From Monoculture To Diverse Ecosystems

Post date: Jul 15, 2018 4:6:35 AM

At the recent 150 Years Gathering at Treacy in Parkville Melbourne to mark the arrival of Ambrose Treacy and his co-workers to Oceania, ideas were put forward regarding the self-organizing and self-renewing principles present during times of change and transition in institutions.

The Two Loop Theory provided insight into how various groups actively promote the emerging future, as human and the wider planetary consciousness brings forth a new way of being earth community. Participants were asked if they were midwives (those who assist new life and birth), fixers (those who work conscientiously to maintain the status quo), illuminators (those who constantly throw light on what is broken and what is striving to be born) and the wayfarers (those who risk and lean into the future attuning constantly to the movement of the wild earth spirit who blows where she wills). Where do we expend your energies? Are we prepared to change for the sake of the planetary community of life in order to co-create a world more grounded in sustaining the diversity of life?

If we are intimately interconnected with the whole earth community then this theory challenges present governance

structures, how we engage with the agenda of the world, how we organize communities and how we direct and expend our energy and resources.

The first stage in the process of creating a more sustainable future is genuinely connecting with the wider earth community (see Peter Plastrick, Madeline Taylor and John Cleveland (2014) Connecting to Change the World). We need to share new ideas, develop and experiment with new infrastructures, name our assumptions, risk to be on the edge or even outside the present system so as to release the unpredictable and novel Spirit of Co-Creation. Stage two is about sharing the new springs of hope and inviting others to dare to do something different in alignment with the new prioritising of fundamental values. The fixers have their role of warning of the dangers but must guard against three debilitating voices – the voice of judgment, the voice of cynicism and the voice of fear. The illuminators continue to ask the hard questions and look for answers in new spaces. Stage three sees new centres of practice emerge, new systems of support and connection and a diversification of how to belonging to the larger group. Of course the wayfarers and the midwives are looking beyond the present and move to action, failing often in their attempts so as to learn and explore different possibilities.

As Goethe says unless you know this dying and birthing you are merely a dreary guest on earth.

An assumption of the emerging future is that a different and challenging spirituality will be integral to the new way of living. It will be responsive to the agenda of the world and attuned to sustaining the diversity of life on the planet. Systems usually adopt a ‘monoculture way’ of operating which leads to ‘group think’ and institutional protection so evident in the recent review of the banking sector. What is needed is a move to a more diverse and vibrant ‘ecosystem way’ that is self-renewing and self-organizing.

Surely we must now focus on the positive signs of new life and see where this creative and diverse ecological life is budding forth. Communities of life seem to be finding new expressions in places such as the Viridian community in Brisbane, where the residents have moved out of traditional ‘monoculture’ type communities and joined a new community with enormous diversity of spiritualties, lifestyles and ways of seeing. It is an engaging place to visit and engage. The Archer Mountain Earth Community has over the past 18 expanded its border to embrace a wider community who gather on the second Sunday of each month to share insights from the unfolding story of 13.7 billion years of creation and its implications for spirituality and life on our planet. This has led to the embracing of a variety of perspectives that offer insight and enrichment to those who gather.

We are already exploring new possibilities as the Spirit continues to move in our midst. What is needed is leadership that is reshaping itself to be local, mutually collaborative and facilitating diversity. We are the co-creators of our future, which emerges when we listen attentively to the cry of the earth and those made poor. As Pope Francis said recently, when asked who were the poorest of the poor today, he responded ‘Mother Earth’.

How do we connect and help restore ‘Mother Earth’? Are we being asked to create communities that are of their very nature connected to earth and lived within open and diverse local communities? Can we encourage the wayfarers, illuminators and midwives to do their work of tilling the soil so as to give birth to new and diverse life forms?

P H July 2018