Daniel Christian Wahl - Catalyzing transformative innovation, cultural co-creation, whole systems design, and bioregional regeneration. Author of Designing Regenerative Cultures. That is how he describes himself on Medium. To the rootlinkers, nothing could have described him better than listening to him during the Wednesday weeklinks.
I found Daniel’s life story really inspiring. His talk highlights the impact of the surroundings and culture, and how living through the cold war made him ask deeper questions about life and join Amnesty International and Greenpeace at the school level.
His journey from seeing the world as the additive work of individual things, to perceiving it as a whole dynamic process made him realize the importance of how theory informs practice and how ecological designs are dependent on interrelated components, that combine complex, and dynamic ideas, and various participatory world views.
I found it really insightful to listen to the description of his work and how ecological designs prove that several tools can help put theory into practice to meet human needs, while having at a minimum no negative impact, but rather a positive impact on the surroundings.
It's important to appreciate things, even as we stay stuck in our mundane lives. Photo by Bruce Warrington on Unsplash
The one-hour conversation with Daniel refreshed several important thoughts and ideas that are ever-present, which are often forgotten as we stay stuck in our daily lives.
The role of culture
Being sensitive cannot be a task, it should rather be a culture. Photo by Noah Buscher Unsplash
Early influences in life play an important role and shape us into who we are and the ideas that we spread. The same holds for climate cataclysm - a threat that is increasingly imminent as Daniel describes. Only a few point sources of knowledge are not enough to inculcate sensibility towards the planet and other species, but it is rather something that must become a culture.
The role of interdisciplinary thinking
The next thing that Daniel highlights makes me really happy and proud to be a part of rootlinks, as we, together as rootlinks are on the right track because we realize the role and importance of interdisciplinary systems and design thinking. It is important for us to broaden our perspectives as we try to understand our role in the community and how science and technology can benefit society by targeting the problems that we are facing collectively.
In the times of climate action, together is better! Photo credits: Unsplash
Undeniable is the importance of group dynamics, social skills and personal development, and the strength of breaking out of the patterns of becoming slaves of our unconscious habits.
Systems thinking for inclusivity
Listening to Daniel talk about culture and expanding the models based on the triple bottom line (the intersecting circles of Economy, Ecology, and Social systems), and the importance of expanding them to become more inclusive, in order to decrease the gap between culture and nature, was personally a great reminder of how important it has become to add the fourth bottle line to include humanistic values in the models of sustainability.
The additional factor of culture in the Triple Bottom Line
In the dynamic and ever-evolving picture where the system is sensitive to its subsystems and the different components in the system, it is even more important for us to focus on the concept of the regenerative culture, design, and development. The well-defined solutions that we build for the present-day world can become problems in the future. It is important to be less focused on the finished products, but rather on temporary prototypes. I was particularly inspired by how Daniel not just mentions theory but also inspires action while describing a three-step approach where we start within our personal capacity, moving onto the team capacity and building regenerative prototypes that provide feedback to the system.
The exponential growth of the movement
Listening to Daniel felt like I was sitting in front of a mirror as I realized a mistake that I have made in the past where I would often get disappointed by the situation of the climate crisis. I wish I had heard him speak the first time such a thought crossed my mind, though I am glad that I got the opportunity now. One of the most empowering things that Daniel reminds us of is that, it’s about time that we give up on the depressing world view that humanity is cancer for the planet. It is indeed a journey where the community and ideation growth should rather be viewed as an exponential curve. The number of people working for the planet and for sustainability some 50 years ago was a handful.
In this fight, no one is alone. Photo by Lewis Parsons on Unsplash
This, however, in today’s time has turned into a global movement. Also, it is not just the number of people involved in the action but more about the power of the message being spread, and the culture that we create. In times of urgency, it is necessary to empower people to remind them that they have the audacious power to bring about a change, as we collectively move from the exploitative and degenerative tendencies to healing and regenerative ideology.
I found the whole talk by Daniel really inspiring. However, the two things that touched me the most were about asking some deeper questions and living through these times of action with a positive mindset.
The importance of asking questions
It is important that we become a part of the climate action movement not only because it is something that has to be done. There needs to be a rather radical shift in our mindset, where we not only ask the questions of what, how, and when about the actions we take.
As made famous by Simon Sinek - Start with Why. Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash
Rather, we need to understand why it is necessary to act for sustainability, why we are doing this, what has already happened, and whom we are obliged to? This will not only bring about a greater sense of healing the place together, but also an appreciation for the good that has already been done and a lesson from what went wrong. As we keep fulfilling our duties, let’s not astray from the purpose, as that will offer real satisfaction for the work done. Also, shifting our focus from the answers to the technique of living the question is a great method to create discussions and several approaches to target the solutions.
The power of systems thinking - the power lies with YOU!
The picture says it all! Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
The thing that left me the most motivated was the idea of systems thinking and the extent of liberty it offers to act. The idea of systems thinking at some point can seem a bit twisted and too powerful, a single piece of the puzzle can influence the rest of the model. But hidden in it is the good news for the people who want to make a change. We are all a part of this system, all our actions, big or small can help us in the fight against climate change, and any place is a good place to start, offering us the audacious power - We can change the world!