For those of you who are within striking distance, EnlightenNext is going to be putting on a fantastic celebration called the Midsummer Renaissance Festival at our London center on the weekend of July 30-31. The editorial/creative team will all be traveling over to participate in the festivities, an intriguing blend of dialogues and performances with a variety of distinguished guests, all exploring the emerging cultural power and relevance of what we call the evolutionary worldview.
I’m busy preparing for a live dialogue with one of my favorite environmental thinkers, Hardin Tibbs, a self-described “eco-spiritual futurist” whom I interviewed for our last issue of EnlightenNext magazine. Here’s a few paragraphs from that piece to give you a sense of who he is:
I met Mr. Tibbs in Washington, DC, last June at the awards ceremony for the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s Buckminster Fuller Challenge – an annual $100,000 design prize for which he served as head of this year’s jury – and was immediately impressed. CEO of the UK-based management consulting firm Synthesys Strategic Consulting, Tibbs is many things – an accomplished futurist and scenario planner, a business analyst, and an expert in sustainability strategy and design. Early in his career, he’d helped pioneer the application of ecological principles to the processes of industry, a discipline known as “industrial ecology” that later grew popular through books like Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce and William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s Cradle to Cradle. He’d also been deeply influenced by Buckminster Fuller himself, whose writings introduced him to ideas of an order he’d never considered before.
“Bucky gave me permission to think about really big questions,” Tibbs said in a talk he delivered the day after the awards ceremony in DC, “to think the biggest possible thoughts about the world – what it was, where we’re going, and what we should be doing here.” He went on to describe some of the major currents of thought that had grown out of his grappling with these fundamental questions, and the more I began to grok the complexities of his radically future-oriented perspective, the more I was hooked. “For quite a long time, people were trying to sort of ‘save’ nature, ‘save’ the biosphere, and preserve the preceding natural conditions on Earth,” Tibbs explained. “But I think it’s too late for that now. History is in a kind of riptide. One of my colleagues at the Global Business Network, Stewart Brand, coined the phrase ‘history in motion’ around 2003. And we’re all right in the middle of that.”
Tibbs and I had so much fun getting to know each other that soon after we met, we recorded more than four hours of interviews exploring many different questions surrounding global sustainability, including what this phenomenon he called “history in motion” might mean for the future of green. We were only able to publish a small fraction of these talks in the magazine, which centered on one of my favorite topics, Stewart Brand’s controversial environmental heresies (cities, nuclear power, genetic engineering, and geoengineering). But that was just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the need for a new environmental ethics grounded in integral and evolutionary principles. So on July 31st, I invited Tibbs to explore with me some of the cultural and historical underpinnings of environmental consciousness, and take a deep philosophical look together at how contemporary green values and ethics might adapt and evolve in order to meet the demands of the 21st century.
I hope you can join us!