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2020 Corona's invitation to a new reality

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. 

Why Sustainocracy? 

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)
Time to move on to phase 3 of human evolution

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.

Level 4 implies the restructuring of level 1, 2 and 3

Applying Sustainocracy

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:

  1. Value creation for the human being in terms of helping sustain the core natural values
  2. Value creation for society in terms of care, reduced costs, social cohesion, participation
  3. Value creation for the environment, in terms of circular processes, symbiotic relationships with nature, no pollution
  4. 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….

Food resilience

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.

Small Regional Heroes

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.

Food life science

Our current food reality is highly difficient and needs revision in order to provide resilience of our health and continuity as a species. Life science shows that we do not just eat proteins, vitamins and carbonhydrates. We eat molecular and energetic information which is processed into our own living system.

With this information we need to review our nutritious means. Decades of tests with food in different environments show that food which appears the same has totally different nutritious values, depending on the type of environment it grew in. Experiments with biophotonic equipment in relation with effective soil base management and coherence among species has delivered very positive results.

With FRE2SH we intend to create communities of people that begin to rely entirely on the type of food that we produce together in our food resilience programs. We wish to see if we can show health and vitality improvements. This is important to reduce our dependence on health care and the related costs that tend to become unsustainably and exponentially high. It is also important to improve the wellness, engagement and productivity of our communities within a general sense of quality of life.

 

 

World environment day with Dr. Swati

Another call for attention:

Sustainocratic STIR partner Dr. Swati presents her first english release of the successful Dr. Swati health TV show in India with a powerful message on pollution and climate issues. Her release coincides with World Environment Day.

We add an invitation to commit together

In 2009 STIR Foundation introduced the invitation to all societal stakeholders to a new level of collective accountability for developing our core conditions for sustainable human progress: Sustainocracy. In the region of Brabant (Netherlands) the staleholders accepted the invitation and AiREAS cooperative venture for the cocreation of our healthy city and environment was born.

Sustainocratic ventures and local AiREAS initiatives can be set up anywhere in the world where the stakeholders are willing to group together and take responsibility for innovative health driven processes. It proves to be a powerful innovative drive for all involved and a healing factor of economic wellness and stability.

Global Health Deal 

In 2016 the local government took over the commitment for Health. In this video the key people of the province express their commitment.

This gave STIR and AiREAS the impulse to go global with the invitation, using the Dutch precedents as proof of concept and willingness to commit. In our global AiREAS publication we introduced a specific chapter (free downloadable) on the Global Health Deal invitation as well as a chapter on the new type of entrepreneurship that arises.

The alliance with Dr. Swati is one of the signals to the world that this process is successful, powerfully engaging and highly productive. And everyone can be part of it!

How to combine governance with sustainocratic processes?

The inspiration came from a Dutch region referred to as “Rijk Dommel en Aa”. The region is not formally registered as such. It comprises two mid sizes cities and 5 smaller communities. It is surrounded by canals and rivers which make it a rectangular territory.

image

The region is drawn with light blue

This confinement had been for some years a place to develop regional cocreation at government level. At one stage someone asked me to look at the region from a practical sustainocratic point of view. Two converging lines came together, governance and peer 4 regional sustainocratic development. How do we unite those lines into a functional format that enhances the combination rather than drive them apart?

Differences
Governance tends to deploy itself around “files”. These files normally live a life of their own within the context of current political-economic steering mechanisms. Rijk Dommel and Aa had its own traditional files for the region:

  • Mobility
  • Energy and Water
  • Nature and Recreation
  • Housing and living
  • Farming and Food

The focus that government had agreed among themselves was to facilitate the population’s spare time (recreation, sport) development.

When Sustainocracy started to look at the region, that hosts 400.000 residents with an multiple equivalent of regular visitors to festivals, activities, recreation, tourism and special events, it introduced the 5 core values for regional development (health, safety, basic needs, self resilience and self awareness). At provincial level we are developing the Health Deal, inspired on the Healthy City commitment in Eindhoven through AiREAS. During a first multidisciplinary encounter the people present were asked to come up with ideas to simply enhance this particular member of the leading core values: Health.

Cocreatie

In the cocreation exercize 6 areas of attention were defined:

  • How can we involve all people and institution into this health driven process? (involve)
  • What are the impediments and problem spots in the region? (impediments)
  • What are the admirable initiatives that can be highlighted and supported? (initiatives)
  • What experimental initiatives can we define? (experiments)
  • Can we organize events for people to experience what we want to achieve with their help? (events)
  • Let’s investigate in the region what residents feel about the subject? (research)

Health, files and areas of attention

With “health” as leading topic the files and areas of attention could easily be combined into a matrix.

