Birds, plants, animals, also bacteria and virusses, they all get their food directly and freely from their natural environment. They don’t disturb it, on the contrary. Normally their urge for food contributes to the ecosystem, for instance though cross fertilization, spreading of seeds or elimination of the weak and sick. Their feeding in a way is connected indisputably to healthy life.
The human world is overwhelmingly unnatural. Not only for our feeding we made ourselves dependent of economized industral processes, for everything.
Now we are being alarmed again by a virus. Again because the Corona version is not the first and will not be the last. Virusses are a natural phenomenum that feeds itself mainly on vulnerable people. We can ask ourselves when dealing with a widespread pandemic if it is the virus that is the problem or our vulnerability?
Since virusses are of all times we need to go to judge our vulnerability. We can differentiate between natural and unnatural weaknesses. We can then also work in a positive way on our natural resilience instead of introducing unnatural remedies. Locking up 7 billion individuals in isolation with 1.5 meter distance is far from natural.
Natural vulnerability is caused mainly by epigenitic transfer, (remains of) illnesses or accidents, unhealthy lifestyle and natural aging. Unnatural vulnerability comes from what we ourselves add to the natural patterns. We can think of chemicals used in our foodchain, air pollution, negative stress, radiation of all kinds of equipment and wireless networks. Due to economic globalisation motives we also globalized our unnatural vulnerability. This makes us more receptive at global scale for illnesses that lead to pandemics (Spanish flu, measles, HIV, SARS, etc).
A complex paradox is our historical creation of a parallel economic ecosystem to nature. We attached economic growth to the growth of humankind, the growth of financial dependence, the growth of fighting symptoms via care, the increase of our life expectations and the enormous increase of the costs and complexity of our care systems.
This parallel money based ecosystem is however unnatural and unsustainable from macro natural perspective. Each natural pandemonium through a pandemic comes with a huge system crisis, such as a gigantic economic recession. This brings us closer to our natural reality but also shows the painful distance we created through the fear we collectively feel and the control mechanisms that start to try to restore the old fake reality again.
The solution is to be found in our awareness that the unnatural, no matter how luxurious or safe it feels, is unsustainable. The pandemics and recessions will only grow and so will the human drama’s worldwide. They will eventually reach all, including ourselves and those who try to supposedly benefit or control the situation.
A positive acknowlegdement is that this unnatural human world gave us a lot of knowledge. Now we can try to combine the best of the two worlds, the natural and unnatural, in order to enhance our resilience without having to reduce much of our wellness.
A few things will need to change. We need to step away from our fears and look our challenge into the eyes together. We step away from the control mechanisms from above to give way at regional level to innovative adaptations of our communities. We let resilience and health guide our cocreative actions and adapt our dependence by working together on our healthy basic needs (food, water, clean air, warmth), if needed with the use of knowledge and techniques, and in symbiose with our natural environment. Gradually we take some resilience disturbing elements away from our existence.
We are than applying Sustainocracy, as precedented in Eindhoven in areas of health attention, such as air quality and social resilience, since 2009. Instead of fear we build on trust together. Instead of unnatural vulnerability we build on natural resilience. Instead of 1.5 meter distance we go hand in hand. Instead of avoiding death we work on living life ..
A lot of people feel fear and even panic due to corona, the lockdown and dramatic personal experiences with family or friends, or through the media. It is hard to develop objective awareness in this situation, especially if one is personally affected by the many consequences and impositions. A lot of speculation can be read on social media about deep state, mind control, power abuse, financial interests of a few, etc. It is difficult to keep calm.
When we look at the population and society in the Netherlands we tend to be blind for things that have been building up for many years:
- a greying population. CBS figures show that 1.5 Million citizens are over 75 years old! These are all loved mums, dads, grandparents, uncles, aunts who are in the autumn of their lives. They will die a natural death when time is come or they fall ill and maybe decease as a cause of that. Corona is just one of the possible influecers or accelerators. Numbers of many 1000s of such casualties sound dramatic but have been real and natural for years already. They were however not highlighted. More dramatic now is the impediment for people to see their sick or elderly loved ones, or moarn their death in family presence due to the corona measures.
- unhealthy lifestyle. Our consumer capitalist lifestyle produces anxiety, stress and all kinds of health problems. A large portion of society (over 50%) at age higher than 40 has some kind of chronical disorder or disease such as overweight, trauma, diabetes, cancer, OCPD, etc. They all use the care system with more or less intensity.
