Monday, November 16, 2009

Paul Horan responds to the Dot Earth blog post "Promising New Communication Experiments"

Paul Horan responds to the Dot Earth blog post "Promising New Communication Experiments"


Bioneers is a well-managed, non-profit, educational phenomenon (i.e., a public intelligence gathering and distributing activity) that recently celebrated its 20th annual conference. Bioneers' gatherings have for the past two decades been successfully pushing humanity's envelope in terms of "environmental communication" and continue to succeed at sharpening our species' cutting edge in this regard. Here's my evidence for making such a claim from this year alone:

•Nineteen live video feeds via satellite across the USA to local, "open to the public" community gatherings, plus one similar live feed to an "official" gathering via partnership with the North American Association of Environmental Education.

•And in terms of enduring follow through, for anyone interested who was otherwise busy while the live conference unfolded, select Bioneers' presentations (comparable to TED talks) are freely available online:

•Also, here's an example of a Bioneers' affiliate, "Treehugger" engaging in effective environmental communication via an online audio clip re: the subject "greenwikias":

These folks are pushing the envelope of what actually needs to be learned if we have any hope of preventing and managing the messes we've been making. Their expansive efforts to relay both video and audio signals of conference presentations via live satellite feeds, delayed YouTube links, DVD and CD recordings, as well as word of mouth, etc., are a big part of Bioneers' in process and ever evolving endeavor to convey valuable insights derived from both bold confrontation with our species' current crises as well as from clear, hopeful (as in "hope with its sleeves rolled up," as per David Orr) determination to enrich our global and local public good.

Simply acknowledging current crises conditions makes a difference that makes a difference. If one of the next rules of thumb for effective crisis management is to remain calm, we've got some serious work cut out for ourselves.

Nonetheless, remaining truly calm as we confront crises (that include many players, both denying current crises conditions and beginning to freak out as more evidence mounts) may be one of the best ways to attract other players' attention.

As human life forms, which game are we choosing to play: "Destroy Life on Earth" or "Enjoy Life Earth"? Forty sumpthin' years ago, Pogo suggested we consider that "we've met the enemy and the enemy is us." Just think how much time and creative energy we could free up and make available to Enjoy Life on Earth if we calmly chose to dial back this self-enmity inertia. That strikes me as an attractive organizing principle for human beings eager to thrive on our planet. Rather than fall prey to such man-made and fear-driven fantasies as our military-industrial-complex, let's calm down, cheer up and keep it simple, Smartypants. If we're bold and clear and compassionate enough to converse about this challenge of actually recognizing "we've met the enemy and the enemy is us" then something like "open source espionage" begins to make some sense.

Just for the heck of it and to enjoy a little change of pace, let's consider we're all on the same team. Let's assume that each and every human being is a crew member on this Spaceship Earth, as the late great Bucky Fuller used to put it. If we're all players at the leading edge of evolution, with the arrow of time pointing in one direction, what kind of information are we actively engaged in communicating to our fellow team mates? What needs to be learned so we most enjoy this game? If we're courageous and free enough to remove our "official" hats and simply bask in our own humanity ... our own human dignity ... our own individual human agency well integrated with the recognition that we might just wanna give genuine, open collaboration a more earnest attempt ... , what kind of human resourcefulness are we ready, willing and able to bring to this most challenging of games we're playing? In what kinds of "communication experiments" are we engaging to ensure that future folks feel grateful for the quality of our play? How much freedom, in terms of both free thought and free speech, are we willing to exercise? How much care are we willing to invest in communicating with one another?

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