Friday, May 13, 2016

An integral relationship with planet Earth

Thomas Berry wrote in his book "The Great Work"

"Our Western culture long ago abandoned its integral relation with the planet on which we live.

Obviously the universe, the solar system, and the planet Earth are the primary given in any discussion of human affairs. We awaken to a universe. We have no immediate access to anything intellectually or physically prior to or beyond the universe.  The universe is its own evidence since there is no further context in the phenomenal world for explaining the universe. Every particular mode of being in the phenomenal order is universe-referent. While this was the clearly understood by former peoples, its is also evident in our times, since our scientific endeavors do not provide us with any explanation of the universe except the universe itself. This acceptance by science merely confirms what we know from simple observation. The universe, in the phenomenal world, is the primary value, the primary source of existence, the primary destiny of whatever exists.

A second observation to be made concerning the universe is that it does not exist as a vastly extended sameness. The universe exists in highly differentiated forms of expression. So too the planet Earth exists as a highly differentiated complex of life systems. The only security of any life expression on Earth is in the diversity of the comprehensive community of life. As soon as diversity diminishes then security for each life-form is weakened. This has become abundantly clear in recent studies of the biosystems of Earth, such as Biodiversity, edited by E.O. Wilson in 1988, and Wilson's own book, The Diversity of Life, in 1992.

A third observation might be that these various forms of expression are so intimately related that nothing is itself without everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. Any being can benefit only if the larger context of its existence benefits. This law can be seen in the honeybee and the flower. Both benefit when the bee comes to drink the nectar of the flower: the flower is fertilized, the bee obtains what it needs for making its honey. The tree is nourished by the soil; the tree nourishes the soil with its leaves. It is the ancient law of reciprocity. Whoever receives
must also give."

Thursday, April 21, 2016


"Upcreation - self-organization that brings forth an emergent level of complexity that encompasses, without destruction, the previous lower levels of organization."
“In the right circumstances self organization can often also be legitimately called self-creation. Without an outside agent, the parts cohere into a new organization that brings forth an "emergent" level or self not present before. Since the new emergent level of complexity encompasses, without destruction, the previous "lower" levels of organization, I call this self-creation of higher levels ‘upcreation.’”

Friday, January 29, 2016

Bring on the Symbiocene

The reality that the biosphere has been dramatically affected by human activity over the last 500 years is undeniable.

The challenge of this reality is that our human way of operating, which is to relate to humans and human needs as our primary, if not sole priority, is that we have significantly negatively impacted the life support systems on the planet born of billions of years of coevolution with all other species.

In a simple manner of speaking, we think we're alone on the planet, when in reality all life is one organism. The analogy of a cancer cell is often used, yet I feel a caterpillar who is eating her host to near death is more apropos.

We are ready to become butterflies, a collective bodhisattva metamorphosis as it were.

I feel that the notion of moving from the anthropocene to a new era based on cooperation with eachother, and all life is a great contribution from the article "Exiting the Anthropocene and Entering the Symbiocene" by Glenn Aalbrecht.

He states: "In The Symbiocene, human action, culture and enterprise will be exemplified by those cumulative types of relationships and attributes nurtured by humans that enhance mutual interdependence and mutual benefit for all living beings (desirable), all species (essential) and the health of all ecosystems (mandatory). Human development will consist of creative actions that use the very best of biomimicry together with other eco-industrial, eco-technological, eco-agricultural and eco-cultural innovation."

Further, in order to create this new epoch, we must adopt new strategies, new paradigms, and essentially redefine what it means to be human. For this redefinition to come about, we must fundamentally change the very manner in which we think, relate and emote. 
Leading neuroscientists such as Richie Davidson and others are harnessing the tools of wisdom traditions and modern science to literally show the path for humanity to rewire our brains so we can evolve as a species.
Once we collectively embrace the recognition that connection, cooperation and compassion are the pathways for our greatest success, survival and thriving as a species, we will recognize that such traits and ways of being are the VERY strategies which may have gotten life to succeed and get humanity to this point. In effect we must listen, and learn, from the patterns of life developed around us for the past 4 billion years, and mimic nature's strategies for the next wave of human evolution.
One of the leading efforts to intentionally evolve humanity through cooperation and addressing the root causes of human suffering is called Leap Forward. Leap forward shares the recognition that: 
"for the first time in human history, we have the knowledge and technology to intentionally evolve toward an eco-centered humanity. We can rewire our competitive nature by creating new systems that reward compassion and cooperation. We are ONE human family living on this ONE planet. We need to take care of each other and our home." 
This notion of mimicry is known as "biomimicry" and defined by the Biomimicry Institute as "Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies."
Yet on a collective scale, on the level of epoch shifting memes and strategies, Aalbrech feels that we must move beyond biomimcry to this larger recognition highlighted by Leap Forward. 
He shares:
"beyond biomimicry we must also have symbiomimicry. Many simply think it is enough to copy the shapes and form of life, but they make no connection to life’s processes. We don’t just copy the form of life, we replicate in all types of human creativity, the processes of life that make the mutually beneficial associations between different life forms strong and healthy. Examples such as the ‘wood-wide-web’ suggest to me that organising resources and processes so that the young, weak and vulnerable get their fair share in order that the totality has the greatest chance of survival and flourishing is fundamental to life. Symbiomimicry in human enterprise will both generate and distribute resources such that, in nurturing all humans, we nurture the life support system on which we all depend."
This notion of learning from and applying nature's strategies over time is the basis of the work we are doing at Living Economy Advisors.  We aim to inspire solutions for the greatest challenges in finance and economics by architecting novel financial intermediation strategies to create whole systems solutions for humanity to literally invest in the creation of the new humanity, in a symbiotic relationship with the biosphere region by region. We apply what we call "eco-systemic biomimicry" to develop new funding models which meet the needs of the investor and set living economy projects up for success and scale.

