“We must act now with what we have while initiating the transformational Emergence of the new.” ~ David Korten
Drawing on the work and insights of many colleagues and from ongoing conversations, David’s paper, Ecological Civilization: From Emergency to Emergence, was written in an effort to connect the dots and engage a serious conversation about the causes of the existential crisis we face, while bringing a message of hope and possibility.…
Life exists only in communities of living organisms that self-organize to create and maintain the conditions essential to their individual and mutual existence.
Each organism requires a map — partly genetic and partly learned — to guide it in making choices consistent with the territory in which it lives. Most such choices require physical exertion — call it labor. We decide when and what to eat and then act to source it. With whom to mate and then win them over. Whom to protect against and then fight, flee, or hide. When to find shelter and then act to acquire it. And so much more.
Humans are Earth’s ultimate choice-making species. Our decisions have defining consequences for the whole of Earth’s community of life. Relying on the defective maps of an ego-nomics that denies our true nature, our choices have potentially terminal consequences for ourselves and Earth that we have for too long ignored or actively denied.
Continued human viability depends on Emergency action to stop the damage, facilitate Earth’s healing, and advance the Emergence of an Ecological Civilization. Successful navigation of the essential transition requires the maps of an eco-nomics to guide us in fulfilling our essential needs while simultaneously fulfilling the distinctive responsibilities of humans within Earth’s community of life.
This paper, as a whole or in part, may be shared freely to engage the conversation in your work, community, and personal lives, drawing attention to the imperative and helping to build the road from Emergency to Emergence.
While David is the primary author, he shares credit with numerous global organizations and colleagues who have been part of deepening the ongoing conversation about a human transition to an Ecological Civilization.
DAVID KORTEN is co-founder of YES! Media, president of the Living Economies Forum, a member of the Club of Rome, and the author of influential books, including “When Corporations Rule the World” and “Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth.” His work builds on lessons from the 21 years he and his wife, Fran, lived and worked in Africa, Asia, and Latin America on a quest to end global poverty.
Header photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash