We’re in the processing of “re-branding” ourselves as Possible Planet (www.possibleplanet.org, of course). So what does this re-branding mean, and why are we doing it?
By “we” we mean here the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions, our 501(c)(3) umbrella entity under which we house a number of our own and others’ projects. These include not only global and local projects, but pretty much also every level in between. So not only are we concerned with what’s needed for “A Possible Planet” (the title of our forthcoming book), but we’re also working on Possible New Jersey (www.possiblenj.org) and Possible Bound Brook (www.possibleboundbrook.org [since retired]) as examples of the application of what is really the paradigm-shifting model behind Possible Planet.
By Victoria Zelin & Jonathan Cloud
It seems appropriate, in the context of this project, to state that much of what we are talking about is “already out there” in one form or another; part of our goal is simply to bring it together in a way that we and others can work together effectively to build a new future for ourselves and the rest of the world.
I’m reminded of this specifically by picking up Duane Elgin’s The Living Universe (2009), in which he reminds us of the “Warning to Humanity” issued by 1600 of the world’s top scientists — including a majority of the Nobel laureates in the sciences at the time — in 1992:
“A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.”
Today, 22 years later, we know that we have not made this “great change”— and that catastrophe is looming ever closer. We know, for example, that we have already locked in a greater than 2°C temperature increase in the global climate; that we are in the midst of the sixth great extinction of species on the planet; and that we are not likely to solve these problems until poverty, war, and oppression have been banished from the earth. Despite the “mainstream media’s” efforts to keep alive a wholly-obsolete “debate,” almost everyone we know now understands and accepts this reality.
Unless people of good will join in common cause to build a truly democratic world that works for all, we will find ourselves living in a world that works for no one. —David Korten (2000)
There is a sense in which we already find ourselves living in “a world that works for no one”: not the rich, and certainly not the poor; not the believer or the agnostic, not the Ph.D. or the high school drop-out, not the pop celebrity or the homeless veteran still suffering from PTSD. It’s not just that the rich are as depressed, confused, and cynical as the rest of us, which is certainly true in many cases; or that the world we live in seems to be unravelling in a dozen different ways, which has certainly been the case during all of our lifetimes. It’s that the world cannot work for anyone unless it at least begins to work for everyone.
“A World that Works” is the central project of our time — and will indeed be that of any foreseeable future. Science has brought us enormous realms of understanding, but none more important than an awareness of our actual impact on the planet and its unsustainability. We may regard this as fact: our Earth, which is at this point our only habitat, is in the process of becoming increasingly inhospitable to life. Climate change, mass extinction, ocean acidification and the loss of biodiversity are each capable of becoming massive and in some cases overwhelming disruptors, each capable of passing a point of no return.
“A World That Works” is a design for a conversation about shifting the paradigm for human culture on the planet. It brings together our knowledge of human transformation with our urgent necessity for ecological reintegration. It could lead to a video, a book or monograph, a theatrical presentation, and/or a series of educational opportunities and programs. The goal of the initial project is to explore these possibilities and opportunities with a selected group of innovators, educators, thought leaders, and scholars from around the world, through a web site or series of sites that represent points of convergence for thinking about the paradigm shift. The anticipated cost of phase I of the project is _____. Contributors will have access to protected areas of the web site, and the opportunity to participate in the dialog and development of the project.
Here’s some background thinking on the project focus.
If “a world that works for all” is possible, what will it take to create it? Most people do not think very much about this. They’d ideally like the world to be a better place, but cannot imagine a world that actually does work for everyone. So the challenge, as Werner laid it out — that “Each of us has the opportunity, the privilege, to make a difference in creating a world that works for all of us” — is one that takes us on a journey to the unknown.