Inspire one – 1x = X1 – motivate many! People – Planet – Progress – Purpose – Passion


Follow the blog by @knowledgEnabler & @econologics and discover the 5P’s of sustainable thrivability.
knowledgEvolution – incisive knowledge converged


@econologics – sustainable balance in our social & economic circle of life!
ecoNVERGE – inspire ● balance ● harmony
Think, lead and act without the box!
We change the way we LIVE! – We change the way of LIFE!

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Rights of Nature and an Earth Community Economy!


Around the world, we are seeing the emergence of creative alternatives to destructive economic paradigms. The good news is what is healthy for an ecosystem is also good for people: key ingredients are localization and regionalism. The best economic and environmentally sound solutions are place-based, diverse according to region, and are responsive to local communities and social needs. Instead of fearing a transition to an Earth Community Economy, we can support and enjoy local organic food, vibrant local businesses, a healthy local economy, jobs with justice and the development of clean decentralized energy. I’m not talking about utopias, but rather regenerative, functional, local communities.

The “Rights of Nature” approach promotes a structure of law that recognizes that our living planet has rights of its own. If a Rights of Nature legal framework were implemented, activities that harm the ability of ecosystems and natural communities to thrive and naturally restore themselves, would be in legal violation of nature’s rights.

The Rights of Mother Earth framework recognizes the inherent meaning, sacredness, and value of the natural world: that which is not tradable or subject to commerce.

These rights along with respecting human rights are what being civil means.

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“Our life-giving rivers, forests, and mountains are treated as property to be sold and consumed,” the author writes. “In our legal systems, because nature is property, it is invisible to courts.”

Countering the Market-Driven Economy:

All of these actions herald not simply a declaration of new rights in the traditional sense, but a new consciousness of the Earth as a living organism with which we as humans must coexist. In order to live in harmony with the Earth and to halt the most destructive aspects of our modern life, we need to advance a new economy based on the carrying capacity of our Earth and finite planetary boundaries. Recognizing that nature has rights can inform and help to legally re-enforce principles that counter a solely market-driven economy, thereby fostering a new sort of sustainable economy—an “Earth Community Economy,” if you will—based on respect for natural laws and governance systems that uphold the rights and needs of nature in balance with the rights and needs of humans.

This way of thinking globally takes into account and includes the entirety of the Earth Community: human communities together with ecosystem communities of river, forest, desert, ocean, mountain—and all that those imply. There is room for growth of understanding as well as the health and prosperity of each community over time, if we act without further delay.

A Framework to Support Human Well-Being:

Rights of Nature legislation will encourage the formulation and implementation of new economic structures and indicators such as Gross National Happiness, Genuine Progress Indicator, Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare, and others that do not rely upon GDP as the only true or acceptable metric. We must question defining worth, wealth, value, and well-being based on only the measuring of money and quantities of material goods. The vital force of life itself and human happiness cannot be forced into a monetary system; they do not equate. In the language of the “new bottom line” put forward by the Network of Spiritual Progressives in its mission statement, we are called to evaluate our social and economic institutions “not only to the extent that they maximize money and power, but also by how much they maximize love and caring, ethical and ecological sensitivity, and our capacity to respond with awe and wonder at the grandeur of creation.”

At the core of our global societal and environmental crises is a need to change our fundamental personal values and what we uphold as meaningful in our lives. When we honestly look at the level of systemic change now required to meet the urgency of our time, we can see that personal transformation and changing how we are living on the earth is critical to mitigating our global crises.

Working Toward an “Earth Community Economy”:

We must change the way we think about what an economy is for, and how we measure it. Today, we measure economic well-being using flawed instruments such as the GDP. Yet even the generation and dumping of toxic waste is part of the GDP—a wildly inaccurate measure of progress. We must begin to develop new metrics like the Gross National Happiness Index, which assesses economic performance based on the health and well-being of people living in balance with each other and nature.

