Center, Athena

We are a center bridging science, business, and “ancient wisdom” from different traditions to bring sustainability and equality to the (business) world.

Kay, David

Initially trained as an economist, I work as a senior outreach faculty member at Cornell University. I am affiliated with the Community and Regional Development Institute in Cornell’s Department of Global Development. I am interested primarily in community decision making and governance; the institutional, policy and personal changes needed for an energy transition in the US; and the responses of individuals and communities to the increasing risks posed by climate change.

Specking, Heiko

specking+partners advises on sustainability issues, and engages with corporations, charitable structures, wealthy individuals and their families. In this respect we support the enhancement of responsible behaviour both for business related and personal activities. As an independent Swiss-based company, we ensure that value-based practices can become part of the DNA of a project or an organization.

Together with our clients, we build long-term, holistic strategies for responsible engagement, philanthropic activities, sustainable investment and social entrepreneurship. We then work to support implementation of their strategies and to realize the desired impact.

Creating space for reflection and dialogue: Examples of new modes of communication for empowering climate action

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” This quote by Albert Einstein highlights our need for new formats of communication to address the knowledge-action gap regarding climate change and other sustainability challenges. This includes reflection, and communication spaces, as well as methods and approaches that can catalyze the emergence of transformative change and action. In this article we present and reflect on experiments we carried out at international climate negotiations and conferences.

 

(Taken from www.ingentaconnect.com/content/oekom/gaia/2021/00000030/00000003/art00010;jsessionid=bc027khsn74t1.x-ic-live-02)

Connecting to Change the World: Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact

Something new and important is afoot. Nonprofit and philanthropic organizations are under increasing pressure to do more and to do better to increase and improve productivity with fewer resources. Social entrepreneurs, community-minded leaders, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropists now recognize that to achieve greater impact they must adopt a network-centric approach to solving difficult problems. Building networks of like-minded organizations and people offers them a way to weave together and create strong alliances that get better leverage, performance, and results than any single organization is able to do.

While the advantages of such networks are clear, there are few resources that offer easily understandable, field-tested information on how to form and manage social-impact networks. Drawn from the authors’ deep experience with more than thirty successful network projects, Connecting to Change the World provides the frameworks, practical advice, case studies, and expert knowledge needed to build better performing networks. Readers will gain greater confidence and ability to anticipate challenges and opportunities.

Easily understandable and full of actionable advice, Connecting to Change the World is an informative guide to creating collaborative solutions to tackle the most difficult challenges society faces.

 

(taken from https://islandpress.org/books/connecting-change-world)

Co-Creative Reflection & Dialogue Space at UNFCCC COP

The IASS first hosted a Dialogue and Reflection Space at the climate conference in Katowice in 2018. The space attracted participants from a diverse range of professional backgrounds, countries and age groups and offered a safe space for discussions in smaller groups as well as in-depth conversation and reflection in the midst of this major event. Many of the participants praised the space for providing a supportive setting that generated valuable insights.

“The space provides a setting for genuine encounters that inspire creative thinking and broaden perspectives. The delegates to the conference bring a substantial and diverse potential with them, but opportunities for genuine exchange are often few and far between. The Dialogue and Reflection Space provides a framework for cooperation in which new ideas and effective strategies can emerge. This is an important contribution to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement,” says IASS researcher Carolin Fraude.

Over the course of the two-week climate change conference, the IASS will be offering “Learning Journey” workshops twice daily. The two sessions, which can also be attended separately, build on each other and feature a co-creative approach spanning three phases in which the following three questions are addressed:

1)    Why does a culture of cooperation need to be cultivated and developed further at the COP?
2)    What culture do we need to make the COP more effective?
3)    What can we do to promote this culture?

The programme at the space will be supported by a research team from the IASS in collaboration with colleagues from Chalmers University of Technology, Lund University and the University of East Anglia.

The results will be published on Twitter and a blog. The programme also includes unstructured time for personal conversations and diary-keeping.

Invitation_R&DSpaceInvitation_RDSpace2019Concept-note_RD2019

Concept note_R&D_1

Björkman, Tomas

My name is Tomas Björkman and I am an applied philosopher and social entrepreneur.

One of the strongest personal drivers in my life has always been to unlock the hidden structures of the world around me. Curious and exploring, I constantly strive for a better understanding of science, people and social phenomena. Based on my understanding of human and societal needs in a world that is in many ways falling apart, I have committed myself to facilitating the co-creation of a more conscious society.

