How is burner culture transitioning to regenerative projects?
Bloom’s monthly theme is about sharing our platform with our partners, and this month we brought Bloom and Burner networks together to mutually share intelligence around regenerative projects. Some burners shared about the regenerative projects they are involved in, we heard an update on how the 2030 Environmental Sustainability Roadmap has progressed in the past year and Molly Rose chatted about the amazing Covid-19 response happening through Burners Without Borders.
This was the beginning of a long term goal to share our platform with other organisations that Bloom Network partners with, to boost the signal and solve problems together by jamming often.
Christopher Breedlove, Director of Civic Activation for Burning Man, International
Leave No Trace has been the primary example of Burning Man’s environmental commitment, and has a good track record. But looking forward, BM recognises that Leave No Trace means something very different in the future.
1) No Matter Out of Place – Handling all waste ecologically, (completion goal 2–4 years),
2) Be Regenerative – Create a net positive ecological and environmental impact. (completion goal 5–8 years),
3) Be Carbon Negative – Remove more carbon from the environment than we put into it. (completion goal 8+ years).
It is believed that the carbon footprint of That Thing in the Desert is around 100k tons per year (historical carbon is not included). Because Burning Man is cancelled this year, they have to wait until next year to complete a planned piece of research, building a comprehensive carbon map of the event.
The LAGI 2020 Fly Ranch is a multi-disciplinary challenge that seeks to attract entries of regenerative infrastructure that is both an artwork and functional. This is a great opportunity to do some creative R&D onsite as well as forming the foundations of Fly Ranch. There are 5 categories, with 2 winners per category – who will all be given a space on the ranch and a stipend to make the visions become reality. Submissions are due 31 October 2020.
Will Heegaard, Footprint Project, USA
Will Heegaard has worked with Black Rock Solar and now heads the Footprint Project, providing rapidly deployable, clean energy resources in first response to disasters and recovery phase situations (eg Tennessee Tornadoes). Will had just dropped off a solar trailer in Florida, and was enroute West to move other solar units before the wildfire season. Will knew 2020 would be busy, but of course had no idea what was going to hit the world. “It’s fantastic that communities are rallying around mobilizing clean energy versus traditional energy after disasters.”
Footprint Project plans to keep building portable and mobile solar kits as fast as possible and deliver systems to as many ‘problems’ they can find, as long they have a mobilized network of volunteers. People wanting to help with the Footprint Project can sign up to volunteer and donate on their website. Will is also keen to hear about storage ideas for the units in the NorCal area.
Molly Rose, Burners without Borders, USA
There has been an outstanding response from burners resolving Covid-19-related crises in their hometowns. For the past 3 months weekly Community Roundup Calls have been held to profile these projects. Over 80 projects have been presented in this time, as well as continuing to strengthen and build networks within the community. This great example of the burner “do-ocracy” spirit can be read more about on the new BWB project search engine and get involved via their Facebook page.
Lumi Ricardi, Positive Postits, Australia
A heart of hearts has been created in Canberra, Australia, with Positive Postits. This street-connective art uses postit notes with positive messages written on them to foster a sense of connection and hope within neighbourhoods. Lumi and other Positive Posters have ‘drawn’ a heart across north Canberra, picking suburbs to post the notes on lampposts and walls in the shape of a heart. The project has even been picked up by the local radio station. Lumi hopes that people in other cities will take up the idea, so many ‘heart of hearts’ can pop up around the world. Watch Lumi’s tutorial videos on the website, or connect through the Positive Postits FB page.
Hannah Mitchell, Northland Burn, New Zealand
Sharing a vision for a new kind of burn, Hannah (Community Support for Bloom Network), outlined how she wants to use the Burn concept to create a Burn 2.0. Her dream is to create an immersive festival experience of a temporary city which embodies a 50:50 collaboration with Maori, the local indigenous people of Northland, New Zealand. There are 4 proposed pillars of this Burn, Ti Tiriti o Waitangi (the founding document of NZ), Regenerative Culture, Whanau/Family Friendly and ‘Beyond the Burn’. This vision is in research phase, because there is a lot to learn before approaching Maori communities with a meaningful proposal. Some great work is being done by Maori in the area that Hannah lives around “Papakaigna” design (pre-European villages). You can also find out more about other interesting conversations happening in New Zealand in this blog.
