Nearly seven years ago I founded earthsayers.tv, voices of sustainability, a specialized search engine highlighting those individuals speaking on behalf of Mother Earth and her peoples and their prosperity. The collection of video content continues to grow as we both aggregate as well as produce original content. A major special collection is climate change as well as transforming our economy, culture and consciousness, and wisdomkeepers. What unites all of the WeCan working groups is the concept of sustainability, turning a list into a whole systems based strategy. My colleague JoAnne O'Brien-Levin created a taxonomy for sustainability that is a content map, organizing people, issues, expertise, programs, places, events, and knowledge around planet, people, and prosperity - all under the sustainability banner.
Reasons for working in this topic, project or business:
My work represents the application of years of experience, education, and an expertise in using marketing tools, most specifically the WorldWideWeb, to educate our citizens who are seeking information and inspiration using terms and phrases associated with the challenge of bringing our planet into balance to benefit us all. I wanted to bring to the fore citizens from all walks of life who might not ordinarily be found on the Web. I decided to pursue a goal of increasing sustainability awareness because it is a unifying principle that is as we say in the software business, mission critical.
Root causes of the problems in this field and main barriers:
I tend to side with Julia Butterfly Hill on a major root cause being "disconnected consciousness" and with the folks who participated in the Regeneration Project which identified Time as the scarcest resource, women's empowerment a key to our future, and, in terms of climate change the recognition that "Only when our daily lives are disrupted and we have realized the connection between our actions and their consequences, will we finally unite on the issue." It is David Korten who lays down the gauntlet in terms of our peoples, the social element of sustainability, when he addresses innovation in the context of equity, as does Mary Robinson's work around climate justice, Marcelo Bonta's organization, Center for Diversity and the Environment, and the many leaders of our indigenous peoples such as llarion Merculief (Aleut) though his teaching circles, this one entitled, Womb at the Center of the Universe.
What is needed to overcome barriers to implement solutions:
Here I turn again to earthsayers such as Annie Leonard advocating we develop our "citizen muscle" to balance our over-developed consumer muscle and ocean rower and enviornmental campaigner Roz Savage who emphasizes in both words and actions the need to redefine success. It isn't so much the "what" as the who is needed to overcome barriers and the answer to THAT is each one of us.
Specific needs and/or support requests:
As individuals: finding one's voice and seeding the Web with it by posting recordings, video and audio, to the Web, especially YouTube and Vimeo.
As social sector organizations:
Many of our leaders in social sector organizations remain Web adverse especially in terms of search, video content, and content marketing. A recent McKinsey study reported, sixty-one percent of the social sector leadership said "they put the interests of their own organization ahead of collaborating with others to solve problems. And an equal number report that they see little cooperation occurring across the ecosystem—organizations scramble to claim credit rather than contribute to solutions." Because many staff members have a heavy investment in writing and editing skills and define "voice" in terms of primarily the written word and are burdened by heavy work loads, the study noted they may find "stretch goals" exploitive. The effect of all of this is to restrict the voices we need to hear from and to undermine the message of interconnectedness, collaboration, and community.
Suggested best local solution for this topic:
For me solutions and best practices are found in the ideaas and words of other people such as Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff Project and one of their latest releases, The Story of Solutions as well as the pioneering work of Ellen MacArthur's Foundation around the Circular Economy.
The list goes on with academics, teachers, elected officials, business leaders, environmentalists, social activists all contributing to the pool of knowledge and wisdom that each individual must draw upon to change themselves for the benefit of Mother Earth and her peoples.
EarthSayers.tv, is a search engine that can be customized (new skin, name) for organizations wishing to manage their own videos as part of a larger, more robust collection of voices, in a leadership context, and offer a service to their their members, clients, subscribers, or their community. Earthsayers.tv addresses the need for not only education, but motivation and inspiration, in what will continue to be rough and extreme weather ahead for us all. While earthsayers.tv is advertising free, any sister site we develop for an organization can also serve as an sponsorship platform to generate revenue for the service to be sustainable over time and increase retention and donation rates. We are also working on a project, WisdomKeepers.tv, voices of indigenous peoples, as a sister site to EarthSayers.tv and are seeking foundation support to set up a self-sustainability organization to grow the search engine and serve as a focal point for producing original content.
We want our indigenous peoples to own the term wisdom as opposed to say Psychology Today when it comes to search results and a specialized search engine that aggegates content from multiple channels, mostly YouTube, is an organic way to achieve top rankings on the search page. Another alternative is paid search and that is what large corporations do, as part of their reputation management function. Through ads they own prime real estate across the Web on key terms and phrases such as food production, sustainability advocate, etc. Large social sector organizations are investing in paid search as well, but not nearly at the level of Corporations.
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