Cultures living close to the Earth have shown a balanced way of life quite unlike newer, consumer-driven notions of simply having more. “Living well” in the Kichwa language of the Indigenous people of Ecuador, is called sumak kawsay; in Spanish, it is buen vivir. The Buryat people of the Lake Baikal region express it this way: “To live a life of honor is to live with tegsh,” meaning to live in appreciation and balance with all of life. An Earth Community Economy envisions a future that has not come from enslaving Nature and treating all other life as mere resources for human exploitation and unchecked material growth.

While a Rights of Nature framework does not solve all of our daunting problems, it does offer a foundation upon which healthy economic principles and sustainability can be built. Advocating for a systemic economic alternative that balances the rights of human communities with the rights of ecosystems should be at the heart of all international sustainable development and climate negotiations. As we look to completely transform our responsibilities and relationship with the natural world, this Earth Community Economy based on Rights of Nature is an idea and a necessity whose time is now.

 

Learn to be Nelson Mandela!


Find Your Inner Mandela: A Tribute and Call to Action!

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HBR – Find Your Inner Mandela: A Tribute and Call to Action

 

Don’t just mourn Nelson Mandela. Learn to be Nelson Mandela.
He was the consummate turnaround leader.

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He knew that he was an icon and shaped a culture for others. His goal was to change behavior, not only laws. The head of what was then Daimler Chrysler South Africa, who had returned to his native South Africa after apartheid ended, motivated a hostile, unproductive black work force by engaging with them in their dream of building a Mercedes for Mandela. This was all about culture, not about financial incentives. People raised their aspirations because Mandela encouraged them.

He also understood the power of forgiveness. Despite 27 years in prison, he emerged with his sense of justice intact — but no discernible bitterness. He maintained his faith in people no matter what, that people would come right in the end, he said.

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Mandela’s legacy is larger than racial justice and more widespread than his country or continent. His legacy lies in the lessons about leadership he left for all of us. We can pay tribute by channeling him: Discouraged because things don’t break your way? Consider Mandela’s 27 years in prison. Unwilling to give up the perqs of power? Recall Mandela’s no-more-than-five-years promise. Tempted to crush the competition, eviscerate enemies, or publicly humiliate those who make mistakes? Find your inner Mandela, forgive, and move on.

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If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can’t I paint you!


Once Upon a Tragedy: A PhotoStory of When Haiyan Struck the Philippines
– by Carla Marez Peruelo (Wannabe)

#YolandaPH #reliefPH #BangonPH #Visayas #Haiyan2121 #RebuildVISAYAS

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by Carla Marez Peruelo
Blog: Wannabe – InkBlots and IceBergs
Original blog article: click the picture for URL

 

Once upon a time, somewhere between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea…
…there lay a unique archipelago named the Philippines.

• • •

It boasted of pristine-white beaches with clear blue waters…
…abundant natural resources found nowhere else in the world…
…and picturesque sunsets of the kind that’ll take your breath away.

• • •

But despite these stunning treasures, the Philippines hosts a people of notable humility and simplicity.

The Filipinos are a remarkable people. They are hard-working and resilient, patiently bearing the hardship of life…
…but they never forget to smile.

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No matter what month of the year it is, there’s always a festivity somewhere in its 7,107 islands.

They are among the happiest people in the world…
…and indeed their smiles are among the most beautiful…
…the most authentic…

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But as in all stories, it can’t be all smiles and peaceful days for the main characters; a stormy time has to come. Only, for this particular story, the “stormy time” is quite a literal one.

• • •

Supertyphoon Haiyan.

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Believed to be one of the strongest typhoons ever — the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, packing estimated maximum sustained winds of 195 miles per hour — Typhoon Haiyan had the whole world on tenterhooks.

Unlike its fellow supertyphoons which have come and gone without causing much fuss (as they did not make landfall and simply contented themselves raining down upon vast oceans), Typhoon Haiyan wanted to be a show-off and decided that it had to make its presence felt on inhabited land.

At first, it wondered where it ought to go, and then something unique down South China Sea caught its eye (no pun intended).