- stressed care system: Corona accentuates a problem that is known for years already. Our healthcare system is overworked and overloaded, already before corona. The reason for lockdown is to try to handle the situation in a system that needed revision long time ago. The system is also privatized and ecomomized, showing important flaws in the operational structuring. A mayor transition is needed here.
- layered society: Our political economic reality is based on grouping people through age and function. Young people go to school in massive conglomerates of youngsters. The middle age are workforce going to offices, care institutions, etc. Eldery are seperated and individualised. They travel when healthy or get grouped in elderly homes when care needing. A corona virus can find its way easily to the vulnerable because of this grouping by age.
These are just a few awareness issues that need attention, not just by government but all of us together. Corona alike problems will recur. We cannot avoid them. We can take steps that make society more resilient. And now is the time to do it:
- Care for health – accept health (not just health care) leading in our society and lifestyle
- Participation in cocreation of our basic needs based on health – such as food, healthy air, water, etc
- Community based society in which all ages mingle and act together. Regional communities in which “care for eachother” is the basis of our coexistence. Professional healthcare is supportive to this, not reactive.
- Restructure our economized care society from market working into a social care society with societal participatory working. Our insurrance is our community, not a healthcare number.
- Let go of control based governance and focus on harmonizing for health based on core human values and innovative adaptiveness.
Creating Sustainocratic tables now, that deal with this transition “society, health and healthcare”, can start the process. Alleviation of suffering is based on the reassurance that things are done with our awareness in order to avoid similar problems in the future. Happiness is based on cocreating a society in which we share our responsability and results.
Sustainocracy, our new democracy
Inspiration 9: Sustainocracy suddenly makes sense
Just look at the five statements in the blue picture carefully. How much sense does it make now for you during the corona situation? Have you also been taking for granted these core values while doing all kinds of other things? How about now?
Then look at your usual daily activities (work, entrepreneurship) before the corona crisis. How much does it contribute to these five conditions for sustainable human progress? If it does not you can ask yourself if it may even be damaging your own or that of the world?
The next question you could ask yourself is: what contribution could I myself, with my talents or with my job, put on the Sustainocratic table to enhance, sustain or improve these core condtions? I am sure you can find some. If not, think how you can support those who can…..
#Sustainocracy, our new #democracy, introduced a totally new way of thinking and handling. It is a real time democracy based on our core human values. We do that with the Sustainocratic table. No banks, no politics are involved, just our regional core human values and shared responsibility.
The table is managed by an independent #Sustainocrat. He or she invites all relevant parties to the table and makes sure that the human natural core values lead the result and project driven dialogue. I have been practicing this role for 10 years now. It was not easy to get everyone to the table but I managed to get it going after much trial and error….
The table symbolizes our regional society, our #community. The table has four supportive legs, each representing a key participant of our society today:
On top of the table are our core natural human values as shared #responsability. The sustainocrat at the table connects all four leg’s representatives based on #equality around the table. Each have equal part in the values driven process. Nobody is “the boss”, also not the Sustainocrat. They come together to safeguard the common core values through proactive, results driven innovative projects.
Current existing examples of such tables, with me as connecting Sustainocrat:
#AiREAS: air quality, health and mobility
#School of Talent and Wellness: participatory learning
#FRE2SH: regional food security
#COS3i: social inclusion and citizens participation in our core human values
Author Jean-Paul Close became aware of the problems of the industrial, capitalist, consumer, political, economic structure and globalisation of society back in 1996. He decided to step out of his executive position and comfort zone to dedicate his life to experiment with reality for himself, his surroundings and finally the world, to finally turn up with something that suits his perception of sustainable human progress and wellness best.
Along the way he defined entrepreneurship of the 21st century, decifred the “secrets of true wellness” and finally defined the new reality referred to as Sustainocracy, the awareness driven co-creation society. In 2009 he already pinpointed 2020 as the year of the big letting go and adopting the new reality throughout the world. Meanwhile he experimented and developed this new reality in his own surroundings with the participation of many governments, citizens, entrepreneurs and scientists. Others came and observed: “It exists, we want this too”.