Rijk Dommel en Aa

Just one meeting was needed to populate the matrix with multidisciplinary teams that develop the ideas into projects with the corresponding commitments.

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The multidisciplinary tables in action

When a project is defined it is seconded by all and deliveres a measurable result that can be related to the higher sustainocratic purpose, Health in this case. Since all key partners are available to commit resources the project can get rapidly equiped with the finances, technology, human creativity and hands on power to get into an execution phase. The process can be repeated as often as needed in the region with increasing involvement of all stakeholders together.

The process is fast, dynamic and very effective. One of the polical executives mentioned with a degree of surprise: “In one afternoon extremely difficult and complex projects are defined here and committed, what normally takes us 30 years!”

Many regions around the world are now coming to see how we do this. India, China, central Europe, Turkey, etc are candidates for developing sustainocratic platforms soon.

We tend to work in three steps with them in Eindhoven:

  • Come over to learn and get inspired
  • Come over to discuss how to implement it within their own regional complexity?
  • Implement locally and establish a cooperation to work together

That is how Sustainocracy expands by combining governance with new guidance based on core human values and integral societal involvement.

Life is always healthy

When we look at our natural surroundings we see many living species. They are all healthy. Life ‘s mechanisms are based on health. The unhealthy always disappears to make room for new health!

image

That is why I declared health a Sustainocratic core value, something to take responsibility for together, individually and as society. Our current societal and global executive model produces unhealthy evolution with just one ending. If we want to evolve in a healthy way we change our models and awareness.

From perverse to healthy city management

In my own region of Brabant and the city of Eindhoven (the Netherlands) we have been working together on the concept of `healthy city` for over 5 years now. The first initiative taken came from myself and my own STIR Foundation (City of Tomorrow), using the Sustainocratic work format. Our work became a confrontation with ourselves and the way we manage our cities and communities. And still is. The learning process is however unique, exciting and worth sharing.

This is a long blog again as it describes a process of awareness and a solution of common understanding and need. I describe first the issue, the impossible solution and the workable one from a core human values point of view. The latter works.

A unique dinner
Twice a year the political councillors of the five big cities of this region join for dinner, the so called `diner pensant` (dinner to think), together with the hierarchical representatives of the province. They discuss the practical issues related to their temporary jobs (every 4 years we see new executive faces after the elections). They are accompanied by their top civil cervants who run complex programs in the city.  This time the leading topic of the evening was `health`. I was invited to speak.

40 people gathered, mostly political city executives

40 people gathered, mostly political city executives, to listen to my story about historical `perverse` city management and our Eindhoven solution.

My speech is not an easy one. Despite the noble purpose of the evening and the practical commitment of the region to work on health we need to face the potential impotence of the venture.

Cities have never been envisaged from a health point of view. Doing it now we face a confrontation with a reality that is engrained into our city management and the democratic structure of our system of governance and societal steering. For 5 years we have been working with a solution developed by my foundation in cocreation with the organizing (of the dinner) city of Eindhoven. This solution is a source of inspiration for other cities but at the same time a challenge without presidence as it questions everything a city has ever stood for.

My opening slide is already a challenge even though I present myself as the inviting party to a safer reality, for human kind but also city management

My opening slide is already a confrontation. I present myself as the inviting party towards a new reality, a new societal format even.

Perverse old city management
The 5 years of experience in Eindhoven has become a practical voyage and proof of principle. It also became of tremendous academic interest for me to investigate the process through backward analysis. It gives modern insight on the practicality of transforming city management, sustainable leadership and societal awareness. Above all it is a research issue about human awareness development, executive blocks and hierarchies, and the human courage to break loose and co-create a totally new way of developing society. But before that we need to be aware of the current historic and ruling perverse reality of unhealthy city development and executive.

Cities have never developed around health, on the contrary. Cities developed around self declared land ownership, trade routes over sea and land, logistics, industrial processes, market places, public events and protection against the aggression of others. 5000 years of city development show us that everything turns around the hierarchy of power, the speculation with services and goods, consumption and all of this eventually translated into money driven executive management. Money leads in cities because the city hardly produces anything of itself. It interacts with its surroundings to purchase all it needs to continue speculation with the people who are attracted to this perceived abundance of real estate, shops and services.

