Dorian Curry 8906 words
ENV STU 202
Essay on Sustainability
ENV STU 202
Sustainability Defined As A Quality Conversation Between Engineered Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence
At the summit of the mountainous subject of sustainability is an ice cap melting from heated conversations focused on engineering innovations in energy and food technology to support a growing human population from 7 billion. It is a debate between the logical need for increased modernization via economic incentives and the emotional need for increased conservational efforts via economic restrictions; it is the phenomenon of the conversation that I feel actually defines “sustainability” and if language and especially the phenomenon of multilingualism is more widely popularized as the first social technology and source of all technology, we might see that the main objective of sustainability and indeed all life could simply be to enable ongoing quality conversations in various languages between various species across various generations. Thus, before any more “miracle” technologies are added to the conversation between the people, plants, and animals, and microorganisms of the biosphere, we might better and more quickly attain the illusive sustainable economy through multilingualism: I believe that sustainability is determined by the quality of the conversation among multiple types of intelligences living in a highly diverse biosphere, namely engineered intelligence and emotional intelligence. First, I will describe the preliminary research trend that makes me believe that there is ample evidence that multilingualism is an innate function of modern as well as ancient and thus suggests a significant role in a sustainable human life. Second, I’ll suggest that two and possibly main forms of biological intelligence, or ways of thinking, are often in conflict in human society, but because the conflict is not being recognized, dealt with, and talked about is a barrier to sustainability. Third, I’ll attempt to illustrate the conflict to help develop sustainable conversations between the two; I’ll describe how they differ by comparing two phases of my personal experiences in life; I’ll compare my experiences as a USCG service member with my experiences as an organic gardener. Finally, I’ll describe how they could look when balanced together, suggesting further research with both environmental studies and sustainable business economics which I imagine could apply the phenomenon of multilingualism to socioeconomic systems to help carry on quality conversations about the unique qualities of life on our planet to hopefully and ultimately carry our human engineering and emotional intelligence beyond our star and to other stars. This last step, hoping for space travel, once a fixation of science fiction writers, seems to now be a more real and technically obtainable goal important to sustainability, but if sustainability can be defined by the quality of a conversation between engineering and and emotionally intelligent biology and a poor quality conversation is occurring in modern society intermittently, it seems absurd to me to move forward toward private or public space travel with out first developing a more balanced, global conversation between them.
Many Things are Talking About Many Things: Sustainability defined as an ongoing quality Conversation.
When I looked at the early 1900‘s efforts in American Conservation Movement I saw how conservation, originating from personal tragedies and the quality of the personal conservation efforts of John Muir and Gifford Pinchot, reflected their reactions to their personal tragedies. It appeared that Muir the inventor, homestead gardener, and freelance preservationist writer reacted with an intensified form of empathy for plants, animals, and landscapes. It appeared that Pinchot the US Forest Service Director, professional forester and public service conservationist writer, in parallel with President Theodore Roosevelt, reacted with an intensified form of sympathy bordering on pity for plants, animals, and landscapes, and the small town communities that based their economies on national forests. This distinction of empathy versus sympathy became a contributing quality distinction between preservationists of the US National Park Service and conservationists of the US National Forest Service. The relationship between Muir and Pinchot in the early days of the American Conservation Movement illustrates how a small quality distinction in ways of thinking from a personal experiences can evolve to a big difference in social experiences. In essence the American Conservation Movement began as a few people wanting to talk to the United States and to the world about the quality of American forests, mountains, rivers, and beaches and how tragic it would be to lose that quality; how the quality of American life, self-esteem, self-worth, and self-security would be degraded if that quality of wild america was lost.
When I looked at the challenge of the human population phenomenon, I found that multilingualism was a phenomenon of microbiologic life (Bassler) as well as human life that enhances self-esteem and protects self worth and enables self security as an distinct “badge of social identity” that was once fundamental (Diamond). I came to my own conclusion that multilingualism could effect better, more efficient management of human populations than genetic engineering, especially if applied to human children before 12 months old and continually encouraged until 10 years old and could encourage advanced levels of cognitive function and social empathy. I have since devised a hypothesis for myself that if multilingualism, as a phenomenon and structure for innovative biological technology that supports unique identity but enables exchange and sharing of identity, were combined with microbiology, namely the science of mtDNA heritage pathways, it could be the basis for a sort of global geographic empathy and if combined with GIS software and cloud computing technology, possibly support a network of communications to base a novel, “geographic empathy” design firm off of.
When I looked into the challenge of transitioning human energy systems from a society based on fossil fuels to a more sustainable system such as either nuclear or hydrogen fuel cells, I saw the distinction between engineered intelligence and emotional intelligence as a finer line. The line became more clearly delineated when I saw how similar this distinction was to my own experiences in life as a USCG officer and then as a freelance student of bio-intensive, bio-dynamic, and permaculture gardening. I came to believe that the best way to effect a timely energy transition would be to “think like a watershed” following the great thinkers and writers in the American and International Conservation movement, and to “act like a placenta.” The latter being a metaphor for action that both mimics the crucial, selfless organ of transfusion that enables the exchange of blood between a mother and child from one energy generation to the next, and mimics the hydrogen fuel cell technology, a membrane of energy transfusion and storage, from one source to another (for example algae to water, or natural gas to water, or solar to water; water being a source of hydrogen for future algal production or production by electrolysis).
