If you’re interested in the future of the world, the forces that will affect it, and the ideas that we can use to chart a course to health and happiness for people and planet, I think you’re going to enjoy this. I’m hoping to invite my audience to see reality from fresh perspectives, and when everything seems rather difficult, even hopeless, to dare to dream that the seemingly impossible can come true. — Roz Savage
This pilot season of recordings was made possible through a grant in Seeds, provided by the decentralized community on the SEEDS regen economic platform. joinseeds.earth
Kim Stanley Robinson: Novelist for the Future
It was such an honour to speak with Kim Stanley Robinson for this final episode of Season One of Sowing the Seeds of Change.
Stan is described by the New Yorker as “generally acknowledged as one of the greatest living science-fiction writers.” He has many fans, including at least two of my guests from this first season of Sowing the Seeds of Change, Rich Bartlett and Bill McKibben. His highly entertaining novels tend to revolve around ecological, cultural, economic and political themes, always handled with lightness, ease and elegance. He has a PhD from UC San Diego, and lives in Davis, California.
Stan has published twenty-two novels and numerous short stories, and is about to publish his first memoir, but is probably best known for his Mars trilogy, which is how I first came to his work, when a friend, tech podcaster Leo Laporte, gave me an ipod fully loaded with audiobooks, including the Mars books. I became a confirmed fan, and was introduced to Stan by a mutual friend in 2012, although we have yet to meet in person – but we’re working on it.
In this conversation we talk about the art of writing, technology, oceans, mountains, Buddhism, mental health and the search for meaning, environmental economics, equality, leverage points and the fractal nature of change, and, of course, the future.
Rich Bartlett: Complexity, Chaos and Coherence
Richard Bartlett describes himself as “one of those people with a lot of websites”, and he’s right. He's the co-founder of Loomio, a platform for small-scale digital democracy inspired by the 2011 Occupy Movement. He's also co-leader of The Hum, a training & consulting company that supports decentralised organisations to work without domination hierarchies. And he's also the co-director of the Enspiral Foundation, which is a professional network of friends supporting each other to do more meaningful work in the world. And he's the author of a community-building methodology called Microsolidarity.
Rich is a fanatical Twitterer, and tells me he is a halfway decent blues guitarist. He grew up in a fundamentalist Christian community in New Zealand and now lives literally as far away as you possibly can, in Lucca, Italy, for reasons that become clearer in our conversation.
I haven’t met Rich in person yet, although I know him from some work he did earlier this year with SEEDS, the complementary currency. I was impressed with his very practical wisdom, so I was inspired by that interaction to take a course with The Hum, hosted by Rich and his partner, Nati, which was excellent.
In this conversation we talk about complex systems, chaos and coherence, nouns and verbs, cultural innoculation, methodologies rather than mission statements, trust, partnership and domination, Riane Eisler and Kim Stanley Robinson, heaven and hell and Christianity, LSD, fear of death, polarisation and harmonisation.
What I took away from this conversation was a greater understanding of, well, understanding. In our world it often feels like many people are talking, and not so many are listening. When we really listen, it becomes easier to focus on our similarities rather than our differences, and to tune into the shades of grey between the black and white extremes of polarised discourse. I love the work Rich is doing. It makes me feel hopeful.
Just a reminder that our archive of conversations – with Charles Eisenstein, Tim Jackson, Jude Currivan, Bill McKibben, Sharon Blackie, Ted Rau, Paul Hawken, Peggy Liu, John Buck and Monika Megyesi, and Kimberly Carter Gamble are available for free on Spotify, and now also on Apple Podcasts!
Kimberly Carter Gamble: Courage, Thriving, and Agreeing to Disagree
On the show this week I am in conversation with Kimberly Carter Gamble, who produced, directed and co-wrote THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take? and THRIVE II: This Is What It Takes. Kimberly came from a background in journalism and film. Currently she is focused on helping to empower grassroots movements around the world to reclaim our freedom and develop tools and practices for spiritual awakening and averting medical tyranny.
Kimberly tells me she eats mostly from her own garden where she grows food and also cultivates a habitat for native bees as her response to bee colony collapse. She currently has over 78 species of native bees.
She and her husband, Foster Gamble, live in Santa Cruz, California. They have children and grandchildren living nearby and she helps care for her 94-year-old mother, who has Alzheimers.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Kimberly in person a couple of times for great conversations about our shared passion for the thriving of people and planet. This is another fabulous conversation – whether or not you agree with Kimberly’s views, I am sure you will find it fascinating.
We talk about health freedom, transhumanism, Big Data, learning to disagree respectfully, courage, purpose and passion, life, death, consciousness and spirituality…. And, of course, thriving.