Our core focus is through a bioregional framework working with cooperative circles of inquiry to develop novel investment strategies in harmony with the regions around the world.

Our work has only begun, building on the cumulative knowledge of decades of efforts and successes of those in the field known as "impact investing."

We have adopted some guiding principles:

Systemic: we take a whole systems approach creating sustainable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature
Biomimcry: we take inspiration from natural processes in developing resilient financial and economic strategies
Regenerative: we design strategies that restore, renew or revitalize the regions and natural resources in which they work
Cooperative: we believe in working in deep partnership to allow new symbiotic forms that will support multiple stakeholders to emerge
It is our core belief that a new economy born out of the vision of symbiosis with the biosphere will take a transformation in every way that we currently work in the economy today. And the transmutation from one form to another must be born out of the material of the old - just as a caterpillar shifts into a butterfly. In the same manner we aim to shift the caterpillar of banking, finance and investments into a new reality for humanity and all of life to thrive for many epochs to come. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Think Global Trade Social

Think Global Trade Social is a comprehensive overview of why social enterprise can serve the evolution of humanity and the opportunities to shift global capital to good.

Sacred Economics with Charles Eisenstein - A Short Film

Friday, November 20, 2015

Project to improve access to capital for impact entrepreneurs in Los Angeles

I and my team are grateful to be working closely with the Milken Institute to improve access to capital for women, minority and other underserved businesses such as sustainable food, clean technology, renewable energy, etc.

Here is the text of the memorandum from our work on the Milken website:

The Milken Institute California Center collaborated with the Small Business Administration’s Los Angeles office, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the co-chair of the California Economic Summit’s Capital Action Team to assemble a group of banking executives, community leaders and policymakers to develop a scalable model for a revolving small business loan fund at either the regional or state level.

The topic for this roundtable was generated from recommendations for expanding small business lending made during previous Policy and California's Economy (PACE) roundtables. Those discussions emphasized the need to resolve the risk barriers associated with smaller loans and address economy-of-scale issues in community-based lending. One idea focused on a regional and/or state loan fund that could coalesce risk, clear technical and geographic hurdles and ultimately spur small business growth.

To establish and implement an effective funding tool, participants urged the structure of a potential fund that would in concept resolve a number of challenges: minimize administrative time, coordinate referrals from financial intermediaries and streamline the data and analysis process. In terms of providing initial structure to a loan fund, the conversation was divided into three themes:
Technical assistance and analysis

The group focused on applying big data solutions to village lending models to build capacity. The benefits include harnessing the power of crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, artificial intelligence, systems thinking, advanced systemic modeling and community intelligence to improve evaluation, due diligence, risk mitigation, performance and outcomes. They emphasized that the technical assistance component should be focused on risk mitigation while developing a consistent solution that can be scaled across a wide range of contexts (e.g., SME lending and investing in the Southern California region).

Capital coordination
The group found that increasing the flow of communication in SME financing could potentially expand the deployment of capital. They identified a number of "low tech" solutions that involve supporting the efforts of financial intermediaries, entrepreneurs and economic development organizations to coordinate more effectively.
The conversation progressed to coordinating transactions with the goal of prioritizing lending as a community of financial institutions rather than among individual or competing groups. Such collaborative approaches have long been successful among financial institutions in cooperative syndicates for large transactions. It was clear to the group that such cooperative practices had not yet been applied to SME transactions and could dramatically increase the success of such financings if they were.

Risk mitigation
Participants discussed the industry resources available to mitigate risk and infrastructure to facilitate the flow of information. Credit enhancements such as guaranty programs from the state treasurer’s office and its California Capital Access Program (CalCAP), as well as the Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank or I-Bank (i.e., the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program), are underutilized and can provide sustainable support. One issue is these government programs’ small staffs, which limits outreach and other capabilities.

Participants also spoke about the need for better referral networks and creating regional hubs. Using enhanced referral networks, incubators and technical assistance programs, big banks can channel small business loans they cannot finance to lenders who can. There remains a need for better application and sharing of best practices. One area is how best to educate and evaluate loan officers and provide incentives based on criteria other than volume. However, risk is real in small business loans, particularly if there is a product mismatch. Funds that leverage expertise in a specific sector, such as the California FreshWorks fund, could further mitigate risk.
Final thoughts and next steps

Banks often face tough situations as they are pressured to make more small business loans, then criticized for taking on too much risk. Even amid technological advances, relationships remain a prime factor in deal sourcing and risk mitigation. Accordingly, community banks and community development financial institutions have more experienced lenders, as well as established relationships, than big banks. How can we scale up the approaches and experience of community bank loan officers? Can technology solutions (i.e., algorithms that mimic loan officers’ decision-making processes), data-sharing clearinghouses or other nontraditional approaches also help mitigate risk?