What do the two intelligences look like?
I think that the personality of engineered intelligence and emotional intelligence can be seen by the various personal experiences of the differences and conflicts between logical engineering and emotion content and by the way each intelligence communicates with living or non living things outside of themselves and that this is the central issue of sustainability in human societies. What we say and what we do defines self. Humans have and are creating a complex engineered society all the while Nature has and is creating a complex chemically emotional and symbiotic ecology. If the conversation between these two ways of thinking and being ceases will either of them continue to exist? Many advocate for a sort-of religious faith in engineered intelligence and innovative “miracles.” Some of these thinkers suggest that a “modernization theology” is more important than an “eco-theology” and holds the greatest promise for advances in technology that will secure a more sustainable future (Shellenberger). Others propose a “New Creationism” based in part on Spinoza’s work in which he said, “‘The greatest good is the union that the mind has with the whole of nature’” and in which we find that “the closest path to God leads not through the dark night of the soul, but rather through the sun-inspired diversity of the natural world.” (Reece 36) What the “soul” is one of the potentially interesting conversations, but right now it appears that the most important conversation is how or whether this gap defines both ways of thinking and defines sustainability. If the gap between these two intelligences becomes too great, can hard technology build a bridge long enough or an information super highway strong and fast enough? Or will one or the other break off the union? With out the intentional encouragement of conversation by the natural, soft technology of language and especially diversity in thought that multiple languages encourages with the phenomenon of multilingualism, I think sustainability is a magical illusion that the engineered intelligence will continue to try and develop. What is the worth of a technology without the power of emotional content of conversation that biologic life courses through it? It is self evident that language has been growing and evolving as a phenomenon in the human mind, but it is not so evident that it has been evolving for even longer than perviously thought or than we are capable of exactly determining; indeed it is a phenomenon of microbiology (Bassler) as well as macrobiotic life that should be studied more intensively before genetic engineering or other engineered technologies threaten the free speech abilities that connect all members of the biosphere and thus threaten the connection between emotional and engineered intellectualism of all life. As the foundation of democracy is in free speech, advances in engineered intelligence risk breaking this foundation if it does not communicate effectively with emotional intelligence. As we should judge a person by “the content of their character,” how their personality touches others, than I think sustainability will be defined by the conversation between engineered intelligence and emotional intelligence.
I define “engineered intelligence” as the ability to design and build products, services, systems and people that function for a set, limited performance criteria. In this form of intelligence there is more single purpose thinking and less systems design thinking, there is more externalization of “waste” than integration of “waste.” I explain this primarily by a look at my personal experiences in the United States Coast Guard, an armed military service I worked in for ten years. I also cite references in engineering design manuals and magazines, and an interview with a USCG Engineer. In addition to my own definition, a textbook on “Engineering Design” offers this definition:
Engineering design is the set of decision-making processes and activities used to determine the form of an objective given the functions desired by the customer... We utilize knowledge and methods from the basic sciences, mathematics, and engineering sciences to predict or simulate the performance of each alternative before it is built, thereby avoiding the time and expenses of tinkering.
I define “emotional intelligence” as the ability to empathize with and foster emotional connections of understanding with multiple people, species and cultures. There is more systems design thinking and less single purpose thinking in this intelligence. I base this primarily by my experiences on organic, biodynamic and permaculture style gardens I visited on a 5 month tour of Hawaii, Australia, and Orcas Is, WA between October 2008 and March 2009 as well as a look at other relevant sources.
In addition to my definition I provide the entire PBS documentary “This Emotional Life” as a definition as well as the PBS documentary “What Plants Talk About” as highly articulate explanations of emotional intelligence in plant life as well as human life. These two documentaries compared together describe emotional intelligence as the sophisticated ability to communicate between parts of the brain as well as parts of the body in humans and parts of the plant, from roots to leaf to flower and through the use of plant chemical exudates, other species of plants and insects and animals. The comparison of these two documentaries provides a much more complex look at how emotional content drives the biosphere. In “This Emotional Life” we are taken through a journey of the entire spectrum of emotional functions in humans, Love and Family, Fears, Happiness. One of the themes is that we as humans, no matter our social status, must learn to balance our deeper biological functions found in our amygdala with the more advanced social functions of our prefrontal cortex. The degree of skill in balancing this is determined by the practice a person undergoes and that is in some part managed by strategic and tactical applications of “ruminations” and “reappraisals” of past events with the logical and rational mind. These efforts help a person apply more control over their emotional responses such as the “fight or flight” response. Another theme was how important resiliency was; this was illustrated by the personal stories of how a person had to re-achieve and maintain happiness after tragic accidents or random successes.
Dr. Richard J. Davidson suggests that we have emotional styles that play a major role in a communication system that enables the embodiment of the mind and thus directly affect overall human health and wellness:
The brain circuits that underlie Emotional Styles have extensive two-way connections with the immune system, the endocrine system, and the autonomic immune nervous immune system. Through traffic in one direction, from brain to body, the mind influences our health. This suggests that knowing someone’s Emotional Style may be as important to a health-care provider, in terms of assessing health risks, as knowing whether the patient smokes, and that altering your Emotional Style can be beneficial to physiological systems and thus overall health. Through traffic in the other direction, from body to brain, changes in our patterns of movement can affect how our mind processes emotional information... It also suggests that our body can become an ally in transforming emotion, meaning practices that emphasize the body, such as hatha yoga, have the potential to modulate emotion. (Davidson 136)
If the “emotional style” has such implications for human health by making up the quality of the conversations going on between physical self and emotional self and intellectual self and thus affect the longevity of the person, how do the quality conversations affect the longevity of the human society as a whole and of the biosphere? Can a policy of protection for the diversity of human language diversity and the human being’s ability to communicate with Nature affect the quality of the conversation between “Emotional Style” and engineered intelligence? I guess these three relatively recent sources on emotional intelligence gives support to the value of “communing with Nature.”
