rn> Turtle Island Institute: a Civil Society proposal


Richard Moore

Dear rn,

Below we have a draft plan  - "ESTABLISHING A WORLD WIDE
NETWORK TO FACILITATE CHANGE" - from Marguerite M Hampton of
the Turtle Island Institute.  Some of you may wish to
respond to Marguerite, and I'm sure she would appreciate
feedback, suggestions, offers of help, link-ups to
like-minded people, etc.

As usual, I'm torn between praising all such initiatives as
'part of the solution', and critquing them for having what
I see as blind spots. In this case, I'll do both at once -
posting it to the list being my form of praise.

My critque follows the proposal.


btw> If you are interested in joining Turtle Island's 'FixGov'
list, _don't do that via the web page - instead send a
message directly to: <•••@••.••• >.  If
you sign up via the e-groups web page, you will be agreeing to
indemnify e-groups against lawsuits regarding the content of
your messages.  If they decide to defend some suit with an
expensive legal effort, you get the bill and you have no
control over the process. 

To: •••@••.•••
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000 17:06:56 -0700
Subject: Establishing a World Wide Learning Network to Facilitate Change
From: Marguerite M Hampton <•••@••.•••>

To: Richard K. Moore 

We seem to have some common interests and I would like to
invite you to join with us in our efforts if after reading
the following you see value in doing so.   (I have also
introduced some of your writing into our List conversations,
particularly the article on 'Escaping the Matrix')


Here is a draft plan which if we could effectively implement
would serve to coordinate a 'civil society' in such a manner
as to peacefully replace mainstream society.  If researcher
Paul Ray's estimates of those he labels 'traditionalists'
and 'creative culturists' along with the international group
of 'integral culturists' are correct, then it really is only
a matter of contacting and connecting people to a network in
a meaningful way so as to enable and empower them in
repudiating corporate culture.



As you may or may not know, the FixGov List of the Turtle
Island Institute is currently involved in writing a book
online. We are currently working on the first chapter which
is concerned with questions regarding government today and
whether or not our present forms of governance are adequate
to address the concerns of our changing world. We are also
concerned about the decline in our ecological systems,
global warming, and with bringing about world peace.

In considering more about what our book should encompass and
the ideas we should convey, one of the most important is
with regard to how our world is changing.  Change is
difficult for most of us to accomplish; we want to hang on
to the tried and what we perceive to be as truth, but most
of all we want to remain where we feel safe.  Venturing out
into the unknown holds many risks and fear of failure.  Yet,
because of our past and continuing actions, we have created
great technological advances which, in turn, are rapidly
changing the world around us.  The world of 'Future Shock,' 
'The Third Wave,' and the 'Power Shift' of which Alvin
Toffler wrote is now engulfing us creating wave after wave
of change.  Change so profound and so encompassing as to be
almost incomprehensible to the human mind, with most of us
unable to keep up as distance becomes a faint idea and the
world becomes a small Global Village where an email arrives
in minutes on the other side of the Earth.

At the same time we are confronted with massive changes
brought about by technology,  we are also confronted with
changes in our natural world, brought about by these same
technological advances, but which used inappropriately, now
threaten the human race and its ability to survive here on
Earth.  Inappropriate use of technology now threatens our
ecosystems balance and brings with it global warming and
consequent global climate change.  In using technology
inappropriately, our life support systems have become
weakened as we use up and live off of our 'natural capital'
rather than the 'interest', i.e., renewable energy. Coupled
with the growing human population boom, the Earth's systems
simply are unable to support life in healthful ways as
evidenced by the growing loss of biodiversity, fresh water,
topsoil and forests.