Nothing in the city sustains health. Every executive decision made to develop the city is related to money driven choices that generally produce more pollution and health problems, not just in physical sense but also in the mentality, culture and behavior  of people. Economic growth through inflation prevails while the problems are remediated through costly regulating bureaucracy and expensive care systems. There are at least four big reasons why a city is not at all healthy:

  1. A city consists of tarmac, cement and glass, eliminating every reference to nature or living species in an ecosystem. When something is not perceived by people than it does not penetrate our sense of reality. People in a city don´t identify with life and develop a mentality of so called `frozen ego´s`, emotionless for the problems of our living surroundings simply because those surroundings do not exist in their daily interaction. There is hardly any empathy, no sensitivity, no awareness. At the same time the materials used to sustain the city and its growth are extremely polluting, producing unhealthy dust and fumes.
  2. A city is based on the trade and consumption of goods producing a psychology of greed and hoarding rather than an attitude of productivity for wellness.
  3. The dependence of the city on goods from outside the city makes it a decadent negotiator for volume, purchasing as cheaply as  possible whatever it needs to sell it as expensively as possible within the city. The effect is that the city contributes to the decadent way of treating our sea, soil and air producing all the problems that we face in the world that lead to huge catastrophes.
  4. The entire city is based on economics of trade that structurally rewards the systems that pollute (traffic, logistics, consumption, etc) while those who take responsibility are often do this as volunteers or get blocked by the official system.

The city inhabitants and users hardly identify themselves with issues such as climate change, acidifying seas or the invisible air pollution. The population does however show direct interest in sources to make money (through labor, social security, loans or pension schemes) to pay for all the services that a city provides. 90% of all city´s executive decisions are dealing with sustaining, rewarding and enhancing these patterns. The city’s transactions are being taxed and this sustains the bureaucracy, the investment in economic growth and the financial reserves to repare local damage. This damage repair is seen as a cost, not as lack of original responsibility.

Cities have developed around power, dependence, money and decadence

Cities have developed around power, dependence, money and a decadent blind consumer mentality

Never ever the city or its population has seen or considered itself beyond its own city confinement, empathised with nature or the city´s own natural surroundings. The city invests in tarmac, cement and glass, more logistics and mobility, causing the pollution to even grow further. When I was introduced to this powerful audience of this unique diner the presenter used this video of air pollution in the Netherlands referring both to the challenge we face, the problems we caused ourselves and the responsibility I try to take through sustainocratic ventures in Eindhoven.

This video was placed on YouTube in 2013, two years ago, and has been watched just around 1000 times. Any teenage or adult video on fashion or music will receive such amount of views in mere seconds. It shows where the public interest goes. Health is not in the minds of city people as they deal with other mental priorities and choices. Health hence can never be a democratic issue, nor part of a political campaign. Health is a core responsibility, a key value of life. But this responsibility has been made subject to the political and economic system that defends other priorities and prefers to remediate damage rather than prevent it. Country level executive work is largely a copy of the city´s management culture.

As the city consumes it parasites on the sea, the land, the air and all life on planet Earth. The exponential growth towards 7 billion human beings, of with 70% have populated the cities, delivers a life threating situation managed by hypocritical, perverse city politics and economics. We can hence conclude that all current humanitarian and ecological problems on Earth can be related directly to the sum of all cities and that cities hardly identify themselves with their responsibility due to intensive self interests and a political and economic system that stands health in the way. The countrywide government floats on top of the consumption in cities and the logistics to supply them. The results are catastophical for all life on Earth, including human awfulness as humankind is too kind.

Cities are responsible and need to take responsibility

Cities are responsible for all the damage and need to take responsibility

If this can be explained by pinpointing the executive problem of a polical and economic steering format and hierarchy why then did Brabant and Eindhoven accept my invitation back then, in 2010, to start cocreating  the first healthy city of the world, using air quality as guiding principle?

The executive layer has become a problem because it blocks the public motivation from taking responsibility.

The executive layer and hierarchical format has become a problem because it blocks the public motivation from taking responsibility.

Motivation differs, goals converge
My own motivation was and is still to initiate a society that takes core human values as leading dots on the horizon thus producing a self reflective and correcting society. By doing so one continuously challenges reality to see if progression can be made by engaging with such values (eg. Health, safety, self-sufficiency, self-awareness, basic needs fullfilment) and the continuous threats against it produced by life itself (human or nature). This would produce a continuous stream of innovation while we carry our responsibilities all together as a population. But it requires a different relationship with the executive steering.

Eindhoven had the courage to accept that challenge but the motivation goes step by step.

The motivation of the political partner at the city council was not yet challenging the political system that, in my reality, would disappear and be replaced by a new democratic setting. She was primarily interested in the potential of producing smart innovations as well as the production of insights that help her define her own executive policies around the air quality norms that come from the political hierarchy above the cities. Still now, after 5 years, the political partners introduce me and the cocreation efforts through AiREAS as a `measurement system for air pollution` rather than the beginning of a societal alternative in which we have taken responsibility together. I don´t push the situation as I see it as a gradual process. To accept my proposition immediately would mean political suicide in the perverse context of our present day systems. The story of perverse decadence can only be told by me as independent viewer of our realities but not by the city executive who is elected to uphold the system. We can however work together and need space todo so.