I compare these two very different experiences of mine to provide a contrast that might better suggest that one solution to the “Nature-Deficit Disorder” plaguing human society is in bridging the communication gap between these two experiences with an encouragement of multilingualism as a structure for building communication skills rather than a suppression of it. The focus on language as a fundamental technology for a symbiotic paradigm shift could encourage the advancement of the Rights of Nature as a fundamental right that is synonymous with the Rights of Free Speech as it is language and communication that has and will enable innovative technologies. The assertion of the Rights of Nature could help close the gap between these two intelligences and thus open a pathway to more synergistic innovations in energy systems and food systems and cultural exchange technology.
I was a United States Coast Guard service member between 1996 and 2006, initially as a cadet graduating with a degree in government from the Academy in 2000, and then as an officer. I am fond of much of my time in, but I did not excel in that organization and realize more now that my thinking style did not quite match the military and that my quest to understand “sustainability” that began sometime in high school, possibly when I won a trip to Japan as a “Youth Tree Ambassador” for Washington State in 1994, could not have continued if I had stayed in the military. The contrast between engineered intelligence and emotional intelligence grew to stark for me, a person continually trying to mix ways of thinking. The entire breadth of my experiences illustrate the metaphor that the contrast between engineered intelligence and emotional intelligence is like the contrast between a person working on a military vessel and a person working on a customized organic food garden. The USCG officer always working with others is yet emotionally isolated from Nature and encapsulated in a complex technologically engineered intelligent community interacting intentionally with only one obvious species and unintentionally with many un-obvious species of the human microbiome or interacting by default with the wild creatures in the sea to varying limited degrees based on the fisheries or environmental protection mission.
My time in the USCG provided many examples of highly engineered intelligence working with very little emotional intelligence in part as a demand of so much to do with so few people and time. I served two years on board USCG Cutter Escanaba, two years at Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team with a LE Detachment, and two years at District Thirteen Office of Law Enforcement Intelligence Division in Seattle. Most of my time was spent working on the mission of law enforcement on US waters or on the high seas. The risks involved in maritime law enforcement required a high degree of engineered reliability. While the fast paced nature of chasing drug smugglers or the interesting nature of investigating suspicious activity intrigued me, the desire to understand cultural conflict and the relationship between humanity and the seas and geography intrigued me more. One theme seemed to remain: Excellent communication skills were essential to all of our daily shipboard functions, learning the “language” of engineering systems and navigation systems was a basic of survival. Learning the language of the foreign nationals we came across when we had speakers of those languages onboard greatly enhanced our presence on the water. The fundamental principles of perspective and point of view provided by the empathic nature of multilingualism remained an untapped potential of my military experience. While I was in the USCG, the power of multilingualism as a soft technology to provide empathic differing points of view was not a fundamental of the training program.
I began bio-intensive organic gardening in 2006 in Poulsbo, WA and went for a tour of gardens around the southern Pacific Ocean in October 2008 to March 2009 after my National Park Ranger seasonal job ended at Glacier Bay National Park and as the “financial collapse” was beginning. I decided to search for personal answers by traveling on a tour of “Permaculture” gardens and Biodynamic farms of Hawaii, Australia, and Orcas Island, WA. I visited seven gardens in total, I met many highly empathic people with advanced emotional intelligence. They demonstrated this by being able to host various traveling farm workers with the Willing Workers On Organic Farm network while managing intensive organic agriculture systems. The sensitive nature of organic farming and gardening demands a highly developed emotional intelligence that is akin to multilingualism. The gardener must be able to read the “language” of different plant species and animal species to attend to their particular needs and to originally set them up in mutually beneficially planting arrangements. Without a high degree of sensitivity to other species and to the art of language and communication, the sensitive natural balance could hardly be obtained and is not obtained in conventional agriculture or genetically engineered (GE) agriculture. Instead, conventional or GE agriculture ignores communicating with the species and seeks to manipulate them for the highest profit margin (FOOD INC).