As a result of inappropriate use of technology today, people
in supposedly developing countries are increasingly
marginalized and one billion people are now without work and
means of life support while another one hundred million
people roam the Earth in seach of a better way of life
causing the U.N. to call this the 'human crises of our day.'
Many people are forced off of their lands through
inappropriate land management practices like those that
encourage the raising of grain and cutting of rain forests
to feed cattle used for beef as food for the affluent. An
appropriate use of the land would be to restore it so that
food may be raised which directly feeds people.  Yet
relatively few even know or realize the effects which are
impacting our society today. Mainstream society and its
'virtual world' seem interested only in perpetuating a world
that knows little, as well as, shows little of the real
world in which we live and depend upon for our life support

How to enable and empower the 6 billion people on our Planet
in making the changes necessary to our well-being and
continued success in living here is the question of the day.
 It requires the implementation of a massive education
program with which to both inform the populace and support
them in making the required changes in lifestyle which will
carry us into the future safely.  It requires that we put
"Earth First;" that is focusing on maintaining and restoring
our life support systems in order that we may continue to
"live" on Earth.  Two documents which lay the basis of
implementation are Agenda 21, an Earth Summit Strategy To
Save Our Planet, and an accompanying document,  The Earth

While many organizations have been working on educational
programs to accomplish change, the biggest challenge facing
us is the distribution of education and information with
which to bring everyone up-to-date on vital issues. The
Turtle Island Institute in association with Tranet (Bill
Ellis as founder and Director) and other individuals has
come up with a plan to facilitate the distribution of
information/education throughout the world and implement it
as follows using Agenda 21, (which calls both for the proper
management of ecosystems and the establishment of learning
centers), and The Earth Charter as guidelines.

The following is a rough outline of our plan.


1.  Establish Bioregions throughout the world and encourage
the people living in these bioregions to form a symbiotic
relationship with the region in order to restore and
maintain the balance of ecosystems worldwide.  (For
information on Bioregions see: http://www.planetdrum.org/
where the Planet Drum Foundation (Director - Peter Berg) has
already formed a Bioregion Association and is involved in
establishing Bioregions.)

( As an example of a Bioregion and symbiosis, let's use the
rainforests in which indigenous people lived for centuries
and which provided them with adequate life support.  Until
the advent of Anglo-Saxon thinking and the consequent
logging and drilling for oil and the raising of beef cattle
-- all things which use the 'natural capital of the region
up at unsustainable rates, the natives of rainforest
bioregions lived in them with the natives taking food and
shelter from the system without disrupting it and, in return
the rainforests provided the natives life support in
adequate supply. )

A.  Bioregions, initially formed by a volunteer Civil Sector
and in accordance with the Bioregion Association formed by
Planet Drum, can facilitate the protection and restoration
of the bioregion and its ecosystems, and when established
may form the basis for new governance of regions as global
warming and accompanying global climate change bring
pressure to bear on governments to govern more along the
lines of preservation of natural systems than in the past.


2.  Establish Learning Centers focused on sustainable
development technology in local communities throughout
Bioregions and linked to a BioRegional Center which serves
to administer the BioRegion.

A.  The Learning Centers will either be constructed of, or
retrofitted, using appropriate technology and will serve to
leverage appropriate technology and sustainable development
information and technology into the community at large. (1) 
These steps will promote the development of sustainable
communities worldwide and can lead to the stabilization of
migration as bioregions are restored and maintained by their
inhabitants; thus bringing back to life again severely
ecologically devasted regions.  This also provides a means
whereby all Bioregions may be maintained.


3.  Learning Center development may be implemented through
volunteers who donate their time and help raise funds to
establish the centers in local communities worldwide.  The
first step may be to invite other volunteers concerned with
maintaining the eco-nomic security of their region to one's
home for a vegetarian potluck meal and discussing the
ramificaitons of developing a sustainable community while
providing for sustainable economic development opportunities
within the Bioregion.

Then taking the next steps toward planning and development
of a Learning Center within the community.

A.  Learning Centers developed using natural materials,
e.g., straw bale, cob, adobe, etc. constructed by community
members and incorporating solar enegy, water recycling,
composting, natural landscaping, etc., without the aid of
commercial contractors, are excellent ways of bringing the
community together in learning hands-on what sustainable
development and appropriate technology are about.  Already
constructed facilities may be retrofitted using appropriate
technology and serve also as Learning Centers and facilitate
hands-on learning.

