Posts Tagged evolution

Converging for Thrivability


There are times when I look at the news of the world or see the state of things, and I feel tired, fearful, and lost. But those times are few. I manage to be positive – not because I have had tons of coaching (which helps) but because so much of what I keep learning about our world is what people are doing to make it a better place.


Those people – they inspire me – they range across so many communities of purpose. What happens in the world when we make progress across:

  • water accessibility (and clean sanitation – multiple fronts including Engineers without Borders, Rotary International grant projects, Clean Water for the World, and so many others including social entrepreneurial ventures)
  • child mortality (disease and health practices such as Measles Campaign…)
  • disaster relief (numerous – and gaining ground with peer to peer efforts seeded in Katrina and growing both in the US and abroad)
  • tool innovation and accessibility (OLPC, projects listed in Appropedia, etc…)
  • human rights (Humanity United, multiple genocide intervention groups, etc…)
  • women’s issues (orgs supporting women as head of household and helping girls get to school – numerous, also groups addressing domestic violence)
  • green issues (bioneers, etc and hundreds of green blogs, orgs, and actions)
  • literally hundreds of other cause areas…internet freedom, digital rights, healthcare, organic foods, the lists go on and on and on!


Why are we making progress? The internet. Is that all? No, but it is vital, because we can network and know our network. We can find people who share our interests and take action together. We can find people to support and evangelize our projects. We can link together research, solutions, actions, and people. We can route information and opportunity. See weaving together actions from a good number of social action platforms. Calalytic Communities collecting and sharing community solutions. We can have conversations – see or a good number of Ning communities for better world building. See We can begin to see the network – There are others – coming together, working toward fairness, encouraging entrepreneurship, and caring for our planet. The DO-ACTION network may be in its infancy, but it is already potent. Nurtured by online connections, the collective organism strives for greater health.

Not only are greater actions possible along traditional lines, but innovations proliferate too. Innovations in financing (kiva and many others), innovations in business models and accounting (social entrepreneurship and double/triple bottom line accounting) but also innovations in community organizing, fundraising, and collaboration.

Improvements in process – for gatherings/conferences like open space, unconferences, barcamps as well as tools of the process arts. Improvements in organizational structures fed by growing awareness of social network analysis – supporting shifts toward holocracy and do-acracy forms.

Shifts in our very being-ness, as seen in the rising of non-religious forms of spirituality and cross-faith collaboration within religious traditions. Tolle, Chopra, and many others feeding the collective organism of our being-ness with clear paths, shift our behaviors, and uplift our being.

And there are shifts in the money flow. Whether it is currency advocates for alternatives to money or open money which goes beyond tradeable wealth to address a broader awareness of wealth and currency flows, there is a growing awareness of what works and what is needed. Tools are built. Models tested.

And there is a convergence in people’s focus too. Whether people are over 50 and looking for a more purpose-driven life or under 30 and charged up about a world that could end in their lifetime, people of nearly all living generations are more interested (or more likely to be interested) in a meaningful life and meaningful action – they are more clearly connected to what happens in the world and more knit together across multiple boundaries – perceiving the eco-system of our living together.

It feels to me as if change is in the air. It used to be that I would drive through traffic thinking to myself that all the other folks on the road were part of the zombie people: nose to the grindstone for money that wouldn’t make them happy and destroyed our shared world. Now I drive or walk past them wondering what they are doing as part of their effort to make the world a better place. Why the shift in belief? Because such a great percentage of the people I come in contact with are that way – working for a better world: participating in local governance, advocating for causes that are personal to them, donating funds to orgs and projects they believe matter.

We could slice thrivability up by issue, by audience, by being-ness, by process or whatever slicing and dicing works for the question at hand. But if we zoom out and look at the whole, the messy whole, there is a living organism bubbling with life, zest, even zeal so that humans can live worthwhile lives on a planet that can support us. We are co-creating our future and determining our own evolution. And we begin to know it. And the more we know it and create with intention, the greater chance we have to create a thrivable world

What do you notice that is converging for our thrivability?


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Zooming way out to try to place my own evolution within the context of thrivability…here is what I have come up with so far.

Taking from my understanding of the evolution of a donor, for example.

  1. Initially donors often respond to requests with small gifts and make little planning or spend little time thinking about strategically giving. We can call this a passive donor. Most donors fall in this group.
  2. Beginning to think about strategy and setting aside funds or time for giving leads to the next phase of pro-active donor.
  3. Perhaps a pro-active donor gathering community of peers and setting up strategic plans might be a prudent donor.
  4. Creating community, fostering development of other donors, and pushing for greater awareness around giving might be an activist donor.
  5. Becoming a leader–sharing best practices, innovating new approaches, becoming a mentor, and advocating for the field as a respected voice might be considered the final stage of evolution–an inspired donor leader.

So what might these stages look like in parallel for thrivability?

  1. Passive thriver: incorporates green practices of friends, chooses thivable options when presented.
  2. Pro-active thriver: buys organic, fair-trade when possible. Reads news about thrivable practices in favored domains, researches to find thrivable options.
  3. Prudent thriver: Engages in community of other thrivers, acts as a conscious consumer, has growing awareness of complex systems at play and the difficulty of the perfect solution.
  4. Activist thriver: Creates and engages in community of thrivers, expands community by reaching out into network to grow awareness.
  5. Inspired thriver leader: sharing best practices, innovating new approaches, becoming a mentor, and advocating for the field as a respected voice.

So where am I? Perhaps moving from 3 to 4?

The last several years I have gone from leaning toward greener practices to advocating for them. I consistently choose, when possible, organic foods and clothing, reduced packaging, recycling and reuse, a paperless office practices, using my own bags at the grocery…moving from recycling when easy to recycling everything possible, reduced consumption, etc. The list is long. But it is not enough. Even if I get my friends to do what I am doing, and I do more of what my maven friends are doing.

So at the beginning of this year, I discussed with a friend, what more can we do? I already try to serve customers aligned with my view and practices. Where else can I have impact? So here we are, to blog that exploration, discovery, and emergence.

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