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.

Heschel Center for Sustainability

Who we are

The Heschel Center is Israel’s leading advocate for a sustainable Israel: a just society with a robust democratic economy and a healthy environment, now and for future generations. Founded in 1998, we are based in Tel Aviv, and have a national reach and presence, with a network of change-makers spread all over Israeli society that are committed to integrate sustainability practices and values among their communities.

Poisoned air, climate disruption, growing gaps between rich and poor, isolation and discrimination against the other, despair and violence, are all examples of how unsustainable policies and practices are rife and deeply imbedded in Israeli society. Our vision is a healthy world, where people and planet flourish with dignity.

The twin challenges of climate change and social justice lie at the heart of the human agenda in this century. The Heschel Center provides the inspiration and ideas while building collaborative platforms to empower effective leadership for transition to a sustainable Israeli society that can rise to those challenges.

What we do

Through creating a home for leaders and developing and disseminating ideas and skills, the Heschel Center:

  • Creates frameworks through which potential change agents can become sustainability leaders, and support the implementation of their initiatives.
  • Connects theoretical knowledge with practical skills, and spreads the vision of broad sustainability in creative ways.

Heschel’s flagship initiative, The Sustainability Leaders Fellows Program, now concluded its 19th cohort of 14 new Fellows, continues to be the leading training program for social-environmental leaders in Israel. With 340 alumni, the Fellowship represents leadership in diversity. The program targets potential change makers in positions of influence – business, politics (including several MKs), media, free professions, social change; Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews, center and periphery—providing them an in-depth learning process along with the tools to develop joint projects that have a real and lasting impact. The successful alumni network implements our vision of promoting sustainability through a widening interlinked community, whose work we catalyze and nurture

The Center for Local Sustainability works directly with municipalities, regional councils, and their leadership and professional staffs in national and local training programs tailor made for their realities and needs, and has created 20 Local Sustainability Centers in the social and geographic periphery of Israel.

The Center for Sustainability Studies provides intensive transformative learning courses for leaders, professionals and change agents from all over Israel, currently including: Strategic Planning for Sustainability, Community-Based Sustainable Education, Regional Fellows programs, and tailor-made programs for different organizations and institutions such as the Israeli Scouts, Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and the Society of Nature Protection in Israel.

The Center is focusing its efforts on developing a new online platform to engage a more massive amount of people and bring them to the world of sustainability.

The Israel 2050 Project (The Heschel Climate Project) 

Probably our most ambitious wide-scale collaboration yet is the multi-sectoral participatory process for the Israel 2050 plan, which Heschel has spearheaded as part of the climate initiative. Inspired by the Paris Climate Accords, Heschel headed the 2016 Maof Seminar, which led to our recruiting relevant officials in the Israeli government and convincing them to champion the Israeli Climate Plan 2050, which includes a complete transition to renewable energies. After engaging with various stakeholders to join the process, we organized the largest climate convention in Israel’s history, with a separate event that included 11 roundtables, and that has laid the foundation for the 2050 plan.

The Heschel Center has succeeded in recruiting leading strategic partners in government, civil society and industry: five central government ministries (Energy, Transportation, Industry, Treasury, Environment), the OECD, the IDI (Israel Democracy Institute), and the Manufacturers Association of Israel. Through our work with key people in the government, we have convinced the government to be the lead partner, and to adopt the program as a government initiative, with all that entails. As part of our plan for a broad-based process, we have enlisted a wide range of supporters from civil society, academia and the commercial-industrial sector. Additionally, we have prepared a professional knowledge base and relevant materials that will serve the working groups in the multi-sectoral participatory process of fulfilling the Israel 2050 plan. We have also developed a methodology for locating and successfully utilizing experts from abroad who can share their experience and best practices from processes similar to those we are trying to promote.

Today, the Heschel Center is focusing on bringing the voices of the underserved – people with disabilities, youth at risk, the elderly, etc – to the 2050 planning process and ensuring that the plans are bettering their conditions.

In addition, the Heschel Center has launched its Renewable Energy Project, aiming to develop a plan for Israel to transform to a 100% renewable energy economy. The plan includes an important component of proving the economic case for a weak municipality to earn income by providing renewable energy for its residents.

