I find it difficult to put into words what Bloom Network means to me, and why I continue to donate my time, money and effort to this organization. It has meant so many things.
I believe in evolution, in the sense that I see how all beings grow and change in response to their environment. Our lives carry a spark from the first life, we are enduring flames which have persevered from Earth’s earliest moments into this present moment today. We have succeeded in dominating this planet and are some of its most populous beings in terms of the changes we effect. We are able to create new ideas, direct the evolution of Earth’s life forms, and shape the planet to meet our needs.
Much as apes are spontaneously learning to make tools, populations in humanity give rise to ideas that represent an evolution of the human psyche. Each day the 7.53 billion of us and counting are contributing to a future ecosphere, the place where our children’s children will play, creating fields of biohazard waste, seas of polypropylene, sharp obstacles for the feet of the future, and poisoning the watersheds. We have the ability to consciously direct what our biosphere becomes, and through the mire of “what have we always done” is emerging a collective vision of what we instead have to do.
The members of Bloom network, across cultures, languages and continents, share a unity of purpose and an understanding of the urgency to create a future that sustains coming generations. Protecting our watersheds is paramount to continuing life in the biosphere, retarding the spread of plastic is imperative to the health of our marine life, respecting and fostering Earth’s lifeforms means they can also evolve and someday tell a story to enrich our limited understanding. We don’t know what life’s purpose is – but we do know that it cannot exist in its current state if we fundamentally alter the chemical structure of Earth’s watersheds, oceans and lands.
The main crisis of Earth’s humanity is one of philosophy, and Bloom offers a path to an evolution of the mind. Indigenous cultures who grew from land they still inhabit offer perspectives of harmony with the environment that we have lost in our world of global migration. With their guidance, we support and foster groups around the world that represent and protect the watersheds, educate communities in ways that give back to Earth, and move away philosophically from believing that “the way we have always done it” is the only way we can live. Humanity’s spark of life thrived for billions of years before plastic, before coal, and can return to lifestyles that foster a healthy biosphere, through innovation in technology and deep societal understanding of interconnected global systems.
Bloom Network is my proof this cleaner world exists, I am a part of it. We create permanent hubs of culture that value the future of all life on Earth. Those hubs influence education, promote innovation, and create safe spaces in a world that suffers, from the widespread trauma of using resources for the good of a few and to the detriment of many. Humanity has evolved and I believe Bloom Network has the power to draw in others who share this vision of a managed biosphere. It reminds me how many of us have always been working to get there, working to find the minds ready to learn.
Meg Rivers is a co-founder of Bloom Network and works as a senior consultant for Onix Networking. She is also a painter, sculptor, musician, writer, and mother. Cover image is her collage, Heart Falls.
Exciting news! Bloom Network is looking for new board members as we emerge from design phase to implementation. Is this you? Let us know!
Joining the Bloom Network nonprofit board is an exciting opportunity to:
Influence the direction of the emerging regenerative movement
Meet leaders from diverse industries and social movements
Learn innovations in finance and governance that Bloom advocates
Bloom Network’s mission is to connect and support regenerative culture makers. We produce events and media through local chapters around the world, and take action together to achieve deeper wellness for our societies, our ecologies, and our economies. Bloom Network is currently informally led by our “Wisdom Council” of experienced local organizers and our active members, so that our real on-the-ground communities inform what features and developments happen here. In 2020 we will be formalizing this legally, with your assistance.
You’ll find our strategic plan here. One of our main goals 2019-2020 is fundraising for Bloom for the first time.
Requirements will be minimal, with a quarterly board meeting attended virtually. Getting up to speed on what Bloom Network is does take an unusual amount of bandwidth at first, as we are a new kind of organization.
Ideal Bloom board members at this time represent two of the following:
Professional experience in either media/marketing leadership or finance leadership
Based outside of the U.S.
Experience with an early stage organization
Available to assist with connections to philanthropists and grants that are a good match for Bloom
If you’d like to contribute as a Bloom board member, please email a letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please outline your experience, a few specifics of what you would like to contribute, and what communities and network connections you work with. Lastly, please include a link to your LinkedIn or CV. Thank you!
This September, with the buzz of Pollination still pulsating in our hearts, the Bloom Network team set out to Planet Home – a weekend long edutainment experience in San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. Planet Home brought together thousands of individuals and organizations in the VILLAGE to amplify solutions to the planet’s greatest environmental challenges. The gorgeous backdrop for the experience was comprised of thought-provoking art and music, and the focus was a good dose of environmental awakening through workshops, talks, and incredible exhibits. The event also included VISIONS – an exclusive summit, as part of the Planet Home program, inviting “world business leaders and global thought leaders to discover actionable environmental solutions.”
