What We Do: Our Philosophy
The Green World Campaign wants to seed new forests, but that's just the start. We're exploring new models of social action, sustainable community, and compassionate living. Below are a few thinking-aloud principles we're using as a jumping-off point. Let us know your thoughts.
- TOOLS AND SOLUTIONS: Greening the world calls for innovation, but also for acting on what we know. We want to highlight the best practices and best cases — both technological and civic — that can truly actualize our hopes for a green (i.e., thriving, equitable, peaceful) world. We see the Green World Campaign as a clearinghouse/skills bank/ think-tank to pool our talents, experience, and resources: how do we best propagate and implement new blueprints (greenprints?) for positive, effective change? Our working method has been "stone soup," inviting people to add their ingredients to the pot. So far, so good — in fact, delicious...
- PARTICIPATION/CONNECTION: We want to provide opportunities for more people to directly contribute to transforming our world. By making direct links between individuals, organizations, donors and recipients, we're creating a web of relationship that allows creative solutions to emerge from a wide spectrum of stakeholders. Information scientists talk about the "emergent properties" of complex systems, noting that the more individual units are linked, in more directions and with greater transmission speeds, the more surprising new capacities appear. (See Brain, comma, Human.) What happens when the new global brain of the Web develops hands, feet, and a heart?
- REAL-WORLD COMMUNITY: We don't want to be just a "virtual organization" or an "online community" but a framework for spending time with each other, from potlucks and "parties with a purpose" to conferences, cultural events, and civic initiatives. A recent example: A restaurant in L.A. donated space for a party, film screening and benefit auction that funded our Website development and a planting of 30,000 trees. A high point was the showing of "What One Seed Can Grow". The event gave diverse people a chance to meet and think about new ways to collaborate. Let us know if you're interested in hosting an event.
- NEW MEDIA ACTIVISM: We've seen the ability of the Web to mobilize people in "real space" and "real time" (remember how 10 million people around the world were mobilized to gather in public places to oppose the run-up to the Iraq war?). Our ability to tangibly work together via new communications media has just begun to be explored. We could see this as an on-going rapid-response action for the environment; as an advertising and publicity campaign offering easy, transparent, low-overhead transactions for global sustainability; as a "brand identity" that can be adopted by groups and coalitions for a spectrum of green activities. Let's learn how to use new tools to produce concrete results and co-create the world we'd like to live in.
- POSITIVE FEEDBACK LOOPS: Many large-scale campaigns and media events aimed at "creating awareness" of big issues don't always make clear what they are tangibly doing to address them. The contributions may pour in, but it's not always obvious where they go, what is really achieved, or how sustainable the outcome is. The Green World Campaign wants to produce visible, measurable effects by pooling our efforts and clearly displaying the results. We're working out ways to use dynamic, real-time maps to illustrate the human and environmental outcomes of our funding.
- ETHOS: We want to base our organizational practice on the central point of all spiritual and humanistic traditions: compassion; empathy; the belief that there's no "other," just "us." As people who care about the communication of ideas and images we know that to move people to action, we must honor those systems of meaning and value that inform lives, animate communities, and shape worldviews. This includes our inner lives and our interpersonal ethics. So, we stay open to what poet Dylan Thomas called "the force that through the green fuse drives the flower," and strive to be kind.
- ABOUT PEACE, LOVE, & UNDERSTANDING: We all try to live holistically, to be smart, green consumers, to support the causes we believe in. But if we really want to heal our world, we need more than topical remedies. If war against nature or nations is an infection in the human system, the antidote lies in strengthening what it most directly attacks: our capacity for compassion. Similarly, knowing how to properly "value" Nature — e.g., for "carbon credits" — may not be enough; we need to really love it (or start looking for a new evolutionary niche). Love, as everyone knows, is less about grand gestures than daily increments. If we each all simply took less, gave more, tithed our time and energy, invested our love and our imagination, what then? On a practical note, we've observed that basic techniques for conflict resolution ("getting to yes," "compassionate listening", forgiveness, etc.) work wonders in relationships, organizations, and nations.
- GO GLOBOLOCAL: In an interconnected world, the good of each is tied to the good of all. A problem "over there" becomes, in an eye blink, a problem "over here." And so does a solution. Whatever activities we sponsor, we want them to simultaneously benefit people and the environment at home and in so-called faraway lands. We're looking at creating city-wide celebrations that would "paint the town green" and include community gardens for the homeless and planting trees Ethiopia. (Our shorthand for this is Green City/Green World.)
- THE SEVENTH GENERATION: Kids. Yours, mine, everybody's. We subscribe to green architect Bill McDonough's big question — How do we love all the children of the all species for all time? Today's school kids will be the inheritors of the decisions we make every day, and we want to involve them. We are looking at ways to enable classes to adopt villages, fund small agro-forestry and appropriate technology projects that, along with projects in their own communities, can form the basis for a green curriculum. We're thinking of everything from webcam pen pals to Green World Schools that combine the best educational techniques with "eco-literacy." And what about Green World Campaign as a "sustainable UNICEF?"