Lockdown: every ending is a new beginning
The first thing we learn from the Corona Crisis is that our health and safety are core human values. And these do not come from remedial health care, politics, economics or banks. Those core values come by taking proactive, self reflective responsibility. When we flatten the curve of exposure to the coronavirus we collectively have better chances of immunizing ourselves and curing for future resilience. Around the world we witness sudden solidarity among neighbors, helping each other, singing a song together, clapping publicly for health care people. We also see humor, creativity, relativity, discussions and dialogues appear on social media that help people deal with their fears and regain some trust in themselves or their surroundings. We also see how quickly our natural environment recovers and improves with the absence of humans.
Many of the things that happened were unthinkable only a few weeks ago. The virus and the unprecedented government measures interrupted instantly our daily trusted comfort, cleared our possible blind spots, creating room in our busy minds to look at what is happening and react. People are in essence primarily a social creature, not the uncontrolled consumerist hoarder that capitalisme wants us to be. Our real nature appears while we face a bad spill. But soon this is over. Not because a button is switched and the virus is gone. Our reserves run out, we will need to act to create our sustainable human progress, together. We can start and practice now while we have the time to reflect.
Because Sustainocracy places our natural human being and values, not money or political interests, at the core of our societal reasoning for wellness. It seeks our harmonic, constructive (not destructive) relationship among ourselves and our environment. It works as a next awareness driven step, not by demolishing our past but using and restructuring it from an evolutionary perspective. In sustainocracy money is one of the many means, not a goal.
This societal “awareness driven co-creation” community structure, Sustainable human evolution & Democracy (Sustainocracy), defines two important things for sustainable (regional) human wellness:
- Our basic core natural human values:
- Health (in a proactive way and not to be confused with health care)
- Safety (including respect for each other and our environment)
- Awareness (our individual and collective learning process)
- Co-creativity (we, people and institutions need to work together)
- Basic daily needs (food, water, warmth, healthy air)
- That we take responsibility together of the above in co-creative, real time democratic communities (people, government, science, education, entrepreneurship)
As we live through the first months of the corona outbreak we see human solidarity grow, air pollution reduce or disappear, CO2 improve, water clear with the return of fish, etc. This shows us the positive impact of eliminating our old lifestyle from before the virus crisis. We have, however, not yet created a new one, we are just put on a hold. Can we use these insights for the better?
When we place the old reality, from before the lockdown, on the sustainocratic table of challenges we notice that we do not comply with any of the core values. We were sustaining a reality based on perceived commercial abundance accessible only through money. Noone is taking proactive responsibility or is accountable for our core values, we only react when they are not there, like now. So everyone had become blindly money driven, not responsibility focussed. Over time we tried, in our local surroundings, to show people and institutions our vulnerability but they would hardly join the table. Their comfort zone was still intact, their blind spots in place. Multidisciplinary co-creation would demand genuine regional value creation and sharing, a major transformation of thinking and handling for most people and institutions.
In one area of attention however we managed to get the full multidisciplinary “level 4” co-creation table completed back in 2010, even until now. That was on the topic of regional air quality and human health (AiREAS). Partial sustainocratic tables (often with money controlled government lacking) were achieved in city food productivity (FRE2SH), social inclusion (COS3i) and participatory co creative learning (School of Talents & Wellness). All together it provided us with a lot of experience in this field of work. Not just in the co-creation together but also the difficulties of people and institutions to change the context driven dialogue, behavior and societal, non financial results driven contributions.
Now, with the Corona outbreak, we see a tremendous mentality change. Suddenly there is massive awareness about health and other things that we used to take for granted. Certain core values are solved without enormous remedial public investments, just by letting go of our old structures and lifestyle (such as air quality in many places). Others, such as social cohesion, are receiving an unprecedented amount of attention due to the sudden impediment of connecting physically and emotionally with our loved ones. When what we took for granted is taken away it becomes often more important than when we had it so accessible that we forgot about it. People look for creative ways to compensate for their feelings and express themselves in a positive way. But let us not fool ourselves. The lockdown cannot last forever. Already lots of people are facing financial challenges and problems due to the impossibility to do their old jobs. They may even doubt if these jobs are going to come back once this is over. When we apply the sustainocratic 4 x Value criteria of entrepreneurship of the 21st century it is easy to make the distinction. A job or activity should comply with all four nowadays:
- Value creation for the human being in terms of helping sustain the core natural values
- Value creation for society in terms of care, reduced costs, social cohesion, participation
- Value creation for the environment, in terms of circular processes, symbiotic relationships with nature, no pollution
- Value creation economically for continuity
Money is hence just a means, not a goal at the expense of the other values. Other means, such as awareness, talent, creativity, engagement, etc are more valuable than money. In some cases a particular value creation of a job or activity can be placed on “zero”, while compensated with higher other value creation, but it should never be negative. Negative values go in detriment of others or nature and eventually create problems, even if the activity is economically successful. Entrepreneurship of the 21st century is 4 x Value driven only and accounts for all entrepreneurial actions, not just business but also of government, education and human participatory behavior.
