5 Nov Feedback Notes on Sustainability Document
My friend Cristobal gave me a document which was a Framework document on Sustainability. I have pasted the notes here as I felt ideas flowing as I gave feedback, i am actually sharing with you the way that I think, it may give you a feel for what I believe is the new consciousness. I am tapping into this and not fully there yet, but I am working on it. My friend Cristobal is a policy analyst in Environmental Sustainability. So hopefully he understands where I am coming from. So here are just bullet points of my reflection. You don´t have to read the document as I am highlighting how I see differently.
No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We need to learn to see the world anew.” Albert Einstein¨
I found the consciousness of the writer the same as the consciousness of systematic, linear thinking which I believe is unable to grasp the depth of change that is needed. So I will just put my comments in bullet point form.
• Logical thinking process to guide choices rather than allowing for intuitive, bolts out of the blue, observations and a focus on what works rather than success. I am looking for openness and flow, not structure and wordy labels. Openness without structure allows for possibilities unseen and a wider range of choices, as we are moving into the unknown after 200 years of economic models.
• The systems are not complex, we are, was my reflection.
• We do not think holistically in order to see the big picture, we break down into steps because we don’t understand the system as a whole flow. We do not feel the whole.
• A Sustainable textbook was mentioned with an example of winning a football game. This is the consciousness that Einstein is referring to. It is a mind set of win-lose, competition, one team against another. It suggests winning is important (success), this is a competitive mindset which works counter to living systems and the concept of living within natural limits without depletion of resources. A better analogy is that we all are on the one team, the objective is not to win but to learn who we are. There was another analogy of the chess game, the world is not black and white and made up of strategic moves, it is a flowing natural system that responds to changes in order to find equilibrium and adaption is to ensure functionality. Therefore, the natural system is functional, adaptable and sustainable. This is the true model for humans to follow. Functional does not have to be mechanistic or linear, it can be ´what works in harmony with the whole´ as the gauge (replacing measure) to functionality rather than success. Moreover, the natural world does not seek to win the game, it seeks to balance the game. It is a win-win, harmony gives to all.
• The 5 Levels Framework states it is inherent in the way we perform. It is the notion of success that again leads to competition and the pressure to perform in order to succeed. We seem to need to measure everything in terms of performance and success, these are key terms used in business modelling and to obtain funding. They conform to the present paradigm. I would prefer to see language replacing perform such as curiosity, discovery and integration through a process that plays with what works naturally. Words such as compliance confer conformity to a system which has some force behind it, such as monitoring for compliance, perhaps taxes or fines for non compliance. This again, is in the same consciousness for power and control. We have to find systems that people will naturally embrace. I use this word deliberately, to change you must truly believe that this is in yours and the societies best interest. This requires a change in values.
• It is stated in the paper that the analysis is neutral. As an analyst I would say there is no such thing, you can attempt to be balanced in your assessment without agenda, but I would say everyone has an agenda. We bring our beliefs, analytical training (structured), biases to the analysis. For example a project that does not have an outcome of overall success e.g. not sustainable could be viewed as a failure, yet looking through another lens of values, the process may have aided communication, respect, dialogue, empathy, responsibility and therefore, through this lens it is successful. In addition the fact that it wasn’t sustainable could be very valuable as a retrospective examination of problem definition, planning, ambition with a view of determining through mistakes what would be a better goal and what we are really seeking to achieve through the process. The goal may be too ambitious or restrictive. The term success was vaguely couched and only once did it mention sustainability being the measure of success.
• My feeling is to restructure the framework into a self organising system (see Edward de Bono´s lateral thinking work) rather than a structured framework that operates through step wise analysis. I feel this is too limiting.
• My feeling is to not avoid blind alleys, how do we know they are blind alleys until we go down that street. Mistakes are the best teachers that show us what works and what doesn´t. The term blind alley also subtly communicates being risk adverse to not fail, which places restrictions on open, way out and crazy ideas which may just lead us to solutions. When I taught children peace I used to do a blind spot test, 2 dots on a card. I ask kids to cover one eye, and stare at one dot without blinking, then the other dot disappears. We have a natural blind spot in our eye. I use it as a metaphor for when we think we are right that is all we see. That is why I often say I could be wrong, so my mind opens to possibilities. Therefore, who is to say what is the blind spot, it could be in not going down the alley. You learn from everything.