One of the best examples of how organic gardening demonstrates high levels of emotional intelligence is in the art of companionship planting practiced by biodynamic farmings and permaculture gardeners. I saw one stark example of the comparison of a lack of multilingualism and emotional intelligence to a highly emotional intelligence garden at Captain Cook Hawaii at the organic coffee farm called Kuaiwii Coffee Farm that I worked at for one month. Next to the 5 acre shade grown organic system were conventional, chemical and full sun plantations. The soil on those coffee orchards was bare, the coffee trees had little if any contact with other plant species. The coffee trees at Kuaiwii were in constant communication with other species namely avocado trees providing some shade and pineapple, and the soil was constantly covered by ground cover grasses. Whether or how these species communicated and how that affected the award winning flavor of the coffee which won at the Kona Coffee cupping contest that November 2008, is an important question for sustainability researchers to determine the true extent of multilingualism in food systems. I saw further examples of sensitivity to other species at Aracaria Biodynamic Project Farm in Mullumbimby New South Wales Australia and at The Permaculture Institute at The Channon, NSW, and at The Crossing Land Education Trust for youth at Bermagui, NSW and later at the Bullocks Brothers Permaculture Homestead on Orcas Island, Washington State, USA. Without going in to too many details, because each farmer and gardener engaged multiple species each day they were required to consciously and unconsciously communicate in various “languages” albeit non verbal, but real and distinct forms of expression. That the highly engineered world of intelligence is lacking in this kind of interaction is of great importance to sustainable human culture. What is happening unconsciously to each person as we lose this kind of complex interaction with other species? Indeed the hunter-gatherer societies had even more complex interactions and could certainly have been more emotionally intelligent. Jared Diamond’s latest book “The World Until Yesterday” provides the most recent comparative analysis of what we might be losing if one form of intelligence overtakes the other without attempting to communicate. Without a balanced respect of emotional intelligence will highly technologically advanced societies be able to cope with the challenges of intergalactic space travel and alien encounters? While still a theme of entertaining science fiction, the question of intelligent alien contact could be an important, serious question to shape our future societies: Is it more likely that advanced social space faring societies are empathic or socio or psychopathic? I agree with E.O. Wilson that the latter is unlikely as global war would certainly destroy them and that only empathic societies can become truly sustainable. I see multiculturalism via multilingualism as simple and natural technologies to effect that increase in empathic society.
There is an apparent lack of more widespread emotionally intelligent suggestions for efforts by “intellectuals” supposedly possessing intellectual authority trying to encourage “sustainable” efforts for advanced technology and energy transitions and carbon sequestration. I found one exemplary comment in Orion magazine Sep/Oct 2011, a rather progressive and emotionally intelligent source; the comment strikes me as particularly hopeful in technology:
“The good news is that we already have many nascent, promising technologies to overcome ecological problems. Stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions will require a new generation of nuclear power plants to cheaply replace coal plants as well as, perhaps, to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and power desalinization plants to irrigate and grow forests in today’s deserts. Pulling frontier agriculture back from forests will require massively increasing agricultural yields through genetic engineering. Replacing environmentally degrading cattle ranching may require growing meat in laboratories... and the solution to the species extinction problem will involve creating new habitats and new organisms...” (Schellenberger 65)
This is a clear example of an imbalance of high engineering intelligence and low emotional intelligence; the theme of the article entitled “Evolve” is that a modernization theology is the key to a sustainable human future. The co-authors Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus Real make smart points that humanity has always relied on the advance of technology to survive and evolve and cite the recent popularity of a kind of “ecotheology” the proponents of which suggest “some kind of collective sacrifice is needed to avoid the end of the world.” They cite this “ecotheology” as a digression from the march toward an establish evolutionary “modernization theology,” yet they fail to place their suggestions in the greater context of an emotional human life connected to nature. Further they fail to mention the first technology that enabled all other technologies, language. This kind of lack of connecting the human emotional experience to nature via the art of language and pure experience could be the greatest threat to sustainability as warned about by Richard Louv in “The Nature Principle.”
What we need instead of theoretical sustainability gurus further promoting the Pop Culture worship of technology, is active research and experience based thinking and efforts that could provide dramatic carbon sequestration efforts while providing healthy animal protein sources and preventing the desertification of grasslands all while maintaining a high level of emotional intelligence and relevance. Such efforts are being demonstrated by many biomimicry agriculturalists such as Allan Savory with his “Holistic Management” system of using massive herds of range animals on grasslands. On Ted.com he stood as a great example of the emotional intelligence of pure experience and is an example of what is missing from the “modernization theology” advocates who would see the world devoid of emotional content and poetic relevance. Prince Charles of Wales cites Savory “as an example of a forward thinker in global efforts to combine sustainability and agriculture in an August 2012 speech to the IUCN World Conservation Congress”:
Ultimately, his form of farming is one that mimics nature by managing domestic livestock to behave more like the migratory wild herbivores that co-evolved with these arid savannas, and thus, does not separate conservation of the land, from the process of farming it. It is this kind of nature based approach to finding solutions, that needs to be fostered. (Savory)
Savory’s Holistic Management system appears to activate a balanced communication between engineering and emotion. In his discussion of his principles and experiences on Ted.com, he expresses and emotionally mature personality by basing some of his conclusions on his pure experience and citing his feelings of regret about the action to manage a landscape in the African savannah by killing off thousands of wild elephants, that were supposedly degrading the savannah. His efforts express an engineered, designed intent: To prevent desertification and to sequester carbon by mimicking nature and promoting ecologic recovery. The actually tactical and strategical means of effecting an engineered control over the massive herds of animals required to make the desired effect, remain to be further researched and applied to specific landscapes in need. I wonder if the Methow Valley and the greater Okanogan Plains and Palouse Plains and other grasslands of Washington State might benefit from this technique. Of course the issues of land ownership, fencing, and herd ownership would likely slow applications of this kind of carbon sequestering effort. It does appear that there is a demand for someone or groups to put out more effort to coordinate and articulate the price points of final products and services and thus a conversation between economies of scale and economies of bioregional quality, engineering and emotion. Balanced techniques like Savory’s are crucial to fostering sustainable conversations between engineered human society and emotional, wild nature.