I really enjoyed this conversation enormously. I really appreciate Kimberly’s philosophy of freedom and non-violation, and I’m going to steal her saying: “I am a friend of your soul and an enemy of your project”. I couldn’t agree more that we have to remember how to listen to each other, and to disagree respectfully. Especially as we approach the holidays, when we might well spend time with family members who have a different view from us, this was a really timely reminder.
Kimberly’s Health Freedom series of videos
John Buck and Monika Megyesi: Sociocracy, Circles, and Cells
Following on from my conversation with Ted Rau a few weeks ago, when I promised you more on sociocracy, I’m delighted to introduce you to the work of John Buck and Monika Megyesi from Governance Alive.
John and his partners have introduced hundreds of businesses to the power of sociocracy, bringing new levels of efficiencies, engagement, connectedness, and satisfaction. An expert in the synthesis of social technologies like Beyond Budgeting, Open Space, Sociocracy & Agile, John has co-authored books such as “We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy,” and “Company-wide Agility with Beyond Budgeting, Open Space & Sociocracy”.
Monika Megyesi started out studying human anatomy and training as a nurse. She was struck by the ability of human bodies to heal themselves, and saw how self-healing functions could be brought to the human systems surrounding her. She has a business degree from the University of Maryland, she co-founded the Entrepreneurial Partnership of Greater Washington, and she has a Masters in Negotiations and Conflict Management at the University of Baltimore. Her motto and driving inspiration is summed up in the words “Awaken to Life: You matter! You belong!”
In this conversation, we talk about sociocracy, structures, feedback loops, vulnerability, conversations in rounds, consent and consensus, embodied decision-making, eyeballs, yin and yang, circles and lines, and – something that was a very alien concept to me in my corporate career – meetings that people look forward to.
I feel so encouraged that there are these powerful social technologies that can really help people to thrive in their work. I absolutely believe that we need all hands on deck if we’re going to ride the waves of change, and sociocracy can make sure we’re all crew, no passengers, while creating more resilient, robust organisations better suited to the uncharted waters ahead.
Patreons can enjoy this podcast from today. If you’re not yet a supporter on Patreon, do please consider signing up. Benefits for patrons include live zoom calls with me, and access to the video version of the conversation. Else you can enjoy this podcast from next week for free on the usual podcast platforms.
Peggy Liu: Change, Potentiality, and Tornado Leadership
Also known as the Green Goddess of China, Peggy Liu is Chairperson of Joint US-China Collaboration for Clean Energy (JUCCCE), and a leading environmentalist. Named a “Hero of the Environment” by Time, she has successfully catalyzed change for over a billion people, seven times over. Peggy's superpower is bringing people together to bring in a better future faster.
Her latest project, the "Tornado Leadership" methodology, draws from her work across policy, economic, technical, and spiritual realms to lead societal-scale changes. She lives in Shanghai. I’ve known Peggy since 2017, when I was lucky enough to spend some time in China – first teaching at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and then staying with Peggy in central Shanghai. There are many wonderful things I could say about Peggy, but the main thing I admire her for is her ability to get stuff done. This could be connected to the fact that, as far as I can tell, she appears to never sleep. In this conversation, we talk about how our perceptions shape our world, yin-yang polarities and energetics, alignment and resonance, bridges, wanting to be a robot, avatars, algorithms, and Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. And, of course, Tornado Leadership.
I really appreciated Peggy’s image of the tornado of change – how we get it spinning, help it gather momentum, and draw people in. It’s a perfect metaphor for change, and in fact, quite a perfect metaphor for the whirlwind that is Peggy Liu.
Paul Hawken: Joy, Courage and Connection
This week’s guest is a legend of American environmentalism, Paul Hawken. Paul starts ecological businesses, writes about nature and commerce, and consults with governments and CEOs on climatic, economic and ecological regeneration. He lives in Cascade Canyon in Northern California with nuthatches, grey fox, coyotes, pileated woodpeckers, and a red-shouldered hawk who visits regularly on field mouse patrol. He has written eight books, is published in 30 languages, and his books are available in over 90 countries. His book Drawdown, The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming debuted as a NYT bestseller in 2017. He just completed his latest work in September, Regeneration, Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation. Paul will send a free copy to the first person who can guess his favorite food (hint: it is a plant).
I’ve known Paul since we met at Mountainfilm in Telluride, Colorado, in May 2007 (photo at the bottom of this post). It was a real joy to catch up with him, and talk about regeneration, apocalypse, fear, joy and courage, behaviour change, climate communication, COP26, male vertebrates, plant intelligence, and being a piss poor Buddhist.
It was such a joy for me to spend time with Paul again. He has this wonderful mix of serenity and spark, positivity and practicality, and a determination to make the world a better place while also a Buddhist acceptance of what is. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.
Paul’s website: https://paulhawken.com/
Project Drawdown: https://drawdown.org/