I want to give momentum to the right kind of changes

I am by no means the only person trying to become more conscious about the problems in the world. Many are also actively doing something about it. My main contribution is to bring change-makers together by creating arenas and initiatives with the goal of stimulating the right kind of development at both an individual and a societal level. The overall goal is to co-create a future at a higher level of individual, cultural, societal consciousness.

In 2008, I started my personal journey by founding Stiftelsen Ekskäret (Ekskäret Foundation) together with a number of future-oriented thinkers, social entrepreneurs and change-makers who became members of the board or creative partners. The Foundation’s strategic vision is to “support a sustainable world where people are creating more well-being for themselves, each other and the planet”. I strongly believe that personal development is a prerequisite for societal change.

Under the umbrella of the Ekskäret Foundation, we have created primarily two venues for events, Learning Labs and exploratory meetings etc.: the workshop facility at the island of Ekskäret (literally: the island where the oak-trees grow), located in the Stockholm archipelago, and the co-working space Ekskäret Klustret in central Stockholm.

The workshop facility on the island of Ekskäret welcomed its first curious and creative visitors in 2011. The facility provides a breath-taking venue and is a perfect arena for exploring existential questions and personal development – for teenager as well as adults. All activities on the island are carried out according to the principles of the Foundation. Ekskäret Klustret, a creative, activity-based co-working space located in the very heart of Stockholm city centre, opened its doors in 2016.

I believe that providing physical and digital meeting venues will create fertile soil for change. Gathering change-makers under one roof will stimulate sharing of ideas and creativity and lead to the co-creation of new initiatives and projects. It will also expand the networks of all participating entrepreneur and generate greater momentum for their important work.

I like to think of these two arenas as important incubators for co-creating positive changes. They are physical manifestations of the idea that a more conscious and sustainable society is possible, and we do watch and guide the ripple effects that result.

More recently I have taken the initiative to create K9 Co-living, Stockholm; Perspectiva Institute, London; the Co-creation loft, Berlin and the digital initiatives 29k.org and ‘Emerge’: www.whatisemerging.com.

Ragnarsdottir, Kristin Vala

I am originally an Earth Scientist with emphasis on geothermal systems and behaviour and fate of pollutants in the natural environment. Since 2000 I have been working on issues related to sustainability.

Voggenreiter, Valerie

Sustainability – Self – Silence
Silence Spaces is a collective of four people, which resulted out of sustainable higher education at the Eberswalde University for sustainable development. During the M.Sc. program we realised, that the inner dimension is under represented when sustainability efforts come into action. Hence, we created a space for the self to empower sustainable behavior in silence and finally helping to transform mindsets and societies. Silence Spaces are physical as well as symbolic spaces. They are free of cyber activities, talking, reading, writing or any kind of input as long as there is not a a conceptualized learning journey taking place. In Silence we learn how to drop into ourselves, observe, reflect, relax – deep learning can take place and this environment can help us to deal more sustainable with ourselves instead of exploiting our own resources. Finally, Silence Spaces want to empower each single individual to invite inner change in order to initiate and shape sustainable outer change – and Silence is the container where this processes can origin from. Silence allows to LISTEN to our inner needs, become more empathic and caring towards oneself as well as the surroundings.

Silence Space

What is sustainability? Often, environmental aspects are in the foreground, while the social dimension is neglected. A transformation towards a more sustainable society, though, needs to consider the social and individual dimension as inner change causes outer change – and vice versa. We see the inner dimension underrepresented in public spheres.
We raise the awareness, that we need more than a technological understanding of sustainability, which cares primarily about the ecological consequences of our actions. We call for a shift in consciousness, too, which influences our thinking and action.
To think critically and acting according to it, is asked from each one of us. We believe that these capacities can be found in Silence. It offers a container for subjective transformation processes – by pausing consciously and taking part at learning journeys on (self)transformation. Deep inner change towards sustainability can’t happen in times of overwhelming stress and acceleration.
Silence Spaces in public places allow a transformation on both levels with the emphasis on internal spaces. The potential to become a part of the solution of grievances lies in every one of us and is able to unfold here. Silence Spaces are physical as well as symbolic spaces. They are free of cyber activities, talking, eating or any kind of input as long as there is not a learning journey taking place. In Silence we can drop into ourselves, observe, relax and reflect. We can gather strength and become observers when we exploit ourselves or witness exploitation of others and the environment. We need an economic and political shift and therefore promote spaces where critical thinking can happen, which is needed to bring along system change. The time for cool headed action is now.