Three examples of what the sustainable, quality conversation between engineering and emotion could look like.
First, the conversations occurring on permaculture and biodynamic farms appears to be the best example of sustainable communications systems. Here, gardeners are all multilingual in that they are learning the language cues of multiple plants and animals. While these systems do not tend to offer a communication plan with economies of scale, they could, especially if they dialogue with the customized probiotic and wellness industries via a “placenta-like” agency, one who cares for the sensitive personality of a watershed by empathizing with geography and biology. That sort of organization could achieve this by practicing the art of story telling.
Second, I think the balance could look a lot like the production set of a movie and especially the complexity of a blockbuster science fiction movie. Some use the phrase “war time effort” to convey the kind of motivation we need to shift our energy and food systems to a sustainable economy. While it was a “war time effort” that captured the USCGC Cutter EAGLE from being used as a training ship for Nazi officers prior to the US involvement in WWII, and turned into a platform for myself and other cadets to learn off of in 1995, I see the successful quest for sustainability as less like that “war time effort” and more like the movie industry effort. This latter effort combines engineered intelligence with emotional intelligence to achieve the suspension of disbelief (and achieve amazing cash flow economies of scale) and produce some of the most watched movies and characters in movie making history. The success of such movies as “Avatar” by James Cameron and the “Star Wars” series by George Lucus and the “Spiderman” series produced by Marvel Comics. These movies were “blockbusters” and the production of them, as seen in each “making of” documentary required a successful mixture of highly sophisticated film making technology with highly structured engineered intelligence and the more free flowing and human, artistic emotional intelligence to obtain the desired artistic. The end result of the popularity and unique artistic appeal demonstrates the phenomenon that two seemingly different economies and ways of thinking, engineering and economies of scale and emotional and economies of quality, can be merged successfully. Each of these movies required different amounts of time in front of the blue or green screens providing the greatest contrast between the two forms of intelligence, the actor’s bodies and faces providing the essential emotional content to convey the story and the computer animation and cinematography technology providing the setting and props. In part because of the great popularity of these movies and movies in general and in part because of the transformative and culturally inspiring nature of mythology, I believe that similar balancing efforts applied to business ideas and government actions and especially bioregional community actions are the most appropriately structured efforts and could inspire the necessary collaborative as well as focused efforts for mutually beneficial, artistic results of a sustainable human-earth relationship.
I can imagine this directly applied to the management of political and economic systems to timely and efficiently effect energy transitions from fossil fuel based economics to economics based on watersheds and water cycles and renewable energy. If human social living organizations were directed like the desired end result was a highly popular story or “life like poem” could sustainable economies of new energy and quality, ethical food systems be created? This idea is only potentially useful if human societies break out of the habit of waiting for crisis to act as seen in the response to the attack on Pearl Harbor of WWII. The movie industry model of action could be applied to a society that acts before the worst effects from climate change are upon it because the movie industry is a highly articulate groups of people formed around the desire to communicate, to have a conversation about a story, a legend, a mythology; it could be that the mythology is the glue that could effect truly sustainable dialogue. A society working for sustainability might look like a series of mythologic watershed societies producing an epic blockbuster movie; no one really knows what the end result will look like; all are putting out their best interpretation of the myth; the director might have the best idea, but even he or she cannot predict what the audience will think and if the suspension of disbelief, a truly sustainable society, will be achieved.
Third, could a private contracting design firm propose and bid for the opportunity to work for the transition of towns and cities into bioregional watershed communities with professionally engineered, technologically advanced, and emotionally intelligent socioeconomic systems? Could this effort in part be set up and funded by carbon credit sequestration off sets and in part by the by in to the social services provided to private individuals by those individuals? Sustainability seems to me, will be defined by this sort of seemingly outlandish, but combined engineeringly intelligent and selfless and emotionally intelligent action-based thinking. With Distributed Energy smart grid technologies and the portable, non-toxic hydrogen fuel cell technology, a transformation modeled after the structure of a movie production could act with more emotional, regional appeal and also monetary agility than any centralized, nuclear powered efforts. The question of what energy source technology to use to effect a socioeconomic change is critical. This question should be asked in the holistic context of the question of sustainability as an integrated system of autonomous multilingual and multicultural bioregions, not just from the context of the monocultural imperialism in effect today.
While I do not have the focused background of Savory, I aspire to establish a relevant and emotionally intelligent systems thinking-based product and/or service that contributes to, not necessarily “ecotheology”, but certainly an evolution towards emotionally relevant and poetically symbiotic social economic systems. I have resisted being a member of the industrial military complex and I am resisting being a member of the global food and culture economies of scale. I am trying to use this course to understand why I react this way. Why do I fear these two massive economies of scale? Much of the work done by leaders in land conservation and organic and biodynamic food systems like Allan Savory, make me feel more like I am on the right path; the path of avoiding those economies of scale is the right path.
