"It is becoming increasingly apparent that the major problems of our time —whether economic, environmental, technological, social or political— are systemic problems that cannot be solved within the current fragmented and reductionist framework of our academic disciplines and social institutions. We need a radical shift in our perceptions, thinking, and values."
— Fritjof Capra
"The world's major problems result from the difference between how nature works and the way people think." — Gregory Bateson
"We can’t even think of solutions without correctly recognising the problem, and its now commonplace to pose our problems incorrectly. We tend to focus on what’s seen rather than on our way of seeing... Instead of focusing on how we produce and consume, we must focus on how we perceive and on how we communicate." — Gene Youngblood
"Centrist incrementalism — the kind that calls itself 'cautious' — is in fact exquisitely dangerous at this late stage of the climate crisis. (...) What we are trying to do... is explode the box. Because if the box doesn't leave room for the safety and possibly the survival of our species, then there is something very, very wrong with that box. If what is considered politically possible today consigns us to a future of climate chaos the day after tomorrow, then we have to change what's politically possible." — Naomi Klein
"Being part of a system requires knowing that whatever happens is an expression of the patterns that entire system is involved in - that means, there is no fault, and everyone is responsible. No blame. Everyone must contribute to the shift. (...) This means big oil is not to blame, big banks are not to blame, big pharma is not to blame. Big weapons, and bad guys - not to blame. We are all included in a pattern in which those systems are interlocked into our survival and destruction. Whether we like it or not."
— Nora Bateson
Creative system change for the regenerative transition to a sustainable future requires a paradigm-shift of responsible perception, systems thinking, mutual learning, multi-stakeholder sense-making and intersectional collaboration without precedent in history.
Humankind has arrived at the evolutionary tipping point beyond which lies the prospect of irreversible climate chaos, ecological overshoot, mass extinctions, eco-social conflicts, terminal resource wars, the probable end of democracy and the possible collapse of civilisation. The best way to handle this disaster is before it happens. But time is running out.
The regenerative transition to a sustainable future now requires urgent action for creative system change. Attacking the symptoms will not heal the disease. The symptoms are obvious: climate change, resource depletion, species extinction, inequality, mass migration, racism, terrorism, populism, polarisation, erosion of democracy, the $247 trillion global debt bubble and the related prospect of a titanic financial crash, etc. What is less obvious is how the symptoms are connected to each other, and —especially —to our ways of seeing and discussing them. But some of us know this.
"We are the voiceless future of humanity ... We will not accept a life in fear and devastation. We have the right to live our dreams and hopes. We are going to change the fate of humanity." — Youth Climate Strikers Open Letter to Humanity
GENEVA - MICROCOSM OF THE PLANET
Geneva has the potential to ground this paradigm shift in geopolitical and economic practice, because it is the de facto hub of global governance. It has the greatest concentration of global players of any city on Earth — far more than Washington, London, Brussels, or Beijing. Geneva has a long history of democracy, tolerance, refuge and peace. It’s the birthplace of Jean-Jacques Rousseau who wrote The Discourse on Inequality and The Social Contract. It gave birth to the Red Cross and the League of Nations. It is the humanitarian capital of the world, the European home of the United Nations, the HQ of international agencies and civil society organisations, and a major base for TNCs including banks, commodity traders and over 1,000 hedge funds. It is the acupuncture point of the world body politic where the meridians of global governance, trade and civil society intersect. Geneva is the microcosm of the planet. It has the potential to catalyse a 21st century Renaissance. It can save the world.