Climate marches, the 17 United Nation’s sustainable development goals, Earth Charter, the Club of Rome, etc are all great but will not lead to solving the huge issues we face. The space holding is forced upon us by the political economic hierarchical world against which all actions are measured. This world is the cause of the problems in the first place. They cannot be expected to provide the solution. We need a new space.
Sustainocracy, the new space
Since 2009 a new space was introduced. It had been coined Sustainocracy, a purpose driven version of democracy focused on core human values.
This new space was initially held by me, a single individual defining a new global framework for regional community purpose and development. I depersonalized it by placing the ideology within an NGO, the STIR Foundation. For a decade now I have been holding this space in my home town Eindhoven. It grew and populated itself. Six sustainocratic communities developed of which four are powerfully active while others are defining themselves through dynamic clustering, gathering engagement. Of these communities I hold space too, never alone, always helped by someone else. Now it is time to involve more space holders. In the Netherlands and around the world I find people standing up, defining their own space inspired by the Sustainocratic example and guidance, deploying their own priorities along the way.
A growing number of people from all over the world have come to see and feel Sustainocracy and its expressions in real life. Some found it by chance, others reacted to my invitation during lectures abroad or reading publications. Time has come to expand the space holding through other people. And this is happening now. A few interesting issues are worth mentioning at this stage about this new participatory reality in a new space.
1. Participatory reality
The new space opens up for regional participation in sustainocratic creative manifestations and communities. The five core human values defined in Sustainocracy give rise to prioritized actions, such as in the AiREAS community for air quality, health and regional dynamics.
Contrary to the old political economic reality, where space is held around fragmented political and economic interests, here the holistic space is held by the Sustainocrat defending the human evolution aspects by representing the core human values. He or she tries to engage the four pillars of society: local citizens, local government(s), innovative entrepreneurship and scientific / educational partners. All sit around the table at the same time. This is referred to as level 4 awareness driven regional development. It was accredited for the first time in 2015 when it also received a European Award for partnership Innovation.
2. Purpose driven interaction based on authentic values
In the old political economic space reality was based on economic exchange through trade and regulations. Within the Sustainocratic space fragmented expertise is asked to join the taking of community responsibility for innovation with core human values as common goal. A different column of values is introduced (see below).
This acts as a self selecting mechanism taking individual authenticity as primary value to build on. Then equality rules since the space is held by the purpose defined and guarded by the Sustainocrat. Safety and respect is leading among the participants. Trust is the next basic instrument which is why in related projects a word is a word, not needing legal or signed back up documents.
3. Letting go of dependence and adopting self leadership
With the purpose statement and column of values tge scene is set for space development. In the center of the new space we find the five core human values to be developed and sustained. Then we invite people and institutions to enter this space. We ask them to address their own authentic values, connect with others in the circle as well as the challenges defined. What can each contribute to the combined responsibilities? What do each expect in return? What would be the expected outcome of the contribution in measurable terms of the core human values?
We do this often with students. We invite them into the space through our School of Talents and Wellness community.
They enter with their cognitive expertise from school and are asked to become creative together, with measured results within the field of core human values. They react in three different steps:
Step 1: letting go of old structures
The first question they ask is “are we allowed to do this?”. This question is typically a residue from the old regulated reality in which education is developed within a space of rules and hierarchy. Developing the sense of creative freedom is at first a message to let go of the dependence on an external authority. Secondly it is a request to search for ones own self leadership and creative abilities to freely manifest in the new space and connect. This is often a little fearful because it is new. Freedom with a purpose, and freedom with one’s own decision making authority, is a new feeling that needs to be processed.
When institutions go through this process it is even more complex. There entire entity is woven into the old culture of financial dependence. When a company or entity enters the new space and finds it empty (no projects, no budgets yet) it tends to rapidly disappear. Only those with self esteem and trust remain and connect with the open, multidisciplinairy field of cocreation. We call this “dynamic clustering”, a self selecting mechanism taking authenticity as primary value to build on.
Step 2: finding one’s unique contribution
The open sustainocratic space is energized with challenges but these are holistically defined, not the fragmented way of working that we are used to. People tend to ask “the field is so big, can you make it smaller for us?”. This is a typical residue of our fragmented, demand oriented old world to which one can offer goods and services. In this case the requirements are defined in achieving or sustaining core human values in a region. What can one contribute? If the space holder reduces the field the participants would be working again in a hierarchy, for the space holder. If they make the challenge smaller themselves they do it for their authentic selfs. The creativity displayed by the multidisciplinairy group is often more impressive and unique than that of the Sustainocrat himself. Once the participants understand their freedom, magic happens. They start manifesting uniqueness in their creative abilities. This can have a global impact once proven locally. It hence engages also back again the traditional economy of trade and growth.
Step 3: Is it good enough?
This question appears when creativity flows to the full. There is no benchmark nor regulating authority to fall back to. The old hierarchical dependency needs to be transformed into self trust. Two questions back help solve the doubtful thinking : “Do you fully back your proposition?” if yes, why ask for approval? “Does your approach measurably contribute to the development of the core human values?” If yes, why stop? Go for it and show everyone your good example.
The “Is my proposition good enough?” question is a typical old world residue of lack of self confidence. We are just to ask for permission, adjust to rules and regulations rather than being self critical and responsive. In the new space the challenges are clear while innovation has no precedence. Self trust and leadership are the only instruments at hand to self fullfilment. Don’t ask the space holder for approval, ask yourself and make sure you measure your progress against the objectives.
Global expansion with new space holders
Eindhoven has received many visitors from all over the world. Some found the Sustainocratic space by chance and reacted “it exists, now we want it too”. Others traveled specifically to Eindhoven to tour sustainocratic manifestations. They got inspired to see how to implement the innovative design at home. Key is the need to have space holders stand up in the other places. Local circumstances differ and need local engagement within the open space. Good examples from elsewhere need to be modified to local requirements or developed new, totally from scratch.
The latter demands the development of new local value systems into which reciprocity can be projected. The new space allows for such development disconnecting from the dependence of the global dominance of economic space holding. Local circular economies appear using barterclub or sharing systems. Debt systems are not accepted in this space. Participation and positive contributions are leading in the reward definitions.
Last but not least the totally new landscape of the Sustainocratic space holding, based on totally opposite values than where we come from, makes the difference. Both realities can exist in parallel, in some cases even complement each other. With the introduction of the new space holding gradually the stress will be removed from our current societies and harmony can be expected, among people and our habitat.