Since the use of appropriate technology in the development
of the Learning Centers requires the involvement of the
local planning commission in approving the facility, it
requires the government of the community to become involved
with and experience appropriate technology and consider the
ramifcations of application of appropriate technology and
appropriate regional land use management in the bioregion as

Planning commissions seem somehow to be the 'last to know'
and require that the community itself, in most instances,
become involved and 'introduce appropriate change'
technology to government officials.  The introduction of a
Learning Center into the local community allows citizens to
do this in an effective manner as it allows for the creation
of a visual model to be constructed which other members of
the community can use their senses to incorporate into their

Without visual models, the benefits of appropriate
technology and other new ideas are difficult to convey. 
Positive visual and sensory experiences aid greatly in
helping to facilitate change.

In some instances, the Learning Centers will be developed as
Ecotravel Lodges to which Ecopilgrims may travel to both
learn and to aid other communities around the world in
getting their projects started.


4.  There are already other NPO's that have great programs
in place that can serve as educational modules in developing
TII's planned Learning Centers.  For example, The Natural
"The Natural Step framework encourages dialogue and
consensus-building, a key process of learning organizations.
It is based on systems thinking, focusing on first-order
principles at the beginning of cause effect relationships.
It recognizes that what happens in one part of a system
affects every other part, often in unexpected ways." and
seems to reflect much of what we have discussed here with
regard to sustainable development.

A. There are also other organizations which may be
interested in linking to our efforts and aiding in the
development of  Learning Centers internationally.  For
instance, there is a large network of people who choose to
home school their youth.  Many of those involved in this
endeavor may be also interested in developing learning
centers around which to network their efforts.   In

The Straw Bale, Cob, Permaculture, Solar Energy, and other
'construction-related' organizations, concerned with
appropriate technology and the dissemination of information
and spread of sustainable development worldwide, may act as
'volunteers' to aid in facilitating the construction of
Learning Centers worldwide.

Other groups such as those concerned with vegetanarianism,
forest preservation, ecotravel, energy conservation, etc.
may also act as facilitators for the location and
development of worldwide Learning Centers.

The Green Party may be an ally in facilitating the
development of Learning Centers.


5.  Turtle Island Institute (TII) through its E-group
FixGov, is currently writing a book online which will be
used as an introduction to the Bioregion and Learning Center
concept as a means of facilitating positive change.  The
book, tentatively entitled:  "Learning to Surf on the Waves
of Change, a Survival Guide for the Next Decade and Beyond"
will outline the programs that will form the basic
curriculum for the Learning Centers.   The first chapter of
the book focuses on ideas as to how governance might be
formed that meets the needs of our changing world.  Other
chapters will as well as give an overview of changes that we
are required to make in addressing ecosystems decline,
global warming and climate change, and offer insights into
globalization and its affects on environmental, social and
economic justice issues. A.  Once the book has been written
it will form the basis for the production of documentary
film and TV video-web programming which allow for visual
presentation of materials in an easily assimilated manner
and which may be translated into many languages and allow
for worlwide dissemination of vital information/education in
an easily assimilated manner though Learning Centers as well
as via television and the internet.

(1)  The idea behind the book, which will be short and
written in easy-to-read-form, will be utilized to introduce
people to the concept of the BioRegions and Learning Centers
and act as a stimulus for the discussion of issues related
to sustainable development, e.g., food, agriculture,
transportation, effective land management, etc.

B.  Turtle Island Institute will provide for an 'Association
of Learning Centers'  and act as an 'aggregating agent'
through which to bring the different facets of this program
together as well as to administer the program itself. For
more about the Turtle Island Institute see our website at:

C.  Kokopelli Spirit is our web magazine through which TII
would like to continue to disseminate online information
with regard to Turtle Island Institute programs and our
progress, etc.  However, after putting up two issues of the
magazine (and for which we received rave reviews) we found
that the work involved was too much for myself and Joelle de
Lespinois, a volunteer website and graphics designer.  To
continue, we need to engage volunteers to take on the
responsibilities of gathering information and preparing the
magazine for online publication on a regular basis.

If you as an individual, or as a member of an organization
would like to join with the Turtle Island Institute in
helping to develop this worldwide program, or if you have
questions, please contact:  Marguerite Hampton via E-mail:
•••@••.••• (Please do not 'Reply' to this E-mail as
my message space here is limited.)