This evening session was the very brave first public setting organized by the executive of Eindhoven, accepting the total turn around of regional governance, with all the consequences of such move. The proof of principle of 5 years cocreation has developed enough arguments for the executive to adopt its challenge and present it to their colleagues as the best option forward. It has become a choice now, a serious executive option and this evening the choice was presented to the entire executive world by Eindhoven. The second part of my presentation was to explain this solution to get to cocreative health responsibility without political or economic suicide or chaos in between.

Health cocreation 
Socrates once said: “You can spend a lifetime fighting the system or put all your energy in creating a new one”. Sustainocracy is a commitment to create the new using the key values of our existence. For our traditional city executives it is hard to accept Sustainocracy when one is still in between two realities, professionally in one, humanitarian or intellectually in the other. Half denial and half acceptance is hence the safes way forward. Often we still hear the remark that “health has to become a business case” while in reality we realize and show that health is a basic, core responsibility, not a trade or something you can buy. Health is on the other hand so abstract that people generally do not understand, until we face the absence of it. That may also be the explanation why health never became an executive issue before.

Nature provides wisdom
When we look at nature we realize that it is always healthy and health driven. Life itself is by definition healthy. The natural living ecosystem that surrounds us is always healthy. That what is not dies or is eaten. The unhealthy always disappears to make room for new health!

De natuur is altijd gezond want anders gaat het dood

Life is always healthy otherwise it dies. Healthy cities will live too.

A human being is also a healthy creature of nature. When we produce unhealthy situations in our surroundings we do the equivalent with ourselves. A process of elimination starts until our responsibility reaches our awareness. We have never acknowledged this responsibility because we only became aware when it was too late. The individual dead do not complain. But the collective threat of death does make us react as a group. We have let ourselves be governed by our (equally natural) greed and competitive mentality around power and control. The consequences manifest themselves because the health thriving living reality confronts us with the shortages we created ourselves through exhausting life that does not automatically recover with the development of new life. The lack of natural group empathy with nature has shown that we don´t know what we really are. We are presented with a mirror by nature through the appearance of catastrophes, illnesses, crises and chaos.

Cities are the first structures that develop this awareness because of the vulnerability that now appears and the responsibility that has long been denied. It is not at all strange to see that the large trade centers along the seashore are the first that need to deal with the rising sea levels caused by air pollution and climate change that has been produced by those same trade centers. It is not strange either that cities at cross roads in the country side are feeling tremendous fluctuations in their economies because they eliminated local self sufficiency and productivity and became totally dependent of the economic variables of the rest of the world. When Eindhoven realised this in the 90´s it tried to find a way to become more productive itself and came to the powerful conclusion that it could present itself to the world as key innovating city. Brainport was born as a concept of cocreation. It gave the city a sense of productive ownership of something it could control rather than being victim of economic fluctuations from elsewhere.  The acceptance to my invitation can be seen in that context.

As stress builds up the awareness in the cities grows because they are now affected themselves in multiple ways by nature, shortages and the local crises. Responsibilities manifest at executive level and tension arises between this new sense of responsibility and the persistence of the old executive system, sustained also by powerful local lobbyists. Recogizing the problem is the first step towards a solution. That is why this diner and the possibility to speak openly about this tension, became a huge step for humankind, a burst of true healthy executive mentality, guts and sincere desire to solve such critical issues. But the old world is still dominant as the new world shows itself.

To provide room and space to develop itself the old executive is asked to step aside.

Volutarily stepping aside is a brave executive decision

Voluntarily stepping aside is a brave executive decision. The open space, together with the purpose of key human values, is refered to as Sustainocracy if organized proactively

It is of course not the executive itself that steps aside. Their act is a demonstration of guts and sense of responsibility. What is set aside is the dominance of the political and economic steering system to provide space for the development of our key values that otherwise would remain trapped by the system. The executive then steps back into society to address the issue together, not as a boss but as a partner. For this we need to create the right conditions.