Hmm, the Philippine archipelago, perhaps?

Thus Haiyan (local name Yolanda) rained down on the Philippines that fateful day.

Okay, so “rained down” is totally an understatement.

“Ravaged” seems to be the more fitting term. Entire cities were flattened in Samar and Leyte, the worst-hit parts of the country.

The Filipino people living in these worst-hit areas faced a terrible ordeal. The widespread devastation Haiyan brought upon Central Philippines was nothing short of apocalyptic.

Power and communication lines were cut off…
…and the damage and rubble extended to as far as any of them could see.
Transport vehicles were destroyed.

But even if our jeeps weren’t destroyed, asked Juan, where would we use them? The roads are unpassable.

And even if the roads were passable, added Pedro, where would we go?

Certainly, we have no office today…or for quite some time.

We have no class.
We have no market day.
We don’t even have a roof…
…and in fact, we have no home.
We have but a small bundle of scavenged things…
…but we have lost more than our possessions.

We have lost our community.
We have lost lives.
Where do we go from here?

• • •

The Filipino people cried desperately for help.

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No sooner had the Filipinos called, when the world was quick to respond, “We are here. We will help.”

And bit by bit, the Filipino could smile again.

Hope was born amidst a sea of hopeless destruction…
…and the Filipinos could only be grateful for the great helping hand of the world’s nations that pledged and delivered aid…
…and look up to the warm generosity with which the rest of humanity embraced it.

As much as a happily-ever-after would sound good right about now, the real story dictates another plot twist. The outpouring of help from both within and outside the Philippines did not manage to easily flow into the hollow vessel Haiyan bore into the middle of the country.

As days passed, the country began to speculate on why only trickles were making their way out of a full pitcher when so many glasses needed to be filled.

The Filipino people were divided on the issue.
Was it lack of organization and incompetence in leadership?

Or are we expecting too much and being too hard on the government?

The rest of the Filipinos wondered and debated and thought some more, while those badly afflicted could only hold on to hope that help would come sooner than the hooded black figure with a scythe.

• • •

Meanwhile, a few other matters were irking Filipinos.

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Philippine broadcaster Korina Sanchez, wife of DILG Sec. Mar Roxas, clashed with CNN’s Anderson Cooper didn’t know what he was talking about
Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay earned the wrath of the Filipino people when relief goods for Haiyan-hit areas were boldly stamped with his name
Korina Sanchez also received additional backlash when netizens spotted her name imprinted on these slippers donated for Haiyan victims
But such issues of political gimmickry, attempts to protect the government’s image, and finger-pointing battles between the LGUs and the national government are, as Anderson Cooper would put it, “all just kind of a bizarre side show.“ Cooper continues, “The only thing that matters is what’s happening on the ground, and is aid getting to people who need it most?”

That is indeed the right question to ask. And while individual civilians can only do (and rage) so much to help in the relief efforts and try to hasten the delivery of aid to the needy, there’s no denying that in the aftermath of this tragedy, we saw no shortage of inspiring acts of altruism and kindness by people from all walks of life, from all across the globe.

With the outpouring of such help and support from a world that no longer recognizes borders in times of calamity, of heroic acts of volunteerism and sacrifice, and even of small yet touching acts of kindness, the Filipino people is bound to pull through. After all, their resilience is unmatched…
…their fire to survive no matter what the odds cannot be quenched by any typhoon…
…their well of optimism goes deep…
…their faith is strong…
…their sense of humor even in difficult times is unparalleled…
…and their smiles are still among the best.

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Their flag may currently be worn and torn in some places, but they continue to raise it up.

As the world joins the country in clearing out the debris of the Haiyan aftermath…
…in rebuilding homes and lives…
…in contributing small acts of kindness that snowball to great change…
…and in lighting hope amidst darkness…
…the Filipino people will once again rise up, smiling.
Because typhoon or no typhoon…
…this people knows how to bear hardship and uphold incredible resilience in daily life.