• I found the term strategic principles interesting and was looking for examples of principles. My principles are that I am honest, I won’t work for anyone that I feel works against the community benefit, self respect, independence and authenticity. In a ´Sustainability Context´ I would be looking for not compromising future generations by advocating systems that do not embrace and ensure sustainability. I would define this very clearly.
• In the paper it is admitted that it is theoretical and there is acknowledgement of a need for more practical models. I think go to the practical model now. Theory bogs you down in jargon and creates more confusion turning people off embracing sustainability.
• The Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD) talks about clarity, rigor and insight. I felt to change this to clear, accurate and learning (open to what we don´t know). I feel to bring the language into greater simplicity.
• I felt there was a naïve approach to business organisations. We are dealing with economic systems that have a range of different types of organisation, you have multi-nationals, national organisations, regional and local. Some organisations are multi-site down to single site. They have different levels of professional training in management and 99% would have little knowledge of sustainability. Even the Stern Report would not be common knowledge. An academic could look at some very polished strategic plans with vision statements and strategic plans for the next few years. What I have found in practice, management do not walk the talk, employees cannot remember the values or vision and it is unlikely to be implemented. Change is very confronting in business and most of it would be justified by financial goals or forced compliance.
• The statement ´Not contributing to violations´ I found an interest use of language particularly couched within the notion of success and sustainability principles. I found it firstly a negative statement with legal connotations ´violations´ notions of right or wrong come up here. All companies would be framed in an economic model of infinite growth modelling, maximising output to maximise profits, thus all violating sustainability principles. So in respect of sustainability definitions (within natural limits) organisations would have to be assessed on the ecological footprint concept or generally agreed criteria and they would be legally fixed to x number of outputs, fixed profit levels. Thus no growth beyond natural limits assessed for each organisation. I found the idea would be too complex. I see a change of philosophy in the way we organise resources, standards of living within a holistic blue print (not model) of functionality, adaptability and sustainability. These are the 3 principles or criteria. We have to be holistic, not linear in our creative designs. I would guide you to Edward De Bono, I met him in Australia and London, he is the foremost thinker in lateral thinking. Just another thought… Interestingly DNA is a blue print of genetic codes. Natural Selection works on selecting the species that adapt to the environment. The genes are possibilities, genes are active and if there are mutant genes they may be favourable in changing conditions where as others may die out. So nature builds in contingencies and this is the adaptability, interesting.
• A sustainable society met by society was a statement, therefore the focus must be on education in sustainability with a focus on values for children. I feel this is the first natural step.
• Society in biosphere and organisation models were virtually the same. I was surprised to see the word ´science´ inserted into the organisational model, have no idea why it is there. P12.
• Action levels in organisations indicated energy saving, education and monitoring. I felt that is too expensive to implement and rudimentary (energy saving globes, green washing). In other words the change in organisations must be far reaching, not tokenism to look good on paper. For example if we look at manufacturing processes that have inputs of chemical compounds, processed resources that cause pollution, infuse chemicals into the atmosphere, produce waste and packaging etc. Energy saving is just tokenism. The real issue is how we process raw materials into value added products. The very idea of value added suggests profits, the thinking is in the more we process and differentiate, the more profit we make. So the system rewards over processing of raw materials. It also creates market niches to create more and more lines of product to ensure profit optimisation. So we are not just meeting needs with supply we are creating demand to ensure more supply. The economic system rewards production and profit. So this returns us to the philosophy of business versus the philosophy of sustainability. It seems sustainability is trying to fit into business speak, we need to fit into natural flows that work. This takes courage and good communication skills.
• The word ‘tools’ was used in the context of actual tools eg. Cooking example was given with the ingredients and process, and then tools was used in the context of evaluation and monitoring of companies, I found that confusing. Companies are private and will not want extensive monitoring or will find ways to evade it or cover it. They do not want external control over business decisions e.g. product content, production, packaging, marketing or delivery.
• Had a look at the ABCD Analysis and felt to reverse it. Not comfortable with violations placed under Sustainability Principles. It isn’t a principle. Anyway I thought to reverse the order for more flow. A. Vision B. Sustainability Principles C. Model D. Measures.
