These are not easy times to be doing social change work, but folks we’re working with continue to push bold, innovative new projects that aim to heal our world, our hearts, and our culture. In the hopes of inspiring you, here’s a peek at our full summer workbench.
Finding a new story and new base for nature
For an environmental group in Australia we’re leading a process to come up with a “new story” for nature and build an activated base that mobilizes to protect it. The UN process for biodiversity is expected to grow as big as the UN climate one has, as the extinction and climate are truly the “twin crises” of our times. The trick with nature campaigning today is to come up with a new story that reflects the urgency and the science – which is honestly scary as hell – without further traumatizing people. And to explore building a much wider base – with not just urban enviros but animal lovers, suburban dwellers, maybe even the “ducks and guns” crowd – to build political power and stop the heartbreaking polarization that has dragged down issues like climate into the gutter.
Disrupting fossil finance
For another group of Aussies we’ve been supporting for years we’re helping scale their U.S. and soon to be global campaign targeting the world’s biggest investor, who also happens to be the biggest backer of fossil fuels on earth. After helping launch the campaign last year with a new story to reach influentials in the climate movement and helping build their directed-network, we’re now hoping to drive narrative change in the finance sector and scale the campaign in other cities and countries around the world.
Taking people power from pilot to scale
At the request of one of Canada’s biggest environmental groups, we’re completing a year-long process helping them grow their distributed organizing efforts. Similar to our work with one of the UK’s biggest enviro groups, both have been experimenting with people power and bottom-up structures, in smaller scale, siloed pilots, for years. Now both are rolling out strategies for starting local climate action groups nationally and providing them with more support to provide real leadership and bolder action.
Building a new platform for Reconciliation
At home in Canada, the issue of Indigenous reconciliation continues to be one of our top challenges. There wasn’t a month that went by this year where an Indigenous issue wasn’t dominating the news cycle. But what hasn’t changed, unfortunately, is the low awareness otherwise nice Canadians have on the many ways our justice system continues to perpetuate systemic racism and injustice towards our country’s first peoples, today.
Working with RAVEN we’ve assembled an incredible team to help change that with a new, national Indigenous education platform. Comedian Ryan McMahon has signed on as the host, and the amazing Leena Minifie as co-producer and director for a series of humorous web videos that will lead people to more in-depth conversations and education modules online. We’ve finished the concept and demo reel, and are now helping raise a (hopefully) substantial budget to bring this to life in 2020.
Sharing a “new story” for humanity
Our last project takes us back to one of my core passions – spirituality and consciousness. One of the unintended consequences of our successful fossil fuel and climate campaigning work has been deeper cultural polarization. These days I’m honestly worrying less about our how our climate and nature will adapt to what’s coming, and more about how we humans will respond to all the uncertainty, loss, and change coming our way. As things continue to fall apart, are we going to devolve back to a scarier, darker form of human, or into something beautiful and new?
That’s why it’s particularly inspiring to be working on a project whose sole purpose is to expand consciousness and tell a “new story” about what it means to be human. Journey of the Universe is the result of an epic 20 year exploration by Brian Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim in how new discoveries from science inform our understanding of the evolution of the universe and thus us as a species. After creating an Emmy award winning documentary and a successful online open course at Yale, we’re helping them evaluate where they are, optimize their channels to reach more people and partners, and create a vision for a 21st century content strategy that will help this critical work reach more people with their essential message of meaning, connection, and hope.
Helping campaigning innovations become more evenly distributed
All that and my partner Tom continues to convene dozens of other leading campaigners to develop open guides for many important practices being adopted unevenly in our sector. His Blueprints for Change project now has 13 guides, including “Building networked coalitions (written by some AMAZING people), “Apps and digital platforms for organizers”, and “A/B testing for send outs”. All are available free at BlueprintsFC.org.
So that’s our summer. Hope you found something inspiring for your own work and heart here. Drop us a line of any of this strikes a chord.