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Such is the story of the Filipinos as a people, lived out in day-to-day battle, and only challenged and highlighted by the great tragedy that made the rest of the world shudder to even witness.

A happy-ever-after is not near in sight, and the story of the Filipino people’s recovery from the devastation brought by Supertyphoon Haiyan is far from over. But this story will not have to end in a tragic scene, either.

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The flattened cities in Central Philippines — in Leyte, Samar, and others — will rise up again. Their wiping out was catastrophic, but it brings the potential of a clean slate for a fresh start. Hope is not lost. Amidst all the rubble, the Filipino flag will continue to unfurl proud and strong, with no hesitation in its wave and no hiding of its sun…

For as beautiful and picturesque as its sunsets are, the Philippines’ sunrise is even more majestic. No matter how many earthquakes rock its beds and no matter how many typhoons lash out at it, every morning, the sun still rises to smile down on this country…

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…Or more probably, the sun only reflects the smile the Filipino people has for the world, every single time it rises to face another day.

The Transition Narrative – It’s an exciting world we are living in!


From Money & Life interview with evolution biologist and futurist Elisabet Sahtouris

 

“Why do you stay in your prison, while the door is so wide open!” – Elisabet Sahtouris

We are living in a huge choice era!

Think global, act local – glocal approach!

 

In her unique approach, called “Living Systems Design,” she applies the principles of biology and evolution to organizational development so that organizations may become more functional, healthy living systems, with increased resilience, stability, and cooperation. She wrote “Earth Dance: Living Systems in Evolution.”

 

Ecology and Economy are both household terms (Greek roots), where as economy relates to the rules of the household and ecology relates to the organization of the household. Therefore they should never be separated as they should go hand in hand.

 

Nature has millions of years of experience of its closed loop ecosystem. Our economics has to be adapted to that valuable non-waste, learning from the science of nature.

 

Elisabet demonstrates clearly how economics and financial systems can equally balance as would nature and our own body balance its evolution through constant cooperation and collaboration, sometimes competition. However that competition turns into negotiation, turning competition in friendly creativity.

 

Taking people and nations to the level of cooperation and collaboration is our true task in human evolution.

The internet is the largest living entity – not of a combination of computers, but of people driving the content and the collaborative dialogue and knowledge sharing.

The transition to a mature collaborative society is happening like the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, into a total new society, going through a harsh transition (crisises and chaos).

 

This transition is essential, though frightening, we have the capacity to transform. Humanity will get through that evolution becoming more and more cooperative and create a new human society with different approaches to economics.

 

There is a lot of work, starting with unlearning and learning new ways of how we live, work and consume. Mainly the Western world needs to adapt, away from our developed mis-values and lacking education about resilience building and creativity during crisis and chaos.

 

Each individual has to take their responsibility up and act within that transition narrative, rolling-up your sleeves and engaging with local communities and making more use of arriving advanced technologies.

We can also learn from inventive ancient ways of how to withstand the impossible!

Even our democracy system should go back to its roots: for example choosing leaders through wisdom.

We have to create economics that serve the well-being of all people and creatures on earth, through being more pro-active and adjust our education system.

We need to go to a gifted economy using gifted currency, in which we value each other and our gifts we offer in building the new phase in humanity. We are building it but we are limited because we still deal with the debt-based economy. This is part of the Transition Narrative, but it is up to the new generations to fasten the process, using their new ways of doing things through the experience we are building today in the new socio-economic models.

 

Money and life by Katie Teague

 

We can make the Transition Narrative happen through building an economy based on motivation and our capacities, not on debt! A community owned economy based on relationships – a living system!

 

From Ego-system to Eco-system – Leading from the Emerging Future!


The problem with capitalism originates between our ears!
– by Otto Scharmer of Theory-U and Presencing Institute brings the best-ever overview of requirements of the Transition Narrative (ecoNVERGE / @ Econologics) for humanity to evolve to a new Paradigm Shift.