Sustainocracy is change driven always towards the key value that is placed in the open space

Sustainocracy is change driven always towards the key value that is placed in the open space

The transformation starts outside the hierarchy of interests. Players are looking at creating patterns to fullfil the higher purpose that is placed in the open space left behind by the retreat of the steering mechanisms. The open space itself now needs to be managed too to avoid chaos or anarchy. That is where Sustainocracy comes in as concept and way of working. We introduced the figure of the ´sustainocrat`, an independent professional that has the task to create a table based on equality instead of hierarchy, invite the many players in this multidisciplinary arena and assure that the higher purpose (health in this case) remains leading. Together the participants, in which government still plays a key territorial role, share the health driven responsibility with social innovation through its citizens, technological innovation through value driven entrepreneurship and applied knowledge through science and education. As the process develops and cocreation ends up into value driven projects with measureable results every participant is confronted with the need to address change also in their own organizations. But these changes can be addressed effectively because of the powerful arguments developed in the sustainocratic settings.

The example that is most used is AiREAS, the sustainocratic venture to produce health in relation to air quality. In AiREAS the sustainocratic space is now filled with various multidisciplinary teams that are producing an overwhelming amount of practical and scientific insights, social and technological innovations and concrete advice about legal and executives obstacles that stand sustainable progress in the way.  AiREAS is providing a continuous stream of proof that can be used to start initiatives around every key issue that demands our attention fast.

Conclusion
Key conclusion is that, when the lid is off the dominance of political and economic steering, an explosion of creativety appears that addresses health and other core human values as a natural phenomenum. By structuring this creativy in the multidisciplinary format of Sustainocracy we can address any complexity because we introduce change not just through product innovations but also, all at the same time, by removing the blockage that the hierarchies created. The new sustainocratic society exists. It resembles an ecosystem in which all participate to shape and maintain a wellness based community in close resonance we our surrounding nature and natural resources. Sustainocracy is still relatively small on the global scale and hence still vulnerable but the ideology and practical outrole has proven itself, has been documented and now simple finds its way to the rest of the world as its seeds are being carried by the enthusiasm of all participants.

AiREAS results are impressive

AiREAS results are impressive

The local and global acknowledgment is equally impressive

The local and global acknowledgment is equally impressive

Most impressive is that it works and is adopted by more and more regions around the world

Most impressive is that it works and is adopted by more and more regions around the world

Is health going to become a standard for modern cities?

Three Dutch events in two weeks time show a trend toward a YES…but…..

Event 1: Innovation Estafette 2013 (12.11.13): This gathering in the RAI in Amsterdam was organized by the ministry of Economy Innovation. It’s message was that “the entire population should be actively involved in the issues of the nation”.

The question then arises: “What is the issue of the nation? Money? Technology? Pollution? Health?” Different opinions show during the conference.

Event 2: ROET conference 2013 (13.11.13): This gathering in the High Tech Campus of Eindhoven was titled “Air quality, are we done?”, referring to the efforts of the Dutch government to comply with standards set by Brussels.

The question arises: “Are we just to comply with norms? Or do we need to invest in responsibility?”

Event 3: Half year members meeting of AiREAS (27.11.13): This event took place in Eindhoven where this global citizen’s initiative for healthy cities was started.

The question arises: “How can we manage the citizen’s leadership relationship with dominant institutions?”

It is interesting to note the built up of the events. Event 1 is calling for responsibility, event 2 is taking responsibility from a political, economic point of view and event 3 is turning the paradigm around to take responsibility from a humanitarian citizen’s perspective.

It shows a clear tendency towards a new global standard of awareness, responsibility and co-creative action in favor of environmental and human health. The “but” refers to the underlying stress between the reigning system of economic and political compliance and the universal system of nature that reacts to unbalance.

The real turn around is in event 3, helped by the awareness and commitment offered through the first two event. Even though event 3 is still minute, vulnerable in the magnitude of the old lobby of system’s dominance, it is extremely significant. It is not just a bunch of citizens that are standing up. The memberships contains global institutions such as Philips, ECN, Imtech, intellectuals  and researchers from the Universities of Utrecht, Amsterdam, Twente, Madrid, Eindhoven and Delft, as well as local governmental officials from the city of Eindhoven and province North Brabant. All professionals interact as citizen’s first.

The three events show the usual human inner conflict:

Do we sell or buy responsibility (economics)? If so, who takes final responsibility for the “healthy city” if we prioritize our economic options (politics)?

Or do we take responsibility our selves as human beings before even considering our professional priorities (sustainocracy)? If so, are we in the ability to take responsibility in the complexity of our city development?

The duality can be clarified when we look at the way we deal with it in our homes. A family is the smallest human community in pursuit of sustainable human  progress and securities. The society of which we are member is expected to provide the same, just a size bigger.

How do we deal with health at home? Who is the boss? What happens when someone gets sick? Do we go to work (economics)? Do you prioritize our sickness with other issues (politics)? No, we deal with health first.

So: Will “health” become a standard? Yes!

BUT: We all need to give it the same priority as at home.