• I noticed in the language of knowledge and visions there is no mention of feelings, intuition or oneness with the planet. What is knowledge, the true knowledge I have learned is in my poetry, it comes to me in a flow and I feel the integration of ideas forming the whole by the time the poem finishes. I feel an aliveness in it as well. In intellectual thought we think out models and structures to make sense but we don´t allow for creative flashes, we have to prove everything as money is invested in projects. It has to make logical sense to the current business ethos. I feel to feel out and reach for higher ideals or visions.
• The term rules of the game I found restrictive language, not flexible. What are the rules of the game? Rules also seek to control and contain, as we are not reaching for universal values to guide us that naturally have boundaries ethically.
• The term measures was used in 2 contexts one was as an evaluative tool and the other was ´investing in measures that will cause fewer impacts´. Confusing use of language.
• There was an example on page 14 about organisations arriving at their own definition of success, I don’t think the organisations have the interest or intellectual capacity to do that given they are all shapes and sizes. Success is viewed as net profit. I found that totally impractical and reinforced the theoretical nature of the paper.
• The basic issues of fear and greed driving the system of gaps are not discussed. These gaps in truth are the filling of gaps with materialism, the emotional needs (family breakdown), status needs (power, recognition), social isolation (belonging) and the gap in having a meaningful life (purpose). Instead gap is used in a language that adheres more to economics or scientific jargon then connecting to our true nature. The use of the word utility is economic and means satisfaction, just use the word satisfaction, de jargonise. And to play with the ABCD model looking for gaps is still a linear process, looks good on paper but doesn’t seen nature as an organic system that is not linear but self organising. Filling gaps is the problem. Self organising is the clue.
• There is much language around the ´movement towards full sustainability´, it is not a movement but an embracing of a new way of working and living that is natural and sustainable. We know it is when it is functional (functions), adaptable (flexible responding to change), sustainable (need fulfilment not wants). The need fulfilment is also looking at spiritual needs, as you become more spiritual you desire less material things as a status symbol or gap to be filled. I focus more on the journey and don’t worry about having to have money (I have money when I need it), as I trust naturally that I am taken care of. Therefore, fear de-escalates, love increases and I am at peace. In truth inner peace is the philosophical shift in the paradigm we are really requiring. Happiness is the incentive and truth is the guiding principle. I feel my life in the flow and naturally I am turning away from career, material wealth and turning towards allowance, flow and love. I am self organising. This is the future looking back. What I am showing you is a new consciousness that does not live in fear. The future will be a love based consciousness, aware and not resisting of life, living in allowance. So we start in the future and work it backwards to help people to connect with their true nature. That is my work and what I am inspired to do.
• The notion of full compliance is force, it is not flow or indeed embracing the new.
• I recognised the natural steps as I feel them
o Policy change global-community forums
o Clear definitions of what a sustainable community (rather than system) looks like, humans will self organise naturally. They have nature within them.
o Identify barriers to change such as current ideologies and philosophies of entrenched views and the fear that holds them in place. To shift from profit as an incentive to community benefit and self actualisation. From self interest to best interest and a sense of completion.
o Champion examples of sustainable communities that work or prototype them. Looking at the flows between government, business (change name to cooperatives, away from competition), new social norms (guide society – best interest, responsibility, honesty, belonging, actualisation), and ensuring positive outcomes as the incentive that feel good and expand sustainability and understanding of ourselves and the world we live in.
So here is an initial overview of an outsider looking in. I think we have to change ourselves in order to change the world. The solutions will arise naturally when we seek to work with the truth, examine our own practices at home and in social gatherings, sit in nature and ask for solutions, connect with the flow (allow life to show you) and don´t feel you have to succeed. You already have succeeded, every day you breath is successive. We are exploring excitedly the creation of a new world and believe me, it won’t look like this world. You need to bring more women from all walks of life into the process, we are the creators of life and as mother´s we are largely responsible for the emotional wellbeing of children. It is innate, as I have those skills even though I don’t have children. That is the Emotional Quotient (EQ) that is not embraced by scientists or academics. Following intuition is the flow, loving is the flow, total visibility and honest is the flow that harmonises with our true nature.