With further collaboration, we can assess how technical assistance and data analysis can mitigate risk while providing a better platform for coordinating capital. In the near term, the California Center will facilitate this in a series of subgroup task forces as well as a larger private session at the upcoming 2015 California Summit

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The movement of startups is about more than business, it's about reinventing our culture.

"I’ve realized that, despite outward appearances, the Startup Movement is not just about startups. It is actually a deeper cultural shift that cuts to the heart of the human condition.

"It reflects a dissatisfaction with the way much of the world has gone for the last several decades. 

"It marks a transformation in how we view our societies, how we convene our communities, how we create value together as human beings.

"It’s a counterpoint to the governing economic paradigm – what economists call neoliberalism – which has prized efficiency and productivity above everything else, even when it has corroded relationships that bond us together in our communities and social networks.

"We are moving from an economic model that treats individuals as replaceable cogs in an anonymous yet efficient system, to one that recognizes that individuals are the only ones who can make the system better through their innovations, inventions, and creations.

"This notion might sound simple, but its impact is profound. If you examine the scholarly research on what makes entrepreneurship and innovation thrive – whether in Silicon Valley, Santiago, or anywhere else – the conclusions are strikingly consistent. 

"Innovation is not a solo sport. 

"It thrives in supportive, diverse, connected, pay-it-forward ecosystems. It dies in selfish ones."

Friday, June 26, 2015

Great article on "integral economics" a pathway based on integral theory.

Integral Economics: A Manifesto

Christian Arnsperger
FRS-FNRS, Belgium

December 2007

1. Introduction

Engineering an intersection between economics and the Integral approach—i.e., gradually fleshing out and promoting a truly Integral economics—may well be one of the most urgent tasks in social science today. At least, I myself (as a standardly trained economist who turned heretical at some point) believe it is, and that is why I have written this paper which, for all its defects, might stand as a “manifesto” of sorts for those of us who think it’s about time economics was pulled out of its current, arch-positivistic quagmire.

Let me emphasize that what I offer in these pages isn’t just a cheap juxtaposition of an economics that I find increasingly intellectually dissatisfying with an Integral vision that I find more and more promising. Although these two things are true, they wouldn’t be of much help if it weren’t for the fact that, on the basis of a (hopefully) thorough knowledge of the current mainstream of economic science, I believe I’ve encountered a more or less exact meeting place between the two disciplines—or, actually, between the discipline of economics and the meta-discipline of Integral methodology. This distinction is extremely important, especially in light of the fact that—within the realm of social science at least—economics has increasingly been claiming the status of a meta-discipline entitled to include and engulf all other disciplines such as sociology, social psychology, and so on. In fact, it may well be that forcing today’s mainstream economics to face up to the existence of an Integral framework out there is the only way to undo its pretension at becoming the (pseudo-)integral framework for social science.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Dawn of System Leadership

This is an excerpt of the article "Dawn of System Leadership" in Stanford Social Innovation Review

"The deep changes necessary to accelerate progress against society's most intractable problems require a unique type of leader—the system leader, a person who catalyzes collective leadership."

"We believe system leadership is critical for the times in which we now live, but the ideas behind it are actually quite old. About 2,500 years ago Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu eloquently expressed the idea of individuals who catalyze collective leadership: 
The wicked leader is he whom the people despise.
The good leader is he whom the people revere.
The great leader is he of whom the people say, “We did it ourselves.”
"The real question today is, Is there any realistic hope that a sufficient number of skilled system leaders will emerge in time to help us face our daunting systemic challenges? We believe there are reasons for optimism. First, as the interconnected nature of core societal challenges becomes more evident, a growing number of people are trying to adopt a systemic orientation. Though we have not yet reached a critical mass of people capable of seeing that a systemic approach and collective leadership are two sides of the same coin, a foundation of practical know-how is being built."

"Second, during the last thirty years there has been an extraordinary expansion in the tools to support system leaders, a few of which we have touched on in this article. We have observed numerous instances where the strategic use of the right tool, at the right time, and with the right spirit of openness, can shift by an order of magnitude the ability of stakeholders to create collective success. With the right shifts in attention, networks of collaboration commensurate with the complexity of the problems being addressed emerge, and previously intractable situations begin to unfreeze."

"Last, there is a broad, though still largely unarticulated, hunger for processes of real change. This is undoubtedly why a person like Mandela strikes such a resonant chord. There is a widespread suspicion that the strategies being used to solve our most difficult problems are too superficial to get at the deeper sources of those problems. This can easily lead to a sense of fatalism—a quiet desperation that our social, biological, economic, and political systems will continue to drift toward chaos and dysfunction. But it can also cause people to be more open to seeking new paths. Compared to even a few years ago, we find that many today are exploring new approaches that move beyond the superficial to ignite and guide deeper change. Organizations and initiatives like those described in this article have succeeded because of a growing awareness that the inner and outer dimensions of change are connected. As our awakening continues, more and more system leaders who catalyze collective leadership will emerge."

