Human and Planetary Health [Part II: Going Upstream]
Transcript of Daniel Wahl’s ‘Findhorn Talk’ on Human and Planetary Health: Ecosystems Restoration at the dawn of the Century of Regeneration; October 13th, 2018
[…Part I] We need to go upstream and look at this ‘crisis of perception’. We need to start rethinking the story of who we are and why we are here. We need to start thinking about what we could do if we actually lived in a way that is: “creating conditions conducive to life.”
[…], Janine Benyus, the founder of the biomimicry work, says “Life creates conditions conducive to life.” This is in nutshell what we should be doing. I would also say that life is a regenerative community (1). We need to rejoin that community.
To do that we need to change the stories we tell about ourselves and we need to change the ‘organizing ideas’ that shape our perception. What do I mean by that? Have a look at that [the image below].
Some of you are seeing the head of an animal, others are seeing only a black and white circle with black dots in it. — If I give you the organizing idea ‘head-of-a-giraffe’. Ahh — some people go ‘ohh, I can see it now’. This is the neck, these are the horn, these are the eyes, this is the snout. She is looking down this way [from center line to bottom right of the circle].
This is just to show that organizing ideas are incredibly powerful. We don’t see things because they are out-there and they just come-in. We see things because we have ideas about what is out-there and we make the world. We bring forth a world together in conversation. That is the power of reshaping the world for us as well.
One of the big stories that we have been told is that life is all about survival of the fittest, the struggle for survival on a planet with scarce resouces. — That is not true. — Life is a process that acts through diversification and subsequent integration of that diversity at higher levels of complexity. More often than not this is done through new forms of collaboration.
This is what we are challenged to do now — we have to! And, it seems impossible if we watch the news. In Brazil, in the USA, in so many places we seem to be going in exactly the opposite direction. But we have to — let this one sink in: we now have to do the impossible, because the probably is unthinkable and unconscionable (2).
So maybe it is good to be here at Findhorn where one of the tag-lines is often ‘expect a miracle’. We need one!
Another good friend of this community — Robert Gilman — sketches it out in this way. He talks about the ‘tribal era’ that humanity went through. Then with the onset of agriculture — which to some extend was also the beginning of humanity starting to exploit the planet in a way that was not very wise — we became able to settle and the ‘era of empires’ started.
We started to build cities. We started to create nations and empires that went to war against each other. So — we began a war against nature and in doing so began a war against ourselves. — And then, Robert speaks about humanity moving into the ‘planetary era’ (3).
What I like about this graph[above]: in many ways, it seems that with the beginning of the Renaissance we enabled the ‘scientific revolution’ and a new kind of technology was made possible that made it also possible to destroy the planet much faster. At the same time — through science — the same science that gave us these destructive technologies also gave us an understanding of being part of this living planet.
This transition out of the era of empires into the planetary era — to us with our 70, 80, 85, 90 year lifespan — seems very long; but really it is short for a complete transformation of our civilizational presence in Earth. And — that sometimes gives me hope: that we are at the end of the long transition era and that what seems like ‘nothing is moving’ is actually part of a larger process.
So we are moving into the planetary era.
[I will keep working on this transcript in the coming days as time permits and publish more of the talk. If you want to watch the whole talk, it is 26 minutes long, links below!]
(1) [thanks to Christopher Chase for a conversation that helped me see that]
(2) [Thanks to Kevin Barron, used part of this phrase in a comment on social media]
(3) [See also Sean Kelly’s excellent book ‘Coming Home: Birth & Transformation in the Planetary Era’]
Daniel Christian Wahl — Catalyzing transformative innovation in the face of converging crises, advising on regenerative whole systems design, regenerative leadership, and education for regenerative development and bioregional regeneration.
Author of the internationally acclaimed book Designing Regenerative Cultures
Medium: Blog with more than 300 articles
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