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.
A group of four students and teacher from Turkey came over to Eindhoven (the Netherlands) through the European Erasmus+ exchange program. Their educated skills are oriented at hospitality in their high school. When visiting us in Eindhoven we take them along in the Sustainocratic thinking of developing core human values using these skills. This gives a new dimension to their awareness, job development, innovative creativity and self leadership.
The challenge we formulate in general is to look at their hospitality expertise in the context of developing human health in general. This can be seen from many perspectives. Let us mention a few:
- health through hygiene,
- healthy food purchase choices
- healthy food preparation routines
- good teamwork and relationship
More specifically we involved them into more holistic thinking. In the Netherlands we have a large community from Turkish origin. The first generation guest workers that have created a subcommunity with difficult interaction with the local Dutch. The reasons explained by the Turkish are:
- low educational background upon arrival
- came mainly to work for their own economy and sending money home
- felt different, not accepted
- language problems
- always feeling to be here temporarily and one day move back.
The sum of these arguments got them to avoid the integration effort. Now they live here for over 30 years, have their children, realize that their home country has changed and they got to belong just to their subculture only.
Even though this may have become a satisfying situation for many through accommodation there is a lot of loneliness among the groups. The core values of Sustainocracy tend to have a bonding effect, even for the more isolated communities. The participatory aspect to cocreate health, for instance, bridges differences into common areas of interest and attention.
The challenge hence for the Turkish students was to address this health issue from a social inclusion point of view. They were to use the positive invitation of food, hospitality and maybe family ties, to attract the community to our social restaurant.
For the students it was a challenge in a country they did not know, a language they did not speak, etc. Yet they performed excellent. In the end over 30 people attended. I was invited to take a seat as jury of the food and social inclusion part.
The program of this year’s international women’s day in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, has been published. Reason for STIR to be part of it through COS3I is that social inclusion, gender equality and other important factors, such as the emerging feminine manifestation energy, are also our points of attention within Sustainocracy.
Sustainable human and regional development requires the transition between ways of thinking and handling. The latter is already complex for individuals who see their comfort zones and lifestyle affected and hence adjusted. It is even more complex for institutions whose reason to be is often only partially compatible with the new sustainable development context. They can be part of a solution through technology or services yet are often part of the problem due to their polluting productivity or misuse of natural resources.
Think for instance of the car industry that is challenged into rethinking urban mobility, air and sound pollution or space optimization. Or multinationals that sell their health innovation, produced in a highly unhealthy and polluting supply chain. Or governance that tries to fit new age sustainability policy into political economic business cases.
Within our level 4 awareness driven regional development we bring together all these troubled minds and institutions into one local priortized, sustainocratic community setting. This seems a way of asking for trouble. Yet we find that in this environment the contradictions within the transition are largely eliminated into a can do setting. Where individuals seem unlikely to be able to take integral responsibility by themselves without disputing their own existence or way of working, the community highlights their remaining authority in a progressive, innovative, multidisciplinary approach. The contradiction however ofter produces stress in the communities and commitments. When many are involved this can be disruptive, conflictive and unproductive. To identify the blocks, mismatches and potential solutions, we use a special technique.
A complex multidisciplinary community consists of different energies that either complement each other or not. It is often unclear what is what since interests and commitments are mostly intertwined or not 100% transparant to the group. A systemic constellation is a reproduction of the players using a platform that helps envisage the different patterns and forces at hand. With a particular question at hand the power play is visualized and analyzed. Hidden fields appear both in the positive and negative sense. As the reviewing proceeds layer after layer can be analysed and look at from different perspectives. Players can exchange positions in order to feel the empathy within choices at hand that are often otherwise not understood. Playing the constellation is often an eye opener for all involved at personal and institutional level and helps strengthen relationships, processes and projects that otherwise would maybe waste resources and time.
