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The Knowledge and Action Platform - Mark Roest

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To the The Future We Deserve community, What follows probably exceeds 800 words, but it is also a far-reaching systems analysis and vision that can both organize and inform many specific efforts, and maximize the probability of creating a network of network effects, and facilitating the needed changes in economics, social discourse and political power, which will in turn enable the critical, humanity-wide course change in our relationship with nature (and with people who are in some way different from us).


Mark Roest

Nick asked a framing question in Coalition of the Willing camp 10-10-10: We all share a common belief, and this is why we are coming together today. We are committed to improving the quality and sustainability of the world we live in firstly, with financial and other individual gains (mostly) coming second or even further down the list. What I propose to you all is that if our collaborative efforts are more structured, if we can come together and present a more united front, we can and will change the world.

Business men and women have followed the "Knowledge Management" movement as a way of improving organisational performance by removing barriers to knowledge transfer within the organisation. However, as we all exist across organisations and indeed sectors, this issue of protectionism around our individual knowledge does not apply (I hope!) - So, I pose the question to you all - How do we create a game changer? How can Knowledge Management influence public policy?

Mark Roest: Potential Elements of a Future We Deserve Knowledge & Action Platform Here is an answer at the level of the question, without getting into the design and implementation details (I will put that in separate postings). We create a global system that acts to give voice to the people of the world and to the scientists, prophets and healers who can see nodes, links and dynamics of the whole and want to teach about and respond to the world's needs. As Doug Engelbart calls for (Bootstrap Insititute), we organize this knowledge into a working top-level tool for improving human effectiveness in every area of life -- a dynamic, well-planned knowledgebase.

We facilitate and find support for translating the relevant parts of it into the languages used by the cultures who evolved in and live in partnership with the 667 ecosystems mapped with the sponsorship of National Geographic and the World Wildlife Fund, and the assistance of about 1200 ecologists and other scientists, so that the urban masses and the rural herders, farmers, fishers and others working in nature can access it and make their voices heard, regarding both events on the ground and the policies that are needed to deal with them sustainably and equitably.

We embed access to the knowledgebase in the phone systems as well as on computers in the earlier sense of the word. We support rural cultures in deploying sensors that report back via mesh networks, as well as comprehensive yet inexpensive information and communication technologies to support their stewardship of their lands, and their collaboration with their neighbors who will be doing the same.

We include visualization technology (digital earth imaging), and we systematically empower all people working on all issues of social and environmental justice and policy, as well as design and planning, at all scales of operation, to use it to comprehend the systems they are engaged in, with their senses as well as their intellects, and to engage their higher selves to grow community, and create guidance and direction that is of and by all, in partnership on the deepest levels.

We use the tools of whole system geographic and technological analysis in extended, multi-site charrettes (design conferences that empower participants) which unite inventors and those reviving ancient practices with ecologists and community activists, with the support and facilitation of urban planners, rural development experts and economists like Peter Burgess and his friends. These conferences do the actual design work for sustainable economies on a community and regional scale, and they include or create councils to represent them as well as documentation embedded in the knowledgebase to detail the policies they adopt and communicate what policies and resources are needed at larger planning scales.

We make the system work for the inhabitants of rural and wild lands to use it to conduct their business, to rebuild the deep ethos of community that used to motivate people everywhere, and to create equitable prosperity, health, and a restored natural world around them.

We make the system work for the urban poor, to create efficient services and resources for all who live in the cities, and to help conceive, design, plan, fund and execute the rebuilding of the rural economies they came from, so those who wish to can gradually return and, collectively, build lives of meaning, abundance, and spiritual fulfillment in their cultures' homelands.

Teilhard de Chardin envisioned or perceived a sphere of consciousness permeating all life on earth, uniting it as one; he called this the Noosphere. Most indigenous cultures experience something like this in their daily lives, and shamans work with it. We can begin to recover our higher or deeper faculties if we can begin to understand the natural world around us more completely. We can do that if we have access to the almost infinite collective knowledge and intelligence held by people of good will. We can have that access if we structure information ecosystems that inherently reflect natural and cultural ecosystems, as well as the merging of awareness that happens when people who have been dislodged from their origins bump up with different others in the same situation (that is one function of cities and towns and factory dormitories).

One more major opportunity that impacts policy profoundly: By merging a copy of the input-output analysis database created by The Perryman Group, an econometric consulting firm in Texas that supports the New Apollo Alliance plan for revitalizing the USA, with the knowledgebase, so that both physical and process specifics and non-economic dynamics ('externalities') are represented in the transactions that the input-output database models, we could wind up with not just an operating manual for lifeship earth, but an operations system that we all can use to conduct our personal, family and community businesses, and to steer and grow and stabilize sustainable economies.

This could also support multiple, complementary currencies, such as Fernanda Ibarra is talking about (Coalition of the Willing camp 10-10-10).

Such a system would constitute the synthesis that completes a Hegelian dialectic comprised of: 1. thesis: capitalism (local economic decisions that aggregate through 'the invisible hand of the market' -- but lead to increasing concentration of wealth and power), 2. antithesis: Marxist socialism (or the Soviet-style top-down planned economy). 3. synthesis: collective planning by everyone, interacting in a working model of the economies of the planet, with local focus and global reach, with transparency and accountability supported by all who choose partnership over domination.

(Check out Riane Eisler's work with the Partnership Paradigm.)