Magenta Ceiba, Bloom Network
Magenta rounded out the call with talking about the regional and international regeneration and resilience coalitions that Bloom Network is connected to and works with on a regular basis.
“What’s great about these coalitions is that they highlight the importance of climate justice and economic equality as important aspects of regenerative cultures”, says Magenta. This is important to Bloom because it is common to think that ‘regeneration’ is focused on the environment. Regenerative culture is also about connecting multiple different social movements that are needed to shift our society as well.
“Yes, we need to regenerate our ecology stat. But the means through which we’ll do that is by regenerating our social and societal fabrics to be healthy ones”.
Alongside that Bloom is creating media structures that support constructive dialogue and action. One goal is to flip the mainstream narrative away from fear and disempowerment, frozenness… which ultimately involves changing our media structures and providing alternatives to the current social media networks (because they can be unhealthy and unhelpful). Bloom is in the process of building its own DAO – Decentralised Autonomous Organisation – to create a cooperative that works both locally and for international collaboration.
Here are some of the incredible networks Bloom works in coalition with:
Two people were invited but were not able to make the Community Call. Their projects are:
#FarmNextdoor by Carl Freedom, at Freedom Farms, New Zealand. Researching how to build micro-local vegetable farms and customer-base in the suburbs (in New Zealand the typical house has 1.4 acre land).
Regenesis Reno with Gordon Gossage, USA. Connecting people, place, and potential and inspiring Western Nevada to flourish by co-creating a sustainable, equitable, and regenerative community.
With New Zealand is entering its 3rd consecutive week with no reported Corona-19 cases, conversations around the island nation are rising about how to use this time as a spring-board into a better and more just society.
Since April 15, young local councillors Tamatha Paul (Wellington City Councillor) and Thomas Nash (Greater Wellington
Region Councillor) have been convening panel discussions with some of New Zealand leading researchers, thinkers and politicians covering a range of topics, which all have Ti Tiriti o Waitangi* at its heart, (*the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding
As the Covid-19 lockdown closed everything in NZ down, the inspiring meetings and conversations that Tamatha and Thomas were having in real
life ground to halt. They decided to regenerate those conversations in the digital world, creating a weekly panel called “The Aotearoa Town Hall”.
“Being on council means that you hear from awesome people all the time, locals with deep knowledge, high-level experts, people working hard
in the community. We wanted everyone to be able to access the korero” says Tamatha.
“We know there can be no change without constitutional transformation, and this only comes from spreading the knowledge and having conversations”.
Conscious that only a certain type of people engage with the current political system, they wanted to find other ways to share about how change can come through leveraging off Ti Tiriti o Waitangi, as it is the foundational document that NZ laws can give effect through.
Some panel topics have covered Economics (with guest Kate Raworth author of Doughnut Economics), Universal Education and Income, Public Health,
Whanau (Family) Focussed Responses, Climate Justice and Transportation and Urban Design.
“These conversations show how Ti Tiriti o Waitangi is relevant across all different topics and spaces, and the Town Halls show an alternative
reality if it underpinned everything. These conversations are keeping people motivated and pushing for change”.
We’re adding an extra call to our line-up and moving things around. Here is the monthly call schedule for the rest of 2020. All these sessions are free to the public. To find out more about our paid membership perks, head here.
Call times are fixed to USA times. Other countries will vary according to shifts in daylight savings. Keep up with the changes and plan ahead by doing your own calculations according to the USA times stated. As Bloom Network grows we will add sessions time-appropriate to the parts of the world that need them.
1st Mondays – Open Mesh Platforms – Fixed Time 12pm Pacific
These sessions will be a mix of 1. “Introduction to the decentralized web” so it grows beyond early adopters, 2. Jamming with both software development communities and regenerative leaders on the ground, and 3. Utilizing existing decentralized web infrastructure to support collaboration among regenerative projects locally and internationally. Come and geek out with Bloomers who care deeply about data sovereignty, transparent governance and peer-to-peer networks. To find out more go here: https://bloomnetwork.org/the-decentralized-web-for-regenerative-projects/
Local times: First Mondays in Western Hemisphere: USA 12pm Pacific (fixed time), UK 8pm, CEST 9pm, East Africa 10pm // First Tuesdays in Eastern Hemisphere: Japan 4am, Australia 3am Western, 5am Eastern, New Zealand 7am.
