Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Mother Earth Partnership Project / My 2019 Roddenberry Fellowship application

I am developing a new initiative - the Mother Earth Partnership Project - and have applied to be a 2019 Roddenberry Foundation Fellow to get the support needed to launch this "next generation" Environmental Protection effort.

The aim of the Mother Earth Partnership Project is to transform the environmental protection movement into one that champions the positive, hopeful world we can have after we prevent the worst case scenarios of the global climate change crisis. My project will accomplish this by teaching how this "post crisis" opportunity can only be seen when the crisis itself is viewed using a whole systems perspective (also known as Systems Thinking / Design Thinking). 

By using Systems Thinking, environmental protection shifts from a process of preventing the many, separate elements of Earth's environment (air, water, plants, animals, sea creatures, etc) from going through catastrophic change to a process of also understanding the partnership role the entire Earth plays now and can play in humanity's future.

This partnership perspective already exists for Indigenous Cultures around the world. But it is missing in the cultures of the industrial nations, where the Earth is treated as a collection of separate "resources" to be used (and, too often, abused). This abusive treatment of Mother Earth has parallels in the history of how men of privilege have treated women throughout history. Fortunately, this domination-based power dynamic is being challenged successfully by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. My project will leverage and support this movement's cultural change goals to achieve a similar goal for the relationship between humanity and Mother Earth.

The use of a whole systems perspective and a shift from domination to partnership will be the two main anchors of the Mother Earth Partnership Project. You can read my application (in PDF form) by visiting the project's Facebook Support Group. Please request to join that group if you would like to follow the future development of this project. Major milestones will also be reported here.

I believe it is absolutely essential that the emotions of hope, love, and adventure be added to the existing (and, of course, justified) fear-based motivation that is the foundation of the current environmental protection movement. Fear is a powerful motivator, but it is an external force that saps our strength. Hope, love, and adventure are also motivators; but they are internal forces that add energy rather than take it away. Viktor Frankl, in his book "Man's Search for Meaning," wrote about how the motivation of wanting to achieve a positive future goal (beyond "not dying") was key in how many survived the Nazi concentration camps.

For those not familiar with the Roddenberry Foundation, it is the result of the desire by Rod Roddenberry (the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry) and Heidi Bianca Roddenberry (Rod's wife) to support innovators whose work can potentially impact the world in ways that will bring us closer to Star Trek's vision of humanity a) finally at peace with itself here on Earth and b) using its creativity to explore the galaxy: boldly going where it has gone before.

This vision informed my life at an early age (I watched the original series starting in 1966, when I was eleven years old) and fits perfectly with the science and innovation based vision I learned at age 24, when I first read Buckminster Fuller's book "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth". I will learn if I have made it into round two of the application process on October 23rd. Wish me luck!

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