Otto Schramer

The root cause of today’s global crises originates between our ears

 

Profound personal, societal and global renewal is not only possible; it is crucial for our planetary future. What is needed are change makers willing to lead from the emerging future; leaders who are willing to learn about and practice the journey from ego-system to eco-system economies. We have the places, living examples, frameworks and tools in hand. Now what we need is the co-creative vision and the common will to bringing it into reality.

10 insights from our new book Leading From the Emerging Future: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economies

We live in an age of profound disruption. Global crises, such as finance, food, fuel, water, resource scarcity and poverty challenge just about every aspect of society. Yet, this disruption also brings the possibility of profound personal, societal and global renewal. We need to stop and ask: Why do we collectively create results nobody wants? What keeps us locked into the old ways of operating? And what can we do to transform these root issues that keep us trapped in the patterns of the past?

1) The root cause of today’s global crises originates between our ears — in our outdated paradigms of economic thought

A structural disconnect between:

  • the infinite growth imperative and the finite resources of planet earth;
  • between the Haves and the Have Nots;
  • between the financial and the real economy;
  • between technology and real societal needs;
  • between institutional leadership and people;
  • between gross domestic product (GDP) and actual well-being;
  • between governance mechanisms and the voiceless in our systems; and
  • between actual ownership forms and best societal use of property.

 

Three Levels Symptoms Systemic Disconnects Paradigms of Economic Thought

Three Levels: Symptoms; Systemic Disconnects; Paradigms of Economic Thought

2) The blind spot of modern economic thought can be summarized with a single word: consciousness
3) The evolution of the economy and of modern economic thought mirrors the footprints of an evolving human consciousness

The stages of economic development that come with them:

  • 1.0 Organizing around centralized coordination
  • 2.0 Organizing around decentralized coordination
  • 3.0 Organizing around special interest group driven coordination
  • 4.0 Organizing around commons

4) To paraphrase Einstein, the problem with today’s capitalism is that we are trying “to solve problems with the same consciousness that created them”
5) Helping stakeholder systems shift their way of operating from ego-system to eco-system awareness is the central leadership challenge of our time
6) The shift from ego-system to eco-system awareness requires a journey that involves walking in the shoes of other stakeholders and attending to the three instruments of inner knowing: open mind, open heart, and open will

 

Theory U: One Process, Three Instruments (Open Mind, Open Heart, Open Will)

Theory U: One Process, Three Instruments (Open Mind, Open Heart, Open Will)

 

The effectiveness of accessing these three instruments depends on the ability to deal with the sources of resistance (“three enemies”):

  • VoJ (Voice of Judgment): The VoJ shuts down the Open Mind by habitually judging self and others. All creativity techniques start with somehow suspending the VoJ.
  • VoC (Voice of Cynicism): The VoC shuts down the Open Heart by offering an easy alternative to making oneself vulnerable. The problem with that easy exit is that it does the same thing as the VoJ: it blocks one’s opening process for accessing the deeper sources of creativity.
  • VoF (Voice of Fear): The VoF tends to shut down the Open Will by not letting go but holding on to old identities, ideologies, and Us vs. Them belief structures.

7) Addressing the current global crisis at its root calls for a 4.0 update of the economic operating system through reframing eight “acupuncture points” of the global economic system

They are:

  1. Nature: Close the feedback loop of production, consumption, reuse, and recycling through “earth-to-earth” or closed-loop design.
  2. Labor: Close the feedback loop from work (jobs) to Work (passion) by building infrastructures that foster and ignite inspired entrepreneurship.
  3. Capital: Close the feedback loop of capital by redirecting speculative investment into ecological, social, and cultural-creative renewal.
  4. Technology: Close the feedback loop from technology creation to societal needs in underserved communities through needs assessment and participatory planning.
  5. Leadership: Close the feedback loop from leadership to the emerging future of the whole through practices of co-sensing, co-inspiring, and co-creating.
  6. Consumption: Close the feedback loop from economic output to the well-being of all through conscious, collaborative consuming and through new well-being indicators such as GNH (Gross National Happiness).
  7. Coordination: Close the feedback loop in the economy from the parts to the whole through ABC (awareness-based collective action).
  8. Ownership: Close the feedback loop from ownership rights to the best societal use of assets through shared ownership and commons-based property rights that safeguard the interests of future generations.
Eight Acupuncture Points of Transforming Capitalism to 4.0