Thursday, December 04, 2014

The Great Work...

“History is governed by those overarching movements that give shape and meaning to life by relating the human venture to the larger destinies of the universe. Creating such a movement might be called the Great Work of a people…. The Great Work now, as we move into a new millennium, is to carry out the transition from a period of human devastation of the Earth to a period when humans would be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner.”

“The Great Work before us… is not a role that we have chosen. It is a role given to us, beyond any consultation with ourselves. We are, as it were, thrown into existence with a challenge and a role that is beyond any personal choice. We did not choose. We were chosen by some power beyond ourselves for this historical task. The nobility of our lives, however, depends upon the manner in which we come to understand and fulfill our assigned role.” From The Great Work by Thomas Berry

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"New Dawn of Financial Capitalism"

Excellent article from Institutional Investor Magazine "New Dawn of Financial Capitalism" frames some new thought to address the weaknesses of the current financial paradigm.

(1) Professionalisation of Asset Owners (2) Reintermediation of finance (3) adoption of the power of information technology for analysis by asset owners (4) development of new models to invest in the real economy.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Transcription of the Interview of me with Planet Experts about Responsible Investing

Here's a recent interview of me on my views from Planet Experts

Recently, Planet Experts sat down with Gregory Wendt, a veteran wealth advisor, economist and Certified Financial Planner. Greg is considered a thought leader in his field of sustainable and responsible investing and green business. He is the founder of several non-profit community organizations and a leading advocate in improving capital markets for triple bottom line economic development. Greg is a recognized social entrepreneur where he applies a multidisciplinary systems design approach to financial innovation and community economic development.

Planet Experts: Having formerly worked at several of Wall Street’s most prestigious firms, including Smith Barney and Prudential Securities, you are presently a Certified Financial Planner specializing in sustainable and responsible investing. What triggered your professional transition? 

Greg Wendt: Sustainability is actually where I started. When I was at UCLA in 1988 I learned about the new paradigm when the United Nations Brundtland Commission came out with their initial report called “Our Common Future.” That’s where the term “sustainable development” actually was coined: which is to build a more robust framework for emerging “third world” world countries to become advanced economies and to become industrialized by incorporating the gifts of modern culture and leaving the challenges behind.

The challenge is, even at that point in the ’80s we realized that it was virtually impossible to have everyone around the world consuming the same amount on a per capita basis, considering the amount of resources that first-world nations use – we simply wouldn’t have enough planet. So the whole idea is, and was, how do we advance these societies in a sustainable fashion while increasing prosperity for all stakeholders? The key phrase in the definition of sustainable development is ‘meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the needs of the future generation.’

I started as a Biochemistry undergraduate at UCLA, then I changed to Math Computer Science. And then I changed from Math Computer Science to Economics. Through the multidisciplinary lens that I had developed, it just made sense that we manage our society and economy to meet the needs of both current and future generations.

When I was a child, I’d read about being an oceanographer and watched Carl Sagan, Jacque Cousteau, and was really inspired by these wise visionaries. I grew up in Southern California – surfing and tide pools and studying marine biology, complex mathematics, science and all that. So, that was my framework which brought me into this full spectrum viewpoint, and thus sustainable development just seemed to fit and appeared like the more sophisticated framework for an economic system which would work for 100 percent of humanity, and all life. If we’re managing the economy and the inputs and outputs, then we have to manage in accord with whatever’s going on for the entire the planet.

I began my real dive into this world by speaking at a conference in 1989 called “Globescope Pacific Assembly,” which was in preparation for the first United Nations Earth Summit in 1992. During that conference we conducted working groups sessions with 500 sustainability leaders from all over North America. I played a very small role, but it was a document that gave input to the Earth Summit from North American constituents. It was called ‘A Citizen’s Response to Sustainable Development.’

So, when I got into the work world, I tried various jobs until a friend of mine wanted me to work for him as an apprentice at Smith Barney. And I took the position and learned about the ins-and outs of the investment world, analyzed and traded municipal bonds. At that time I also learned about what we called socially responsible investing and that’s when I set the intention to make responsible investing my profession.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Citizen's Response To Sustainable Development - a document I was part of creating in 1989

Here's a link to a document which came out of the first sustainability conference I attended and spoke at in 1989. It's noteworthy that many of the recommendations and solutions still apply today, 25 YEARS LATER!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mindset shift crucial for collective impact.

For changemakers we must look deep into our approach and change our mindsets and retool assumptions continuously.

A recent article in Stanford Social Innovation Review "Essential Mindset Shifts for Collective Impact" 

"The widespread momentum around collective impact is exciting. It demonstrates a vital shift for organizations, away from considering their work in isolation and toward seeing their work in the context of a broader system, paving the way for large-scale change. The five conditions, however, are not by themselves sufficient. Achieving collective impact requires the fundamental mindset shifts we have described here—around who is involved, how they work together, and how progress happens. These shifts have significant implications for how practitioners design and implement their work, how funders incentivize and engage with grantees, and how policymakers bring solutions to a large scale. Without these vital mindset shifts, collective impact initiatives are unlikely to make the progress they set out to accomplish."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Systems Thinking and the Future of Cities

I'm inspired to find articles like this one "Systems Thinking and the Future of Cities" by David Orr as I feel we must shift our paradigm and rewire our brains to recognize the connection of all things in a coherent system.

