In our Summer 2020 issue, our resident gardening expert Hans Wieland shared his thoughts on the value of self-sufficiency: a timely and pertinent concept for our times. We loved hearing his wisdom on the subject! Read his article below.
In our recently-released Summer 2020 issue, we were excited to include a ‘Sustainability and Soul’ feature, which showcased the work of two leading lights in the holistic world: eco-conscious household goods company, If You Care, and the beautiful Dominican Retreat Centre (located in Tallaght, Dublin). We love both of them, so it was an honour to ask them about their work! Read on to hear what they had to say.
We have long been huge fans of the eco-conscious household goods company If You Care, so it was an honour to feature them in our Spring 2020 issue. These environmental advocates have been flying the flag for sustainability since 1990. Read on to learn all about what they offer!
Positively Newsworthy is one of our favourite sections of the magazine. Here, we aim to highlight stories of hope, optimistic perspectives and joyous developments in our world. We hope you enjoy this extract from our Spring 2020 issue, and that you are staying safe and well at this time.
We all love a positive news story … and in our Autumn 2019 issue, we published three! The Positively Newsworthy section of our magazine is always a much-cherished read. Read on to hear about an amazing rescue, an innovative alternative plastic straws, and a sign of hope for a Central American rainforest…
We love the Mooncup® – a reusable menstrual cup that provides women with a great way to reduce waste during their time of the month. Read on to find out why!
In this sneak peek of a powerful article from our Spring 2019 issue, Davie Philip discusses how we can use new stories of hope and resilience to inspire ourselves to tackle the challenges facing our planet. To read the full article, pick up a copy of the magazine at your local stockist or subscribe here.
In this extract from our Autumn 2018 issue, Davie Philip talks about how we can change our collective mindset to one of collaboration and openness.
“With our thoughts we make the world.” – Buddha
By Davie Philips
Change is constant. However, recently the pace seems to be accelerating. To cope with this, and to make the transition to a healthy society based on fairness, wellbeing and sustainability, we need to shift worldviews and open our minds and hearts to fresh ways of thinking. So what kind of thinking would enable us to flourish in uncertainty?
Currently, we are locked into an individualistic worldview where reductionist or mechanistic thinking dominates. This mindset breaks everything down into parts to be analysed and measured. By understanding the parts and how they function, we presume we can understand everything important there is to know about something. This reductionism is useful for understanding inanimate things, or simple systems like machines, but can be destructive when applied to living systems. It also tends to lead to a silo mentality, which is inward looking and resists sharing information and resources.
We justify our superiority over the environment when we think we are separate and with this worldview we create fragile, linear systems. Through the diversity and complexity of their webs of relationships, and by sharing resources across their boundaries, living systems increase wellbeing and resilience. Observing these patterns and principles of natural systems might provide us with vital insights into how to redesign our socioeconomic systems to be collaborative, regenerative and resilient.
So, how might we shift our thinking?
Our current way of thinking is rooted in the industrial revolution. This period of human development was dependent on a mechanistic worldview and has dominated and influenced our behaviour ever since. In integral philosophy, worldviews evolve by including and transcending preceding worldviews. So rather than an ecological mindset replacing a mechanistic one, instead it provides a different perspective and access to another type of knowledge with which to navigate the world.
We cannot make the transformation the world needs without making an inner transformation in our thinking. With an ecological worldview we think in terms of process, pattern, flow, connectedness, and relatedness. I believe that as we become more conscious we evolve to hold an ecological worldview. According to theologian Thomas Berry, we will then realize that we live in a world which is a “communion of subjects,” not just a “collection of objects.”
Davie Philip is a group facilitator and trainer who manages the Community Resilience programme at Cultivate. Davie is collecting stories of transformational community led projects: if you are involved in something in your area, do send him an e-mail.
“In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.”
~ Eric Hoffer
By Davie Philip
Innovation is a buzzword that is overused and increasingly misused. If we are to adapt to the challenges we face today we have to nurture a culture of innovation that is about more than developing a new app or just staying ahead of the competition. To have real impact in addressing the environmental, social or economic vulnerabilities confronting us, we need an approach to innovation that is collaborative, holistic, and has the potential for transformation.
Over the next thirty years, as we make a rapid transition to a low carbon society, we are likely to see more change and disturbance than at any other period in recorded human history. As the business educator Peter Drucker stressed, “the greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” In many ways it is our thinking and the way we learn as well as the environments, practices and processes that foster cooperation and creativity, that we have to innovate if we are to be resilient with the capacity to adapt to change.