I see an alternative pathway in the merger of science and art using the mtDNA pathway as a structure for a multicultural and multilingual business that could be interpreted by many artists as a pathway toward greater emotional intelligence in human global society and thus a higher quality conversation between engineered intelligence and emotional intelligence and thus greater degree of sustainability. This genetic information is simultaneously an intimate connection to the earth and a unique distinction from the earth; it could explain the universal similarities in our microbiome and our gene-culture co-evolution to the rest of the biosphere by being imprinted on by watershed water cycles through microbiology and describe how different we are from the rest of humanity and the biosphere by our scribing our unique bipedalism and inventive traveling skills in a line of travel. This information has been expressed by more than one scientific researcher, but DNA scientist Brian Sykes’s book “The Seven Daughters of Eve” was the first I’ve read and provides ample evidence of the validity of these pathways. Are these mtDNA pathways also microbiome inheritance pathways? Are we collecting an ecological identity as we walk, fly, cycle, swim across the earth? Could this intimate line across the earth when compared to the line’s of a watershed system, provide a sort of upwelling in the human consciousness?
To help play a part in funding such a radical transition initiative, I envision a business that mimics the regional nature of the USCG small boat station systems, but seeks to effect the kind of revolutionary socioeconomic change needed for sustainability using private customer funding and employee owned co-op efforts. Each separate business would be regionally employee owned, but share the burden of brand management and accounting management. I’ll call the hypothetical business “Organic Mana.”
Organic Mana would initially be an online, GIS-based software platform for collaborative, artistic expression of the phenomenon of multilingualism, the personality of microbiology, and the personality of geographic empathy. It would be a company based in the bioregion of Cascadia who’s primary mission is to design Geographic Empathy and promote geographic empathy through various practical and physical uses of multilingualism and various metaphysical, or philosophical uses. Organic Mana could have seven (limited to 5-7 according to the “span of control” theory taken from the Incident Command System of crisis management training in the Federal Services and USCG) potential sub-brand businesses each with a distinct product and service specialty that is directly or indirectly related to others and foster conversations between a designed and engineered mind and emotional content by the nature of the smaller economies of quality between them and generate cash flow for the larger external economies of scale: “Clarity’s Farm: Seed Oils and Fibers”, “Starlight Sails and Canvas Co.: natural fiber sail shades and canvas work”, “WildSide Smoothies and Tea: Paleo diet recipes”, “The Luminous Lounge: A place to talk about the big affects of micro flavor”, “A Watershed Moment: Multi-Sport Eco Tours of Cascadia”, “geOMpathy: A family board game based on mtDNA pathways”, “The Mana Line: Geographic Fashion based on mtDNA pathways”, “ProSymbiotica: short stories based on the phenomenon of symbiosis and multilingualism.” I’ve included these ideas as real possibilities coming from my personal experiences of simple and complex needs for collaboratively and profitably stitching the gap between two mindsets. While I am still in efforts to generate detailed business models to effect some or all of these product and service ideas, I feel it useful to “throw them out there” to “manifest” the desire for excellence in sustainable, quality conversations between engineering and emotion that I hope to be a working member of. Appendix A is a description of these ideas and the basic multilingual quality infused into their business models through the mission statements.
Multilingualism is a skill that enables more skills and more technology and is a skill used by most all animals and plants and microorganisms on the planet and thus should be preserved and promoted by human society before promoting other “miracles” of innovative technology. If procrastinated beyond the human age of 10 years old, multilingualism takes a lot of time in study, but because it is a benefit increasing with the quantity and quality of conversations it enables, and because it is also a philosophic structure, it should be infused more assertively into all existing socioeconomic structures and systems beginning with the public school system in the USA. Step One for sustainability: Recognize that all other organisms in the biosphere are “talking” and sit and listen for a bit. Step Two: Stop interfering with the conversations and try to learn some of these, strange, but complex ways of talk and thought; stop making any new “miracle” technology that is not able to listen to and talk with multiple other forms of intelligence or systems. Step Three: Create new forms of intelligence (both artificial and natural) or new systems and new products and services that are multilingual from birth to death: Make and design so that everything that is said can be understood by and appreciated by multiple other intelligences; design for natural and emotionally empathic interconnection. Step Four: Carry on great, quality conversations about how amazing and complex the biosphere is, explore the vast universe with the desire for new conversations rather than new imperial, monocultural exploitations for profit in mind.
In summary, sustainability is directly related to the use of multilingualism as a phenomenon of philosophy which should be infused into the existing energy, food, and transportation system as best as technically possible; all future energy, food, and transportation systems funded by public money should be multilingual in that they should not be monolithic, but should be bioregional, structured on watershed boundaries. Overall, for future socioeconomic sustainability, high quality conversations should be encouraged by all sectors and levels of socioeconomic systems of scale and of quality between engineered intelligence and emotional intelligence; to be sustainable, engineers (software, hardware, construction contractors, metallurgists, factory scale food producers, transportation industry workers) must learn to speak more qualitatively and emotionally focused professionals (artists, social workers, organic food producers) must learn to understand and speak more quantitatively so that these two forms of intelligence can collaboratively co-create the foundations of a future human society not based on monocultural imperialism and fossil fuels and thus act like a placenta by selflessly transferring and dispersing authority over to the next generation of human society by dedicating our current lives more toward the happiness and security of their future lives.
Appendix A: “Organic Mana: Designing Geographic Empathy”
I provide this as an appendix to my main essay on sustainability to demonstrate my understanding of the complex nature of a “conversation” between engineering and emotion as also a factor of price points and themes communicating. The below is a draft that would also serve as a proposal to potential investors or for research funding. Most of these ideas come from personal experiences and depend on my own future ongoing professional development (my own dialogue between engineering and emotion), technical grasp of GIS technology and geography and the ability to merge environmental studies with sustainable business model design and writing skills. I grant that the complexity of these ideas and the breadth of industries would demand more than one soul on board... these efforts could employ a lot of people and thus demand much greater managerial and budgeting skills than I have alone.