Co-Creative Reflection & Dialogue Space at COP25

The IASS first hosted a Dialogue and Reflection Space at the climate conference in Katowice in 2018. The space attracted participants from a diverse range of professional backgrounds, countries and age groups and offered a safe space for discussions in smaller groups as well as in-depth conversation and reflection in the midst of this major event. Many of the participants praised the space for providing a supportive setting that generated valuable insights.

“The space provides a setting for genuine encounters that inspire creative thinking and broaden perspectives. The delegates to the conference bring a substantial and diverse potential with them, but opportunities for genuine exchange are often few and far between. The Dialogue and Reflection Space provides a framework for cooperation in which new ideas and effective strategies can emerge. This is an important contribution to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement,” says IASS researcher Carolin Fraude.

Over the course of the two-week climate change conference, the IASS will be offering “Learning Journey” workshops twice daily. The two sessions, which can also be attended separately, build on each other and feature a co-creative approach spanning three phases in which the following three questions are addressed:

1)    Why does a culture of cooperation need to be cultivated and developed further at the COP?
2)    What culture do we need to make the COP more effective?
3)    What can we do to promote this culture?

The programme at the space will be supported by a research team from the IASS in collaboration with colleagues from Chalmers University of Technology, Lund University and the University of East Anglia.

The results will be published on Twitter and a blog. The programme also includes unstructured time for personal conversations and diary-keeping.

Invitation_R&DSpace

Concept note_R&D_1

 

Sadhana Forest

“Sadhana Forest started its ecological revival and sustainable living work on December 19th 2003.

The vision of its founders, Yorit and Aviram Rozin, is to transform 70 acres of severely eroded, arid land on the outskirts of Auroville. In a spirit of human unity, their aim is to introduce a growing number of people to sustainable living, food security through ecological transformation, wasteland reclamation, and veganism. Our energy and resources are focused on the creation of a vibrant, indigenous Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF).

Sadhana Forest won the third place in the Humanitarian Water and Food Award (WAF) 2010. The ceremony took place in the Marble Hall of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 25th, 2010. Shri Ashok Kumar Attri the Ambassador of India to Denmark honored Sadhana Forest by attending the ceremony.
This award is an international recognition of the quality of the ecological and humanitarian work done by Sadhana Forest in India and Haiti.”

(source: https://sadhanaforest.org/about-us/)

Tomorrow

“WHY THIS FILM ?

TODAY, we sometimes feel powerless in front of the various crises of our times.
TODAY, we know that answers lie in a wide mobilization of the human race. Over the course of a century, our dream of progress commonly called “the American Dream”, fundamentally changed the way we live and continues to inspire many developing countries. We are now aware of the setbacks and limits of such development policies. We urgently need to focus our efforts on changing our dreams before something irreversible happens to our planet.
TODAY, we need a new direction, objective… A new dream! The documentary Tomorrow sets out to showcase alternative and creative ways of viewing agriculture, economics, energy and education. It offers constructive solutions to act on a local level to make a difference on a global level. So far, no other documentary has gone down such an optimistic road…
TOMORROW is not just a film, it is the beginning of a movement seeking to encourage local communities around the world to change the way they live for the sake of our planet.

Start small to grow big, and write a new story for the generations to come.”

(source: https://www.tomorrow-documentary.com/)

The Bridge

RESEARCH EXCHANGES IN AUROVILLE

Auroville is the largest and longest-standing intentional community in the world, practically researching into the evolutionary potential of humankind, developing award-winning transformational practices across fields of culture, economics, governance, education, environment, and health, recognized by UNESCO, the Indian Government, and major industries such as Tata. Visiting researchers can bridge this future-facing body of experimentation with developments in their fields worldwide, for the benefit of humanity as a whole.

WHO WE ARE

The Bridge promotes exchange between Auroville and visiting researchers similarly dedicated to the progress of human society.
We curate presentations and forums that facilitate exchange and the intiation of collaborative projects between Aurovilian and visiting experts.

WHO ARE YOU?

Are you an Aurovilian or visiting expert – in any field? We invite you to offer a presentation of your work.
Contact: thebridge@auroville.org.in
Are you an Auroville community member, volunteer, or visitor? You are welcome to attend our public events series!