3rd Mondays – Theme Calls – Fixed Time 2pm Pacific
A time for intense learning, these sessions bring key people in regenerative cultures together to chat about their focus area and share their learnings with the community. With plenty of time for questions, these sessions allow us to zoom in on specific topics of interest, and the video is often worth a rewatch because of all the fantastic information shared. These sessions are on a 6 monthly topic schedule. All sessions are available for Bloom Members for post-event watching. https://bloomnetwork.org/community-calls/
Local times: Third Mondays in Western Hemisphere: USA 2pm Pacific (fixed time), UK 10pm, CEST 11pm // Third Tuesdays in Eastern Hemisphere: East Africa 12am, Japan 6am, Australia 5am Western, 7am Eastern, New Zealand 9am
Last Thursdays – Bloom Buds – Fixed Time 6pm Pacific
Bounce into Spring and share Autumn harvests* with Bloom Buds! Stop and smell the flowers in our casual catch-up sessions (optional: with a beverage of your choice). Share stories and creative endeavours from your part of the world, come together and break bread with other people doing regenerative culture. (*for our Southern Hemisphere Bloomers).
Local times: Last Thursdays Western Hemisphere:USA: 6pm Pacific Fixed Time, UK 2am, CEST 3am // Last Fridays Eastern Hemisphere: East Africa 4am, Japan 10am, Australia 9am Western, 11am Eastern, New Zealand 1pm
As Bloom Network Membership grows we will add sessions time-appropriate to the parts of the world that need them. Looking forward to chatting with you all soon!
A hot topic at this moment, Bloom Network’s Community Call about Future Economies was well attended this month. With guests, Shavaun Evans from New Economics Coalition, Nathan Schneider from Media Enterprise Design Lab (Colorado), and Manuel Maqueda from KUMU Labs it was a high level, but heart-filled discussion. All guests and their work were grounded in deep democracy and cooperative ownership and a culture for mutual aid and respect for the earth.
Our first guest, Shavaun Evans, spoke about the work of from New Economy Coalition. NEC is a coalition of 200+ organizations and works on small to large scales, building new systems or new economies that put people and planet first. It is doing an “important job of bringing together the economic models and the intersectional analysis we need that recognizes how the crimes of our current system are not equally distributed” (Nathan Schneider).
NEC has a website full of resources to help the transition of different groups to cooperatives, land trusts, mutual aid networks, time banks, intentional communities, revolving loan funds and public banks. NEC has policy tool kits on “Pathway to a People’s Economy”, climate justice policy, finance policy, worker ownership, community controlled housing.
“In thinking about what the new economy is… so much of the new economy and that next system that we’re trying to build is already embedded in many of our ancestries and much of our culture. It’s something I saw my father doing, bartering his okra for our neighbor’s strawberries, or my mother doing childcare swaps with her sisters or others in our communities. That consideration of community, that mutual aid and respect for one another and care for each other and the earth… So much of that is already a part of our cultures and a part of what folks have been doing and are continuing to do, especially in these moments of crisis. So much of that is embedded in what we call the ‘new economy’,” says Evans.
When commenting on NEC’s great successes, Evans talked of how last year USA saw federal legislation pass that supports worker cooperatives and increased energy around public banks, with public banking legislation in California. And in this COVID-19 moment there have been successful campaigns to cancel rent or mortgages.
“The system that we’re currently living under is not the system that we have to be in in the future. There are lots of options for us to move forward by putting people over profits. People have been doing it better and will continue to do it better, and this is rising between the cracks and [will] start to solidify into our next system.”
Nathan highlighted the crisis of accountability and data in the online economy, and the common issues around labour and persistent patterns of abuse, which the labour markets of online communities have exacerbated.
Like Shavaun, Nathan reflected on
the cooperative businesses his ancestors were part of, which were owned and
governed by the people they serve. The only way his
grandfather got electricity on his farm was through a rural electric
cooperative, because investor-owned companies had no interest in bringing
electricity to farms.