Where we’ve been:

We have trained hundreds of entrepreneurial leaders and created effective networks of change agents amongst all Israelis (Jews and Arabs, secular and religious, center and periphery) in a broad range of fields. We have incubated and launched dozens of innovative social ventures in areas as diverse as renewable energy, local sustainability, and environmental justice.

After a period of challenge and transition, Heschel Center 2019 has an inspired new leadership, and an energetic staff made up of some of our veteran visionaries, along with new blood, who come with innovative skills and ideas to take the organization forward, and ensure our place as the premier institution promoting a broad based social, environmental and economic vision for Israel.

Where we’re going:

We seek to create alliances and financial support, both inside Israel and abroad, to put this vision of sustainability which we believe is the key to Israel’s future, squarely on the agenda of Israeli society and the Jewish people.

Sustainability represents the call for the “triple bottom line” of profits, people, and planet, which has been adopted in the realm of corporate social responsibility (CSR) worldwide. For too long, the environment has been a narrowly-defined niche issue, and the focus of much work has been reactive and confrontational in nature. We represent a broad, proactive agenda, integrating economic, political and social change, and training and partnering with key players in all those realms.

While there are any number of organizations in Israel devoted to advancing specific aspects of sustainability—environmental NGOs, social change organizations, economic institutions—only Heschel is doing the big-picture conceptualization of what defines sustainability in Israel and how to achieve it.

The Heschel Center is a registered non-profit (“amuta”) that depends on contributions to do the work that is so critical for Israel’s future. To donate click here.

Join us to help improve Israel’s present and ensure Israel’s future as a healthy, prosperous, just and democratic society for all.

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.

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.

Workface

Workface is a network of currently around 1 million entrepreneurs all across China organized in dezentralized learning communities that meet once a week. We cultivate a practice along the three aspects serve – learn – support.

HEED Institute for Human Engineering and Empathic Design

Das Ziel von HEED besteht darin, die Gründerkultur in Deutschland zu stärken und Studierenden die Entwicklung zu innovativen und unternehmerischen Persönlichkeiten zu ermöglichen. Dadurch soll ein gesellschaftlicher Wandel vorangetrieben werden, der Risikobereitschaft nicht mehr stigmatisiert, sondern als einen positiven Wert erachtet.
Um dies zu erreichen, tauscht HEED Hörsaal gegen Werkstatt und versteht sich als ein Innovationslabor, das seine Wirkung durch das empathische Zusammenspiel kreativer Menschen an einem inspirierenden Ort entfaltet. Der von HEED entwickelte Innovationsprozess ist ganzheitlicher als traditionelle Ansätze. Er stellt den Menschen ins Zentrum und bildet den gesamten Produktlebenszyklus ab, von der Invention über die Produktion bis zur Distribution. Möglich wird dies durch die Synergie von Kompetenzen, die sich aus der Zusammenarbeit aller drei Fakultäten der Hochschule Pforzheim ergibt (Technik, Wirtschaft  & Recht und Gestaltung). Gemessen an der Zahl der in den drei Fakultäten Lehrenden und der in ihnen angebotenen Studiengänge ist dieses Zusammenwirken einzigartig.
Konkret arbeiten in HEED je nach Aufgabenstellung unterschiedlich zusammengesetzte multidisziplinäre Teams aus Studierenden aller drei Fakultäten der Hochschule Pforzheim zusammen, um miteinander und voneinander zu lernen. Begleitet und beraten werden sie nicht nur von multidisziplinären DozentInnen-Teams der Hochschule Pforzheim, sondern auch von externen ExpertInnen, beispielsweise erfolgreichen Startup-GründerInnen, u.a. im starTUB-Format, Ein besonderer Stellenwert kommt dabei Maßnahmen zur Persönlichkeitsbildung zu.
Die praktische Arbeit in Projektseminaren geht Hand in Hand mit einer Forschungstätigkeit, die Möglichkeitsbedingungen von Kreativität, Innovation und verantwortungsbewusstem Entrepreneurship untersucht. Die Ergebnisse dessen werden veröffentlicht und in die Lehre zurückgeführt.

Text taken from www.hs-pforzheim.de/forschung/institute/heed/

Wellbeing Project

Wellbeing inspires welldoing: the profound connection between how our relationship with ourselves deeply influences the way we are in the world.

We are hearing changemakers around the world express the pressing need for support with their wellbeing. Our work highlights how wellbeing needs to be fundamentally prioritised both for each individual changemaker and because of how it shapes the way social change happens.