Eight Acupuncture Points of Transforming Capitalism to 4.0

 

8) Shifting the system to 4.0 requires a threefold revolution

Inversion means turning inside-out and outside-in:

  • Individual inversion means to open up thinking (open mind), feeling (open heart), and will (open will) in order to learn to act as an instrument for the future that is wanting to emerge.
  • Relational inversion means to open up communicative relationships from downloading (conforming) and debate (defending) to dialogue (reflective inquiry) and collective creativity (flow) in order to tune as groups into the field of the future.
  • Institutional inversion means to open traditional institutional geometries of power from 1.0 and 2.0 forms of coordinating and organizing — centralized hierarchy and decentralized competition — to 3.0 and 4.0 forms of coordinating around co-creative stakeholder relationships in eco-systems that generate well-being for all.
The Matrix of Social Evolution (all system levels, all structures of attention)

The Matrix of Social Evolution (all system levels, all structures of attention)

the three transformations for the individual (column 1), the relational (column 2) and the institutional inversion (column 3 and 4) in the form of a Matrix of Social Evolution that integrates all system levels (micro-meso-maco-mundo) and all structures of awareness (1.0 to 4.0).
9) We need new types of innovation infrastructures in order to build collective leadership capacities on a massive scale

These infrastructures will include:

  • Co-initiating: Creating spaces for convening stakeholders around a shared eco-system
  • Co-sensing: Going to the places of most potential and observing with one’s mind and heart wide open
  • Co-inspiring: Creating spaces for connecting to the sources of creativity and self
  • Co-creating: Creating spaces for exploring the future by doing (prototyping)
  • Co-shaping: Creating spaces for embodying and scaling the new through practices

10) The shift from an ego-system to an eco-system economy requires a global movement that needs to be supported by a new leadership school. That school should create collaborative platforms across sectors, systems, and generations and work through integrating science, art, and the practice of profound, awareness-based change

Such a new leadership school would be a home base for the emerging global movement of 4.0-related transformation journeys. At the same time, it would prototype a 21st century action university that integrates three forms of knowledge:

  • technical knowledge (know-what),
  • practical knowledge (know-how) and
  • transformation knowledge (know-who: self knowledge).

 

An Ego-2-Eco Transformation Leadership School—A Set of Global Acupuncture Points

An Ego-2-Eco Transformation Leadership School—A Set of Global Acupuncture Points

 

Set of principles that are essential for this type of school and which are designed for global-local replication:

  1. Engage systems at all levels and states: Engage systems by using the entire Matrix of Social Evolution.
  2. Engage all levels of intelligence: Integrate open mind (IQ: intellectual knowledge), open heart (EQ: emotional and relational knowledge), and open will (SQ: self knowledge).
  3. Systems Thinking: Integrate methods and tools derived from 30 years of organizational learning research and practice. 
  4. MOOCs: Use massive open online courses that combine course delivery with interactive personal, small-group dialogue and the presence of a global community of change makers that effects transformative change.
  5. Deep immersion: Use deep dive learning journeys and generative listening practices in order to connect communities and places of most potential.
  6. Science 2.0: Use scientific methods that let the “data talk to you.” The challenges of this century involve extending the concept of science beyond looking exclusively at exterior data (third-person view). We need to bend the beam of scientific observation back upon the observer in order to investigate the more subtle levels of experience of the second- and first-person view.
  7. Presencing: Use practices that allow leaders to sense and actualize the emerging future and to clarify the two root questions of creativity: Who is my Self? What is my Work?
  8. Power of Intention: Focus on the capacity to connect with the deeper intention of one’s journey, connecting us more deeply with one another, the world and ourselves.
  9. Prototyping: Link head, heart, and hand in order to create living examples and prototypes that allow us to explore the future by doing.
  10. Power of Place: Complement the massive expansion of online learning with an equally massive global network of vibrant entrepreneurial hubs that focus on activating co-sensing and co-creating as a gateway for unleashing entrepreneurial potential. Great innovations happen in places. Learning how to design and hold spaces for reflection, generative conversation, and system-wide transformation is a mission critical capacity today.