The new challenge of bringing cooperative governance into the online economy has old answers, Schneider says. At this moment, the economic structure of the tech economy is oriented against a cooperative model, as the policy framework is not there. A farm can go to a coop bank, but if you’re doing a tech startup for a marginalized community, access to the same capital is not available.
Nathan listed a number of organisations that have been trying new models and approaches which are available on our wiki here. He also spoke to how there is the option of ‘exiting to community’. Rather than starting as a coop from the beginning, companies can start as conventional start-ups and as they become things that people rely on, they can become owned and governed by that community. So he’s trying to make it an available option for founders and investors to build companies that their users will become the stewards for. It’s a work in progress that is not yet resolved. This was confirmed during recent work with the founder of Meetup, Scott Hyperman, in trying to turn Meetup into a coop instead of turn it over to another set of investors. They couldn’t figure it out.
Successful examples of a transition to a cooperative can be seen in local USA newspapers such as in Ohio, recently the Salt Lake Tribune converted to a nonprofit. “A mission-centric, community-centered approach is the healthy outcome for [a news organization]”, says Schneider. He also touched on the power of spiritual and religious communities for building these kinds of models based on cooperation. The North American credit union system and worker cooperatives in Europe were often motivated through religious communities. “In a very hard entrepreneurial sense, these communities were able to imagine and achieve things that others around them were not able to access”.
In response to COVID-19 questions, Schneider says there’s a craving for building what comes after this. “There will be many opportunities to introduce models of community-based entrepreneurship that we really need, but there really needs to be a society-wide commitment to say, ‘We’re going to support this because we know it’s important, even if it’s not going to be profitable.'”
In summing up, Schneider says that this shift to
more coopertative, democratic platforms are essential if we claim to live in a
democratic society. We should expect as a norm that the institutions we depend
on are democratic in their practice and structure.
“The idea that we tolerate anything else is baffling to me… I’d hope it would be baffling to other storytellers who are broadcasting our stories. Instead of seeing these options as ‘alternative’, we should see democracy as the norm and look at capitalism as the odd alternative we’ve dead ended ourselves into”.
The good news is, there are ways out, and that is what Future Economies is all about.
Manuel Maqueda started his section of the call bringing into context to the brutal pandemic that is happening, a big shock and shared trauma spanning the world. Sending our hearts out in love, we paused for a moment in silence before Maqueda posed the question, “What does this mean in the transition to a new economy?”
“In terms of impact and likelihood, pandemics are a lot less significant than climate-related events. World Economic Forum does a risk assessment each year, and extreme weather events caused by climate have the highest impact and likelihood. Declining biodiversity and weapons of mass destruction have greater impact than a pandemic.”
On the day of the call, the price of oil dropped to negative value and Maqueda observed that the dangerous solution to the excess could be making more plastics. It takes some courage and skill to expand, explained Maqueda. The transformation of the economy is going to require a change of perspective with more vision and courage, moving from reactive to creative.
Maqueda moved into speaking about circular economies, which he is teaching world leaders in both Spanish and English.
“By making our linear economy more sustainable, we’re just extending its runway. Sooner or later, an economy that is tied to resource extraction, generation of waste and social injustice will implode when it rubs against the natural limits of the planet.”
“Waste is money wasted”.
“What we need to be aiming for is an economy that no longer requires extraction of resources and creation of waste to produce economic benefits to people. A circular economy means that you design out pollution, toxicity, and waste”.
Circular economy goes for effectiveness not efficiency. “It’s an economy for the next 10,000 years”, he says, and it requires a lot of systems thinking – or more specifically “ecosystem thinking”. A later discussion talked through how concepts of resources and language have been a limiting factor in valuing the environment and resources correctly. For example, the forest had only be valued as “lumber” for most of economic history instead of valuing the full scope and life of what happens in a forest. Uncovering the hidden costs that capitalism has ignored is a big step towards stronger future economies.
Maqueda reminded us that all around the world there are people showing up and interested, engaged and passionate.
“It important to remember that we are not alone at all in our desires to create something more just and regenerative. We’re absolutely surrounded by allies and we must keep that in mind.”
This Community Call on Future Economies is so rich in deep knowledge, this blog only highlights some important parts of the discussion!
For full minutes of the call, and video of the call, head here.
