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Monday, 25 August 2008 19:50


Section VII - Living the Ecozoic Era
Chapter 1 - Discovery


In its broadest focus, it involves systematic discovery of what gives "life" to a living system when it is most alive, most effective, and most constructively capable in economic, ecological, and human terms.

From the Appreciative Inquiry website


How might we better be in harmony with life?

Two summers ago I designed and facilitated the ‘Caring for Creation' module at the North American United Religions Conference. I used the Appreciative Inquiry sequence of ‘Discovery,' ‘Dream,' ‘Design,' and ‘Destiny' as the basis for the design, and I will use that same flow in this last section of this book. Our intent will be to combine your reflections with some additional learning so that each of us actively and appreciatively participates in the development of the ‘Ecozoic Era.' The ‘Ecozoic Era' may feel a little like a destination, but it is more an organic, sustainable way of being, constantly in flux, and full of life.

Please take the time to reread your ‘Reflections' from each chapter. Hopefully you've shared them with others and through a dialogic process have developed both a better sense of self and community. It might be helpful to list separately your most cherished virtues, the transformations you believe are most necessary, and the actions you deem most relevant.OO_VII-1_2009-03-01 You may then wish to focus and write about the relationship between your individual aspirations and the collective aspirations of the surrounding culture, and how you might both influence change within, and flow with that culture.

I hope you have discovered that you are in the process of change of becoming sustainable, and that you have established a foundation and springboard for moving forth.

I'd like to suggest that there is a massive cultural shift that we are just beginning to understand, and I believe holds the key to success. The shift is to ‘Sufficiency,' and the place where I found it articulated is Chapters 4 -8 of Lynn Twist's, The Soul of Money. Lynn, as you may know, is one of the founders of the ‘ Pachamama ' movement, and prior to that was the lead fundraiser for The Hunger Project - an effort to eradicate hunger from the Earth. Lynn's experiences with the seemingly most impoverished peoples in South America and Africa have led her to believe that although they may appear to us to live a meager existence, they have found an incredible happiness - beyond what is found in the Western world. Lynn's premise is that our Western worldview is one of scarcity, and this is the primary source of our unhappiness, as well as of our struggle with the concept of sufficiency. The happiness of other cultures stems from their harmonious relationships with the Earth and community. The Earth provides, and it is enough. As articulated by Ms. Twist, the most fundamental attributes of 'happy' communities are:

  • allocation is more prized than accumulation;
  • there is an ongoing, profound sense of appreciation of life; and
  • collaboration creates individual and communal wealth.

Lynn then takes her understanding of sufficiency as it relates to the seemingly poorest folks and uncovers its applicability for those who are the most wealthy. She writes of meeting with women executives at Microsoft, and after learning about how they live their virtually 24/7 commitment to work, helps them understand the sufficiency that exists in their lives. From this most important discovery many of these high-powered women have made significant changes in their lives. Some of these changes are individual in terms of how they find more time for family, community, themselves, and friends, but other changes occur also. Many of these women have gotten in touch with the blessings of their lives - blessings that are available to one degree or another to all of us. We have been blessed with so many freedoms, opportunities, and choices, and in many cases these have resulted in the accumulation of significant wealth. With the appreciation of the blessings comes an urge to share and to receive the appreciation of others who benefit from our caring and generosity.

One last short story I'd like to share that puts us in touch with our own sense of ‘can do,' even when faced with making changes of this magnitude. Lynn Twist's name had come up several times when I was trying to raise money to develop a product to help people achieve self-sufficiency. But I'd never met her until I attended a breakout session she was facilitating at a Sustainability conference. Lynn spoke to us passionately about the importance of re-achieving sustainability, and how each of us needed to incorporate some facet of it in our life work. She then introduced me to Appreciative Inquiry, although I don't remember her naming it as such. She asked each of us to reflect on the following: ‘Think of a time when you took a stand and wouldn't back down.' She then asked us to pair up and share our stories. The room was alive, both during the pairings and when some of the stories were shared with the larger group. When we went back into the plenary session and shared a little of what we'd done, it had a profound affect on the whole conference. I felt as if we had just done a powerful closing exercise - ready to go home and do our work. Please answer her question for yourself and find others with whom you can share.




Think of a time when you took a stand and wouldn't back down.

What was the situation?
What was your position?
What was the outcome?
How has this action continued to affect your life?


Rev. 2009-03-01 MOM

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Next: Section VII: Chapter 2 – Dream
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