Sustainocracy was born in Eindhoven, starting very small, within the living neighborhood of initiator Jean-Paul Close. The accumulated expertise over the last 15 years can be expanded across the world through the new and unique “Sustainocratic economy of growth of our core natural human values”. Here are the first two fields of attention, COS3i (Social inclusion, sustainable self governed communities) and School of Talents & Wellness (Participatory Learning).
The next blog will expand on the other three: AiREAS (air quality & health), FRE2SH (food resilience) and EQoL (Energy and Quality of Life).
COS3i: care for eachother
This is where it all started in 2005. When single father Close feared for the safety of his children due to aggressions after a traumatic divorce, he mobilized his multicultural neighborhood around the principle of shared values (health and safety). As a consequence he became aware of the problems people experience while living in an unfamiliar culture, with language problems and a very demanding local bureaucratic system. The same way he received help to rebuild his family life as a single father with two children, he started to help his neighbors in need. Together they modified the street for better protection and safety for the children, help was provided in childcare, writting letters to official channels for those who lack the language skills, initiate small scale food production in the gardens, celebrating each other’s rituals, share furniture or other materials for those in need. His movement was voluntary, motivated by the cold presence, pressure and prejudism of local government that refused to provide social assistance to him because “a highly educated man should not take care of the children. He should have a high end job to pay taxes in order to pay for the costly institutions that treat the children coldly as orphans”. This self centered, prejudist government approach was opposite the family and cohesion beliefs of Close. His views are that natural core values within his fatherhood are a basic personal and shared (family and neighborhood) responsibility. Government cannot replace this.
COS3i was formalized as a community and intensified in 2016 on city level, with the intention to unite all social entrepreneurship into a movement for value added citizen’s cooperation. It was also intended to engage people in healthy activities in colaboration of the AiREAS community established in 2010 for air quality. To his surprise the intentions were sharply blocked by city government. This interference could not stop the movement but did make it more difficult. Activities in all city neighborhoods included the initiation of food productivity, cooking, eating, singing and dancing together, city debats, music making, art and handcraft, circular reuse of used materials, empowerment of young people, shared mobility, hikes, walks, etc. Today it is growing towards a higher cocreation level of sustainable, inclusive neighborhoods and regional development. Certain government institutions engage slowly in the cocreation as citizen’s engagement is gradually becoming more valued by local government, showing the transformative complexity at all levels and in all silos of society.
Initiatives are intensified now also by other advisory parties that show how bankrupt certain big city players are going to be in the long run, including local government. The only way forward is the sustainocratic cocreation way, often only blocked by the selfish lobbies of certain remaining self interests of economic players. Sustainocratic initiatives are now also copied or adopted in other regions around the world, taking SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) priorities as poverty (1), social inclusion, climate action (13), reduced inequalities (10), sustainable communities (11), zero hunger (2) and partnerships (17) as COS3i results at neighborhood level. Or defining their own, such as the “child friendly city”.
STIR Academy, now School of Talents and Wellness
When STIR was founded in 2009 engagement was sought through the organization of congresses and gatherings. Many of the people who joined still reasoned from the mindset of the traditional money driven paradigm. Cocreation was very difficult for people and (social) entrepreneurs to adhere to. Initiatives remained islands of individual closed ownership to protect potential income. The initiatives were also very much oriented at the current products and services that were critically reviewed from a sustainability viewpoint that had nothing to do with the core human values.
This showed that people were very little aware of new dimensions of societal engagement and its potential for them. This blindness motivated founder Jean-Paul Close to stop guiding people and take initiative himself. Like this he could experiment with his ideology and create proof of concept of the so called “awareness driven cocreation of core human values” and the appearance of a totally remodelled economy of growth. Two actions were taken: the first was to establish the very first true sustainocratic endeavour, called AiREAS (air quality and health). The second action was to create an environment for participatory learning.
Then STIR Academy borrowed a lecture theater of Fontys Highschool and openly invited anyone who wanted to join to come every fortnight to an evening lecture, against a minor contribution for the cost of coffee and thee. The first few years were very much dedicated to building awareness. Vaious learning programs were developed to engage young people, formal educational institutions and unemployed:
- Let me go – creating an open space for learning creativity within the context of sustainocratic core human values
- The voyage of the hero – empowerment of critical self reflection, self learning, team spirit, cocreation, innovation and regional development
- Playful city – open gaming platform for sustainocratic awareness development through games
- Our common future – student challenge (see video below)
- Student participatory practicals in town
Since 2017 the STIR Academy was renamed as School of Talents and Wellness. It gradually let go of only awareness finding by now enough people and organizations to start cocreating together. People were challenged to participate in sustainocratic programs and learn in the process, or start programs themselves. The school did not desire to become a competing institution, building, teaching or preaching environment. It seeks the cooperation with specialized cognitive educational partners, offering environments for students to define their own sustainocratic projects in our core human values environment using the expert direction chosen by the students.
- Offer space and food for thought for Bachelor, Master and PhD research activities in a diversity of fields.
- Erasmus+ exchange programs with different countries
- Zoom encounters in different languages in order to stimulate the initiation of sustainocratic processes anywhere in the world.
- Speeches, talks, presentations across the world
School of Talents & Wellness is now a worldwide learning movement in the sustainocratic world.