A crucial tool in developing regenerative culture is enabling clear and collective communication between people. A high level of innovation is coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, as we quickly transfer to a collective working from home.
It’s not just workplaces that have had to switch, but all
kinds of community groups. I help lead a cub scout pack (26 cubs, 8-11 year olds,
boys:girls – 4:1). After an action-packed summer of hands-on camping activities,
the shift to weekly Zoom calls was a tricky one.
In the last three weeks we’ve managed to develop a flow that I think will be helpful to anyone trying to engage with many children online at once. You can still play games! See a list of games below, and tips for making video call work. Any guidance we can share on this topic is helpful, because as we innovate we need to remember to include children in everything we do, including developing regenerative cultures.
Tips for working with children on video calls
Where possible, people should be using a laptop or device that allows for a panel view.
Log in 15 minutes early. It is good to give freedom to say hello to each other before the official meeting starts.
“Mute all” will become your favourite tool. 20 kids talking at once will hurt your eardrums. Click the option that stops people unmuting themselves. Be aware, this master button mutes everybody, and you need to unmute the leaders again before proceeding with talking.
The use of “thumbs up” “thumbs down” is very helpful for a quick collective response without unmuting everyone. Ask lots of “yes” or “no” questions.
Have at least two people guiding the call.
Structure your call with specific sections (eg: opening, introductions, game, personal badge reports, game, project for homework, game, close, free-time).
Give everyone a chance to speak and talk about their week.
Play games in between talking sections (see list below).
Keep things short and interesting.
Prep 4 people to prepare something extra to talk about (beyond their introduction), rotating this every week so people get more opportunities to be involved in a meaningful way (such as progress on personal badges).
Have hands on activities they can do online together.
Allow time at the end to let them be silly together.
Games to Play on Zoom
It’s amazing how the human brain has the capacity to innovate and adapt quickly. Here are 15 classic games that work in a Zoom situation with children:
Say an object, and everyone draws it at once. For added fun, draw it with the paper on your head (see feature picture).
Do a crazy squiggle on your page -> now make a picture out of it
Pictionary: someone draws a picture and everyone guesses (send ideas privately
Kim’s memory game: A tray of 30 small objects is presented to the call.
Participants look at it for 2 minutes. Then take the tray and participants write
or draw as many objects they can remember.
Hangman: One person choses a word, shows the number of letters and then the kids guess what letters are in it. hands up for saying letters. Draw the hangman in a program like Paint in real time and screen share.
Power of the group: Present an object (cork, paper clip, fork, etc) and get participants to write/draw as many imagined uses out of it as they can in 5 minutes (e.g. cork could be a stamp, doorstop, fire starter). Go through everyone’s at the end and see how many different ideas have been invented. Remind them that with collective thinking more ideas are revealed than if you just do it by yourself.
Fictionary: Find an obscure word in the dictionary and everyone writes down a
definition of what they think it means. Definitions are read out and people
vote as to which is the most realistic.
Time Capsule: Discuss what participants want to remember (good and bad) about this
time of lockdown. Record them in a time capsule to open together later.
Simon Says: “Simon Says point to your (or show us your)”: head, eye, ear, elbow, right hand, armpit, toes etc.
Charades: Message via Zoom privately what they have to act out
Magic Play: Prepare 3 cups by labelling them 1, 2, 3. Hide a coin under one of
the cups and shuffle them, get the kids to guess which one by holding up 1 2 or
Treasure Hunt: One person shows the call an object. Then they turn
off their screen and hide the object (still within sight) somewhere in the
screen shot. Turn the screen on again and people have to find it. Thumbs up
when they have found it.
Scavenger Hunt: Go and find something of: *colour, *beginning with letter *cub scarf.
Scattergories: Have a list of things (link), choose a letter and get the cubs to write down answers they come up with. Points are only scored if answers are unique to the group.
Wink Murder: Message in private to the person who will be the murderer. That person winks intermittently at their camera and people fake die until everyone is dead.
This is just the beginning of a comprehensive list I’m sure.
If anyone has games to add, please email me at email@example.com and we will
add them to the list.
A big thanks to the leaders of Kamo Brownies who has been
sharing their experiences of zoom calls with me. Together we are creating a wonderful
world for children to continue their clubs together from their own homes.