I embarked on the project out of an intense need that I think many of us share—a need to have a strong community of support around me and my family, as the world goes through the transformative experiences that many of us sense are ahead of us.
The global human community is very likely already in a long period of overshoot and collapse, in which we have strained our ecological niche to where it will no longer continue to support us. Climate change, economic instability, resource depletion and resource wars are all symptoms of this larger malaise.
If there are compensations to be had in living at a time like this, they're to be found in each other. In the recovery of cohesion and community. And they're to be found in the recovery of what's been missing in modern consumer culture and the tyranny of rampant capitalism—our core humanity.
It is not much of a human thing to live in service to debts and meaningless market-made work. It is not much human to be obliged to do so while the world burns and floods and gets crazier by the day. It is not much human to live in atomised consumer units with only dilute connection to our landscapes, to rich community, or to meaningful and generous purpose.
In fact, when you tune in closely, over time, to what you and your people all feel as humans, you find there are many such details of human-ness that we have become accustomed to doing without.
And so, in feeling these things, I decided to find a way to—
a) build a dignified livelihood for myself, in which making a living and making a meaningful contribution to humanity were one and the same thing.
b) build genuine community around me, in which to find solace and support for me and family, and for whom I can live my life in service.
c) make my work of benefit to the Earth, and contribute to a permanent shift of human cultures toward an ecological sensibility and sensitivity.
Struggling to find a way to do all these things, as one human effort, I turned in semi-desperation to my design background, hoping perhaps that the rigour of design thinking could help me plan a way forward. Well, suffice to say that my training didn't provide the right kind of thinking, and very many plans ran aground. But searching wider I found some incredible mentors who looked at design in a different way, and were exploring ways in which our design-minds could align with the native ways of life on Earth.
This, I discovered, was not only a far cry from a desperate move, but connected me back to my core human response to the impulse of design. In these ways of thinking, I found again the pure joy of design, the sheer, rich, creative warmth it can hold, and my innate connection to the vibrant patterns of the natural world. And I found that this kind of alive design process—drawing upon but irreverent toward our established design traditions, and drawing heavily from the living world—can do all kinds of magic with our lives. It can do the a), b) and c) listed above, as all one thing, and so much more.
And of course it can, when you think about it. We are humans and we are connected, intimately, to all the other wonders of the universe, and our creativity can feel its way through all kinds of complexity, if we can unwind so much of what we've learnt from our culture.
I could say so much more, but I'll leave it that for now and just invite you to be a part of the experiment. I invite us all to come together and experiment with what it means to be human. To feel into what our innate, creative design minds can do to respond to this intense time in history, and find our way into our own potential while we're at it.
Looking forward to meeting you.