He writes: "The idea that nothing exists in isolation−but only as part of a system−has long been embedded in folklore, religious scriptures, and common sense. Yet, systems dynamics as a science has yet to transform the way we conduct the public business. This article first briefly explores the question of why advances in systems theory have failed to transform public policy. The second part describes the ways in which our understanding of systems is growing−not so much from theorizing, but from practical applications in agriculture, building design, and medical science. The third part focuses on whether and how that knowledge and systems science can be deployed to improve urban governance in the face of rapid climate destabilization so that sustainability becomes the norm, not the occasional success story."

"Key Concepts"

"Reducing wholes to parts lies at the core of the scientific worldview we inherited from Galileo, Bacon, Descartes, and their modern acolytes in the sciences of economics, efficiency, and management."

"The decades between 1950 and 1980 were the grand era for systems theory. However despite a great deal of talk about systems, we continue to administer, organize, analyze, manage, and govern complex ecological systems as if they were a collection of isolated parts and not an indissoluble union of energy, water, soils, land, forests, biota, and air."

"Much of what we have learned about managing real systems began in agriculture. One of the most important lessons being that land is an evolving organism of interrelated parts soils, hydrology, biota, wildlife, plants, animals, and people."

"The challenge is to transition organized urban complexity built on an industrial model and designed for automobiles, sprawl, and economic growth into coherent, civil, and durable places."

"A systems perspective to urban governance is a lens by which we might see more clearly through the fog of change, and potentially better manage the complex cause and effect relationships between social and ecological phenomena. The application of systems offers at least six possibilities to improve urban governance."

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Communities Co-Evolving Toward Resilience

My most recent article is “Communities Co-Evolving Toward Resilience” which I posted on Hazel Henderson's Ethical Markets website.

In it, the core themes are:

- that bioregions around the world can be an organizing framework to catalyze the next wave of humanity’s evolution rather than nation states
- that we can organize events and actions through a networked approach to iconic cities who’s networks cross pollinate ideas, solutions and inspirations not unlike neurons firing in the brain
- the organizing principle of networks within networks, and multidisciplinary cooperation can be fractally organized at every scale and stage of the process
- the core convening principle to get globally oriented groups to collaborate for place based solutions and then to spread globally through the network of other place based networks to reach a global scale
- the process can be applied to create a “model” or “template” for the pathway of evolution of a bioregional economy which then can be the core organizing principle which can be applied and creatively expressed in as many ways as there are bioregions across the globe thus bringing a co-creative element to the global mind to more rapidly inspire evolution of the global family

From this framework I feel that we can scale to over 100 cities relatively quickly and then to over 6,000 shortly after that.

Once the system starts firing, it will catch fire, I trust and from that we can foment evolution of the civilization 2.0 which emerges like a butterfly from a chrysalis.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hazel Henderson's newest book "Mapping the Transition to the Solar Age - from Economism to Earth Systems Science"

An Excerpt from Hazel's latest book which is available as a PDF.

"Towards the Green Economy: Clearly the transition to the green economy is already underway but will be highly disruptive to the industrial sectors and massive global apparatus of the fossil fuel and nuclear era. Many companies based on nineteenth and twentieth century technologies will go under and jobs will be lost. Bridging strategies using natural gas are already highly contested due to their huge water-use, polluted residues, methane release and other problems."

"A study by Cornell and Stanford University scientists outlines a plan for ‘A Fossil Fuel-Free New York State by 2050’ which omits shale gas due to its much higher than advertised methane emissions.24 The consensus reached at Rio+20, G-20 in Mexico and other summits in 2012 included the OECD Global Green Growth Institute, the Knowledge Platform, and 68 global financial institutions. NGOs and governments affirmed commitments to using natural resources in their capital accounting.25 In addition, the $5.2tn of private investments since 2007 tracked in Ethical Markets’ Green Transition Scoreboard® attest to the huge shifts now in the pipeline."

"While renewable energy stocks suffered from their opposition’s media attacks, contrarians saw opportunities. US investor Warren Buffet’s MidAmerica Renewables investments reached $13.5bn, and the US Department of Defense is now the single most important driver of the cleantech revolution in the USA.26 In 2012 and 2013, nature provided ample evidence of the massive CO2 emissions’ effect in ocean warming and driving unprecedented weather conditions worldwide: floods, droughts, fires, tornadoes, heat waves, all causing huge losses and insurance costs." "This paper is an attempt to contextualise all these phenomena and explore the future: the new planetary awareness driving these paradigm shifts as we humans ‘connect the dots’. This knowledge explosion is now challenging our cultural beliefs about money, wealth, scarcity, abundance and transcending financial models derived from obsolete economics, led in many countries by younger generations connected by social media. The new multi-disciplinary models and metrics reassure us that in moving beyond economics and GDP we will not be flying blind but moving to the many earth systems science models (including those from NASA28) and data from many scientific fields which this paper explores."