Charged Up – How the Fracking Industry’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future!


 

February 2013 report by retired geo-scientist J. David Hughes and published by the Post Carbon Institute which claims to debunk the possibility that unconventional fuels might turn the United States into an energy-independent petro-state.

The report forms the foundation for Heinberg’s new book, Snake Oil: How the Fracking Industry’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future

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He talks about the implications of a fracking-fueled petro-boom from North Dakota to Pennsylvania that’s got U.S. energy executives crowing about abundant fossil-fuel-derived energy to last the next century or two.

It’s a claim that directly flouts the concept of peak oil—the point at which global petroleum production goes into terminal decline—and Heinberg’s assertion that growth (as we know it) is headed into irreversible decline.

“We’re really being sold a bill of goods,” Heinberg says, handing over a copy of the Hughes report, “Drill, Baby, Drill: Can Unconventional Fuels Usher in a New Era of Energy Abundance?” Using data provided by a Texas company called DI Desktop, which analyzed production data for 65,000 fracked wells from 31 shale plays, the report examines natural gas as a commodity. According to their findings, production rates at many of these sites are already in decline. Operators then must drill more and more to keep overall production steady, and with that comes increased energy needs, making the whole endeavor more expensive.

Aside from fracking, methane hydrates—the trapped natural gas molecules currently being scouted by Japanese research vessels and found in abundance on the sea floor—have been heralded as the next frontier. The speculative fossil-fuel goldmine forms the basis for Charles C. Mann’s May 2013 cover story for The Atlantic with the headline that declared, with the impact of a lightning storm in summer, “We Will Never Run Out of Oil.”

But then there’s the problem of net energy, Heinberg points out. “The vast majority of those resources we won’t burn for economic reasons,” Heinberg says, “because it just costs too much—not only investment capital, but it costs too much energy to get the stuff out of the ground to use it.” It’s a concept defined as EROEI—energy return on energy invested.

 

Heinberg 1

 

“As time has gone on and as I’ve studied the data, I’ve come to realize that it’s more of a process, not just falling off the cliff,” he explains.

Part of the process, for those not involved in the higher echelons of government and society where policy decisions are decided, is to live consciously.

Heinberg looks to be a man in his element, negotiating a careful balance between the heavy realization that life as we know it is headed for irrevocable change, and the simple joy of everyday living.

If humans look honestly at the crisis at hand, begin sharing, using less, being nice to each other, there’s no reason we can’t have a perfectly acceptable future, he tells me. But that means facing facts. To make a true transition, the technical piece would be relatively easy, he explains; it involves building lots of solar and wind, prioritizing electric rail and redesigning cites for walking and bicycling. Heinberg mentions his admiration of the Transition Town movement, which started in the United Kingdom and uses permaculture concepts to build resilience in communities to weather gracefully the coming economic and environmental upheavals.

Heinberg 2

 

Of most concern is whether the “fossil fuel” industry is successful in making people believe that there’s enough oil and gas to keep us going for another century, in the style in which we’ve become accustomed, he emphasizes. The oil boom in North Dakota (and elsewhere) is going to be short-lived, but it’s bought us some time—a few short years—to get to work on renewables.

“If we use that time—maybe it’s five or 10 years—to really invest in renewable energy and conservation, than so much the better,” he says. “But if we just take those five or 10 years and delay what we ultimately have to do anyway, at the end we’ll be in a much worse position than we already are.”