Old style governments are now creating funds to cushion current financial problems temporarily but these funds do not last forever. These governments are not seen (yet) in the activation of the new society. It does not invest in it because it is not money driven, only applauds the human voluntary initiatives as they are cost saving, not valuing the value created. We are really therefore for now on our own selves as we work towards a new government model too, often together with government, not politics. The most important capital of a society is its creative and participative population, not money or wrongly oriented control driven governance. Some forces will want us to go back to the old scenario, but do we? Probably not, simply because we have become aware of its negative impact. We need to keep the positive values that appear now and restructure ourselves to fulfill our needs locally as much as we can. We need to do this together through co-creation.
Next to the health driven adjustments we can thank corona for we have two sustainocratic priorities that come to mind are food and helping the vulnerable. Let us see why….
It is springtime in the Northern Hemisphere. It is good to take responsibility directly for our food supplies. As our financial system tends to collapse we need to get access to food through direct means. Various farmers cannot supply to their traditional markets such as restaurants because they are not operating. They have supplies that need to get to the needed. As the fear (not yet the reality) of scarcity grows people will hoard more including life essentials. This will leave the most needed and people on low budgets in jeopardy. If no action is taken now anarchy will break out and public safety will turn into ghettos of aggression. This we need to avoid with common sense and collaboration.
We can set up food productivity in gardens, around schools, in empty office buildings, on rooftops. This can be done with the involvement of these vulnerable citizens. We can introduce a circular reward system that accounts for the labour put into the food production, distribution, the sharing and processing once the food is fully grown. You can find on the internet many proven techniques for balconies, avoidance of polluted city grounds by growing crops on top instead of inside, etc. Don’t just go for the easy stuff, take herbs too, plants with nutritious and remedial values. There are also videos with things you should be careful with, in view of certain allergies or poisonous side effects. Even if the lockdown is lifted and everything goes back to the old stressful and polluting normal, this exercise is worth the try. It will change your community life and sense of security, abundance and freedom.
Care for each other
In times of fear we all tend to go into survival mode. The more powerful and able will try to selfishly take what they need and even hoard. The vulnerable and less able enter into more difficulties. These groups will stand up and try to defend themselves. The atmosphere will get grim and chaos may appear, which is bad for everyone. The way to avoid this is to make sure everyone is served with their basic needs. That is the first step, the second one is to ask everyone to help, within their possibilities, and create the abundance we need all together. We are used to being able to get what we need through money, but when what we need is not available money becomes useless. Our basic needs are food, warmth (eg shelter and care), drinking water and healthy air. We also need each other to create trust (not fear) in the togetherness, warmth in the dialogue and care when needed.
New small heroes
Regions that evolve now to level 4 awareness driven co-creation of our core human values are referred to as Small Heroes. They develop resilience against all kinds of issues because of their self sufficiency, social productivity, sustainocratic engagement and sharing with caring attitude. They develop high attractiveness, especially for families with children who seek genuin wellness and want to avoid the growing speculative criminality and forced money dependence in larger urban structures. They benefit from the corona inspiration and relative ease to transform from relative lack of identity to true authentic imaging of warmth and quality of life.
Fear for corona contact
If fear of corona contact is an impediment to initiating the above, just consider that your trip to the supermarket may get you in touch with more people than working in open air in your vegetable field or back yard. We need to get to immunize ourselves somehow so some minimum exposure will always happen, just like any other flu. There are all kinds of remedial precautions circulating already on the internet to protect you. Don’t fear and lay back for all to pass, stand up, be precautious and act, preferably the sustainocratic way: health and safety first.