The Wellbeing Project is a global initiative focused on shifting the culture of the social change field to one oriented towards inner wellbeing and catalysing an infrastructure of support for everyone in the field. The Project is co-created with leading social change institutions and is a community of many of the key global and regional social change leaders and organisations.

We see an incredible opportunity to cultivate a social change culture that is more human-centred and at the same time unlock more of the extraordinary collaboration and innovation we need to address our great social and environmental challenges.

We are inspired by a sense of caring and compassion for all the people who work to build a better world, as well as to support the many causes and movements for which we all work.

The Wellbeing Project is cultivating a shift in the culture of the field toward one that is healthier and supportive of inner wellbeing for all those working to effect social change. The project is structured in four pillars which all play a vital role and contribute to the larger mission of supporting and growing the wellbeing movement.

The Wellbeing Project is co-created with Ashoka, the Esalen Institute, the Fetzer Institute, Impact Hub, the Skoll Foundation and the Synergos Institute.

Text taken from www.wellbeing-project.org/

Sustainability Institute

The Sustainability Institute (SI) was established in Lynedoch Ecovillage in 1999 to provide a space for people to explore an approach to creating a more equitable society.

At the core of the SI’s work has been finding ways of living that sustain rather than destroy the eco-system within which all society is embedded. Our focus on children led to the founding of the Creche, now called the Lynedoch Childrens House, and AfterCare programmes. Our partnership with the School of Public Leadership at the University of Stellenbosch built up our Masters and PhD programmes in Sustainable Development.

Today, the SI is an international living and learning centre providing learning experiences in ecology, community and spirit.

Our learning programmes start in the Lynedoch Childrens House, are extending through our partnership with SPARK Schools in Lynedoch, are practically oriented in our Learning for Sustainability FET College and promote both research and practice through our University of Stellenbosch degrees. Our research and practice maintains a strong focus on sustainable African futures, through our student and faculty research and our growing research consulting programme.

We are looking to build our understanding and learning in core areas we recognise as critical in supporting the transition to equitable, just and thriving futures.

Our focus on flourishing food systems, social innovation, optimal resource flows and transformative learning from birth, supported by meaningful partnerships, will continue through embedded and relevant research, teaching and practice.

Dynamic Planet

Dynamic Planet advises, develops and invests in businesses that restore nature. We believe in a business approach that makes conservation projects sustainable for the long term. Our goal is to maximize ecological, social and economic returns with local stakeholders.

We live in an era of unprecedented global hyper-connectivity. Yet we often don’t have the context, history, or perspective to make the best decisions related to ourselves and our larger living system. The majority of the world’s population now lives in cities far removed from the sea and land that support us. Yet everything is connected through our common atmosphere, our one ocean, and our humanity. Trash and pollution produced in one place often ends up in other places. What affects one affects us all.

Dynamic Planet is developing a number of platforms and products to connect us more deeply to our living system so that people can make daily decisions that are less damaging to our environment. We have learned much from the indigenous communities we’ve worked with, and like them, place a high value on reflection, calm, and strategic long-termism.

Nature is our great teacher – nurturing patience, judgment, and courage. While we work to restore nature, our projects also aim to improve the lives of the local people and visitors. We believe that the well-being of our environment is in itself a fundamental human right.

Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative

Eco-chaplaincy is a form of inter-religious and secular ‘spiritual’ chaplaincy designed for people engaged in environmental and social justice work; coined by Sarah Vekasi, M.Div. in 2005.

Eco-chaplains support organizations, activists, organizers, individuals, and communities who are engaged in helping life continue on Earth in this time of great turning.

Just as a patient in a hospital or a soldier in war can receive support from their chaplain; organizations, activists and community members can turn to an eco-chaplain.

Balanced Rock

Yoga and Backpacking Trips in Yosemite. Yosemite journeys for mind, body and spirit. Our retreats and backpack trips harness the transformational power of nature to inspire deep connection with your own inner wisdom.

Refugia Retreats

Refugia acts as a catalyst for societal and personal change through retreats, workshops, spiritual direction, and community facilitation.

Spiral Ecology

Welcome to the website of SpiralEcology, a cultural transformation collaborative. We invite you to explore ‘deep ecology’, walking, and other workshops, where we invite you to connect more deeply with self, world, and Earth.