The main theme and mission of the Design Firm called “Organic Mana” is to “Design Geographic Empathy” in products and services which means to design for the synergistic value of a quality an ongoing conversation between the personality/intelligence of a particular geographic landscape and watershed and the personality/intelligence of the particular organism: individual person, plant, animal, microbe; that lived there or migrated through that geography. Organic Mana is essentially a diplomatic multilingual global organization of artisans and technitions that design products and services that interpret and reinterpret the conversation happening between the human microbiome and the earth’s microbiome and in doing this promote the increasing awareness of and desire for cultural diversity, multilingualism, and biodiversity through bioregionalism; all primarily through the innovative application of multilingualism to GIS mapping technology and mtDNA genome sequencing technology and the science of microbiology and geography to the four main product and service industries listed below. A theme secondary in character, but equal in importance is: while promoting the above mission, Organic Mana promotes employee self-esteem and happiness and diversity in skills enabling each employee around the globe to co-own the firm and to build skill sets in up to three areas or expertise at a level of rotation that promotes synergy between the time for perfection of their skills and the added value to the evolution and reliability of the specific product and service for the industry. The design firm would enable resilience by contributing to four essential industries: Organic Food Industry: Artisan Field-to-Bottle Seed Oils, Paleo Smoothies, Alternative Teas; Organic Textiles Industry: Natural Fiber Field-to-Fashion Products; Indoor Entertainment Industry: geography puzzle Board Game, Short Story Sci-Fiction; and Outdoor Entertainment Industry Agricultural Multi-Sport tourism.
Industry Price points $ per unit production and retail and net gain:
- Clarity’s Farm: Organic Artisan BioRegional Seed Oil and Seed Milk Industry 8oz:
- Styrian pumpkin seed oil: $20/8oz
- Sunflower oil: about $10/8oz
- Flax: about $15/8oz
- Hemp: about $100/8oz
- WildSide Smoothies: Organic Paleo Smoothies: $4/8oz
- Clarity’s Farm: Organic fibers spun and woven: Flax, Hemp, Milkweed, Bamboo, Broom Corn. Priced per yard: $15-25/yd
- The Mana Line: Fashion Industry one custom outfit designed online with GIS:
- One client’s complete custom designed shirt top, pants, shoes, hat, accessory: $500-$1500
INDOOR ENTERTAINMENT Industry:
- geOMpathy board game:
- one handcrafted geography puzzle board game: $100
- ProSymbiotica: 8 short stories based on phenomenons of multilingualism and symbiosis: $10 each booklet
- I imagine this as a greater source of cash flow for “geographic empathy” if I’m a good enough creative writer, these could also be developed in some part as video game content or graphic novels. As the gaming industry is a massive economy of scale it is difficult to imagine entering it as well, but I see a need to provide alternative “biopunk quest” content subject matter to the violence based games. I grew up playing games some as a boy and can understand the addictive qualities of gaming and thus a great source of “nature deficit disorder”. $10/video game based on one story
OUTDOOR ENTERTAINMENT Industry:
- A Watershed Moment: bike, hike, ski, float
- multi-sport tour: $1500-2000/7days
- smaller package deals including varying levels of logistics and emergency support: $75-500
Clarity’s Farm would be the foundational farm business providing a geographic context to the combined efforts of each sub brand business. The farm would be a series of small 5acre-10 acre parcels located strategically for access by river tourism companies and local communities along the various rivers of the Columbia River Watershed primarily in the more arid growing zones at it’s greatest productive evolution. Each farm could choose a specialization in certain varietals of seed oil crops and fiber crops such as Styrian Pumpkin seeds, flax, hemp, sunflowers, and other crops like high value and high flavor snack foods such as popcorn, edamame, lentils, and crops that could be used in smoothies such as parsnips, various greens, raspberries, blueberries, herbs. Much of the foods would go directly to making smoothies including hemp milk and flax milk. The oil produced would be bulk cost for CSA members and the remainder to retail outlets or resturaunts or online purchases. The Fiber would be sent to Starlight Sails and Canvas Co. for use as sail shade cloths and potentially as day sailing sails on lakes around the east side of the cascades as well as used in flax and hemp canvas bags and cargo clothing.
Starlight Sails and Canvas Co would primarily be a sail shade production company sourcing as much fiber as it could from Clarity’s Farm and other Cascadia Region fiber farms. Focusing on all natural canvases, the theme and skill set base would be traditional sailmaking and rigging.
WildSide Smoothies would be a Paleo diet recipe based smoothie and tea company with primarily all foods sourced from Clarity’s Farm. It would be located initially on the various farm sites and on or near the various rivers of the greater Columbia R. Watershed.
The Luminous Lounge would be a cocktail lounge operated seasonally for the rafting and skiing and multi-sport tourism industry in association with the commercial kitchen and liquor licensed facilities of “WildSide Smoothies and Tea,” but marketed for a different clientel. Part of the theme would be bioluminescence and aim to provide a unique deep ocean atmosphere for people on the east side of the Cascades. It would be a place to gather and enjoy “the flavor of geography”; with regional wines, beers, and spirits and those foreign drinks that highlight geography. It would also be a temporary licensed hosting site for the “A Watershed Moment multi-sport event” video montage.
