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Boundless Roots

Boundless Roots Best Reads, September 2020

We share below a list of some of the news and signals we are seeing in the world in the last two months, curated from contributions by the Boundless Roots Community.

The Boundless Roots Community is made up of practitioners working towards sustainable living who want to amplify and generate transformative projects that create/support the conditions for ways of living to adapt and become viable for sustaining life on this planet. The news and signals shared below speak to themes and narratives we have identified that we feel are key to understanding the challenges we are facing and unlocking more radical change:

  • Healthy power — How are we moving away from dominance and power over in the work we’re doing? How are we contributing to healthy power, becoming more aware of power so that we can work with it more fluidly?
  • Meaningful life — How are we inviting people into an open, evolving conversation about what gives our lives meaning?
  • Cultural waves — How can we work with the momentum of what’s changing culture now and operationalise that in new ways? How do we frame the new narratives?
  • Working with contradictions — How do we work skillfully across polarities? Us as practitioners and the communities we serve. How do we create spaces to connect with what people need in the moment with collective exploration of the potential?

We’ve structured our insights around these four themes to understand how they are developing and changing, and to help you to quickly and effectively explore which themes are resonating with you this month. The insights below have common threads and ideas that connect them together and we invite you to explore how these themes and ideas relate to each other.

These articles and stories have been compiled through conversations with community members, the Boundless Roots slack, Twitter and signal-spotting through Forum for the Future’s network as well.

It includes:

  • Working with polarities
  • Cultural waves
  • Healthy power
  • Meaningful life

⏳ = long read

Our top 3 reads

Are you ready for what systemic change means? , by Milos Maricic

  • The ingredients of systemic action are a-political — facilitating or preventing change for both progressive and conservative causes
  • Meaningful change needs to be political, shifting power balances within a society, with some groups losing power and control so others can gain it. This message is challenging for many philanthropists and investors
  • “Our sample shows that 71% of respondents feel that impact investing and similar activities can create local win-win solutions, but only 22% see those bringing about real social change.”
  • New types of leaders will need to emerge who can build alliances and relationship build between grassroots organisations and well-inclined funders
  • New investment models are needed that respond to complexity and move investors to consider what intrinsic value they are bringing to the challenge
  • Diversification of portfolios to support multiple levers of systemic change will help to tackle the interconnection between challenges.

More funding needs to be given to grassroots movements (current at around 1–2% of giving globally goes to this level). A systemic approach to investing in a non profit needs to be taken into account which rebalances the funding

⏳Politics, Trauma and Empathy — Co-authored by eva schonveld and Justin Kenrick

  • Politics needs to go on a journey to supporting collective decision making and reorganizing how we understand and imagine what’s important and crucial to address
  • Inheritance of ‘power by domination’ is embedded within the current political system
  • Our neurological patterning is deeply impacted by how our needs were met by our primary caregivers in our early years. This influences our responses to our inner hurt and trauma, in turn rippling out into complex interaction with wider society. Our personal impacts the social and political, and needs to be acknowledged in the arenas where we have given power to decision makers
  • The collective trauma of colonisation still impacts how we relate to and view different parts of society, creating a massive negative cultural feedback loop. It leads us to believe we are separate individuals, we have ownership of the earth, dissociates us from our bodies and leads to assumptions about what it means to be human
  • We need to create a different system with empathy built into it and views human beings as whole
  • What would a new system look like? It would ensure that:

We take regular breaks

We build relationships and share appreciation in our teams

We build opportunities for creativity (singing, dancing, simply sharing how we are feeling or subtler spaces) into our shared time together

We become skilled and confident in feeding back when things are difficult for us and in accepting honest feedback from others

We build tolerance and skills in sharing our feelings with one another — and in using them as useful signals to address what’s arising within and between us.

We see becoming conscious of and skilled in handling our own and others’ internal processes as a normal, socially useful aim

We deal openly and fairly with conflict between us, recognising that it is an expression of larger processes that we need to become conscious of

We would take in to account cognitive biases and the ‘in group/out group’ dichotomy it creates

We are building a system around the individual’s contribution to the groups’ collective roles, rather than individuals claiming credit for fundamentally collective efforts

We’re building a system based on emotional intelligence and a drive towards connection, those drawn to engage would be strong in empathy, self-reflexivity, wisdom (the willingness to learn from, rather than deny, mistakes), and deeper, collaborative thinking

⏳What If the Purpose of the Global Market Economy Was Human Well-Being? — by Systems Thinking Marin

  • Agreeing that the goal of an economic system is human wellbeing would support us to meet the SDGs. It would make human rights more wide spread. Reducing emissions would be good business. The desire to contribute value to the world is fostered and prosperity for all is an assumed human right
  • If growth of profit is the purpose of the system it risks future generations without offering any real benefits to individuals
  • Caring for others as a goal of the system creates a collective maturity which is needed for more resilient social care systems. It moves the economy from ‘extractive’ to ‘regenerative’
  • Economic growth as the metric for how well a system is doing, and our wellbeing is the wrong goal
  • Globalisation has moved us away from small, person-to-person economic systems that used to make up human societies, instead leading to financial transactions that are removed from actual, tangible goods and services
  • Profit and wellbeing are incompatible goals of a system. Profit is not distributed fairly, it is removed from the people who carry out the day to day work of an organisation. Profit may be necessary but should not be placed above human wellbeing
  • What can individuals do?

Leave large banks

Make investments in socially and environmentally responsible businesses

Shop and do business locally

Don’t buy or sell on Amazon

If you work in business be transparent

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Boundless Roots — Radically Transforming the Way we Live

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