STIR Foundation’s excellence
We find the extreme value of our STIR focus on level 4 participatory society, which we started defining and developing practical experience with since 2009. And in addition the experience we developed in te dynamic clustering processes of priority based multidisciplinary gathering at this level using our sustainocratic values to connect all participants. Over the years we had a variety of clusters that started with enthousiasm but did not survive themselves. Others took a long time to come to get to consolidate for growth due to hidden, unidentified forces. With the inclusion of specialists partners in the systemic constellation approac we completed the central team of sustainocratic community development. We also found in it a way to anticipate issues before even starting a complex dynamic clustering process.
Worldwide expertise sharing
Now, with all this expertise (level 4 multidisciplinary participation, sustainocratic core values, systemic constellations, etc we are ready to help sustainable regional development througout the world. Climate awareness, UN Sustainable Development Goals, commitment to Sustainocratic core values, whatever the focus, STIR can help with experts, methods and solid examples.
Surely I could write about the big private banking power houses that control our political and social debt agenda around the world. Or the warfare against communities against death and fear, just to achieve control over natural resources. I will not. At much smaller scale the human disaster of greed leaves tremendous pains as well and maybe we can do something about it.
Peru, christmas time 2018 in a small place called Huayopata, close to Machu Picchu.
A huge landslide destroys the beautiful and protected countryside, takes houses and kills people. The sacred mountain with its ancient holy Inca indian sites is mutulated for ever.
The official reading is that the desastrous landslide was caused by heavy rainfall. Locals however state that for years over 200 illegal dinamite detonations were counted supposedly of gold seekers who bribe local officials to do this. The mountain was so damaged that rainfall did the rest.
This is not the only issue that destroys the environment, cultural historic grounds and human wellness in such region. How many other spots on Earth have been manipulated this way at the expense of the people living there? The good will always prevail, some say, but the bad makes us join forces to do so. How can we erradicate this greed out of ourselves and hence out of society? For the first time in human history we face the challenge to create a society where the “having” is irrelevant, “shared abundance” is, equality substitutes hierarchies of inequality, power is replaced by authority, destruction by creation, distrust and hate is subsitituted by trust and love.
The greatest difficulty is not the irradicate the greedy but to make non greed rule, making greed obsolete. The solution we developed is called Sustainocracy, the level 4 regional development, the participation society, based on core human and natural values. All the regions affected by desaster have two things in common. People demand justice and people open up to something new, constructive and positive. The first is difficult when justice is made by the greedy. Te latter is also an indirect way to apply justice as evaluation parameters are put into place that allow avoiding mishaps. They do use symptoms and pains from the past to create awareness and progress. In this process justice is applied against the new “non greed” criteria, not the old “greed acceptance”.
Having said this, this region of Peru can start developing itself positively again and attend priorities it never did before. The local Peruvian drinking water issue in Lima and surroundings for instance is equally desastrous. The city was built with the ocean and trade in mind, not health and sustainable wellness. Rain water in the Andes falls on the other side, making it complicated to channel it to the city. The water is rationed among the poor while the rich can fill their swimming pools. All a consequence of money driven politics. If Sustainocracy is applied than the entire region is charted from a core values perspective and the water issue is dealt with collectively together from a shared abundance perspective between institutions and citizens.
The Power of Love is an indicator that shows the expressionist potential of the heart through passion, dedication, vision, leadership and artistic manifestation. Whether it is the design of scuptures, a dance, a painting, new design patterns for city and regional development or the entire redefintion of society. This united Natalia and Jean-Paul as feminine and masculine unification, creating together a powerfull community of passionate expressionist men and women that together contribute to local and global sustainable human development and progress.
We are all involved in a huge transition process. This is not new. It is a cyclic happening that repeats itself continuously in nature and human life. It is nothing to be afraid of or to fight against. It is called “evolution” but feels often like a “revolution”, individually and as an institution or society. The main challenge is to let go of old comfort and provide oneself space for all new stuff that deploys itself in it.
We all do it every second of the day and still feel uncomfortable when we sense lack of programming and control. In the City of Tomorrow communities it are our priorities that provide direction and reward with the open space we hold for applied innovation.