A Watershed Moment would be one coordinated seasonal event or possibly a series of small events timed with the “watershed moments” of equinox and solstice and spring melt offs. It would be a multi-sport tourism event catered and guided at various levels of desired customer service. It could include cycling to the hiking trail, hiking to a mountain, ski mountaineering and cycling back and or rafting down a river, possibly a balloon ride. The point would be to “think like a watershed” and mimic the path way of a drop of water in a watershed’s water cycle. It would be a novel way to learn about hydrology.
geOMpathy is a puzzle board game that would be customized to the individual and the family’s mtDNA pathway to provide a geography quiz board game experience. There could be a smart phone app trivia quiz data base interface feature or a completely paper-based trivia quiz developed from questions based on the unique mtDNA line. Questions would follow a theme of either “trials by fire” or “trials by ice” where a chosen team member must act out a scenario such as a physical test (fire) or an emotional test (ice) or intellectual tests of geographic and ecologic facts from their “Mana Line.”
The Mana Line is a fashion design firm based on the mtDNA pathway and on three clothing pattern product themes: The Mana Code, Mosaic, and Mythologie. The point of this theme is to access the “emotional intelligence” of designer clothing buyers to effect cash flow for social change especially after the recent clothing factory tragedy in Bangladesh and the history of textile industry sweat shops. Thus the design firm would source it’s fabric from alternative textile companies and possibly some fabric accents from Clarity’s Farm. One potential logistical theme, albeit quite complex, would be to create a unique GIS mapping software program that enabled regional artisans along the customer’s mtDNA pathway to bid for their “Mana Line” project or provide a small accent detail to it priced according to a total outfit ensemble cap price. For example, as all of us of European descendants have passed through Europe along various lines such as through Scotland to France to Switzerland over the Caucaus Mtns to Egypt and to the Rift Lake Zone in Ethiopia. There could be many small production scale or young, new artisans that could join the Organic Mana co-op via the cloud-based GIS software program and submit their individual style of jewelry or clothing design that fits the loose categories of “Mana Code, Mosaic, and Mythologie.” The Code would be numbers, languages; the Mosaic would be colors, regional patterns such as water prints, endemic and indigenous plant prints; the Mythologie would be the artist’s visual interpretation of the local myths of antiquity. Most likely this idea would start out as merely fabric printing and evolve into a more commercially professional clothing and fashion design firm. The key would be to focus on the novelty that the GIS software provides in decreasing the price points for highly authentic and artistic and personally meaningful clothing. One technology could be to enable the customer to interact with the artisans to co-design the end fashion ensemble. This could be impractical and tricky as artists are certainly finicky and many like to completely own their artistic process, but the service of enabling the customer to co-design and the opportunity for a young artist to get her start could make it a “fair trade.” The idea for this has essentially been born of my growing up culturally obsolete and devoid and then joining the USCG wearing uniforms all of the time and then joining the NPS and wearing military style uniforms again while feeling the comflict between the industrial military complex and ecological consciousness. “The Mana Line” would essentially be an ecologically conscious, mtDNA science-based geographic cultural uniform of sorts. What I notice, even from my Pop Culture perspective, possibly as a result of that perspective, is that when “American” clothing culture is compared to the clothing culture I saw on some of my travels abroad, there is a deep universal desire to express individual personality mixed with some sort of authentic heritage culture. Clothing and fashion is a form of multilingual conversation with our own imagination or who we are, of who we once were, of our culture, and of our landscape (the textiles we choose) that could effect dramatic paradigm shifts if done with real artistic inspiration and emotional content in mind mixed with engineering intelligence via GIS software... multilingualism could actually work.
ProSymbiotica is a series of short stories based on the theme of symbiosis and empathy in the biosphere. Gathered in a similar manner to Brother Grimm Fairytales, Protagonists are challenged by varying crisis of identity and geography posed by the greater “engineered intelligence” paradigm. This would be associated with the rest of the “Organic Mana” firm to support in funding and advertisements and branding. Such as with “Clarity’s Farm,” Clarity is a supporting character to the main protagonist in a story called “The Fortress Of Sunflowers,” a tale of a young girl who is trapped by a temporary second dimension portal via a giant sunflower that happened to be placed at the exact right spot in the backyard garden of the girl’s home. The girl, Cleo, under goes metamorphosis into a sunflower-human and finds herself transported into a vast valley (Methow Valley east of the cascades) far from her home Bellingham or Seattle or Tacoma urban home... She must protect the fortress’s crop of sunflowers and flax and pumpkin seeds from The Raven King and his murder of crows before the season ends or she will be trapped as a petrified sunflower that makes up the structure of the fortress as many predecessors were before her... Clarity, another girl trapped in a similar manner, only not threatened with petrification, helps her by encouraging companionship planting techniques and spreading out the farm, decentralizing it, and getting help from the wolves to bring in a massive herd of buffalo to help fertilize the field (after the first season’s yield in seed oil was not quite enough to remove the magic curse. This is an elaborate idea, for sure, for an agricultural tourism theme to support the ethics and philosophy of artisan agriculture. It’s based on the assumption that mythology if tied to ethics will enhance and support market value for artisan food crops.