Monday, February 17, 2014

Downshifting civilization to meet the realities of the biosphere

“The future, to be viable at all, must be one of drawing back, easing down, healing… It requires more than productivity and more than technology; it also requires maturity, compassion and wisdom. These conclusions constitute a conditional warning, not a dire prediction. They offer a living choice, not a death sentence… The idea of limits, sustainability, sufficiency, equity and efficiency are not barriers, not obstacles, not threats. They are guides to a new world… We see ‘easing down’ from unsustainability not as a sacrifice, but as an opportunity to stop battering against the earth’s limits and to start transcending self-imposed and unnecessary limits in human institutions, mindsets, beliefs, and ethics.” - Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Discussing the access to capital equation at the Innovate! SoCal conference.

Should be an engaging conversation tomorrow on our panel at the Innovate!Socal Conference
"Our panel takes up the challenge of improving performance of pre-seed and venture capital funding and looks at how entrepreneurs can be better prepared for investment. The group addresses the critical need for shortening deal decision times, improving deal quality by better preparing entrepreneurs, and reducing capital access barriers to under-represented demographic and geographic groups."

Panel moderator Paul J. Corson, Executive Director of Innovation Fund America, drives the discussion. 

Panelist 1 – Richard Koffler, CEO, Greenwings Biomedical
Panelist 2 – Greg Wendt, Senior Wealth Advisor, Stakeholder Capital, Co-Chair, Capital Action Team for CA Forward
Panelist 3 – Victoria Sassine, Mutual Fund Trustee, Managers Investment Group Panelist
4 – David Carter, CEO, Upside LA

Sunday, January 12, 2014

We must evolve to a complex systemic view to address the world's challenges.

The caption for image on the left shares: 
"A schematic history of human civilization reflects a growing complexity of the collective behavior of human organizations. The internal structure of organizations changed from the large branching ratio hierarchies of ancient civilizations, through decreasing branching ratios of massive hierarchical bureaucracies, to hybrid systems where lateral connections appear to be more important than the hierarchy. As the importance of lateral interactions increases, the boundaries between subsystems become porous. The increasing collective complexity also is manifest in the increaseing specialization and diversity of professions. Among the possible future organizational structures are fully networked systems where hierarchical structures are unimportant. "

and the conclusion of the article sums it up:

"There are two natural conclusions to be drawn from recognizing that human beings are part of a global organism. First, one can recognize that human civilization has a remarkable capacity for responding to external and internal challenges. The existence of such a capacity for response does not mean that human civilization will survive external challenges any more than the complexity of any organism guarantees its survival. However, one can hope that the recent reduction in the incidence of military conflicts will continue and the ability to prevent or address local disasters will increase. The difficulties in overcoming other systematic ills of society, such as poverty, may also be challenged successfully as the origins of these problems become better understood."

"Second, the complexity of our individual lives must be understood in the context of a system that must enable its components (us) to contribute effectively to the collective system. Thus, we are being, and will continue to be shielded from the true complexity of society. In part this is achieved by progressive specialization that enables individuals to encounter only a very limited subset of the possible professional and social environments. This specialization will have dramatic consequences for our children, and their educational and social environments are likely to become increasingly specialized as well."

Sunday, January 05, 2014

2013 Annual Holiday Party Green Gifts to the Earth from Green Business Networking in L.A.!

Thought you'd enjoy what we're up to with the non-profit group we started in 2006 - this is our 8th annual Green Business Networking Holiday Party. Our community has grown, with an event every month since we started and now over 5,000 people on our email community list. And, we have so much fun!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

CA Economic Summit Advancing the Triple Bottom Line

The CA Economic Summit is a collaborative process to "advance the triple bottom line" through advancing our economy. I'm very grateful to play the role of Co-Chair for the Access to Capital Team for the summit. Here's a video which is a quick highlight of the conference. Here's a link to our initial capital action plan for the state and a brief article describing our work.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Must watch - Earth from Space - core perspective from which we can evolve from economism to earth systems science.

This Nova Program - "Earth from Space" gives the perspectives and information necessary to evolve our worldview and create a civilization which will ensure a resilient biosphere for a thriving humanity for many generations to come.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A straightforward pathway out of our myopia...

"Our perceptual myopia, which has focused on products not processes, on objects and entities rather than their broader fields of interplay, has led us to reward analysis and punish synthesis, to overvalue competition while ignoring the equally valuable role of cooperation, and to artificially define "problems" and devise "solutions"to fit them..." - Hazel Henderson 

So... now we systematically build cooperative processes which synthesize broad perspectives into grounded currently relevant coherent solutions contextually applied at human scales across the world. That's all!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"Green Century" an inspiring television show which I'm featured in

Great show put together by friends called "Green Century" available online and on public television. My segment starts just after minute 22.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Innovation for the next 100 years.

Innovation which does not have resiliency embedded at it's core is likely a mirage of true evolutionary change.