If you have an interest in helping to write the book, please
join our List at: http://www.egroups.com/group/fixgov  We
have accomplished a draft introduction to the Fix Gov
Chapter of the book and will work to compare existing forms
of government while at the same time proposing ideas for new
forms of government.

We also maintain a List:  Alternate Culture through which we
disseminate information relevant to the development of an
Alternate Culture.
http://www.egroups.com/group/alternateculture  which you may
join and stay linked for further updates as we make


The time is critical.  We must move forward immediately if
we are to survive as the human race.  Both our coral reefs
and rainforests have about 20-25 years of life before they
will be gone.  As well it is projected that the rest of our
ecological systems, on which we are dependent for life, will
come crashing down on us in within the same time period,
exclusive of global warming, and leave us in chaos with food
and fresh water shortages worldwide.

Thank you for your concern in this critical matter.  


Marguerite Hampton
Executive Director - Turtle Island Institute


Dear Marguerite,

I think you put forward some very good ideas.  If you can
set up a network of learning centers as you outline, that
could be beneficial in ways even beyond what you suggest. 
The 'if' is a big one however, as the plan is a bit on the
grandiose size.  But solutions to our global problems _do
require grandiose efforts, and yours may be one of those
that succeeds.  All the best to you.

My own experience with grand projects (in the corporate
world) has taught me a few tricks of the trade:
    (1) Do the project in phases.
    (2) Pursue multiple tracks in parallel.
    (3) Keep in mind the 80-20 rule.
    (4) Pursue synergy with existing efforts.

In this terminology, your 'multiple tracks' include (1) the
(excellent!) website, (2) the book, and (3) the centers.  You are
'pursuing synergy' by sending your message to me (and
presumably others), and by identifying like-minded efforts
in your proposal.

The '80-20 rule':
    "You can usually get 80% of the results you want with 
    only 20% of the effort needed to accomplish 100% results."

Let's apply this principle to your Phase 1 project - the
book.  Is there some 'Phase 0' project that could accomplish 80%
of 'having-the-book' with only 20% of the effort required to
'complete-the-book'?  Such a project might be, for example,
to upgrade your website in an appropriate way...

    Why not seek out websites which already provide 80% of
    information you want in the book - and then write the
    _overview to your book embedded with links to the deeper
    information elsewhere?   The effort of 'do-research' +
    'write-overview-with-links' would be, I suggest, only 20% of
    'write-whole-book'.  The book project would follow, and the 
    research wouldn't be wasted.


Let's consider the synergy issue. 

I sense in your proposal just a hint of this attitude:

    "We in the West will teach the third world about

I imagine this thinking would lead you to seek out
third-world locations where you could teach skills and
introduce appropriate technologies.  Your synergy would be
mostly one-way - _from your project _to the needy locals. 
That is 'part-of-the-solution', but it does not necessarily
maximize your potential synergy with the third-world.

Let's consider another attitude toward the third world...

    "The third world already has plenty of expertise
    in sustainabile practices, and globalization is
    systematically and intentionally destroying those
    practices wherever they can be found."

This line of thinking would lead one to seek out instead
third-world locations where sustainable, or
close-to-sustainable, practices were already being followed -
and where those practices are being threatened by some
'development' project (a dam, a change in fishing rights, a
privatization initiative, etc.).

In this case, the 'outside contribution' needed would not be
farming skills, but would include other things, like
link-ups to appropriate NGO's and other groups which might
be able to provide some kind of support... organizational,
media access, financial, legal, lobbying, letter-writing ,
volunteer workers and witnesses, whatever.

And in this case there may be more potential for synergy. 
Instead of trying to change the way people are doing things,
which can be a difficult selling job - you are helping them
continue in a successful way of doing things.  You are
reinforcing a wave of energy instead of trying to create a
wave.  Your third-world allies would be highly motivated -
their livelihood depends on the project's success.  And if a
project does succeed, then I imagine those particualr allies
would be eager to lend support and comradeship to your next
choice of allies, again defending a sustainable community
life style.

This other line of thinking also leads to a 'world-wide-network'
of 'learning-centers-to-facilitate-change', but a different
kind of network and a different kind of learning.  The
learning here is about political empowerment and the network is
about spreading that empowerment.


Just some ideas,

Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
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