The Bloom Network team took the opportunity to network with potential collaborators, reconnect with allies and supporters of our work, and take in the creative collective that was brought together by Planet Home, an EQ event. We also wanted to take the opportunity and extend a warm invitation to attendees to join Bloom Network at an Unofficial “Afterparty”. With the invitation of Sean Stevens, on Sunday evening we moved the festivities to the heart of SF, atop the home of an incredible emergent creator space he’s working on. Momentum ∞ [Momentum Infinity] brings together artists and makers for co-creation and exploration – a perfect space for us to stew in the radiance we’ve been absorbing.
Some 30-40 open minds came through the backdoor of Odd Job – a craft cocktail bar downstairs – ascended the stairs of the co-working space, and stepped through a portal of opportunities on the roof. The Bloom Network team took the chance to invite our guests co-create on the rooftop space with us. We brought pillows and notebooks, puzzles and markers, and asked our guests to help us create the space they’d like to play in. Our backdrop was the warm late-summer air, twinkling city, and the magical blooming techno flower of Sustainable Magic.
The result was a warm gathering of minds, sharing their experiences, brainstorming new connections and re-meeting each other for the first time. The event was a welcome continuation to what started at Pollination, furthered at Planet Home, and continues to this day with the work Bloom Network is doing to connect and co-create a billion acts of regeneration.
New relationships blossomed with experts in fields from solar to finance, from art to technology, movement building, indigenous leadership networks in the Amazon, and permaculture. The conversations that sprouted continue to inspire us!
We invite you to stay connected with us through our newsletter, and stay tuned for updates as our network grows and changes the world. It can’t happen without you!
by Hannah Mitchell – Bloom Network Community Lead, (Miss Hannigan)
Following Bloom Network’s Pollination event, I headed to Burning Man and made sure I saw the Terran Collective* (hosts of one of the Pollination Labs) speaking as a panel at the camp of Burners Without Borders**.
I was blown away by the poise and clarity with which all the members of the Terran Collective spoke. Their assuredness intertwined with vulnerability was a powerful thing to witness.
After their panel, I found Clare and asked how it was that she was able to speak with such coherence. Clare immediately responded that it was from the deep knowing that she was held, supported and trusted within her collective. This gave her the strength to do more than what she would be able to individually.
While we have become adept at embracing self-healing and restoring our individual resonance, building a close-knit team and working together in a healthy way remains a sticking spot for many of us. So diving deeper with Clare, we discussed further about what Terran Collective had discovered in working together to build collective resonance as a small working group.
Clare’s Tips on Building Collective Resonance
Being committed to your own healing and self-work is crucial. It’s difficult to work with people who are unwilling to look into themselves and work through trauma and other issues that arise.
Knowing Each Other
Meet in person – eye to eye, heart to heart. It is very important to meet face to face and to look each other in the eye. This means your energies will integrate better and the trust and collective resonance will grow. (Maori phrase: “kanohi ki te kanohi”).
Get to know each other’s stories, triggers and traumas. As scary as that sounds, it’s important to hear and share your life experiences with each other and how that has affected you.
Understand each other’s stories and hold each other. More than just knowing, it’s important for all members to understand how people’s life experiences have affected them. Then, when you see someone from your collective reacting to something, you understand the traumatised place it’s coming from. This makes it easier and more productive to counter-balance and lean into the situation to help
Commit to “having each other’s back”. Everyone needs a few people they can truly rely on. To be able to fall back on when times are tough, and who will stand up for you in your time of need.
Create shared goals and work towards them together. It’s hard to achieve anything without a clear idea about where you are going and what your goals are.
Work out how to be accountable to each other. Each group will have their own way of keeping each other accountable to the work you are committing too, both in the goals you have set and in the personal work you commit to. Being accountable also extends to the commitment you make to your group and being there for each other.
All of these aspects work together to be able to form a healthy, well-functioning and supportive group. This then leads to the ability to be able to speak coherently and confidently like I witnessed at Burning Man. When you are held and supported by a trusted group the possibilities of what you can do together are profound. Truly, most change happens when we have groups functioning like this.
Photo Above: Terran Collective including Tibet Sprague, Kelly Erhart, Neha Sharma, Clare Politano and Aaron Brodeur at Burners Without Borders theme camp, Burning Man 2019.
*Terran Collective are a Bloom Bay Area Chapter, and hosted one of the Pollination Labs – focussing around trust, and building a measurement tool that could be used to track it. Follow this link to the Terran Collective website: http://www.terran.io/
**Burners Without Borders are also partnering with Bloom Network to deliver trainings to Burners and Bloomers in 2020.
Anyka Barber is founder, director and curator of Betti Ono gallery in Oakland, California.
We reached out to Anyka in response to Betti Ono’s fundraiser to power arts, culture, and community resilience. Contribute at https://bettiono.com/donate/.
Betti Ono is an experimentally minded space for art + culture + community. They are 100% Black women led and operated, dedicated to amplifying the work and voices of under-represented artists. Their vision and creative practice embody the bold, curious and unapologetic spirit of the gallery’s name-sakes Betti Mabry Davis and Yoko Ono. At Betti Ono, making art is a function of activism, community transformation, and cultural resilience.
Born and raised in Oakland, California Anyka Barber is a mother, an artist/activist, curator and entrepreneur. In 2010 Anyka founded Betti Ono, a creative social enterprise and center for arts, culture, and community committed to the cultural, social, political and economic emancipation and development of low-income, immigrant, and LGBTQ communities of color. In her role as director and curator of Betti Ono, she has curated and produced more than 60 exhibitions and public programs, as well as designed and integrated art, enterprise and social impact strategy to leverage creative capital, cultural products, and networks for good. She was most recently Director of Engagement and the Center for Audience and Civic Engagement at the Oakland Museum leading the museum’s signature education and public programs teams. She was Program Officer and Fellow at The San Francisco Foundation working with the Anchoring Communities/Place team to activate more than $10M in investments to preserve the racial and cultural identity of the Bay Area, prevent the displacement of low-income and communities of color and bring greater racial and economic equity to the region.
Behind the scene, Anyka is committed to strengthening the Bay Area arts community as an arts advocate and advisor. In June 2015, Anyka initiated the formation and design of a grassroots arts action and advocacy body, the Oakland Creative Neighborhoods Coalition, whose mission is to “#KeepOaklandCreative, affordable and vibrant!” Anyka was named Most Socially Engaged Curator in 2015 and Betti Ono was nominated and voted ‘Best of the East Bay’ for the past five consecutive years 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 by East Bay Express.
DAO stands for decentralized autonomous organization. It’s a new kind of organization that is native to the internet. DAO’s make it easier to run companies that don’t necessarily have hierarchies of power, or they can have more diverse and subtle power relationships. They decentralize power – meaning that decisions and resource allocation can happen among customizable sets of people, peer-to-peer, without having to funnel decisions and money up a hierarchy of people that make more money or otherwise extract value. DAO’s can also be called “smart organizations”.
The technology that powers DAO’s – blockchains – also make it possible to do things like “liquid democracy“, which theoretically can achieve more deeply informed and equitably distributed decision making. Peer-to-peer democracy is possible now! Think about that. Soon you’ll be able to do it through Bloom Network.
Anyone can start a DAO, and with a platform like Aragon or other DAO applications, it literally takes 30 seconds, compared to weeks or months if one sets up an organization through their state. Yes, today there are applications on the internet that allow you to instantly start an organization to collaborate with people locally or internationally. We need those! Now.
Bloom Network is really excited about DAO’s because they make it possible for us to run our collective as an international cooperative, that is truly owned by all our members and can freely self organize, without risking the kinds of power abuse and siphoning of value that are endemic to most of our older paradigm institutions. Bloom Network is a strange beast in that we are actually more like a connective tissue for many companies to collaborate through – DAO’s provide more flexibility to have collaborative business models. We are doing a governance hackathon now and at our conference, Pollination this August to set it all up and work through the intricacies. Please join us! Or keep reading to learn more about DAO’s and digital currency.
One of the technologies behind DAO’s is called smart contracts. Those can be coded so that, for example, in an activist organization, three of five people have to sign off on a transaction in order to issue funds to a specific person or for a specific project. DAO’s eliminate some of the administrative load of running an organization. Once a vote passes that approves, say $30,000 being allocated to an organization to build an urban food forest, that money is automatically issued to the organization and no human has to administer paperwork for that to happen. This all also puts in place some safeguards for collaborating with people you might not have yet established deep trust with – this will soon be important with more large-scale disaster response efforts.
Another thing DAO’s make it easier to do is work as an international organization. Instead of paying for currency exchange and wire fees, and waiting several days for transactions to clear, DAO’s run on the blockchain and cryptocurrency. You can nearly instantly send money from one country to another, in pure math, and not have to run the transaction through the third party of a bank with all its overhead costs and siphoning of some value. This isn’t just exciting for some “buck the system” reason; it is absolutely essential for the large-scale mobilizations that will need to happen increasingly often in the coming years due to climate change, migration, and large-scale demand for decentralized, localized autonomy. The reason local autonomy is important, is that part of resilience to weather anomalies, and part of restabilizing our planet’s carbon cycle, AND having less extreme inequality, is making local changes to the ways we do transportation, watershed repair, community forestry and agriculture. DAO’s make the legal landscape of this much more streamlined, fluid and fast. We think it’s also going to make it easier for large-scale finance institutions to work with these smaller fast-moving community groups. Our Bloom Network crew wants to help people get familiar with and orient to this new governance operating system that is better designed to handle the 21st century’s challenges.
Cryptocurrency software is built out enough now that an average person can use it easily enough. We’re hosting an introduction to getting started with cryptocurrency this Monday U.S.-time if you’d like to get a walk through. It’s much easier if someone shows you step by step and you do it with them. There are more and more services built on the blockchain so you can use cryptocurrency to purchase things and otherwise transact, without having to exchange the money back into your country’s currency. We could go farther down the rabbit hole with you, but we’ll stop here for now. Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to participate.