The recent article "Innovation for the Next 100 Years"in Stanford Social Innovation Review by Judith Rodin from The Rockefeller Foundation wrote states:

"Innovating for resilience is critical if we are to protect against the disruptions of the 21st-century world. As we do so, we should keep in mind the qualities resilient networks, communities and organizations share. Among them are:

  • FLEXIBILITY | able to change, evolve, and adapt at a rapid pace. 
  • REDUNDANCY | able to change course and adopt alternative approaches. 
  • RESOURCEFULNESS | able to identify problems, establish priorities, and mobilize resources and assets to achieve goals. 
  • SAFE-FAILURE | able to absorb shocks and the cumulative effects of slow-onset challenges so as to avoid catastrophic failure if thresholds are exceeded. 
  • RESPONSIVENESS | able to re-organize and re-establish fund and order following a failure. 
  • LEARNING | able to internalize experiences and apply those lessons to decrease vulnerabilities to future disruptions.
These are very close to the life's principles as defined by the Biomimicry Institute.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Catalyzing the Connection Economy

First posted on Ethical Markets and Triple Pundit

Somewhere along the line our culture lost contact with the recognition of oneness of all life, the connectedness to each other. Our institutions – government, economy, religion are all built on a false premise of separation.

Simply spoken, in Economics 101 we learned that everything around a business other than what is termed “business as usual” are “externalities” – “external” to the business, and the economy.  The model of endless growth for its own sake without regard to the effects of such growth is a symptom of blindness to such “externalities.”  Our prevailing economic growth-based model is not working to serve the needs of all humanity. If you don’t agree with me, ask the roughly 2 billion people who are living on less than a dollar a day. You may simply believe that their welfare is separate from yours, and you needn’t concern yourself with their plight…

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” – Anonymous

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My first published work, in book form, "Creating Good Work"

My first published work, in book form, came out today. I wrote a chapter in "Creating Good Work - The World's Leading SocialEntrepreneurs Show How to Build a Healthy Economy"

In the book over 20 leading innovators in social entrepreneurship, known as "deliberate disruptive design" share their learnings, experiences and insights gained from their work in building a new healthy economy.

Jeff Hollender, thought leader in corporate responsibility and co-founder of Seventh Generation wrote about the book: "Social entrepreneurs are committed to a goal that neither our government nor big business has been willing to take on - the building of enlightened society. It's the job of these special people who want to leave the world a better place for those who have yet to be born. The book provides practical, hard-won advice for how prospective and even-in-the-trenches social entrepreneurs can do just that. This is a book you'll not want to miss."

I resonate with his sentiments - that it is incumbent upon everyone in this generation to work for the well being of current and future children, of all species. I'm privileged to be part of such a movement, and inspire others to do the same through this work.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

"Transforming Economics into True Wealth" Statement November 2012

I'm a signatory for this statement on TRANSFORMING ECONOMIES INTO TRUE WEALTH

Posted on Ethical Markets website: 

"This is an invitation to fully engage in the planetary whole-system shift now under way.  Many SRI investment professionals recognize our human responsibility for the many breakdowns in our societies and enfolding ecosystems resulting from our limited consciousness: climate change, hunger, poverty, conflicts, financial crises and ecological destruction. These systemic breakdowns are accelerating due to global interconnectedness and now driving the breakthroughs worldwide occurring below the radar of the mainstream mass media. The 193 country members of the United Nations have recognized human interdependence and that no nation acting alone can solve these global systemic crises.  Thus, they have pooled their sovereignty, however imperfectly, seeking solutions through treaties, agreements, protocols, institutions and agencies to promote the common good and all life on planet Earth.  Likewise, many public, private and civic sector organizations, professional and academic groups are also coalescing to take broader responsibility."

The statement is:


Invitation To Fully Engage In The Planetary Whole-System Shift Now Under Way

We undersigned investment professionals recognize our human responsibility for the many breakdowns in our societies and enfolding ecosystems resulting from our limited consciousness: climate change, hunger, poverty, conflicts, financial crises and ecological destruction. These systemic breakdowns are accelerating due to global interconnectedness and now driving the breakthroughs worldwide occurring below the radar of the mainstream mass media. The 193 country members of the United Nations have recognized human interdependence and that no nation acting alone can solve these global systemic crises.  Thus, they have pooled their sovereignty, however imperfectly,seeking solutions through treaties, agreements, protocols, institutions and agencies to promote the common good and all life on planet Earth.  Likewise, many public, private and civic sector organizations, professional and academic groups are also coalescing to take broader responsibility.

Transforming Finance - a top priority

Last fall, I had the pleasure of joining a group of leaders in the new economy and responsible investing movement at the home of Hazel Henderson for the annual "SRI Leaders" retreat. At the retreat we reflected on the state of the global financial system and further offered perspectives and solutions for transforming finance to serve the world, rather than extract from it. Here's a link to the Statement: "Transforming Economics into True Wealth (November 2012)"

Hazel posted an article on CSR Wire based on the retreat, and the Statement which we created.

Here's the full text of the article:

By Hazel Henderson

Despite incremental reforms, the Dodd-Frank Act in the USA, Basel III and the 0.1% financial transaction tax now approved by EU finance ministers, the global financial casino is still playing.

Financial lobbying still seeks to block or weaken reforms and floods of money distorting democratic politics, loosed by the Supreme Courts’ 2010 Citizens United decision, are still flowing unchecked.  Billions still secretly fund attacks on climate science, social safety nets, teachers and other public employees and their pensions. All these efforts to repeal FDR’s New Deal and a fairer economy continue unabated.

