United States. The systemic design that we’ve lived with for a long time, in which corporations control the capital, reveal that the surplus is not being returned to benefit the communities and the people, but siphoned off to make the 1% who are the owners, more and more wealthy. This trend of increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, of increasing inequality, increasing sickness within populations due to pollutants, decreasing prosperity among the 99%.

Corporate Capitalism and the American Empire as we know it, is giving birth to something new, which innovative Americans are creating all over the country. Gar Alperovitz mentions that this certainly isn’t anything the media is covering. In fact, many don’t believe that alternatives exist, until they see examples of what other groups and communities have accomplished. “Often we don’t know what our neighbors are doing”, says Gar. “Systems typically revolve around ‘who has control of the wealth’. The rule of royalty in the feudalism of the middle ages, in the present day manifests itself as ‘Corporate Capitalism’, of which the extreme is fascism, control by authoritarian rule.”

Sometimes noisily, but often times quietly, communities around the country – of which Maryland is an example of being ahead of the wave – are transforming our culture by decentralizing ownership. By democratizing the wealth through becoming owners of their own goods and services, they are able to maintain a number of things; circulating surplus back into their own operations and communities (rather than it being syphoned off to the 1%), empowering themselves, making conscious decisions to ensure that all aspects of operations have the lightest ecological footprint possible and generating freedom through participation in ownership and production and wealth.

We currently have a system of enormous waste, in which we continue to manufacture and create more stuff, because that is a NEED embedded in capitalism. Capitalism must produce more, to ensure profit.

Examples of alternatives are in cooperative enterprises, worker-owned companies, credit unions, 25% of American electricity is socialist in structure, social enterprises like CREDO (using profits for social and political purposes), neighborhood corporations, land-trusts that are socialized (to control land inflation and gentrification).

Following examples of success such as Mondragón in the Basque region of Spain. Mondragon Corporation networked democratized ownership where capital is being decentralized to empower and enrich the communities by circulating surplus back into local communities. Consciously making decisions to connect to all other suppliers and parts connected to the whole system, with conscientious efforts to localize and work within a ‘green’ system. It is just the beginning.

I apologize for any grammatical errors or gaps in information, however I must now leave to hitch to Washington D.C. to attend the People for Climate Justice Climate Rally in Washington D.C., coinciding with Pope Francis’ delivering his tenets of wisdom to the White House.