Views from the Edge

The Good Society: A Question of Scale

In asking ourselves what is important, what do we value and how is what we are doing affecting our well-being, sometimes pictures and music are worth a thousand words. Why do human systems always seem to trend to maximal scale? Sustainable systems should self-organize to a scale that optimizes economic prosperity while respecting ecological limits. We have an article on this topic published in Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy, Spring/Summer 2009, Volume 5, Issue 1.

And Now for Something Completely Different

I am privileged to work with wonderful younger people; it also ensures critical diversity in my life. One of those people is Rebecca Foon, a planner who works with me from Montreal, who is also a wonderful cellist. This music video is a birthday song for Lhasa, who died of breast cancer over a year ago. Music brings such joy and beauty, pause a moment and listen. 

The Good Society: The Power of Simplicity and Innovation

Last week, we had the first of our Robert Bateman Conversations on The Meaning of Growth and Progress in the 21st century, very rich discussion because of the diversity of the panel. We will be publishing the conversation this week, so stay tuned.

This video powerfully demonstrates the power of innovation and simplicity to enhance human well-being. In our search for the 'big fix' and the 'grand solution' we often miss the meaningful small steps that can lead to major social change.

What makes for a good society?

I stumbled across an old paper written by Amitai Etzioni in which he draws upon a key concept in his characterization of a good society.

Community is a combination of two elements: a) a web of affect-laden relationships among a group of individuals, relationships that often crisscross and reinforce one another--rather than merely one-on-one or chainlike individual relationships; b) a measure of commitment to a set of shared values, norms and meanings, and a shared history and identity--in short to a particular culture.

The Good Socity-The Power of Multiple Stories

What makes a community healthy? I think it is as simple as understanding how important it is to have and to be able to listen to multiple stories, how critical diversity is human well-being. All of the stories of a place contribute to more equitable human systems and emphasizes how much we have in common than how we differ. A question we must ask in our search for the good society is why humans are so bad at difference?

The Good Society-What is Progress?

You may be interested in an upcoming e-Dialogue this coming Thursday, October 27th, on What is the Meaning of Progress and Growth in the 21th century? This is a critical question that all communities are facing in conversations around the meaning of the good society. This real time on-line dialogue is the first in the series of Robert Bateman Conversations, a forum for provocative dialogue and idea sharing around critical questions of the day.

The Good Society-The New Humanism

How do we develop systems of governance, education and health that connect, not disconnect us from what is important to our humanity, that bridge the divided selves we have become as a result of the solitudes, silos and stovepipes of our current institutions. The most critical solitude to blow away is the artificial separation between reason and emotion. This video, which talks about a new revolution in consciousness, discusses the new humanism based on three principles: 1.

The Good Society-What is progress

Often late at night, interesting what the dark brings, I wonder about the meaning of life and what is progress?  I just read an interesting history of the drone program by Professor Derek Gregory at UBC, and his critique of the legal and ethical issues with the U.S. assertion it has the right to deploy drones anywhere in the world.

The Good Society: The Power of Co-operation

We will be publishing a case story shortly on youth entrepreneurship and micro-credit. In that case, it talks about a lack in the school system about encouraging entreprenurial choices for young people. Equally, I wonder why business schools across Canada do not talk about co-operatives as a viable business model. A few facts.

Continuing the Conversation

We are currently in election mode here in Ontario, and taxes have raised their ugly head again, at the expense of any meaningful discussion about policy and vision on the part of the leaders. Personal attacks tied to taxes are going to be the death of infrastructure and democracy in the long run. Mark Kingwell has spoken eloquently about the loss of civility among elected leaders.