Ethical Markets’ Transforming Finance initiative, launched in 2010 with its first Statement, emphasizing the bigger picture: finance is a part of the global commons, to serve real economies, not dominate them, and its high-frequency traders and all market players use and rely on taxpayer funded infrastructure: the internet, satellite communications, computers, wireless transmission over public airwaves.

Many high-minded financiers who have co-signed this Statement and later ones are former Wall Streeters. They are pioneers of ethical, SRI firms and are also interviewed on our Transforming Finance TV series, including John Fullerton, Amy Domini, Susan Davis, Karl Kleissner, Alisa Gravitz, Terry Mollner, Katherine Collins, Leland Lehrman, Sarah Stranahan, Michaela Walsh, Ben Bingham and author/lawyer Ellen Brown (available at and

Our latest Transforming Economics Into True Wealth (November2012) is an invitation to fully engage in the planetary whole-system shift now under way. These investment professionals recognize our responsibility for the many breakdowns in our societies and ecosystems resulting from our limited consciousness: climate change, hunger, poverty, conflicts, financial crises and ecological destruction.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Jan 24 2013 Radio Interview on Business Rockstars KFWB about "Conscious Capitalism"

Here's my interview on the radio show "Business Rockstars" about my views about the concept of "conscious capitalism" which is also the title of the new book by Whole Foods CEO John Mackay and Professor Raj Sisodia 

In the interview radio host Ken Rutkowski and I discussed the different paradigms in business. Most notably we distinguished between the outdated view of business as only serving shareholders and the profit motive to businesses recognizing the opportunity to not only succeed but thrive by serving all of the stakeholders in the business.

This more sophisticated paradigm leads to a more robust and resilient business while at the same time stakeholder engagement is a key driver in profitability for the most successful corporations.

I trust you'll enjoy listening to the radio show as much as I did sharing my views.

Here's a link to the show, my piece starts at around minute 44.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bringing Good Capital Home with a Living Economy Fund

Originally posted on CSRWire.

When was the last time you asked a financial advisor to put your money in a financial fund that would support environmental and social concerns only to be met by a blank stare, because the advisor had no knowledge of that such a fund existed?

Or perhaps you went to your advisor and said, “I’d like to invest my money locally, in small businesses that are struggling here in our community and help them improve our local economy. Do you have a fund that will do that?”

Did the blankness of the stare deepen?

As a financial advisor I regularly place my clients in vehicles that might fundamentally change the way the economy works and at the same time provide a competitive return on investment. Unfortunately, there are simply few if any local choices that will satisfy such needs.

As a member of the California Financial OpportunitiesRoundtable, we ran into similar problems around providing access to capital locally. With SEC regulations and government investor protocols, targeting investments within a community through traditional financial vehicles is often difficult -- but not necessarily impossible.

Needed: Local And State Support For Small Business And Micro-Enterprise

We know that many Community Development financial institutions have been flooded with available funding lately, which says that the local interest exists, but the money is not yet flowing out for  investments in small local businesses and startups.

Getting money into the hands of those who can help build a healthy economy requires an economic development strategy at both the local and state levels that supports small business and micro-enterprises.

Our visions of global grandeur have often redirected our focus away from investing and buying locally, often fueled by the possibility of windfall profits in larger markets. But that focus has pulled us away from the richness of our community businesses and the economy they support. These businesses operate adjacent to the multinational big boxes that can sell for less, but become extractive from the local economy rather than generative.

Transforming Our Finance and Securities Laws

In the book, Creating Good Work: The World’s Leading SocialEntrepreneurs Show How to Build a Healthy Economy, (Palgrave, 2013) I wrote in my chapter about the transformation required to see money as part of the natural biosphere in which it operates. If we can transform our perception of money, we can simultaneously address issues such as the needs of communities, quality of life, human justice, food quality, education, infrastructure, energy security, and soil fertility.

The issue, of course, is that our securities laws and our financial vehicles operating under those laws don’t always allow us to invest our money in ways that can have an impact on these very important living issues.

This is especially true for those unaccredited investors whose net worth is less than $1 million. Equity crowdfunding may allow for more of this kind of investment to take place in the future, but we still run up against the lack of financial vehicles that would allow us to direct investments toward  environmental and social issues in our local communities.

In addition, financial advisors are also limited in this arena by the choices available through traditional channels. These investments are equally as prudent as others on the market while at the same time improving the quality of life in the communities. The problem is they are rarely offered because in many cases the traditional marketplace doesn’t know they exist.

Alternative Funding Sources

Getting funding into the hands of local businesses that are doing good work is a real challenge in this climate. However, instead of relying on traditional bank loans, alternative funding sources could be created for locally-owned businesses.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Film on New Economic Models - "Fixing The Future"

In our political debates, races, etc. there is always room for more conversation about the sustainable, thriving economies we can create in our own home towns. Here's a very inspiring film which I encourage you to watch if you are wondering what can be done to fix our economy, and our future!

Watch Fixing the Future on PBS. See more from NOW on PBS.