You can find publications for free download on https://sustainocracy.blog/publications. Through my Instagram (@jeanpaulclose) and Facebook accounts I share daily inspirational statements and information. It will not be easy to learn to work from the new context, especially if you are an institution or government that used to rely on the old dynamics. But it can be done with great satisfaction when your new societal ecosystem starts working in the sustainocratic way.
Good luck and if in need of any help, just let us know.
(Photos: Peter de Koning)
We are all human beings. Our professional functions in our institutions should be supportive to the core natural values for sustainable human progress. Our institutions then become powerful instruments for sustaining our wellness today and for the future generations. In the past money driven economic parameters may have determined our choices and investments. Now it is our (own and environmental) health, awareness and safety, that leads us. Money is a means, just like technology, our talents, insights, commitment, etc.
“It is significant that I, a simple human being as citizen of this region, not in representation of any institution or government, just through the invitation to our cooperative, multidisciplinary initiative for health, air quality and regional dynamics (AiREAS), is formally asking the leading most knowledgable institutions of our region and country, to engage and help with their expertise and means, the health challenge and projects that we all (citizens and institutions) share in this world, country and region.”
As we sign and cut the cake we turn the world to what it should be, institutions as powerful instruments for wellness and sustainable human resilience in the hands of human awareness and prioritized health challenges. The photo is significant because all institutions, with people in leadership and management function, symbolically gather BEHIND me as the representative of our core natural human values in act of support and commitment. A beautiful and significant moment.
We will be rolling out a measurement network for air quality and sound. This will be done to support citizens and institutions of 21 municipalities in the region to take measures for health insights, improvement and maintenance. Three research actions have been formulated. City air quality, airport impact and rural (specifically cattle holding impact) pollution. We will be working on air quality and health through citizens and institutional engagement. AiREAS and its sister COS3i (social inclusion and engagement into our core values) already work with various municipalities on very local challenges through participation.
AiREAS was set up as sustainocratic cooperative in 2010 within the context defined by STIR City of Tomorrow. It does not wish to be another institution, therefore has no resources of its own. It ‘s function is to connect in a multidisciplinary way resources and people to our common challenge, in this case for air quality, human health and our regional dynamics. All necessary resources are brought in by the diversity of partners, based on projects and expected results, formulated together. The biggest challenge being our citizen’s engagement to our own health with the support of the institutions. AiREAS shares its results worldwide through open access publications.
Since 2006 Eindhoven colors with lights during its GLOW event. In order to gain more insight I decided to accept the invitation to act as official GLOW guide. It triggered me to go deeper into the stories behind the creative expressions of the artists, meet several personally and extend their messages to the visitors and groups who walk with me.
Most of the 750.000 visitors walk the 5 km route with 32 official light objects with just an Ohhh and Ahhhh experience. Photos are shared through social media with expressions in the range of “beautiful”, “best ever” or “I thought it was Christmas”….The enormous presence of people hardly gives time to really connect with the art or the message contained.
This year the overall concept is Living Colors, an allegation to the broad scatered spectrum of light colors that we experience in our visual world. But this definition is not enough. When talking to some artists we note multidisciplinary combinations of artistic specialties, such as light, with 3D and sound. They all experience a deep engagement in cocreating among the disciplines and make something truly unique by applying 1 +1 is much more than 2. The results are truly remarkable and best appreciated if someone draws attention to it. As a guide I have the opportunity to transmit some of the artistic energy.
Students from different highschools used the opportunity to pick up sustainability issues and design a light experience around it. We see references to water scarcity, air pollution, plastic pollution, making the city together, multidisciplinary cocreation, inner rest, global networks, etc. all expressed in combinations of light, interactivity, sounds and a sensory experience.
All this together makes GLOW 2019 into a communication platform, an opportunity to engage artistically with the modern world of observation, awareness, experience and reflection. The route also takes us through the modern expression of city development, the city as meeting place, with cosy (COS3I) social engagement place, some doing special things around GLOW to show themselves. Life music, nice family restaurants, cosy terrasses, make it more welcome to eat out than at home. Eindhoven transformed in recent years from a small industrial, sleepy technology town into a lively multicultural city for social inclusion and professional engagements. GLOW made this visible for the first time and guests from outside the city reacted with a sense of approval and enthousiasm. This GLOW became thus also a true integrator of social design and engagement.