Omann, Ines

Since I have been a teenager, the environment and the way we deal with it, has been important to me. After school I was searching for studies, where I could combine environmental and social sciences. Well, I did not find it then, therefore I started together with a group of other students and young assistant professor to develop a new study program, called environmental system sciences. It is based on systems and integrated thinking and the idea to study one major subject (in my case economics) plus courses in natural sciences, systems theory, interdisciplinary thinking. Now it is a big program with 1000s of alumni and students (see here: https://umweltsystemwissenschaften.uni-graz.at/). After having obtained my Masters in 1997, I started to work as junior resarchersin research institutes such as the Wuppertal Institute, later at the University of Graz, where I was also teaching. I came across the scientific community of Ecological Economics, where I found my scientific home base. I got active in this society and started a PhD at the Universities of Graz and Leeds, which I finished in 2004. Since then I have been working as project leader in sustainability projects at different research institutes (more than 10 years at SERI in Vienna, which I co-founded, the UFZ in Leipzig, or the Vienna University of Economics). My research developed continually towards transformation research, quality of life/good life. There inner processes became more and more important. It was with my dear colleague Felix Rauschmayer that we started to work on links between needs, wellbeing, sustainability, the good life or capabilities. Through him I met Thomas from IASS and other people working on inner change. My projects are mainly transdisciplinary, because I am convinced, the challenges, we face, cannot be solved by science alone. I have started to take courses in moderation and facilitation, such as Circle, Dialogue, Art of Hosting, Dynamic facilitation etc. to be able to integrated all relevant actors in an appropriate way. Personally I would say I am on a journey bringing me more and more to myself and to the “größeres ganze”. I am on a spiritual path, practice meditation for many years, and try to live a life that is more and more sustainable, outwards and inwards.

Pacific Integral

Pacific Integral is a developer of educational and social change technologies and a global community of leaders and practitioners of transformative change. We aim to support the emergence of a sustainable, equitable and beautiful future for humanity and all of creation. We believe that humanity is in the midst of a profound period of change, and that addressing the opportunities of our time require that we embrace universal human values and ethical action, awaken to and engage in our evolutionary potential, and enact more conscious, integral forms of leadership and collective action in the world, grounded in our deepest wisdom. To this end, we endeavor to impact human development, leadership, and social change at the emergent edge of consciousness and action.

We serve individuals and organizations who see their life and work as an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the future of our world. Our clients are curious and committed. They know they are evolving as people and tend to already have experience in their own development. Our individual clients have a passion for their own growth and for engaging in life deeply and ethically. Our organizational clients tend to have a social purpose or see themselves as serving multiple bottom lines, and have leaders who are interested in working novel and emerging leadership and organizational approaches to foster healthy, transformative work environments.

taken from https://www.pacificintegral.com/about

Evolution at work

Evolution at Work offers over a decade of experience in guiding personal and organizational journeys into self-organization

The shift to self-organization is a transformational and multi-dimensional journey. No two journeys are the same, and this work requires differentiated approaches to learning and development. Everything Evolution at Work offers includes the following three approaches:

Teaching: Presenting a unique combination of theoretical background and practical stories drawn from real-life experience, we help you gain a deep understanding of the Whats, Whys, and Hows of your experience.

Facilitation: Taking a holistic approach to learning, we guide you through exercises that cultivate an embodied confidence with the processes, exercises, and practices that support sustainable self-organization.

Holding Space: We commit to being fully present with what is needed now, without judgment. Love, care, and compassion are at the heart of our work.

taken from https://www.evolutionatwork.org/about


Emerge

Emerge is an independent, non-profit media platform highlighting the initiatives, individuals and ways of thinking that are sowing the seeds of a new civilisation.

We are exploring how to act wisely in a world that seems out of control. We aim to explore the emerging cultural narratives of our time by collecting useful content from across the web, profiling change makers and thinkers, publishing thought-provoking commentary and producing original videos and podcasts.

We are living in times of profound transition where our ways of working, communicating and governing are quickly transforming. Many of our received wisdoms, habits and perspectives are becoming obsolete. What will emerge in the vacuum created by this disruption is not yet clear, but some critical questions hang in the balance:

Will we manage to avert ecological crisis? Will our new technologies enable powerful collaboration, or create intense polarisation? What does it mean to live a meaningful life in relationship with ourselves and others?

Nobody knows what the world will look like in 20 years time. At Emerge we believe that we all have a part to play in weaving a new story for humanity and our planet.

In fact, we are already doing it.

By combining live events with the power of the internet, Emerge is a hub for people and initiatives searching for solutions to pressing global challenges, asking the question: What new patterns of living, working and existing together are currently emerging?

We are a network and a movement that celebrates people and projects, and we offer an invitation to each of us to discover our role in this new story.