System change and innovation at the scale required needs a mindset change. As George Bernard Shaw said, “progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Recently Pope Francis has called for a “global ecological conversion”, emphasising that it is not enough for us to go through the motions of change – we need a cultural overhaul and a spiritual revolution. Dr. Otto Scharmer, a senior lecturer at MIT, believes that we need a monumental shift of consciousness, a transition from an outdated “ego-system” way of thinking, focused on self interest, to an “eco-system” awareness that focuses on the wellbeing of the whole.
There is incredible untapped energy in our communities waiting to be harnessed. I live in Cloughjordan ecovillage, a sustainability project that is an emerging example of what Scharmer calls, “a living ecosystem of innovation”. With Cultivate I’m based in WeCreate, the ecovillage’s green enterprise centre, which is part of a growing movement of innovation ‘hubs’ that are emerging globally. These physical spaces nurture a culture of mutual support that enable collaboration among different change makers and initiatives. The creative space along with the processes utilised to facilitate collaboration, self-organising and adaptation is what makes these ‘hubs’ really powerful transformational environments.
This year our focus at Cultivate is to host events and offer courses that accelerate community-led innovation that will serve society and the planet. Some examples of this include community supported agriculture, community owned energy, car-sharing schemes, co-housing projects, and online platforms to enable peer-to-peer sharing. What is central to these initiatives is that they are citizen-led, and help us develop more resilient, social-ecological systems that allow us and our communities to flourish.
Davie Philip is a group facilitator and trainer who manages the Community Resilience programme at Cultivate. Davie is collecting stories of transformational community-led projects; if you are involved in something in your area send him an e-mail. email@example.com
The Art of Co-Operation
By Davie Philip
I spent my summer commoning, practising the forgotten art of co-operation. I am most alive when I am collaborating with others, and I believe change only happens as networks of relationships form between people working together on a common endeavour. As a business model, co-operatives are fundamentally different to conventional profit-driven companies. They are founded on the values of self-help, participation, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. They are the original social enterprises and more awareness of their benefits may be incredibly beneficial to all of us.
Recently I moved back into the Ecovillage, the sustainable neighbourhood in Cloughjordan, which is now home to 130 people, 15 businesses, a communitysupported farm, Ireland’s largest community-owned, renewable-energy heating system and an enterprise centre. The biggest challenge we have is working out how we work together to ensure everyone’s needs are met. Through Cultivate, the co-op that I have worked through since 2000, I co-facilitated a number of events this summer on the topic of community ownership and resilience.
These included the Art of Commoning, a three-day summer school that brought people together to discuss the question: What becomes possible when we harness our collective capacity in service of the commons? Following this, we co-curated the Global Green pop-up ecovillage, the sustainability area of the Electric Picnic festival where commoners from 40 community-led initiatives demonstrated the art of commoning to 45,000 revellers.
From these events it has become clear to me that a commons and co-operative approach could enable us all to play a greater part in the provision of our food and energy, our housing and many of the services on which we depend. I’m convinced that this could be a powerful force for change that could provide a healthier way of working and living together while driving sustainability.
Could the co-operative model play a significant role in the economic recovery of this country by fostering innovation, providing sustainable livelihoods, and contributing to the regeneration of local places? Of course it’s not just the legal structure of the model that holds this promise, but the art of co-operating itself and new community-owned social enterprises are emerging that provide meaningful livelihoods rooted in and benefitting local areas. In Cloughjordan, these include a co-housing co-operative that is developing a shared model for low-cost, low-impact housing and a co-operative food incubator that will add value through shared processing and marketing of what is grown and produced there. But we’re taking it outside the village too.
At the end of October, we’ll host a programme of events called a ‘Co-operative Convergence’ across the country. These workshops, fairs, facilitated conversations, and field trips are planned as a way to inspire and progress a co-operative response to the issues facing us all and to involve, educate and engage a broader audience. In particular we’d hope to bring greater awareness to young people and opinion leaders.
For details on the Art of Commoning and information on the Co-operative Convergence see cultivate.ie
Davie Philip is a group facilitator and trainer who manages the Community Resilience programme at Cultivate Living and Learning. He is based at the Cloughjordan Ecovillage and is a board member of Grow It Yourself International. Davie is collecting stories of transformational community led projects; if you know of something in your area, send him an e-mail. firstname.lastname@example.org | thevillage.ie
This is taken from our autumn 2015 issue, out now. Subscribe to have the next four issues delivered in print.