photo: Patrick Augenstein
White Mountain, Oldonyo Oibor in Maasai language, refers to Mt. Kilimanjaro. White Mountain is the name and concept of a Maasai community-led holistic initiative, focusing on regenerating the Kilimanjaro ecosystem, microclimate and its water cycles, and creating healthy and enduring livelihoods for all.
White Mountain is an evolutionary process and unique in that it identifies the Kilimanjaro whole watershed(s) and eco-system as the optimal landscape for bio-regional regeneration. The holistic, Maasai-led, household / village- landscape and multi-stakeholder approach gives it realistic opportunities for success.
Green River is a community-led project focusing on restoring ecosystems, microclimates and its water cycles, and creating healthy livelihoods in the Gundar Basin region, Tamil Nadu, India. This project has the potential to improve the social and economic realities of around 245 million people in this region whose livelihood depends upon monsoon rains
Communities in the Gundar Basin region are facing degraded landscapes causing severe droughts, resulting in water scarcity and further depletion of the environment. Current livelihood strategies and ways to acquire water are causing even more destruction to the already degraded land. It’s a Catch-22! A different approach is needed.
Journey to the Future
The Two Mast Tall Ship ‘The Gallant’ will take ten young people – who are clients of the Trias Youth Support System – and five elders on board for a nine day sailing trip. As crew. To enlist, everyone signs the sailor-contract. Upon return THE JOURNEY continues on the main land for another nine months until the spring of 2017. Purpose? Design and build your own future!
THE JOURNEY is a special adventure, originally designed as a program for Olympic athletes on their quest for immortality and gold at the Athens Olympics of 2004. Entering THE JOURNEY, you have your own dreams and your own purpose for the future. In time you will come face to face with yourself.
“Where you stumble the treasure lies’, it is said.
Which means, meeting your demons is part of the JOURNEY! Going deep, may, to your surprise, invite unsuspected forces to become your ally. Often, participants have said, in retrospect, that the power of the team gave them the extra needed nudge to stay on course, heading in the right direction. Issues that seemingly do not directly relate to THE JOURNEY will cross your path and will have a considerable influence. For example, what’s the role of your friends, your boyfriend or girlfriend? Your family members? How is your presence in a group or team? What’s happening in school?
Just as being a sailor on board of a tall sail ship is very concrete and real task, the group will upon return engage in real and tangible projects, moving closer and closer to their desirable future.
Opening the Asian Centre
Forty people gathered in the Vaigai Hall of the Tata Dhan Academy. Located some 20 miles outside the City of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, in the middle of a rural and nature landscape. Today is the 27th of July 2016, and in the next hour the Asian Centre of the Embassy of the Earth will be opened. In partnership with Dhan Foundation – a Social Enterprise enabling nearly a million of the poorest people in India to build a good life.
Leaders from rural agricultural, coastal tribal fisherman communities are present. Also the water managers are present, a responsibility in these areas, dating from ancient times. After speeches we move outside to do a Tamil Hindu, local tribal and Ojibway Sacred Fire ceremony. The women do a Water Ceremony. Many of the leaders step forward to speak or sing. Then it began to rain!
‘Economy Transformers are explorers and builders of a society that serves and values all life on planet Earth. With close to 600 people we embarked on a 2 years journey together, you’re welcome to join us in the quest! We unite diverse backgrounds bringing our expertise, experience and knowledge together’.
The Embassy of the Earth designed the process called the ‘Journey’, which has a two-fold approach, one is the focus on the task of defining a shared vision and narrative by reflective practice in which the development of (new) theories and real time successful innovative initiatives and business concepts go hand in hand. And secondly, equally important, by devoting attention to unleashing the power of the community itself. Based on real green business cases they developed.
Dutch Energy Transition encounters Gale Force 7
Initiated by the ‘Nederland Krijgt Nieuwe Energie’ Foundation, some 15 people representing a broad spectrum of stakeholders, industry organisations, citizens and NGOs came together on June 25th 2006 on 90 ft, century old sail ship Hollandia. Following the philosophy of the Embassy of the Earth, a ‘free haven’ was created where participants could meet on an equal foot, in order to build mutual understanding and trust.
The involved parties all recognised the urgency and need to collaborate across their own borders, in order to accelerate the energy transition in the Netherlands.
This is a field currently dominated by conflicting interests, an unequal playing field (between centralised and decentralised energy, between small and larger users, between fossil-based and renewable-based electricity) and fragmented and inconsistent government policies. Simultaneously, they recognised the big potential a ‘future-proof’ energy tax could play as a leverage point for an accelerated transition towards a sustainable (decentralised and renewables-based) energy system.
During an intensive 2-day working session, they explored current megatrends and factors shaping our world, trends in the field of energy, followed by a collective envisioning of an ideal future.
SER (Social economic Council ) took the responsibility to bring it to the next level, with ex-politician Ed Nijpels in the lead.
Youth on National Sustainability Shift
It started with a vision. Old rusting cranes, the NDSM Shipyards, Mongolian Yurt and a big Work Space tent, Sacred fire burning on a barren strip of land just behind good food place ‘Noorderlicht’, on the edge of the water-way ‘t IJ, separating us from the city centre of Amsterdam. That’s where the Embassy of the Earth saw the light. Gathering 40 young people under 40 looking at the sustainable future of the Netherlands. It is June 21st 2009. This very capable and talented group of young people presented their outcome to the Dutch Government and urged Prime Minister Peter Jan Balkenende to commit to a ‘green’ society.
All of the 38 are highly involved in activities and various networks to find new and better ways to live on the planet. At the same time they realized that a shift in consciousness is needed to face the challenges. They coined that shift: “Coming home on Earth”.
For a full two days this group went through the Embassy of the Earth, a gathering place, concept and process at the same time. Using the best of social sciences, sacred traditions and technology this group of young people realized that apart from tangible results and the power of the community, the essential point at the NDSM shipyards was about taking personal responsibility. Some important projects with far reaching societal impact evolved from these days. The general outcomes of the NDSM work session were presented and made available to the Prime Minister’s Team on Sustainability.