What We Believe

 The challenges facing our world today are more complex and species-threatening than ever before in human history. The global threat of climate change and the social impacts of digitalisation and globalisation are currently far more complex than our collective capacity to comprehend. In order for us to move forward, our thinking about global problems has to evolve to match their complexity.

Our personal psychology is of huge consequence to the outside world. If we are going to transform as a society then the personal development of individuals must be taken seriously as a societal, as well as an individual, concern.

There is no one ‘true’ way of seeing the world. In order to move forward we need to transcend binary thinking.This means moving beyond left and right political divides, thinking in terms of individual and collective responsibility, national and global identity, honoring individual identities and recognising the need to focus on a greater “we”.

Our world is socially constructed in more ways than we habitually tend to think. Human beings are dependent on and connected to the natural world, but when it comes to human society we are the creators. This means that we have more power than we realise to change it.

The emerging future will be co-created by all of us. The world is learning to come together in new ways and each of us has a vital role to play. Emerge is a place where all are called forth to bring our gifts to the greater circle.

Across the world, there are hundreds of initiatives, projects and persons who are already tackling real world problems from this place of deeper awareness. Our aim is to bring awareness to this growing movement and connect the dots between the people and projects contributing to this emergence.

This is a time of profound collaboration and we see you as a vital part of this mission. We’d love to weave your voice and vision into all that is being created and keep you updated on the launch of new projects, events and initiatives around the world.
Text from http://www.whatisemerging.com/about

A Mindset for the Anthropocene

The AMA project is a science-based reflection and empowerment hub for change agents engaging in inner transformation in the context of socio-ecological transformation. Institutionally the AMA project is operating as a transdisciplinary research project at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam. Beyond its research work, the AMA project acts as a network catalyst for an emerging global community that aims at cultivating ethical and virtuous qualities of the human mind as drivers of socio-ecological transformations to sustainability.

Berkana Institute

The Berkana Institute and our partners share the clarity that whatever the problem, community is the answer. We prepare for an unknown future by creating strong & sustainable relationships, by wisely stewarding the earth’s resources and by building resilient communities. We rely on our experience that most human beings are caring, generous and want to be together. We have learned that people can get through anything as long as we’re together. Berkana was founded in 1991 to create communities of support and inquiry for those working to create a future of promise and possibility that benefits all people. We are based in the U.S. and operate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

We work from an evolving, coherent theory of change. Since 1991, we have been learning from life (living systems) about how to create systems that are interdependent, adaptive and resilient. Everything we do is a conscious experiment to better understand two of life’s robust capacities: self-organization–life’s process for creating order (effectiveness) without control, and emergence–life’s means for creating system-wide change, taking things to scale. Read Lifecycle of Emergence: Using Emergence to Take Social Innovation to Scale by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze.

We work at the level of community. The Berkana Institute works in partnership with a rich diversity of people around the world who strengthen their communities by working with the wisdom and wealth already present in their people, traditions and environments. Berkana and our partners share the clarity that whatever the problem, community is the answer. We prepare for an unknown future by creating strong and sustainable relationships, by wisely stewarding the earth’s resources and by building resilient communities. We rely on our experience that most human beings are caring, generous and want to be together. We have learned that human beings can get through anything as long as we’re together.

We focus on four key activities. In many ways, Berkana’s work is quite straightforward. We name trailblazing leaders and communities, connect them to one another, nourish them with relationships, learning, resources, and support, and illuminate their stories as important examples of the future taking place right now

Bruhn, Thomas

As the initiator and coordinator of AMA, I feel a deep commitment to the project‘s original intention and ambition. I care particularly about community building and see my conceptual work as a support for community empowerment. I love the diversity of perspectives that we aspire to integrate and the challenges that this aspiration means for my own development. I believe in the intrinsic goodness of all humans and tend to see the unity and connectedness behind apparent cultural or disciplinary differences.

My Background and Expertise:

  • PhD in Physics (self-assembly in nano-structures)
  • Facilitation & Moderation (Art of Hosting, Design Thinking…)
  • Complex systems dynamics (self-organization, emergence)
  • Transdisciplinarity & co-creation
  • Anthropocene, earth-system science
  • Climate change, geoengineering

My responsibilities:

  • Facilitating the team; creating structures, containers and visuals
  • Coordinating the website, database, and board of curators
  • Vision and strategy development
  • Holding space for the formation of trusting relationships & networks
  • Presenting AMA to the public
  • Administrative and strategic coordination within the IASS